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one way whereby you can be so, namely, by Jesus Christ, opens to you very fully what that salvation is, and what, as a Cliristian, lies on your part, that you may have the whole benefit of it. You are not, therefore, to look here for any proofs of your
being by nature born in sin, and a child of wrath ;” it tells you, upon God's authority, that you are so, and supposes you sensible of it; nor does it go about to convince you by arguments that there is no other name under heaven whereby you must be saved, but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; that, as an instruction provided in the visible church professing the name of Christ, it sets forth as a truth not to be questioned. It is simply an instruction for lost sinners in the way of salvation that is in Jesus Christ; and whoever doth not know himself a fallen lost creature, and desire salvation by Christ Jesus only, can get no saving good from it.-I observe further, for the better understanding the scope of the Catechism,
Thirdly.—That it sets forth faith as the means of our being made effectually partakers of the salvation that is in Christ, namely, that true faith, which engages to a renunciation and forsaking of all the ways of sin, and is a principle of obedience to God's holy will and commandments, and actually enables to the one and the other of these, by the grace of God waited for and given in the use of prayer and the sacraments. And further, that it also sets out baptism as the first sealing ordinance, confirming all the promises of God unto us upon such our faith, and giving us what may perhaps be called a charter-title, which will have obligatory force when we do so believe, and, in the mean time, calls upon us to do so. This is the substance of the Church Catechism, and may show you the general plan upon which it is drawn up, namely, that since we are fallen and lost creatures, and God has prepared salvation for us in Jesus Christ, the only way we can have that salvation effectually ours is by a true faith begotten in us by the Holy Spirit, powerful to the mortification of sin, and enabling us to live unto God. This is the Christian covenant sealed by baptism, and this view of it accounts for the several parts of the Church Catechism ; namely,
1.-The union of true believers with Christ, and therein their adoption to be God's children in this life, and title to an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven hereafter.
2.-The baptismal vow, which is a solemn profession of faith in God through Jesus Christ wrought by the operation of the Holy Ghost; of their renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh; and of their obligation and purpose to keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of their life.
3.—Prayer and the sacraments: the former, for confirming this faith in us; the latter, for assuring to us the promises of God in Christ upon such our faith, as also for building us up therein. In these three things lies the whole substance of the Catechism : whereby you see that the merit of Christ is the cause of all hope towards, and acceptance with, God; and faith in him the only way or means of our being made partakers thereof.
Having now ascertained the scheme upon which the Catechism of the church of England is planned, I come to speak of the first part of it above mentioned, the privileges sealed to believers in baptism ; namely, they are therein made, in a covenantway,
members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.” These privileges are sealed to believers in baptism : and, if only to believers, how then are they said to belong to infants who are incapable of faith, while, nevertheless, children are taught to say, that in their baptism they were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven? We allow the baptizing of infants, because we judge we have God's warrant and command for it; and inasmuch as the children of parents professing themselves Christians are relatively and federally a holy seed (the promise evidently and expressly reaching unto them as well as their parents); inasmuch as by baptism they are made members of the visible church, and have a right to all the external privileges of the church equally with any others ; and inasmuch as also, when they are brought to baptism, they do make profession of the true faith by their proxies; therefore here, as well as in the office for baptizing infants, they are spoken of, in common with all others who have partaken of baptism, as believers and regenerate, and, consequently, as having a sealed right in all the blessings of the covenant of
say, for these reasons they are spoken of as true believers and regenerate persons ; not that they actually are so, or indeed can be, till the gift of God, namely, faith, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, through the hearing of the word, shall be granted unto them ; when (and not before, though baptized) they are effectually made living members of Christ, children of God, and heirs of heaven; and when their baptism comes to have its full force, sealing and confirming to them all the blessings of the Gospel as theirs in the most absolute and complete manner. Yet, in the mean time, since infants, children of Christian parents, have by birth a title to Christian privileges, so far forth as their case requires, and since by their baptism they are admitted into the number of God's professing people, therefore, though by their baptism they may not be said to have these privileges, in a covenant-way, sealed to them as theirs in the proper power and influence of that initiating scal ; yet thereby they have what, for distinction-sake, I may
be allowed to call a charter-title to them; their name is by baptism put into the charter-grant of Christian privileges, which they may plead, as fully engaging a gracious and faithful God to them, whenever they attain unto true faith. Now such their charter-right to the great blessings of being made, in this way, by baptism, members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, they are here put in mind of; and that with this design, that being sensible of the greatness of these blessings, and of the right they have in them, if they make use of it, they may be immediately stirred up to do so.—And in order to their being moved hereunto as they grow in years, it is first the duty of parents, sponsors, and ministers, to explain to them, and, secondly, of the young persons themselves to consider, the importance of these Gospel blessings, and the right they have in them, to the end that by a true faith, fruitful of Ciospel holiness, they may be brought by the grace of God to make out their claim to them as good and effectual.
