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evidently changes the question, at once, to that which he had so much exclaimed against as not the question. Now, to serve his turn, the question is not, whether Judas might lawfully come? but, whether Christ might lawfully admit him, acting on a public visibility? And he makes an occasion to cry out against me, as talking strangely, and soon forgetting that I had said, Christ in this matter did not act as searcher of hearts. Whereas, let the question be what it will, the argument from Judas's partaking, (should the fact be supposed,) if it proves any thing relating to the matter, is perfectly, and in every respect, against the one, just as it is against the other. If the question be about profession and visibility to others, and who others may lawfully admit, then Judas's being admitted (if he was admitted) no more proves, that men may be admitted without a visibility and profession of godliness, than without a visibility of moral sincerity. For it no more appears, that he was without a profession and visibility of the former, than of the latter. But if the question is not about visibility to others, or who others may admit, but who may lawfully come, then Judas's coming no more proves, that a man may come without grace, than without moral sincerity ; because he was in like manner without both ; And Christ knew as perfectly, that he was without the one, as the other; and was not ignorant of the one case, as king of the visible church, any more than of the other. So that there is no way to support this argument, but to hide the question, by shifting and changing it; to have one question in the premises, and to slip in another into the conclusion. Which is according to the course Mr. W. takes. In the premises, (p. 104, 105.) he expressly mentions Mr. S-d's question, as now in view : and agreeably must here have this for his question, whether it was lawful for a man so qualified to come to the Lord's supper? Who, according to Mr. W.'s own doctrine, (p. 111.) ought to act as a discerner of his own heart. But in his conclusion (p. 106.) he has this for his question, whether Christ might law. fully adınit a man so qualified, therein not acting as the searcher of hearts? - What shuffling is this !
Concerning that great argument, which Mr. W. urges in various
parts of his book, of those being born in the church, who are children of parents that are in covenant.
It is hard to understand distinctly what Mr. W. would be at, concerning this matter, or what his argument is. He often speaks of parents that are in covenant, as born in covenant, and
so born in the church. For to be in covenant, is the same with him as to be members of the visible church. (See p. 98. c. 88. d. 89. b. 59. e. 60. a. 136. b.) And he speaks of them as admitted into the church in their ancestors, and by the profession of their ancestors. (p. 135. e. 136. a.) Yea, for ought I can see, he holds that they were born members in complete standing in the visible church. (p. 3)
And yet he abundantly speaks of their being admitted into the church, and made members, after they are born, viz. by their baptism. And his words, (unless we will suppose him to speak nonsense,) are such as will not allow us to understand him, merely, that baptism is a sign and public acknowledgment of their having been admitted in their ancestors, in preceding generations. For he speaks of baptism as the only rite (or way) of admission into the visible church, applying it to the baptism of children ; and as that which makes them members of the body of Christ. (p. 99. c. d.) And he grants, that it was ordained for the admission of the party baptized into the visible church.(p. 99. e. p. 100. a.) That baptism is an admission; and that they were thus before admitted; (p. 100.c.) still speaking of the baptism of infants, and of admission of members into churches.—But surely these things do not harmonize with the doctrine of their first receiving being in the church-as a branch receives being in the tree, and grows in it and from it-or their being born in the covenant, born in the house of God. And yet these repugnant things are uttered as it were in the same breath by Mr. W. (p. 99.) And he joins them together in the same line (p. 46. e.) in these words,—“Baptism instituted by him, as a rite of admission into his church and being continued in covenant with God.”—Certainly, being then admitted into the church, and being continued in covenant (or in the church) into which they are admitted before, are not the same thing, nor consistent one with another. Ifinfants are born members in complete standing, as it seems Mr. W. holds, then their baptism does nothing towards making them members; nor is there any need of it to make the matter more complete.
Again (p. 3. b. where he also speaks of infants as members having a complete standing in the church) he maintains, that nothing else is requisite in order to communion and privileges of members in complete standing, but only that they should be capable hereof, and should desire the same, and should not be under censure, or scandalously ignorant or immoral. (See also p. 100. c. d. to the same purpose.) Mr. W. says this in opposition to my insisting on something further, viz. making a profession of godliness. And yet he himself insists on something further, as much as I; which has been observed before. For he abundantly insists on a personal, explicit profession and open declaration of believing that the gospel is indeed the revelation of God, and of a hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace, &c. And speaks of the whole controversy as turning upon that single point, of the degree of evidence to be given, and the kind of profession to be made, whether in words of indiscriminate meaning. (See p. 5. b. c. p. 6. c. d.) And consequently not whether they must make any profession at all, having been completely admitted before, in the profession of their ancestors.
Therefore, if the infants of visible believers are born in the church, and are already members in complete standing, and do not drop out of the church, and fall from a complete standing, when they grow up; and therefore if they are not ignorant nor immoral, and desire full communion, nothing else can be required of them : And it will hence follow, contrary to my principles, that they cannot be required to make a profession in words of discriminate meaning: But then, it also equally follows, contrary to his principles, that neither can they be re: quired to make a profession in words of indiscriminate meaning. If nothing else besides those fore-mentioned things is necessary, then no profession is necessary, in any words at all, neither of determinate nor indeterminate signification. So that Mr. W. in supposing some personal profession to be necessary, gives up and destroys this grand argument.
