Puslapio vaizdai

Part I. of Infidels, without Chrift, Aliens from the Commonwealth of Ifrael, and Strangers to the Covenant of Promife; having no Hope, and without God in the World; as the Apofle describes the Mifery of our natural State, Eph. 2. 12. In this forlorn Condition we are unworthy of the Chriftian Name, till we, who by Nature are afar off, are by Baptifm brought nigh, and engrafted into Christ.

The Name we receive from our natural Parents, is the mark of the Guilt and Shame we derive from them. "Tis the Chriftian Name that inrolls us in the Register of the Church, and is alone written in the Book of Life. And this fhews us the high Efteem we are to have of this facred Rite of Baptifm, by which alone we begin to be fomebody in God's account, and are lifted into the number of his People.

Memorable to this purpose is the Story we find mention'd in the Life of Lewis IX of France, for his Piety call'd St. Lewis; who being ask'd, By what Title he would be Signaliz'd to Pofterity after his Death? answer'd, By Lewis of Poify. And being told, That that was an obscure Place, and not fit to adorn the Character of so great and fo good a Prince; anfwer'd again, Lewis of Poify. And being farther told, That there were other Places which he had fignaliz'd by his Valour, and made renown'd by the Victories he had obtain'd in them; answer'd still, That he would be remember'd by Lewis of Poify, because there he obtain'd the greatest Victory he ever had, even that over the Devil : meaning, that he was chriften'd there. By which we fee what a high Efteem he had of his Baptifm; how he valu'd no Name like that of a Chriftian; and no Piace like to that where he receiv'd it.

Laftly, The new Name we receive in Baptifm, should put us in mind of leading a new Life. This is the Senfe of the Apoftle in those words, We are buried with Christ in Baptifm, that like as he was rais'd from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even fo we alfo fhould walk in Newness of Life; Rom. 6. 4. Where the rifing out of the Waters of Baptifm, into which they were antiently plung'd, reprefents the rifing again from the Dead. And the washing off the Impurities of the Flefh by that means, represents that Newness or Purity of Life they were oblig'd to ever after. As many as are baptized into Chrift (faith the fame Apoftle) have put on Chrift; that is, they have taken his Name upon them, in token of a new Nature they receive


from him; and therefore they are not to put it off again, or to walk unworthy of it.

We read of an antient Custom among the Romans, to write the Soldier's Name upon his Shield, to fignify that his Honour was engag'd to keep it, and that he could not part with one without the lofs of the other. In like manner, our Bleffed Saviour hath fo order'd it, that we receive our Name and our Faith together; by which we ftand oblig'd to preferve both, and may not, without eternal Infamy, fhrink or depart from either. 'Twas a smart Rebuke that was given to a Coward, who bore the Name of Alexander; Vel mutes nomen Alexandri, vel fortiter pugnes; Either change thy Name, or fhew thy Valour, that the renown'd Name of Alexander be not difhonour'd by thy Cowardice. The fame Item may be given to all that are call'd Chriftians; Either quit that facred Name, or live answerable to it, that fo honourable a Title be not difparag'd by an unfutable Conversation.

Let us then often call to mind this facred Name that is call'd upon us; and by it remember that we are Chriftians, that we may not do any thing unbecoming fo noble a Title: let it ferve as a Spell or a Charm to drive away the Devil from us, or as a Shield to repel all the fiery Darts of the wicked. We read of a holy Virgin that conquer'd all the Temptations of the Devil, by faying these words, I am Baptiz'd, Iam a Chriftian, whenever fhe was affaulted by them. And indeed, the frequent and ferious Confideration of these things, would mightily help to arm us against the ftrongeft Temptations.

Thus I have confider'd all that is neceffary to be known touching the Time of giving the Christian Name; which is, in our Baptism.

The next thing is concerning the Benefits and Privileges confer'd in it, in thefe words: Wherein I was made a Member of Christ, a Child of God, and an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. Of which hereafter.

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EPHES. V. 30.

We are Members of his Body.

E are yet upon the Second Question and Anfwer

W in the Catechifm; in explaining whereof, I have


First, To the Parties that give the Chriftian Name, viz. Our God-fathers and God-mothers; together with the Antiquity and Use of them.

Secondly, To the Time of giving the Chriftian Name, viz. In our Baptifm: together with the Grounds and Reafons of this antient Practice. I proceed now to the

Third Thing to be fpoken to in it, and that is the Benefits and Privileges convey'd by, and confer'd in our Baptism, contain'd in thefe words; Wherein I was made a Member of Chrift, a Child of God, and an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.

And this will lead me to confider Baptifm as a Covenant made between God and Man, which (as all other Leagues and Covenants) hath Promifes and Conditions annex'd to it.

The Mercies and Bleffings promis'd on God's part, are those before recited; Wherein I was made a Member of Chrift, &c.

