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to the prayers offered for them at their baptism ; but the outward sign will not profit those who live and die without the inward grace. Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart. Deut. x. 16. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. Mark xvi. 16.
Abraham was circumcised after he became a believer; Ishmael was circumcised, who probably never believed; and Isaac was thus initiated into the Church when he was only eight days old, and of course before he believed.
The belief here required is a personal application to Jesus. It is not enough to confess him with our mouth, but our hearts must also be influenced, (Rom. x. 9,) otherwise our faith will be of as little avail as that of Simon Magus. Then Simon himself believed also, and was baptized. Acts Peter said to him-Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter :
for thy heart is not right with God. Acts viii. 21. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized ?
(viz. Cornelius, and his family.) Acts X. 44. 47. Circumcision is that of the heart. Rom. ii. 25. 29. In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor un
circumcision, but a new creature. Gal. vi. 15. “What is required of persons to be baptized ?"
“Repentance, whereby they forsake sin: and Faith, whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God made to them in that Sacrament.” " Why then are infants baptized, when by reason of their
tender age they cannot perform them " “ Because they promise them both, viz. repentance and faith, by their sureties," (or sponsors,) who are called upon to see that the children be brought up in a religious manner.* As persons in any agreement are bound by the engagements of their representatives, and receive the benefits of the contract; so in the baptismal covenant, children promise repentance and faith by their sureties, “which promise, when they come to age, themselves are bound to perform.” Article 25.-In such only as worthily receive the same, the sa
craments have a wholesome effect or operation.
All baptized persons do not partake of the blessings attending baptism, because they do not all repent and beljeve. For man having broken his baptismal promise to
* See note at the end of the chapter, page 12.
God, God is freed from the performance of the promises he made at baptism to man. What does the Catechism say we are made in baptism ?
Members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. What is it to be a member of Christ?
It is to be united to him, as the branch is to the vine, and as the members are to the body, Christ being the head. It is to be a member of his church, which is his body:
-The church which is his body. Eph. i. 22, 23. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
1 Cor. xii. 27. This union is obtained by faith in Christ, and in baptism we make a profession of it, and receive the outward sign of it. Yield your members as instruments of righteousness. Rom.
vi. 13. What is it to be a child of God ?
It is to be adopted into his family, treated as a son, and to be trained up for his kingdom. If his children keep not my law. Ps. lxxxix. 30, &c. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the
sons of God. John i. 12. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons
of God. Rom. viii, 14. I-will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor, vi. 18. Be ye followers of God, as dear children. Eph. v. 1. Behold what manner of love to be called sons of God. 1 John
iii. 1. Every one that loveth is born of God. 1 John iv. 7. What is it to be an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven?
It is to have a title to the kingdom of heaven, founded on the promises of God, in Christ Jesus, to his children ; and, after death, to obtain possession of the inheritance. Come, ye children of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared
for you, &c. Matt. xxv. 34. I go to prepare a place for you. John xiv. 2, 3. The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor.
vi. 9. If children, then heirs-heirs of God. Rom. viii. 17. The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a ser
vant. Gal. iv. 1. Who hath begotten us again to an inheritance, &c. 1 Pet.
i. 3, 4.
Collect, for the Circumcision of Christ.-Grant us the true cir
cumcision of the Spirit, that our hearts and all our members being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will.
NOTE. THE OBLIGATIONS AND DUTIES OF SPONSORS. It is an error to suppose that the promises of baptisrn are made by spon. sors in their own name or behalf. “The whole engagement,” Bishop Griswold remarks, “is made in the name of the child, and nothing more or less is required or intended. The sponsor expresses audibly that engagement which baptism lays upon the infant. ... They act as agents for another in the performance of a charitable work;' and what they engage is not for themselves, but for the child only:... they promise to perform no. thing : . not even that they will teach the child religion, or bring him up in the faith and fear of God. But it is highly necessary that this should by some one or more be done; in the nature of the thing it is most proper, and it is generally expected, that they who present the child to baptism should see to the performance of this most essential duty. And accordingly the church as she ought enjoins it upon them, it is your parts and duties to see that this infant be taught,' &c. ... This is no part of their verbal engagement, but in the reason of the thing, as also from the authority of the church and the general understanding of Christians, it justly rests upon them, and would so rest, though no responses were made."- Bishop Griswold's Pastoral Address to the Members of the P. E. Church in the Eastern Diocese."
