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be spent in the love and fear of our great Creator? “It is of unspeakable importance to all, that they should know their own wills and dispositions regulated and sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. If this engagement of heart be earnest and frequent, humble views of ourselves ensue, a distrust in our rational powers as sufficient for the great work of salvation is induced: we are taught the inestimable blessing which those enjoy who attain to a reliance on holy aid; and whilst we are brought low in our own estimation, and are fearful to speak of our religious attainments, we are enabled to rejoice in Him in whom we have believed.” “Be very careful then, we beseech you, not to read publications which openly or indirectly, inculcate a disbelief in the benefits procured to us by the sufferings and death of Christ, in the divinity of Him our Lord and Saviour, or in the perceptible guidance of his Spirit.” “May these, may all our dear friends, be impressed with the continued necessity of watchfulness unto prayer, and of being clothed with humility, as with a garment. The faithful disciple will guard against relying too much on former experience: he will find that an increase of years produces an increasing conviction that we are entirely dependent upon God for fresh supplies of strength; but he will be animated to persevere, from the consoling hope that if faith and patience continue, Christian virtues will increase; humility, meekness, and liveliness of spirit will be prevalent in advanced life: and a final admission will be granted into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” An example worthy of imitation. It would afford us peculiar pleasure to see the same and other great doctrines of the gospel brought out, distinctly and }. to view in the
publications and addresses of the Friends in this country.
On the 10th instant, the Presbytery of Philadelphia met in the Third Presbyterian Church in this city, and solemnly set apart to the work of the gospel ministry, the Rev. John H. WAN court. In this service, the Rev. Wm. M. Engles preached the sermon, from Ezek. xxxiii. 7, 8; the Rev. Dr. Ely presided, proposed to the candidate the constitutional questions, and offered the ordaining prayer; and the Rev. Thomas J. Biggs, of Frankford, delivered the charge.
It is expected that Mr. Vancourt will labour for some time as a missionary; and with this view, especially, he was ordained, without having at present any pastoral charge.
On Wednesday the 2nd instant, the annual meeting of “ The Bible Society of Philadelphia” was held in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in Fourth street. An interesting report of the proceedings the last year was read by the managers: from which it appeared that the society had distributed 4435 copies of the scriptures, besides 3750 portions of the inspired volume for the use of Sabbath schools; making, since the commencement of their labours, a total of 57,865, exclusive of the separate portions. They have printed 109,737 copies of the scriptures; and have now in the press two editions; of the New Testament 1000, and of the Bible 500.
The report having been read, a motion was made by the Rev. Mr. M“Ginnis, and seconded by the Rev. Mr. Roche, that it should be printed and published. These gentlemen supported the motion by appropriate addresses.
The managers, we understand. intend to pursue some vigorous measures for increasing the number of subscribers to this valuable institution. It has done much in the benevolent work of distributing the word of life among the destitute, but not as much as would have been done, had its funds been more ample. The population of this city will warrant us in asserting that the subscribers ought to be multiplied ten-fold. Indeed every one who has the ability should deem it a privilege as well as a duty to subscribe his name to this important society. When therefore an application shall be made, all, it is hoped, who have not, will cheerfully contribute.
&circtions. Wolfangus Musculus.
This celebrated divine was a German reforther. He was born in 1497, and during life, passed through a variety of chequered scenes. He rose from a state of such poverty and meanness, that while in it, he obtained a subsistence by singing from door to door, to a situation of respectability and importance, and was professor of divinity at Berne, in Switzerland. Though once enveloped in the darkness of popery, he became an active and zealous supporter of the gospel of truth; and was a man of great application and deep learning. A little before his death, he composed some Latin verses, of which the following translation has been given.
My fainting life is nearly gone ;
Quit then, O quit, this wretched house,
But, art thou all-defil’d with sins 2
The subject of this single but striking anecdote, was comparatively little known in the religious world; but we are informed that in his life there was an eminent display of the power of evangelical truth, as at its conclusion of holy triumph over death. After having been worn out by long and painful illness, his wife told him that the change of his countenance indicated the speedy approach of death. “Does it,” he replied, “Bring me a glass.” On looking at himself in the glass, he was struck with the appearance of a corpse which he saw in his countenance, but giving the glass back, he said with calm satisfaction, “Ah, death hath set his mark on my body, but Christ hath set his mark upon my soul.”
