Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

all truo Christians to the heavenly mansions; when, aftor that, the wrath of God has heen poured out upon the Christ-despising world,—then, "in the dispensation of the fulness of times," shall all the nations of the earth he blessed. It is necessary for us to know our Lord's mind about this, if we would rightly do His work.

What, then, is the extent of our commission? It is as wide as the world—as illimitable as the number of the human race. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

And what is to be the result ?" He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall bo damned."

This is solemn work. To them that believo not, we are messengers of condemnation, though to those who behove, we are ministers of grace. "To the one, we are tho savour of death unto death, and to the other tho savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" A question, this, which ought to bring us to tho feet of Jesus.

And now let us look at tho verse which follows tho above interrogatory. '' For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God ; in the sight of God speak we in Christ." 2 Cor. ii. 16, 17.

This searches right down to the bottom of our hearts. Do wo speak in Christ? Are we abiding in the "true vine?" "Without Me ye can do nothing." What is Jesus to us? Saviour, Life, Truth, Lord! What can we do without Him? Oh, tho presumption and folly committed on every side of us in His name! We say nothing hero of those who corrupt the word of God, safe that they are to be counted by thousands. Let us cast aside all devices of men—preach the gospel as Paul and the faithful in his day preached it. Above all, taking care to realise that the Lord is with us, and we -in Him.

He has assured us of his power, delivered his charge, and declared his abiding presence. "Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of tho Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever J have commanded you; and lo, / am with yon always, even unto the end of the age. Amen."

Some thoughts about aids and accessories in our next, if the Lord will.

CONTRASTS:

BISHOPS OF THE STATE, V. BISHOPS OF THE

CHURCH OF GOD.

Nothing can be more contrary to the mind of the Lord, than the amalgamation of things belonging to the Church with the governments of this world. The calling of Christians is, expressly, to be apart from the world. They are to be a "peculiar people," "separate," "sanctified." While Satan continues to be "the god of this world," as he is at present, how can the followers of the world-rejected Christ have anything to do with earthly government? But of all

the outrages committed on the spiritual order of God's word, it is not easy to imagine anything worse than tho invention of State-Bishops!

Li the first days of the Church, bishops were ordained by apostolic power, to act as shepherds or overseers of the little companies of believers in Jesus. They were to watch over and care for the sheep and the lambs—to "feed the Church of Christ which he hath purchased with his own precious blood." They were expressly commanded not to be lords over GoiPs heritage, nor to take the oversight thereof for filth;/ lucre's take, but of a willing mind—looking for their reward in the future, when the Chief Shepherd should appear, who would give them a crown of glory. See 1 Petor iii.

A Christian appointed to this office was to be "blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre, but a lover of hospitality, [i. e. one ready to receive strangers and needy ones, ever seeking to minister to the helpless,] a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate." Titus i. 6.

A little reflection makes it easy to comprehend the need there was for the appointment of such BishopB or Elders, and the sort of persons pointed out for the office by the Holy Ghost, through the Apostle Paul, in his instructions to Titus and Timothy. Wo must remember that tho first converts in pagan cities were exposed to peculiar dangers and temptations. Though believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, they were mostly ignorant of the scriptures, and liablo to be led astray by self-constituted leaders. Such men as are described in the remaining part of the first chapter of tho epistle to Titus. The apostles, therefore, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, ordained suitable men as bishops or elders, who were to be as fathers, to whom the weak ones could look up with confidence. On the part of such bishops, the motive of their care for others, was to be love for Christ. Our Lord's last conversation with Peter shows this. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Feed my sheep. Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Feed my lambs. Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?

Si. o. Lovest thou mopre-eminently ?] Feed my sheep.'' 5re-eminence in love for Christ, made manifest by devotedness to his brethren, was to be the true characteristic of the pastoral office. Worldly position was no item of consideration. Indeed, it could not be; for a follower of the Lord Jesus is no longer regarded by God as of this world. He has become a stranger where once he was a citizen, and is now only a pilgrim passing through.

