« PrécédentContinuer »
that eternal blessedness should be the reward of obedience.
In the covenant with Noah, God said, “ Behold I place my bow in the clouds,”—and to this day the bow of God in the clouds is a token of God's providential favour, and a sure pledge that the earth sball not again be destroyed by water.
So also, when the covenant of grace was, in consequence of the violation of the covenant of works, brought into operation, by the divine announcement that “the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent," sacrifices partaking of the character of sacraments immediately came into use, by the appointment of the divine lawgiver; and, indeed, it is contended by some that all the ceremonies of the lypical worship as observed under the Mosaic economy, are to be considered as sacramental ordinances. “ The law had a shadow of good things to come, Heb.
The ordinances, however, of the Old Testament dispensation, which are especially to be regarded as sacraments of the covenant of grace, in that day, were circumcision and the passover.
These were the ordinary sacrameuts of the Jewish church:
The former of these was instituted in the tinie of the patriarch Abraham, in whose family. God organized his visible church, making circumcision, a badge of membership, and a seal of the righteousness of faith. This sacrament was by express command of. Jehovah, applied to the seed of the believer as well! as to the believer himself-the right of children to
church membership was then clearly established and must remain valid unless the privilege has been revoked by him who originally granted it. was unequivocal, nay, the injunction was peremptory. “Every man-child shall be circumcised on the eighth day. The uncircumcised man-child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my cove
But more of this hereafter. The sacrament of the passover was instituted at a later day, and not until the time of the departure of the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. God being about to bring on the oppressors of his people the tenth and sorest plague, directed the children of Israel to sprinkle with the blood of a lamb the posts of their doors, which sprinkling of blood, was to be to them a sign and seal of their perfect safety in that awful night when the sword of the destroying angel wis to be bathed in the blood of all the first born in the land of Egypt, both of man and beast. Hence it was called the passover-they escaped unhurt; and while the voice of bitter lamentation was heard in the dwellings of the Egyptians, the voice of rejoic-. ing was heard in the tabernacles of God's people. This signal deliverance, typical of a deliverance incomparibly more signal, the covenant people of God were commanded to commemorate in the devout celebration of the ordinance of the passover. “Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance, in his season from year to year.”+ *Gen. xvii. 10, 14.
Exo. xiij. 10:
These ordinances, of circumcision and the passover, it cannot have escaped your observation, were of a bloody nature, exhibiting the grand truth, “that without shedding of blood there is no remission of zin,” and partaking of the general character of the typical dispensation. In both circumcision and the passover blood was shed; and so the passion and and death of the Lord Jesus Christ were prefigured in these rites, as well as his righteousness and grace signified and sealed. This being the fact, there was a necessity that these ordinances should be limited in their use to the period of the Old Testament dispensation ; and that after the coming and death of Jesus Christ, the antitype, they, as well as every thing else, having a typical allusion to those interesting events, should be abolished.
The church indeed is essentially the same, and so are the benefits of the covenant of grace, under every dispensation. So also are the things signified by sacraments. But in the external form and mode of administering sacraments, a suitableness to the particular dispensation of the church at any particular period is reasonably to be expected. An intelligent worshipper under the law, looking for Messiah,
“the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof," might, in that day of comparative darkness, have discovered the propriety and even necessity of abrogating, whenever these fond hopes of the church should have been realized, the whole Mosaic economy, and with it the sacraments of cireumcision and the passover; so that ordinances better adapted to
the genius of the evangelical dispensation might be substituted in their place.
Upon examining the word of God, we find that what might thus reasonably have been expected before the coming of Messiah has, since his advent and sacrifice, actually taken place; and that Baptism and the Lord's Supper have, by the appointment of the great Head of the Church, superseded the Jewish ordinances, which we have just considered. The proof of this I design to place before you in my next letter.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper have taken the place
of Circumcision and the Passover; and are to be observed as standing ordinances in the Christian Church.
My last paper closed with the assertion, that, by the appointment of Jesus Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, under the new dispensation, have taken the place, which was occupied by circumcision and the passover under the old. This assertion I shall dow undertake to maintain and establish ; which will
way for a few remarks on our duty in relation to baptism and the supper, as standing ordinances in the Christian Church..
With regard to the substitution of the Lord's supper, in the place of the Jewish passover, I believe but one sentiment prevails in the Christian world; at least, the denial of this fact has never fallen under my observation : And, indeed, the language of inspiration is so explicit on this point, that there is no room even for doubt, much less for denial. The Apostle Paul, in speaking of the supper, has settled this point, by stiling Christ the Christian Passover. For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."*
But it is evident that the same interested motives have not been called into operation on this point, which have been suffered to darken the understand, ing and bias the judgment, in relation to the other. You well know, that a determination to uochurch infants, and to withhold from them the initiatory seal of baptism, renders.it necessary for antipedobaptists to deny that baptism has taken the place of circumoision; and, I think, there is but too much reason to suspect, that, in relation to this subject; they have pursued a course altogether unauthorized by the laws of correct reasoning, and legitimate induction ; and that, instead of beginning by ascertaining facts, and then proceeding to deduce fair. inferences, the Baptists have, in this instance, at
* 1 Cor. y. 7, 8.