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IV. In The HELVETIC,or Swiss Confession, proclaimed at a Synod held at Berne in 1532, it is declared, “ To be baptized in the name of Christ, is to be enrolled, entered, and received into the covenant and family, and so into the inheritance of the cons of God; yea, and in this life to be called after the name of God, that is to say, to be called the Sons of God, to be purged also from the filthiness of sins, and to be indued with the manifold grace of God, for to lead a new and innocent life. * The sentiments of the Swiss Churches spread into France, the Netherlands, part of Germany, and afterwards into Poland, Hungary, and Transylvania, and were brought by Knox into Scotland.
V. The ConfesSION OF WITTENBURG, (Prissian Saxony,) declares, We believe and confess that baptism is that sea into the bottom whereof, as the Prophet saith, God doth cast uway all our sins.”
The Confession of Tue REFORMED CHURCH OF FRANCE is the same as the Helvetic.f The Protestants of Holland, Bremen, Poland, Hungary, and Palatinace, followed the French Churches in the simplicity of their wor-hip, and in their principles of ecclesiastical polity. 'l heir confessions on the subject of baptism are found essentially to agree.
VI. THE BOHEMIAN CONFESSION OF Faith states, “We believe that whatsoever by baptism is in the outward ceremony signified and witnessed, all that doth the Lord God per form inwardly ; that is, that he washeth away sin, begetieth a man again, and bestoweth salvation upon him. For the bestowiny of these excellent fruits was Holy Baptism given and granted to the Church.”
The Bohemian or Moravian Brethren descended from the better sort of Hussites. They were expelled from their country in 1547. This contributed to lead them into communion with the Swiss Church, and in the Synods of 1620 and 1627.||
The following is extracted from the catechism and service of the Church of England :
VII. OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND CATECHISM, &c. “How many sacraments hath God ordained in his church ?”
“Two only, as generally necessary to salvation. Baptism and the Lord's Supper.”
“How many parts are there in a sacrament ?”
“ The outward and visible sign, and the inward and spiritual grace.”
* Booth's Pæd. Exam., vol. i., p. 421; Pen. Cyc., art. “Reformation." † Pen. Cyc., art. “Reformation.” § Hist. of Bap., by J, T. Hinton, p. 337.
| Mosheim, vol. iv., p. 350 ; Booth's Pæd. Exam., vol. i., p. 421.
66 Water ;
“What is the outward and visible sign of baptism ?"
wherein the person is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
"What is the inward and spiritual grace ?"
“Death unto sing and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are HEREBY MADE the children of grace.”
Upon the baptizing of the infant, the priest offers the following prayer :*—“ Seeing, dearly beloved, that this child is REGENERATE and grafted into Christ's church, let us give thanks to Almighty God for these benefits. We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee TO REGENERATE THIS INFANT with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy church.”
“The benefits said to be derived from baptism are found also in the first questions in the Church Catechism.”
* The following interesting historical notice of THE LITURGY OF THE CHURCH OP ENGLAND is by Mr. Norton, and inserted in Dr. Howell's work on “ Terms of Communion," p.
