A SERMON Preached in the Parish Church of St. Magnus the Martyr, By London-Bridge, On Sunday February 11th, 1699-1700. AT THE BAPTIZING Of some Persons of Riper Years, brought up by Qua­kers and Anabaptists, but now Conform'd to the Church of England.

Published at the Request of them and their Friends.

By RICHARD HOLLAND, M. A. Chaplain to his Grace the DƲKE of RICHMOND, Curate of St. Magnus, and Lecturer of Allhallows the Great; who has since Baptized several others.

The Second Edition.

LONDON. Printed by J. Richardson, for J. Back, at the Black-Boy on London-Bridge, 1700.

To all those who have newly Embraced the Church of England, especially whom I have lately Baptized in this City; some brought up by Quakers, others amongst Anabaptists.

TIs the Honour of our Established Church to carry the demonstra­tion of the best and happiest Constitution in the World; whose Articles are sound, Canons and Discipline easy; whose Sacraments are of our Lords own appointing; whose Ceremonies are but few, and those Decent; whose Orders are Apostolical, and Guardians watchful; whose Prayers are truly Divine, and Preaching from the Word of God, not from the Whims or Policies of Men; this Church, admired by the Learned, even amongst its Enemies, desired and prayed for by all the truly Pious abroad, despised and neglected at home only thro' the Prejudice and great Ʋnhappiness of Education in some, and Willful Ignorance in others; this Church, you now are become Members of, at your Earnest desire, & (as I thank God, I have very good Reason to hope) after a due preparation. As for this Discourse, tis properly yours; twas prepared for you, and that with a Plainess answering the Honesty and Importunity which you discovered in your Request, both to understand and enjoy this holy Sacrament. And thus to do, I found convenient, if not necessary, and to me very tempting; not only as a Curate conversant with people, who (blessed be God) have had the good Effect of convincing and informing some, who thought themselves Wise: But because also of those odd Notions and strange Enthusiastick Fancies, which you formerly were, and others stil are teized and exercised with, from their unteaching Guides; which instead of Comfort, have im­proved to the Ruin of their Proselytes. Among the many proofs of this, [Page] that sad story of the dearest Relation of one of you, will not yet be forgot­ten; who under great perplexity of thoughts from some strange Doctrines amazing and disturbing him, when he apply'd himself to his Teacher to instruct and assist him, that he might find Peace and Comfort, receiv'd from him only this Answer, Go Home, and get Faith. Which was so far from easing his Troubled Mind, that he immediately fell distra­cted, was obliged to be lyed and Bound in his Bed, and lived about a Week in that dreadful condition, and then was relieved only by Death.

But our Church, as it has no such Ʋnintelligible Distracting Notions, nor Ʋnmerciful Tyranizing Discipline; so you receive this, containing the true Christian Doctrine of it; discovering the Bowels of the Mercy and Love of our blessed Saviour, the Head of it; and Published at the Request of you, and your chosen Witnesses, I hope for your Benefit, and the Benefit of those who are yet Ignorant of the Excellencies of now your Church, and misled by Crafty and Designing Men.

And therefore, as when Instructing you, so in this Sermon, I attended to the most easy, familiar, and aptest Expressions to inform you; using in Comments and Expositions, the best Authors, and sometimes also (because I could not do better) their own words; Endeavouring to keep true to the Orders, and excellent Doctrine of our Church, as every Faithful and Honest Man ought to do.

That the Honour of God, and Interest of the Church, might be advan­ced, and that you and others may be bettered by this, and at last all our Souls Saved, is the Prayer of,

Your Faithful Friend and Servant, In the Cause of God and the Church, Richard Holland.

A SERMON Preached at the BAPTIZING, &c.

Acts II. 38.‘Then Peter said unto them, Repent, & be Baptized every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ.’

THE Occasion of these words was this: St. Peter, with great Earnestness, had just Demonstrated to the Jews, the great Glory of Christ: Who. tho' He was taken by wicked hands, Crucified and Slain; yet did He Rise again, thereby making a perfect Conquest over the Grave, and all the Powers of Darkness; and entering upon his Go­vernment, as He is appointed an everlasting King, whose Dominion endureth from Generation to Generation, to take Vengeance of all His Enemies.

Of which these Men of Israel, having from the Apo­stles words clear Conviction, they stop their Mouths; (for before they did but Scoff at the power of Godliness;) [Page 2] their Minds are now perfectly changed, they are very sensible of their evil condition, were prick'd at their Hearts, and with great Importunity and forward Earnestness apply themselves to the Apostles for Relief, for Com­fort, and Advice, in these extraordinary thoughtful words, Men and Brethren, what shall we do?

It may not be amiss to take notice of that part of St. Peter's Sermon that Introduces all this, and caused so suddain an alteration in those Jews.

He very plainly argues the Messias, and proves his Re­surrection; beginning ver. 22. Ye Men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by Miracles, and Wonders, and Signs, &c. And here he tells them how barbarously they had dealt with the Son of God, and their own Messias: And then he brings to their remembrance some of the Prophecies of David, and explains them, particularly of His Resurrection, That His Soul was not left in Hell, neither did his Flesh see corruption. Again, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou upon my right hand, until I make thy Foes thy Foot-Stool. This he proves David to speak of Christ, not of him­self, v. 29. whose words may admit of this Comment:

Some amongst you, perhaps, may conclude these Prophecies to belong to David, and not to Jesus: I know you had a good value for that Royal Prophet, and he deserv'd it, being the Man after Gods own heart, bles­sed of and beloved by Him: But let me be so free and plain with you, as to advise, that you must not give to [Page 3] him that is due to the Messias. The thing does truly declare it self; and this Prophecy neither agrees with David, nor any other Prophet or Patriarch. As for David, you all know well enough that he Dyed▪ was Buried, and never came to Life again; his Sepultchre is with us to this day; there is nothing in it burdry Bones and Dust, and no sign at all that he eve, after Revived. And all this David knew very well, that he should fare like other Men; Dye, be Buried, and molder to dust in the Grave: Therefore he said none of these things of himself: but being Inspired of God, he knew that Christ should be Born of his Line and Family, be a most glorious King, and Reign for ever.