All the passages of scripture which speak of bishops or elders, indicate just such a class of christian men as would in our days he considered eligible as superintendents of schools. Married men, having well-ordered families, because, if they could not rule their own household, they were not fit to bear sway in the family of God. [See 1 Tim. iii. 5.] It was by no means indispensable, though desirable, that they should be gifted as teachers. "Esteem them very highly in love fortheirwork'ssake," 1 Thes. v. 13, and count them worthy of "double honour who labour in word and doctrine," 1 Tim v. 17. The gift of teaching was probably exceptional,rathorthan usual, with those ordainedasbishops. There are now many estimable christians who would prove to be excellent pastors or bishops, having the needful qualifications indicated by the inspirod writers, though quite unable to speak or teach in an assembly.

Compare the foregoing with what wo see in this socalled christian country:—

Bishops, as ordained of God, belonged to The Church, of which Christ is the Head! Bishops, as appointed by men, are of a church over which the reigning sovereign of England is the Head!

EThe same remarks apply to the Romish section of he world's church, of which that of England is but a modification.]

The apostles, and those delegated specially by them, alone had power to ordain Bishops for the Church of God. But for the world's church, the monarch nominally, in reality the prime minister of state, (even though he should happen to be a deist or an infidel,) appoints them!

"We have seen the sample of what a true bishop should be, in our Lord's commands to Peter. As to his emoluments, In the early part of "The Acts," Peter declares " Silver and gold have I none!" Again, as a bishop, Paul was not a bad example. Ho reminded the Ephesian Elders that he had laboured with his own hands to supply his needs and the wants of those that were with him. Acts xx. State-bishops cannot, however, manage with less than some thousands of pounds per annum, palaces to live in, retinues of servants to wait upon them, carriages to ride in, &c, &c.! A true bishop would seek to bo the humblest man in the Church. He could not well forget the express injunction not to be a lord over God's heritage. But a state-bishop can be nothing less than a lord, and considers hisproperplacetobeaseatamong the highest rulers iu the land. In this position, ho takes part in the legislation of a large portion of the world, which rejects Christ, and upon which the judgments of God will soon be poured out!

Our readers will readily discern further contrasts. Here for the present, we leave them. In our next we hope, if the Lord will,to unfold more of what scripture teaches us about the pastorate, as given by our Lord Jesus Christ.

EVIL:
IS THERE POWER TO GET RID OF IT?

There is power to put an end to all the evil under which the world groans. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to set up his reign in righteousness on the earth, evil will be swept away: the bosom of destruction will be passed over the scene; "all things that offend" will be gathered out. The earth will then be peopled with a race rejoicing in a reign of righteousness. As Noah and his family were pre

served through the flood to re-people the earth, so revelation shows, a few faithful ones will be safely kept through the coming day of tribulation, and afterwards nations will arise who will enjoy millennial happiness.

In the meanwhile, this purposed order is reversed. The Lord Jesus Christ now gathers out the faithful, and leaves the evil. By shedding his own precious blood, He has effectually freed from evil all who trust in him. Theso he will presently summon to himself, giving them glorious bodies like unto his own glorious body. When that takes place, the unredeemed of the human race will be left to Satan's full sway, and the wrath of God will follow.

Nothing but the presence of Christ will put away evil! Every effort on man's part only manifests his utter impotency. What, then, is the Christian to do? He must, by faith, cling to his Saviour, Act Out His ruECEPTs, and Wait. This by no means implies a life of idleness. We must learn the mind of Christ by close and prayerful attention to His word. And then, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, Do It." Let Christians be no longer satisfied to do the things which religious men teach them. They should, indeed, listen to the exhortations of faithful men, but they are to Do the things which Jesus has commanded. He says "If ye love me keep my commandments."

Read the practical lesson taught by our Lord in washing tho disciples' feet, John xiii. Look how that touching narrative concludes: "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for I am. If I then, Lord and Mastor, have washed your feet; Ye Also Ought To Wash One Another's Feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should Do As I Have Done To You. Verily, verily, I say unto you tho servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If yo know These Things, happy aro ye if

ye DO THEM."

