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OUR PRIVILEGES AND DUTIES CONNECTED
WITH OUR BAPTISM.
ROMANS 6. 3, 4.
“ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death : that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
The beginning of the Church Catechism, now to be explained, consists of the first four questions and answers, extending to the Apostles' Creed. And the first remark which I have to make is this, that this first part of the Catechism refers both our privileges and our duties to our baptism. In other words, it refers us to our baptism, as the ordinance through which we derive our admission to the blessings of the Gospel, and our obligation to live a Christian life.
It is with this object in view that the Catechism begins with asking, “ What is your name ?” It is in order to lead to the next question, “ Who gave you this name?” It is in order to suggest this answer,“ My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism.” And our baptism being thus brought before our minds, we are immediately taught to say of it, “ wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” Here our great Christian privileges are all evidently referred to our baptism. In the third question and answer, our great Christian duties are no less evidently referred to the promises made for us when we were baptized: “What did your godfathers and godmothers then for you? They did promise and vow three things in my name.” And these things which they promised being next stated, we are taught, in the fourth question and answer, to profess, that we hold ourselves bound to believe and to do, according to the promises made for us.
First then, I say, observe, that you are taught in the Church Catechism, to trace
you call to
up the enjoyment of your Christian privileges, and the obligation of your Christian duties, to the baptism, wherewith you
have been once for all baptized. And next listen to the text, and mark whether St. Paul does not here amply warrant the teaching of the Church. You will listen to the text with more profit, if mind the drift of the whole passage in which it occurs.
Remember therefore, that in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul is occupied with setting forth the blessedness of being justified by faith, and the abundance of God's grace in our redemption through Christ Jesus. Remember that he begins this sixth chapter by asking, “ What shall we say then ? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (ver. 1.) That is to say, he
proposes to argue against the abuse of the good tidings of great joy set forth in the preceding chapter; he proposes to confute the foolish reasoning of those, who think that they may sin the more safely, by reason of God's mercy in forgiving sinners. “God forbid,” thus he begins his
argument, “God forbid, how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?” (ver. 2.) And the force of the argument, thus briefly stated, appears in the two next verses, which form the text of this discourse. For these verses shew us, both what St. Paul means by our being “ dead to sin,” and how this is to hinder us from living any longer therein.
“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Have we then been baptized ? Have we been baptized “into Jesus Christ;" into the hope of redemption by Him, into the adoption of grace by his name? Let us know that we have also been baptized “ into his death.” pledged by that ordinance to die to sin, as well as privileged to hope for glory. And accordingly the apostle goes on to argue, that our old man was then crucified with Christ,“ that the body of sin might be de