And since it is plain that this Jesus, this Son of David, did not sit upon his Fathers Throne: he must therefore mean some other Kingdom and Throne, and he does express it to be such an one too, as shall have no End.

Now he could not sit on this Eternal Throne, he could not Reign in this his Everlasting Kingdom, if after having once submitted to Death, he had not come to Life again.

He therefore is risen from Death to Life, on purpose to enter upon this his Government, to sit upon this glorious Seat, the Seat of the Eternal Father, the Lord both of Heaven and Earth.

And all this David himself spoke of, and what he said so long ago, is now come to pass. This same Jesus Dyed, You Crucifyed him, and he lay some time in the Grave, but did not Putrefie there, making good all [Page 4] the Prophecies of him: For he rose again to take his Government, to enter upon his Kingdom. And we are Witnesses of all this; we saw him, have Eat, Drank and Convers'd with him, since his Resur­rection; and we are not, we cannot be Deceiv'd in him; we knew him well in Person and Voice; and besides, we saw and felt his wounded Hands and Side; and many others also can testifie the same, who saw and heard him as well as we.

And this very same Jesus whom ye slew and hang­ed on a Tree, thus raised up by the Power of God, we also saw ascend into Heaven: And he, having pro­mised to send to us the Holy Ghost from thence, has now performed that too, which you cannot but own by this evidence which you now see and hear, those several Languages we now speak, which before we knew nothing at all of, we never were bred up in.

By all this it is very plain, That this same Jesus is advanced to His Kingdom; is now Lord over all; is the very Messias promised in the Prophets, whom ye look for; and who will most certainly one day take Vengeance of all his Enemies.

This surprizing Relation, carrying with it such De­monstration and Evidence, touch'd them to the quick, who had consented to the thing, and who had acted in the Crucifying of Him; being fearful therefore now, and apprehensive of their great danger; and that they were soon to be brought under His Foot-stool, they cry [Page] out for help, they intreat the Apostles to relieve them, they have no Patience, but begg as for Life, Men and Brethren, what shall we do?

The Apostle is as quick, has a Remedy at hand for them, Repent, and be Baptized every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ.

There are some excellent Lessons in this Sacred Hi­story, which, before we proceed, I shall but just mention.

The Apostle here charges the whole body of the Jews, and especially all the City of Jerusalem, with that bar­barous Murder of their King. Ye men of Israel (says he) both High and Low, Great and Small, 'tis you that by wicked hands have Crucified and Slain the Holy One.

He could not but know that the Soldiers mostly were the Executioners: But the whole Nation being Guilty; he charges all in general with it; those who Consented to it, as well as the Actors, and those who with mighty Clamours cry'd out, Crucify Him, Crucify Him.

We have indeed a Record of one not to be forgotten, a Good Man and a Just. who did not consent to the coun­sel and deed of them; St. Luke 23. 51. 'twas Joseph of Arimathea, who took worthy care of the Corps also, whose Humanity therefore is Honourably noted. But for the body of the Jews, they were all Guilty, as well as the poor Heathen Soldiers.

St. Peter then teaches us, That in Preaching the Gos­pel of Christ, the first thing must be to Convince Men of their Sins, to charge them home with them, and bring [Page 6] them to a general acknowledgment thereof, For, as no Physitian knows well what to do with that sick Patient, who conceals, or dissembles his Distemper: so, nor can Christ profit any who will not be brought to a true sence of their Sins.

For which reason Christ calls himself a Physitian, and says, That He came to Heal the Sick; and again, Not for the Just, but to call Sinners to Repentance. And the Office of the Holy Ghost, He says, is to Convince, and to Accuse the World of Sin. And in his last words to his Disciples, when he commands them to Preach Repentance; to En­courage them, he immediately joyns thereto Remission of Sins, St. Luke 24. 47.

Nor does the Apostle seem to charge the Mobb only, the common Rout of Crucifiers, but their Captains too: You, say he, who by wicked and unjust hands have slain, &c. Judas in the first place, once the Disciple and Apostle of Christ, but now their Leader, and who deliver'd him to them; so the High Priest, and all the Colledges of Scribes and Pharisees, who corrupted Judas, and gave him Mony for his part in the Fact: Pilate too, who sat in the Em­perours Seat, and gave the unjust Sentence against Him, to gratify the importunity of the People; Herod also, in whose power it was to let him go, who instead thereof Mock'd Him, and sent Him back to Pilate: All these, tho never so Great, who were guilty as well as those common People who cryed out, His Blood be upon us, and on our Children, the Apostle boldly charges, notwithstand­ing their Grandeur and Authority.

[Page 7] Tho' by some it might have been esteem'd no less than Treason, to charge the Government with Unrighteous­ness and Injustice in their Sentence: yet he plainly does it, without that wretched Fear, and those fawning Hopes, which too oft Tempts Men, even in good things, to Prevaricate.