118. “On the accession of Edward VI. in 1547, Archbishop Cranmer, Bishop Ridley, and others were appointed to compile a liturgy, or form of public service, in agreement with the principles of the Reformation. In the times of Popery there had been a variety of forms, and the new service was compiled in great measure from the old Popish missals, or mass services, used in the sees of Sarum, York, Hereford, Bangor, and Lincoln. In the administration of baptism a cross was to be made on the forehead and breast, and the devil exorcised; the child was to be dipped three times, clothed with a white vestment, and anointed with oil: Neal, vol. i., p. 36. This Liturgy was confirmed by Parliament in 1548; it was slightly revised in 1551 ; was repealed by Queen Mary; and was again confirmed, as revised, in the second year of Elizabeth, 1559. In the first of James I., some alterations were introduced, among which was the addition of all that part of the catechism which contains the doctrine as to the sacraments. In 1661, Charles II. appointed twelve bishops and twelve Presbyterians, with nine assistants on each side, to review the Book of Common Prayer, and consider objections made against it. They held several meetings at the Bishop of London's lodgings, in the Savoy ; but without success, the wishes of the Presbyterians not having been assented to. The matter was then referred to the convocation of the clergy, and several altera. tions were made at their suggestion. Among other things, it was decided that
private baptism is not to be administered but by a lawful minister ;' thus render. ing the ministry of the clergy, more essential to the efficacy of baptism, than it is held to be by the Church of Rome herself. The office of baptism for those of riper years was also added; and it was resolved that the service for the burial of the dead, expressing sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life' should not be used over the unbaptized, &c.: Neal, vol. iii., p. 96, 97 : Pen. Cyc. art. Liturgy. From this period the Prayer Book and services of the Church of England have continued such as they are now. The Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church of America, adopted in 1789, is substantially the same : see Buck’s Theol. Dic. • Liturgy.'"
“What is your name, or who gave you that name ?”.
My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism, WHEN I WAS MADE A MEMBER OF CHRIST, A CHILD OF GOD, AND AN INHERITOR OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN."
VIII. THE WESLEYAN CATECHISM, AND JOHN WESLEY'S VIEWS. “How many sacra ents has Christ ordained in his Church ?”
“ Christ hath ordan two sacraments in his church; baptism and the supper of the Lord.
“What mean you by the word sacrament ?”.
"I mean by the word sacrament an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."
“What is the outward and visible sign or form in baptism?”
“The outward and visible sign or form in baptism is the application of water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
“What is the inward and spiritual grace signified by this ?”
“The inward and spiritual grace signified by baptism is, our being cleansed from sin, and becoming new creatures in Christ Jesus."
“What are the actual privileges of baptized persons ?”
“The actual privileges of baptized persons are these; they are made members of the visible church of Christ ; their gracious relation to Him as the second Adam, and as the Mediator of the New Covenant, is solemnly ratified by divine appointment ; and they are thereby recognized as having a claim to all those spiritual blessings of which they are the proper subjects."*
Portions of the Church of England service are read on baptismal occasions.
John Wesley furnishes the following as his views as to the benefits derived from baptism :
“By baptism we enter into covenant with Gods into that everlasting covenant which he hath commanded for ever.-By Baptism we are admitted into the Church and consequently made members of Christ, its head.—By baptism we, who were by nature the children of wrath, ARE MADE THE CHILDREN OF GOD; AND THIS REGENERATION is more than barely being admitted into the church.-By water, then, as a means, the water of baptism, WE ARE REGENERATED AND BORN AGAIN.-Baptism doth now save us if we live answerable thereto-supposing this, as it admits us into the church here, so unto glory here
* Wesleyan Methodists Catechism M., sanctioned by “The Conference."
after. If infants are guilty of original sin in the ordinary way, they cannot be saved unless this be washed away by Baptism."* IX. FROM THE LARGER OR ASSEMBLY CATECHISM, adopted by
the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and approved by the Kirk of Scotland; the lesser Assembly Catechism is extensively adopted by the Congregationalists or independents of
the present day. "What is Baptismı ?”
Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of engi afting unto himself ; of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his spirit; of adoption and resurrection unto everlasting life, and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be holy, and only the Lord's.”
“Unto whom is Baptism to be administered ?”
' Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him ; BUT INFANTS DESCENDED FROM PARENTS, EITHER BOTH OR BUT ONE OF THEM, professing faith in Christ and obedience to him, are in that respect WITHIN THE COVENANT, AND TO BE BAPTIZED.”+
* Preservative, p. 146 to 150. † Dr. Halley of Manchester has at length discovered that the Assembly of Divines were in error upon this question. In his work on the Sacraments, Dr. H. advocates the "indiscriminate” baptism or sprinkling of infants, without any regard to their being the children of believing parents, or either of them being believers. Thus he is at issue with “ The Puritan Fath-rs” of the Assembly, is in controversy with Dr. Wardlaw, who adheres to, and defends the principles laid down by the assembly of Divints—and adopis a mode of action so different to what is deemed orthodox by the general body with whom he is connected.
