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viii. 30, 31. “ As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye eontinue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.(Com. pare Luke xiv. 25, 26, 27. and John xv. 8.) The phrase, disciples indeed, is relative; and has reference to a visibility, pretence, or name, only, to which it is set in opposition; which makes it evident, that those who then bore the name of disciples, had a visibility and pretence of discipleship indeed. For true discipleship is not properly set in opposition to any thing else but a pretence to the same thing, that is not true. The phrase, gold indeed, is in opposition to something that has the appearance of that same metal, and not to an appearance of brass. If there were another sort of real discipleship in those days, besides saving discipleship, persons might be Christ's disciples indeed, or truly (as the word in the original is) without continuing in his word, and without selling all that they had, and without hating father and mother and their own lives, for his sake. By this it appears, that those who bore the name of disciples in those times were distinguished into but two sorts, disciples in name or visibility, and disciples indeed ; and that the visibility and profession of the former was of the discipleship of the latter.

3. The same thing is evident by 1 John ii. 19. “ They went out from us, because they were not of us: If they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us." The words naturally suggest and imply, that those professing Christians, who at last proved false, did, before they went out, seem to belong to the society of the true saints, or those endued with persevering grace and holiness. They seemed to be of their number, and so were accepted in the judgment of charity,

4. The name that visible Christians had in the days of the New Testament, was of saving Christianity, and not of moral sincerity; for they had a name to live, though many of them were dead, Rev. iii. 1. Now it is very plain what that is in religion which is called by the name of life, all over the New Testament, viz. saving grace ; and I do not know that any thing else, of a religious nature, is ever so called.

5. The visibility of saintship in the apostles' days, was not of moral sincerity, but gracious sincerity, or saving saintship. For they are spoken of as being visibly of the number of those saints who shall judge the world, and judge angels. 1 Cor. vi. 1, 2, 3. “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know, that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels ?These things manifestly imply, that if the Christian Corinthians were what they supposed they were, what they professed to be, and what they were accepted to be, they were some of those saints who at the day of ju igment should judge angels and men.

6. That the visibility was not only of moral sincerity but saving grace, is manifest, because the apostle speaks of visible Christians as visible “ members of Christ's body, of his flesh, and of his bones, and one spirit with him, and temples of the Holy Ghost,” Eph. v. 30. and I Cor. vi, 16, 19. And the apostle Peter speaks of visible Christians as those who were visibly such righteous persons as should be saved ; and that are distinguished from the ungodly, and them who obey not the gospel, who shall perish. 1 Pet. iv. 16, 17, 18. “ Yet if any man suf

. , fer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us," (us Christians, comprehending himself, and those to whom he wrote, and all of that sort,) " what shall the end of them be that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear

?” 7. That the visibility was not merely of moral sincerity, but of that sort of saintship which the saints in heaven have, is manifest by this, that they are often spoken of as visibly belonging to heaven, and as of the society of the saints in heaven. So the apostle in his Epistle to the Ephesians speaks of them as visibly of the same household or family of God, a part of which is in heaven. Chap. ii. 19. “ Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Together with the next chapter, verse 15,

“ Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." Where the context and continuation of discourse demonstrates, that he is still speaking of the same family or household he had spoken of in the latter part of the preceding chapter. So all visible Christians are spoken of as visibly the children of the church which is in heaven. Gal. iv. 26." Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.” The same apostle speaks of visible Christians as being visibly come to the heavenly city, and having joined the glorious company of angels there, and as visibly belonging to the “general assem. bly and church of the first-born, that are written in heaven, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” Heb. xii. 22, 23. And elsewhere they are spoken of as being visibly of the number of those who have their names written in the book of life," Rev. iii. 5. and xxii. 19. They who truly have their names written in the book of life, are God's true saints, that have saving grace: as is evident by Rev. xiii. 8. " And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” And chapter xx. 12 “ And another book was opened, which was

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the book of life.” Verse 15.“ And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.” We are told in the conclusion of this chapter, how they were disposed of whose names were not written in the book of life ; and then the prophet proceeds, in the next chapter, to tell us, how they were disposed of whose names were found there written, viz. that they were admitted into the New Jerusalem. Verse 27. “ And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” And yet in the next chapter it is implied, that some who were not truly gracious persons, and some that should finally perish, were visibly of the number of those that had both a part in the New Jerusalem, and also their names written in the book of life. Verse 19. “ And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city.