And this is the Duty of every one who comes from God: for, a Minister is a publick Person; an Ambassador, and that from the Almighty: and his Business is to tell his Masters Mind, to deliver his Errands, discover his Truths and Pleasure only: and not to sew Pillows un­der the Peoples Arms, not to bolster them up in any of their Errors.

And tho' thus to do is somewhat Irksome, as the Pro­phet Jeremiah complains, Wo is me that thou hast made me a Contentious Man, and a Man that striveth with the whole Earth, &c. Jer. 15. 10. Tho' it appears uneasie, and troublous to thwart the Inclinations of Men, and dis­charge them of their own Humours, yet we find it plain­ly intimated in their Commission, so the aforesaid pro­phet Jer. c. 1. v. 28. For behold, I have made thee a Defenced City, and an Iron Pillar, and Walls of Brass against the whole Land, against the Kings, against the Princes, against the Priests, and against all the People of the Land.

In the next place, this Honestly and plain Dealing in the Apostle, had very good effect upon those Jews: they were Pricked at the Heart: they were sensible how ill they had done: they own'd their Evil Condition, and looked out for help.

[Page] This is the beginning of true Reformation, to be deep­ly impressed with their Guilt and Danger, to be really ap­prehensive both of their Folly, and Desperate Condition, both of their want of a Saviour, and Misery without him; this will soon make the Sinner cry out with David, I have Sinned, I acknowledge my Faults, and my Sin is ever before me, Psal. 51. 2. And this Sense of his Condition will Encourage him to call for relief, to ask Counsel how to get out of such a dreadful Condition, to cry out in good earnest, What shall we do to be Saved?

Again, We see farther the good Nature and Faithful­ness of the Apostle, who as soon as they had discovered the extraordinariness of their Concern and Misery, does not in the least delay or dispute their Cure: He does not put them upon any Costly and Troublesome thing to Atone their Sin; neither does he Upbraid them for their mighty Cruetly to the Blessed Jesus, nor reflect any more on what is past, their long Neglect or Carelesness; but looks forward, helps them in Earnest, tells them the only, and that an easie and reasonable Remedy; comforts therefore their Hearts directly, keeps them no longer in Suspence, hides not their Cure, but says, Repent, and be Baptized every one of you, &c.

You see how proper this Subject is for our present Discourse, having just now receiv'd Persons into the Pale of the Church, who formerly were trained in Errors, and by the Authority of Relations kept from this happy Call.

[Page 9] And since by their Earnest desire they have now En­joyed this blessed Sacrament, that as soon as convenient­ly can be, they may be admitted to the other, let one word first be permised concerning the holy Sacraments, and their Number.

Sacraments are the outward means whereby God does Represent, Exhibit, and Seal to us our Redemption. And they are called Signs, and Seals, and Badges, and Pledges: As Signs, they represent the great performances of Christ for us under Visible Elements; Water represents his washing away our Sins; the Bread Broken, and Wine poured out, represent his Body Crucified, and his Blood Shed for us. Thus are they Tokens and Monuments of his Love, truly Signs of Heavenly things.

By them Grace is exhibited and conveyed to the faith­ful, Pardon ensured, and Favour and Reconciliation obtained.

They are the Marks and Badges of our Profession: they are our Lords Livery, by which all we his Ser­vants are known and discover'd to belong to him: they proclaim us to be his Right and Property: so that all the World may see and know what a Master we have, in whose Service we are Engaged, and whose Favour and Protection we shall be sure always to Enjoy.

And they are Pledges also, or Pawns of his Care and Mercy, they are our Security of Heaven, and the ground of our Hopes and Confidence in God. For, there is an holy Contract betwixt God and us: Obedience is our [Page 10] part, Salvation is his; and by the Holy Sacraments, as by Deeds and Indentures, is our Happiness conveyed, made over, Seal'd and Deliver'd to us.

If we would be Saved then, it must be by these means, and if we refuse these means, the Pledges of his Love, the Badges of our Profession, the Securities of our Happi­ness: we Rob our Souls of Heaven, we exclude our selves from Salvation.

Not that God cannot save without them, For his hand is not shortned, but they are the ordinary Means, and appointed Instruments, by which he has promised to convey the Merits of Christ to us, and commanded us this way to receive them.

Willfully then to Neglect them, or to Want them, when they may be had, is perfectly to despise God, and cast aside his Ordinances.

As for their Number, they are but two; tho' the Church of Rome has Established more, yet the Ancients never acknowledged anymore. Nay, one of the greatest amongst the Romanists, confesses it in these Words: 'Tis a com­mon receiv'd saying amongst us Catholicks, That all the Sa­craments did flow out of the Side of the Lord, but thence only Issued out Water and Blood; Water, as the matter of Baptism; and Blood, of the Eucharist; and thence concludes, that properly there is no more. Thus Cardinal Richlieu.

True it is, that the Sacraments strictly and properly taken for Seals and Badges of our Profession, they are, and the Church never acknowledged anymore than two, and those of our Lords own Ordaining.

[Page 11] The first, Baptism, from [...], that signifies to Wash, Dip, Dive, or Sprinkle.

The second, The Supper of the Lord, because or­dain'd at, or after his last Supper.

And these two he only institutes; some have guessed that the Gospel Sacraments might correspond with those two old ones of the Law, Circumcision and the Passover: But rather, because these two are sufficient.

