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the trial, I must confess, that such doubts have arisen in my own mind, and in those of some excellent men with whom I have conversed on this subject; nor were such doubts ever dissipated from my mind, till the above view of the Baptismal Service furnished a clue of interpretation, which admitted me to the meaning of every subsequent formulary, and with that meaning, displayed the beauty and consistency of the whole.
How perfectly intelligible then is our whole Liturgy viewed from the portal of Baptismal regeneration-faith in the promise covenanted to the children of believers. Fix your eye but upon this entrance, and all the beautiful edifice rises in simple integrity, and commanding majesty before you. In BAPTISM "we being persuaded of the good-will of our heavenly Father towards this Infant, declared by his Son Jesus Christ, and nothing doubting but that he favourably alloweth this charitable work of ours in bring. ing this Infant to his holy Baptism;" in the CATECHISM We proceed consistently to teach him, that he was then "made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an Inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," and that the Holy Ghost even at this present "sanctifieth," or is "sanctifying him, and all the elect people of God." At his CONFIRMATION, the Bishop accepts him as a believer, as "regenerate by water and the Holy Ghost;" as "given forgiveness of all"
These sentiments of our Forefathers of the Reformation respecting Baptism, will receive ample confirmation from the concurrent sentiments of the Reformed Churches throughout Christendom in their day. I extract the following testimonies from "An Harmony of the Confessions of the faith of the Christian and Reformed Churches which purelie professe the holie doctrine of the Gospell in all the chiefe Kingdomes, Nations, and Provinces of Europe, -allowed by publique authoritie," and "imprinted by Thomas Thomas, printer to the Universitie of Cambridge, 1586.' And should these testimonies not be deemed sufficient, I must refer to the "Corpus Confessionum" for any further evidence that may be required.
The latter Confession of Helvetia.
"There is but one baptism in the church of God: for it is sufficient to be once baptized or consecrated unto God. For baptism once received doth continue all a man's life, and is a perpetual sealing of our adoption unto us. For 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 sons of God, yea and in this life to be called after the name of God, that is to say, to be called the son of God, to be purged also from the filthi
ness of sins, and to be indued with the manifold grace of God, for to lead a new and innocent life. Baptism therefore doth call to mind, and keep in remembrance the great benefit of God performed to mankind, for we are all born in the pollution of sin and are the sons of wrath. But God who is rich in mercy, doth freely purge us from our sins by the blood of his Son, and in him doth adopt us to be his sons, and by an holy covenant doth join us to himself, and doth inrich us with divers gifts, that we might live a new life. All these things are sealed up unto us in baptism.
"We condemn the Anabaptists who deny that young infants born of faithful parents, are to be baptized. For according to the doctrine of the gospel "this is the kingdom of God." And they are written in the covenant of God. And why then should not the sign of the covenant be given to them? Why should they not be consecrated by holy baptism, who are God's peculiar people, and in the Church of God?"
The former Confession of Helvetia.
66 Baptism, according to the institution of the Lord, is the font of Regeneration, the which the Lord doth give to his chosen in a visible sign, by the ministry of the Church in such sort, as we have declared before. In which holy font we do therefore dip our infants, because that it is not lawful for us to reject them from the com
pany of the people of God, which are born of us, (who are the people of God) so long as they be not pointed out by the voice of God, especially seeing that we ought godly to presume of their election."
The Confession of Bohemia.
"For we believe that whatsoever by baptism, as by a Sacrament added to the word of the gospel, is in the outward ceremony signified and witnessed, all that doth the Lord God work and perform inwardly that is that he washeth away sin, begetteth a man again, and bestoweth salvation upon him, and through the washing of water cleanseth by the word the society of his Church, cloatheth and appareleth it with his Son, burieth and taketh away sin, and giveth testimony to, and sealeth the peace of a good conscience, &c.
"And although Baptism in the primitive Church was for the most part ministered to such, as were well grown and of discretion, after a confession of faith made by them, according to Christ's commandment; yet this is taught, that young children also, who are reckoned in the number of God's people, in like sort are by this ministry to be benefitted toward the attaining of salvation, that they likewise may be consecrated and dedicated to Christ, according to this commandment, when he saith, "Suffer ye the little ones to come to me, and forbid them
not because unto such belongeth the kingdom of God." Therefore according to the word of the Lord, and many other testimonies and other promises made to this beloved age of children, especially when as also there is extant an example of that ancient ministry ordained of God, to wit, circumcision, which by the covenant belonged not only to those of discretion, but therewithal also to young children. For these causes do our ministers without any doubt and boldly baptize children in the name of the Holy Trinity, applying unto them a sign of most effectual virtue, and a most sure witness-bearing of that thing which by Christ's own words is assigned to this age, and is imparted unto it. For so Christ in general, and without exception giveth in charge, not touching some, but touching all, "Teach ye all nations, and baptize them, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." And so over children this most holy name is called upon, in which alone there is salvation."
The French Confession.
"Furthermore, although Baptism be a Sacrament of faith and repentance, yet seeing that God doth together with the parents account their posterity also to be of the Church, we affirm, that infants, being born of holy Parents, are by the authority of Christ to be baptized.
"We say therefore that the element of water,