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For the promise is to you, and to your children." It is plain, that there is neither force nor propriety in this, unless repentance and faith were necessary to baptism, and to the enjoyment of the blessings and privileges of the gospel church.
That which qualifies an adult person for baptism, gives him, through this ordinance, an equal right to enjoy all the privileges and blessings of the free citizens of Zion. But nothing short of faith in Christ can give an adult person, before God, and nothing short of a credible profession of it can, in the view of the church, give him a right to the enjoyment of all these blessings and privileges. Faith in Chrift, therefore, must be considered as an es sential qualification for adult baptism-And, upon the strictest examination, this will be found to be agreeable to the practice of the church in purest times. It also has been the sentiment and practice of the most pious and successful ministers of Christ in every age of the church-and it agrees with the confession of the faith of our church, and I believe of all the best reformed churches in the world.
This discourse fhall now be closed with a few remarks.
1. Baptism is a solemn institution. It is undoubtedly of equal authority and folemnity with the holy ordinance, the Lord's fupper. Some seem to have loose ideas of baptism, and of the qualifications necessary for its proper subjects, who, at the same time, are very superstitious respecting the holy supper. But, according to scripture, they are both on the same foundation-both equally folemn and sacred. They have one author. They are seals of the same covenant ; and they are both facraments of the new testament, and require the
fame qualifications in adult persons in both we have to deal with a heart-searching God; and we • are to give up ourselves in covenant to him, through Jesus Christ, to be his for ever. The sin of coming unqualified to both, is equally heinous—the profanation of either is equally dangerous.--He who comes properly qualified to baptism, ought to bless God, and come cheerfully to the Lord's fupper.
2. The true church is founded on the rock Christ Jesus. Since baptism is the initiating ordinance into the church, faith in Christ is necessary to baptism in adult persons. A credible profession of this faith is the ground upon which baptism is to be administered to any adult person. Accordingly we find that when Peter professed his faith in Christ, our blessed Saviour answered, (Mått. xvi. 18.) “And I say also unto thee that thou art Pe. ter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." There may be other churches, and indeed those must be other churches, who are not built on this foundation, and make not any, or a different profesfion. --They may be numerous and flourishing ; but they certainly will be entirely consumed when every man's work shall be tried by fire.
3. The church of Christ ought to hold the ordinance of baptism, very dear and facred. This not only signifies and seals to believers the inestima. ble blessings and privileges of the new covenant, but is the ordinance of admission into the church. Oh! how careful should the ministers and churches of Christ be in their conduct, lest this sacred ordinance be profaned! They should always be vigilant, lest any should prostitute it to purposes for
eign to the sacred design of its institution. The world should know that ministers have no right, but from Christ, to administer baptism to any. Every one ought to know, that it is not a matter of favor with them, which they may bestow at pleafure, but at their peril. The word of God is their rule: and we all know, or ought to know, that when this sacred inftitution is misapplied and abused, it is always attended with some of the worst consequences, both to the church and to the souls of men.
4. They who despise and wilfully neglect this ordinance, cannot be christians. Though we do not hold that baptism is absolutely necessary to fal. vation ; yet since it is a positive institution of Christ, and enjoined on his church as a standing ordinance, they who wilfully neglect it, they who despise it, are certainly chargeable with continued disobedience to him, and must be considered as destitute of the distinguishing qualifications of christians.
5. All those who are baptized are under most folemn obligations to live holy lives—they are giv. en up to God--they are fet apart for him they ought to give up themselves wholly to God and his service, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in all manner of conversation. For them now to live in sin, and to pursue the ways of the wicked, is to deny their baptism ; is to disown the God of their fathers, and to load their souls with aggravated guilt. Be persuaded then, all you of this character, to renounce your traifgressions, spare your own souls, and give glory to God through Jesus Christ. Some of you have folemnly acknowledged these obligations before God and his
people; and have sealed the covenant at the Lord's table : you ought, therefore, to love and serve him, whom you have thus acknowledged to be your God and Saviour. Consider, oh! consider how aggravated your sins must be against such folemn ties! Can you think any obligations so sacred, so folemn, fo often confirmed, as those which you are under, to forsake all the ways of fin, to live to God, and to serve him with your whole foul ?
SE R MON III. '
INFANT BAPTISM. A
GAL. III. 29.
AND IF YE BE CHRIST's, THEN ARE YE ABRA· HAM'S SEED, AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE
ESPECTING the eternal council of God the Father, and the design of his grace towards our lost world, we are informed, John, iii. 16, That “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
To complete this glorious work of salvation ; to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto him. self a peculiar people ; to destroy Satan's kingdom, and to bring glory to God in the salvation of sin. ners-Jesus Christ was appointed Mediator of the New-Covenant. It pleased God, foon after the fall of man, to reveal this gracious design, and set up his church and kingdom on earth, which he has supported in every age of the world. To the members of this kingdom, God has, at different , times, promised certain blessings, and granted cer- .