Christians, alas! prefer doing other things, instead of these things. Feet-washing is very humiliating work, and not at all to the liking of the carnal mind. So when teachers turn their thoughts from these things, and set them about other things, they willingly undertake works which will all be burnt up! Oh, how grievous it is to see tho wretched vanities with which believers, as well as professors, are occupied. Oh, that they would ask themselves the simple q uestion, "Are we doing the things of Christ, or merely the tasks which men have set us?" The answer to that would reveal to many that what they are striving to accomplish is opposed to the mind of their Lord and Master. It seems vory religious to be running about with begging boxes for church buildings and charitable purposes. But where do you find a word from your Master sotting you about such work? You want to improve the world. It is a hopeless task. You never can succeed. So far from mending society by your efforts—you have made Christendom one vast scene of hypocrisy. The history of what most of you call the Church is written in the Lord's addresses to the seven churches of Asia, (Rev. ii. and iii.) It has reached its last aspect, and that is so loathsomo that the Lord when ho comes will " spue it out of his mouth." Read for yourselves the warning to Laodicea.

Touching the individual safety of believers, as we have said, Christ will take them out of the hypocrisy, and all other evil. Blessed be his name, if you are trusting in Him, no power can pluck you out of his hand. But what will you do till he comes? Will you still try to accomplish the work of changing the face of the world, in spite of all which is written, showing that the Lord in person will come forth to do it? Will you still persist in working for clergymen and societies, instead of washing the feet of the saints, and doing those things which your Lord has appointed you to do? Then are you but men-pleasors, and not doers of the will of God. Then you may well fear to be "ashamed before Him at his coming."

Oh, suffer the word of exhortation, and turn to the word of the Lord. The poor widow who cast her two mites into God's treasury [He has no treasury on earth now, save his living disciples] did not go about with a subscription list. She gave what she had. The amount was small enough. But it was all her living. It was done to the Lord; and in his judgment, she had given moro than all the rich ones who had cast in their costly gifts. When Mary desired to honour the Lord sho did not make a collection, but took her own box of spikenard, very precious, and herself anointed her beloved Master. And Jesus said, "She hath done what sho could." Oh, that we may be all emulous of obtaining from his lips when he comes, "She hath done what she could!" "Whatsoever ye have done to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." A cup of cold water given to a disciplo by one of his, shall in no wise lose its reward.

Not collective, but individual work, is what the Lord Jesus has left for his servants. Lot them stand apart from all which is contrary to his mind. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Get away from it, however specious, however religious it may look; for "Satan is transformed into an angel of light." Then let the constant cry of faith be, "Lord, what willTHOU have Me todo." Learn the Lobd's mind in his own word. Do it; and wait till he comes; He will then deliver you from all evil. In the meantime, you can honour him by walking apart from it.

THE SPIRITUAL WATCHMAN. Our readers will remember a notice we gave of a monthly paper, published in Glasgow, under the above title. We were led to remark particularly upon the faithfulness of the editor, Mr W. T. Turpin, who at the time of commencing his editorship was a clergyman in the Episcopal Church, but who afterwards abandoned his living and title, to follow Christ. The proprietors and publishers of the "Spiritual "Watchman" are Messrs. Scott and Allan, who, it seems, belong to the exclusive party of the Plymouth Brethren.

From a notice in the November number of the ''Spiritual Watchman," it appears that the editorship of that paper is now withdrawn from Mr Turpin, though the proprietors are constrained to confess how much they are indebted to our dear brother. On reading the said announcement, we wrote to Mr Turpin, enquiring the cause of the rupture. It seems ho was loath to enter upon an explanation of the circumstances of the case, and therefore invited Messrs. Scott and Allan to give an account of the matter. The following correspondence speaks for itself:—

[From Mr Turpin to Mr Scott.]

12, Nelson-terrace, Glasgow, Nov. 2, 1865.

My dear brother in the Lord,—I, this morning, received a lotter from the Editor of Precious Truth, a copy of which letter I enclose in this. You remember you sent back numbers of the Watchman for review in Frecious Truth, and it waB in this way 1 came to know the editor. I do not like to trust myself in answering his question, and would therefore feel obliged if you would kindly furnish mo with your reason for dispensing with my services as Editor of the Spiritual Watchman, with a view to my giving him a fair and candid answer, which will not bo an ex parte statement.