Nothing is required to make any one a true Master of any Profession than these two things. 1. To be legally Enter'd, fairly admitted into it; and then, 2 To be consummate in it, to be fully possessed of the Privi­ledges and Immunities of it.

To Illustrate this, by what you all know very well. In order to become a free Denison and worthy Member of this Honourable City, or of any Society therein, this is required, 1. That the Person be Lawfully Admitted, you call it Bound: By which he is obliged to learn the Art or Mystery of his Profession, is Engaged to the Rules thereof, and at the same time is become the Care and under the Patronage of the Governours of the City. And having behav'd himself well in that Station, his appointed time, he is then, 2. Made Free; has Title to the Pri­viledges and Immunities both of the City and his own Society; to exercise his Function without Controul, and in his Course to perform the Noble Duties, enjoy the Offices, and receive the worthy Honours of the same.

And as it is in these outward Worldly Societies; so [Page 12] is it in our best most Holy and Religious one, as we are Christians, Members of Christ Sons of Heaven, and Heirs of Salvation.

For, 1. By Baptism we are Bound; bound to the great Father and Master of all the World; made Servants to the most high God; one of his so glorious a Family; Members of Christ; and under the Guidance, Instruction, and Conduct of the Holy Ghost. And our Employ­ment under that our Master, and in his Houshold, is to learn the Art of being and doing Good, the great Mystery of the Christian Religion.

And in that High and Honourable Imployment, in that Valuable Service, we are under the Care, Govern­ment, and Protection, the Tuition and Instruction of God the Son, from whom we receive all the Rules of our Office, the Laws and Statutes of our Calling: And in order to our most Faithful Service and absolute Obe­dience, we are Assisted, Comforted, Eased, Relieved, and Sanctified by God the Holy Ghost. And then, 2. In this Station behaving our selves Faithfully and Honest­ly, till we understand our Business, know well our Duty, and are fit to set up for the Practice of Piety, willing to Devote our selves to that Imployment; we are admitted then to our Masters Table, to Eat and Drink of those his Holy Viands, in the other Sacrament of the Eucharist; and there Enjoy, in that Feast of Souls, the Lord of all Glory, by which we are Fed and Nourished even to Eternal Life.

[Page 13] And thus you see how your Earthly, does exhibit and represent to you the Glory of your Heavenly Imploy­ment; and that if you would be Masters, enjoy Liber­ty, even the glorious Liberty of the Sons of God, you must first be Bound, must be admitted into the Family regu­larly and fairly, as he has Ordain'd; you must be Bap­tized every one of you, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; and then proceed from one Degree of Grace unto another; so you will obtain what St. Peter's Con­gregation here aim'd at, viz. To be Everlastingly Saved.

For this reason it is that the Font stands at the lower-end, but at our Enterance into the Church; where ha­ving been received and admitted into the Congregation, and afterwards Instructed in our several Duties, till we are well prepared for the Nobler Mysteries of our Pro­fession, the higher Cordials of the Gospel; we then come to be advanced to the Lords Table, that Holy Christian. Altar, at the Upper-end of all, the most Honourable Place in Gods House, that Royal Seat and Throne of the Blessed Jesus: Where Injoying him in those his appointed Elements in their Season, during the Course of our Lives, with Honest, Faithful, and Repenting Hearts; we shall perceive the constant refreshings of a good Conscience and Joyous Heart, and at last be Translated to the Everlasting Arms of our Blessed Sa­viour, and Enjoy Him in the highest Heavens.

But the first of those Holy Sacraments is our Province now. In Discoursing upon which, we shall a little more [Page 14] particularly consider, 1. The Nature, 2. The Necessity of it, 3. The Qualifications for it, 4. The several Duties we are Engaged in by it, 5. The extraordinary Benefits and Advantages of it.

1. For the Nature of Baptism. It was always a Custom amongst the Jews, that when any Proselyte was Receiv'd, Enter'd, and Admitted into the Church, they were wont to use several Washings, thereby denoting their Leaving off, Forsaking, or Washing away all their former Pol­lutions, their old Prophane and Heathen Practises: Nay, the Jewish Authors say, that not only Proselytes, and those newly Converted from Heathenism, but also the Natural Jews themselves, were mitiated by these three things, Circumcision, Baptism, and Sacrifices.

As this was the custom amongst the Jews, so it pleas'd the Lord of Life, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, to appoint, That whosoever should at any time be receiv'd into His Family, admitted into His House and Fellow­ship, shall be receiv'd by this very same Ceremony and Element of Water; and the Holy Ghost has order'd this Form of words, I Baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Baptism then is the Door, by which we enter into the visible Church of Christ; and it is administred to Beginners in Christianity, who are Initiated by Water.

This is done by Dipping, or Sprinkling, for the word signifies both, and our Church makes the Action Indiffe­rent; leaving it to Discretion, and to be regulated by Charity.

[Page 15] Dipping was first in use in hot Countries, and when the greatest part were well grown People: But when the Gospel was spread into colder Climates, as ours, Sprink­ling only was thought sufficient. And so does the wis­dom of our Church conclude, That if a Spoonful of Wine in the other Sacrament, be as significative of the whole Mass of Christ's Blood, as a greater quantity; then a few Drops of Water may be a representative of Washing, as well as a River. And this Sprinkling, perhaps, the Apostles themselves used, even in those hot Countries, since we Read of them calling sometimes for Water in Houses, to Baptize new Converts, Acts 10. 47.

