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either for or against the use of them? When they are equally silent about their baptism ;, and have left no explicit record that they themselves ever baptized any. Notwithstanding this, we have so many other proofs, in which the fact is implicated, and so much circumstantial evidence, as amount nearly to a certainty of their doing it. Similar evidence establishes the highest probability that they baptized with sureties.
The Apostles were Jews, educated in the Jewish Church; the Jews received proselytes, and their children into their Church, first by baptism, and then by circumcision ; at the administration of both, sponsors were required. Baptism only, was appointed by Christ, the sacrament of admission into his Church. He gave a new forin of words, more perfectly expressive of the same covenant. The Jewish mode of washing or purification was retained ; and thus christian baptism was introduced with dipping, or plunging. As no new order was given for the omission, that they should also retain the use of sponsors, agreably to what they had been accustomed to, is so natural, that no good reason can be given for the contrary ; especially as in both cases, the covenant being conditional, it was highly proper that the conditions should be represented, as well as the privileges, and no less need of taking securities for the fulfilment. This probability may be carried higher. The Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Christ, and the Gospel. His disciples afterwards embraced the faith in Christ, and his gospel. When they applied to the Baptist, it was required of them to confess, and renounce their sins; and they received his baptism as a seal of sincere repentance. Can it be imagined, that the baptism of Christ, requires less than that of John? Or that the Apostles administered christian baptism in a way so entirely different, or contrary to his ; whose dispensation was no more than preparatory to that of the gospel? The supposition is too gross to be admitted.
What was the practice of the Apostles in this matter, is placed above conjecture, by the questions put by Philip to the eunuch ; and by the answers the Apostles themselves gave to those who asked what they must do to be saved? They who repented, and believed the gospel as they were instructed, were for a certainty baptized. An instance whereof is recorded in the jailor and his household. But there is no instance of their baptizing any one, without a profession of faith in the word and doctrine they preached; for all the mercies and promises contained therein, are made to penitent believers ; but no promise is made to an impenitent infidel. From the scripture and apostolic practice, it appears that faith and repentance are the necessary conditions, always to be enjoined, and stipulated for by those who are baptized. The first converts were persons of age and capacity to make religion their own free choice ; and when they entered into covenant by baptism, they undoubtedly had the privileges of it declared to them, and engaged to perforin the obligations, in some form, equivalent to that we now use. Parents being admitted into the Church, their children partook of the same previlege; the application to them, made no change of the covenant, in its general meaning. But, if baptism had been administered to children, without any thing said to express its meaning, it would have had too much the appearance of an insignificant ceremony, or a superstitious charm. And if only the privileges to which it entitled, had been rehearsed, they might seem annexed absolutely, without any conditions to be observed on the part of the children. Hence the reason and need, that the conditions should also be expressed ; and the credibility of their having been so from the beginning. Children, indeed, are not capable of this ; but their parents, or other christian friends are ; and, as both nature and religion dictate-a desire of the same divine favours for their children, they do for themselves ; so it is most lively and expressive to represent the infant as promising by others, what it is presumed he will do by and for himself, as soon as he comes to sufficient knowledge for it.
Parents are empowered by nature to represent and act for the good of their children, and by scripture to do it in this very instance. If they have power to do it themselves, they have it also to employ others to do it under them. An ancient proof of this we have in the covenant made with Abraham, afterwards confirmed by Christ. I know him, says God, that he will command his children and his household after him; and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment ; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. In Abraham we have both the natural and substituted parent, acting for the children; and the reasons of the appointment and God's accepting him as sponsor for them, or in other words, their godfather, in things pertaining to his covenant. From this original, we may fairly conclude, arose the practice of sponsors, both parents and others, under the Mosaic dispensation. We find the whole body of that people required to act upon this principle, as a fundamental in the institution. Moses, by the command of God, called all Israel, their wives and their little ones together, to enter into covenant with the Lord their God, and into his oath. The little ones entered into the oath of God by their parents, and it was binding on them to observe and keep the conditions of the covenant. But, taking it as allowed that what is done is binding, still you meet with the question, will the faith of the Sponsor any way benefit the infant? To this question I will give you the answer of an old and learned expositor_“Yes it may, so far as it is intended: that is, to « make the infant by baptism to be received into the congregation of « Christ's flock, and to give him a right to the promises of the cove“ nant. Did not the faith of the centurion, that came to Christ for “ his servant, effect a cure upon the sick man? Did not the faith of « those that let down the bed-rid man through the tiles, move our “ Saviour to cure him? Did not the faith of the woman of Canaan, " that came to our Saviour for her little daughter, work compassion “ in him to heal her? Say then no more that the faith and charity of
one may not be powerful with God for another; especially when we are encouraged to it, as in this case we are by his own words, Suffer « little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of God. In “the faith of the Church, grounded upon God's covenant, the child " is presented, and no sober man can doubt but it will be accepted by « him."