Believe mo, yours very truly in the Lord,

W. T. Turpi*. To Mr Walter Scott.

[Answer.,] 109, Sauchiehall-street, Nov. 3, 1865.

My dear Brother,—I would rather not give, in writing, our reasons for requesting you to cease editing the Watchman, as you know them well.

I am, dear brother, yours very faithfully,

Walter Scott. To W. T. Turpin, M.A.

[From Mr Turpin to the Editor of Precious Truth.]

12, Nelson-terrace, Glasgow, Nov. 9, 1865.

My dear Brother in the Lord,—I have delayed answering your kind note, partly doubting whether it were tho Lord's mind that anything about this miserable question should bo published at all or not, and even now I am in doubt, but will leavo the matter with you. May the Lord guide you either to notice it or not, as He is pleased. The facts are, tho Sfnritmi Watchman was begun when I wus minister of St. Silas English Episcopal Church, Glasgow. At Messrs. Scott and Allun's request, I undortook the work of editor, being positively a Church of Kngland minister. The paper was to be an unseelarian one, as you will see by the original prospectus enclosed in this. Mutters went on so until, having left the Church ol England, I saw my way to begin and break bread with those to whom the Lord made my teaching profitable. We began on the principle of fellowship with all tho Lord's children, as such, meeting here and elsewhere. Mr Scott asked mo if our meeting was in fellowship with Bcchesda, Bristol. I said, Yes, meaning that we would receive a bona fide saint of God, sound in the truth and walk, who might come from thence, just as we would receivo a child of God from anywhero else who was sound in faith and walk. After this, Mr Scott called on me, and told me he could no longer work tho Watchman in connection with me; and I, at once, at his request, told him I should give up my position as editor. After your note came, I wrote him a letter, to which I received the reply enclosed These are the simple facta. How should we long for the Lord to come and put an end to our unhappy divisions.

Believe me, my dear Brother,

Yours very affectionately in Jesus,

W. T. Tuepw. To the Editor of Precious Truth.

The Bethesda party are those assumed to be put away by the exclusives, under pretence of holding heresy, but in reality, because they would not bow to the dictum of those whose behests emanate from the Priory, Islington. The truth is, there was from the first no more heresy held by those announced as put away, than by those who excluded them. Indeed, a true-hearted, intelligent Christian who examines the writings, and hears the lectures and teachings of both parties, will find the same precious scripture truths unfolded and proclaimed. There is no difference. And we now challenge the exclusives to point to a single heretical doctrine held by those they call Bethesdas. Moreover, we solemnly warn them, that though, hitherto, most of them have acted in entire ignorance of facts, in imputing heresy to so many dear brethren in the Lord—to perpetuate the same course will be to persist in wilful falsehood. Let every one among them insist upon knowing the truth, and no longer accept a shrug of the shoulder and an upturning of the eye as a sufficient condemnation against a large section of the true and zealous followers of Jesus. We cannot refrain from saying thus much. All sections of "the Brethren," or "Plymouth Brethren" are wrong when tested by Scripture, as we have had occasion, in previous numbers, to show. Yet we gladly testify to all that is lovely among them. Alas! that we should also have to bear witness against that which is severely reprehensible on the part of some.

CALLED-CHOSEN-PAITHFTJL.

It is common to hear some who are theologically read, speak of a "common call " and an "effectual call." The Scriptures know of no such terms. The preaching of the Gospel is nowhere spoken of as "calling:" there cannot, therefore.be two kinds of calling—common and effectual. Indeed, the term is never associated with human ministration at all. It is always associated with the Divine act and deed. Preaching is the proclamation by man of the Gospel of God's grace. When that Gospel is received, God then "calls" all whom he has foreknown would believe and whom he has " predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son." (Rom. viii.)

That this word calling implies the Divine action is also clear from Acts ii. 37—39. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them "—i.e. to those, and those only, who believed the word and were pricked in their hearts—" Repent, and be baptised 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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, (the promise of the Holy Ghost,] and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Here the Apostle, speaking by the Spirit, says the promise of the Holy Ghost is not to all who hear, but to those among the Jews, their children, and the Gentiles, who, having gladly received the preached word, like these Jews on the day of Pentecost, are "called" by the Lord our God.

