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learn to confider this appointment with refpect and gratitude; for it teaches us by a striking fign fome of the most important doctrines, truths, and duties of our religion.
2. Who are the proper fubjects of this baptifm, will be a matter of inquiry in another place. Generally it is to be received by all who confefs that Jefus is the Chrift; who avow belief in his religion, and give credible evidence of fincerity in their profeffion, that they are the real difciples of Christ. Such perfons may enjoy the rite for themselves and their infant feed.
3. With regard to the mode of adminiftering the ordinance of baptifm. It is the application of water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghoft, or in compliance with the command of Chrift. This is effential to christian baptism, which being once performed is not to be repeated to fatisfy the mistaken notions of baptized perfons.*
* Some perfons who have once received baptifm have expreffed a wifh to receive it again and been urgent in their application. There is nothing in the nature of the ordinance or the terms in which it is prefcribed, favourable to the opinion that baptifm is ever to be repeated. It is a form of initiation into Chrift's church, though vicious members are to be caft out of the church, there is no intimation given in the fcriptures that when so admitted they are to be baptized again, 2 Cor. ii. 68. Baptifm is an outward fign of being in covenant with God; a token of obligation on the perfons who have received it to fulfil the conditions of this covenant and to obey the whole law of God, when it is once performed according to the prescribed rules all its outward effects take place, baptism is good and is not to be renewed.
"One of the ends of baptism, obferves Dr. Burnet, is that we are all baptized into one body, we are made members one
4. Would we prove ourselves the true difciples of Chrift, let us feel and testify an unfhaken attachment to all divine inftitutions. We should efteem them. We fhould love them. We fhould conftantly and diligently attend upon them. Ordinances are the helps to falvation, provided by a wife and gracious God. Their appointment difplays his love and grace, his goodness and patience, his wisdom and condefcenfion. Let our eye be to God, to blefs and fanctify to us all the means of religion, which he has ordained.
of another, 1 Cor. xii. 13. We are admitted to the fociety of chriftians, and to all the rights and privileges of that body, which is the church. And in order to this, the outward action of baptifm when regularly gone about is fufficient; a fecond end of baptifm is internal and spiritual, it represents regeneration, Tit. iii. 5. our being dead to fin, and buried with Chrift and our being rifen and quickened with him and made alive to God, Rom. vi. Col. ii. It is a just and natural distinction to say that the outward effects of baptifm follow it as outwardly performed; but that the inward effects of it follow upon the inward acts. This difference is to be obferved between inward acts and outward actions, that when the outward action is rightly performed, the baptifm must be confidered good; and not to be renewed, but if any one has been wanting in the inward acts, thofe may and must be afterwards renewed or exerted and the want made up by repentance and obedience."
It may be proper to fubjoin the following remarks, "as to the neceffity of baptifm, fome seem to have laid too great a ftrefs upon it, as if it were abfolutely neceffary in order to falvation, grounding their argument chiefly on John iii. 5. Mark xvi. 16. Nevertheless it will be readily allowed that for any to abstain from baptism, when he knows or has fufficient means to know that it is an instħution of Chrift, and that it is the will of Chrift that he should fubje&t himself to it, in fuch an act of disobedience to his authority, as is inconsistent with true faith."
Doddridge Lec. page 372, vol. 2.
5. It is the duty of all people to be qualified to enjoy the ordinance of baptifm. All parents fhould fee that they lofe no time, to enjoy it for themselves, if unbaptized, and for their children. What is required of you, dear friends, is to feek and know God; to defire, to know, and do your christian duty; and to honour your Maker and Redeemer in the appointed ways. Give yourselves no reft, till you have obtained reasonable evidence that you are meet for gofpel ordinances. It is a mournful thought, that fo many live in the total neglect of this edifying and holy facrament of baptifm. Either they do not feek to know the will of God, or knowing, they difregard it. Unbaptized children! Unbaptized parents! Unbaptized youth! Do not contemn or poftpone a compliance with your chriftian obligations. Behold now is the accepted time; now is the day of falvation. Today if ye will hear his voice; there may be no morrow for you; no more time-no more feasons of grace.
6. From what hath been faid, let all who have enjoyed the ordinance of baptifm, feel the facred bonds thereof, and feek divine grace to enable them to live up to their baptifmal vows. Let parents who have come forward and had baptism for their Children, and have devoted them, therein, to God, to be his, and for him, bring them up in the ways of Religion-teach them to prayand pray with, and for them in their houfes :-instruct and govern them for God-fet a pious example before them-and teach them their baptifmal dedication-the meaning and import of it, as. above explained, and as a peculiar privilege binding them to be the Lord's. And let fuch parents, far
ther examine their own hearts and ways, and fee if they gave up their Children, in the baptifmal dedication, in outward appearance only, or in sincerity and in truth, hoping and trusting in God's mercy and truth for them.-And let parents who never prepared themselves to bring their Children to God in baptifm, when they look on their dear infant flock, feel a deep fenfe of their fin, in the neglect of their duty to them and fo pity, and so love them, as to come forward, and give them up to God in baptifm.-and let unbaptized youth realize their duty, and never give themselves rest, till they have dedicated themselves to God, in his covenant and baptismal institution, to be his in life, his in death, and his for ever.
N. B. The foregoing difcourfe is chiefly derived from two Sermons of NATHAN PERKINS, D. D. entitled, "Baptifm by water not a piece of fuperftition; but appointed by Jefus Chrift," and a Difcourfe on the Divine Institution of Water Baptifm, by Moses HEMMENWAY, D. D.