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Or which is equally absurd, to say, that no exercise of heart is required in his external covenant; nothing but bodily motions, unconnected with the heart.
Indeed the very notion of two rules of duty, a holy, and an unholy one, which is essential to his notion of two covenants, is an inconsistence. For two contrary laws, instead of binding both at once, must mutually destroy each other, and can, neither of them, bind to any thing. That law which is a school-master to bring us to Christ, requires sinless perfection on pain of eternal damnation. Compare Gal. iii. 24. with verse 10.
And thus I have finished the remarks which I design to make on Mr. Mather's book. There are other things contained in it equally exceptionable; but if his external covenant, which is the foundation of his whole scheme, is proved to be an unscriptural and inconsistent thing, his whole scheme is sufficiently confuted. Besides, while the whole controversy is reduced to one single point, the common people will be under better advantages to make a judgment for themselves. But now, the only point which the reader has to determine, in order to settle the whole controversy in his own mind, is this, viz. Are baptism and the Lord's supper seals of the covenant of grace, or of a graceless covenant?
Let it be remembered, that "the Westminster confession of faith," which is adopted by the church of Scotland; and the Savoy confession of faith," which is adopted by the churches in Massachusetts and in Connecticut; declare that "sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace." And let it be remembered, that these confessions of faith know nothing of Mr. M.'s external graceless covenant, either name or thing. And let it also be remembered, that "the heads of agreement" which were assented to in England in the last century, by those called Presbyterians and Congregationalists, and which are adopted by the churches in Connecticut, declare, "that none shall be admitted as members, in order to communion in all the special ordinances of the Gospel, but such persons as are knowing and sound in the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion; without scandal in their lives; and
to a judgment regulated by the word of God, are persons of visible holiness and honesty, credibly professing cordial subjection to Jesus Christ.". Ezek. xliv. 9. Rom. x. 10. And further, let it be remembered, that this is the plan on which these churches are professedly founded.
For the general council at Saybrook, A. D. 1708, came unanimously into this result, viz. "As we assent to the foregoing heads of agreement, so we unanimously resolve, as the Lord shall enable us, to practise according to them." Now the question is, whether this plan is agreeable to the word of God, or not. For we are all agreed, that the word of God is the only standard by which all creeds and confessions of human composure, are to be tried. Mr. Mather has offered what he thought proper on the one side, and I have offered what to me appears needful on the other, and now it belongs to every reader to judge for himself.
And now, therefore, Oh, reader, as this grand and important question in which thy soul is deeply interested, as well as the souls of many thousands of others, is referred to thee, that thou mayest make a judgment for thyself; so I entreat thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, who are spectators in this controversy, to set aside all carnal affections and worldly considerations, and to view the whole in the light of God's holy word, and to make up a judgment for thyself, as in the presence of God, and with the same uprightness and impartiality, as though the last trumpet was to sound on the morrow, concerning this question, viz. Whether baptism and the Lord's supper are seals of the covenant of grace, or of a graceless covenant? For on this single point turns the whole controversy. And now, may God Almighty, the Father of lights, grant unto thee a discerning mind and a sound judgment, of his infinite mercy, through Jesus Christ. AMEN.
A CAREFUL AND STRICT EXAMINATION
AND OF THE PRINCIPLES BY WHICH IT IS SUPPORTED:
TO THE REV. MR. MOSES MATHER'S PIECE, ENTITLED,
THE VISIBLE CHURCH IN COVENANT WITH GOD,
FURTHER ILLUSTRATED, &c.
OF THE PLAN ON WHICH THE CHURCHES IN NEW-ENGLAND WERE ORIGINALLY FORMED.
INTERSPERSED WITH REMARKS UPON SOME THINGS ADVANCED BY
"I do not mention the administration of sacraments upon this occasion; because, "though they have so noble and effectual a tendency to improve men's minds in "piety, and to promote Christian edification; yet I do not remember to have "heard of any instance in which they have been the means of men's conversion; "which is the less to be wondered at, as they are appointed for a very different "end." DR. DODDRIDGE's Sermon on Regeneration.