FOR THE PRESPYTERIAN MAGAZINE,
“I am the Light of the World.” John viii. 12.
Fountain of life, of truth and love!
Worshipp'd on earth, ador’d above,
At thy command, yon sun displays
Amidst affliction’s darkest gloom,
Thy rays the mourner's breast illume,
And when the close of life draws nigh, And all the pow’rs of nature fail,
Thy smiles, dear Saviour ! from on high Can lighten up Death’s gloomy vale.
Sun of the World ! arise and shine, Enlighten, warm, and cheer this heart;
The conscience owns thy pow'r divine, Thy beams can endless bliss impart.
When on the world I close my eyes,
Effulgent on this soul arise,
PUBLISHED BY LITTELL & HENRY, 74, South Second St. Philadelphia, At 33 per annum, or 32,50 if paid in advances
* BRIEF THOUGHTS ON BAPTISM.
(Continued from page 224.)
But it may be asked, of what use is baptism? An inquiry that may be prompted by two very different states of mind. If it proceed from a temper determined to regard the ordinance as destitute of authority, unless its use be perceived and acknowledged, it deserves severe animadversion. Does it become creatures to dispute the propriety of appointments made by their Creator? Is it for us, who are but of yesterday, to question, the wisdom of any institution ordained by the great Jehovah? Should it not be deemed sufficient to satisfy our minds that an appointment is both wise and useful, to be informed that it is his appointment? Neither its wisdom nor its utility can be affected by the dulness of our perception. These properties are independent of our apprehensions; they remain precisely the same whether we perceive them or not; just as light is light, whether the human eye see it or not. Humility becomes us; and it should always be sufficient to silence every objection, to know that the Lord hath commanded or appointed a thing.
But the question may proceed from a very different state of mind; from a disposition to understand the purpose for which this positive
institution has been appointed by the Great Head of the church, and a desire to derive the benefit for the conveyance of which it was designed to be the vehicle. In this case, it merits respectful notice. In reply to this inquiry we shall just hint at two purposes for which baptism was instituted. One is, to afford to adults a favourable opportunity for making a solemn and public dedication of themselves to the service and glory of God. All who sincerely and properly receive this sacred rite, will have previously made this act of devotion in private. But this b no means renders a public repetition of it unnecessary. It is well known in the experience of exercised Christians, how much it contributes to their stability in religion, frequently and daily to renew their covenant engagements with God: And if benefit result from this act when done in secret, may we not anticipate more from the performance of it in public, attended by circumstances calculated to deepen on the mind the remembrance of the interesting transaction, and to strengthen the ties by which we bind ourselves to our God P Nor is the advantage arising from such a solemn act of public devotion confined to the recipient of the ordinance. It may do good to spectators. For when baptized Chris
tians witness the dedication of ano
ther to the service of God, they are reminded of the sacred engage2 H
ments that have been imposed upon them by the same religious rite; and when others who live in disregard of their duty, behold one renouncing the world, the flesh, and the devil, and publicly vowing to lead a new and holy life, and to spend the remainder of his days in glorifying his Creator, must they not be at once solemnly admonished of their criminal conduct, and sweetly allured to obedience, by an example so worthy of imitation? Few scenes can be more interesting and impressive, than the public baptism of pious adults. Many an individual has been indebted to such exhibitions of duty for convictions, that have ultimately issued in a sound and saving conversion. Besides, baptism was instituted to be a sign and seal of God’s covenant with his church. A record of this covenant we find in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Genesis. They are greatly mistaken who imagine that this covenant was a part of the Mosaic appointment, and that it expired with the former economy. Against such a conclusion, an inspired apostle has guarded us. From Rom. iv. 11–17, it appears, that by this covenant Abraham was constituted the head and father of all believers, whether circumcised or not, whether Jews or Gentiles; their father, not merely as an illustrious pattern of faith and obedience, but as a covenant-head, to transmit the blessing of this covenant to all his spiritual seed. Hence in proving his assertion, the apostle cites a part of this very covenant; “As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations.” Verse 17. On the perpetuity of this memorable covenant, the apostle professedly reasons in Gal. iii. 15–29; and shows, that, as the giving of the Mosaic law could not annul it, so its permanence in the church could not be affected by the abolition of that law; concluding his argument with this inference, “And if ye be
