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elect people of God," and being one so truly blessed, he shall“ ever remain in the number of” his “faithful and elect children,"-with what hope of success could a Christian man accept the office of a Sponsor ? For a man who sees nothing more in Baptism than the mere ceremony, it is consistent enough to undertake the promise without any subsequent endeavour to execute it; as he never understood the vows, so neither had he any intention to discharge the obligations of them ; but for a Christian man to engage in this office knowingly and intelligently, for such an one to undertake to train up a soul for glory, to endue it with spiritual qualities, and to make it “conformable to the image of the Son of God,” without believing that it was the good pleasure of God to fulfil his promise in sanctifying that soul as one of his own electwould surely be the height of rashness and presumption.
How different the process of the Sponsor's engagements when faith in the promise is ever animating him to discharge them? Grounded on faith, he proceeds in hope. “Our Lord Jesus Christ has promised in his Gospel, to grant all those things that ” he has“ prayed for ; which promise," the Church assures him, “he for his part will most surely keep and perform.” “Wherefore,” he is “ persuaded of the goodwill of” his “ Heavenly Father towards
the Infant of his care, “ declared by his Son Jesus
Christ;" he nothing doubts" that he favourably allows this CHARITABLE WORK of his, in bringing this Infant to his holy Baptism.” He doubts not but earnestly believes that Christ has likewise favourably received this present infant as he did those of old ; and he is thus encouraged hopefully and perseveringly to use all the prescribed means that a child so distinguished, should “ receive the fulness of " the “grace" of God, 66 and ever remain in the number of his faithful and elect children."
And now, my Dear Friend, to this reasoning add the moral certainty, that it is only the Sponsor who acts upon this statement, that will ever be found to perform his engagements; and for this plain reason, because he only can form a proper estimate of the privileges of Baptism. A negligent Sponsor is an unbelieving Sponsor; for no man will be anxious to secure advantages, which he does not believe that a promise is given to convey. It is the man that believes the promise, who can alone expect any advantages from it, and it is his vigilance and his care alone that will be concerned to secure them.
Thus encouraged, let not the faithful Sponsor flinch from his charitable undertaking. Let him rally his weak faith by recurring to the promises in favour of the children of the Church.
“ should such a man as I flee?
Let him say
1 Neh. vi. 11.
in the hour of difficulty is it for me to turn my back ? “O Lord what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies ?”1 Let him rather gird up his loins to the work, stand in the gap, and make up the breach, remembering that “it is not the will of ” his “ Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." 2
i Josh. vii. 8.
2 Matt. xviii. 14.
The Infant baptised can justly expect the benefits of Baptism in no other way than by faith in the promise. He is taught, that when his name was given him at his Baptism by his Sponsors, he was as a professed Christian admitted into all the privileges of that high character," that he was then made a member of Christ,” incorporated into his body the Church, by faith expressed for him by his Sponsors, thence “ the child of God” by adoption and grace; and thence “an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," --if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. He is then taught to walk worthy of his calling as a“ Child of God,” to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, to believe the Articles of the Christian faith, and to keep and walk in God's holy will and commandments all the days of his life. And he “heartily” thanks his “ Heavenly Father that he has called” him “ to this state of salvation through Jesus Christ” his “ Saviour,” and it is his prayer to “ God, to give” him “his grace that” he“ may continue in” this state to which he has been thus graciously called, “unto his life's end." He is then taught“ to believe in God the Father who hath
made" him and all the world; in God the Son who hath redeemed” him “ and all mankind ;” and“ in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth” him, “and all the elect people of God.” Not who muy sanctify or shall sanctify, or whose office it is to sanctify, but is then presently engaged in sanctifying him, together with “ all the elect people of God;” of which it is strongly implied that he is one, since all who are sanctified are “God's elect." He is then taught the particulars of the will of God which constitute the rule of his obedience, in the ten commandments, of which an epitome is given in the two great branches of his duty. Then the duty and necessity of prayer are insisted on : and the “ Instruction” concludes with an explanation of the Sacraments, which, as means of grace, are, under the blessing of the Spirit, to nourish and confirm his graces.
Here the construction and form, as well as the subject matter of the Catechism, go to instruct the Child, that he is a member of Christ,” &c : that God has called him into a state of salvation by grace through Jesus Christ his Saviour; and that the Holy Ghost is even then sanctifying him, together with all the elect people of God. And is not all this in perfect consistency with the prayers and praises of his Baptism which has preceded, and the prayers of the Bishop at Confirmation, which succeeds his Catechetical Instruction? In the former we