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To what do we become entitled by baptism?
What does it oblige us to perform?
What is done in order to recommend these duties?
Has not God an absolute right to our observance of his laws, without informing us before hand what benefit we shall reap from them?
Most certainly; and our business is to chey, and trust him with the consequences.
What has God in his great mercy been pleased to do to and attract his poor creatures?
He has been pleased to enter into a covenant, a gracious agreement with man: subjecting himself, as it were, to bestow certain blessings on us, provided we perform certain conditions.
To how many heads are the privileges, thus conditionally secured to us, reduced in the Catechism?
1st. The person who receives it, is therein made a Member of Christ.
2nd. A Child of God.
3rd. An Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Can we at first perfectly understand the strength and beauty of the figure of speech, being made a Member of Christ?
What does it pre-suppose?
Of what we must all be sensible, more or less, that we are every one originally prone to sin, and actually sinners.
To what are we then liable?
Of what are we destitute?
Destitute of the hope of preserving ourselves, by our' own strength, either from guilt or misery.
What does it further imply?
What the Scriptures clearly teach, that Jesus Christ hath delivered us from both.
On what terms?
On the most equitable, our becoming his, by accepting him for our Saviour, our Teacher, and our Lord.
To what does our Catechism compare this union? In conformity with the language of holy writ, it compares it with that of the members of the body to the head and how proper the comparison is, will easily appear, by carrying it through the several particulars, in
which the similitude holds.
From what does perception and motion proceed in every living creature?
From the head.
From whom does the knowledge of God's will, and power to obey it, flow?
you carry on the comparison?
Yes; as the head governs and directs each limb, so Christ is the Sovereign and Law-giver of each Believer; as being joined to the head makes the whole body one animal frame, so being joined to Christ makes the whole number of Christians one spiritual society. As communication with the head preserves our natural life, so communion with Christ supports our religious life.t
What is this manner of speaking then, admirably fitted represent ?
The happy relations in which we stand to our Redeemer.
What is it also calculated to do?
It is calculated to remind us of the duties which are derived from these relations; namely, the honour and obedience due to him, who is the "head over all things to his body, the Church." Of our continual dependence on him and of the tenderness and kindness which we owe to our fellow Christians, and they to us, being all united through him so intimately to each other.
How does the Apostle St. Paul argue upon this subject?
He says "By one spirit we are all baptized into one cannot say body" as in the natural body, eye the hand, I have no need of thee,' but even the more feeble and less honourable members are necessary; so in the spiritual body, they, who in any respect, may seem to excel others, ought by no means to despise them; since every good Christian is, in his proper degree and place, both a valuable and useful Member of Christ.
What is there also in the natural body?
A connection and sympathy in the several parts; by which the good state of one preserves the others in health and ease, or its bad state gives them pain and disorder.
What should there then be in the spiritual body, and all true members of it?
A mutual caution not to do harm to each other, and a mutual desire of each others benefit.
If one member suffer, what should all the other members be?
Of a compassionate temper and suffer with it; and if one member be honoured, all the rest should sincerely rejoice with it.
What ought to be the effect of these considerations upon our conduct?
We ought to examine whether we do feel in our hearts this good disposition, as a mark of being Members of Christ; and if we find this is not the case, to form ourselves to it without delay.
What is the second privilege of baptism?
It is, that by it we are made the Children of God, in a sense and manner, in which by nature we are not so. What is our Saviour called in Scripture ?
The only begotten Son of God.
of God's creatures claim God for his Father, by the same right that he doth?
No; but in a lower sense God is the Father of angels and men; whom he hath created in their several degrees of likeness to his own image.
In what light was Adam our first parent, the son of God? By a strong resemblance to his heavenly Father in original uprightness.
How was this similitude greatly obscured?
By the transgression of Adam and Eve, which is commonly called the fall.
How was this similitude preserved from being totally effaced?
By the covenant of the promised seed; but in time it was almost entirely lost among men, by the prevalence of sin.
What did they in general become?
What did our gracious Maker then do ?
Pitying us notwithstanding, and treating us like children, even when thus degenerated he mercifully appointed a method for adopting us into his family again; and for restoring and raising us gradually to the same, and even a greater, likeness to him, and favor with him, than even our first parents.
By whom was this inestimable blessing procured for mankind?
By Jésus Christ.
How do we become entitled to it.
By taking him for our head, and becoming his members, in such manner as has been before explained. For we are told by St. John, that " to as many as receive him, to them gives he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name." Being therefore thus united to him, who is in the highest sense the Son God; and claiming not in our own name, but under him; we are admitted unto such a degree of Son-ship as we are capable of, and made. "Children of God, by faith in Jesus Christ."
Are there any other people called Children of God in the Scriptures, besides Christians?
Yes, the Jews; and such they really were; being first, as Christians were afterwards, the children of the covenant. Are they to be considered as children of God, exactly in the same light as Christians?
Certainly not; for as theirs was a state of less, knowledge, more burthensome precepts, and stricter govern