S. S.

Be it remembered, That on the twenty-second day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight, JOHN M. BERRY hath deposited in this office the title of a book, as follows, viz.: "A Series of Lectures on the Covenants, and the Right of Church Membership, with other Subjects: to which is added an Appendix. By John M. Berry, a member of the Iowa Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church." The right whereof he claims, as author and proprietor, in conformity to the Act of Congress, entitled an Act to amend the several Acts of Congress respecting copy rights.

I, WILLIAM POPE, Clerk of the District Court of the United States for the District of Illinois, do certify, that the foregoing is a true and correct copy from the copy right record of said Court.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto affixed the seal of said Court, and subscribed my name, this 22nd day of December, A.D. 1848, and of our Independence the seventy-third year.
                                                 WM. POPE, Clerk.


N. H. WHITE, printer, Market St.


The Author, having long examined with care and interest to himself and others, the mode and subjects of Baptism, both from books and men, without arriving at a satisfactory view of the mode, although the subject was clear, and having believed that immersion was valid in the sight of Heaven, was, in June, 1834, called on to administer baptism to an adult. On arriving at the stream for administering, the stream was found too shallow, consequently eight or ten men were employed, for some time, in stopping the water, that the ceremony might be performed. While they were laboring, the Author was led in his mind to enquire: Is this the plan of an all wise God to initiate subjects into the church? His mind turned to the Bible, and he thought, surely if God's book is a complete revelation, it will teach the mode, as well as the subject. This thought caused him to commence another search for the whole truth, and for some months be labored, with great anxiety of mind, on that subject. He began by searching for the origin of the church, the time when, and by whom it was first instituted, and what constituted a legal, as well as a spiritual member of the true church of God. On this subject his mind was much perplexed, and finding that there were different covenants, of a public nature, he was led to investigate each separately. And ascertaining that they were made at different times, and under different circumstances, the nature and design of those covenants being also different, he was led to seek information from authors. But all the writers on the subject he has had access to, (and that a goodly number,) having presented them in a complex form, no distinct explanation of one, apart from another, could be arrived at with certainty. This being the cause of so much controversy and confusion in the world, about church membership, connected with the course pursued by the writers and speakers on both sides of the subject, in going to the Ancient Fathers to establish the mode and design of the ordinance, and from the definition of the word "baptize," as found in Lexicons, instead of comparing and defining the word with the nature and design of the ordinance, as laid down in the Scriptures, which is the proper standard of truth for moral action. Therefore, the Author designs the churches amongst whom he has labored, to know that he had changed his views of immersion, and also the reasons why he has changed, as will be given in the following work.


In presenting our views to the public on the subject of the covenants, the only apology for it is, a sincere desire to add to the light already reflected thereon; if, under God, we can afford any additional light, so as to give comfort to the minds of parents who are in doubt, and to the public, in behalf of children of believing parents; whether they are, or are not, entitled to the sealing ordinance of the house of God in baptism, which is the seal of the covenant of grace. Seeing the extremes that men have gone to on either hand, some having made the baptism of infants, not only a sealing, but a saving ordinance, [See Episcopalian Prayer Book pp. 125-128.] while others reject them, because they are not capable of believing, we propose an investigation of this subject, not from Lexicons, on the definition of the word "baptize," nor from Church History, but from the Word of God alone. We wish for no history but the Bible, and we want no Lexicon but the Bible. Our reason for assuming this position is, that thousands of readers have not the means of informing themselves from any other source than the Scriptures, for on them alone, they have to rely for light, grace, and salvation. Therefore, we are inclined, with these facts before us, to present our views in the most simple, and scriptural manner possible for us to do. And if the less learned can understand the views given, the more advanced in knowledge can; then all will be the better prepared to judge of the work, whether it presents truth or not.

We expect, in this treatise, to pursue a little different course, from what has been generally done by men, who have given their views to the public on this subject. Some, however, are afraid of new things, while others are delighted with them, but the great object will be, to present Bible truth; therefore, we solicit all, into whose hands this little work may chance to fall, that they will read it with an unbiased mind, in search of truth, for the truth's sake. And if the reader finds himself profited in view of truth, God will be honored, infants benefited, and the good cause advanced. Then our highest expectation and most ardent desire will be met, if but one ray of light can be added to that which already shines, on the right of infants of believing parents to the covenant.

We propose, then, to examine the different covenants, that are of a public nature, with whom made, and for what purpose, and what was intended to be effected by them: also to notice, whether any of them are done away, for it is often said that all the old covenants are done away, and if so, the Bible will shew it, and if not that sacred Book will teach us. And if, on examination, we can find they still remain, it will be our business to investigate and see, whether they are of any advantage to men in the present day, and what that profit is. This fact can be arrived at with safety; if the apostles regarded them in their day, we surely may in this our day. But special care should be taken, that when an apostle uses or speaks of one covenant, we do not apply it to another, and thereby miss the meaning of the text, for a misapplication of Scripture will always produce error in faith, or practice, either of which is injurious to the cause of truth.

