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his church; we must receive the sacrainents which he has ordained, observe his sabbaths, honour his holy name and word, and publicly as well as privately show that we are his disciples ; and in this our Saviour has been pleased to be our pattern, as well as our instructor. From his example we learn the most exalted piety. He prayed earnestly; he was constant in his attendance on public worship, and in the observance of the sabbath; and St. Matthew informs us in
my text that he was baptized. Though he was a son, yet learned he obedience;"* and though he knew no sin, yet for our sakes he condescended to leave an example of submission to every ordinance of God, by using the appointed means of purification in the sacrament of baptism. “Suffer it to be so,” said our Lord to St. John the Baptist, “ for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”+ With this great example always before our eyes, I propose to consider the public duties appointed in the Christian church, to explain the nature and use of each, and to enforce the duty of obedience to all the ordinances of the LORD.
Before I enter on these subjects, let me beg you to remember the reverence which is due to the church of Christ, and to the appointed ministers of the gospel; and let me earnestly entreat you not to follow strange teachers. Many of them may be good men, and I hope they are so; but let them not lead you from the appointed place of worship, and the appointed minister, to whom Christ has given authority to watch over your souls. We are told that even our Saviour took not this honour on himself, but was called of God. We are told, that before his death he laid his hands on his apostles, and appointed them to preach and baptize in his name. We know that those apostles appointed others; and even to this day every man who is to speak in the name of Christ, and to administer his sacraments, ought to be lawfully ordained by the bishops of Christ's church. These are the shepherds whom Christ has commanded to feed his flock; and no man ought to take this honour to himself. All Clergymen, before they are allowed to exercise this holy office, are instructed in the religion which God has revealed; and care is taken that they should be properly qualified to teach others. They are the lawful ministers of CHRIST; the sacraments, which they administer are given by his authority; the prayers which they read are
* Ileb, v. 8.
+ Matt, iii. 15.
the appointed service of the church; and the humble Christian who joins with them in worship, does his duty, and has every reason to hope for all the benefits promised by our Saviour to his church. If the sermon be not always so edifying as it might be, let him charitably excuse the defects of his teachers, and never forget the respect that is due to their office. The sermon is not the most important part of the service, though it is much to be wished that it should always be such as might be most for the benefit of those who hear it. The most important part is joining
. in public prayer and thanksgiving to God, and hearing his word, in the place and the manner which our church directs, and under the authority of a minister who is lawfully qualified to administer the sacraments which CHRIST has ordained. If we leave the church, and are led by idle curiosity to listen to those who intrude into another man's fold, we know not into what errors we may be led. We cannot be certain that we shall hear the true doctrine of the church; we cannot be certain that we shall hear prayers in which we ought to join; and even if the preacher should be better qualified to instruct you than your own minister, still we are commanded to
listen to those who are appointed to rule over us, and shun those who make divisions in the church. All such divisions should be avoided. « There is one body,” the church, “ and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in
" I proceed now to consider those public duties of our church, which no Christian ought to neglect ; and the first which our religion requires is that which is mentioned in my text. We all become members of Christ's church by baptism. This sacrament has always been the distinguishing mark of Christians; and it is particularly ordained by our Saviour Christ himself; for in his last solemn charge to his apostles he says, into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost "+ In obedience to this command, we find the apostles constantly exhorting all their hearers to repent and be baptized; and the practice of the church hath been at all times the same.
This sacrament is the appointed means to cleanse us from
6 Go ye
* Ephes. iv. 4.
+ Mark xvi, 15.
the guilt of original sin, to make us again children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. In it we renounce the devil and all his works, we profess our belief in all the articles of the christian faith, and we promise to observe God's holy will and commandments all the days of
We who have the happiness to be born in a Christian country are baptized when we are too young to know any thing of the nature and use of this sacred ordinance, and too many who are called Christians, pass their lives without ever seriously considering it. I earnestly recommend to every person to read with attention the Form of Baptism in our book of common prayer, and to consider the solemn promise which was made in his name. A christening is too often considered only as a feast, an occasion of mirth, and perhaps even of intemperance. It is, indeed a season of rejoicing, but we should rejoice like Christians. The parents, whom God has blest with a child, have reason to rejoice and to praise Him; their neighbours and friends should rejoice with them ; but still they should remember the importance of that duty for which they are called together. To the parents God has committed