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ordinance of Jesus Christ, as appears from all that has been said about it in the foregoing pages wherefore it is right to renounce and reject it, as an human invention : and as for any covenant between God and then vacated thereby, it will not, it need not give the renouncers of it any concern; being what they know nothing of, and the whole a chimerical business. Nay, it is farther observed, that renouncing Infant-baptisın, and making it a nullity, is practically saying there are no baptized persons, no regular ministers, nor ordinances, in all profelling churches but their own, and as elsewhere, p. 41. no gofpel-church in the world, and that the administrations of the ministers of other churches are a nullity, and the promise of Christ to be with his ministers in the administration of this ordinance to the end of the world, must have failed for hundreds of years, in which Infant-baptism was practised. But be it fo: to whom is all this owing to whose account must it be put? to those who are the corrupters of the word and ordinances. Is it suggested by all this, that “God " in his providence would never suffer things to go such lengths ?” Let it be observed, that he has given us in his word reason to expect great corruptions in doctrine and worship, and that though he will always have a seed to serve him, more or fewer, in all ages, yet he has no where promised that these shall be always in a regular gospel-church-Atate ; and though he has promised his presence in his ordinances to the end of the world, it is only with those ministers and people among whom the ordinances are administered according to his word ; and there was for some hundreds of years, in the darkness of popery, such a corruption in the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's supper, in the administration of which the presence of God cannot be thought to be; nor were there any regular minifters, nor regular ordinances, nor a regular gospel-church, but what were to be found in the vallies of Piedmont; and with whom the presence of God may be supposed to be ; who bore a teftimony against all corruptions, and among the rest, against Infant-baptism P.
This writer further urges, that “if Infant-baptism is a nullity, there can be “ now no regular baptism in the world, nor ever will be to the end of it; and « so the ordinance must be loft, since adult baptism cannot be traced to the apor“ tles times, and as now administered, is derived from those that were baptized « in infancy; wherefore if Infant-baptism is invalid, that must be so too; so “ in p. 42.” To which it may be answered, that the first English Antipædobaptists, when determined upon a reformation in this ordinance, in a consultation of theirs about it, had this difficulty started about a proper administrator to begin the work, when it was proposed to send fome to foreign churches, the
See Reply, p. 11, 12.
successors of the ancient Waldenfes in France and Germany; and accordingly did send some, who being baptized, returned and baptized others : chough others were of opinion this too much savoured of the popish notion of an uninterrupted succession, and a right through that to administer ordinances; and therefore judged, that in an extraordinary case, as this was, to begin a reformation from a general corruption, where a baptized administrator could not be had, it might be begun by one unbaptized, otherwise qualified to preach the word and ordinances; which practice they were able to justify upon the same principles the other reformers justified theirs; who without any regard to an uninterrupted succession, set up new churches, ordained pastors, and administered ordinances. Nor is it essential to the ordinance of baptism, that it be performed by one regularly baptized, though in ordinary cases it should; or otherwise it could never have been introduced into the world; the first administrator of it must be an unbaptized person, as John the Baptist was. All which is a sufficient answer to what this writer has advanced on this subject !
9 See the Divine Right of Infant-baptism examined, &c. p. 13---15. 8ve Edi.
Being a SERMON Preached at the BAPTISM of several Persons
in BARBICAN, November 2, 1750.
JEREMIAH VI. 16.
Thus faith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and fee, and ask for the old
paths, where is the good way, and walk therein ; and ye fall find rest for your souls.
and foretold, and the causes of it alligned, in general, the great aboundings of sin and wickedness among the people, and in particular, their neglect and contempt of the word of God; the sin of covetousness, which prevailed among all sorts ; the unfaithfulness of the prophets to the people, and the peoples impenitence and hardness of heart; their want of shame, their disregard to all instructions and warnings from the Lord, by the mouth of his prophets, and their obstinate refusal of them ; which last is expressed in the clause following the words "read; and which, though an aggravation of it, shew the tender regard of the Lord to his people, and may be considered as an instruction to fuch who had their doubts and difficulties in religious matters; who were haleing between two opinions, and like men in bivio, who stand in a place where two or more ways meet, and know not which path to take ; and in this light I shall consider them; and in them may be observed,
I. A direction to such perfons what to do; to stand in the ways, and fee, and
ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein. II. The encouragement to take this direction; and ye shall find rest for your
I. The direction given to stand in or on the ways, &c. to do as men do when they are come to a place where two or more ways meer, make a stand, and view the roads, and see which they should take; they look about them, and confider well what course they should steer ; they look up to the way-marks, or way posts, and read the inscripcions on them, which tell them whither such a road leads, and so judge for themselves which way they should go. Now in religious matters, the way-marks or way-posts to guide and direct men in the way, are the scriptures, the oracles of God, and they only.