With respect to the authority of sponsors thus to act in behalf of in. fants, and the obligation of their acts upon those whom they represent, Archbishop Secker remarks,
“Certainiy, we are not bound to do whatever any other person shall take upon to promise in our name. But if the thing promised be part of an agreement advantageous to us, we are plainly bound in point of interest, and indeed of conscience too, for we ought to consult our own happiness. Even by the laws of men, persons unable to express their consent are yet presumed to consent to what is for their own good; and obligations are understood to lie upon them from such presumed consent for ever: especially if there be a representative acting for them who is empowered so to do. And parents are empowered by nature to act for their children: and by Scripture to do it in this very case; and therefore may employ others to do it under them.”-Lectures on the Catechism, p. 36, of the first American edition ; published at Columbus, Ohio, by J. N. Whiting, to which all the references in this volume, from this author, are made.
You say that Repentance and Faith are required of all who
are baptized : What is Repentance ? A genuine sorrow for having offended God. That sorrow for having done wrong, which is occasioned merely
by the fear of punishment, is not true repentance. A malefactor, who is about to be executed, may be very sorry that he has forfeited his life by his crimes; and a bad man, on his death-bed, may be very sorry that he is to be sent to everlasting torment: and yet, if an opportunity were afforded them, both would return to their old sins, and their sorrow would last no longer than their danger. Real penitents are very frequent and particular in making confessions of their secret sins to God, and do not content themselves with talking much of their own baseness and unworthiness, and of their good intentions, but really forsake sin, and “bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”
The progress of true repentance is admirably illustrated by the parable of the Prodigal Son. It begins with reflection : this leads to self-examination : this ends in conviction, accompanied with faith : these are followed by contrition and sorrow, which settle into hatred and loathing of sin. To constitute such a repentance, there must be a desire of mercy and deliverance; an actual application for it in retirement, by groanings which cannot be uttered; a ceasing to do evil, and a learning to do well; an abounding in the work of the Lord, and an active desire to advance his glory.
The word of God informs us (2 Cor. vii. 10) that godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death ; and we have examples of the effects produced by both kinds, that we may examine ourselves, and know to which class our sorrow, when we have done wrong, belongs.
Examples of what is called “the Sorrow of the World.” Cain. Gen. iv. 13, 14.
Saul. 1 Sam. xv. 30.
Judas. Matt. xxvii. 3.
|Prodigal Son. Luke xv. 12. 18. Manasseh. 2 Chron. xxxiii. 13. Zaccheus. Luke xix. 8.
Ps. xxxii. 3—5; li. Peter went out and wept bitterly. Ephraim. Jer. xxxi. 18.
Luke xxii. 62. Woman who was a sinner. Luke Thief on the cross. Luke xxiii. vii. 37. 46.
40–43. What is the state of mind of a penitent? Turn thou me, and I shall be turned. Jer. xxxi. 18.
That thou mayest remember, and be confounded. Ezek. xvi. 63. And ye shall loathe yourselves—for all your evil. Ezek. xx. 43;
xxxvi. 31. They shall look on me whom they pierced, and mourn. Zech.
xii. 10. Why is repentance necessary for all men ?
1. Because all have sinned. If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me. Job
ix. 20. There is not a just man upon earth, that sinneth not. Eccl.
vii. 20. We are all as an unclean thing. Isa. lxiv. 6. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom.
iii. 23. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. 1 John i. 8.
2. Because God commands it. Turn ye at my reproof. Prov. i. 23. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions.
Ezek. xiv. 6; xviii. 30. Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt. iii. 2;
iv. 17. Repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark i. 15. They went out, and preached that men should repent. Mark
vi. 12. That repentance and remission of sins should be preached.
Luke xxiv. 47. Repent and be baptized, every one of you. Acts ii. 38. Repent, therefore, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts iii. 19. God commandeth all men everywhere to repent. Acts xvii. 30. Repent, and do works meet for repentance. Acts xxvi. 20. Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent. Rev. ii. 5. Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly. Rev. ii. 16. Remember how thou hast received—and repent. Rev. iii. 3.
3. Because conscience tells us so, and all men promise themselves to repent at some future day. Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when
I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. Acts xxiv. 25.
4. Because the mind must be prepared for pardon by repentance, and without there can be no meetness for heaven.
Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke xiii. 3.5. Can a man, of himself, truly repent ?
No: repentance is the gift of God, the purchase of Christ, and the work of the Spirit. Every good and perfect gift is from above. James i. 17. I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Matt. ix. 13. Mark ü. 17. Luke v. 32. Him hath God exalted-to give repentance. Acts v. 31. Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto
life. Acts xi. 18.