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6ibly and lastly, He obferves, that “ sprinkling of water on the face, a part of the body, is a sign sufficient for the whole ; since the nature of the soul appears more in it, and often in fcripture signifies the whole man." But be it so that it does ; sprinkling water on the face is not a sufficient sign for the whole ; for this ordinance represents a burial, and sprinkling a little water is not sufficient for that; the ordinance fo performed cannot be called a burial, or a person said to be buried in it; casting a little earth upon the face of a corps, can never be. sufficient for its burial, or be accounted one.
I have now gone through the consideration of the several arguments of this author, with respect both to the subjects and mode of baptism; should he upon reading this answer, and after he has considered the advice of the wise man, Prov. xxvi. 4, 5. which he proposes to do, think fit to reply, perhaps, upon the like consideration, a rejoinder may be made to what he shall hereafter offer.
A LETTÉR wrote by a Welcb Clergyman on
the Duty of Catechifing Children.
Intended chiefly for the use of Dissenters of the Baptift Denomination in Wales.
WHEREAS Disfenters from the church of England are frequently charged
with schism, and their separation is represented as unreasonable, and they are accounted an obftinate and contentious people; it may be proper to give some reasons why they depart from the Established church; by which it will appear that their separation does not arise from a spirit of fingularity and contention, but is really a matter of conscience with them; and that they have that to say for themselves, which will sufficiently juftify them, and remove the calumnies that are cast upon them ; and our reasons are as follow.
I. We difike the church of England because of its Conftitution, which is human; and not divine : it is called The church of England as by law Establised; not by the law of God, but by the law of man: it is faid to be the best confticuted church in the world, but we like it never the better for its being constituted by men: a church of Christ ought to be constituted as those we read of in the Aits of the Apostles, and not established by Axts of Parliament ; as the articles, worship, and difcipline of the church of England be; a parliamentary church we do nor underftand; Christ's kingdom or church is not of this world; it is not established on worldly maxims, nor supported by worldly power and policy.
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II. We are not satisfied that the church of England is a true church of Christ because of the form and order of it ; which is national, whereas it ought to be congregational, as the first christian churches were ; we read of the church ac Jerusalem, and of the churches in Judza besides, so that there were several churches in one nation, and also of the churches of Macedonia, and likewise of Galatia, and of the fëven churches of Asia, which were in the particular cities mentioned ; yea of a church in an house, which could not be national; there were also the church at Corinth, and another at Cenchrea, a few miles distant from it, and a fea-port of the Corinthians. A church of Christ is a congregation of men who are gathered out of the world by the grace of God, and who separate from it and meet together in some one place to worship God; and to this agrees the definition of a church in the XIX Article of the church of England, and is this ; “ The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faith“ ful men:” which is against herself; for if a congregation, then not a nation; if a congregation then it must be gathered out from others; and if a congregation, then it must meer in one place, or it cannot with any propriety be fo called; as the church at Corinth is said to do, 1 Cor. xi. 18, 20. and xiv. 23. but when and where did the church of England meet together in one place? and how is it the visible church of Christ? where and when was it ever seen in a body together? is it to be seen in the King, the head of it? or in the Parliament, by whom it was established? or in the upper and lower houses of Convocation, its representatives ?. To say, that it is to be seen in every parish, is either to make a building of stone the church, which is the stupid notion of the vulgar people ; or to make the parishioners a church, and then there must be as many churches of England as there are parishes, and so some thousands, and not one only.
III. We object to the matter or materials of the church of England, which are the whole nation, good and bad ; yea, inasmuch as all the natives of England: are members of this church, and are fo by birth, they must in their original admission, or becoming members, be all bad; since they are all conceived and born in fin, and great part of them as they grow up are men of vicious lives and conversations; whereas a visible church of Christ ought to consist of faithful men, as the above mentioned Article declares, that is, of true believers in Chrift; and such were the materials of the first christian churches; they were made up of fuch as were called to be faints, fan&tified in Christ Jesus, and faithful brethren in him; as were the churches at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus and Coloffe : these were churches of saints; but the church of England is a church of the world, or confifts for the most part of worldly men; and therefore we cannot hold communion with it.
