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take up your cross and imitate bis prayerful, self de. nying, and active example. Your houses must be houses of prayer, and religious improvement. Drink deep, dear brethren, into the excellent spirit of the Gospel. Be stimulated by the noble examples of active and persevering zeal, it presents to your view. Let love give its whole weight to your reproofs and counsels. Realize the presence of God, and your account. ableness to him. Take your children by the hand, and lead them in the narrow path of righteousness and salvation. Let them have pious books ; and especially see that they are much conversant with the holy scriptures. Take them to the sanctuary of God constantly, and engage your brethren to unite with you in the labor of forming them for heaven. May they stand, like olive plants, round about your tables. And may you meet them at last in the mansions of glory.
2. I will take leave to urge upon my fathers and brethren, in the ministry, the faithful discharge of the duties which are involved in the preceding theory. Some of them, it is hoped, will condescend to cast their eyes over these sheets. I know not, Respected and Beloved, how far you will be convinced that a just view is here given of the economy of the Church, and the nature of the covenants; but shall presume to take it for granted, that the great doctrine of the membership of the infant seed, is conclusively proved. If this be admitted, must we not be stricken at once with the conclusion that our practice falls very much short of those obligations which the covenant imposes ? Are not the children of our Churches inexcusably neglected by the Churches themselves, and by us the pastors of them? We administer baptism to them. Is it al. ways, is it generally done upon the true principle of the covenant ? Do we take them into our bosoms according to that holy relation in which they stand to God, and his kingdom? Does our treatment of them correspond with the import of the baptism which we administer to them? Do we faithfully perform the duties of our priesthood, as it involves daily interces
sion for these lambs of the flock ? Are our public ministrations, as adapted as they ought to be, to keep alive the attention of the adult members of our Churches, to these objects of benevolent care ?
Are our sermons fraught with urgency; and carried home to the conscience, by the superadded influence of example? Do we instruct by frequent chatechetical lec. tures? Do we familiarly address these young candidates for eternity, as our office enjoins and opportu. nity admits ? We charge our hearers with fault, if they do not apply to themselves, and become correct. ed by, the reproofs we offer. Let us practice what we inculcate. Let us stand selfcondemned so far as evidence pronounces us guilty. It must be obvious, respected brethren, that much, very much depends, under God, upon our faithfulness to the children of our Churches. They are the hopes of the Church. If it rises, it must be expected to rise in them, as subjects of grace. Through them the blessings of the covenant are to go down to distant ages. pectations are to be formed from the families which call not upon God's name. There may be a few con. versions from among them. But they will be com. paratively few. These families will be overrun with infidelity, impiety, and vice. The children of them will be trained up to neglect, and despise religion. Let us, as far as we have opportunity, preach the Gos. pel to every creature, and strive to save the souls of of all from death; but let us be particularly careful to follow the plan of the covenant, and the pointings of Providence. The fear is that we shall leave duty undone; that we shall have too little resolution, and too little zeal to engage spiritedly, and persevere without wavering, in those exertions which we are constrained to acknowledge to be enjoined upon us. If our Churches are reformed in discipline and practice, the refor. mation must begin in ourselves; and we must be active to lead them in the right way. Beyond all doubt, the adoption of the scheme of infant membership, if abused, if it is suffered to go on, without the faithful
use of means and discipline, will produce mischief. It will make Churches of mere formalists. This is equally true of adult membership, and of every thing pertaining to religion. Duty must be done in the spirit, and to the extent of it. Let us then yield to obligation. Let us determine that in all things we will follow the teachings of God's word. Let us not be disheartened by difficulties, real or apparent. Let us tread down opposition. Let us put on bowels of mercies; fight the good fight of faith; feed the sheep, and the lambs; and, when the chief Shepherd shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory. May you have many souls given you, dear brethren, as seals of your ministry, and your crown of rejoicing forever:
TO prevent needless cavils, in regard to his. tonic testimony, it is thought proper to observe here, that what is said in page 260, is not to be understood as asserting, that Dr. Gale pretends to bring evidence against infant baptism, from no other source than the letter of Polycrates. What is meant is, that he produces nothing which can properly be considered as of the nature of testimony, to contravene the explicit de. clarations of Cyprian, Austin, &c. It is admitted he attempts to make an argument out of a few passages in Justin Martyr, St. Barnabas, and Tertullian. The argument is of the sanie nature with that which is deduced by the Baptists from the scriptures, that faith is spoken of as preceding baptism. All these passages produced by Dr. Gale, apply to adults only. " Infants are evidently not in view, one way or the other. The argument therefore is a mere sophism. It does not apply to the point in hand, and deserves not to be considered as of the nature of testimony. If there were a thousand more texts than there are in the Bible; and a thousand more passages in primitive ecclesiastical writers, which spoke of baptism as following a profession of faith, adults only being in view, they would sug. gest no evidence against infant baptism. Mr. Peter Edwards has taken this sort of argument entirely out of the Baptists' hands,
What I wish to be understood to say, is, that no passage is, or can be produced from the fathers, who were cotemporary with Austin, or before him, which asserts a negative ; or denies, that infant baptism was received from the apostles. Let the passage be produced if it can be found. Let witness be opposed to witness, if it can be done. Our witnesses are Origen, Celestius a Pelagian, the council of Carthage consisting of twenty Bishops, and Austin. The declarations of Austin are several, and express. They assert, that by the consent, and practice of the whole church, baptism was received as a tradition from the apostles.They go directly to determine what was the pratice of the church in the first and purest ages. And of how much weight they are as evidence in this view, may be seen from the following concessions of Dr. Gale. Reflections, page 398. “I will grant, 'tis however probable, that what all or most of the churches practised, immediately aftertheapostles' times, fiad been appointed or practised by the apostles themselves, and was derived from them ; for it is hardly to be imagined, that any considerable body of these ancient christians, and much less that the whole, or a great part of the church should so soon deviate from the customs and injunctions of their venerable founders, whose authority they held so sacred. And besides, new opinions or prac. tices we see are usually introduced by degrees, and not at once, nor without opposition; therefore, in regard to baptism in particular, a thing of such universal concern, and daily practice, I allow it to be very probable that the primitive churches kept to the apostles pattern. But then I desire it may also be considered, that this, though ever so probable, cannot fairly be made equivalent with the authority of the scriptures; so that if it can be proved from the scriptures to be likewise so much as probable, that the apostles did not baptize infants (which I think I have already shewn*) that other probability, drawn from the writings of the fathers, ought not to be urged against us. However, I am to suppose ( as indeed I verily believe) that the primitive church maintained, in this case, an exact conformity to the practice of the apostles, which doubtless entirely agreed with Christ's institution, and I might venture to put the whole matter upon this issue. Nay farther, since Mr. Wall is desirous to have it