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Covenant into which his father entered on his behalt when he was an infant.

As then“ by baptism, administered to infants, we obtain a solemn bond of parents that they shall perform parental duties conscientiously to their children,” it must be evident, that baptism is both to them and the community useful and important.

4. I have a fourth consideration, to prove the importance of this ordinance.-It is this: By baptism the subject is brought in the way of God's covenanted merey. The visible church, which God has engaged to protect and preserve, is the great channel, not only for the transmission of truth, but also for the communication of spiritual benefits. We do not limit the power of the Holy One, nor deny the right of God to scatter his choicest blessings beyond the pale of the visible church. But we do honour God as a consistent Being, as having a regard for his own institutions, and especially for the promises of his grace. And we do appeal to the ordinary course of his providence, to prove that his saving mercy runs in the channel of his church, and of the families of his people, bearing the token of their relation to the church.

Of all these advantages the venerable Synod of Cambridge (1649) had a correct view, and high estimation. In their Platform of Church Discipline, chapt. xii. sec. 7, they say: “ Yet these church members that were so born, or received in their childhood, before they are capable of being made partakers of full communion, have many privileges which others (not church members) have not: They are in covenant with God; have the seal thereof upon them, viz. baptism; and so, if not regenerated, yet are in a more hopeful way of attaining regenerating grace, and all the spiritual blessings both of the covenant and seal : they are also under churchwatch, and consequently subject to the reprehensions, admonitions, and censures thereof, for their healing and amendment, as need shall require."*

There is a manifest reason for this. God has engaged to honour such as honour him. Baptism is a recognition of God's everlasting grace and faithfulness. It honours him as the God of grace : it lays hold on his covenanted mercies : it publicly declares 6 this God is our God, for ever and ever!”

And to such, he is never backward to respond in the mes. sage of his word, and in the dispensation of his grace too, “ These are my people.”

These are great and important privileges and benefits secured by baptism, whatever the present spiritual state of the subject may be in the sight of God. The adult believing subject indeed derives additional, and still more important advantages, from it. To him it is a seal of his ingrafting into Christ -of his interest in that blood which cleanses from all sin, and that grace which sanctifies the depraved, and prepares for glory. It strengthens his faith-it confirms and brightens his hopemit pacifies his con. science—it rejoices his heart. It is the pledge of

* See Mather's Magnalia, vol. t. p. 195.

lais Father's love of his Saviour's grace

of his own salvation.

Thus have we given you, a brief view of the importance and advantages of baptism, not only as it respects adult believers; but also as it respects their tender offspring

And now, we ask, Is it surprising, that it should be very gratifying to the feelings of pious parents to have their children baptized ? The decision of natural parental feeling is in favour of privileges for children; and the decision of sanctified parental feeling must certainly be in favour of religious privileges for children. Yes; the pious parent, who longs for the salvation of his children, whose constant prayer is, “O! that they might live before Thee," brings them, with holy joy and gratitude, to Jesus Christ, in the ordinance of baptism ; that the Master may lay his hands upon them, and bless them. To him, it is one of the choicest exercises of God's house.

If any should wonder and enquire, why I have not noticed the removal of original sin, as one of the important advantages of baptism, when applied to infants ? I bave only to say, in reply, that I am unacquainted with any such doctrine, as taught either in Scripture, or in the standards of our church. Let it rank with the notion, that baptism gives a name to the child, or that it softens down the asperities of its temper, and renders the little creature more tractable and quiet!~Away with saperstition

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and error! They but obscure the splendour, anti' mar the beauty of truth!

Baptism! sprinkling with water! take away sin? It is unreasonable. It is impossible. The dispensation of grace may attend, and no doubt often does attend, the dispensation of ordinances; but there is no radical and inseparable connexion between them. And even if there were, the fact then would be not that baptism takes away sin—but that the grace of God, connected with baptism, produces this effect. But even this will not answer.

We witness too much around us, every day, to stamp this sentiment with falsehood. We have toe many baptized heathen among us to admit this as true. If their original sin was taken away by baptism, how have they become so wicked? Original sin consists of imputed guilt, and inherited depravity; and if original sin be taken away, depravity as well as guilt must be removed. And then, such will grow up, without manifesting that strong propensity to sin, which characterizes other descendants of fallen Adam: Yea, they will grow up, in the full exercise of the feelings and propensities peculiar to holy beings. Did you ever see this?

Parents, do not your eyes do not your aching hearts-give the lie to this most unscriptural sentiment? Baptism is a sign; and not the sign, but the thing signified, takes away sin. Your children, as well as yourselves, must be justified by the righteousness, and sanctified by the grace, of the Lord Jesus; or they will never be freed from sin, nor cleared from the sentence of condemnation, already in force against them, as guilty and depraved creatures!

May God impart to you, and your children, his pardoning meroy and sanctifying grace, through Christ, the Redeemer!

LETTER XIII.

The subject, relating to infant baptism, pressed upon

the consciences of parents— Certain questions proposed for their consideration-Short addresses to. professors, and church-officers.

BELOVED PEOPLE,

The doctrine of baptism has now been placed before you. And as little need be said, by way of improvement, in relation to the baptism of adults, which is not of frequent occurrence among us; I design in this paper to press upon your consciences such considerations, relating to infant baptism, as to me appear solemn and important.

That the ordinance is very imperfectly understood, and greatly abused among us, is too manifest to be denied.

A great, and almost unconquerable desire to have children baptized prevails; while, so far as I can ascertain, but very few are anxious to discover the

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