« PrécédentContinuer »
least, begun by assuming an inference, after which they had nothing to do but to accommodate facts to their assumption.
I question very much, indeed, whether any man ever denied the propriety of infant baptism because he conscientiously, and in the first place, disbelieved that baptism has come in the place of circumcision-and I just as strongly question, whether any man ever denied the fact, that baptism has taken the place of circumcision, without having previously made up his mind that children must not be baptized.
This kind of management, you may have noticed, is quite common, both as it respects practice and theory. Men not unfrequently act, and then look for reasons to justify their conduct; and so, also, men not unfrequently decide on subjects, and then go in pursuit of something to support their decision, while every thing which proves it to be erroneous must be tortured into compliance, or silenced at a blow. So in the case before us.-Let a man, at a leap, reach the case of the infant-let him strip bim of the privilege of church-membership, and the right of baptism; and when this is settled, he has but one course to pursue, unless he is willing to forfeit all claim to consistency; and that is, to deny the fact that circumcision has yielded its place to baptism.
Be this as it may, the fact, which we have asserted, admits of clear and most satisfactory proof.— For 1. A presumptive argument of no inconsider
able weight may be drawn from the acknowledged fact, that the Lord's supper has taken the place o
The argument stands thus.
Under the Old Testament dispensation there were two sacraments of God's covenant,-viz. circumcision, and the passover.
Under the New Testament dispensation there are also two sacraments of God's covenant,-viz. baptisin, and the Lord's supper.
But the Lord's supper now occupies the place formerly held by the passover.
The inference, therefore, to say the least, is plausible, that baptism now occupies the place formerly held by circumcision.
2. Circumcision and baptism both answer the same end, and signify and seal precisely the same benefits, under their respective dispensations.—Circumcision was an initiatory ordinance in the Jewish church; so is baptism in the Christian church. Circumcision was a sign and seal of spiritual blessings-viz. the righteousness of Christ, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; so is baptism under the dispensation of the gospel. It occupies the same place, and answers the same end, that circumcision did formerly. Its use and meaning are the same to the Christian, that those of circumcision were to the Jew. The one is a substitute for the other. This is plainly taught by the Apostle, in his epistle to the Colossians, i. ch. 11 and 12. His words are these -In whom also ye are circumcised, with the circum
cision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
In these words, the Apostle speaks of a circumcision made without hands, and of a baptism, by which we are buried with Christ, and also raised with him, through the faith of the operation of God ; that is, circumcision of the heart, and baptism of the heart, which mean precisely the same thing,-viz. the renewal of our nature by the operation of divine grace. "Paul then declares, a believer's sanctification, in virtue of union with Christ, to be represented by both circumcision and baptism; for he expresses his doctrine by both these terms indifferently, and annexes to both the same spiritual signification: He has, therefore, identified the two ordinances; and by demonstrating that they have one and the same use and meaning, he has exhibited to our view the very same seal of God's covenant, under the forms of circumcision and baptism, respectively. But, as the same thing cannot subsist in different forms at the same time; and as the first form, viz. circumcision, is laid aside-it follows, that the seal of God's covenant is perpetuated under the second form, which is baptism, and which signifies and seals in a manner suited to the evangelical dispensation, what as previously signified and sealed by the rite of circumcision. The conclusion is evident. Bapt.sin is the Christian circumcision; the
sign of baptism is the Christian form of sealing. God's covenant, and as such has taken place of cir
Upon all this, the decision of the council at Jerusalem, of which we have an account in the xvth chapter of Acts, furnishes a practical comment. They decided, that it was not necessary that the converts from Paganism should be circumcised; and that for this plain reason, they had already been baptized; and their baptism answered the same purpose, and signified and sealed the same blessings, which circumcision formerly did. They had already received the substitute for circumcision; and it would therefore be unnecessary, as well as improper, to subject them to an abrogated form.
3. Our third argument in support of our assertion is this. If baptism has not come in the place of circumcision, the church of God has at present no initiating seal. Circumcision, the bloody seal of inauguration, has been abolished, and had to be abolished at the dawn of the gospel period of the church; and has the Head of the Church left her comfortless in this respect? Has the evangelical dispensation under which we expect, and in all other matters, find an extension of privilege, operated in this particular to the disadvantage of the church, by depriving her members of the sensible token of their covenant relation to Jehovah? It cannot be. Baptists themselves practically declare, that it is not so. Yes, we
* Christian's Magazine, Vol. I. 394.
call to our aid the practice of the Baptists themselves to prove, that their sentiments on this point are entirely incorrect, and that our assertion is founded in truth; for they themselves use and apply baptism as an initiatory seal, and by so doing assign to it the place which was formerly occupied by circumcision. When a heathen embraced the Jewish. religion, how did they receive such proselyte? Why, they circumcised him. When a sinner is regenerated, how do the Baptists receive such convert? Why, they baptize him. Baptism, administered by immersion, is with them the seal of inauguration; and until this seal has been applied, they will not suffer the person, although an acknowledged believer, to take his place at the Redeemer's table. It is upon this principle that they refuse to join with us in commemorating the death of the Saviour. They acknowledge us sound in the faith, and do not pretend that we are destitute of true piety; but our baptism, administered by sprinkling, and perhaps in infancy, is good for nothing. We are unbaptized—we are without the seal of church-membership-and therefore have no right to commune. All this is consistent, although it is a consistency in error; and all this powerfully establishes our assertion, that baptism is the Christian circumcision, as the Lord's supper is the Christian passover.
Having established the fact, that circumcision and the passover have resigned their place to baptism and the Lord's supper, it now only remains to be enquired, whether it was the design of their Divine