« PreviousContinue »
endeavor to overthrow the opinion and practice of infant baptism. And upon this ground, we have reason to conclude that, when any preachers of this denomination come into our parishes to preach, they mean to use all their influence to build up their own cause, which they think is the cause of truth, and to pull down and destroy our cause, which they believe is the cause of error, and really displeasing to the great Head of the church. But if we are as honest in our principles as they are in theirs, then it is as much our duty to oppose their sentiments, as it is their duty to oppose ours.
We blame them not for being zealous in promoting their own principles and practice, so long as they believe they are founded in the word of God. They ought to be zealous in promoting what they verily think to be the cause of truth. But we have a right to blame them, if they resist the evidence of truth in adopting their opinion; or if they do not profess to aim at propagating their opinion, when they actually do and ought to aim at it; or if they take improper methods to gain proselytes, such as playing the bishop in another man's diocese, and endeavoring to injure his character and influence, by indirect and groundless insinuations and aspersions. These things excepted, we approve the zeal and diligence of our brethren, in promoting what they think to be truth, and destroying what they think to be error. At the same time, we beseech those who believe they are in a great practical error, to use all proper means in their power to counteract and prevent the unhappy consequences of their opinion and practice. And if not inviting their teachers to preach; or if not going to hear them preach; or if speaking against their principles in private; or if disputing with them on the subject of baptism; if any or all these methods serve to prevent the spread of their sentiments, we ought to employ them to answer so important and desirable a purpose. This is what I think; and I am willing to speak what I think. I have nothing to conceal upon this subject. I mean to be frank and open in opposing every thing which appears to disserve the opinion and practice of infant baptism. And were it in my power, I would impress the minds of all who peruse this discourse, with a deep sense of the importance of forming the same resolution, and of going into the same practice.
4. If it be the duty of believing parents to offer up their infant seed to God in baptism, then it highly concerns unbelieving parents to become believers, and do their duty to God and to their children. They injure God, they injure themselves, and their dear offspring, by living in unbelief. Every time they behold the ordinance of baptism administered to infants, they are strikingly reproved for the hardness of their hearts, and their sinful neglect of their own souls and the souls of their children. If parents neglect to honor God, they may expect their children will neglect to honor them. If parents neglect to do their duty to their children, they may expect their children will neglect to do their duty to them. If parents neglect to promote the salvation of their children, they may expect that the blood of their children's souls will be required at their hands. It is melancholy, indeed, to behold so many rising, and, in other respects, promising families, living in the neglect of divine institutions. They are practically promoting the cause of infidelity, and tempting their children to become infidels. They are pursuing a path which will lead them and theirs to inevitable ruin. Let them be entreated to think on their ways, and remember the God of their fathers, and the Father of their spirits. Let them immediately embrace the gospel, that they may have a right to devote themselves and their children to God, and be in the way of his own appointment, to secure all the blessings which he has promised to believers and their seed, in his new and everlasting covenant.
To conclude, Let believing parents, who have devoted their children to God in baptism, be urged to fulfil their own voluntary vows and engagements. It is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay. But you have vowed, and must fulfil. It is out of your power to cancel the bond of your covenant. The nature and obligation of this you clearly understand, though you may be in a great measure ignorant of the design of God in the institution of baptism. It is of great importance that you keep covenant with God, and faithfully discharge your obligations to him, and to your children. He has committed them to your care and instruction, and you have engaged to bring them up for him. If you are unfaithful and, negligent, you will displease God, you will justify those who neglect to baptize their children, and confirm those in their error who deny the doctrine and practice of infant baptism. But if you are faithful, you will have reason to hope that salvation will come to you, and to your children, and to your children's children, to the latest generations. Amen.
SERMON L X XI X.
THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER A STANDING
FOR 23 often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death
till he come. - 1 CORINTHIANS, xi. 26.
God often appointed standing memorials to perpetuate great and extraordinary events. Aaron's rod which budded, and the pot of manna, were both deposited in the ark, to be lasting memorials of two remarkable instances of the divine conduct. The stones taken from the bottom of Jordan, were set up as monuments of the miraculous passage of the Israelites through that river upon dry ground. The Passover was instituted to perpetuate the memorable deliverance of the first born of Israel from the plague that destroyed the first born of the Egyptians. And the apostle tells us in the text, that the sacrament of the Lord's supper was appointed to commemorate the most marvellous scene Christ ever passed through. “ For," says the apostle to christians, as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come."
He does not say that the sacrament is a memorial of Christ's incarnation, or of his birth, or of his temptation in the wilderness, or of his preaching, or of his working miracles; but he expressly says, in distinction from all these things, it is a memorial of the death he suffered on the cross. This, then, is the truth now to be considered:
That the sacrament of the Lord's supper is a standing memorial of Christ's death. I shall,
I. Show that this is the design of the sacrament. And,