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and engaging for their performing the Conditions of the Covenant; which are things of too great moment to be lightly and unadvisedly undertaken. And yet,

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Secondly, Chriftian Friends and Neighbours fhould not be difcourag'd from this pious Undertaking, by reason of the Duty that attends it for it is an Office of Charity that has been done for us, and we cannot well refuse it unto others; 'tis an Act of Kindness, not only to Infants, by bringing them into the Church, and thereby promoting their Salvation, but likewife to the Parents, by affifting in their Education, and thereby promoting the Joy and Comfort they have in them: nor fhall we need to bring any Guilt upon ourselves, there being an eafy way of delivering our own Souls. To which end, let thofe that engage in it, take care,

Thirdly, To be mindful of their Engagement, and to anfwer the Obligation of it; let them fee that the Children they undertake for, learn their Catechifm, and be well inftructed in the Principles of the Chriftian Religion; let them call upon the Parents, where they fee them too backward in the Education of their Children, and let them bring them to the Bishop to be confirm'd, and to take on themfelves the Obligation as foon as they may. By this means they may be the Inftruments of their Salvation, and likewife fave their own Souls. Let none then take example from others Backwardnefs, to neglect this weighty Care. We find Religion almoft loft for want of this religious Education of Children; and nothing can better retrieve it, or repair the decay of Chriftian Piety, than inftilling good Principles betimes into them, and fortifying their Youth with early Inftructions.

In the last place, Let all baptiz'd Perfons, as foon as they come to Years of Understanding, diligently hearken to the good Counfel of their Sureties, taking in good part all their Reproofs, and thankfully receiving all their Admonitions : fo will they make a good Ufe of their God-fathers and Godmothers, and reap the Benefit of this pious Inftitution; ftill learning and improving by them, and thereby becoming wife unto Salvation.

馬玉兔

D. I S.

DISCOURSE VI.

LUKE i. 59.

And it came to pass, that on the eighth Day they came to circumcife the Child, and they call'd him Zacharias, after the Name of his Father.

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N explaining to you the fecond Queftion and Anfwer of the Catechifm, I have spoken to the

First thing contain'd in it, viz. The Parties that give the Chriftian Name; who, we are there told, are our Godfathers and God-mothers: where we have enquir'd into the Antiquity, the Reafon, and Usefulness of that spiritual Relation, together with the Duties incumbent on all fuch as enter into it. I proceed now to the

Second thing contain'd in this Question and Anfwer, and that is, The Time of giving the Chriftian Name: which, our Text tells us, was at the Circumcifing of Children; our Catechifm, futable to it, at the Baptizing of them, which fucceeded in the room of the former. Where we find our Church, according to the Direction of the Holy Scripture, takes particular notice of the Time and Seafon of this memorable Action. And therefore, in fpeaking to it, I must obferve,

First, The Solemnity that hath been ever ufed at the giving of Names.

Secondly, That Circumcifion under the Law, and Bap tifm under the Gospel, have been the ufual Times of giving the Chriftian Name.

Thirdly, I muft enquire into the Reason why these Times were chiefly made choice of for this purpose. For the

First, We find all Nations have been ever careful of giving Names to their Children; partly for Diftinction, that one Perfon might be known and distinguish'd from another; partly for Inftruction, that Children bearing the

Name

Name of great and worthy Perfons, might be thereby firr'd up to Imitation; and partly likewife to preserve the Memory of their Ancestors, who by deriving down their Names to Pofterity, do in a manner furvive themselves, and obtain a fort of Immortality. Hence we read, that the most barbarous Nations have obferv'd this Practice of giving their Names to their Children, the better to continue their Memory, and to live in their Pofterity. And all civiliz❜d Countries have been more especially careful of it, knowing that tho Children are lifted in the Number of Mankind by their common Nature, yet they cannot enter into their Society and Commerce without a Name: for tho their Birth may make them Men, yet 'tis their Baptifm only that makes them Chriftians. And therefore in all Religious Nations, the giving of Names hath been ever done with great Solemnity: fome have fet apart fome certain Days, as the feventh, eighth, or tenth, according to their particular Cuftoms, for the more folemn Performance hereof. The Jews did it on the eighth Day, which was the Day of Circumcifion, as appears by our Text; It came to pass, that on the eighth Day they circumcifed the Child, and called him Zacharias, &c. The Grecians were wont to offer Sacrifice at the giving of the Name, to make it the more lucky and profperous; and this is done, not without Solemnity among us to this day.

