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of; and made the Children of God, by Faith in Jesus Chrift*.
Indeed not only Chriftians, but the Jews, are called in Scripture the Children of God; and fuch they really were; being firft, as Chriftians were afterwards, the Children of his Covenant". But ftill, as theirs was a State of lefs Knowledge, more burthenfome Precepts, and ftricter Government; the Apoftle fpeaks of them, compared with us, only as Servants in his Family. Now I fay, that the Heir, as long as he is a Child, differeth nothing from a Servant, though he be Lord of all. Even fo we, fpeaking of the Jewish Nation, when we were Children, unqualified for any great Degrees of Liberty, were in Bondage under the Elements of the World. But when the Fulness of Time was come, God fent forth his Son to redeem them, that were under the Law. Wherefore we are no more Servants but Sons". Behold then, as St. John expreffes it, what Manner of Love the Father hath betowed upon us, that we should be called, in this diftinguifhed Senfe, the Sons of God; efpecially confidering the Confequence drawn by St. Paul, If Children, then Heirs; Heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Chrift: which
3. Third and laft Privilege of Baptifm, and completes the Value of it, that by entering into the Chriftian Covenant we are made Inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven; that is, entitled to perfect and endless Happinefs in Body and Soul. Had we continued in the primitive Uprightness of our first Parents, and never finned at all, we could have had no Claim, but from God's free Promife, to any Thing more, than that our Being should not be worfe to us than not Being. But as we are originally depraved, and have actually finned, far from having any Claim to Happiness, we are liable to juft Punishment for ever. And leaft of all could we have any Claim to fuch Happiness, as eternal Life and Glory. But bleffed be the God and Father of our Lord k Gal. iii. 26. Deut. xiv. 1. m Acts iii. 25. n Gal. iv. 1, 3, 4, 7. ? 1 John iii. 1. Jefus
P Rom. viii. 17.
Jefus Chrift: who of his abundant Mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively Hope; to an Inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, referved in Heaven for us.
These then are the Privileges of the Chriftian Covenant. As for thofe, who have no Knowledge of that Covenant; the Apostle hath told us indeed, that as many as have finned without Law, shall perish without Law": but he hath told us alfo, that when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by Nature the Things contained in the Law, they are a Law unto themfelves. And whether none of them fhall attain to any Degree of a better Life, is no Concern of ours; who may well be contented with the Affurance, that our own Lot will be a happy one beyond all Comparison, if we please. He, who hath fhewn the Abundance of his Love to us, will undoubtedly fhew, not only his Justice, but his Mercy, to all the Works of his Hands, as far, and in fuch Manner, as is fit. There is indeed, none other Name under Heaven, given among Men, whereby we must be faved, but that of Jefus Chrift. But whether they, who have not had in this Life the Means of calling upon it, shall receive any Benefit from him; or if any, what and how; as neither Scripture hath told us, nor Reason can tell us, it is prefumptuous to determine, and ufelefs to inquire.
The Points, to which we must attend, are thofe, which relate to ourselves: that we give due Thanks to the Father, who hath made us meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light"; and be duly careful to walk worthy of God, who hath called us to his Kingdom and Glory". For we have a Right to the Privileges of the Covenant, only on the Suppofition and Prefumption of our performing the Obligations of it. Children indeed of Believers, who are taken out of the World before they become capable of Faith and Obedience, we doubt not, are happy. For the general Declarations r Rom. ii. 12. $ Ibid. viii. 14. Acts iv. 10, 120
• 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. "Col, i, 12
w 1 Theff. ii. 12.
of holy Writ plainly comprehend their Cafe: and our Saviour hath particularly declared, that of fuch is the Kingdom of God. But all, who live to maturer Years; as, on the one Hand, they may entitle themselves, through God's bountiful Promife, though not their own Merit, to higher Degrees of future Felicity, in Proportion as their Service hath been confiderable; fo on the other, they are entitled to no Degree at all, any longer than they practife that Holiness, in which they have engaged to live, and without which no Man fhall fee the Lordy. We fhall be acknowledged as Children, only whilft we obey our heavenly Father: and the Baptifm, which faveth us, is not the outward putting away of the Filth of the Flefh, but the inward Anfwer of a good Confcience towards God. Which therefore that we may all of us be able always to make, may he of his infinite Mercy grant, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
Renunciation in Baptifm.