First. It is the duty of parents, sponsors, and ministers, to cylain unto chihlren, as they become capable of understanding them, the great importance of these Gospel privileges, and the right they have in them, in order to more them unto the making out their claim and right br true faith and repentance. It is a justien we owe to Christ, to our little ones, to our own souls, that we should take every measure for instructing them in,
and for recommending to them, the excellency of these blessings. The incomparable value we set upon them ourselves, evident before our children in the influence they have on our whole conduct, should teach them; and our carefulness in taking every opportunity of opening to them the sense and force of these riches of Christ, should be perpetually exciting them to make their interest in them sure. Whether parents, sureties, or ministers, (and indeed the same may be said of the whole church,) we should be by conduct and instruction explaining and recommending to them what a glorious thing it is to be a member of Christ, joined to the Son of God the Saviour, the only Saviour of the world, in whom there is all we can want or wish, all the treasures of pardon, grace, and glory; a child of God; no longer a child of wrath, an outcast from the divine favour, an object of God's displeasure, but a child of the high and living God, a child whom he loves with that infinite tenderness which is peculiar to himself; a child whom he does and will care for; whom he loves to keep in his everlasting arms, and delights to have continually in his sight ; "an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven;" a child, and therefore an heir, no longer an heir of hell, as once when he was not in Christ, but now an heir of the everlasting kingdom of heaven; an heir, growing up to the possession of his inheritance every day; an heir, who shall shortly be in his Father's house and family, past death, past sin, past sorrow, happy, blessed, glorious for ever and ever. I say, it is our duty to explain and recommend these glorious things to our little ones, and by all possible means to stir them up unto the suing for that faith, by means of which, great as these blessings are, they shall be made effectually theirs.
Secondly. It is the duty of all young persons, who are called to these important blessings, seriously to lay them to heart, as they become capable of doing so ; and continually to pray unto God to give them grace, that by a true faith their title in them may be made good and effectual. Dear children, I beseech you, , endeavour to be sensible yourselves how great these blessings are, and how much you need them. Do not you know that you are by nature born in sin and children of wrath? Can you think anything in the whole world so terrible as that natural state of yours? And will ye be willing to continue in it?
What! are ye willing that God shall be angry with you all the while you live, and, when you die, cast you into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone ? God forbid this should be your case. No; there are better things prepared for you. God has sent his only-begotten Son from heaven to save you from this state of sin and wrath. And God hath called you to partake of all this salvation, and given you, as it were under his hand, a right to it, if ye use that right. And will ye not use it ? O, my dear children, what a blessed thing will it be for you to have Christ for your Christ! O, if ye once have but Christ for your Christ, ye need fear nothing! Only get Christ, and ye will fear nothing. Ye will not fear the devil, though he be the roaring lion, that walketh about seeking to devour you. Ye will not fear death, which everybody else is afraid of. And then ye will not fear thunder nor lightning, nor any other thing ye are now so much afraid of. No; if ye have Christ once, ye will fear nothing: for then God will be your Father. And you know God is able to do for you, for he made everything. And if he be your Father, then to be sure he loves you ; yes, a great deal more than your own father and mother, and he will do everything for you, and will not suffer you to be hurt by anything. And do not you know that God never dies, though you do? He will be alive when you are dead; and, if you belong to Christ, he will give you a far better world than this is ; pleasures a great deal better than any you can have here; and everything better, without comparison. Why, heaven will be yours. 0, I am thinking how happy ye will be when ye get to heaven! There ye will be like the angels of God; there ye will be glorified saints; there ye will stand at the right hand of God; (and who then shall be able to hurt you ?) there ye will be singing praises to God, with thousands of thousands of saints and angels; there ye will not die any more, nor be sick any more, nor be afraid of anything any more. And how long will ye be there ? Not for a little while, but
0, how happy will ye be when ye get to heaven! Now, therefore, think of these things, my dear children. Do not let the love of play and pleasure make you forget them. Christ is far better for you than all the pleasure and all the play, nay, than all the fine clothes, and all the fine sights, and all the fine things in the world together.