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ness both of flesh and spirit, or otherwise it will do you no good to wash away the filth of the flesh. For all this, while there is a powerful reluctance in your nature, you are not subject to the law of God, instead of having the answer of a good conscience towards God.
I fear there is many a one who would be afraid of leaving his child unbaptized, and yet he has no fear of God before his eyes. As if he thought baptism was more needful to his infant, than repentance to himself. How uneven are the notions of ungodly men about religion ! Who would think they should lay so great a stress on a revealed law, that take so much pains to break all the inlaid commandments of nature; the work of the lare in their, own hearis ?
Wilt thou know, oh vain man ! that there is branches. Shall we then declare with the solemnity of a Sacrament, that the bud, growing from a branch which has no connection with this vine, does belong to the vine, and still permit it to wither and die upon the branch from whence it sprung? Children, who are actually committed, in the Providence of God, to the care of his Church through the medium of any one of its members, are to be baptized, whether the parents be living or dead, and whatever may be the religious character of such parents. Being placed in the bosom of the Church, she becomes, by adoption, their mother; and both the promise and the seal are accordingly extended to them. The sprig is ingrafted into the true vine, and is not any longer affected by the condition of the original parent branch. Gen. 17. 11, 12, " And ye shall circumcise the flesh of the foreskin, and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. Every man child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed." The principle of this law is unalterable.
a thousand times more necessity of repentance and faith, and fruits meet for repentance, than there is of baptism either for thee or thy child; and until thy life is better, thy bringing an infant to an ordinance, is an abomination to the Lord, like smoke in his nose ? Until thou hast done offering thyself to Mammon, thou hadst as good offer thy child to Moloch. Thou knowest that the true God, is one, whom thou hast nothing to do with. And if there is any here whose case this reaches, may it go into his conscience. If the next time such an one is to think of the ordinance of baptism, he is led to inquire into the ground of his own salvavation, he will be very happy in the argument.
2. As a consequence upon this, it is very desirable that they who offer themselves to God in baptism, should do it with a view of owning the same covenant in the Lord's supper; and that those who have thought of bringing their infants to that ordinance should have engaged in the other, before hand. *
* Baptism and the Lord's supper are the two and only sacraments of the New Testament. They are seals of the same covenant. The question, in the examination of applicants for admission to sealing ordinances in any Church, is, do you embrace the covenant of God, and express your faith in it, in the language of the public confession of this Church? If, in the same mind with us, you enter with us into covenant with God, we shall admit you to its seals. The qualifications for admission are the same whether a man apply for baptism to himself or his child, or apply for a seat at the Lord's table, because the covenant is in each case the same. That man,who seeks to have his child baptized and has no inten.
I do not apprehend one single argument, that a person can have against his joining in the Lord's supper, that does not conclude as much against the baptizing of his child. The unfitness that deserves to keep you from the one, will have the same ill consequence in the other.
The two ordinances of circumcision and the passover, were made equal parts of profesfession among the Jews; and he that neglected bringing the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, had no claim to the other solemnity for his male child, but was to be cut off from among his people. We have in the New Testament, as plain a command for the Lord's supper, do this in remembrance of me, as we have for baptism of any sort; and will you become partiul in the law ?
tion to commemorate, in the other sacrament, the death of our Redeemer, cannot have thought both seriously and accurately upon the subject of sacraments. If a friend should enter into a bond with me, to which the law requires the application of two distinct seals, I must esteem him either very weak or very insincere, if while he is anxious to apply one seal he is determined to have nothing to do with the other. Itis, nevertheless incorrect, to teach that no man may present his child in baptism until he have eaten at the Lord's table. The fact of partaking in the latter ordinance, does not at all constitute the right of partaking in the other; but Church membership entitles us to admission to both these privileges of Christian fellowship. It is the fact of embracing the covenant that gives a title to the seals. As to the order of time, it is of no importance whether a pious parent shall have first presented his child in baptism, or taken his scat at the table; but in either case it is an indispensable prerequisite that he give evidence of his piety.
The success of Christianity at first was remarkable this way; as people turned to God from dead idols amongst the Gentiles, and from dead works amongst the Jews, so they brought forth fruit meet for repentance. In the 2d chapter of the Acts that vast number of converts were bid to save themselves from an untoward generation in which they lived, to believe and be baptized. In obedience to their doctrine they were so, and the same day they were added to the Church. I suppose that phrase takes in all the parts of a profession, as it is explained afterwards. They continued in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers. Acts ii. 46. The Converts were very ready to receive ordinances.
Here I would take occasion to give an hearty advice to those in this assembly who are of another opinion from me, and I hope the different cast of our notions will not make my words fall to the ground, as waters that cannot be gathered. It is upon this case that I hear there are several, who suppose that baptism is only the work of those that are grown up, and yet neglect it themselves. My brethren, whoever is in the right in doctrine, you are quite wrong in practice. Do not despise the advice of one who has more value for your happiness than he has for his own opinion. I will give you it in the words of Ananias, Why tarriest thou ? Arise and be baplized, washing away thy sins, and calling on the name of the Lord. Acts xxii. 16. :.
You know in what haste the eunuch was; see, here is water, what hinders me that I should not be baptized ? Peter upon seeing that the Holy Ghost fell on them that heard the word, soon concluded what was next to be done; what man, says he, can forbid water, that these should be baptized who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we! The jailor was baptized the same hour of the night ; and it is but changing one term in the exhortation, and that will serve those of different sentiments, and with whom my concern chiefly lies.
Own the covenant for yourselves, in the way that God expects it from you, and then it is more regular and uniform to own it for your children. I am far from pretending to be either an example or a judge for other ministers; but I have a long while thought that admitting children to baptism, whose parents live in a plain neglect of their duty, has sheltered a great impropriety in churches. I am sure it is not doing things decently and in order. It is begining at the wrong end. Put them in mind how the covenant runs, I will first be a God to thee, and then to thy seed after thee. Thus one ordinance shall appear connected to another. You will be among the living, and praise our God. The fathers to the children shall declare his truth.
3. As another preliminary to your benefit and comfort in this ordinance, do not admit of some vile and dangerous opinions, that men of corrupt minds have tossed into the world about it. I will mention these three.
1. That it is a regenerating ordinance.