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• cannot have, even to be regenerate, and born • anew of water, and of the Holy Ghost. That impious cruelty ought therefore to be detested, which would deprive of a privilege so inestimable those whom Christ himself desired his disciples to “suffer 'to come unto him,' since of such is the kingdom

of heaven'.' On the contrary, the church catholic judges it to be both highly expedient, and strictly requisite to admit infants to the laver of spiritual washing; not only as being most agreeable to the word of God, but as being expressly ordered in the words of institution, which direct all nations' to be admitted to christian baptism ; and surely no nation exists without a large proportion of children, such as Christ condescended to take up in his arms, to put his hands upon them, and to bless them".

As however all the transactions which

pass

between Christ and his church are mutual, consisting, on his part, of original blessings; on the church's part, of reciprocal duties it is most reasonable that children (of an age so tender, that they can in nowise consent to their baptismal initiation, having been received on the faith of those who presented them) should, as soon as they have obtained any measure of religious knowledge, be called upon, and have opportunities offered them to express,

and publicly declare, in an open and solemn manner, their full consent and agreement to all that was

done

1 St. Matth. xix. 14, St Mark x. 13.

2 Matth. xix. 16.

done to them, and for them, at their baptism-sincerely promising and engaging in their own names, through the daily assistance of promised and expected

grace, that they will abide by their holy profession, and, in their several stations, walk as worthy as they possibly can of the distinguished character imparted to them by the sacrament of regeneration.

This it is which the church has thought fit to conjoin with the ancient rite of confirmation ; at the administration of which, the young christian is called upon to present himself to the Bishop-that, having before him emitted the necessary declaration of his faith, and having undertaken to perform the necessary duties, he may, by solemn imposition of hands, and episcopal benediction, be authoritatively recommended to the further guidance of the Holy Spirit, for continual direction and support, in the race that is set before him. This beneficial and apostolic ordinance, our church, as in duty bound, has carefully retained, and regularly calls upon her young members to receive the benefit • of confirmation, by the laying on of the hands of the Bishop,' that is, the Bishop of the particular diocese, or district, to which they belong : a benefit which we cannot but think of very great consequence to christians, when we find St Paul, in one of his epistles, mentioning it, next to baptism, among the fundamental principles of the doctrine of Christ'. But while we embrace this sacred ordi

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nance

i Heb. vi. 1, 2.

nance, with appropriate veneration, yet' because we see no instituted matter peculiar to it, (for the chrism enjoined by the Romanists, and recommended by some protestants, we do not find to have been of apostolic or primitive usage), we therefore do not admit confirmation into the class of those real sacraments, distinguished by Christ's own express institution.

The benefits of baptism, and the privileges annexed to it, being so many, and so invaluable, we find it resorted to, with the utmost attachment and regard, by the primitive church, and still respected by all who call themselves christians, with the exception of a few silly fanatics, who, notwithstanding their non-compliance, do yet pretend to supply their want of it with something inward, and peculiar to themselves. Indeed the many strange and erroneous notions prevalent, in modern times, on the subject of baptism, are a proof, in so far, of the estimation in which it has been held. And, although the generality of christian parents in this country seem to view the administration of it in no other light than as the prescribed form of giving the child a name; yet this very view of the sacrament, diminutive as it undoubtedly is, has, in all probability, proceeded from the belief, that baptism was enjoined for the

purpose of conferring something upon child, by way of title, something previously unenjoyed, and, properly speaking, not to be enjoyed without it.

The

the

The origin of this idea is to be traced in the very construction of the word baptize. It is an expression derived from the Greek verb βαπτω, , which signifies not, in the general, lavare,' to wash, but, in the restrictive sense, 'tingere,' to dip, to dye, to tingenot only (as we would say) to wash out the old, but to bring on, as it were, a new colour or character. In conformity with this radical meaning of the word, it is not unlikely, that the primitive mode of baptizing, practised by him who bore the name of Baptist, and for some time adopted into christian practice, viz. immersion, or of dipping the candidate into the water, was considered as most significant of the design, and as giving full the apostle's analogy of being buried with Christ • in baptism'.'

scope to

The ancient mode of dipping at baptism, has been, for prudential reasons, long since disused. There is, it is true, a set of Independents who do still plead for the indispensible necessity of it, and there have been found some sincere churchmen, who thought the practice worthy of being re-introduced. But they did not certainly advert to this consideration, so material to the cause which they espoused—whether the baptism was performed by immersion singly, without any additional ceremony, or whether the administrator did not apply the water personally to each individual, by the ceremo

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I Rom. vi. 4. Col. ii. 12.

ny of sprinkling, or of aspersion. This I do believe, there is good ground for asserting, was the

Hence it would follow, that the dipping was an act of choice, while the sprinkling was the act of necessity,

case.

With respect to the analogy noticed by St Paul, with which the act of immersion is supposed to be most conformable, I am led to think, that in no other

way ought this opinion to be coincided with, but by having an eye to the Jewish custom prevalent in the time of St Paul, of letting the body down into sepulchral vaults, or hollow tombs, destined for that purpose. Let it be remembered also, that the current mode of throwing or sprinkling earth

upon the body, when laid in the ground, is equally and fully more naturally represented by the sprinkling of the baptismal water, than by immersion; and it would be, I am satisfied, no harsh conjecture to suppose, that the one of these practices may have originally introduced the other.

In support of the present mode of administration of the initiatory sacrament of our religion, is that expression of the apostle St Peter, “thro' sanctification ' of the spirit unto obedience, and SPRINKLING of the . blood of Jesus Christ'; which blood is also denoted by St Paul to be the · blood of SPRINKLING. For • all things almost are by the law cleansed,

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