But what have been the ufual Times of giving Children their Names? This our

Second Particular will inform us, namely, the Day of Circumcifion under the Law, and the Day of Baptifm under the Gofpel, which you know continues with us to this day. That the Jews named the Child at Circumcifion, the Holy Scriptures, as well as the Jewish Writers, exprefly tell us. We read in Gen. 21. 3, 4, That Abraham circum cifed his Son the eighth Day, and call'd his Name Ifaac. The fame is affirm'd here of St. John; yea, we find our Bleffed Saviour, being made under the Law, in compliance with it, was circumcis'd the eighth Day, and had his Name call'd Jefus, Luke 2. 21.

But tho our Saviour chang'd this painful Rite of Circumcifion into the more eafy one of Baptifm, yet he made no Alteration as to the Time and Cuftom of giving the Name, but left that to continue under the new, as it was under the old Difpenfation. Accordingly we find this Time af

Part I. fign'd and used to this purpose ever fince, the Chriftians ftill naming their Children at their Baptifm, as the Jews were wont to do of old at their Circumcifion. And because the Name hath been fince chang'd, and all other Appellations fwallow'd up and bury'd in the common Name of Christian, fome have fuppos'd fome great Mystery in it, and that our Saviour alluded herein to that new Name which he promis'd to give his Servants, Rev. 2. 17.

However that be, 'tis moft certain that the Custom of impofing the Chriftian Name at the time of Baptifm, hath continu'd in all Ages of the Chriftian Church ever fince : yea, we find that Perfons baptiz'd in their riper Years, have chang'd their Name at Baptifm from what they had before; as Saul did, at his Baptifm, into Paul, Acts 13. 9. And the fame may be fhew'd in many other Inftances; efpecially where the Names were taken from Idols or false Gods, it being forbidden by Councils (as a Learned Man hath obferved) to give the Children of Chriftians any Heathen Names; requiring them likewife to impofe only the Names of the Apoftles, or other eminent Saints, which they were to wear, not barely as Ornaments, but as Encouragements to follow the fteps of their Examples; or if we bear a Name that hath not been yet exemplary, we endeavour to make it fo by our holy Lives and Actions. And this will lead me to the

Third Thing propounded to be spoken to; which was to enquire into the Reason why the Chriftian Name hath been thus folemnly given at our Baptifm: for which, these two Reasons may be given.

(1.) Because it is the time when we folemnly enter upon Christianity, and therefore is the fittest time to receive the Christian Name; for this being a Badg that we belong to Chrift, we cannot more properly take it upon us, than when we are lifted under his Banner. We bring one Name into the World with us, which we derive from our Parents; and that ferves to mind us of our Original Guilt, and that we are born in Sin: But this new Name we fitly receive at our Regeneration in Baptifm, to mind us of our new Birth, when old things pafs away, and all things become new. that this new Name is defign'd to reprefent our new Nature, when being wafh'd in the Laver of Regeneration, and thereby cleans'd from our natural Impurities, we become in a manner new Creatures, and folemnly dedicate ourfelves unto God.

So

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We find fomething like this even among the Heathens. The Romans had a Cuftom of wafhing and cleanfing of Infants from their natural Pollution, which they cail'd the Day of Luftration; at which time they were wont to give them their Names, call'd therefore Dies Nominalis. The Grecians had a Cuftom of carrying Infants, a little after their Birth, about the Fire; which was undoubtedly a Ceremony of confecrating them to their Houfhold Gods: And this (as Hefychius tells us) was the time of their impofing Names upon them.

So that the naming of Children at this time, hath been thought by many to import fomething more than ordinary, and to carry with it a mysterious Signification.

Again, (2.) The time of Circumcifion of old, and of Baptifm fince, hath been fitly made ufe of for this purpose, because of the Company that commonly attend thofe Solemnities who thereby become Witneffes of the Child's Reception into the Church, and likewife of the Name then given to it, if any Doubt fhould after arife about it. Moreover, their beholding the Minifter, after Chrift's Example, taking the Child into his Arms, and folemnly, before the Congregation, giving it a Chriftian Name, may admonish all that are prefent of their Baptifm, and call to mind that they receiv'd their Name and Chriftianity together.

Laftly, The receiving our Name at Baptifm, may serve to fignify, that we then begin to be fome-body, when we are confecrated unto God: for before that, we are nullius nominis, Perfons of no account, and not worthy of a Name. 'Tis our Dedication unto God by Baptism, that entitles us to a Christian Name; and our Entrance into the Church, that inrolls us in the number of Chrift's Followers. In short,

Except we be born again of Water and the Holy Ghost, it had been better for us not to have been born at all. And because we date our Christianity from this new Birth, 'tis fit that from thence we derive our Chriftian Name, which is the outward Badg and Cognizance of it.

I fhall fhut up this Point with a Leffon or two to be learn'd from it.

And, first, we may learn from hence, what a Value we ought to have for the Holy Sacrament of Baptifm, at which time we have our new Birth, and receive a new Name to reprefent it. Without this, we are in the State

of

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