'Tis to be done in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Intimating, That what the Minister does, is not of himself, or on his own head; but in the Name and Power, by the Command and Com­mission of the whole Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: And this Obliging the Person Baptized to own, 1. The Glorious Trinity of Persons, and consequently the whole Creed, in the words of the Church Catechism, to Believe in God the Father, who made him and all the World. 2. In God the Son, who Re­deem'd him and all Mankind; That is, who was pleased to undergo the Wrath of His Heavenly Father, and all those Scourges due to our Sins, that we might be free from Sin and Sorrow, the power and danger of Death and Satan. 3. In God the Holy Ghost, who Sanctifies him, and all the Elect People of God; That is, who Guides [Page 16] and Directs him, and who Comforts and Refreshes him in the ways of Godliness.

As he thus owns and acknowledges the Holy Trinity, so 2dly. He yields himself an absolute Proselyte to the Faith, of it, excluding all other Gods, or any other Authors, and Patrons of Religion. The [...]

3dly. He devotes himself to follow the Rules, and o­bey the Comands of this his new Master, is always ready to be Govern'd, and Guided by him; and by all cheerful dispatch of Religious Duties, demonstrates himself a very willing Disciple of this Blessed Trinity.

Now this Water, and these Words, is called the Form, or the Outward part of Baptism: And they have a great meaning in them, which is called the Inward; being a Death to Sin, and a new Birth to Righteousness: By Dy­ing to Sin, is only meant leaving it off, washing away all Pollutions, getting clear of them, out of the Power and Dominion of them. The Apostle also calls it, A Quickening of us, who were dead in Trespasses and Sins. And St. John calls it, Overcoming of the World.

For nothing makes a Man more a Slave than Sin; nothing betrays Men more to Servitude, then living in Sin; nothing else but Sin can Domineer: He then that overcomes it, is a brave Commander, is truly Master of himself, and Enjoys the best Liberty.

And now very plain appears the meaning of a New Birth to Righteousness, and being Born of God, mention'd so frequently in Scripture; which is only our Lords [Page 17] Enabling of us to Live Religiously, and Act Honestly, To have our Conversation here in Simplicity, and Godly Sin­cerity; and to keep our Consciences void of Offence both to­wards God and Man: So we prove our selves Members of Christ; and he will plentifully bestow upon us the Provisions of his Grace and Favour, that is, Mercy, and Peace, and Pardon of Sins here, and Eternal Life & Glory hereafter. I come now to the Second thing, To Consider the Necessity of Baptism: The Word is here, Be Bap­tized every one of you; and this is, if you have a mind to be Saved. Besides which, in St. John's Gospel, c. 3. v. 5. Jesus himself says, Except a Man be Born of Water, and of the Spirit, he cannot Enter into the Kingdom of God. That is, except a Man be Born again by the effectual working of Gods Spirit, as by the Author of this New Birth; and (in the ordinary course of Gods Proceedings in his Church) by the Water of Baptism, as the Sign appointed by God in the Sacrament of our Regeneration, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore he says again, v. 7. Let not this seem so strange a thing, Marvel not that I said unto you, You must thus be Born again. And I think, that Christs own words, with such a Condition, that without it, they shall not obtain Hea­ven, is enough to urge the Necessity of this Holy Sacrament.

What then do they do? What have they to answer, who with hardned Confidence, and willful Obstinacy, and scornful Ignorance, keep themselves and their Children out of the Pale of the Church, refuse and slight this [Page 18] Great Grace, and shut themselves out of Heavens Gate? They are indeed in a most dreadful Condition, who tho' Light be come into the World, will Love Darkness rather than Light; and bereave both themselves and off-spring of that Happiness, and those mighty favours of God.

What Value have these Men for Gods Command, to take the Sign and Seal of his Covenant of Grace to his Peo­ple, and their Seed, throughout all Generations?

What Value have they for Jesus Christ, confirming the same, when he sent forth his Apostles and appointed them to make all the Nations Disciples, and to Baptize them all in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Which they did thro' all the World, where they came. But more dreadfull still is it, that the Men of this Per­swasion, are generally so Stubborn and Resolute, as to be in Danger of never Repenting and Returning to the Church: Some indeed, by the blessing of God, and a good Disposition, have led the way; may the rest of them Speedily follow; and let not that Fate and Doom of a Reprobate, which is to be of strong Delusion, and to Believe a Lye, (the worst of all Judgments) let not that, or its Imputation, any longer rest upon them. I am thirdly to speak to the qualification for this Holy Sacrament, which is Repentance: Repent and be Baptized. Repentance is that that re-enstates us in Gods Favour, assures our Hap­piness, and makes Joy in Heaven. We all know our selves, to be Fools and Vile Sinners; and when ever we shall be brought to our Senses, to acknowledge our Sin [Page 19] and Folly; we shall Act like Men, and make our selves of the Number of those that God will accept, that Christ came to Save and Dyed for, and most certainly will Receive into his Everlasting Arms, when he shall come again to make up his Jewels.

But our Repentance must be made up of these Parts, 1. There must be a Sense of Sin, 2. An Hearty Sorrow for it, 3. A free Acknowledgement and Confession of it, 4. An utter Abhorrence and forsaking of it.

1. There must be a Sense of Sin, if we would Hear­tily Repent of it. That it is Abominable, the Bratt of the Devil, that that God Hates, the thing that he never can or will Endure to behold with the least Approbation.

That it really grieves the blessed Spirit, that it Cru­cifies the Lord of Life afresh, and puts Him to an open Shame; and that it made Him, who is the same Yesterday, to Day, and for ever, to alter his Decrees concerning Man, and Cancel that Covenant of Uninterrupted Happiness.