Bp. NICHOLSON'S EXPOSITION OF CATECHISM.
To the evidence already suggested, that the Apostles administered baptism to infants in this manner, as they had always been accustomed to see it done in the Jewish Church; we may add the dece larations of the first writers; as they must, I conceive, be received as a superstructure built upon this foundation. By these author. ities, as collected and cited by later writers, of acknowledged skill and veracity, we learn facts that carry the point home to them.
The first records we have of the Church, after the Apostles' days, speak of sponsors as a well known, settled custom in the Church. This they would not have done, had it not been always universal. Justin Martyr wrote about the year 40, after the death of St. John. He tells us what was the practice at that time, in these words: “ Children are allowed to enjoy the good things that come by baptism, by the faith of those who bring them to baptism." From the time of Justin, the succeeding fathers of the Church, for several hundred years, speak of god-fathers, under different titles, but meaning the same thing; and in their writings give the questions and answers they made in the name of the child. We must believe they could not or would not have done this, as with one mouth, had there not been in the Church one constant rule, common to them all.
Writers within forty years of the time in which St. John, the last of the Apostles, lived, and from thence successively, for three hundred years, must have had positive knowledge of Apostolic practice and their institutions: what had been the custom in their Churches from the beginning, which were all planted by the Apostles, in the different parts of the world in which they lived. No one can reasonably doubt this, any more than he can that we know perfectly. what has been done in the Church in this country, from its first in troduction to this day, as to the mode of public worship, and administration of the sacraments ; or in the Church of England, for three hundred years back. Testimonies of such strength exhibited in every country, where the Apostles planted Churches, put the fact of god-fathers, or sponsors, nearly as certain as they do that the baptism of infants has been the perpetual and uninterrupted practice of the Church, even from the Apostles' days. And therefore, we may say with St. Augustin, in respect of both: (the use of sponsors, and the baptism of infants) “ let no man whisper to us any other doctrines.”
These the Church hath always had, always retained ; these it hath received from the faith of the predecessors; these it keeps perseveringly to the end. For it is a known and established rule, that which the universal Church maintains, and was not instituted by councils, but always continued, is most rightly believed to be delive ered by the Apostles' authority.
FOR THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
ON EPISCOPACY. THE Episcopal form of Church government deserves our attention, as being strongly supported by scripture, analogy, and apostolic example. And as some of the readers of the Magazine do not, perhaps, fully understand the principles of Episcopacy, we will give a short explanation of them, before we proceed to the reasons by which they are supported.
