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L E C T U R E
a Sacrament; and shewn you, that five of the seven Things, which the Church of Rome calls by that Name, are not intitled to it; there remain only two, that are truly such : and these two are plainly Tufficient : one, for our Entrance into the Christian Covenant; the other, during our whole Continuance in it: Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. However, as the Word Sacrament is not a Scripture one, and hath at different Times been differently understood : our Catechism doth not require it to be said absolutely, that the Sacraments are two only; but two only, necesary to Salvation : leaving Persons at Liberty to comprehend more Things under the Name, if they please, provided they insist not on the Necessity of them, and of dignifying them with this Title. And even these two, our Church very charitably teaches us not to look upon as indispensably, but as generally, necessary. Out of which general Necessity, we are to except those particular Cases, where Believers in Christ, either have not the Means of performing their Duty in Respect to the Sacraments, or are innocently ignorant of it, or even excufably mistaken about it.
In explaining the Sacrament of Baptism, I shall speak, first of the outward and visible Sign, then of the inward and spiritual Grace.
As to the former: Baptism being intended for the Sign and Means of our Purification from Sin; Water, the proper Element for purifying and cleansing, is appointed to be used in it. There is indeed a Sect, sprung up amongst us within a little more than a hundred Years, that deny this Appointment: and make the
Christian Baptism signify only the pouring out of the Gift of the Holy Ghost upon a Person. But our Saviour expressly requires that we be born of Water, as well as of the Spirit, to enter into the Kingdom of God". And not only John, his Forerunner, baptized with Water, but his Disciples also, by his Direction, baptized in the same Manner, even more than John When therefore He bad them afterwards teach all Nations, baptizing them; what Baptism could they understand, but that, in which He had employed them before? And accordingly, we find, they did understand that. Philip, we read, baptized the Samaritans: not with the Holy Ghost, for the Apostles went down some Time after to do that themselves f : but with Water undoubtedly, as we find, in the same Chapter, he did the Eunuch: where the Words are, Here is Water : what doth binder me to be baptized? And they went down to the Water: and he baptized him 8. Again, after Cornelius, and his Friends, had received the Holy Ghost, and so were already baptized in that Sense, Peter asks, Can any Man forbid Water, that these sbould not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we"? When therefore John fays, that He baptized with Water, but Gbrift fhould baptize with the Holy Ghofti; he means, not that Christians should not be baptized with Water, but that they should have the Holy Ghost poured out upon them also, in a Degree that John's Disciples had not. When St. Peter says, The Baptism, which saveth us, is not the washing away the Filth of the Fleshk; he means, it is not the mere outward Act, unaccompanied by a suitable inward Disposition. When St. Paul says, that Chrift fent him not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel'; he means, that Preaching was the principal Thing he was to do in Person: to baptize, he might appoint others under him
i and it seems, commonly did: as St. Peter did not baptize Cornelius and his Friends himself, but commanded them to
John iii. 5. • Matth, iii, II. John iv. 1, 2. Matth. xxviii..19. C Alts viii, 12. ? Verse 14, &c.
6 Verse 36, 38. Acts X. 47• Matth. iii. 11. ? ; Pet, iii, 21. 1. Cor. i. 17 N 2
be baptizedm: and we read in St. John, that Jesus baptized not, but his Disciples ".
Water-Baptism therefore is appointed. And why the Church of Rome should not think Water sufficient in Baptism, but aim at mending what our Saviour hath directed, by mixing Oil and Balsam with it, and dipping a lighted Torch into it, I leave them to explain.