Christ's, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” What promise? Doubt: . less the promise of this perpetual covenant. Now, of this covenant, circumcision was, at its institution, appointed to be the token, that is, the sign and seal. This office it continued to perform until it was superseded by the introduction of baptism, the Christian token, or sign and seal, of God’s gracious covenant. That circumcision has been abolished, admits of no doubt. It will therefore follow that, if baptism has not been substituted in its place, the covenant has no seal. Were this admitted to be the fact, it would present a strange anomaly in the history of the divine economy toward the church : for all other covenants which God condescended to make with men were confirmed by a seal; the covenant of works by the tree of life, the covenant of Noah by the rainbow, and the covenant of Horeb by the blood of sacrifices. And is it reasonable to suppose that this covenant, made with the church, after having been confirmed for ages by a visible seal, should, having its seal torn away, be left to operate without such a help to the faith of God’s people? It is incredible. We bless our covenant Jehovah it is not the fact. He has been graciously mindful of the infirmity of our faith, and provided for our support a new seal; a seal better adapted to the milder dispensation under which he has placed his church. Baptism is now the appointed seal, substituted in the room of the ancient seal which accorded with the rigour and severity of the former economy. . So we are taught by an inspired writer. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the i. by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath
raised him from the dead.” Col. ii. | 1, 12. Baptism, then, is a seal of the covenant which God has made with his church. It serves the important purpose of confirming all its gracious promises. Let none say that the simple word of God is sufficient, and that such a confirmation is unnecessary. Thus to speak would be to reflect on his infinite wisdom. He knows the nature of man, and he knows too how suspicious guilt has made him; and although his simple word carries along with it ample security that he will do what he promises, yet he himself has deemed it becoming his own infinite majesty, to give to his people the additional security annexed to a visible seal: nay, he has judged it proper, and no way derogatory to his truth and glory, in consideration of the weakness of our faith, to interpose the solemnity of an oath, in order to establish, in the view of “the heirs of promise.” “the immutability of his counsel. Heb. vi. 17, 18. These additional securities are presented, not to bind Jehovah to the sulfilment of his promise, as if without these obligations there were danger of his acting contrary to his engagements, but entirely on our account, to inspire us with a lively faith, and dispel from our minds every doubt in regard to divine faithfulness. Baptism then is designed for the confirmation of our faith in the promises of God’s covenant. Whoever receives it is assured by this visible sign that Jehovah will do what he has engaged to do; that he will cleanse the believing soul from all the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ, and from all its defilements by the grace of his Holy Spirit; and that he will be his God in the highest sense of the promise for ever and ever. Nor is the faith of the recipient alone thus strengthened by this ordinance. It serves, as often as administered, to confirm the faith of the church. The Lord condescends, on
all such occasions, to invite his people to contemplate the provision he has graciously been pleased to make for establishing their confidence in the stability of his covenant. He as: sures them that as baptismal water is applied to the person of the candidate, so certainly will he accomplish all that he has promised to do for them; and that as an honest man cannot depart from a covenant engagement signed and sealed, much less is it possible for the God of truth to break his covenant, which he has sealed for the very purpose of convincing us of its immutable faithfulness.
How grateful should we feel to our heavenly Benefactor for an or. dinance designed to answer such invaluable purposes! Let us admire his condescension to the infirmity of our faith. Instead of regarding it as a mere ceremony, let us revere it as an institution appointed by the King eternal, and sanctified by his grace to the benefit and consolation of his church.
BRIEF IDISCOURSES-NO. III. BY E. S. ELY.
On Keeping Secrets.
“Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself, and discover not a secret to another; lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.” —Prov. xxv. 9, 10.
Solomon was an adept in the knowledge of human nature. After a long and candid examination of the views, feelings and conduct of men, he was so fully convinced that most men were tattlers, as to write a proverb, recommending profound silence upon every subject which you would not willingly make public. “Discover not a secret to another.” If you have any matter which you would conceal from any one, conceal it from every one. If you would not openly proclaim your situation, conduct, and feelings, Reveal nothing ; no, not