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inform you fully on these several points, will supply abundant matter for one Discourse.

As I mean to give you the plainest explanation in my power, of all that this Catechism contains, I shall begin with the meaning of the very word itself. It is derived from the Greek language, and means a form of instruction, or manner of teaching: it contains, in very few words, the principles of that holy religion which is revealed from heaven to Christians, to teach us how to live, and how to die. Few, it is grievous to observe, among the lower classes know more of this Catechism than by rote, as it might be taught to birds that can be made to articulate sounds; and many do not know it, even in that slight degree: in truth, if it is learnt no better, it might as well be wholly let alone; but as, when it is clearly and perfectly understood, it will be found to contain all that is necessary to be known concerning the religion we profess, it is on that account a most valuable and indispensable study for youth, and even those of riper years, who are unhappily ignorant of the first principles of the Christian faith.

The Catechism opens, as before observed,

Church has done on other intricate questions, termed by the Apostle, duronta, hard to be understood, or not easily resolved."

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with asking the person to be instructed, his or her name, meaning that name which was given at the time of baptism: and the answer helps to remind the scholar when and why* that name was added to the family or surname; viz. to inform persons to whom they properly belong, which is shown by the very word Christian name; or that which they took on being initiated into Christ's church, and enlisted as his soldiers and servants. It serves also to lead them to the nature of "God's new covenant of grace and with his fallen creatures, mercy wherein he freely offers pardon and salvation to all such as shall truly repent, and believe in his Son Jesus Christ. Now, seeing this second covenant (treaty or engagement) is solemnly entered into in our infancy, by means of baptism, which is the first benefit we are capable of receiving, it seemed good to those pious men who composed our Church Catechism, to begin where we begin Christianity since the being thoroughly instructed in this Gospel covenant, lets us into the knowledge of the whole of our religion." The sacrament of baptism took place in the Christian church, in one respect, for the same end as circumcision was employed in the Jewish church, viz. as an act of initiation, or entering of the child into the body of the church in which it

* Archbishop Wake.

+ Comber.

was born, thereby making it a member of the same, and an heir to all its privileges and benefits. In like manner, it was at the time of being circumcised that the child had a particular name given it, as we have at our baptism; for, we read in St. Luke's Gospel (i. 59, 60), And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called JOHN-(as we read in the same chapter, was appointed by the angel sent from God). And, by the way, this supplies very sufficient authority for the use of baptism, which was instituted, as before observed, for much the same end as circumcision-and both are evidently of divine original, which appears from the history above related, and from God's revelation of his good pleasure, when our blessed Lord submitted to the baptism of John.

The word baptism is likewise of Greek derivation, and signifies to dip in, or cover with water, as also to wash or cleanse. In the early times of the church, which was first established in a very warm country, it was customary for grown persons (converts to the Christian faith) to go into a river, or any body of water, and to rise up out of it: this carried a very good and plain meaning, in a religious sense; viz. that the person, by that sign, showed his desire to be washed from his spiritual uncleanness, and

to rise again perfectly purified by the inward influence of God's grace, as his body was by the outward water: so that baptism may justly be explained to be "that outward ordinance, rite, or sacrament (all which words are occasionally applied to the same thing), wherein the washing of water sets forth the cleansing of the soul from sin by the blood of Christ *.”

It may be useful to you, in this place, shortly to observe, that, from this early custom, a sect arose, who supposed no baptism was effectual that did not exactly imitate that of grown converts in the early ages of Christianity; whereas, the reason why people of riper years were baptized in that manner, was only because the Christian religion was not established in their infancy; and, for the same good cause, we do now christen or baptize any persons of riper years, whose parents or friends have been so very neglectful, as to omit having them made members of Christ's body (the church) at the proper time: and, as to our custom of only sprinkling with water, instead of dipping the infant entirely into the font, or obliging grown persons to cover themselves with water, the difference of climate, change of season, or other inconveniences that might attend it, are sufficiently good reasons for the disuse of such a form of baptism. The outward

* Cruden.

sign is as essentially expressed by water used one way as the other; and what is wanting in the quantity used, is abundantly explained in the words our Church employs in the ceremony, to declare the real end of it.

You have now seen the use of a name being given you when christened-its original institution-and the divine authority for using it. I will proceed, therefore, to the second question, "Who gave you this name ?"-It is needless to repeat the whole answer: they who have unhappily forgotten it, may turn to the Catechism in their Prayer Books, and will find the immediate reply is, "My godfathers and godmo"thers." I shall dwell a little on this first portion of the answer. By godfathers and godmothers we understand those persons who, according to the custom and appointment of our Church, do appear at the time of the infant's being christened, and answer in its stead, to the conditions of the covenant, into which it is then entered with God, by means of the sacrament of baptism for this reason these persons are also called sureties and sponsors. By the first word is meant, that they will endeavour to make sure what they have promised, in the name of the child; that is, will see to its being done; and so far, in a manner, "they give security to the Church that the children shall not relinquish the faith in which they are baptized." The other


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