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ion that either dipping or sprinkling would be of any avail, if we did not find it among the orders given by an exalted Saviour. Therefore, to throw our ceremonies among his, is mingling two authorities together. If he had thought that washing with water was not sufficient without the sign of the cross, he would have told us, and made that supernumerary addition more ancient than it is : for from the beginning it was not so. We may call it a token of people's fighting manfully ; but it is no token for good : nor did mankind ever find any more courage in those that have it, than in those that want it:
Nor does it scatter among those, that have received this mark in their foreheads, any zeal for the doctrine of the cross. They do not understand better than their neighbours, the great article of justification, from that righteousness that was brought in by the death of the cross; nor do see that it promotes the influence of the cross upon our hearts and lives; or that it makes people more selfdenying, and mortified to the world. In a word, it rather tends to crucify our Lord afresh in the honour of his authority, and the liberties of his people. It has made men schismatics who walk in all the statutes and commandments of the Lord blameless; and is a token of nothing so much as this, that other Lords have had dominion over us.
And as to that other piece of human lumber that is come into this ordinance of appointing godfathers; it is such an undoing of what God has established in the laws of nature, such an over-ruling and transferring a parental authority, that it is no wonder so little good comes of it. That it has spread perjury through the land, and brought people into a habit of promising and vowing what they never designed to perform, is not so much as denied. And what benefit may be expected to a poor child who is offered up to God, with a solemnity of so much falsehood I cannot imagine, Solomon has given such a name to these practices that should not make us very fond of them. If thou vowest a vow unto the Lord, defer not to pay at, for he has no pleasure in fools. * . If any should object, that the sprinkling of infants is a breach of this direction; that it is not according to the word of God, and there. fore must be as bad as those abominations that I have now mentioned; I am satisfied any brother who loves the meekness of wisdom will not despise this answer, because there is a great difference between mistaking the divine rule, and totally laying it aside. The reason why we do not act as some other Christians do, is because we think these demands are not made in scripture. And though they may think they are, yet both parties pay a defer
* Cases may occur in which it would not be improper to admit what are called Sponsors or Godfathers. When an orphan is left in the care of the Church, or a child is providentially separated from its natural parents and put under the direction of the Church, not only may such child be admitted to baptism ; but the Church may publicly appoint some member to take charge of ts Christian education.
ence to the book of God. But it is quite otherwise, when persons make no pretence of fetching the practice from this rule, but are going willingly after the traditions of men, the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
In one controversy the scripture is magnified, though not fully understood; in the other it is depreciated. Keep the ordinances as they are delivered to you, and the commandment pure and unrebukable unto the coming of Jesus Christ, or otherwise, instead of a blessing we bring upon ourselves a curse. The second commandment relates to the worship of the true God in a right manner, and the only standard of that, must be the rule that he has given us. He there shews us what a different entail there is on your children, as parents keep close to the direction, or as they wander from it. He is à jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him. He considers superstition as no better than a hatred of God, and therefore this is so far from being the way to hereditary mercies, that it is an iniquity to be visited upon the generations that come after them ; but he shews mercy unto thousands of them that love him, and declare their love to him by keeping his commandments. You see then the way that you have for any hope of obtaining mercy, either for yourselves or for your infants, in this ordinance,
2dly, It is very desirable that this solemnis ty of baptism should be administered in a public assembly. John's was so. He did it in the face of multitudes, and I think the nature of the ordinance requires it. It is not 50 properly my closing with God's covenant either for myself or my child. If it is with. my soul as it ought to be, that must be done very often in private, with a greater freedom than I can use before any witnesses. But when I do this in baptism, it is my declaration to the world, or at least to the people of God, that I will be the Lord's. This was plainly the case with that great shoal of converts, which were brought in by the draught of one sermon. Peter bids them repent and be baptized. This repentance was a secret thing, a godly sorrow that lay within themselves, but they gladly received the word, and were baptized, about three thousand of them, and so were witnesses to one another.
The examples of the eunuch and the jailor, are far from concluding against this rule. As to the former Philip was alone with him, and so preached the gospel to him, and he was never like to see him more; but however, his baptism was as public as the sermon by which he was converted. The jailor's case does plainly turn the argument the other way, for he was baptized with his household, before all those that made up the auditory.
The benefits of a public administration ought to turn the scale. I believe both ministers and people find a great deal of difference in the frame of their spirit, when they are pulled at once out of the noise of the world, and can hardly shake off the cares that hang about them, and when on God's own day they have given a solemn discharge to every incumbrance of that nature. It is certainly desirable in this ordinance, as well as in others, to attend on the Lord without distraction. Besides, as all things are to be done to the use of edifying, so whatever does most answer that end, will be chosen by a man who would keep a conscience void of offence to. wards God. Now, as the assembly has an opportunity of being instructed about the nature and improvement of the duty, so the party baptized, is received under a larger confluence of prayer. However, I leave you to judge of this rule by your consent to the next, and that is,
3dly, Let it be done with the greatest measure of seriousness. Abraham fell on his face when God talked with him, and gave him the covenant. It is indeed an awful transaction, when you call angels and men, as witnesses to the surrender that you make either of yourselves or your children. When Joshua had engaged the promise of the Israelites, that they would not forsake the Lord God of their fathers, he set up a stone, and tells them, this stone had heard all the words that he had spoken. The meaning is not according to the sound of the expression, but it signifies thas much, that when they saw that stone, it. might put them in mind of what they had said.
But, in this case, we have living witnesses. We can appeal to the people of God. They have heard you profess your consent to the