But if he did not give it up by this means, it would not be tenable on other principles belonging to his scheme ; such as its being necessary in order to a being admitted to sacraments, that persons should have a visibility that reccommends them to the reasonable judgment and apprehension of the minds of others, as true Christians, really pious persons, and that there should be such a profession as exhibits moral evidence of this. For who will say, that the individual profession of an ancestor, a thousand or fifteen hundred years ago, is a credible exhibition and moral evidence of the real piety of his present posterity, without any personal explicit profession of any thing about religion, in any one of the succeeding generations. And if Mr. W. had not said, there must be a credible exhibition of gospelholiness, but only some common faith or virtue ; yet no such thing is made visible to a rational judgment and apprehension of mind, by this means. How, for instance, does it make orthodoxy visible? What reasonable ground is there in it, at such a day as this in England, to believe concerning any man, that he believes the doctrine of the Trinity, and all other fundamental doctrines, with full conviction, and with all his heart, because he descended from an ancestor that made a good profession, when the ancient Britons or Saxons were converted from Heathenism, and because withal he is free from open scandalous immorality, and appears willing to attend duties of public worship? If an attendance on these public duties was in its own nature a profession of ortho. doxy, or even piety; yet the reason of mankind teaches them the need of joining words and actions together in public manifestations of the mind, in cases of importance : Speech being the great and peculiar talent, which God has given to mankind, as the special means and instrument of the manifestation of their minds one to another. Thus, treaties of peace among men are not concluded and finished, only with actions, without words. Feasting together was used of old, as a testimony of peace and covenant friendship; as between Isaac and Abimelech, Laban and Jacob, but not without a verbal profession. Giving the hand, delivering the ring, &c. are to express a marriage agreement and union; but still a profession in words is annexed. So we allow it to be needful, after persons have fallen into scandal, that in manifesting repentance there should be a verbal profession, besides attending duties of worship. Earthly princes will not trust a profession of allegiance, in actions only, such as bowing, kneeling, keeping the king's birth-day, &c.; but they require also a profession in words, and an oath of allegiance is demanded. Yea, it is thought to be reasonably demanded, in order to men's coming to the actual possession and enjoyment of those privileges, they are born heirs to. Thus, the eldest sons of noblemen in Great Britain, are born heirs to the honours and estate of their fathers; yet this no way hinders but they may be obliged, when they come to ripeness of age, in order to being invested in the actual possession, to take the oath of allegiance: though in order to their lawfully doing it, it may be necessary they should believe in their hearts, that king George is the lawful prince, and that they should not be enemies to him, and friends to the pretender.
But moreover, if this objection of Mr. W. about infants being born in the church be well considered, it will appear to be ali beside the question, and so nothing to the purpose. It is not to the purpose of either of the questions, Mr. W.'s or mine. The question as I have stated it, is concerning them that may be admitted members in complete standing ; not about them that have a complete standing in the church already, and so are no candidates for admission ; which he says, is the case of these infants. And the question, as he often states it, is concerning them that may lawfully come. And this objection, from infants being born in the church, as it must be understood from Mr. W. does not touch this question. For when Mr. W. objects, that some persons are born in the church, and therefore may lawfully come to sacraments, he cannot be understood to mean, that their being born in the church alone is sufficient; but that, besides this.
persons must have some virtue or religion, of one sort or other, in order to their lawful coming. For he is full in it, that it is not lawful for men to come without moral virtue and sincerity. Therefore the question comes to this in the result: Seeing persons, besides their being born in covenant, must have some sort of virtue and religion, in order to a lawful coming to the Lord's supper, what sort of virtue and religion that is, whether common or saving? Now this question is not touched by the present objection. Merely persons being born in covenant, is no more evidence of their having moral sincerity, than saving grace. Yea, there is more reason to suppose the latter, than the former without it, in the infant children of believing parents. For the scripture gives us ground to think, that some infants have the habit of saving grace, and that they have a new nature given them. But no reason at all to think, that ever God works any mere moral change in them, or infuses any habits of moral virtue without saving grace. And we know, they cannot come by moral habits in infancy, any other way than by immediate infusion. They cannot obtain them by human instruction, nor contract them by use and custom. And especially there is no reason to think, that the children of such as are visible saints, according to Mr. W.'s scheme, have any goodness infused into them by God, of any kind. For in his scheme, all that are morally sincere may lawfully receive the privileges of visible saints: but we have no scripture grounds to suppose, that God will bless the children of such parents as have nothing more than moral sincerity, with either common or saving grace. There are no promises of the covenant of grace made to such parents, either concerning themselves, or their children. The covenant of grace is a conditional covenant; as both sides in this controversy suppose. And therefore, by the supposition, men have no title to the promises without the condition. And as saving faith is the condition, the promises are all made to that, both those which respect persons themselves, and those that respect their seed. As it is with many covenants or bargains among men; by these, men are often entitled to possessions for themselves and their heirs: Yet they are entitled to no benefits of the bargain, neither for themselves, nor their children, but by complying with the terms of the bargain. So with respect to the covenant of grace, the apostle says, (Acts ii. 39.) The promise is to you and to your children. So the apostle says to the jailer, (Acts xvi. 31.) Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And we find many promises, all over the Bible, made to the righteous, that God will bless their seed for their sakes. Thus, Psal. cxii. 2. The generation of the upright shall be blessed. Psal. Ixix. 35, 36. For God will save Zion ;--The seed also of his servants shall inherit it; and