Of so Mischievous Nature it is, that it turn'd Angels into Devils, Men into Beasts; and Tumbled them down from Life to the Grave, from a Throne to a Prison, from Heaven, and a Title to never-ceasing Joys, to Hell, and the assurance of Eternal Torments. This is Sin, and thus we must acknowledge it to be exceeding Sinful. And then,

2. We must proceed to Godly Sorrow for it. We must Heartily bewail it, express sensibly our Dissatisfaction in, and Dislike of it; and that from a true Apprehension of its own Vileness, and that most wretched Folly, that betray'd us into it.

[Page 20] And this Sorrow must be not only because we have brought our selves into great Danger, contracted Guilt, and wrought our own Ruin: But because also we have dealt so Unkindly and Ungratefully, with so good a God: Because we have provoked so Compassionate a Father, slighted so Gracious a Redeemer, and quench'd the Motions of, and grieved so Blessed a Sanctifier. Thus should we abound in Holy Sorrow, with respect both to our God and our selves; for our God, that we have thus Basely, Treacherously, and Ungratefully, done as much as in us lay, to the very Dethroning of Him; as well as for our selves, whom this filthy Sin has sunk into so wretched a Condition.

3. If we would perfect our Repentance, we must truly acknowledge and confess our Sins, not Hide them, not Palliate and Excuse them, not Stifle and Endeavour to put them out of our Minds, but to own them, and our selves for Sinners.

When ever we desire to enter the Temple, when ever we prepare to return to our Fathers House, and there hope to be Receiv'd and Wellcom'd, we cannot do bet­ter, then take to our selves the Words of the old repen­ting Prodigal, and say, Father I have sinned against Hea­ven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy Son, St. Luke 15. 21.

Thus freely should we expose our Vileness, acknow­ledge our Transgressions, and that we have worthily deserv'd Gods Wrath; that we have added Sin to Sin, [Page 21] Treasured our Vices, and Aggravated them with the most heightening Circumstances.

And who knows then, but at our Meeting, as the ten­der Father in the Gospel receiv'd his Rebellious Son, so our Heavenly Father will receive us also, forgive us, and Enthrone us in his Kingdom.

And here that I be not Misunderstood, let me hint to you the Excellency of our Church, in this particu­lar. We are not obliged to an exact Discovery of every Secret of our Hearts to Men of Cunning and Art, and yet of like Passions with our selves; which is the Ar­bitrary management of other Churches and Sects; by which the poor People are lyable to be Ruin'd on Earth, their Secrets being extorted, and they thereby exposed to the shock and prey of Cruel and Unreasonable Men. But our Church requires General Confessions only, such as she has provided; as We have Erred and Strayed from thy ways like lost Sheep, we have followed two much the Devices and Desires of our own Hearts, we have offended against thy Holy Laws, &c. Save in the matter of Scruples; and then also it is order'd with that Ease and Security for the quieting of the Conscience, and relie­ving the troubled Mind, as to Demonstrate the Divinity of the Constitution, and that Holy Spirit which con­ferr'd the Directions.

All this I have said is of our Church and Publick Con­fessions; but for our Private ones, those in our Closets, we must be sure there to ransack every corner of our Hearts, [Page 22] to Confess and Bewail every Particular of our Sins, to our God; so he that seeth, he that heareth in Secret, will reward openly; we shall not fail then of Pardon, and Forgiveness, if we add that that's next to be Consider'd to make up our Repentance, and that is,

4. A Forsaking of all our Sins, and an utter abhorrence of them for the future. He that Confesseth and Forsaketh, it is that shall find Mercy. Would we then perfect our Repentance, and be truly Welcome to our Lord and Saviour in His House and Family? Thus we must do; Confess, and Forsake; own our former Follies, and re­solve upon a new and better Life; promise to our Lord more Faithful Obedience, and then take Care to per­form it; resign up our selves intirely to the Will of God, and then indeavour to walk with him all the Days of our Lives.

So shall we be truly Wellcome to our Lord now in this Sacrament, and ever afterwards in his House; so shall we Enjoy the Comfortable Presence of the blessed Spi­rit here, and even the Lord of Life in that Spiritual Banquet, the other Sacrament. And when these Earthly Services and Mercies shall fail us, we shall receive Eter­nal Comforts, be possest of Blessings Unspeakable and full of Glory; so shall none of our former sinful Actions ever rise against us, to Accuse or Condemn us, or our Consciences to affright us; but in Peace and Quietness, in a Sedate and Calm Composure of Spirit, we shall at last resign our Souls into the hands of God, in sure and certain hope of a joyful Resurrection. I am now in the

[Page 23] 4. Place to consider the several Duties we are Enga­ged in by our Baptism; and these are exactly set down in our Catechism; when we Vow and Promise, 1. To Re­nounce the Devil and all his Works, the Pomps and Va­nities of this wicked World, with all the Sinful Lusts of the Flesh. This Vow is of three parts: The 1. To Re­nounce the Devil and all his Works. By this the Church generally understands Renouncing of all false Gods, and false Worship.

The World at the coming of our Saviour, was full of Idolatry; and therefore it was very proper that all those that were willing to engage in, and be happy by the be­nefits of the true Religion, should be obliged to Renounce absolutely all the false: And this not only in Tongue, but in Heart also; not only in Profession, but in Action.

