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fons from henceforward to enter into his Covenant by Baptism.
But what then? Was there no more required to the making Men Partakers of the Benefits of this new Covenant, but only to be baptized into it? I answer, No more, if we truly understand the Importance of Baptism; but a great deal more, if you take Baptism only for the washing or sprinkling with Water. St. Peter, in his first Epistle, chap. 3. ver. 12. tells us exprefly, that Baptism faves us; and by telling us that, he faith as much as our Saviour here faith, that Whosoever believeth, and is baptized, mall be saved. But then, that he might not be misunderstood, he immediately explains himself, Not, faith he, the washing away the Filth of the Flesh: it is not that Baptism which laveth us, but the Answer of a good Conscience towards God; that is to say, the folemn Answers that were made by those that took the Vow of Baptism on them to the Interrogatories that were then put to them concerning the forsaking the Devil and his Works, and owning Christ Jesus and his Religion, and walking according to the holy Laws he delivered. It was the performing these Answers with a good Conscience that would save Men effectually in the Day of the Lord Jesus. The outward Ceremony of washing with Water would fignify little, but that with
the Things fignified by it, that is, a holy and a pure Life, suitable to the Christian Faith, that would be effectual for the Salvation of all Men,
To apply now all this to our Business :
When our Saviour faith, He that believeth, and is baptized, Mall be saved, his Meaning is this, That the bare Assent to his Doctrine is not enough to give a Man a Title to that Salvation which he hath purchased and promised: But there is a Necessity of entring into that Covenant which he procured of God for Mankind by his Death. The outward Ceremony of entring into that Covenant is outward Baptism, and therefore all Christians must be baptized. But the main Thing intended in that Covenant, and signified by that Baptism, is a hearty owning of Jesus Christ, and a holy, and pure, and innocent Life, conformable to the Doctrines of the Gospel. Whosoever thus believes in Jesus Chrift, and is thus in Covenant with God, and thus endeavours to perform those Conditions which by that Covenant are on his Part required, every such Man shall be saved. But whosoever continues an Infidel or Unbeliever upon the preaching of the Gospel, every such Man shall be damned. This, as I take it, is the full Importance of our Savi, ur's Words in my Text.
The Third Thing I observe from hence is this; That the Baptism of Water, as appointed by our Saviour, was not a Temporary Institution, a Ceremony just to last for that Age ; but it was designed by our Saviour to continue in use among his Disciples as long as he had a Church upon Earth. The Reason of it is plain, because this was the Method he appointed for the admitting Men into his Covenant, and into his Church. If therefore all particular Perfons from Age to Age are to believe in Christ, and to be enter'd into his Covenant, and made Members of his Church ; then all particular Persons are to be baptized with Water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. If now this be so, what must we say of some religious Sects among us that are so very spiritual, that they will have nothing to do with such a carnal Ceremony as that of Baptisin with Water is : Either pretending that the whole Thing is meant in a mystical Sense, or that it is long ago antiquated ? Thus do the Quakers, and some other Sectaries.
These People call themselves Christians, for they pretend to believe in Jesus Christ. But do they really deserve that Name, when they were never enter'd into Covenant with him ? But however, to speak the softliest of them; If they be Christians,
sure they are far from being right found Christians, because they live in a constant Transgression of as plain a Precept of Jesus Christ as any in the Gospel; and such a Precept too, as all the Christians in the World, till this last Age, have always made a Conscience of religiously observing.
The Fourth Thing I remark upon this Text is this ; That from these Words we may be fairly led into an easy Method of giving ourselves Satisfaction concerning a Question that hath made not a little Stir and Bustle in the World ; not that there is much Difficulty in the Thing, but that Men, by endeavouring to serve Parties and Factions, have industriously made it difficult. The Question I mean is, What is the true Notion of the Catholick Church out of which there is no Salvation ? All Christians are agreed that Jesus Christ did found a Church while he was upon Earth that should continue to the End of the World, and against which the Gates of Hell should never prevail. All Christians likewise are agreed that this Church is but one, however it may be spread into never so many Countries ; and this is that which we acknowledge in our Creed, when we say, I believe one Catholick and Apoftolick Church. Lastly, it is likewise agreed by all Chriftians, that out of this one Church there is no Salvation, at least no Salyation promised
by God, or covenanted for by our Lord Jesus Christ. But now here comes the Question ; Where is this true Church to be found ? since there are so many different and opposite Churches in the World, all pretending to be the true Church, but notoriously contradicting one another both in Doctrine and Worship. Why now, methinks, we have a plain Answer to this Question from my Text, and that is this
5 Where-ever the Gospel of Christ is preached, and Men do believe it, and are baptized into it, there is a true Church : In all those Places all the World over, where this is made good; in all those Places the true Church of Christ is; and every one of those Combinations of Men so preaching, so believing, and so profefling, are true Parts and Members of the Catholick Church (that mystical Body of Christ) out of which there is no Salvation. We do not say that they are all equally pure, or that a Man may communicate with all of them with equal Safety: But that they are all true Parts of the Catholick Church, tho' fome more found, and others more corrupt. This, you will say, is a very plain intelligible Notion of the Catholick Church : But how do we prove it? Why, we can prove it undeniably, beyond all Contradiction, from the very Words of my Text. It is owned and confessed, that none out of the Catholick Church can be saved. But our Saviour