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i. e. children in minority, whose next parents, one or both are in covenant.
Sundry particulars are comprised in this Proposition, which we may consider and confirm distinctly
Par. 1. Adult persons who are members of the visible church, are by rule confederate visi. ble believers, Acts v. 14. Believers were added to the Lord. The believing Corinthians were members of the church there, Acts xviii. 8, with 1 Cor. i. 2, and xii. 27. The inscriptions of the Epistles written to churches, and calling the members thereof saints and faithful, shew the same thing. Ephes, i. 1. Phil. i. 1. Col. i. 2. And that confederation, i. e. covenanting .explicit or implicit, (the latter preserveth the essence of confederation, the former is duty and most desirable) is necessary to make one à member of the visible church, appears, 1. Be. cause the church is constituted by covenant : For there is between Christ and the church, the mutual engagement and relation of king and subjects, husband and spouse ; this cannot be but by covenant, (internal if you speak of the invisible church, external of the visible) a church is a company that can say, God is our God, and we are his people ;, this is from the covenant between God and them, L'eut. xxix. 12, 13. Ezek. xvi. 8, 2. The church of the Old Testament was the church of God, by covenant. Gen. xvii. Deut. xxix. and was reformed still by renewing of the covenant, 2 Chron xv. 12. and xxiii. 16, and xxxiv. 31, 32, Neh. ix. 38. Now
the churches of the gentiles under the new testament, stand upon the same basis or root with the church of the old testament, and therefore are constituted by.covenant as that was, Rom. xi. 17, 18. Ephes. ii. 11, 12, 19, and iii. 6. Heb. viii. 10. 3. Baptism enters us into the church sacramentally, i. e. by sealing the covenant.' The covenant therefore is that which constitutes the church, and infers membership, and is the vow in baptism commonly spoken of.
Par. 2. The members of the visible church, are such as are confederate in particular church
It may be minded that we are here speaking of members, so stated in the visible church, as that they are subjects to whom church ordinances may regularly be administered, and that according to ordinary dispensation. For were it granted, that the Apostles and Evangelists did sometimes baptize such as were not members of any particular church, yet their extraordinary office, large power and commisa sion, renders them not imitable therein by ordinary officers. For then they might baptize in private - without the presence of a christain assembly, as Philip did the Eunuch. But that in ordinary dispensation the members of the visible church according to scripture, are such as are members of some particular church, ap-pears, 1. Because the visible believer that pro. fessedly covenants with God, doth therein give up himself to wait on God in all his ordinances, Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. But all the ordinances of God are to be enjoyed one
ly in a particular church. For how often do we find in the scripture, that they came together into one place (or met as a congregational particular church) for the observation and enjoy. ment of the ordinances. Acts ii. 1, 44, 46, and iv. 31, and xi. 26, and xx. 7. 1 Cor. v. 4, and xi. 18, 20, 33, and xiv. 23. 2. The Apostle in his Epistles writing to saints or believers, writes to them as in particular churches, 1 Cor. i. 2.. Ephes. i. 1. Phil. i. 1. Col. i. 2. And when the story of the acts speaks of disciples other places shew that those are understood to be members of particular churches, Acts. xviii. 23, with Gal. i. 2. Acts. xxi. 16, with chap. xviii. 22.
Acts. xi. 26, and 14, 22, 23, 27, 28. All which shews that the scripture acknowledgeth no settled orderly estate of visible believers in covenant with God, but only in particular churches, 3.
3. The members of the visible church are disciples, as was above cleared ; now disciples are under discipline, and liable to church censures, for they are stated subjects of Christ's laws and government, Mat. xxviii. 19, 20, but church-government and censures are extant now in ordinary dispensation, only in a particular church, Mat. xviii. 17. 1 Çor. v. 4.
Par. 3. The infant-seed of confederate visible believers, are also members of the visible church. The truth of this is evident from the scriptures and reasons following.
ARG. 1. The covenant of Abraham, as to the substance thereof, viz. that whereby God
declares himself to be the God of the faithful and their seed, Gen. xvii. 7, continues under the gospel, as appears,
1. Because the believing inchurched Gentiles under the New Testament, do stand upon the same root of covenanting Abraham, which the Jews were broken of from Rom. xi. 16, 17, 18. 2. Because Abraham in regard of that covenant was made a father of many nations. Gen. xvii, 4, 5, even of Gentiles as well as Jews, under the New Testament as well as Old, Rom. iv. 16, 17.Gal. iii. 29, i. e. in Abraham, as a pattern and root, God (not only shewed how he justifies the believer, Gal. iii. 6, 9. Rom. 4, but also) conveyed that covenant to the faithful and their seed in all nations, Luke xix. 9. If a son of Abraham, then salvation, i. e. the covenant dispensation of salvation, is come to his house. 3. As that covenant was communicated to proselite Gentiles under the Old Testament, so its communication to the inchurched Gentiles under the New Testament is clearly held forth in divers places, Gal. iii. 14. the blessing of Abraham comprised both the internal benefits of justification by faith, &c. which the Apostle is here treating of; and the external dispensation of grace
in the visible church to the faithful and their seed, Gen. xxviii, 4, but the whole blesssing of Abraham, (and so the whole covenant) is come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, Eph. ii. 12, 19. They have been strangers, but now were no more strangers from the covenants of promise, i. e. from the covenant of
grace, which had been often renewed, especial. ly with Abraham and the house of Israel, and had been in the external dispensation of it, their peculiar portion, so that the Ephesians, who were afar off, being now called and made nigh, ver. 13—17, they have the promise, or the covenant of promise to them, and to their children, according to Acts ii. 39, and sc are partakers of that covenant of Abraham, that we are speaking of. Eph. iii. 6. The inchurched Gentiles are put into the same inheritance for substance (both as to invisible and visible benefits according to their respective conditions) are of the same body, and partakers of the same promise, with the Jews, the children of Abraham of old. The same may be gathered from Gen. ix. 27. Mat. viii. 11, and 21, 43. 4. Sundry scriptures which extend to gospel times, do confirm the same interest to the seed of the faithful, which is held forth in the covenant of Abra. ham, and consequently do confirm the continuance of that covenant, as Exod. xx. 6, therein the sanction of a moral and perpetual commandment, and that respecting ordinances, the portion of the church, God declareth himself to be a God of mercy, to them that love him, and to their seed after them in their generations : consonant to Gen. xvii. 7, compare here with Psal. cv. 8, 9, nd Deut. vii. 9.
Deut. xxx. 6. The grace signified by circumcision is there promised to parents and
children, importing the covenant to both, which circumcision sealed, Gen. xvii. and that is a gospel