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Endured, with much long-suffering, the vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction. Rom. ix, 22.
As many as are under the law, are under the curse.
Gal. iii, 10.
Because of these (sins) cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Eph. v, 6; Col. iii, 6.
Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James i, 15.
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, &c. Rev. vi, 16. Whosoever was not found in the book of life, was cast, &c. Rev. xx, 15.
[Sinners] and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. Rev. xxi, 8.
The punishment of the wicked in hell will never be at an end. When they have endured it for a thousand ages, it will still be the wrath to come. Matt. iii, 7; Luke iii, 7; 1 Thess. i, 10.
You are now taught your wretched state by nature. You are all rebels; rebels on whom sentence is already passed. It is therefore very foolish to speak of degrees of guilt. May God bring the conviction home to your hearts. Your condition however is not hopeless. Mercy is offered. Christ is sent to avert the sentence by his intercession; to open your eyes to your situation; to bring you to repentance, and to reconcile you to your offended God; to set you as pardoned prisoners at liberty, and restore you to the favour you have forfeited. Pray earnestly that you, through faith in him, may be made the children of grace, and thus escape the wrath which hangs over the children of disobedience.
It is difficult to explain how sin entered into the creation, or why God permitted it to deface and destroy the works of his hand, which he had pronounced very good. This, however, is not necessary for us to know.
The existence of sin is beyond a doubt, and no considerate person can avoid feeling that it dwells within him. Collect, 1st Sunday after Trinity --Because through the weak
ness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that we may please thee both in will and in deed.
II. On Baptism.
Who gave you this Name?
My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven,
What is Baptism?
It is an act of dedication to God, being a covenant admission into Christianity, in which, on God's part, all the blessings of the Gospel are made over to the baptized; and the person baptized takes on him, by a solemn profession and vow, to observe and adhere to the whole Christian religion. It is, therefore, a means whereby we receive the grace of Christ, and a pledge to assure us thereof. What is implied in Baptism?
An acknowledgment of our defilement by sin, and of the necessity of our being washed from its pollution. As children are defiled by original sin, being born in the flesh, they are admitted into the outward Church by the ordinance of baptism, wherein they are washed by water, as a type of that inward washing by the Holy Ghost, without which they cannot be members of the true Church.
Need we be baptized more than once?
No. Baptism is the ceremony whereby we obtain admission into the Christian Church; and need not be repeated.
One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Eph. iv, 5.
Was there any ceremony answerable to it among the Jews? Yes; the rite of circumcision, when their children were thus admitted into covenant with God, and names were given to them.
Abram's name was changed to Abraham. Gen. xvii, 5.
Isaac's name was given. Gen. xxi, 3, 4.
John the Baptist's name was given. Luke i, 59, 63.
Our Saviour's name was called Jesus, Luke ii, 21.
Baptism is acknowledged by St. Paul to have succeeded in the place of circumcision, and is now what that institution formerly was.
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, whereby also ye are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God. Col. ii, 11, 12.
In what light are Circumcision and Baptism to be considered?
1. As a seal of spiritual blessings and outward privileges.
Seals are intended for the confirmation or attestation of the agreement entered into by the parties who use them. In this case Baptism vouches the truth of God for the performance of the promises made in his word. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith. Rom. iv, 11.
2. As a sign of regeneration.
So many of us as were baptized unto Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death. Rom. vi, 3.
As Christ died for our sins, so we should die unto sin. As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Gal. iii, 27.
Is it right to baptize children?
Yes, certainly; infants were admitted members of the Church, under the law, by circumcision, which was the only rite of admission either for children or adults. Baptism is the only ordinance in the Christian Church, whereof children can partake, they must therefore be admitted to it, otherwise the dispensation of the gospel must be more limited than that of the law. Children are certainly as capable of receiving the blessings, and fulfilling the duties required of them now, as under the Jewish economy.
The covenant made with Abraham was,
I will be a God to thee and to thy seed. Gen. xvii, 7.
To you and to your children. Acts ii, 39.
Jesus says, speaking of children whom he invited to come to him,
Of such is the kingdom of God, ie. the gospel church. Matt. xviii, 4; xix, 14; Mark x, 14.
'The Apostles baptized whole households, which we must suppose included children.
And when she was baptized, and her household, &c. Acts xvi, 15. And was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Acts xvi, 33.
The child of a believing parent is said by St. Paul to be holy, which could only be, by its being dedicated to God in baptism.
But now are they holy. 1 Cor. vii, 14.
Who ordained baptism?
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them. Matt. xxviii, 18, 19.
He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. Mark xvi, 15,16.
Did our Lord himself baptize?
Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples. John iii, 22, 26; iv, 1, 2.
What is baptism called in the Catechism?
A sacrament, which formerly meant a military oath to be faithful, but which we understand to be "An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." (See the concluding Chapter.)
Words, precepts, and promises, are liable to be forgotten; therefore, in condescension to our weakness, God has vouchsafed to represent the most considerable points of religion in visible ceremonies, that we may the more easily understand the things represented, and keep in our minds a remembrance of the things signified. Thus sacrifices were appointed to Adam, circumcision to Abraham, and various significant ceremonies to the Jews. What is the outward visible sign or form in baptism?
Water; wherein the person is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Why are we baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
To shew we believe in, and rest for salvation on their work, acknowledging the Father as our Creator, the Son as our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost as our Sanctifier. What does water represent to us?
The cleansing of the soul from sin by the blood of Christ. Water is used to purify us, and it is therefore a very proper emblem of the refreshing provisions of the Gospel, and of the purifying influences of the Spirit.
will I sprinkle clean water, and ye shall be clean. Ezek. <xxvi, 25, 37.
ye are washed, but ye are sanctified. 1 Cor. 6, 11.
What is the inward and spiritual grace?
A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness. We were dead in trespasses and sins in our natural state; in our regenerate state we should be alive unto righteousness. We should retain no love for sin, and whenever we feel it rising within us, we should strive against it, and pray to God to enable us to conquer it. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Rom. vi, 2.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Rom. vi, 7.
Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead unto sin, Rom. vi, 11. By whom the world is crucified unto me. Gal. vi, 14.
What do you mean by a new birth unto righteousness?
Receiving a new and divine nature totally opposed to the corrupt nature we derived from Adam. The hearts and affections of those who are thus born again, are set upon God, and their constant desire is to please and obey him. Which were born not of the will of man, but of God. John i, 13, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God. John iii, 3, 5.
You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses. Eph. ii, 1, And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Eph. iv, 23, 24. Being born again-by the word of God. 1 Pet. i, 23.
That we being dead to sine, should live unto righteousness. 1 Pet. ii, 24.
Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin. 1 John iii, 9. Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world. 1 John v, 4. Renew a right spirit within me. Ps. li, 10.
Do all baptized persons partake of this inward grace?
No: Children may receive the Holy Ghost, in answer to the prayers offered for them at their baptism; but the outward sign will not profit those who live and die without the inward grace.
Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart.
Deut. x, 16. Mark xvi, 16.
Abraham was circumcised after he became a believer; Ishmael was circumcised, who never believed; and Isaac was thus initiated into the Church when he was only eight days old, and of course before he believed.
The belief here required, is a personal application to Jesus. It is not enough to confess him with our mouth, but our hearts must also be influenced, (Rom. x, 9.) otherwise our faith will be of as little avail as that of Simon Magus.