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the present. What great benefit then upon your planè Surely none. But suffer me to mention one disadvantage; the peace of the church is greatly disturbed: which seems to be the chief effect of warm controversies: therefore I wish you gentlemen ministers would treat the subject calmly, if you cannot be persuaded to neglect the controversy. For I tremble to think of the awful consequences, and pray God to prevent them, by leading his churches into the way of all truth. I confess my difficulties are rather increased than diminished, and must think the present practice, well attended to, will be most for the general good. I know some difficulties may be proposed in either practice: but I think contention is best to be left off before it be meddled with, and hope you will join issue with me to drop the affair, as I have no design of engaging in the controversy. In the mean time I earnestly wish to see men truly concerned about the great things of another world, to see ministers and churches joining harmoniously, to spread far and wide the honours of the Lamb that was slain, but is alive for evermore, that God may be glorified, the churches have peace, and be edified. Adieu, dear Sir.



P. SIR, if I mistake not, you represent it to be a new thing to allow baptism to the children of any but those whose parents, one or both, were in full communion, brought in forty years after the first church was formed, by the synod met at Boston in the year 1662. The Rev. Dr. Increase Mather gives us a very different account in the book you quoted. He mentions the opinion of many of the most pious and godly ministers who came over into this country at the first settling of New-England. Mr. Cotton, Mr. Hooker, and Mr. Stone, who came in the same vessel in the year 1633, all freely give their opinion, that children, whose parents are baptised, have a right to baptism, who are in covenant until they

are cast out, Mr. Cotton, minister of the first church in Boston, says, in a letter dated in the year 1634, (which was before 1662.) we may not account such parents for Pagans and Infidels, who are themselves baptised, and profess their belief of the fundamental articles of the Christian faith, and live without notorious scandalous crimes, though they give not clear evidence of their regenerate state. In the year 1635, came over, Mather, Norton, and Shepherd. Three extraor dinary men ; each give their opinion in the affirmative. In the year 1636, came Patrick and Rogers, Mr. Smith of Weathersfield, Mr. Prudden of Milford, and many others, all in the affirmative. So the congregationalists at home, Dr. Owen, Dr. Holmes, and others. From which it appears, that it was no new thing for persons in covenant to have their children baptised, if they did not come to the table. And I think P. many of their arguments unanswerable.


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PARISHIONER. SIR, this third visit I am come to make you, for I have lately read a piece printed at New-London, entitled, "A Dialogue between a minister and his parishioner, concerning the half-way covenant, continued ;" said to be written by one of the most learned and ingenious ministers in the colony. I hope therefore, now if ever, by the assistance of such a patron, to be able to carry my point. Instructed by him, I give up the half-way covenant; I grant there is but one covenant. I give up the half-way practice too, aś founded only in ignorance, and the mistaken notions of the vulgar. I am convinced, that he that is qualified to have his children baptised, is equally qualified to come to the Lord's table. I come therefore to claim baptism for my child, and a place at the Lord's table for myself, as my proper right. p. 6. However, I am not well pleased at the publication of our discourse in my first visit, although I must confess you have given a fair representation of what passed, because being very dull at that time, I make but a very indifferent figure in the eyes of the public. p. 2.

MINISTER. Be comforted, my friend; no blame is laid on you by the public. I bear it all; and I am willing to bear it for your good and methinks you have only cause of joy and thankfulness; for to be convinced so soon of your mistake, is no small favour. No doubt the voice of the clergy, who practise the half-way, declaring as one man, that he who is qualified to offer his child to baptism, is equally qualified to come to the Lord's table, has wrought your conviction; for your former faith and practice were grounded merely on the custom of the country: this led you to think that the Lord's supper was more holy than baptism. But while you hear all the ministers, with whom you converse, declare they mean no such thing; they practise the half-way only in condescension to the ignorance, and groundless unscriptural scruples of the common people; you are convinced; you give up the point; you own the command of Christ, do this in remembrance of me, is binding on all his disciples: but, pray, upon what grounds, do you now so boldly claim baptism for your child?


