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learn to consider this appointment with respect and gratitude ; for it teaches us by a striking sign fome of the most important doctrines, truths, and duties of our religion.
Who are the proper subjects of this baptism, will be a matter of inquiry in another place. Generally it is to be received by all who confess that Jesus is the Christ; who avow belief in his religion, and give credible evidence of fincerity in their profession, that they are the real disciples of Christ. Such persons may enjoy the rite for themselves and their infant feed.
3. With regard to the mode of administering the ordinance of baptism. It is the application of water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, or in compliance with the command of Christ. This is essential to christian baptism, which being once performed is not to be repeated to satisfy the mistaken notions of baptized persons. *
* Some persons who have once received baptism have expressed a wish to receive it again and been urgent in their application. There is nothing in the nature of the ordi, nance or the terms in which it is prescribed, favourable to the opinion that baptism is ever to be repeated. It is a form of initiation into Christ's church, though vicious members are to be cast out of the church, there is no inti. mation given in the scriptures that when fo admitted they are to be baptized again, 2 Cor. ii. 68. Baptism is an outward sign of being in covenant with God; a token of obligation on the persons 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, observes Dr. Burnet, is that we are all baptized into one body, we are made members one
4. Would we prove ourselves the true disciples of Christ, let us feel and testify an unshaken attachment to all divine institutions. We should efteem them. We should love them. We should constantly and diligently attend upon them. Ordi. nances are the helps to salvation, provided by a wise and gracious God. Their appointment displays his love and grace, his goodness and patience, his wisdom and condescension. Let our eye be to God, to bless and fanctify to us all the means of religion, which he has ordained.
of another, 1 Cor. xii. 13. We are admitted to the society of christians, and to all the rights and privileges of that body, which is the church. And in order to this, the outward action of baptism when regularly gone about is sufficient; a second end of baptism is internal and spiritual, it represents regeneration, Tit. iii. 5. our being dead to fin, and buried with Christ and our being risen 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 baptism follow it as outwardly performed; but that the inward effects of it follow upon the inward acts. This difference is to be observed between inward acts and outward actions, that when the outward action is rightly performed, the baptism must be considered good ; and not to be renewed, but if any one has been wanting in the inward acts, those
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 neceffaty of baptism, fome seem to have laid too great, a stress upon it, as if it were absolutely necessary in order to salvation, 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 instheution of Christ, and that it is the will of Christ that he should fubje&t himself to it, in such 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 baptism. All parents should 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 seek 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 rest, till you have obtained reasonable evidence that you are meet for gospel ordinances. It is a mournful thought, that so many live in the total neglect of this edifying and holy facrament of baptism. Either they do not seek to know the will of God, or knowing, they disregard it. Unbaptized children! Unbaptized parents! Unbaptized youth! Do not contemn or postpone a compliance with your christian obligations. Behold now is the accepted time ; now is the day of salvation. Today if ye. will hear his voice; there may be no morrow for you ; no more time no more feasons of
grace. From what hath been said, let all who have enjoyed the ordinance of baptism, feel the facred bonds thereof, and seek divine grace to enable them to live up to their baptismal 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 houses :-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 such parents, far- .
ther examine their own hearts and ways, and see if they gave up their Children, in the baptismal 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 baptism, when they look on their dear infant flock, feel a deep sense of their sin, in the neglect of their duty to them : and so pity, and so love them, as to come forward, and give them up to God in baptism.--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 discourse is chiefly derived from two Sermons of NATHAN Perkins, D. D. ena titled, “ Baptism by water not a piece of superstition ; but appointed by Jesus Chrif,” and a Discourse on the Divine Institution of Water Baptism, by MOSES HEMMENwAr, D.D.