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privileges! But, alas! this is not the case with the bulk of those who were baptized in infancy. They have neglected their baptismal vows, and forfeited their baptismal privileges.
4. The consideration of their case was another division of this discourse.
"The grant of repentance," to use the language of our church in one of her articles,* "is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after baptism." Baptized Christians, who neglect and violate their baptismal engagements, and fall into sin, are therefore to be exhorted, in the language of the church in the same article, to "arise again and amend their lives." To call on persons to be regenerated, is improper language. They have been regencrated in baptism, brought into a state of salvation; but having, through their neglect and sin, never received, or forfeited, the renewing of the Holy Ghost, they must obtain this renovation, or they are lost. Yes, ungodly men-bringing reproach, by your sinful lives, on that holy name which you received in baptism-rebelling against that God and Father, that Lord and Saviour, that Holy Spirit and Sanctifier, to whose service ye were consecrated in baptism-counting that precious blood of the Son of God, shed on the cross for your redemption, and applied to your souls in baptism, an unholy thing; viewing it with indifference, disregarding your interest in it, or doubting its efficacy -doing despite to that Spirit which took possession of your souls in baptism, and by your sins expelling him from that temple in which he seeks to dwell, and to shed his graces, his consolations, his joys→→→
* Article xvi.
oh! rejecting, for the transitory, corrupting, unsatisfying, perishing pleasures of sin, your inheritance in heaven, the crown of glory, the bliss of immortality, the joys of God's presence!-Repent; confess, with deep sorrow, your base ingratitude and guilt; renounce your sins; return unto God, relying for acceptance on the merits of his Son; pray to him for the renewing power of the Holy Ghost, to transform your affections, to abolish the body of sin which enslaves you, to endue you with heavenly graces, and to advance you in all virtue and godliness of living. Repent, or you will sink to a condemnation deeper than even the heathen himself will receive, who, though he has violated every cictate of reason, every remonstrance of conscience, and every secret monition of God's Spirit, never sinned against covenanted grace, never trampled under foot the Son of God, never despised the blood of the covenant, never spurned from him a title to heaven. Repent.
From these, who are exposed to God's wrath on account of the violation of their baptismal engagements, we turn—
5. Lastly, To the case of those who, through the power of divine grace, have, as far as human infirmity will permit, fulfilled their baptismal vows.
Those in whom the Divine Spirit found no obstacles to his renovating power in their wilful and habitual transgressions-whose souls he has been gradually and daily transforming and enduing with heavenly virtues-whom he has enabled successfully to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh; to keep God's will and commandments; humbling, repenting of every infirmity, daily dying unto sin and living unto righteousness, and mind
ful that it is God alone who can keep them from falling; imploring constantly the succours of his grace, and looking steadfastly for acceptance solely to his mercy in Jesus Christ, whose spirit of humility, of meekness, of patience, they seek to possess, whose holy example they strive to follow, and on whose merits is their supreme reliance. Happy souls, who, improving your baptismal grace, have advanced from strength to strength, and from virtue to virtue, by the renewing power of the Holy Ghost! give God the glory, for it is he who hath wrought in you both to will and to do; bless his holy name that ye have been preserved by his grace from the habitual violation of your baptismal vows, and from the forfeiture of your baptismal privileges; yet remember, even ye need repentance, repentance for your sins of infirmity, (Who can understand his errors?) repentance for leaving undone the things that ye ought to have done, and for doing the things that ye ought not to have done. (Save me, O God, from presumptuous sins.) Remember, your spiritual life can be preserved only by a lively and steadfast faith in that Saviour who is made unto you wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Beware, O beware of degenerating into a formal, superficial piety-of resting on any attainments short of the constant renewing of your mind, of affections devoted to God and fixed on heavenly things, and of a life exhibiting the faithful discharge of every pious, relative, and social duty. Preserved thus far from the pollutions of the world, see, O see that you be not at last entangled therein, and lost for ever. Watch, therefore, and pray that your path may shine more and more unto the perfect day.
See, to aid and strengthen you in your course to heaven, and to give you a foretaste of its glories, your Saviour spreads before you his holy supper: come and drink, every one that thirsteth for salvation; come and eat, every one that hungereth for righteousness and life. Come, confirmed Christians, that you may receive the grace of perseverance. Come, ye penitents, that are returning to the fold whence ye had wandered, that ye may receive the grace of pardon. Come, ye doubting, troubled, but humble spirits, that ye may receive consolation from on high. Come, heirs of sin, of sorrow, and mortality, that sin may be changed into holiness, sorrow into joy, mortality into life. O that, by the exhibition of the Saviour crucified among you, I could persuade those to come, who have never yet celebrated the love of him who died for them.
REGENERATION AND RENOVATION.
TITUS iii. 5.
The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
It has pleased God to make outward and visible signs the means and the pledge of conveying and assuring to us inward and spiritual blessings. Baptism is the mean and pledge to those who worthily receive it, of "a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness;" that is, God in this sacrament releases them from the guilt of their past sins, and endues them with that Holy Spirit, whereby they may "die from sin, and rise again unto righteousness." From being children of wrath, that is, without any title to the forgiveness of sin, the favour of God, or the joys of immortality, they are made the children of grace, entitled to the pardon of sin, to the grace and favour of God, and the joys of heaven. This change in their spiritual state or condition is called regeneration. The change in the hearts and lives of those who are the subjects of baptism, which this ordinance sets forth, and which it furnishes them the means of effecting, is called the "renewing of the Holy Ghost," or renovation. This important distinction of terms is sanctioned by the language of Scripture, and of the primitive church; and, derived