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Promise to remind him what Obligations his Baptism lays upon him ; a Promise to call upon him, when at years of discretion, to take upon himself publickly those Obligations.
One of the principal Obječtions against the Baptizing of Infants, is; that One person cannot enter into any Obligation for Another, without his Own Consent. Which is very true.
But the Answer to this Objection, is plain: That the Obligation upon the Infant, in This case, does not at all arise from the Promise of the Sureties, but was an original antecedent Obligation; equally such, whether the Sureties had ever made any Promise or no. And the Promise made by the Godfathers and Godmothers is nothing more, than that they will hereafter (as opportunity shall offer or necessity shall require) put the baptized person in mind of That which, without any such Promise, would however equally have been his Duty. As shall more particularly be explained under the Answer to That Question, “ Doft thou not think that
“ thou art bound to believe and to do, as
they have promised for thee?” and also in the latter part of the Catechism, under the Doctrine of the Sacraments.
All young persons therefore, as often as they repeat the first Principles of their Religion in the Rehearsal of their Catechism, ought thereby to be put in remembrance, that as the Name of a Chriftian is a perpetual obligation upon a perfon, to be in reality what he is called in words; so the confideration that This Name was given him by his Sureties at Baptism, should constantly remind him What those persons were Sureties for; and what Solemn Obligations he takes upon himself, if he professes himself to be a Christian; since, by That Profession, he acknowledges that the things which They promised for him, he is indispensably bound to perform for himself. For, not to regard those Obligations, is to renounce his Baptism; and to renounce Baptism, is to renounce all the Privileges of being a Christian, both with regard to the Fa
vour of God in This life, and the Hopes of Salvation in That which is to come.
This being premised concerning the Giving of the Name by the Godfathers and Godmothers; there follows in the next place an Account of the Privileges or Benefits, to which the person is admitted by Baptism.
“ Wberein I was made,
An Inheritor of the Kingdom of
1. To be “a Member of Christ, is a figurative expression taken from a Human Body, the Members of which are effentially united to the Head and to each Other; so that the Life and Vigour, the Warmth and Motion, the Beauty and Comeliness of all the Members, depend necessarily on the communication and connexion of them All with the Head. The Signification therefore of this Expression, is; that as any Member cut off from the
Natural Body, has no Life or Motion ; so a person alienated from Christ, has no Spiritual Life, no Title to That Life which is purchased for us by Him. Life and Immortality are the Gift of God; not due to Mankind by Nature, not a Claim of Right; no, not to Innocent and Sinless Creatures, much less to Sinners. For God, by whose mere good pleasure it is that things exist at all, is under no obligation of Justice to continue Any Creature in Being, longer than he himself thinks fit. Life therefore itself, and much more Eternal Life, is the Gift, the Free Gift of God: And This Gift he is pleased to bestow upon men, in and through Christ. 'Tis of mere Grace and Favour, that God has at all given to Frail Men the Promise of Immortality; that he has vouchsafed to admit them to the Covenant of Repentance, for the remission of Sins: Of which Covenant, Christ is the Mediatour and the Minister. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and by Him only, have we Access to the Father. Hence the Church of Christ, is in Scripture compared to a Vine; whose Branches,
while they are united to the Root, live and bring forth Fruit; but being separated
from it, they are fit only to be burned. 1 Pet.iii. Hence also ʼtis compared to the Ark, wherein eight persons were
saved by Water : The like figure whereunto, even Baptism doth also now save US; not the putting away of the filth of the Flesh, but the An
fwer of a good conscience towards God. Eph.v.30. Hence Christ, is the Head of the Church;
and the Church, the mystical Body of
Chrift. For we are Members of his Body, Col. ii. 19. of his Flesh, and of his Bones. He is the
Head, from which all the Body, by joints and bands having nourifhment ministred,
and knit together, increaseth with the inEph.iv.16. crease of God. From him the whole body
fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectuall Working in the measure of every part, maketh encrease of the Body, unto the edifying of itself in Love.
Now this great Privilege of being Members of Christ
, is also very fignificant of our Duty. That we are to honour