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fully discussed, and shall merely adduce a quotation from it.
* In the Catechism, it having been stated that 'the things required of persons to be baptized are
repentance whereby they forsake sin, and faith ' whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of · God made to them in that sacrament; the ques'tion occurs, Why then are infants baptized,
when by reason of their tender age they cannot * perform them?' Now what should we have expected as the simple and natural answer to this question : I remember formerly to have thought that the words of the twenty-seventh article,
The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ,' would have fur‘nished a more obvious, and a more satisfactory answer than that which is given. And so they certainly would have done, had it been intended merely to assign our authority for baptizing in'fants. But the answer makes it clear, that the
question was designed to introduce an explana* tion of the church's views in receiving infants, and considering them in the manner she does. * The answer is, ? Because they promise them 'both? (both repentance and faith) ' by their
sureties ; which promise, when they come to age, ' themselves are bound to perform.'-It is then
avowedly on the ground of this promise, and in 'the expectation of its performance, that the church · admits infants to baptism : and consequently it ' is upon the same ground, that she proceeds to speak of them in the manner we are considering.'
• I do therefore consider the passage which I have quoted from the Catechism, as furnishing, and designedly furnishing, the true key to the mean‘ing of the church in the language which she uses concerning infants. She requires of them by their sureties, as she does of adults personally, certain vows; she assumes their disposition, as they become capable of it, to perform those 'vows; and she speaks of them, as, (what they 'must upon that supposition be,) regenerate, and "the children of God, by adoption and grace.
In the service of private baptism, immediately after the baptisrnal words are pronounced, it is ' said, 'This child, being born in original sin, and ' in the wrath of God, is now by the laver of regeneration in baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting s life.' 2
This quotation shews indeed, that baptism is considered as “the laver of regeneration;" and in other respects it coincides with what has been already noticed : but, how far this bears upon the main point contested among us, must be deterinined by explanations given in other parts of the same authorized writings, especially in the Articles.
Inquiry into the effect of Baptism, in answer to Dr. Mant's Tracts, by the Rev. J. Scott, p. 143—147.
2 Ref. 89.
The Case of Adults.
The case of the few, who in the established church receive baptism as adults, requires a distinct consideration. In general, either they are previously true believers; and then their baptism is a profession, and seal of their faith, and a public recognition of their regeneration : or they are mere formalists. Let the reader then judge for himself, whether it can be supposed, that God uniformly renders a formal and insincere profession, (not to say, a directly hypocritical receiving of this holy sacrament,) effectual to the conversion of such characters. But let the office for adult baptism speak for itself.
"The service of baptism of such as are of riper years begins thus : 'Forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but live in sin, committing 'many actual transgressions; and that our Saviour • Christ saith, None can enter into the kingdom of
God, except he be regenerate and born anew of ' water and of the Holy Ghost ; I beseech you to 'call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous goodness he will grant to these persons, that which by nature they cannot have; that they may be baptized with 'water and the Holy Ghost, and received into . Christ's holy church, and be made lively members of the same.' And, after the baptismal words are pronounced, the persons baptized
‘are declared to be regenerate and new-born ' again.”1
The quotation, here adduced, is taken from the introductory exhortations. The prayers are nearly the same, as in the office for infant baptism. But the gospel appointed to be read is our Lord's discourse with Nicodemus concerning regeneration: and on this is grounded an exhortation : ‘Beloved, 'ye hear in this gospel the express words of our * Saviour Christ that “except a man be born of
water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the ' kingdom of God.” Whereby ye may perceive the
great necessity of this sacrament, where it may 'be had. Likewise, immediately before his ascen‘sion into heaven, (as we read in the last chapter of St. Mark's gospel,) he gave command to his disciples, saying, “ Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ; he that be• lieveth and is baptized shall be saved; but he * that believeth not shall be damned :" which also
sheweth the great benefit we reap thereby. For ' which cause St. Peter the apostle, when upon the ' first preaching of the gospel many were pricked ‘ at the heart, and said to him and to the rest of the 'apostles, “ Men and brethren, what shall we do?" replied and said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy ' Ghost: for the promise is to you and your children,
and to all that are afar off, even as many as the ‘Lord our God shall call. And with many other • words exhorted he them, saying, Save yourselves
I Ref. 89.
from this untoward generation.” For (as the same apostle testifieth in another place,)“ even baptism doth now save us, (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good
conscience towards God;) by the resurrection of • Jesus Christ.” Doubt ye not therefore, but earn“estly believe, that he will favourably receive ' these present persons, truly repenting, and com
ingi unto him by faith; that he will grant them remission of their sins, and bestow upon them
the Holy Ghosts that he will give them the bless'ing of eternal life, and make them partakers of "his everlasting kingdom. The portions of scripture introduced into this exhortation have already been considered, and certainly are highly appropriate. Baptism as being“ born of water," is' very -necessary, where it may be had :' but being “ born of the Spirit," is indispensably necessary. The great benefit derived to adults by baptism, is spoken of as connected with their “truly re" penting, and coming unto the Lord by faith ;' but, if they do not truly repent, and come unto him by faith ;'! if they be..hypocrites, or have only a dead faith; are we not to doubt that he favourably receives thein, and not only at present, 'grants them remission of sins, and bestows on "them the Holy Ghost;' but that he will give them the blessing of eternal life, and make them “partakers of his everlasting kingdom ?? They who come to baptism in this manner beyond all controversy, were not previously regenerate : no intimation concerning baptismal regeneration is given in the address to them; and hence it may be fairly concluded that, if they live and die with