One other object of this work is, to present the reciprocal obligations, that exist between parents and children. This obligation by many is not seen or if seen, neglected or disregarded; the effect of which has been, great injury to the church and to the world. Truth requires us to say, that the professed friends of infant baptism, from the course pursued by them, have done more injury to the cause, and are a greater barrier in the way, than all the open and avowed enemies ever it has had. It is a well known fact, that sponsors, who have stood for children, and made solemn vows in their behalf, have treated both vows and children with perfect indifference. Others, as well as members of the church of England, have neglected duty on this subject; many have their children dedicated to God in the ordinance of baptism, but never instruct them in the nature or design of that ordinance. Seeing this is the case with so many parents, is it marvellous, that the world rejects, and that children, who have been neglected, and consequently left ignorant of their duty and privileges in their covenant relation to God, when they arrive at years of discretion, make light of it? We therefore hope, the reader will not be so hasty in his conclusions, as to reject the evidence on this subject, until he has examined the work carefully, and compared it with the Word of God; and if it be found true, according to that holy book, let him put it into practice; if it be not true, reject it. Do not make mere notions the test, but let the Word of Inspiration be the standard, by which the whole shall be tried.

When our views were first given to the public, (which was on the second Sabbath in June, 1840,) they produced great excitement, inasmuch as the premises, on which the arguments rested, were somewhat different from commonly received opinion, and consequently led to different conclusions, which gave rise to some heavy charges of want of charity, and christian union, toward other denominations, that are considered orthodox in their sentiments. But having lectured on this subject, at different times, and in different places, and our views being made generally known, they were not thought to be so unscriptural; for the more they were examined the more consistent did they appear with the Scriptures. Consequently, a number of persons having solicited their publication, that if true the world might know and practice them, (if not true, let the error sink to oblivion,) and honestly believing, and hoping, that some benefit may be derived from them, we have consented to give our views to the world, and let the honest reader and the public judge of their merits. In a land of equal rights, it is the privilege of every one to think freely for himself, and investigate matters of truth fairly on principle, and explain them in simple candor. For truth is comparable to pure gold, the more it is used the brighter it will shine; though it may not be dressed in a fine garment, yet it will stand on its own merits, however new it may appear, and will bear investigation without suffering loss.

We are not insensible of our inadequacy to perform so arduous a task, as presenting such a work to the public; but let honesty serve for an apology, for we do not expect the work to be free from imperfection, in point of language and arrangement. But, if any should gain a more correct knowledge of the Word of God, and their duty, so that souls may be profited by the work, and the cause of truth advanced, we will have gained, through the providence of the Great King and Head of Zion, our highest expectations, and our prayer is, that the world may be benefited by this addition to the number of volumes already written on this subject. Though it be a subject of an exciting nature, and often arouses the passions even to irritation, we do hope the reader, be his sentiments what they may, will not suffer his prepossessions to hang as a vail over his mind, until he shall have examined the work with candor. Then, on such examination, if the sentiments taught in the work be not founded on the Word of God, let them with promptness be rejected; but if, on the other hand, they are found to accord with the standard of moral truth, let them not be disregarded.


On the Covenant of Preservation,


On the first Covenant made with Abram, in Chaldea, or Covenant of Promise,


On the Covenant of Property,


On the Covenant of Grace,


On the Origin, Government, and Perpetuation of the Church,


On John Baptist's Ministry in the Church,


On the Priesthood and Ministry of Christ,


On the Old and New Covenants,


On the Church passing from the Old to the New Dispensation,


On the Commencement of the New Dispensation,


On a Change of the Ordinances in the Church,


On the Seal of the Covenant under the Gospel,


On the Mode of Sealing the Covenant under the Gospel,


The same Subject Continued,


On the Sealing of the Covenant by the Apostles on the day of Pentecost,


On the Seal of the Covenant to Paul and Cornelius' Household,


On Lydia and her Household, and the Jailer and his Household,


On the further Examination of the Apostolical Mode of Sealing the Covenant,


On the right of Persons to Choose the Mode of Initiation into the Church,


On the Benefit of the Covenant, when the Seal is Received,


On the Origin and Perpetuity of the Church under the Seal of the Covenant,


On the Right to Communion at the Lord's Supper,


On Government in the Church of God,


On the Observance of the Sabbath,


On a call to the Ministry of the Gospel,




On the Covenant of Works, &c.



Standing, &c., of Immersed Persons,


Bible teaches the same truth to all men,


Support of the Gospel.


Preparing the Bread to be used in the Administration of the Supper,


 A thought deserving the attention of Parents,