Mr. C. Stovel, in his work, “ The Baptismal Reconciliation,” has gone fairly and fully into the questions at issue with Tractarians, the Congregational Pædobaptists, Dr. Wardlaw, and Dr. Halley, upon baptism. The reader would be interested in observing the position in which Dr. Hall-y is placed in the argument.
Mr. White, in his “Three Baptisms of Oxford, Glasgow, and Manchester," although not agreeing with the Baptists as to the mode of baptism, appears also as an opponent to the Halley theory, as to the subjects for baptism, and strongly remarks upon the views advocated by Dr. Halley.
The following extract will shew somewhat of THE ANOMALIES between the Glasgow and the Manchester Baptisms. It is observed, “ If Dr. Wardlaw can be imagined as occupied at the font in the baptism of an infant on the one side, and Dr. Halley on the other, as representatives of the two parties in the Congregational body, we should see in either case water sprinkled on the child, and we shonld
In Calvin's “Institutes of the Christian Religion” it is said that baptism given to children “doth as it were by an imprinted seal confirm the promise given to the godly parent, and declareth that it is ratified that the Lord will be God not only to him, but also to his seed, and will continually show his good-will and grace to his posterity, even to the thousandth generation ;" that children are thus“ engrafted into the body of the Church,” and received among “God's children by a solemn sign of adoption.” It is also added, that, "if any man despise to mark his son with the sign of the covenant, God will take vengeance of it, because by such contempt the grace offered is refused, and as it were forsworn."
“ These views represent baptism as the means by which the infants of godly parents become possessed as by a charter of promised salvation; by which they are cleansed from sin and adopted into the family of God, and by the voluntary neglect of which the promise is rejected and virtually annulled. They differ a little from the sentiments of the Lutheran Church and the Church of Rome, but are not less pernicious. They originated with the churches in Switzerland,
hear the same words pronounced. But the meaning of the action on the one side of the font would be exactly the opposite of its meaning on the other. In the one case the child would be thereby received into the church as a special object of God's favour, because it possesses an hereditary title to church membership, and to a part in the Abrahamic covenant, as the seed of a true believer. In the other the child would be baptized as a fallen descendant of Adam, it may be as the child of an infidel, brought by relations to be trained up in a knowledge of Christian doctrine ; it would be baptized simply with a view to point out that when it grew older it would be proper to furnish it with the knowledye of salvation; but the baptism would signify that it was at present excluded from the church of Christ, and that when it grew to maturer years repentance would be necessary to secure admission within its precincts. The difference in the baptism is shewn by the difference in the classes baptized. The one restricts baptism to believers and their children of the first generation ; the other baptizes all nations, and denies that they have received a sign of consecration to the service of God thereby. Surely this is a serious diversity of opinion and practice. It affects the great question of church membership.”—Edward White's “ Three Infant Baptism,” &c., pp. 37 and 38.
Dr. Halley's Second Part, on the Sacraments, contains a chapter which, in the judgment of the writer, further fritters away the sacredness of the ordinance of baptism, as to its object and design. There are, however, many professing Chris. tians, and their numbers are greatly increasing, who, with regard to the Divine Institute of Baptism, have differently learned both their duty and their privilege, and which is so at variance with the views enunciated by Dr. Halley. It remains to be seen to what extent his Pædobaptist ministerial brethren will adopt him as their leader upon this question, and thus repudiate the sentiments maintained by
•The ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES,” and also so strenuously advocated by Dr. WARDLAW.-See Appendix C.
* T. Norton's Translation, iv., 16,9.