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or engagement, seems unnecessary: as every one seems to admit the covenant we enter into at baptism; and also our baptismal engagements.---And yet it can only be, on supposition of there being no covenant and no engagement, that would make Dr. M.'s reasoning of the least avail. If there are engagements required and made, what are they'required and made for? but that the blessings stipulated should be suspended upon the due performance of thein.
We proceed then to prove that, at baptism there is a genuine covenant engagement required, and entered into, in order to the possession of the cotenant blessings.
First. The first proof I shall adduce, is found in the clatechism.
After shewing the nature, and parts of the sacrament of baptism; this question is put, “What is required of persons to be baptized ?” This question would be very impertinent, if nothing was required. And it would be equally impertinent, to talk abouť requirements at all if they were unnecessary to the ends of the sacrament. The answer is, “ repent. ance whereby they forsake sin, and faith whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God made to them in that sacrament.” Here we find required the two leading graces of the Christian religion ; and which in substance, embrace every other sentiment of religion, and every duty of practice.---There is no room to say it is a mere profession that is required, and not a gracious disposition of mind. The very words repentance and faith, shew this. But the paraphrase running along with them, makes mistake and misinterpretation next to impossible.
Repentance whereby they forsake sin,” is a true, and saving repentance; and “ fuith whereby they stea:lfastly belief the promises of God,” distinguishes it from a false or notional faith.---Where such graces are found, we are sure, quite sure, that every blessing promised" will be enjoyed.
That this faith and repentance required are of the nature of a promise, or engagement in the persons to be baptized is evident, both from the nature of the case, and the next question and answer. Which answer also shews that no difference is made in the requirements, in adults, or infants ; only the difference of this circumstance: the one engages in his own name, the other by his sponsors. " Why then are infants baptised ?" The answer is, “ because they promise them bɔtii” (both repentance and faith,) “ by their suretiek; which promise, when they come to age, themselves are bound to perform."
The second answer in the catechism very explicitly declares the same thing. " What did
your godfathers, &c. then" (at your baptism) "for you?" Answer, “they did promise and vow three things in my name :---First, that I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh, Secondly, that I should believe all the articles of the Christian faith: and thirdly, that I should kee) God's holy will and cominandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life."----Here are all the grand operations of christianity. Renunciation, as the baptismal office says, of the “world, the flesh, and the devil." "Faith" in Christ Jesus, and holy perseverance till death promised. No one could
wish for more.---They are nest questioned whether they think they are “bound to believe and do” as they promised for them---to which they answer; "yes verily."
That this is not a merely theoretical relation, but a real and practical thing; that is a stipulation, promise and vow really made is most clear from the whole language of the baptismal office. Or as the Homily on swearing has it: “ by holy promises with calling the name of God to witness, we be made lively niembers of Christ, when we profess his religion, receiving the sacrament of baptism.” But as Mr. Wheatly, on the common prayer, has given us so adınirable a comment upon this part of our subbject, I shall take the liberty of making some considerable quotations from that work. On the sacrament of baptism, he observes (p. 351, &c.) “ There being a mutual covenant between God and, man, in this sacrament," and (3.33) " in the making of a covenant, the express consent of both parties is required.” (354.) “ No doubt remaining but that God is ready and willing to perform his part of the covenant, so soon as the child shall promise on his; the Priest addresses himsell to the godfather's and godmother's to promise for hiin, and from them takes security that the infant shall observe the conditions required of him; and in this there is nothing strange or new; nothing which is not used almost in every contract----much after the same manner, whenever kings are crowne: in their infancy, some of the nobility, deputed to represent them, take the usual oaths. The same do ambassadors for their principals at ratifying solemn leagues or articles; and guardians for their
minors, who are bound by law to stand to what is contracted for them." “ Let us now proceed to consider the form that is here used. It is drawn up all along by way of question and answer, which seems to have been the method even in the days of the Apostles. For Peter calls baptism the answer of a good conscience; and in the primitive church queries were always put to the person baptised, whioh persons at age answered themselves, and children by their representatives, who are therefore to answer in the first person---I renounce, &c. because the contract is properly made with the child.”
“ The queries proposed are four." “ First, then when we enter into covenant with God, we must have the same friends and enemies as he hath ; especially when the same that are enemies to him, : are also enemies to our salvation. And therefore since children are by nature the slaves of the devil, and though they have not yet been actually in his service, will nevertheless be apt to be drawn into it by the pomps and glory of the world, and the carnal desires of the flesh, it is necessary to secure them for God betimes, and to engage them to take all these for their enemies, since whosoever loveth them, cannot loye God.”
“Secondly, Faith is a necessary qualification for baptism: and therefore, before Philip would baptise the Eunuch, he asked him if he believed with all his heart? and received this answer, that he believed Jesns to be the Son of God.* From which remarkable precedent, the church has ever since demanded of all those who enter into the christian profession, if they believed all the articles which
Acts viii. 37.
are implied in that profession; and this was either done by way of question and answer, or else the party baptised, if of age, was made to repeat the whole creed.”
" But, thirdly, it is not only necessary that tlie party to be baptised should believe the cliristian faith; but he must also desire to be joined to that society, by the solemn rite of initiation : wherefore, the child is further demanded, whether he will be baptised in this faith? because God will have no wriwilling servants, nor ought men to be compeller by violence to religion. And yet the christian religion is so reasonable and profitable both to this world and the next, that the godfathers may very well presume to answer for the child, that this is my desire ; since if the child could understand the excellency of this religion, and speak his mind, it would, without doubt, be ready to make the same reply”.
“Lastly, St. Paul tells us, they that are baptised must walk in newness of life; for which reason the child is demanded.---Fourthly; If he will keep God's holy will and commandments and walk in the same all the days of his life: For since he now takes Christ for his Lord and Master, and enlists himself under his banner, it is fit he should vow, in the words of this sacrament, to observe the commands of his General. Wherefore, as he promised to forsake all evil before, so now he must engage to do all all that is good, without which he cannot be admitted into the christian church."
“I cannot conclude this section, till I have ob„served, that this whole stipulation is exactly conformable to that which which was used in the primitive church." (355--357.) So far Mr. Wheatly.