IV. We are diffatisfied with the deftrine preached in the church of England, which generally is very corrupt, and not agreeable to the word of God; and ! therefore cannot be a true church of Christ, which ought to be the pillar and ground of truth; for the visible church of Christ, as the XIXth article runs, is “ a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preach"ed;” of which pure word, the doctrines of grace are a considerable such as eternal election in Chrift, particular redemption by him, justification by his imputed righteousness, pardon through his blood, atonement and satisfaction by his facrifice, and salvation alone by him, and not by the works of men ; the efficacy of divine grace in conversion, the perseverance of the faints, and the like; but these doctrines are scarce ever, or but seldom, and by a very few, preached in the church of England: since two thousand godly and faithful minitters were turned out at once, Arminianism has generally prevailed; and scarce any thing else than Arminian tenets and mere morality are preached, and not Christ and him crucified, and the necessity of faith in him, and salvation by him ; wherefore we are obliged to depart from such a communion, and seek out elsewhere for food for our souls. And though the XXXIX Articles of the church of England are agreeable to the word of God, a few only excepted; yet of what avail are they, since they are seldom or ever preached, though sworn and subscribed to by all in public office; and even thefe are very defective in many things: There are no articles relating to the two covenants of grace and works; to creation and providence ; to the fall of man; the nature of sin and punishment for it ; to adoption, effectual vocation ; sanctification, faith, repenrance, and the final perseverance of the saints; nor to the law of God; christian liberiy; church-government and discipline; the communion of the saints; the resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment.
V. We dissent from the church of England, because the ordinances of Baptism, and the Lord's supper are not duly administered in it, according to the word of God, and so is not a regular church of Christ; for, as the above Article says, “ The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which
-the facraments be duly ministered, according to Christ's own ordinance, “ in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same:" but the faid ordinances are not duly administered in the church of England, according to the appointment of Christ; there are some things which are of necesity requisite to the same, which are not done; and others which are not of necessity requisice, which are enjoined, and with which we cannot comply.
First, The ordinance of Baptism is not administered in the said church, according to the rule of God's word: there are some things used in the administration of it, which are of human invencion, and not of Christ's ordination ;
and other things absolutely necessary to it, which are omitted ; and indeed the whole administration of it, has nothing in it agreeable to the inftitution of Christ, unless it be the bare form of words made use of, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, &c.
1. The sign of the cross used in baptism is encirely unfcriptural, an human invention, a rite and ceremony which the Papists are very fond of, and ascribe much unto; and indeed the church of England makes a kind of a sacrament of it, since the minister when he does it says, that it is done “in token, that hereafter he “ (the person baptized) shall not be ashamed to confefs the faith of Chrift eru“ cified, and manfully to fight under his banner against fin, the world, and " the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldier unto his life's end;" this is such an human addition to a divine ordinance, as by no means to be admitted.
2. The introduction of fponfors and furecies, or godfathers and godmothers, is without any foundation from the word of God; it is a device of men, and no ways requisite to the administration of the ordinance : besides, they are obliged to promise that for the child, which they cannot do for themselves, nor any creature under heaven; as “ to renounce the devil and all his works, " the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the fame, " and the carnal defires of the flesh, so as not to follow or be led by them; and “ constantly believe God's holy word, and obediently keep God's holy will and 6 commandments, and walk in the fame all the days of his life."
3. The prayers before and after baptism may well be objected to, suggesting that remission of sins and regeneration are obtained this way; and that such as are baptized are regenerated and undoubtedly faved : in the prayer before baptism are these words ; “ We call upon thee for this infant, that he coming to “ thy holy baptism, may receive remission of his fins by fpiritual regenera“ tion;" and when the ceremony is performed, the minister declares, “that " this child is regenerate, and grafted in the body of Christ's church ; " and in the prayer after it, he fays, “We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Fa“ ther, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy holy Spirit :" and in the rubric are these words; “ It is certain by God's word, that children “ which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are' undoubtedly • saved ;” yea in the Catechifm, the person catechized is instructed to fay, that in his baptism he “ was made a member of Chrift, the child of God, and an “ inheritor of the kingdom of heaven :” which seems greatly to favour the popish notion, that the sacraments confer grace ex opere operato, upon the deed done. These are things which give difgust to many Diffenters, that are for in