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PAR T I.
VAT is pour Name?
Answ. N. o M.
UPON Occasion of repeating our Christian Name, the Catechism begins with reminding us of the Nature of our Holy Profession ; Which is perpetually signified to us by the very Name we bear, the Name of Christians.
Into This Holy Profession we are initiated or admitted by Baptism ; And therefore our Instruction begins, with an explication of the Nature of That Solemn Covenant, and of the Obligations incumbent upon us from thence.
BAPTISM, as it has the nature of a Sacrament, will be considered afterwards in the latter part of the Catechism. But in This place 'tis confidered barely as our Admittance or Entrance into the Christian Church; with the Privileges to which we are thereby received, and the Obligations we thereby take upon ourselves.
These Privileges are expressed in the Answer to the following Question, and the Obligations in the Answer to the Question next following after That.
Qu. Who gave you this name?
Answ. My God-fathers and Godmothers in mp Baptism, wherein was made a Member of Christ, the
Child of God, and an Inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
In This Answer is contained an Account of the Privileges or Benefits to which we are admitted by Baptism. But before I enter upon the explication of These particulars, there are Two things remarkable in the Introduction of this Answer,
I. The confideration of the Name being Given at Baptism.
2. THE Persons who are here said to give us that Name.
1. CONCERNING the Name being Given at Baptism, 'tis to be observed that This is No part of the Sacrament itself, nor at all of Divine institution, but of Humane appointment only. Baptism therefore ought not to be lookt upon as the bare Form or Ceremony of Giving a Name : But on the contrary the Ceremony of giving the Name, is a mere external Form, annexed without any necessity, and by mere Custom only, to the Solemn
dedication of ourselves unto God in Baptism. And it was prudently designed, for a perpetual Memorial of our Duty, that our very Name should remind us of our Holy Profession: And because we recei. ved our Own Name, at the same time we were baptized into the Name of our Lord; that therefore we should never hear our own Name mentioned, without being put in mind of our being dedicated to His. Thus ought we always to remember, that Baptism doth represent unto us our Profession. And the very Mention of a Man's Christian Name is a perpetual Reproach to every one, who by his converfation renounces what was solemnly promised for him at his receiving That Title, and who does not answer the Character of a Christian. Better had it been for all such persons, never to have been baptized at all into the Name of Christ ; than that, by a Life unsuitable to that worthy Character, they should dishonour both His Name and their Own. Our Christian Name is a perpetual declaration of our being dedicated to the Service of Christ;
And ’tis a shameful Negligence and Want of consideration, that makes us generally seem so entirely to have forgot the Thing, while the Word is continually in our Mouths.
2. The Persons here faid to give us our Name, are our Godfathers and Godmothers. The reason and design of which appointment, is ; that Those Persons should give the Name, who undertake (as far as in Them lies) to see the Signification of it answered ; that the same persons should confer the Title of a Christian, who take upon themselves (as far as they shall have opportunity) to verify the Intention of it, and (next after the more immediate Care incumbent
upon the Parents,) to see that the Person be brought up a Christian in deed. For, the Promise made by the Godfathers and Godmothers, is not a Promise for Themselves: Nor is it properly a Promise of what Another person shall do, (which is a Promise in no man's power to make:) But 'tis only a Promise to remind the baptized person of his future Duty; a