The Duties and Conditions to be perform'd on Man's part, are rehears'd in the following Question and Answer ; where the baptized Party engages to renounce the Devil, &c.

I begin, as our Catechifm directs us,

I. With the Mercies and Bleffings promis'd on God's part; and they are these three: Firft, To be made a Member of Chrift. Secondly, A Child of God. And, Thirdly, An Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. All which are very noble and invaluable Privileges, as will appear by a particular Explication of them: Accordingly I fhall fpeak

to the


First of them at this time, from thefe words of the Apofle, We are Members of his Body. For the better understanding whereof, I muft enquire what is meant by the Body of Chrift; what by being a Member of this Body; and what are the Benefits and Privileges that appertain to, and are convey'd by it.

I. By the Body of Chrift we are to understand the Chrif tian Church, which is frequently in Scripture ftyled the Body of Chrift, Rom. 12. 4, 5. Yea, fometimes it is styled Chrift himself, as 1 Cor. 12. 13, 14. As the Body is one, and bath many Members, and all the Members of it being many, are one Body; fo alfo is Chrift: that is, fo is the Chriftian Church.

Now this Chriftian Church is a Spiritual Society of all Chriftian People, called out of the World, and united unto Christ as the Head, and to one another as the Members. Which Description of the Church, becaufe 'tis a matter fo neceffary to be known, I fhall endeavour to explain, and bring down to the meaneft Capacities. I call it then,

(1.) A Society, to diftinguish it from a confufed Multitude, that hath no Order or Subordination of Parts; whereas a Church is a regular Society, confifting of Superiors to teach and govern, and Inferiors to be taught and govern'd by them.

Again, (2.) I call it a Spiritual Society, to diftinguish it from Political Bodies and Corporations, made by human Authority and Compact; whereas the Church is a Body made and animated by a divine Spirit. Again,

(3.) I call it a Spiritual Society confifting of all Chriftian People all the World over, to diftinguish it from the Jewish Church, which was confined only to one Nation; the Jews being then the peculiar People of God, having a Partitionwall to feparate them from others for to them only appertain'd the Adoption, the Glory, the Covenant, and the giving of the Law, and the Promifes, Rom. 9. 3, 4.


But now

that Inclosure is taken down by the Acceffion of the Gentiles For Chrift is our Peace, faith the Apostle, and hath made both one, and bath broken down the middle Wall of Partition between us; Eph. 2. 14.

So that the Chriftian Church is now no longer confin'd to one particular Place or Nation, but is become Catholick and Universal, and spread over the Face of the whole Earth infomuch that in every Nation, he that feareth God, and



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worketh Righteeufness, is accepted with him, Acts 10. 35. Moreover,

(4.) I ftyle it a Society of Chriftian People, called out of the World, to diftinguish it from the Synagogue of Satan, and to feparate Chrift's Flock from the unfanctify'd Herd of reprobate and wicked Men ; for the Church is a. felect Body of People, called out and feparated from the profane part of the World, to be a chofen Generation, a royal Priesthood, a holy Nation, a peculiar People, 1 Pet.

2. 9.

St. Paul tells us of the Chriftians, that they are called out of the World to a holy Profeffion or Calling, Eph. 4. 3. 2 Tim. 1. 9. and therefore in many places of Scripture, they are ftyl'd the Called. And our Saviour declares of them, That tho they are in the World, yet they are not of the World, but are called or taken out of it; John 17. 6, 11, 16. Again,

(5.) I ftyle it a Society of Chriftians call'd out of the World, and united unto Chrift as the Head; whereby being united, 'tis diftinguifh'd from an aggregate Body, or confufed Heap, that hath no Union or Connexion of Parts, but lie loofe and disjoin'd from one another: whereas the Church is a compact Body, knit together by that which every joint Supplies, Eph. 4. 16. And therefore we find it often compar'd to a Houfe, a Building, a Temple, where all the Parts are cemented and joined together. And this Union is faid to be first and chiefly to Chrift, as the Head, from whence they derive all fpiritual Strength and Grace for as in the natural Body, the Head is the Fountain of Life and Spirit, from whence it is deriv'd into the other Parts; fo from Chrift, the myftical Head of the Church, all the Body, by joints and bands, having Nourifhment minifter'd, increafeth with the Increafe of God, Col. 2. 19.

Laftly, I ftyle it a Society of Chriftians, not only united to Christ as the Head, but to one another as the Members: and by this the Church of Chrift is diftinguifh'd from the Conventicles of Sectaries, which are all divided and disjoined from one another: whereas the Members of Christ's mystical Body are join'd together by one Communion and Fellow fhip, which are as it were the Nerves and Sinews to keep them together: For we being many (faith the Apofle) are all but one Bread; that is, one Communion nourifhed by the fame fpiritual Food, eating the fame fpiritual Meat, and drinking all of the fame fpiritual Cup. For the


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