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I am fully persuaded, that none of you can be so ignorant as to suppose, that this
the conditions of that covenant, if you bear in mind that God himself appointed, that under the Old Testament dispensation, children, should be entered into covenant with him, by the sacrament of Circumcision, when they were only eight days old. Now the Christian sacrament of Baptism appears to stand in the place of the Jewish sacrament of Circumcision; like that it is the instituted means of entering into covenant with God; and certainly there is no reason why it should not be administered at an equally early age. Little children, we know, are in the Gospel peculiarly invited to come to Christ, who “ was much displeased with those who “ would have kept them from him. Suffer little
children," said he, " to come unto me, and forbid “ them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” If children were capable of being the peculiar objects of Christ's care and attention, and peculiarly fitted to be members of his kingdom, surely they are capable of being admitted into covenant with him by Baptism. When we read of the Apostles baptizing whole households, it is fair to infer that the chil. dren in their families were not excluded. Again, St. Paul represents the children of believing parents as being holy; and if holy, certainly not incapable of being made members of the Church of God. by Baptism ; but probably called holy for this very reason, because they had been sanctified or made holy by the washing of regeneration. For all these rea
glorious inheritance, in the case, I mean, of those who come to years of discretion, is forced upon us, whether we will accept it or not. You all well know, that the title to it is conferred, upon the condition of our fulfilling our part of the agreement; upon the condition that we adhere to the vow and promise into which we then entered. And I am persuaded also, that you cannot help seeing, that if a man of mature years lives in the neglect of his baptismal vow, his baptism, so far from being of any use to him, must rather increase his condemnation ; must increase it, inasmuch as he is guilty of despising the offered mercy of God, guilty of deserting or drawing back from a solemn vow. I am satisfied, that you cannot help seeing, and allowing this. Suffer me then to direct your attention to a few particulars in your vow of baptism, and to intreat you to consider seriously,
sons, supported by the constant and uniform practice of the Church of Christ from the earliest agés, we hold in the language of the 27th Article, that " the baptism of young children is in any wise to be “ retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the
institution of Christ."
whether you have kept it or not. This I am sensible is a trite and common subject, but there is no subject more useful, no subject which more requires to be again and again insisted on..
You engaged then, in the first place, " to 66 renounce the devil and all his works; the 66 pomps and vanity of this wicked world; 66 and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.” Have you adhered to this engagement ? Have you in reality thus renounced the three great enemies of man's salvation ?
The devil you know is the author of sin. His peculiar works are pride, envy, malice, lying, and tempting men to transgress against God. Have you carefully avoided all these works of the devil ? To be lifted up with pride especially is the way “ to fall * into the condemnation of the devil b »» Are we free from pride ? Are we humble in mind, and lowly in our behaviour, both towards God and man? Again ; envy is said by a wise though uninspired writer to be one of the characteristics of the great enemy; 6 through envy of the devil sin
51 Tim. iii. 6...
" entered into the worldi." Do we ever secretly repine at the good which happens to a neighbour? When we see another, whom our pride perhaps tempts us to regard as less deserving than ourselves, in prosperous circumstances, and getting on in the world, while we continue in a poor and low condition, do we feel no lurking grudge, no emotion of envy? Do
feel no such emotions when you see or hear of a poor neighbour partaking of bounty, from which you derive no benefit? If you have not forsaken the works of the devil.
To bear any malice or hatred in our hearts; to wish to be revenged upon those, who, as we think, have injured us, is to partake of the character of him, who is made up of malice, and who “was a mur“ derer from the beginningk.” If, therefore, you wish to keep your baptismal vow, avoid carefully every feeling of hatred or malice, every desire of
desire of revenge. Nothing is more directly the work of the devil than lying; for he, we are told by our Lord, “is a liar, and the father of lies!.” Wisdom ii. 24. k John viii. 44.
If ever therefore you are guilty of lying ; if either the fear of suffering, or the hope of gain, or any other motive whatever, should induce you to be guilty of wilful falsehood, you are guilty of doing one of the works of the devil, and consequently of breaking your baptismal vow.
Still more, if possible, are you chargeable with this guilt, if, not content with sinning against God yourself, you do the office of the tempter, and try to prevail on others to do what you and they know to be wrong; if you
seduce them into drunkenness, or unchastity, or profaneness, or any other violation of the divine law.
You renounce, in the second place," the pomps and vanity of this wicked world.” The world has numberless methods of tempting us to desert our fidelity to God. I will not pretend to mention them all, but will call your attention to one or two of the most dangerous of them. Do we then never fall in with the stream, with the common practice and manners of those around us, without considering whether it is warranted or not by the commandments of God? Do we never suffer the dread of the