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This long extract must be its owil apology. I conceive it to be demonstrative of the point in hand. Not merely that a stipulation is required, and afforded, at least in solemn profession and engagement, but that the profession itself must be real and heurty, in order to the effect promised and expected. Mark the concluding sentence. After going througlı the whole process of renunciation, belief, and selfdevotedness to God, he concludes thus; “ without which he cannot be admitted into the christian church." For “ the visible church of Christ is a congregation of
faithful men.” Article 19. Only one or two observations more upon the subject of covenant engagement, or due answer of the
person to be baptised, and I have done.
So necessary does the subject appear to Bishop Burnet, (as it clearly does to the church,) that he says, “it may be reasonably doubted, whether such a baptism be true, in which no sponsion is made;" alludin to private baptism. And he adds; "this cannot well be answered, but by saying that a general and implied sponsion, is to be considered to be made by their parents, while they desire them to be baptised." (27th Article.)
The preface to the baptism of riper years, proves the idea we insist upon beyond a doubt. The church does not permit persons to receive baptism, “till they shall be fit." And due care is required to be taken for their examination, whether they be sufficiently instructed in the principles of the ehristian religion; and that they may be exhorted to prepare themselves with prayer and fasting for the receiving of this holy sacrament. But wherefore? If the sacrament of course produce its effects. The ofiice of confirmation concludes this matter completely. It recognizes the whole subject, and sanctions it. “Do ye here, in the presence of God, and of this congregation, rencu the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name, at your baptism; ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe and to do all those things, which your godfathers and go:Imothers undertook for you.”---The answer is,
- I do." This we will leave to the reader's own reflections and proceed to the second consideration, which indeed we have already anticipated. We have taken the more pains to establish this conclusion, because the next subject rests materially upon it.
The Charitable Hope that this Profession made at
Baptism is real, the true ground upon which the Church admits of Regeneration in the Baptised.
I say charitable hope. For that is the highest possible ground upon which any person can stand, with respect to the disposition of others, without immediate revelation. If there is
considerasion of a moral nature required, it must inevitably in many cases, have uncertainty attending it. Profession, being all the security the church can have under such circumstances, she admits this profession in evidence of the real state of mind which she requires. Whether she does right in this admission may perhaps more clearly appear in a following section. What we are here concerned to show is, that the church requires a good disposition of mind in order to the effects of baptism. And that she actually suspends the acknowledgements of those effects upon the real and genuine nature of that disposition.
I say, real and genuine nature of the disposition: for where these are supposed to be wanting, there we shall see the church positively denies the benefit. How the church should admit, in her practical offices, without restriction, what she particularly restricts in her theoretical documents, I shall afterward consider.
There are two distinct grounds of evidence in proof of the position, that the church suspends the effects of baptism upon the disposition of the receiver. The first source of evidence is the bearing of the preceeding section upon this point; that is, the “stipulation," which we have seen the church requires, and the receiver affords, previous to baptism.
We shall begin our discussion on this subject with this argument; namely, that whatever the church requires as necessary to baptism, she requires as necessary to the due effects of baptism.
This I consider so clear a principle that it would be mispending our time to take much pains to prove it. The design of baptism, is doubtless the effects of baptism. The good resulting from it,----the benefits loped to be obtained by the due perforinance of it. Whatever God has promised, or annex. ed to the due use of baptism, is what the church seeks in its aclministration. Baptism, unconnected with its use and design is nothing. Therefore I
repeat, that whatever the church requires as neces. sary to baptism, she requires in order to the due effects of baptism.
Now we have seen that “ repentance whereby they forsake sin, and faith whereby they steadfastly believe," are required. Yes, required, professed, allowed, the effect admitted. Behold the solemu process ! “ The promise is to you and to your children; for even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Doubt ye not therefore, but earnestly believe, that he will favour. ably receive these present persons, truly repenting, and coming unto him by faith.” Again, God hath promised; “ which promise he for his part, will surely keep and perforın. Wherefore after this promise made by Christ, ye must a'so FAITHFULLY, for your part, promise," &c. Then it follows,
Question. “ Dost thou renounce the devil and all: his works, &c."
Answer. 6. I renounce them all."
Answer. “ I will endeavour to do so God being my helper.”
See baptism of riper years : In the Rubric to which, as we observe, they are not permitted to come to baptism till duly instructed in the principles of the Cristian religion,” and “ found fit” to give a proper account of their faith in Christ Jesus,
And the address after the baptism,“ seeing now dearly beloved brethren that these persons are generate,” very evidently relates not to the act of Taptism alone, but to the stipulation and promises going before as their correlatives upon which the blessings rest.
We perceive here, without a shadow of ambiguity that it is in order to the effects of baptism, that this stipulation is required. These, are induced in the “promise" made by Christ. But, a promise, we must remember, is God's part. It includes the blessings and privileges of his covenant. But till our part is also performed, it is not a covenant to
It is a promise indeed ; but every promise has some condition. , If it had no condition, on which it was suspended, it would be no longer a thing promised, but a blessing enjoyed. The promise may be real, but it cannot vest till it be claimed. It is claimed when the heart voluntarily embruces Christ and his salvation. God promises blessings
and salvation on his part: but to whom ? To the baptized ? No; but to those that “ believe and are baptized." God's promises are the mercies sought, but faith is necessary to their reception. Promises of good from God, require promises of fidelity and devotedness from us. It is not then, to the sacrament that the promises attach; but to persons duly receiving the sacrament : “ The promises of God made to them in that sacrament.”.--They are baptised in the faith of these promises: and without this faith, they dont believe them. It is quite impossible therefore they could enjoy them. The truth then of this business is demonstrably