As we are not to believe in, & pay Devotion to an Idol; so, nor are we to act any of those bruitish Villanies which took up the Lives of those Idolatrous Heathens. As we are not to consult Witches and Devils, so, nor must we have such low and mean apprehensions of God and His wise Providence, as to sink our Hearts, and suffer them to be betrayed to any base and unlawful Compli­ances: And therefore more especially by the Works of the Devil here, was meant those abominable Villanies (the Apostle says) not to be Named among Christians; which was the usual practise of those Heathen Idolators; and for which the greatest of Gods Judgments have for­merly been brought upon the Earth; even fire and Brim­stone, [Page 24] upon particular Cities, famous for those Brutalities; Nay, even that Deluge of Water upon the whole Earth.

But, besides those, there are others that may proper­ly be called the Works of the Devil; being such he de­lights in, and is very diligent in Tempting us to. Amongst these is Pride, that Usurping and Ambitious Desire that made the first Devil, and Dethroned him from an Em­pire in Heaven, to the infernal Abyss of Hell; such also is Lying; for he is called a Lyar, and the Father of it, St. John 8. 44. Such also is Slandering, for he is famously also called the Accuser of the Brethren; such also, is Malice and Envy, being hateful, and hating one another. These are the proper Practises of him, whom the Scripture calls a Murderer from the Beginning: And such also, is all Plea­sure, Contentedness and Delight in Sin, and Encouraging and Tempting others to commit it; all these are truly and properly called the Works of the Devil.

The second part of the Vow is, To Renounce the Pomps and Vanities of this wicked World. By these were meant formerly some Villanous and Unlawful Sports of the Heathens, which we now (thanks be to God) know no­thing of; and as it respects us, may be understood by them mostly, all undue and sinful Compliances with any of the things of the World; whether they be Riches, or Pleasures, or Honours; whether it be Meat, or Drink, or Apparel; whether it be Rest, or Sport, or Imployment; or indeed any inordinate Enjoyment of any of these Earthly things. Now many of all these things, as they [Page 25] are Blessings, when well used; so when abused, they be­come Curses, Pomps and Vanities of this World, and to be Renounced.

The third part of the Vow, is to Renounce all the Sin­ful Lusts of the Flesh; that is, all Vile Affections, and Beastly Humours, and Greedy Cravings; the Conquering of which is true Self Denyal, and Mortification, the great Duty of the approaching Season; which I have endea­vour'd to inculcate to you, and which you will have ma­ny opportunities of improving in the knowledge of, du­ring Lent. And so I come to the

Second part of the Vow and Promise, which is, To Believe all the Articles of our Christian Faith: which con­sists not only in the being rightly inform'd in the Ar­ticles of our Faith; in Learning, Endeavouring to Ʋn­derstand, and giving full Consent unto them; but (which perfects and compleats our Faith) in Living accordingly, in doing those things that will prove and well Demon­strate our Faith. And particularly, to explain this in the Apostles Creed; When I say, I Believe in God the Fa­ther Almighty; I must Honour and Reverence Him, as my God; Love and Obey Him, as a tender Father; Fear and Own Him, as he is Almighty: Maker off Heaven and Earth; Here I must attribute the Glory of all the Works of the Creation to Him; admire his great Love in Communi­cating Being to us and all his Creatures; give him only the Honour and Glory of Preserving and Blessing us; and Love, Admire, and Praise his Universal Providence [Page 26] over the World. At the same rate we must reduce to Practise, all the rest of the Articles of our Faith; and so doing is truly Believing of them. The third part of our Vow and Obligation in Baptism, is, That we Keep Gods Holy Will and Commands, and walk in the same, all the Days of our Lives. By which is meant, that we will make it our Business, as much as in us lies, to walk ac­cording to the Direction of Gods ways; that we will use our best Endeavours to work his Righteousness, and apply our selves with all Diligence and Care to the discharge of all the several Duties of our Lives.

That we will not Practise Holiness by Fits and Starts only; allow time for Devotions and Holy Duties, when we have nothing else to do; as is too much the Practise of some. But that our whole Life shall be one continu­ed Act of Honesty and Piety; and we always will En­deavour to grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge and Love of our Saviour, Jesus Christ; that we will keep true and undaunted to the end, and Fight our good Fight, and Finish our Course, and keep the Faith; knowing that all this Labour will not be in Vain, but that we shall receive an Ample and most Glorious Reward in the Final and Com­pleat Salvation of our Immortal Souls. And this leads to the

Last particular, the Consideration of those glorious Be­nefits of Baptism. By this it is that we assure our Salva­tion, we enter into Covenant with the Lord of Life, who has engaged himself (we performing our parts) to make us easie and happy here, and glorious hereafter; [Page 27] to afford us his Grace and Favour, his Mercy and Love in this Life; then to receive us to himself, to partake of Eter­nal Glory in the Life to come. By this we become Sons of God, Heirs of Heaven, and Members of Christ. By this we have our Pardon Sealed, and it is at our own Will and Pleasure afterwards, whether we will be happy or not, whether we will be Saved or Ruined. By this we have the Favour and Grace of God Ascertain'd; and in this, we enter upon all those Glorious Fruits of our Bles­sed Lords Death and Passion, of his Glorious Resurrection and Ascension.

And who can esteem these poor and mean things? Who, of any Sense and Thought, can count them Indif­ferent? Who, but must highly Value, and with all his Powers attempt to obtain them?

Happy most certainly are all they, who are thought worthy of them; Happy indeed all we who are capable of them; who by the Care of our Parents, in our Early Adoption and good Education, may be properly said to be Born Heirs to them.

