'The Scripture declares the Spirit to be conferred in Baptism': words from Tillotson for Whitsunday

And because this profession of faith was made in baptism, whereby men are solemnly initiated into the Christian religion, hence it is, that this gift of the Holy Ghost is in Scripture promised, and said to be conferred in baptism: (Acts ii. 31) "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost". And (Heb. vi. 4) the apostle, speaking of those who had solemnly taken upon them the profession of Christianity, thus describes them"; Those who were once enlightened, (that is, baptized, for so baptism is frequently by the ancients called illumination) those who were once baptized, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost; implying, that this heavenly gift of God's Holy Spirit was conferred upon Christians in their baptism; and hence it is, that "baptizing with water and the Holy Ghost" were frequently put together, water being the outward symbol, and the Holy Ghost the inward grace, conferred in baptism. So likewise the apostle joins together, "the laver of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Tit. iii. 5).

All which considered, I cannot imagine why so great a scruple should be made of those expressions which our church useth in the office of baptism of children; "being regenerated and born again by baptism", and "being thereby made the children of God, and heirs of eternal life". That is, by entering into this covenant, they are put into a state and capacity of all the blessings of the gospel, if they do not neglect the condition which that covenant requires on their part. For all this is in truth no other but what the Scripture says of baptism, and ascribes to it, when it calls it, "the laver of regeneration", when it declares the Spirit to be conferred in baptism, and when it says, that "as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God, and that the sons of God are heirs of eternal life". So that I cannot see that our church, in her highest expressions concerning the benefits and effects of baptism, says any thing but what is very agreeable, both to the expressions and sense of Scripture. And thus, not only the ancient fathers spake of this matter, but so likewise do all the liturgies of the reformed churches, in the offices and forms appointed by them for the administration of baptism; so that it seems a very affected singularity to take exceptions at such expressions as have constantly been, and still are, generally used in all Christian churches.

Sermon CXCIX, Works of Tillotson, Volume VIII.


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