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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pusey on the Reality of Baptism

Thus then our Baptism is the real, not merely figurative, grafting of us into Christ. Therein, as we are taught in the first rudiments of our faith, "we are made members of Christ." And most significantly does Baptism itself point to that mysterious participation which it gives us in the acts of Christ. Still more significant indeed, when, as in early times, the Sacrament was administered by immersion. For in the waters of Baptism we die and are buried and come forth cleansed, born again into a pure and holy life; the going down into the Baptismal waters being an emblem of our death and burial, and the coming up from the Baptismal water being an emblem of the resurrection. Baptism is an emblematic acting over again of the Death and Resurrection of Christ in us; significantly pointing to the interior mystery, "buried with Him in Baptism, wherein also we are risen with Him through faith of the operation of God, Who raised Him from the dead."

And now then more particularly to apply this great doctrine. In one sense, sin has been slain in all of as one part of conformity to Christ's Death has been effected in us all. For it may be assumed that we have all received Holy Baptism. We have all probably received it as infants, when there was in us no actual sin to form a bar or hindrance to the efficacy of that Holy Sacrament. And what then is this Baptism which we have received? It is a death unto sin. It is the being buried with Christ in His Death. And surely, brethren, this is an awful gift to have received. It is a fearful thing to have been brought into such close contact with the mysterious Death of our Lord; nay, to have bad that very death acted over again within us. How little do many Christians think of this-even the most thoughtful too little. Let us strive to recall such thoughts as may have filled our mind, in the solemn season of Holy Week-when the Passion of our Lord has been so vividly presented to the mind. Then we think of it as an awful thing to have stood by the very Cross of Jesus to have been so very near that great mystery—the Death of the Son of God of God manifest in the flesh: and yet in truth, my brethren, we have all individually been nearer to that mystery than they who with their bodily eyes beheld it—nearer than were the Blessed Virgin Mother and the beloved disciple. For we have died with Him—we have been nailed to His Cross-we have been bathed with the Blood which flowed from His Wounds. O then, brethren, what all exceeding fearful thing it is to be a Christian; to have had done in us and upon us that which has been done in and upon us all. Hence we may learn of what exceedingly terrible import are those words of Scripture, "the crucifying of the Son of God afresh, and the treading under foot the Son of God, and the counting the Blood wherewith we have been sanctified all unholy thing." What is this but the very sin of those who, having been baptized into His Death, live in sin? We call all of us appreciate the guilt of sin when connected with a religious profession. It would shock most, for instance, to think of one receiving the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, and then straightway committing the sin of drunkenness, or fornication, or other gross iniquity. But consider how near their sin comes to this, who have come forth from the purifying waters of Baptism only to wallow in the mire of sin-, who have received the very mark of the dying of the Lord Jesus; nay, have become partakers of His Death, and yet with the Blood of sprinkling upon them, deny the Lord that bought them, and live a life of worldliness or pleasure, in forgetfulness of God!

A Course of Sermons on Solemn Subjects chiefly bearing on Repentance and Amendment of Life, Preached in St. Saviour's Church, Leeds,During the Week after its Consecration on the Feast of S. Simon and S. Jude, 1845.

Read it all here.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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