8. That baptism, by which the primitive converts were admitted into the church, was used as an exhibition and token of their being visibly “regenerated, dead to sin, alive to God, having the old man crucified, being delivered from the reigning power of sin, being made free from sin, and become the servants of righteousness, those servants of God that have their fruit unto that holiness whose end is everlasting life ;" as is evident by Rom. vi. throughout. In the former part of the chapter, he speaks of the Christian Romans, as “ dead to sin, being buried with Christ in baptism, having their old man crucified with Christ,” &c. He does not mean only, that their baptism laid them under special obligations to these things, and was a mark and token of their engagement to be thus hereafter ; but was designed as a mark, token, and exhibition, of their being visibly thus already. As is most manifest by the apostle's prosecution of his argument in the following part of the chapter. Verse 14. “ For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Verse 17, 18.“ God be thanked, ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."

Verse 22. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

9. It is evident, that it is not only a visibility of moral sincerity in religion, which is the Scripture qualification of admission into the Christian church, but a visibility of regeneration and renovation of heart, because it was foretold that God's peo ple and the ministers of his house in the days of the Messiah, should not admit into the Christian church any that were not

visibly circumcised in heart. Ezek. xliv. 6-9.“ And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, in that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat, and the blood ; and they have broken my covenant, because of all your abominations : And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things, but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. Thus saith the Lord, no stranger uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel."

The venerable author of the Appeal to the Learned, says, (page 10,) “ That this Scripture has no particular reference to the Lord's supper.” I answer, though I do not suppose it has merely a reference to that ordinance, yet I think it manifest, that it has a reference to admitting persons into the Christian church, and to external Church privileges. It might be easy to prove, that these nine last chapters of Ezekiel must be a vision and prophecy of the state of things in the Church of God in the Messiah's days; but I suppose it will not be denied, it being a thing wherein divines are so generally agreed. And I suppose none will dispute but that by the house of God and his sanctuary, which it is here foretold the uncircumcised in heart should not be admitted into in the days of the gospel, is meant the same house, sanctuary, or temple of God, that the prophet had just before been speaking of, in the foregoing part of the same chap ter, and been describing throughout the four preceding chapters. But we all know, that the New Testament house of God is his church. Heb. iii. 3. “ For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who builded the house, hath more honour than the house." Verse 6. - But Christ as a Son over his own house, whose house are we,” &c. 2 Tim. ii. 20. “ In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth," &c. 1 Tim. iii. 15. “ That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God." Eph. ii. 20, 21. “ And are built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord.” i Cor. iii. 9. “ Ye are God's building. Verse 16. “Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God ?" i Pet. ii. 5. “ Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house." Chap. iv. 17. “For the time is come, that judgment must begin at the house of God: And if it begin at us, what shall the end be?” &c. Heb. x. 21. “ And


having an high priest over the house of God.” Ezekiel's temple is doubtless the same which it is foretold the Messiah should build. Zech. vi. 12, 13. “ The man whose name is the branch -he shall build the temple of the Lord, even he shall build the temple of the Lord." And what the temple that Christ builds is, the apostle tells us, Heb. iii. 3,6. The temple that Ezekiel in his vision was bid to observe the measures of, as measured with a reed, (Ezek. xl. 3, 4.) we have reason to think was the same the apostle John in his vision was bid to measure with a reed, Rev. xi. 1. And when it is here foretold that the uncircumcised in heart should not enter into the Christian sanctuary or church, nor have communion in the offerings of God's bread, of the fat and blood, that were made there, I think so much is at least implied, that they should not have communion in those ordinances of the Christian sanctuary, in which that body and blood of Christ were symbolically represented, which used of old to be symbolically represented by the fat and blood. For the admission into the Christian church here spoken of, is an admission into the visible, and not the mystical church ; for such an admission is spoken of as is made by the officers of the church. And I suppose it will not be doubted, but that by circumcision of heart is meant the spiritual renewing of the heart ; not any common virtues, which do not in the least change the nature, and mortify the corruption of the heart as is held by all orthodox divines, and as Mr. Stoddard in particular abundantly insisted. However, if any body disputes it, I desire that the Scripture may be allowed to speak for itself; for it very often speaks of circumcision of heart, and this every where, both in the Old Testament and New, manifestly signifies that great change of heart that was typified by the ceremony of circumcision of the flesh. The same which afterwards was signified by baptism, viz. regeneration, or else the progress of that work in sanctification, as we read of the washing of regeneration, fc. The apostle tells us what was signified both by circumcision and baptism, Col. ii. 11, 12. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, buried with him in baptism ; wherein also you are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God.” Where I would observe by the way, he speaks of all the members of the church of Colosse as visibly circumcised with this circumcision ; agreeable to Ezekiel's prophecy, that the members of the Christian church shall visibly have this circumcision. The apostle speaks, in like manner, of the members of the church of Philippi as spiritually circumcised, (i. e, in profession and visibility) and tells wherein this circumcision appeared. Philip. ii. 3. - For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, VOL. IV.


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