P. Although I was "uncommonly dull and muddy," in first visit; yet," you know, sir, what I wanted was to have my child baptised. As you told me there was but one covenant, so we were agreed that I had entered into that covenant, the very same covenant that you entered into three and thirty years ago, when you was admitted into the church. And, sir, why may I not have the seal of it set upon my child?" p. 4.

M. Did not I expressly tell you, that "If the covenant owned is the covenant of grace, and if the parent acts understandingly and honestly in the affair, he is a good man; he has a right before God to baptism for his children, and an equal right to the Lord's supper? But that if the covenant owned is not the covenant of grace, those who have owned it, have in the sight of God no right to either of those ordinances, which are seals of that covenant, and of no other: no more right than if they had given their assent to any chapter in the Apocrypha ?'

P. True, you did so; and there is but one covenant, says my patron.

M. This covenant then is the covenant of grace, which, we are all agreed, requires repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ: or else there is no covenant of grace at all; for he says there is but one. But lay your hand upon your heart, and tell me the truth honestly, did you mean to profess repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, when you owned the covenant? or in other words, did you mean to profess a compliance with the covenant of grace? Pray, sir, recollect and repeat the very words you spake to me in your first visit.

P. You make me blush; for I told you the truth in my first visit, from the bottom of my heart; and this is what I said: I “knew myself to be unconverted; I meant to own the covenant, as the phrase is, and have my children baptised; but I had no design to profess godliness, or to pretend a real compliance with the covenant of grace. This godly people may do, but it had been great hypocrisy in me to do it. To lie to men is bad, but to lie to God is worse. I supposed that owning the covenant was what the unconverted might do." These were my very words: and on these principles I acted, as do all others that I am acquainted with, who own the covenant, have their children baptised, and do not come to the Lord's table; and I verily thought this was right before my first visit.

M. How is it possible a man so honest as you then appeared to be, should now act such a dishonest part, as you have done? It is my duty, as a minister of Christ, to rebuke you sharply; for then you told me, as you now own, that you did not mean to profess a compliance with the covenant of grace, upon which I denied baptism to your child; and yet just now you pretended you did mean to do it. You have need to blush; this deliberate dissimulation in such an affair, is no small crime. Did your learned patron advise you to this step, to get your child baptised? Is this the way to obtain God's blessing?

P. Be this as it may, I am willing now to make a profession, and publicly to enter into covenant with God, and I have no objection against the form used in your church. I can make

that covenant, and speak truly in the sight of God, notwithstanding I know I have no grace. p. 6, 7.

M. How can a man who knows he has no grace, profess a compliance with the covenant of grace, without wilful lying?

P. I do not mean to make a profession that shall imply conversion. There would be special hypocrisy' in doing 80. p. 14.

M. What then? do you suppose the unconverted do comply with the covenant of grace? That the unconverted have repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ? That the unconverted choose the Lord Jehovah for their sovereign Lord, and supreme good through Jesus Christ, and give up themselves to his service, to walk in all his ways, seeking his glory?

P. No, sir, by no means. But if it be true that the Lord Jehovah is my sovereign Lord and supreme good through Jesus Christ, i. e. if it be true, that he who through Christ is the author of being, and of every mercy to all the living, is the sovereign Lord and supreme good of every living soul, it is no harm to avouch it." I mean to give my assent to this truth, and no more.

M. Doth not the devil believe the truth of this proposition as firmly as any wicked man does? and is he in covenant? You have need to be better instructed about the nature of entering into covenant with God, before you can be considered as qualified in point of doctrinal knowledge.

P. No, sir, I am not so ignorant, neither. I know in what sense you mean to understand your covenant. But knowing my self to be unconverted, I cannot profess a compliance with the covenant of grace in that sense. I cannot profess supreme love to God, and that I do actually take him as my God, my chief good, through Jesus Christ. This is not in my heart. Therefore I mean to adopt the words of the covenant in a different sense; even in the sense in which an unconverted man who is at enmity against God may use them, and yet speak true.

M. But this is not to profess a compliance with the conant of grace. And therefore should you make it, it could you no right to sealing ordinances for yourself or your

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