Covenant Baptism

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One of the honours and privileges of being a pastor is the sacrament of Baptism. This morning I had the joy of baptizing two very sweet little girls into our congregation.

 

Many people have difficulty with the idea of covenant baptisms and the idea that children are a part of our covenant community. Baptism does not save a soul, but it is an outward sign of an inward grace. In this case it represents the faith of the parents who present their children for baptism, to be included as a part of Christ’s visible church.

 

I won’t go into the arguments for this practice, but I would like to show one of the outward benefits that occurs with the Lord’s blessing of this sacrament.

 

You may have heard of Matthew Henry, who wrote a very famous and useful commentary on the Bible. His father, Philip Henry drew up the following short form of the baptismal covenant, for the use of his children:

 

  • I take God the Father to be my chief good and highest end. I take God the Son to be my Prince and Saviour. I take God the Holy Ghost to be my Sanctifier, Teacher, Guide, and Comforter. I take the Word of God to be my rule in all my actions, and the people of God to be my people in all conditions. I do likewise devote and dedicate unto the Lord, my whole self, all I am, all I have, and all I can do. And this do I deliberately, sincerely, freely, and for ever.

 

This he taught his children; and they each of them solemnly repeated it every Lord’s Day in the evening, after they were catechised, he putting his amen to it, and sometimes adding, So say, and so do, and you are made for ever.

 

Later his son Matthew Henry, who received the benefits of this practice wrote:

 

  • I cannot but take occasion to express my gratitude to God for my infant baptism; not only as it was an early admission into the visible body of Christ, but as it furnished my pious parents with a good argument (and, I trust, through grace, a prevailing argument) for an early dedication of my own self to God in my childhood. If God has wrought any good work upon my soul, I desire with humble thankfulness, to acknowledge the moral influence of my infant baptism upon it.

The Lord can, and often does, bring rich blessings to covenant children. They are to learn that Baptism does not save them, but it is a sign that points to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and urges upon them the need to be born again.