FTER the Privileges, to which Baptifm gives us a Claim, our Catechifm proceeds to fet forth the Duties, to which it binds us: thofe Things, which our Godfathers and Godmothers promifed and vowed in our Names. For without the Performance of these Conditions, neither hath God engaged, nor is it confiftent with the Holinefs of his Nature and the Honour of his Government, to beftow fuch Benefits upon us : nor indeed fhall we be capable of receiving them. For a virtuous and religious Temper and Behaviour here, is abfolutely requifite, not only to entitle, but to qualify and prepare us for a virtuous and religious Bleffednefs hereafter, fuch as that of Heaven is.
Mark x. 14. Luke xviii. 16.
* Heb. xii.
z 1 Pet. iii. 21. Now
Now thefe Conditions, or Obligations on our Part, are three that we renounce what God forbids; that we believe what he teaches, and do what he commands; or, in other Words, Repentance, Faith, and Obedience. Thefe Things are plainly neceffary; and they are plainly all that is neceffary: for as, through the Grace of God, we have them in our Power; fo we have nothing more. And therefore they have been conftantly, and without any material Variation, expreffed in Baptifm from the earliest Ages of the Church to the present.
The first Thing, and the only one which can be explained at this Time, is, that we renounce what God forbids, every Sin of every Kind. And this is put first, because it opens the Way for the other two. When once we come to have a due Senfe that we are Sinners, as all Men are, and perceive the Bafenefs, the Guilt, the Mifchief of Sin, we fhall fly from it, with fincere Penitence, to the Remedy of Faith which God hath appointed. And when we in earnest resolve to forfake whatever is wrong, we fhall gladly embrace all fuch Truths as will direct us right, and do what they require. But whilst we retain a Love to any Wickedness, it will make us, with respect to the Doctrines of Religion, backward to receive them, or unwilling to think of them, or defirous to interpret them unfairly: and with refpect to the Duties of Religion, it will make our Conduct unequal and inconfiftent; perplexing us with filly Attempts to reconcile Vice and Virtue, and to atone perhaps by Zeal in little Duties for Indulgence of great Faults; till at laft we fhall either fall into an open Course of Tranfgreffion, or, which is equally fatal, contrive to make ourselves eafy in a secret one. The only effectual Method therefore is to form a general Refolution at once, though we shall execute it but imperfectly and by Degrees, of following in every Thing the Scripture Rule, Ceafe to do evil, learn to do well.
Hence our Saviour, fpeaking of John Baptift, tells the Jews, Yerepented not, that ye might believe him. Matth. xxi. 32.
* Ifai, i. 16, 17.
Now the Evil, from which we are required to cease, is also ranged in our Catechifm under three Heads. For whatever we do amifs, proceeds either from the fecret Suggestions of an invifible Enemy, from the Temptations thrown in our Way by the vifible Objects around us, or from the bad Difpofitions of our own Nature: that is, from the Devil, the World, or the Flesh. And though every one of thefe, in their Turns, may incline us to every Kind of Sin; and it is not always either eafy or material to know, from which the Inclination proceeded originally: yet fome Sins may more ufually flow from one Source, and fome from another; and it will give us a more comprehenfive, and, fo far at least, a more useful View of them, if we confider them each diftin&tly.
1. First then, we renounce in Baptifm the Devil and all bis Works. This, in the primitive Ages, was the only Renunciation made: the Works of the Devil being understood to fignify, as they do in Scripture, every Sort of Wickedness: which being often fuggefted by him, always acceptable to him, and an Imitation of him, was juftly confidered as fo much Service done him, and Obedience paid him. But the Method now taken, of renouncing the Devil, the World and the Flesh separately, is more convenient, as it gives us a more particular Account of our feveral Enemies.
What we are taught concerning the Devil, and Demons or wicked Spirits, in the Word of God, is, that a Number of Angels, having finned against their Maker, (from what Motives, or in what Inftances, we are not, as we need not be, clearly told, but) so as to be utterly unfit for Pardon, were cast out from Heaven, and are kept under fuch Confinement as God fees proper, till the Day comes, when the final Sentence, which they have deserved, fhall be executed upon them: but that, in the mean Time, being full of all Evil, and void of all Hope, they malicioufly endeavour to make thofe, whom they can, wicked and miferable, like themselves. And being all united under one Head, and actuated by