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If in the several passages to which I have drawn your attention, these benefits are propounded to us under such various forms of metaphor and expression; if from them it appears, that in Baptism we put on Christ, are made the sons of God, members of Christ's mystic body, and heirs with him in the kingdom of his Father; that in it we are turned from darkness to light, from being the children of wrath, and dead in trespasses and sins, we become the children of grace, and are made alive to righteousness ; to what purpose in truth are we so described, to what end are all these glorious metaphors employed? for what, but to give us a more complete assurance of the substantial benefits we derive from our admission to the peculiar favour of God in Baptism, by the multiplicity of the descriptions necessary for the comprehensive enumeration of our Christian privileges ?
On a subject, so accordant with the feelings, and so worthy the contemplation of the believer, it would be both easy and grateful to dilate. But the prosecution of the views hence arising may safely be left to your private meditations. Having brought to a close our more particular inquiry with respect to Baptism, I shall proceed, in my next Lecture, to a similar investigation of the benefits annexed to a participation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
. I tigat zipata
MATT. xxvi. 26.
Take, eat ; this is my body. In conformity with the plan originally laid down, I now proceed to an inquiry into the benefits annexed to the reception of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, so far as they are deducible from a consideration of the nature of the rite itself, and the language of the New Testament concerning it. This, though it will be conducted in a similar manner, will not detain us so long in its prosecution, as that in which we have been already engaged with respect to Baptism; the number of texts, clearly applicable to the Lord's Supper, being few in comparison with those in which Baptism is alluded to.
In admitting this comparative scantiness of materials, as supplied by direct texts bearing upon the subject of investigation, let it not however be supposed, that we are putting to hazard any essential part of Christian doctrine. It has been already observed, in reference to both sacraments, that actions, being in their own nature significant, in great measure explain themselves; and we may add, that the more remarkable the action, the greater will be the force with which its natural or conventional significancy, if any can be fairly and undoubtedly affixed to it, will operate and declare itself. And the action constituting the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, being, when viewed in connection with the words and circumstances of institution, most remarkable and significant, it'needed perhaps, even less than Baptism, the assistance of additional declarations, explanatory of the purport of the rite.
But further, if we turn our thoughts back upon
the former part of this inquiry, we may remember, that scarcely one of the texts, which were brought to bear upon
the doctrine of Baptism, was originally intended as an explanation of the rite; they were almost all incidental notices of an observance, the general meaning of which was
evidently supposed to be familiar to those, to whom they were addressed. The number of texts occurring in the New Testament relative to it, arises not from the wish, or the necessity, of explanation on the subject of the sacrament itself, but from the circumstance of the history contained in the Acts being a history of proselytism, and the apostolical Epistles being addressed to new made converts to the faith. Hence the repeated calls in the one, both upon Jew and Gentile, to be baptized, as the well understood mode of admission to the church of Christ; and hence also the mention, where it occurs, of the motives to be baptized, grounded, from the necessity of the case, on the benefits to be derived from Baptism. Hence too in the other, the constant reference to the benefits, of which the baptized persons had been made partakers, or to which they had secured a claim, as the
great inducement to a life of Christian holiness : supplying us with a great variety of texts, in which allusion is made to the sacrament, on a participation in which that claim was established. But the case of the