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2dly, Neither of them despise the covenant of God, or any blessing contained in it: Nay,
3dly, There is no contempt on the ordinance on either side. He that omits it, does not live in the neglect of a known duty ; but carries the same sense of a relation to his infant without baptisin, that another does with it. He that observes it, ought by no means to be charged with a profanation. He that is so careful about every other solemnity, and so serious in this, may be in a mistake; but he has given all the evidence which charity can desire, that his heart is right in the sight of God.
And upon the whole, I cannot see any sin at being present at an ordinance, when my judgment does not approve the administration. Consider the apostle's argument, Why am I evil spoken of for that, for ruhich I give God thanks ? That which is an offence, or matter of scruple to my brother, may be an inward satisfaction to me; as he pleads, one man esteems one day above another ; another man esteems every day alike ; he that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord, and he that regards not the day, to the Lord, he regards it not, Rom. xiv. 5.; that is, he thinks it for God's glory to neglect it. He that eats, eats to the Lord, and gives God thanks ; he that eats not, to the Lord he eats not ; he makes it a religious omission, and he gives God thanks. The former praises him, for the sense he has of his Christian liberty, and the latter for the conviction he supposes to have of his duty. Now if God be thanked, why should they be condemned?
Such a temper as this, would be more cre. dit to religion, than a capacity of gaining proselytes. I had rather let my light shine before men in meekness of wisdom than in a furious course of argument. The wise, the scribe, the disputer of this world, is not the most significant person in the Church of Christ. And I am so far from being offended at the strength of reasoning on the other side, that I can sincerely bless God, that though his people differ from one another, yet the common adversary cannot reproach either opinion with folly. . .
There is many an argument that has not convinced me, that yet has delighted me. I have not thought a person either the worse or the weaker, for his having other notions, any more than for having another complexion.
If any say, this destroys Christian unity, I must confess, my thoughts are quite the reverse to that insinuation. It gives a greater evidence to the world of that charity which is the bond of perfectness, by managing our dif ferences with temper, than by closing it with uniformity; and therefore, for people to charge conclusions upon one another, which they will not own, is unfair.-On the one hand, to say that the baptizing of a child, is no more than the sprinkling of a dog, or that a child of a believer, unbaptized, is in the same state with that of an infidel, is but foaming out our own shame. Such language is the froth of unmortified nature, the stench of a carnal mind, that is enmity against God. The serious
on both sides cannot but hate those tongues which say so as an unruly evil. They savour not the things that he of God.
The same disposition of soul, you may carry through the other branch of the dispute, that is, about the mode of baptism. Certainly the benefits of the ordinance may be conveyed either way. We are said to be buried with Christ in baptism. Col. ii. 12. Would it not be eruel for any of our brethren to say, that because we miss the symbol of his burial, that therefore we have not the thing. I believe the design of these words is neither to express one form, nor another. But as we are said to be circumcised in Christ, in the verse before, by the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, so we are buried with him; and this must be understood of something done without hands too. And though I may think that the words allude to the man.' ner how, the work is to be performed, yet the sense of the expression, carries my thoughts to some thing, that is more than twenty such allusions; for it signifies no less than my interest in Jesus Christ. Whatever phrases the apostle uses, he is describing the state of the soul, and no forms of administration. Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ, were baptized into his death, therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death. Rom. vi. 4. What? Is it to be convinced that ours is the right way? No, but like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the father, so we should walk before him in new
the body of sina, no longer serve tized into
ness of life; for if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection. Is this similitude to tell us the way how the duty should be performed? Alas! that is a little matter indeed. No, it is to put us in mind of that which is not resembled at all; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin.*
As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And I may invert the proposition, that as many as have put on Christ, who are clothed with his righteousness, and conformed to his image; these are bapti. zed into Christ, whether it is by dipping or sprinkling. Observe the latitude of the expression, ye are baptized into, Christ; not into this or that denomination of his people. It is pity that we are known among men by mere circumstances. The name should not be taken from the quantity of water that is used; for God never did by the Church, as he has done by the earth, founded it upon the seas and established it upon the floods. Psal. xxiv. 2.
3dly, Follow what you have done by earnest prayer. When you have owned the covenant of God, it is undoing all again, if you lay aside family religion. All the good of this ordinance, either for yourselves or your children,
* The great length of this note upon the points in controversy with Anabaptists, forbids its insertion in this place. It will therefore be found at the end of the volume. ::
comes from the fountain of life. If he is your God, prepare him an habitation, Exod. xv. 2. If you consider him as your father's God, be sure that you exalt him. If the solemnity of baptism was administered to yourselves, since you were capable of thinking or choosing, then you have professed before the world your relation to the father of mercies. You hope to live in his house, and will you not be often knocking at his door?
Your baptism is also in the second place, a symbol of the relation you stand in, to God's people. It may be said of you now, as it was of those of old ; ALL our fathers were under the cloud, and ALL passed through the sea, and were ALL baptized unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea. And they did all eat the same spiritual meat, and ALL did drink the same spiritual drink. 1 Cor. x, 1. So that you may look upon your brethren as fellow-heirs of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel.
Learn then to pray for them and with them, if you are heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. This is the most endearing work that you can be employed in. It shews the best of your own love, and engages the warmest of theirs. This is the fellowship of the Spirit. ; :
Let me in the same exhortation, put those people in mind of their duty, who have given up their children to the Lord. You have several occasions to feel the parent : in their sickness, their cries, their dangers. At these