To what, then, does God call? Certainly not to

faith: the preaching of man is the means to that end. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;" (that is to say, God's word, or command, is that every soul should hear and every servant preach.) 1 Cor. i. 24 renders it still clearer that the "called" are such as have received the truth in the love of it, not all those who are brought within the sound of the Gospel.

The question, therefore, remains :—To what, then, does God call? To be saints! (Rom. i. 7 ; 1 Cor. i. 2.) He calls believers to be saints, because he calls them to Himself—to fellowship with himself. "As He that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation and godliness." "This is the will of God concerning you, even your sanctification." "If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." This is the vocation (or calling, or occupation,) to which we are called by the Lord our God.

Mow, it is evident that a calling, or profession, implies freedom and choice—that we may be either indolent or diligent, fervent or cold, self-sufficient or self-suspecting, having an eye to present wages or to the rewards which the Lord will bring with Him. Hence the Holy Spirit exhorts us—" Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. i. 10—11.) There could be no sphere for exhortation if there were no freedom of action. By freedom of action, let us not be supposed to mean sufficiency for action; "we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency" is in Him, who " worketh in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

Thus God deals with all who believe. Having enlightened us by his Word and his Spirit, he pressingly invites or calls us to walk as dear children, to hold forth the Word of Life, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. We are besought " by the mercies of God," to "present" our bodies "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." (Rom. xii.) God speaketh unto us, as unto sons.

To encourage us to diligence in our Christian vocation, we are called to glory, as well as to holy walk: indeed, the degree of the former is made to eventuate upon the latter. (Seel Pet. v. 10)—"The God of all grace hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus." "If we suffer with him we shall also be glorified together." "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." "Surely I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be."

Those Christians who thus desire and seek to yield themselves up in heart and life, without reserve, become "chosen," or choice ones. "Many be called, but few chosen." (Matt. xx. 16.) Dearly beloved, believers in the Lord Jesus, the "called" indeed are many, blessed be God, and you are among them. Are you obeying the call to " come out" in spirit, and be separated from all that is of the world, and walk by faith Fare you desirous of being among the "Moon''? It is only such as walk in separation from the worlil, who are "led of the Spirit," yea, who "walk in the Spirit," who now realise and enjoy their sonship (Rom. viii.) Such are the "chosen" now, and will lie manifested as such wlien we all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Oh, that we may count all else as dung and dross that we may win the approbation of Christ! seeking to make, not only our "calling," but "our election sure," i.e. our acceptance of Him in our walk and our consciousness of being by His grace, elected, or chosen ones.

Happy to be among the called; thrice happy to be by grace among the "chosen," because the Lord is glorified by "vessels unto honour," choice, fit for his use. But let us remember Demas, and his falling intollie love of this present evil world, and have grace to be ever looking to the Lord Jesus Christ who can keep us from falling—keep unfaithful—faithful to our "calling."

Who will be with the Lord when he makes war on the earth, as foretold in Rev. xvii. 14?

"The Called,—and Chosen,—and Faithful."

do not come to an end. The once-rejected Messiah, the betrayed, the crucified—will come to the world again. Then Israel which received him not, and his sin-stricken creation which comprehended him not—shall welcome him with joy, and rejoice in his righteous sway. Then heavenshall be visibly open, and the angelsshall be teen ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. We know there will be much sorrow and judgment for the world before this glorious consummation ; but the extreme tribulation will doubtless be concentrated into a short space of time ; " for mercy rejoiceth against judgment.'' How sweetly this is evidenced in the Scripture before us. The mercies of God are presented like links in a golden chain, extending from the time of Creation to Millennial days.

COMMENTARY ON THE GOSFEL BY

ST. JOHN.
(Written expressly for this publication.)

