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PROPOSITION THIRD. 3. The infant-seed of confederate visible believers, are members of the same church with their parents, and when grown up, are personally under the watch, discipline and government of that church.
1. That they are members of the same church with their parents, appears, 1. Because so were Isaac and Ishmael of Abrahams family church, and the children of the Jews and proselytes of Israels national church; and there is the same reason for children now to be of the same congregational church with their parents. Christ's care for children and the scope of the covenant, as to obligation unto order and government, is as great now, as then.
2. Eitlier they are mem. bers of the same church with their parents, orof some other church, or non-members; but neither of the latter ; therefore the former.That they are not non-members was before proved in proposition 2, particular 3, and if not members of the same church with their parents, then of no other. For if there be not reason sufficient to state them members of that church where their parents have covenanted for them, and where ordinarily they are baptized and do inhabit, then much less is there reason to make them members of any other, and so they will be members of no particular church at all, and it was before shewed, that there is no ordinary and orderly standing estate of church-members, but in some particular church.
3. The same covenant-act is accounted the act of parent and
child: but the parents covenanting rendered himself a member of this particular church; therefore so it renders the child also. How can children come in with and by their parents, and yet come into a church, wherein and whereof their parents are not, so as that they should be of one church, and their parents of another: 4. Children are in an orderly and regular state: for they are in that state, wherein the order of God's covenant,and his institution therein, hath placed them; they being members by virtue of the covenant of God. To say their standing is disorderly, would be to impute disorder to the order of God's covenant,or irregularity to the rule. Now all will grant it to be most orderly and regular,that everychristian be a member in some particular church, and in that particular church where his regular habitation is; which to children usually is, where their parents are: If the rule call them to remove, then their membership ought orderly to be translated to the church, whither they remove. Again, order requires that the child, and the power of gov . ernment over the child, should go together. It would bring shame and confusion for the child to be from under government, Prov. xxix, 15, and parental and ecclesiastical government concurring, do mutually help and strengthen each other. Hence the parent and child must be members of the same church; unless the child be by some special providence so removed, as that some other person hath the power Over him.
2. That when these children are grown up, they are personally under the watch, discipiine and government of that church, is manifest : for, 1. Children were under Patriarchal and Mo. saical displine of old, Gen. xviii. 19, and xxi, 9, 10, 12. Gal. v. 3, and therefore under congregational discipline now. 2. They are within the church, or members. thereof, (as hath been, and after will be further proved) and therefore subject to church judicature, 1 Cor. v. 12. 3. They are disciples, and therefore under discipline in Christ's school, Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. 4. They are in church-covenant, therefore subject to churchpower, Gen. xvii. 7, with chap. xviii. 19. 5. They are subjects of the kingdom of Christ, and therefore under the laws and government of his kingdom, Ezek. xxxvii. 25, 26. 6. Baptism leaves the baptized (of which number these children are) in a state of subjection to the au. thoritive teaching of Christ's ministers, and to the observation of all his commandments, Mat. xxviii. 19, 20, and therefore in a state of subjection unto discipline. 7. Elders are charged to take heed unto, and to feed (i. e. both to teach and rule, compare Ezek. xxxiv. 3, 4.) All the flock or church, over which the holy Ghost hath made them overseers, Acts. xx. 28. That children are a part of the flock, was before proyed: and so Paul accounts them, writing to the same flock or church of Ephesus, Eph. vi. 1, 8. Otherwise irreligion and apostacy would inevitably break into churches, and no church-way left by Christ to prevent or heal the same;
which would also bring many church-members under that dreadful judgment of being left alone in their wickedness, Hos. iv. 16, 17.
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PROPOSITION FOURTH. These adult persons, are not therefore to be admitted to full communion, merely because they are and continue members, without such further qualifications, as the word of God requireth thereunto.
The truth hereof is plain, 1. From 1 Cor. xi. 28, 29, where it is required, that such as come to the Lord's supper, be able to examine themselves, and to discern the Lord's body; else they will eat and drink unworthily, and eat and drink damnation, or judgment to themselves, when they partake of this ordinance. But meer membership is separable from such ability to examine ones self, and discern the Lord's body: as in the children of the covenant, that grow up to years is too often seen. 2. In the Old Testament, though men did continue members of the church, yet for ceremo. nial uncleanness they were to be kept from full communion in the holy things, Lev. vii. 20, 21. Numb. ix. 6, 7, and xix. 13, 20, yea and the Priests and Porters in the Old Testament had special charge committed to them, that men should not partake in all the holy things, unless duly qualified for the same, notwithstanding their membership, 2. Chron. xxiii. 19.Ezek. xxii. 26, and xliv. 7, 8, 9, 23, and therefore much more in these times, where moral
fitness and spiritual qualifications are wanting, membership alone is not sufficient for full communion. More was required to adult persons eating the passover, then meer membership: therefore so there is now to the Lord's supper. For they were to eat to the Lord, Exodus xii. 14, which is expounded in 2 Chron. xxx. where, keeping the passover to the Lord, verse 5 imports and requires exercising repentance, verse 6, 7, their actual giving up themselves to the Lord, verse 8, heart preparation for it, verse 19, and holy rejoicing before the Lord, verse 21, 25.
See the like in Ezra vi. 21, 22. Though all members of the church are subjects of baptism, they and their children, yet all members may not partake of the Lord's supper, as is further manifest from the different nature of baptism and the Lord's supper. Baptism firstly and properly seals covenant-holiness, as circumcision did, Gen. xvii. church-membership, Rom. xv. 8, planting into Christ, Rom. vi. and so members, as such, are the subjects of baptism, Mat. xxviii. 19.
But the Lord's supper is the sacrament of growth in Christ, and of special communion with him, 1 Cor. x. 16, which supposeth a special renewing and exercise of faith and repentance in those that partake of that ordinance. Now if persons, even when adult, may be and continue members, and yet be debarred from the Lord's supper, until meet qualifications for the same do appear in them, then may they also (until like qualifications) be debarred from that power of voting