Not education-principles. It is right in parents to do as Abrabam did, to teach their children to keep the way of the Lord! The direction of the wife man is an exceeding good one; Train up a child in the way be should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it, that is, easily and ordinarily : and it becomes christians under the gospel-dispensation to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and a great mercy and bleling it is to have a religious education, but then, as wrong principles may be infused as well as right ones, into persons in their tender years, it becomes them, when come to years of maturity and discretion, to examine them, whether they are according to the word of God, and so judge for themselves, whether they are to be abode by or rejected. I know it is a grievous thing with some persons to forsake the religion they have been brought up in; buc upon this fook a man that is born and brought up a Turk or a few, a Pagan or a Papilt, must ever continue fo. Sad would have been the case of the apostle Paul, if he had continued in the principles of his education ; and what a shocking figure did he make whilst he abode by them ? thinking, according to them, he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus.
Nor are the customs of men a rule of judgment, or a direction which way men should take in matters of religion ; for ibe customs of the people are for the most part vain"; and such as are not lawful for us, being christians, to receive or obferve'; and concerning which we should say, We bave no fucb custom, neither the churcbes of Gods. Custom is a tyrant, and ought to be rebelled against, and its yoke thrown off.
Nor are the traditions of men to be regarded ; the Pharisees were very tenacious of the traditions of the elders, by which they transgressed the command. ments of God, and made his word of no effect; and the apostle Paul
, in tis ftate of unregeneracy, was zealous of the same ; but neither of them are to be imitated by us : it is right to observe the exhortation which the apostle gives,
· Gen. xvii. 19.
• Prov. xxii. 6. · Ads xxii. 3, 4. and xxvi. 9.
• Ephes, vi. 4.
e jer. II. 3. 51 Cor. xi. 16.
f As xvi. 21.
when a christian"; beware left any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Take care you are not imposed upon, under the notion and pretence of an apoftolical tradition ; unwritten traditions are not the rule, only the word of God is the rule of our faith and practice.
Nor do the decrees of popes and councils demand our attention and regard; ic matters not what such a pope has determined, or what canons such a council under his influence has made; what' have we to do with the man of sin, that exalts bimself above all that is called God; who fits in the temple of God, mewing himself as if he was God? we know what will be his fate, and that of his followers i
Nor are the examples of men, no not of the best of men, in all things to be copied after by us; we should indeed be followers of all good men as such, of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises; and especially of such, who are or have been spiritual guides and governors in the church ; who have made the scriptures their study, and have laboured in the word and doctrine ; their faith we should follow, considering the end of their conversation ; how that issues, and when it terminates in Chrift, his person, truths and ordinances, the Same to-day, yesterday and for everk; but then we are to follow them no further than they follow Chrift; the apostle Paul desired no more than this of his corintbians with respect to himself; and no more can be demanded of us; it should be no bias on our minds, that such and such a man of so much
and excellent gifts thought and practised so and so. We are to call no man father or malter on earth ; we have but one father in heaven, and one master, which is Christ, whose doctrines, rules, and ordinances we should receive and observe. We are not to be influenced by men of learning and wealth ; though these should be on the other side of the question, it should be no stumbling to us; had this been a rule to be attended to, chriftianity had never got footing in the world: Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on bim? But this people, who knoweth not the law, are cursed'. It pleased the Lord, in the first times of the gospel, to bide the things of it from the wife and prudent, and reveal them unto babes; and to call by his grace, not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble ; but the foolish, weak, and base things of the world, and things that are not, to confound the wife and mighty, and bring to nought things that are; that no flesh pould glory in his presence" : nor should it concern us that the greatest number is on the opposite side; we are not to follow a multitude to do evil; the whole world once wondered after the beast; Christ's flock is but a little flock. Vol. II.
The b Col. ii. 8. 1 2 Thess. ii. 4, 5. Rev. xx. 10. and xiii. 8. and xiv. 11. Heb. vi.1 2. and xiii.7. Joha vii. 48, 49.
m Matt. xi. 33, 26. 1 Cor. 1.26-29.