Happy our Nation that Enjoys the best of Churches, and happy all those People who are brought up in the most Excellent Discipline of it.

Happy all we who had Christian and Conscientious Parents, and were early Instructed in these Noble Prin­ciples; thrice happy we, who have so great, and so ma­ny Encouragements to our Duty, and may perceive so much Ease and Pleasure, so much Joy and Satisfaction, in the Discharge of it.

[Page 28] Happy are all they, who square their Lives according to these Rules, and makes it their Business to follow the Captain of their Salvation.

Happy all they, who when denied and refused these Blessednesses by the Misfortune of Education, or the Force and Violence of Commanding Relations, do at last by the Grace of God, and the Power of his Righteousness in their Hearts; or by the Conviction of their own Sins, and Misery in the want of a Saviour, as the Men of Israel in the Text, and these Persons here present, do Heartily desire, and in this Sacrament, espouse Jesus Christ and Him Crucifyed.

Happy all those, who omit no opportunities of secu­ring all this Happiness, Improving all these Glorious Pri­viledges: Happy indeed, the People that are in such a Case; truly Blessed all they, who thus have the Lord for their God.

I have still the Application to press to us all on these two Accounts, both as we have obtained, and as we have very Early and Long-ago obtained this Happiness.

To you first, who now have obtained this Happi­ness, this Christian Fraternity; as you are now admit­ted into the Church of God, and made Members of Christ, suffer this Word of Advice.

You see how Glorious is your Imployment, how great the Reward of it; how Sacred the Profession is which you have now undertaken, how serious and earnest are all the Rules and Laws of it. You see how good is your security of reward from your Heavenly Father; how necessary therefore is it for you not to be behind-hand, but to make good your part. You see that all the conditions are absolutely in Favour of you, and that if you keep faithful to the end, you'll obtain such glory as does pass all understanding. [Page 29] You see that you have enter'd upon an Holy Employment, a Serious and Sacred Conversation; you see what you have now Promised and Engaged, even to put off and Renounce your former Natural Habits, and Sinful Inclinations. Nay, you Solemnly have Vowed before God and good Witnesses, a great Number of Christians in this Congrega­tion, that you would do your best so to do, following the Commands of God, and walking from henceforth in Newness of Life. Lastly, you see what you lose, if you forfeit this your Trust, and Break your Obliga­tions; and what you'll gain: You lose then no less than God, and Hea­ven, Joys Ʋnspeakable and full of Glory; and you'll gain only Disap­pointments, and Vexations, Torments and Trouble, Ʋneasiness and the Gripes of Conscience, while you're on Earth; and afterwards anguish of Soul, Judgment with Despair, all the Treasures of Hell, even Eternal Desolations.

Be assured then that this is no Jest, 'tis no less than your Interest, than your best Interest, the Interest of your Souls: And you will find that your Duty will require your utmost Care. Baptism indeed begins an Happy Life, but yet a Life not free from Trouble and Temptation; the Devil is always very busie with New-beginners; as soon as our Lord himself was Baptiz'd, he had the Impudence to Attack and Tempt Him: But he who overcame him, will also guard you, if you keep true to him, and will take Care that you shall not be Tempted, above what in will Enable you to bear; and God grant that you may so Consider all these things, as to answer the great end of this your Noble and so Glorious Call.

Lastly, To all us who have been so long Engaged in this mighty Covenant, let one Word be added. We were early admitted into the Church, with all the Ease and Satisfaction Imaginable; with the Com­fort of Friends, the Joy of Neighbours, the Assistance of Relations, and all manner of Encouragement: We have frequently repeated this Holy Contract, Solemnly renewed it in the other Sacrament, that of our Dear Lords Blessed Body and Blood.

Let us all remember, and most earnestly Consider the Sacredness of our Obligation, the necessity of our Obedience, and the wonderful Indulgence of our Lord and Master; who, tho' we have been so long [Page 30] Bound, and frequently have forfeited our Condition of the Contract, and added many great, Voluntary, Obstinate, and Ʋngrateful Violations of that most Holy Covenant, yet is pleased not to take the Advan­tage of us, but rather Forgive us, and wait still for us, is still open and ready to receive us, willing and desirous to be Fully Reconciled to us.

And therefore we see the Reason for that Fatherly admonition we lately received from our Right Reverend careful Diocesan, that that holy Sacrament be administred here in Gods own House, at the place and times appointed by the Church; not only to keep up the Ho­nour of that Holy Sacrament of our Lord, of late sunk to a most dreadful Disesteem by many; but also, that we our selves might there be Reminded of our own Promises, our own former Vows and Obli­gations, and brought thereby to a speedier Examination how we have answered those our Vows.

Let us all then who by this opportunity are refreshed with the Re­membrance of our Duties, let us take Care speedily to Return to our Lord, Humble our selves before him, truly Repent us of all our forfeitures and carelesness, and apply our selves more diligently in our Masters Service for the future: So shall we obtain Mercy and Ease, Relief and Comfort, Joy and Satisfaction, while we continue amongst Men; and when we shall have done with this World, we shall receive a Welcome into the other, ev'n to God Almighty our Eternal Fa­ther; to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who was Baptiz'd himself, who Died and Rose again for us, and to the Blessed Com­forter who preserves and directs us: To which most Glorious Trinity, but one Only God, let there be ascribed, by all Men and Angels, and created Brings, all Honour Power and Glory, Might, Majesty and Dominion, both now and Evermore. Amen.


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