The precise Manner, in which Water shall be applied in Baptism, Scripture hath not determined. For the Word, baptize, means only to wash : whether that be done by plunging a Thing under Water, or pouring the Water upon it. The former of these; burying, as it were, the Person baptized, in the Water, and raising him out of it again, without Question was anciently the more usual Method: on account of which, St. Paul speaks of Baptism, as representing both the Death, and Burial, and Resurrection of Christ, and what is grounded on them, our being dead and buried to Sin; renouncing it, and being acquitted of it, and our rising again, to walk in Newness of Life°; being both obliged and enabled to practise, for the future, every Duty of Piety and Virtue. But ftill the other Manner of washing, by pouring or sprinkling of Water, sufficiently expresles the same two Things : our being by this Ordinance purified from the Guilt of Sin, and bound and qualified to keep ourfelves pure from the Defilement of it. Befides, it very naturally represents that Sprinkling of the Blood of
Jesus Chrifti, to which our Salvation is owing. And the Use of it seems not only to be foretold by the Prophet Isaiah, speaking of our Saviour, He fall sprinkle many Nations ", that is, many shall receive his Baptism; and by the Prophet Ezekiel, Then will I sprinkle clean Water upon you, and ye hall be clean': but to be had in View also by the Apostle, where he speaks of having our Hearts sprinkled
from an evil Conscience, and our Bodies
washed with pure Waters. And though it was less frequently used in the first Ages, it must almost of Necessity, have been sometimes used: for Instance, when Baptism was administred, as we read in the Acts it was, to several Thousands at once'; when it was administred on a fudden in private Houses, as we find it, in the fame Book, to the Gaoler and all his Family, the very Night in which they were converted u: or when fick Persons received it; in which laft Case, the present Method was always taken, because the other, of dipping them, might have been dangerous. And from the same Apprehenfion of Danger in these colder Countries, pouring the Water is allowed, even when the Person baptized is inHealth. And the particular Manner being left at Liberty, that is now universally chofen, which is looked on as safer: because were there more to be said: for the other, than there is; God will have Mercy, and not Sacrifice w.
But washing with Water is not the whole outward Part of this Sacrament. For our Saviour commanded his Apostles, not only to baptize all Nations, but to baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost *. Sometimes indeed the Scripture speaks of Baptism, as if it were administred only in the Name of the Lord Jesusy. But it fully appears ?, that the Name of the Holy Ghost was used at the same Time: and therefore that of the Father, we may be sure." Now being baptized in the Name of these Three, may signify, being baptized by Virtue of their Authority. But the exacter Translation is, into the Name: and the fuller Import of the Expression is, by this solemn Action taking upon us their Name ; (for Servants are known by the Name of their Mafter) and profeffing ourselves devoted to the Faith, and Worship, and Obedience of these Three ; our Creator, our Redeemer, our Sanctifier.
t Acts ii. 41.
u Acts xvi. 33. [ Heb. X. 22.
W Hof. vi. 6. Matth. ix. 13. xii. 7. * Matth. xxviii. 19,
✓ Acts ii. 38. x. 48. z Acts xix. 2, 3.
In this Profession, the Whole of Christianity is briefly comprehended, and on this Foundation therefore the ancient Creeds are all built.
The second and principal Thing in Baptism, the inward and spiritual Grace, is said in the Catechism to be, a Death unto Sin, and a new Birth unto Righteousness: for that being by Nature born in Sin, and the Children of Wrath, we are hereby made the Children of Grace. The former Part of thefe Words refers to the old Custom of baptizing by dipping, just now mentioned : and the Meaning of the Whole is this. Our first Parents, having, by Disobedience in eating the forbidden Fruit, corrupted their own Nature; ours, being derived from them, received of Neceffity an original Taint of the fame Diforder: and therefore coming into the World under the ill Effects of their Sin; and being, from the Time of our entering into it, prone to fin ourselves ; we are said to be born in Sin. And they having also, by the fame Disobedience, forfeited their Immortality; we, as defcending from them, became mortal of Course: and inheriting by Way of natural Consequence, what they fuffered as a Mark of God's Wrath; we, their Children, are said to be Children of Wrath. Not that God, with whatever Disapprobation He must view our native Depravity, is, or, properly speaking, can be, angry with us personally, for what was not our personal Fault. But He might undoubtedly both refuse us that Immortality, which our firft Parents had forfeited, and to which we have no Right; and leave us without Help, to the poor Degree of Strength, that remained to us in our fallen Condition; the Effect of which must have been ; that had we done our best, as we were intitled to no Reward from his Justice, so it had been such a Nothing, that we could have hoped for little, if any, from his Bounty: and had we not done our best, as no Man hath, we had no Assurance, that even Repentance would secure us from Punishment. But what in ftrict Justice He might have done, in his infinite Goodness He hath not done. For the first Covenant being broken by Adam,