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man's part for salvation, but whether real holiness is required in order to enter into covenant, is another thing. God declares, (Lev. xxvi.) "that he would punish Israel because they had despised his judgments, and because their soul abhorred his statutes, (v. 44.) and yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God." Now I do not see, if persons may not enter into covenant only on the plan of being holy, why they must not be cast out on the plan of their being unholy; which is not done, as declared above, and in many other places. But God does really allow unregenerate men to be in covenant, and treats them as being in covenant: 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15. and the Lord God of their fathers sent them his messengers, rising up by times and sending them; because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. God does not declare the covenant void, but rather, he will keep covenant to a thousand generations. If men were not in covenant, they could not be cast out. But they really are in covenant, though unre generate. For my own part, I freely confess I cannot find that the Scripture represents real holiness absolutely necessary, visibly to enter into covenant, and attend God's ordinan I know many texts are mentioned, 2 Chron. xv. 15. is one; and all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their hearts, and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about. Who can once suppose that this was done in a gracious manner by all the thousands of Judah, and Benjamin, and some of the other tribes? let us hear the covenant, and the truth will appear, ver. 12, 18. and they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers, with all their heart, and with all their soul-That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. Israel were fallen into idolatry, and Asa was reforming them. And they were required really to turn from the service of idols to the service of the living God, and this is what is required in the external covenant, viz. to break off from sin, and turn to God.




Another text is that, Acts viii. 37. if thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest, by which from the context there cannot be any more consistently understood than his belief, Jesus was the Christ the prophet had foretold, and that baptism was the way in which we are now to be visibly introduced into covenant with God. If the eunuch was a good man, it does not appear that Philip acted upon the plan to receive only good men, or that he could act upon the plan. Having no rule to determine by, we infer that what Philip acted upon, was the eunuch's giving his full assent that Jesus was the Christ.

M. We do not mean to act upon the plan of knowing whether men are gracious or not.

P. I cannot say what you mean; but what you say seems to imply it; if you mean they should make no higher profession than we do, why do you tell them, they have no right unless they are gracious? We require persons to make profession of their belief of the Christian religion, their assent to the glorious doctrines, acknowledging their obligations, determining to be faithful according to them. Upon which profession you will receive them, if they will tell you they believe they are gracious. I cannot find any such rule; I wish they were all gracious, and that we had good evidence to believe they were.

M. Is baptism, administered without a divine warrant, a likely means to do a child any good?

P. No, Sir; nor with neither, only as it brings a child visibly into covenant with God, and so puts it into the way of covenant mercies: unless you hold it to be regeneration.

M. But you remember the commission?

P. Yes, Sir; but I think you have not rightly represented it. The commission at large is, Mat. xxvii. 19. "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Thus unlimited was their commission to teach and baptise. That in the 16th. of Mark, doubtless means the same thing. ters are to instruct persons in the Christian religion and to baptise them. But you do not consider baptism as included in the commission, Go preach the Gospel to every creature.


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You say, thus unlimited is the commission to preach the Gospel. And he that beliveth and is baptised shall be saved. You say, the faith which entitles to baptism, is a saving faith. It is quite beyond me how you get this consequence. I imagine you may as easily get another, viz. That baptism is saving. He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved. It is here declared that true faith is absolutely necessary for salvation, but baptism is not. Persons who are never baptised may be saved. The faith here, that Christ speaks of, is not that merely which entitles to baptism, but that which entitles to eternal life, which is clear by the opposite. He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. The text does not say, He that believeth not, and is not baptised, shall be damned; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.

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M. You remember when the king came in to see the guests, how he treated the man who had not on a wedding garment?

P. Yes, sir; and readily allow that God will act as the searcher of hearts, at the great day of judgment, and will punish every one who is not found having on the righteousness of Christ.

M. Do look through the country, and observe the conduct of those in the present practice of owning the covenant, and getting their children baptised; are they brought up for God? the youth learn to dress, to sing, and dance, but do their parents appear to understand that they have devoted them to God?

P. Verily, sad and awful is the case, dreadful the neglect, and parents will have an awful account to give. But, pray, sir, can you give me any better account, where churches have practised on the other plan? Hath it appeared that parents have been more faithful to bring up their children for God? And hath it had any better effect; if it hath, it is an argument in your favour; if not, the contrary; it must be an argument against you. Instance the parishes, we may appeal to all who have been acquainted, whether parents have not apparently taken, at least as great pains to instruct and educate their children; and that as many at least have been trained up for God, under the former practice as under

the present. What great benefit then upon your plan? Surely none. But suffer me to mention one disadvantage; the peace of the church is greatly disturbed: which seems to be the chief effect of warm controversies: therefore I wish you gentlemen ministers would treat the subject calmly, if you cannot be persuaded to neglect the controversy. For I tremble to think of the awful consequences, and pray God to prevent them, by leading his churches into the way of all truth. I confess my difficulties are rather increased than diminished, and must think the present practice, well attended to, will be most for the general good. I know some difficulties may be proposed in either practice: but I think contention is best to be left off before it be meddled with, and hope you will join issue with me to drop the affair, as I have no design of engaging in the controversy. In the mean time I earnestly wish to see men truly concerned about the great things of another world, to see ministers and churches joining harmoniously, to spread far and wide the honours of the Lamb that was slain, but is alive for evermore, that God may be glorified, the churches have peace, and be edified. Adieu, dear Sir.



P. SIR, if I mistake not, you represent it to be a new thing to allow baptism to the children of any but those whose parents, one or both, were in full communion, brought in forty years after the first church was formed, by the synod met at Boston in the year 1662. The Rev. Dr. Increase Mather gives us a very different account in the book you quoted. He mentions the opinion of many of the most pious and godly ministers who came over into this country at the first settling of New-England. Mr. Cotton, Mr. Hooker, and Mr. Stone, who came in the same vessel in the year 1633, all freely give their opinion, that children, whose parents are baptised, have a right to baptism, who are in covenant until they

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are cast out. Mr. Cotton, minister of the first church in Boston, says, in a letter dated in the year 1634, (which was before 1662.) we may not account such parents for Pagans and Infidels, who are themselves baptised, and profess their belief of the fundamental articles of the Christian faith, and live without notorious scandalous crimes, though they give not clear evidence of their regenerate state. In the year 1635, came over, Mather, Norton, and Shepherd. Three extraordinary men; each give their opinion in the affirmative. In the year 1636, came Patrick and Rogers, Mr. Smith of Weathersfield, Mr Prudden of Milford, and many others, all in the affirmative. So the congregationalists at home, Dr. Owen, Dr. Holmes, and others. From which it appears, that it was no new thing for persons in covenant to have their children baptised, if they did not come to the table. And I think many of their arguments unanswerable.


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PARISHIONER. SIR, this third visit I am come to make you, for I have lately read a piece printed at New-London, entitled, "A Dialogue between a minister and his parishioner, concerning the half-way covenant, continued ;" said to be written by one of the most learned and ingenious ministers in the colony. I hope therefore, now if ever, by the assistance of such a patron, to be able to carry my point. Instructed by him, I give up the half-way covenant; I grant there is but one covenant. I give up the half-way practice too, as founded only in ignorance, and the mistaken notions of the vulgar. I am convinced, that he that is qualified to have his children baptised, is equally qualified to come to the Lord's table. I come therefore to claim baptism for my child, and a place at the Lord's table for myself, as my proper right. p. 6. However, I am not well pleased at the publication of our discourse in my first visit, although I must confess you have given a fair representation of what passed, because being very dull at that time, I make but a very indifferent figure in the eyes of the public. p. 2.

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