Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

20 DU


desired Mercy and not Sacrifice. This does not mean that God did not require Sacrifice ; for 'tis plain that he did require it, and all other Positive Duties lignified by that general Word; and the Jews at that very cime were bound to observe and obey all the Positive Institutions of the Mosaic Law, under no less penalty than that of " Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the Words of this Law to do them. Deut. 27. 26. So that the not Sacrifice here must mean [NOT ONLY SACRIFICE] or [NOT SACRIPICE ALONE] and therefore, the plain Paraphrase of this Text is,.“ I desir'd or Requird 6. NOT ONLY SACRIFICE, not only your Obedience to my mere Positive Institutions, but « also your Observance of my Moral Law of Mrcy

" and Kindness. 'Twas the want of thi-and chi other Moral Virtues, together with their be

ing guilty of cruel Murders, Robberies, and other Immoralities, that God complain’d of, almost throughout this whole Chapter, and for which he abhor’d their very Sacrifices, tho’ they were of his own Appointment, and they were then bound and obligd to offer them to him: This is also confirm'd by Micah: 6. and Isa. 1. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, &c. All which being duly consider’d, fufficiently declares tlie fense and meaning off I will have Mercy and not Sacrifice,] that the design thereof is not to make void our Obligation to obey the Divine she Moral Duties of Natural Religion, rein



M 3

[ocr errors]

forc'd by Divine Revelation, are so far from being inconsistent with, that they must constantly accompany and attend our Obedience to, luch Positive Institutions, and that our Approaches to God in his Positive Institutions, without such Moral Virtues, are so far from being accepted that they are hated and abhorr'd by him.

AND therefore, all that (at most) can be inferr'd from those Words of our Saviour is, that when a mere Positive Institution stands in necesary Competition with a Moral Duty of natural Religion, reinforc'd by Divine Revelation, then the mere Positive Institution must give way to the Moral Duty for that time and circumstance.

NOW then, to try to apply this to the Case before us. There's a Divine Positive In(tituțion, requiring Baptism to be Adminifter'd by One who has Christ's Commission for so doing. This Baptism is appointed to be a Means of conferring fuch merciful Graces and Benefits, as our miserable Nature could never have made any claim or title to, and which all the powers of Nature could never have bestow'd on us. It happens, that a Perfon wanting these inestiinable Benefits most earnestly desires to obtain them by Baptilm; but a Minister with Christ's Commission, is neither now, nor likely hereaften to be had: What then must be done in this cătream. Ne celity? Why, says the Objcctor, Cod will bave Mercy and not. Sacrifice. And therefore, Cica


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Since Sacrifice now stands in competition with Mercy,the Sacrifice muft give way to Mercy; the Divine Authority of the Adminiftrator must not now be insisted on; but the Mercies and Favours must be bestowed on the Person by a Lay-man's Administring Baptism to him. This seems to be well faid; but upon examination't will be found, that no such thing can be justly inferr'd from this Text, becaule, the Mrcy there spoken of, is a Moral Duty of Natural Religion, and to be extended to the Indigent and Necessitous by Natural M ans; but the Mercies to be receiv'd by Christian Baptism are infinitely above all Natural Religion, and consequently not to be convey'd by any Natural Mians. The reason why we are obiig'd to perform those Natural Acts of Mercy, even when they seem to run counter to some mere Positive Institution, is because Natural Contcia ence dictates this Duty, and Divine Revelation has reinforc'd its Obligation; whereas we are bound to observe a positive Institution merely upon the account of a Divine Law promulg'd to us, without which we could never have been oblig'd to the Observation of it. But this Reason is wholly wanting in Lay-Baptism; for Natural Conscience di&tates nothing to us about bestowing of Supernatural Mercies by means of any kind of Baptism whatsoever; and as for Reveald Religion, that is whollyflent about a Lay-man's being ever capable of conveying fach Mercies to us by Means".

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

0 168 APPENDIX. . of Baptism; so that the Lay-man has this.Du. ty incumbent on him neither by the Law of Nature, nor of Divine Revelation ; and therefore, if he baptizes for Spiritual Purposes, that he may shew mercy, he ventures to do others wife than the Positive Institution of Baprifm requires, and at the same time is deftitute of any the least Encouragement from the Text objected ; because there is no Law (either Natural or Reveald) that obliges him so to du.

BUT further : When God will have mer. cy,

and no! Jacufice, it is not intended that one or more Essential Parts of a mere Positive Institucion, should be more necessary and obliging to us than the other Essential Parts thereof : No; all that God then requires of us is, to prefer a Moral before a mere Positive Duty; as is evident from what I have already laid on this Subject. But our Affertors of the Validity of Lay-Baptism in Cases of Necesity, do unavoidably run themselves into this Inconfitency, of making one or more Essential Parts of a mere Positive Inititution, to be of greater. Neceflity and Obligation, than another Elencial part of the same Institution :-For, they make Water and the Form of Baptifm- to be more necessary and obliging, than the Divine Authority of the Administrator. But confute in the Second Proposition, to which I refer the Reader; and desire him here to ob



ferve, how very disagreeable this is with God's requiring Mercy, a Moral Duty, and not Sacrifice, a mere Positive one. For 'tis in effect to make God say, [initead of, I will have Mercy, and not Sacrifice, ] I will have Sacrifice, and not Sacrifice ; since there is not one of those Essential Parts of Baptifm, but what is merely of Positive Institution. This,of making one Essential Part of such an Institution to give way to the other Essential Parts thereof, in Cafes of Necessity, without a particular Revelation of God's Will for so doing, is so ftrange, fo Unscriptural a Practice, that there is not One Example of it in all the Sacred Writings of the Old and New Testament, from the first Chapter of Genesis to the last of the Revelations: But on the contrary, we have a flagrant Instance of God's Punishing this Practice in the Person of Saul, who in his NECESSITY, that he might obtain MERCY, made one Essential Part of a Positive Institution to give way to another of its Effential Parts. For the Priest, one Essential Part of the Positive Institution of Burnt Of ferings, being absent, he reckond the BurntOffering to be more Essential than the Administration of the Priest, and therefore offer’d à Burnt-Offering himself; for which rash Action, Samuel said to him, Thou hast done failisha ly, (i. e. wickedly) thou hast not kept (but hast broken) the Commandment of the Lord thy God, &c. Thy Kingdom shall not continue, &c.

į Sam,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »