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God's institutions, the abominations of Popery, and the great mercy of our deliverance from it. We can never be enough thankful to God for the reformation from that grand apostasy, idolatry, and superstition. We ought to hold firmly what we have attained, and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, that we be not again entangled with any yoke of bondage. Let us stedfastly adhere to all the ordinances and institutions of our Lord Jesus Christ, and vigorously oppose, in our respective stations and places, all deviations from the same, from whatever quarter they may come, or under whatever specious pretexts they may be introduced or recommended. To the law and to the testimony let us bring them; and receive and practise nothing in the worship and service of God, but what is enforced with a Thus saith the Lord. And let us ever remember the extreme danger of all usages and innovations not contained in or authorised by the written word; and therefore let us from the heart abhor them.
In the second text we have the institution of baptism, And herein consider,
1. The ordinance itself; baptising in the name of the holy blessed Trinity. This is expressly instituted by Jesus Christ: Go ye therefore, and baptise, &c,
2. The administrators of baptism; ye apostles, and your successors, in teaching them to observe all things what. soever I have commanded. And lo I am with you alway even to the end of the world.'
3. The subjects of baptism; all nations which are taught Gr. discipled, made disciples of Christ. First, they are to be discipled, and then baptised.
The doctrine of the text is,
Doct. “The sacrament of baptism is instituted by our
Lord Jesus Christ.'
To open the nature of this sacrament, let us consider,
IV. The subjects of baptism, or those to whom it is to be administered.
y. The efficacy of it.
I. Let us consider the signifying thing in this sacrament, There is a fourfold baptism spoke of in scripture. (1.) The baptism of light, which is taken for the doctrine, Acts xviii. 25. (2.) The baptism of blood, which is mar. tyrdom, Matth. xx. 22, 23. (3.) The baptism of the Spirit, which is the pouring out of the Spirit, Matth. iii. 11, (4.) The baptism of water, which is baptism properly so called. So
The signifying thing in baptism is water, Acts viii. 38, 39. Eph. v. 26. And there is no matter, as to the water, whether it be fountain water, or river-water, providing only it be pure clean water, Heb. x. 22. And it is an abo minable practice of the Papists to add oil, salt, and spittle, to the water in baptism.
Here I shall shew,
2. What is the resemblance betwixt water and the thing signified by it First, What is signified by the water in baptism? 1. The blood of Jesus Christ, Rev. i. 5, 2. The Spirit of Jesus Christ, Tit. iii. 5. Isa. xliv. 3.
Secondly, What is the resemblance betwixt these? There is a sweet resemblance betwixt water, and the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ; the due consideration whereof shews the excellency of the grace exhibited in baptism.
1. Water is a common thing, to be had freely by all those who will take it: it is what the poor as well as the rich have access to. So the blood and Spirit of Christ are free to all who will receive the same offered in the gospel
, Isa. Iv. 1. Christ is not a sealed and closed, but an opened fountain, for souls to wash in, Zech. xiii. 1. Cant. i. 1. And however unclean one bę, he is welcome to this water, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11.
2. Water is a cleansing thing, taking out spots, stains, and defilement. The blood of Christ Cleanses the defiled
conscience, Heb. ix. 14. The Spirit of Christ purifies the soul, removing filthy lusts that defile the soul, and so renewing and sanctifying it, Tit. iii. 5. And unless we be thus washed, we have no part in Christ.
3. Water is a refreshing thing, when one is thirsty, or scorched with heat. So is the blood of Christ, and the out-pouring of his Spirit, to the thirsty soul, scorched under the flames of wrath, John vi. 35.
4. Water is a fructifying virtue. So is Christ's blood and Spirit, making the barren soul fruitful in the fruits of holiness, Isa. xliv. 3, 4. The soul lies naturally, under the curse, and so can bring forth nothing but the briers and thorns of wickedness. But the blood of Christ sprinkled on the soul, changes the nature of the soul. The soul is naturally dead, and therefore must wither : the Spirit of Christ brings life, and makes the wilderness to blossom as the rose.
5. Water is most necessary, so necessary that we cannot live without it: so the blood and Spirit of Christ are abso. lutely necessary for our salvation, Heb. ix. 23. John xiii. 8.
6. Lastly, Water must be applied ere it can have its effect: so we must partake of Christ's blood and Spirit, ere our souls can be changed thereby, 1 Cor. i. 30.
II. Let us consider the signifying action in baptism. It is washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Here I shall shew, 1. How this washing with water is to be performed. 2. By whom it is to be performed, according to Christ's institution.
3. What is the meaning of the form of words used in baptism.
First, I am to shew how this washing with water is to be performed. The dipping of the person into the water is not necessary: but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person. The unlaw
. fulness of dipping is not to be pretended, since it is not improbable that it was used by John Matth. iii. 6. and Philip, Acts viii, 38; but seems to have been used in the ancient
church, and in some places is used to this day. But baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water, as we do. (1.) Because the apostles, at least sometimes, seem to have baptised that way; as when three thousand were baptised in one day, Acts ii. 41; which can hardly be imagined to be done in so short a space of time by dipping; and when some were baptised in the night, as in the case of the Philippian jailor and his family, Acts xvi. 33. (2.) Because baptising in scripture is used for washing by infusion or sprinkling, as well as immersion, Mark vii. 4. Luke xi. 38. (3.) Because the thing signified by baptism is called sprinkling, and is represented thereby sufficiently, Heb. xii. 24. 1 Pet. i. 2. It is true, we are said to be buried in baptism, Rom. vi. 4; but even the sprinkling of the water, as well as dipping, represents that, according to the ancient way of burying, wherein they were not sunk into the earth, but laid on the ground, and the mold cast over them. Be. sides that in some cases dipping might endanger the life of the baptised, especially in our cold countries.
Secondly, I shall shew by whom baptism isto be performed, according to Christ's institution. By a minister of the gospel lawfully called thereto. For to them only belongs the administration of baptism, to whom it belongs to preach the word, our Lord Jesus having knit these together in the institution, Matth. xxviii. 19. They are the stewards of the mysteries of God, 1 Cor. iv. 1; into which office none can thrust himself with a good conscience, who is not called thereto. And it is the perverse opinion of the absolute necessity of baptism, that makes the Papists and others admit others, even women to baptise in case of necessity.
Thirdly, I shall next shew what is the meaning of the form of words used in baptism. It denotes baptism to be administered by virtue of the authority of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but especially that one is baptised into the profession, faith, and obedience of the holy Trinity, for the Greek en signifies into the name. And it is name, not names. to shew the Unity of the Godhead in the Trinity of persons.
III. I proceed to shew what are the particular uses and ends of baptism. Besides the general uses and ends of the sacraments, which are common to baptism and the Lord's supper, the particular uses and ends of baptism are these.
1. To be a rite of solemn admission into the visible church, Matth. xxviii. 19. 1 Cor. xii. 13; and so to the visible church privileges, Rom. xi. 17. It supposes the party to have a right to these privileges before, and does not make them members of the visible church, but admits them solemnly thereto. And therefore it is neither to be called por accounted christening, i. e, making them Christians: for the infants of believing parents are born within the covenant, and so are Christians and visible church members; and by baptism this right of theirs is acknowledged, and they are solemnly admitted to the privileges of churchmembership
2. To signify and seal to the party saving privileges and benefits for his eternal salvation, which it actually doth in all those to whom it is effectual, though it is not effectual to all. These benefits are,
(1.) Ingrafting into Christ, or union with him, Gal. iii. 27. We are naturally branches of the old Adam, from whom we can derive nothing but sin and the curse. Christ the second Adam is the true vine into which we are ingrafted, or to whom we are united, John xv, 5. The Spirit is the ingrafter, who, by the knife of the law cuts us off from the old stock, Gal. ii. 19. and puts us into Christ, winding us up with the band of the covenant of grace, and causing us to knit with him by faith, Eph. iii. 17. This is signified and sealed by baptism, while so Christ does solemnly take possession of us, being baptised in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
(2.) Partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace. These benefits signified and sealed by baptism are,
[1.] Remission of sins by virtue of the blood of Christ, Mark i. 4. That as the water washes away the stains of the body, so the blood of Christ, washeth off guilt ; and God, for the sake of his Son, forgives sin. So the apostle prescribes it for the ease of the troubled souls who were pricked and awakened by his sermon, Acts ii, 37, 38. Repent and be baptised every one of you (says he), in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins,' that so they might be assured of pardon.