CHAPTER I. In taking a spiritual review of the entire chapter before us, we see, as it were, the history of God's dealings with the world in grace. It is full of the wonderful mercies of God, without a word of condemnation. We are taken back to the beginning, and find everything good emanating from Christ. All things were made by him. He is also the source and fountain of Life and Lif;ht. Mankind admitted evil, went far from good, became dark, preferred darkness. In mercy God sent The Light, the darkness comprehended it not. fle first sent a witness of the Light, but he was disregarded. Then the True Light showed Himself; but his own creation and his own specially chosen people received him not. Yet he did not call down fiie from heaven. Mercy triumphed—for lie is full of grace as well as truth. His forerunner gave perfect testimony that he is the Son of God. Man, however, persisted in rebellion, and rejected Light and Life. Jesus is announced as the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world ;" then again as the "Lamb of God." Whereupon a few follow him and make him known toothers; He also specially seeks after some and reveals himself to them. Theso become sons of God. They are redeemed by the Lamb, in virtue of the sacrifice he would accomplish. But it is all of grace. They "are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." This course of God's grace is being perpetuated during the whole of the present dispensation. The divine word goes forth; men hear, and receive it; and thus become regenerate, born again. It is not because of the will of the preacher, nor of any fleshly will, but of God. Great is the mystery. God provided the Sacrifice, the Saviour, the Gospel, and the Preacher. If the Lord had not done all, even to the supplying of messengers—there would be no will on thepait of the flesh, towards regeneration. Thanks be to God, all is done by him—man has but to believe. But thus it is disciples are gathered out of the world to Jesus the once despised Nazarene. They become sons of God, and will presently be displayed in glory, transformed into the likeness of the risen and glorified Jesus. Yet even then God's purpose! in grace, as set before us in this chapter,

BAPTISM:

ITS PLACE, AND MEANING,
(A3 GIVEN IN THE SCRIPTURES.)

(Concluded.)

The ordinance of baptism having been thus thoroughly established both by command and by practice—no room for exceptions being anywhere admitted—the subject is subsequently but brielly, and as it were only passingly alluded to by the inspired writers. Is it not evident from this, that having given us clearly the importance and the place (as to Christian order) of water baptism in the divine counsels—room was left for the exercise of faith? For though there is no excuse for the believer who does not submit to the rite, yet it must be voluntary submission. Our gracious Lord does not enforce His commands, but ho says, " If ye love mo, keep my commandments." Moreover, it was needful that water baptism should not havo undue importance. The perversity of the human heart has, notwithstanding, led some to insist upon it as essential to salvation ; while others,oquallyperverBO, have treated the ordinance as of no importance at all, or aa that about which they may form their own ideas, or which they may modify to suit their own or others' convenience. Nay, more ; the Church of England confounds water baptism, which is voluntary on tho part of those receiving it, with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is involuntary on the side of those who partake of it Those who follow this sad delusion teach that water baptism regenerates, and constitutes the receiver of it a member of the body of Christ. Need wo say more than that such arc teachers of men's fables and not of God's truth; such doctrino is completely opposed to scripture; and the first duty of those who love the Lord Jesus Christ, is to separate from all who countenance this fearful heresy.

Anyone who reads carefully the scriptures wo have quoted, will see that the baptism of the Holy Ghost (tho importance of which it is impossible to over estimate) is quite separate from baptism by water. Sometimes the Holy Ghost was given before water baptism, (as in the case of Cornelius,) sometimes afterwards (as at Ephosus). The one is quito independent of the other, and no spiritual reader of the Biblo can possibly confuse things so entirely distinct. The baptism by water was given for men to enjoin and accept. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the free gilt of God, and, blessed be His name, docs not depend upon man at all. To help us in guarding against error, let us sco what scripture teaches as to the significance of water baptism.

Paul, in giving an account of his conversion, (Acts xxii.) repeats tho commands he received by the mouth of Ananias (verse 16)—"And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Paul was already converted, already a believer, and consequently he had already received forgivenoss of his sins. But the work inwardly wrought has to be outwardly signified. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is unseen; water baptism signifies to the eye, that the believer is made clean "every whit." Water baptism teaches us, however, something more than this. The Epistle to the Romans (vi. 3,) explains baptism thus—" Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptistd into hit death ? Therefore

« PoprzedniaDalej »