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covenant. They who are like to see how you bring up your children, know what you have promised for them; and would you have your wickedness shown before the whole congregation? Angels are in our assemblies; and would it not grieve you to know they make this remark? “ There is a wretch who com“ passed God about with lies, who engaged “ himself to do the parent's part in a Christian “. way, and yet brings up his children to the o destroyer." Nay, every one of the assembly have their eyes upon you, and therefore they will be looking after you; and if your care is but a counterpart to your promise, you pay your vows in the courts of the Lord, and among all his people. I have often wondered that some professors who shew so much seriousness at the Lord's supper, should make any abatement of it in baptism. They are but two seals to the same covenant, and ought to be attended to, with equal reverence. Nay, if there is to be any distinction, it is on the side of baptism, because that is only once done for ourselves, or that particular infant. Whereas we are often called to eat this bread, and drink this cup, and shew forth our Lord's death until he come.
• It must strike you with an awe to consider what you are doing. You have conveyed to your children a nature, that without the grace of that covenant which you own in baptism, will make them unhappy for ever. You therefore owe that infant, who, by yourselves, is made a polluted creature, the utmost care that he may have a second birth. In the de
dication of him to God, you confess a lineal stain that is derived from one to another. How deep ought the sense of this to go into your souls !
Again, reflect upon the hope that is set before you.' The ordinance of baptism is a memorial that God has consecrated for us a new and living way: that when we lie in our blood, he passes by with a look and voice of love, and says unto us, live. What an honour is it upon you, now? And what an earnest of the satisfaction, above, if you are parents to a child of God? If what he has graciously given to you, he has more graciously owned to be his ?
They are dear to you : your lives are bound up in theirs : but what if both you and they are in the bundle of life with the Lord your God? A person who has devoted himself to such meditations, who feels the horrors of a polluted nature, and breathes out his desires after a renewed ones will have his whole soul engaged.
And whilst I am recommending to you a serious performance of this duty, suffer me to tell you that there is one practice, which, if not inconsistent with it, looks very unsuitable to it, and that is the indulgence of any sensual joys upon the occasion. We are told, that the Ark was an einblem or figure of our baptism; and when Noah entered into it, we read of abundance of eating and drinking, but he was not among the number who were thus engaged. What we call a christening dinner, is but a poor attendant on our
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putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, and rather jooks like making a provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. We read that Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned: and that seems to be the season of life that nature itself has directed us to rejoice in, when God has preserved a child through the weakness and dangers of infancy. But to follow baptism with an excess of riot, is turning the grace of God into wantonness. I should think, that if I had been owning the covenant for myself or for my child, my soul would be so full of it for one day, that I should not have leisure for revellings, banqueting, and abominable idolatries. * "
3dly, I am to give you some directions which concern your practice after the solemnity is over. You may be pleased with the ordinance, and yet never the better for it: as in preaching the word, Herod heard John gladly : and many with joy received the Gospel. So during the administration of baptism, your
* Festivity and mirth are very unbecoming appendages to the ordinance of baptism, the sign and seal of our ingrafting into Christ. When the pious parent is about to renew his covenant with God, in the faith of the promise transmitted through him to his child, he is anxious to cherish a frame of mind very different from that which feasting with common friends produces. God is always to be worshipped with reverence and godly fear. The believing parent feels this. He sees in the child which he is about to present to his covenant God, a creature, which is destined to exist for ever, and who must shine in glory, or burn it. unquenchable fire. He reflects that he has been the means of bringing this creature into being, and of transmitting to it both sin
affections may be touched; but if it goes no deeper, that water had as good been spilt on the ground. Therefore, whether you have 'been offering yourselves or your children to the Lord, if you would have the answer of a good conscience towards God, charge these four things on your soul, and keep them upon the imagination of the thoughts of your heart.
· 1st. Oftentimes remember, what you have been doing. I
2dly, Do not think you are baptized into a party. .
3dly, Follow all, by earnest prayer. And
4thly, The whole work must be performed "i looking unto Jesus.”
Ist, Oftentimes remember what you have been doing for yourselves ; and when your chil. dren are capable of it, let them know what you did for them. When thy sons ask thee in time to come, what mean you by these statutes ? let them be convinced huw early a care you had about them. I do not remember any
and death. He loves his child and desires its salvation, and his hope is directed to the mercy extended to his own soul. He is about to apply the token of God's covenant to the tender object of his love and sympathy; and is it possible that he can trifle with a gay party at the time? Is this the way we are to prepare for the communion table, the other seal of the same covenant ? No; humiliation and prayer are much more becoming. The example of the godly in former ages is worthy of imitation. The reverend and very pious Mr. Henry observed, in every instance, a fast before the baptism of his children,
thing that struck me sooner with religious thoughts in my youth, than my father's telling me how greatly his soul was inlarged when he gave me up to God in baptism: and if ever I have tasted, that the Lord is gracious, I hope it is in consequence of that surrender. *
It is certainly a proper argument to use with a child, in very affecting language, which king Lemuels mother spake to him, what my son ? the son of my womb, and the son of my vows ? Prov. xxxi. 2. And for a father or mother to say, “ I was glad that a man was 6 born into the world; but a care about thy “ immortal part soon found its way into my “ soul; and the first great act of my love to “ thee as an infant, was returning thee again " to the God that gave thee. Wilt thou « not stand to the agreement? Shall the tran“saction pass for nothing? I am then clear of *** this mine oath, and having been a witness “ for thee, must at the great day of account “ come forth as a witness against thee."
If such an exhortation as this, delivered with the tenderness and authority of a parent, does not make an impression, it is a sign that conscience is far gone into stupidity. But do your children ever hear you talk at this rate? are they not rather tempted to think that you baptized them, just as you feed and clothe them? It was a thing of course. What
* Other names, besides that of Mr. Bradbury might be quoted in support of this sentiment; and if a note could avail in fixing the attention of parents and children upon the whole of this direction, its insertion would answer a valuable purpose.