Episcopalians then hold, that there are three orders of ministers in the Church of Christ: the first, Bishops, the second, Priests, Presbyters or Elders, and the third, Deacons : corresponding to the Jewish Church, which had its High Priests, Priests and Levites, The Deacons, as we suppose, have authority under the direction of the Bishop, to preach the gospel and to baptize. For Phillip, who was one of the seven Deacons ordained by the Apostles, (Acts vi.) preached to the Samaritans, and baptized some of them, and also baptized the Ethiopian eunuch. They are likewise to assist the ministers of superior orders in administering the holy Communion, and distributing the charitable collections of the Church ; and on this account they are said to serve tables. But it appears clear and evident, that they are an order of the ministry ; for those mentioned in the Acts were ordained by prayer, and laying on of the Apostle's hands; and they afterwards went forth to preach and baptize, So also the Levites in the Jewish Church were set apart to their office, by a solemn ceremony, and were to give themselves wholly to the service of the tabernacle (Num. viii.) The Deacons are in the New Testament, occasionally styled Evangelists and Teachers. Again, there is another order of ministers superior to these, and yet not possessing full apostolical power. These are the Elders, Presbyters, or parish Priests; answering to the Priests, the sons of Aaron, and their posterity among the Jews. To them belongs all the authority possessed by the Deacons : and besides, as the second order of Jewish Priests had a right to offer sacrifice, burn incense before the Lord, and bless the people in his name; so Christian ministers of this order have a right to pronounce an authoritative blessing upon the people, administer the holy Eucharist, or Lord's Supper, which is in one sense a sacrifice, and perform any part of the service of the altar. These are sometimes called Prophets and Pastors, but more generally Elders or Presbyters.
But there is still above this, another rank or order, in which all the ministerial authority is concentrated; which possesses all the power of the inferior orders, as well as all the other power necessary to the regulation of the Church. This corresponds to the Jewish High Priest; and as we find, (Num. viii.) that when the Levites were set apart to their office, it was the High Priest who presented them unto the Lord, and ordained them. So likewise, under the Christian dispensation, there is no scripture account of any ordination, but what was performed either by Christ himself, or by some
of the highest order of ministers in his Church. These, in the first place, were called Apostles; but the successors of those whom our Lord personally appointed to this high office, did not choose to assume that dignified name; they rather contented themselves with the title of Bishops, though at the same time they insisted and affirmed, that they had the apostolical authority. Thus St. Ireneus, about eight years after the death of the last of the Apostles, says, “we can reckon those Bishops, who have been constituted by the Apostles and their successors, all the way to our times, and whom they," that is, the Apostles, “ left as their own sussessors, and in the same place of government as themselves." This same Ireneus, was a Bishop, and was instructed by Polycarp, a disciple of St. John; and though he does not here call himself an Apostle, yet he ranks himself and all other Bishops in the same place, or station of govern-ment in the Church, with the Apostles. He then considers them as being of the same order, and having the same authority; though perhaps partly out of modesty, and partly on account of the difference of their situation, they did not assume the same name. And besides the exclusive power of ordination, the Apostles, and their successors the Bishops, had the authority of confirmation, or, as it is called, Heb. vi. 2, the laying on of hands. Thus when Philip the Deacon had converted and baptized a number of the Samaritans, the Apostles that were at Jerusalem sent unto them Peter and John; who prayed, and laid their hands on them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. This shows, that though Philip, who was one of the seven Deacons lately ordained, had authority to preach and baptize; yet the power of confirmation, or laying on of hands, did not belong to him, but only to the Apostles. There are also other accounts in the Acts, of their visiting various places where the gospel had been preached, and confirming the brethren. To this purpose, St. Jerome, who lived within two hundred and fifty years from the death of St. John, declares, that “ without the command," or without authority from the Bishop, neither a Presbyter nor Deacon has power to baptize: and the Bishop is to impose his hands upon those who are baptized by Presbyters or Deacons, for the invocation of the Holy Spirit.” The same writer also says, “ The Bishops are all of them successors of the Apostles." And further, he observes, “ We may know the apostolical economy is taken from the Old Testament ; for the same that Aaron and his sons, and the Levites were in the temple, the Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons are in the Church of Christ.”
Having briefly considered the principles of Episcopal Church government, we will now proceed to examine the scripture reasons, on which it is grounded. We would then observe, that the Jewish law was a type of the Christian dispensation. It was made after the pattern showed unto Moses in the mount; and that, we may presume, was the system of Christianity. It was made under the same gospel covenant, and was designed to lead men to future as well as present happiness. And though it consisted more of carnal ordinances, and was more connected with worldly objects; yet as to its spiritual views, it was in essence and virtue the same. It had