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that I might come and ask them of thee, as now I do through Jesus Christ our Lord." 1
"Not only this, but also thou wouldest that I should know and believe, that by the same thy dearly beloved Son thou hast brought me from the tyranny and captivity of Satan and this sinful world, (whereof the captivity of Egypt under Pharaoh was a figure) and in his blood shed upon the cross thou hast made a covenant with me, which thou wilt never forget, that thou art and wilt be my Lord and my God: that is, thou wilt forgive me my sins and be wholly mine, with all thy power, wisdom, righteousness, truth, glory and mercy; wherefore, although I might confirm my faith by the innumerable mercies hitherto poured upon me most abundantly, as thy children of Israel might have done, and did confirm their faith by the manifold benefits poured upon them in the desert: yet specially the seal of thy covenant, I mean thy holy sacrament of baptism, wherein thy holy name was not in vain called upon me (0 dear Father, sweet Son and Saviour Jesus Christ, and most gracious good Holy Ghost) should most assuredly confirm, and even on all sides seal up my faith of this covenant, that thou art my Lord and my God; even as Abraham and thy people of Israel did by the sacrament of circumcision, which as the Apostle calleth the seal or signal of
Fathers, &c. vol. vi. pp. 238, 239.
righteousness, so dost thou call it; being but the sign of thy covenant indeed, yet thy very covenant; because as thy word is most true and cannot lie, as thy covenant is a covenant of peace infallible and everlasting; even so the sacrament and seal of the same is a most true testimonial and witness thereof." 1
"Now to the question: a man regenerate (which we ought to believe of ourselves, I mean that we are so by our baptism, the sacrament thereof requiring no less faith); a man, I say, regenerate, that is born of God, hath the Spirit of God: and as a man born of flesh and blood hath the spirit thereof, whereby as he can stir up himself to do more and more the deeds of the flesh, so the other can, by the Spirit of God in him, stir up in himself the gifts and graces of God, to glorify God accordingly."'
"As I would have us often to muse upon the catholic church or communion of saints (whereof we may not doubt, in what state soever we be, under pain of damnation, being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) so would I have us to meditate upon the other articles following, that is, remission of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and life everlasting. It is an article of our faith to believe, that is, to be certain that our sins are pardoned; therefore doubt not thereof lest thou become an infidel.
1 Fathers, &c. vol. vi. pp. 273-274. 2 Ibid, vol. vi. p. 390.
Though thou have sinned never so sore, yet now despair not, but be certain that God is thy God, that is, that he forgiveth thee thy sin." 1
"As princes' seals confirm and warrant their deeds and charters, so do the sacraments witness unto our conscience, that God's promises are true, and shall continue for ever. Thus doth God make known his secret purpose to his church; first he declareth his mercy by his word, then he sealeth it, and assureth it by his sacraments. In this word we have his promises; in the sacraments we see them.” 2
"Chrysostom saith, "Christ's baptism is Christ's passion." They are not bare signs; it were blasphemy so to say; the grace of God doth always work with his sacraments; but we are taught not to seek that grace in the sign, but to assure ourselves by receiving the sign, that it is given us by the thing signified. We are not washed from our sins by the water, we are not fed to eternal life by the bread and wine, but by the precious blood of our Saviour Christ, that lieth hid in these sacraments." 3
"Such a change is made in the sacrament of baptism through the power of God's working, the water is turned into blood; they that be
1 Fathers, &c. vol. vi. p. 415. 2 Ibid, vol. vii. p. 483. 3 Ibid, pp. 488, 489.
washed in it receive the remission of sins; their robes are made clean in the blood of the lamb. The water itself is nothing; but by the working of God's Spirit, the death and merits of our Lord and Saviour Christ, are thereby assured
"Our children are the children of God; he is our God, and the God of our seed; they be under the covenant with us." 2
"By these few it may appear, that the Sacrament maketh not a Christian, but is a seal and assurance unto all that receive it of the grace of God, unless they make themselves unworthy thereof, and that no man may despise this holy ordinance, and keep back his infants from baptism, for in so doing he procureth his own damnation." 3
"Therefore a father must teach his child what God is; that he is our Father, that he hath made us, and doth feed us, and giveth us all things needful both for body and soul? that he is our Lord and therefore we must serve him, and obey him, and do nothing whereby he may be displeased; that he is our judge, and shall come to judge the quick and the dead; and that all men shall come before him, to receive according as they have done in the flesh.
"He must put his child in mind of his baptism, and teach him that it is a covenant of God's
2 Ibid, p. 499.
1 Ibid, p. 497.
mercy to us, and of our duty to God: that it is a mystery of our salvation, that our soul is so washed with the blood of Christ, as the water of baptism washeth our body." 1
And commenting on St. Paul's words (1 Cor. vii.) "Now are your children holy," he says, "his meaning is, that the children of the faithful, notwithstanding by nature they be the children of anger, yet by God's free election they be pure and holy.":
"Master.-Do all generally, and without difference receive this grace?
Scholar. The only faithful receive this fruit, but the unbelieving in refusing the promises offered them by God, shut up the entry against themselves, and go away empty. Yet do they not thereby make that the Sacraments lose their force and nature.
Master.-Tell me then briefly in what things the use of baptism consisteth?
Scholar. In faith and repentance. For first, we must with assured confidence hold it determined in our hearts, that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ from all filthiness of sin, and so be acceptable to God, and that his Spirit dwelleth within us. And then we must continually with all our power and endeavour, travail in mortify
1 Ibid, p. 540.
2 Fathers, &c. vol. vii. p. 683.