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The great argument from the Jewish sacraments, of the Passover, and Circumcision, considered.
As has been observed concerning the argument from the Jewish nation, so the argument from the Jewish ordinances, if it be against my scheme, is as plainly, in every respect, against Mr. W.‘s.—This grand argument, as plainly expressed, or implied, in Mr. Stoddard’s words (which Mr. W. insists I should attend to,) is this:
God did expressly command all the nation of Israel to be circumcised; and he also expressly commanded the whole nation to come to the passover; excepting such as were ceremoniously unclean, or on a journey. Therefore it was lawful for unsanctified men to come. (See Mr. S ‘s sermon on the contrary. p. 8. and Appeal, p. 51.) The want of sanctification never was alleged by any man as a reason for forbearing the passover. (Appeal, p. 51.) Unsanctified persons attending this ordinance is never charged on them as a sin in Scripture. (Ibid.) Jesus Christ himself partook of the passover with Judas; which proves it to be lawful for unsanctified men to come to the passover. But such as might lawfully come to the passover, may lawfully come to the Lord’s supper.
Now let us consider what are the qualifications, which are necessary, according to Mr. W.‘s scheme, to a lawful coming to christian sacraments; and then see whether this objection, in every part of it, and every thing that belongs to it, be not as plainly and directly against his own scheme, as mine.
According to Mr. W. it is not lawful for a man to come unless he is morally sincere. (Pref. p. 2 and 3. p. 21. b. 25. d. e. 30. d. 35. e. 36. a. 111. b. c. 115. b.) And, according as he has explained that moral sincerity, which is 522 necessary in order to come to sacraments, it implies “a real conviction of the judgment and conscience of the truth of the great things of religion, a deep conviction of a man’s undone state without Christ, and an earnest concern to obtain salvation by him,—a fervent desire of Christ and the benefits of the covenant of grace, with an earnest purpose and resolution to seek salvation on the terms of it;—a man’s being willing to do the utmost that he can, by the utmost improvement of his natural and moral power, in the most earnest and diligent use of the ordinances of salvation;—being resolved for Christ, coming to a point, being engaged for heaven;—having a settled determination of the judgment and affections for God;—giving up all his heart and life to Christ,” &c. &c. 604604 P. 10. d. 11 c. d. 30. e. 31. a. e. 35. e. 36. a. 53 b. 83. d. 125. b. and many other places. Such moral sincerity as this is necessary, according to Mr. W. to be found in professing Christians, in order to their lawful coming to christian sacraments. And he says, they are received into the church, on like terms, by entering into covenant in like manner, as the Jews; and that their holiness, both real and federal, is the same with theirs, (p. 56, 57. p. 61. e. p. 65. c.) So that according to this scheme, none but those that had such qualifications as these, such a sincerity and engagedness in religion as this, might lawfully come to the passover.—But now, do the things alleged agree any better with this scheme, than with mine? If the case be so, to what purpose is it alleged, that God, in Numb. ix. expressly commanded all of that perverse, rebellious, and obstinate generation in the wilderness, and the whole nation of Israel in all generations, to keep the passover, excepting such as were ceremonially unclean or on a journey, without the exception of any other? Was every one else of such a character as is above described? Was every one under deep convictions, and persons of such earnest engagedness in religion, of such settled strong resolution to give up their utmost strength and all their heart and life to God, &c.? Mr. W. suggests, that those who had not moral sincerity are expressly excepted from the command, (p. 93. d.) But I wish he had mentioned the place of Scripture. He cites Mr. Stoddard, who says, God appointed sacrifice to be offered for scandal, with confession. But where did God appoint sacrifice, for the want of such sincerity, for the want of such deep conviction, earnest desire, and fixed resolution, as Mr. W. speaks of? And where are such as are without these things, expressly excepted from the command to keep the passover? Besides, there were many scandalous sins, for which no sacrifice was appointed: as David’s murder and adultery, and the sin of idolatry—which the nation in general often fell into—and many other gross sins. Nor was there any precept for deferring the keeping of the passover, in case of scandalous wickedness, or moral uncleanness, till there should be opportunity for cleansing by sacrifice, &c. as was in the case of ceremonial uncleanness.
Mr. S. says, The want of sanctification was never alleged by any man as a reason for forbearing the passover. Where do we read in any part of the Bible, that the want of such deep conviction, &c. as Mr. W. speaks of, or indeed any scandalous moral uncleanness, was ever alleged by any man, as a reason for forbearing to eat the passover?—Mr. S. urges, that unsanctified persons attending the passover was never charged on them as a sin. And where do we read of persons coming without such moral sincerity being any more charged on them as a sin, than the other? We have reason to think, it was a common thing for parents that had no such moral sincerity yea, that were grossly and openly wicked, to have their children circumcised; for the body of the people were often so: but where is this charged as a sin? Mr. S. says, (Serm. p. 7.) Ishmael was circumcised, but yet a carnal person. And there is as much reason to say, he was not of the character Mr. W. insists on, under deep convictions, having earnest desires of grace, a full and fixed determination, with all his heart, to the utmost of his power, to give his whole life to God, &c.—Mr. S. says, (Serm. p. 8.) Hezekiah sent to invite the people of Ephraim and Manasseh, and other tribes, to celebrate the passover, though they had lived in idolatry for some ages. But if so, this was as much of an evidence, that they were not of such a character as Mr. W. insists on, as that they were without sanctifying grace.—Mr. W. says, (p. 91. c.) The Israelites had carefully attended the seal of circumcision, from the time of its institution, till the departure out of Egypt. But surely most of them at the same time were without Mr. W.’s moral sincerity; for it is abundantly manifest, that the body of the people fell away to idolatry in Egypt. (See Levit. xvii. 7. Josh. xxiv. 14. Ezek. xx. 8. and Ezek. xxiii. 3, 8, 27.) And there is not the least appearance of any more exception, either in the precepts or history of the Old Testament, of the case of moral insincerity, in such as attended these ordinances, than of ungodliness, or an unsanctified state.
Mr. S. urges, that Jesus Christ himself partook of the passover with Judas; and thence he would argue, that it was lawful for an unregenerate person to partake of the Lord’s supper. But there can be no argument, in any sort, drawn from this, to prove that it is lawful for men to partake of the Lord’s supper without sanctifying grace, any more than that it is lawful for them to partake without moral sincerity: for it is every whit as evident, that Judas was at that time without moral sincerity, as that he was unregenerate. We have no greater evidence, in all the scripture history, of the moral insincerity of any one man, than of Judas, at the time when he partook of the passover with Christ; he having just then bargained with the high priest to betray him, and being then in prosecution of the horrid design of the murder of the Son of God.
If any thing contrary to my principles could be argued from all Israel being required, throughout their generations, to come to the passover and circumcision, it would be this; that all persons, of all sorts, throughout all christendom, might lawfully come to baptism and the Lord’s Supper; godly and ungodly, the knowing and the ignorant, the moral and the vicious, orthodox and heretical, protestants and papists alike. But this does not agree with Mr. W.’s principles, any better than with mine.
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