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confined to the metaphor of the olive tree and its branches. The stock of the tree is evidently the Jews, in their collective capacity. The branches severed from the stock, are the unbelieving Jews; and the branches grafted in and wild by nature, are the believing Gentiles. These branches partake of the root and the fatness of the olive tree: certainly not in respect to any temporal benefit; and therefore only in respect to that of the evangelical promise, which began with Abraham, was continued through the legal economy, and was perfected by the mani. festation of Christ in the flesh. Accordingly it is intimated, that if the severed branches “abide not still in unbelief, they shall be grafted in again:” that is, “ into their own olive tree;" or admitted to the participation of spiritual privileges, which had been theirs from the origin of their nation; and not to them as to the Gentiles, having a beginning with the Christian dispensation.

Many passages might be produced, of the same spirit and tendency. When taken collectively, they amount to no more, than what Christ himself had given warning of, to some principal characters among the Jews; when, after the delivery of the parable of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, he made the application of it-“The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." This can never be interpreted in any other way, than of the casting away of the Jews and the bringing in of the Gentiles. But although this change involved the des. truction of the Jewish polity; yet there was no renewal of it, in any temporal dominion of the Gentile Church. It was therefore in respect to spiritual blessings, that the one possessed what was wrested from the other.

The result, and the application of it to the present point, is as follows. The Abrahamick covenant involved more than the possession of the promised land, and any other temporal benefits; ex

tending to the full enjoyment of the favour of God: which is the matter denied on the other side of the question. Circumcision was the sign of that covenant, which is not denied by any. And hence it happens, that of all the pious persons of whom we read under the Old Testament dispensation, there is not an instance of conversion to God, unless it be from a life of sin: the favour before spoken of being supposed to continue, until forfeited by such a life. If these things be so; the children of the members of the Jewish Church were brought within the covenant; although not capable of believing and of promising themselves: which takes away the plea, that the condition of infancy is a disqualification for that transaction. Finally, under the Christian covenant, if infants are debarred from the benefits of it, there must be some other reason for this, than their unconsciousness of their concern in what is transacted in their behalf. On the contrary, they come in under a right involved in the relation of their parents to the Church, and under a general commission to baptize; which, being not restricted to adults, must be considered as extending to the others; agreeably to the common use of language, and to the received and familiar customs of those to whom the commission was addressed, and of those for whose benefit it was primarily designed.

These sentiments derive increase of evidence, from the custom which was stated in the fifth dissertation to have prevailed among the Jews in the gospel age, of admitting proselytes from heathenism by baptism, in addition to circumcision. The custom was extended to the infants of the proselytes, as the talmuds testify. It is here again recollected, that some learned men have denied the reality of this practice; which essentially interferes, in one way or in another, with their theological systems. In the dissertation above referred to, there have been briefly assigned the reasons, on the ground of which the recorded fact is here received.

On the present subject, much weight is to be allowed to the practice of the primitive Church; so far as it is to be gathered from the early fathers. The view shall be limited to those of the first three centuries.

Towards the middle of the second century, Justin Martyr, in his larger Apology,* speaks of many persons who had continued uncorrupted through life, after having been in their infancy dedicated to Christ: the very Greek word being used, which is found in the commission to make disciples. In the dialogue of the same authort, he considers all mankind as made liable to death, by the sin of Adam. It would seem congenial with this scriptural truth-which is also found in Clement of Rome, I and in Hermas, both of whom wrote before Justin --that the Christian covenant and the seal of it would be construed to extend to all, in whose favour life and immortality through the gospel was expected. From this, there took place an easy and natural alliance between pelagianism, and hostility to infant baptism. It is not here unknown, that there are religious communions which reject the latter, while they cling closely to the scriptural doctrine of original sin: but whether consistently, may be made a question.

Irenæus, who wrote about fifty years after Justin, enumerating different grades of age of persons regenerated to God, mentions—" Infants, little ones, children, youth, elder persons.”| In the preceding book, he had stated baptism to be the mean of regeneration. And he drops an expression, which bars all cavil as to the precise sense of the terms “ Infants, little ones, and children;" when he speaks of Christ, as being “ made an infant, that he might sanctify infants."

Soon after Irenæus, Origen wrote. He testifies, ** that baptism was administered to infants. And* he says, that the Church received this practice from the apostles. Perhaps his testimony may be weakened by the circumstance, that except his work against Celsus, and fragments of some other works handed down in Greek, the rest of them come to us in the Latin translation of Ruffinus, who lived later by about two centuries. It is probable, that Ruffi nus took great liberties with his author: but he could hardly have vitiated him in so material a point, at a time when his original work must have been in the hands of many.

* Thirlby, p. 22, P. 331. Chap. 17. Lib. i. Vis. 3. || Lib. ij. cap. 39, { Cap. 18. ** Hom. xiv. in Luc.

Cyprian wrote in the middle of the third century. There happened an incident about that time, which renders his testimony more pointed, than could otherwise have been expected. Another African bishop had conceived the notion, that baptism, like circumcision, should be delayed to the eighth day. Such an opinion could never have ob. truded itself, except under the familiar and long practice of infant baptism. Cyprian brought the subject before a synod of sixty-six bishops; who, by the weight of their authority, bore down the idle scruple; determiningt that before the eighth day, infants might be subjects of the ordinance. The same Cyprianf speaks of little infants, who, in the time of the persecution, were carried in thc arms of their parents, or led by them, to lose that which they had acquired at their nativity--evidently meaning in baptism.

During the tract of time here taken into the ac. count, there does not appear to have been any wri. ter, who has left what favours the contrary opinion, except Tertullian. This author, is more to be esteemed for the truth of his testimony, than for the soundness of his opinions. It is certain, thatg he recommended the delaying of the baptism of young persons, until they could be instructed. But he did this in such a manner as shows, that the practice of the Church was in contrariety to what he thus delivered. Not only so, he rested it on the ground of the fitness of being past the season of temptation; extending the advice to the cases of young women and of widows: who, according to him, ought to delay the receiving of baptism, until they should either marry, or be otherwise guarded against the danger of seduction.

* In Rom. lib. v. cap. 6. † Ep. ad Fidum. De Lapsis. De Baptismo, cap. 18.

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On the question between immersion and affusion, it is not designed to add much to what was deliver. ed in the lecture. John's baptizing in a place where water abounded, the description of our Lord as coming up out of the water, and many other circumstances, in addition to the general sense of the Greek words expressive of baptism and the act of administering it, strongly mark the original practice to have been generally by immersion. That it continued to be so during the best ages of the Church is evident, among other monuments, from their baptisteries.

On the other hand, the Greek word* does not so constantly signify to immerse, as is by some alleged. We read of the Pharisee, who invited our Lord to dine with him-" He marvelled that he had not first washed”-strictly baptized—“ before dinner:”+ where is evidently meant the washing or baptizing, not of the whole person, but of the hands. And some heathen authors have used the words with the like latitude. In the primitive Church, the baptizing by affusions in cases of sickness, there being no opposition to this practice, but on the contrary, its being unanimously held unlaw. ful to repeat the transaction in case of recovery, is * Βαπτιζω.

Luke, xi. 38. It is here wished to call the attention to the distinction between affusion or the pouring of water--the expression used in the Rubricks, and sprinkling: as the usual mode is often called in contempt, but without authority.

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