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Some questions answered respecting the Sabbath,
123 Into the Church without a new baptism. What their form was is not known.
Another sort of Sectarists used this form ; " I baptize thee into the death of « Christ,” But this practice also was censured by the apostolic canons ; for our Lord did not
say, baptize into my death ;" but, go teach (disciple) all nations, baptizing ihem in the name of the Father, &c. St. Paul, indeed, speaks of being baptized into the death of Christ : but then this implies no new forýi of baptism. No other form was ever thought lawful but that ad, ministered in the name of the tri-une God, according to the command of Christ. And the apostle is not speaking of the manner of baptizing, but of Christ's death; and our conforming to it, as signified in baptism, where it would not have been proper to have said, " as many of us as have been baps tized in the name of the Father or the Holy Ghost, have been baptized into
his death ;" and, therefore, the apostle, in prudence, omitted them in that place; it being improper to niention either Father or Holy Ghost, where he was speaking of death, which belonged only to Christ incarnate. However, Eunomius, the Arian, adopted this irregular practice; and because he denied the divinity of the Son and Holy Ghost, baptized only into the death of Christ. The Anomians (another branch of the Eunomian heresy) baptized in the name of the uncreated God, the name of the created God, and the name of the sanctifying Spirit created by the created Son.
Thus every heresy innovated upon the evangelical form of baptism-whilst the Church held fast her Lord's form of sound words ; and taught her children the doctrine of one faith, one God, Trinity in unity, one Father, one Son, one Holy Spirit, one Baptisın for the remission of sins and the aid of
[To be continued.]
SOME QUESTIONS ANSWERED RESPECTING THE
Quest, ist.- 1 sed to the ress, to be now considered as obligatory upon
Answ-Its obligation on Christians is in the same degree, as on the Jews, though in somewhat a different manner.
In the same degree, because the reason whereby it is enforced upon the Jews, and upon which it was originally instituted, and generally observed by believers from Adam to Moses, extends to Christians no less than to Israelites. Christians are bound to acknowledge Jzhovah for the maker of heaven and earth, no less than they, and equally with them need a constant memento of that rest, (Gr. Sabbatismos) or Jabbatism which remaineth for the people of God, and to them only. Jehovah is equally the sanctitier of Jews and Christians, and the obligation upon them is equal, to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy-for he hath saidI gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that santifies them. Ezek. xx. 12. Again, verse 20-Hollow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. But the fourth commandment obliges Christians in a different manner from what it did the Israelites. The seventh-day Sabbath is in one view of it, as St. Paul expressly teaches, Col. ii. 16, 17. a shadow or delineation of good things to come, and as such, the observance of it was not to be urged upon Gentile Christians. It prefigured Christ's resting in the grave during the whole of that day, and to observe that particular seventh, or Jewish Savbath, as maiter of religious obligation after Christ's death and resurrection, was in eifect denying that Christ had thus compleated the type, had rested in the grare for us, and by consequence denying that he was risen again. For as the apostle speaks concerning circumcision, Gal. y. 2. If ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing. So an apostolical father, Ignatius, the disciple of St. John, having declared, that if we still continue to live according to the Jewish law, we confess ourselves not to have received grace; and he presently after instances the Jewish Sabbath, as one of the antient things, wbich Christians are not bound to observe.-Epis. ad Magnes. $. 8, 9.
answered respecting the Sabbath. What then shall we do?-Shall we keep the Sabbath, or shall we not in this enquiry a divine direction is necessary and that we have it, I trust will appear evident if we attend to the subsequent chain of reasoning.
The patriarchal or Jewish Sabbath, so far as it is merely typical, and already fulfilled in Christ, is abolished, as St. Paul hath taught us. It was the serentur day, even that particular day of the week, on which Christ rested in the grave. The substance then being come, the shadow is done away. This particular day is no longer a Sabbath to Christians. But one day in secen, one day of holy rest after six of worldly labour, is still tą be observed by them. For, behold the manifold wisdom of God! As the first Sabbath was instituted in cominemoration of God's entering into his rest, after having finished the platerial kearens and earth, sa, when God manifests in the flesh, who renewed the world and created new heavens and a new earth, (see Isa. Ixv. 17. 2 Cor. v. 17.) had completed the greater work of our redemption, by rising from the dead, and so cutering into his rest, he appointed the day ou which he rose, even the first day of the week, to be thenceforward observed by his dis ciples iq coin nemoration not only of the creation-of the creation I say, for the reason of the fourth commandinent still remained in full force, Exod. XX. 11.--But also of our being created or begotten again by bis resurrection, and of that glorious rest into which he then entered, as qur forerunner and can tain.
If it be demanded, how we know this to be the appointment of Christ & I answer, by the practice of the inspired a postles, and of the first Chritians under their direction. After Christ's realrrection we hear no mpre of their observing the Jewish Sebbath. But Acts xx. 7. we find them assembled on the first day of the icek, to commemorate their blessed Redeemer in breaking of bread and in prayers, and that St. Paul then preached to them. An apos tolical precepi for the religiqus observation of the first day of the week is plainly implied, 1 Cor. i. 2. Some years after, this day irom its sanctification by the resurrection of Christ, and from the coustant practice of the first Christians in keeping it holy, is called by St. John, (Rev. i. 1.) the Lord's day ;-and under this name it was afterwards universally known and observed both go the Greek and Latin Churcia.
And are Christians less obliged to keep this day holy to the Lord, than the Israelites were their Sabbath ?ilave we not the very sanue reason to sanctify one day in seven, as they had, with this strong additional motive, that we therein commemorate the actual completion of qur redemption by the resur: Tection of our blessed Redeemer ? -But if we have the same, yea stronger season for observing the Christian Sabbath, than the Israelites of old had for observing theirs, doubtless we are obliged to keep it holy in as great a degree. Thou shalt not do any work saith the law, thou and thy son, &c.-If it be asked, what is here meant by any work ?-The answer is :--such works as carry's ing. burdens, Jer. xvii. 22. treading wine-presses, carrying sheaves of corn, lading cattle, buying and selling of wares, and victuals, Neh. xiii. 15 and 17. or in short, following any of our worldly employments, doing our own ways, finding our own pleasures, or speaking our own words, Isaiaholviii
. '13. But works of purity, Mat. xii
. 5. John yii. 2, 23. Of charity, Mat. zii. 12. and real necessity, Mat. xii. 1, 7, 11. Luke xiii. 15. were never forbidden to the Işræelites on the Sabbath day, nor are they to Christians. For the sabbath was muce for man, and not man for the sabbath, Mark ii. 37.
Quest. 20.--Are noi Mechanics and Merchants, who pay attention to baco siness all the week, and who go to Church on Sunday morning, at liberty to spend the afternoon, in taking a walk, riding-out, visiting und junketing? Or is it their duty to attend divine service in the afternoon likewise, and also to improve their leisure tine on that day in readirg the scriptures, and instructing their families ?
To this query, I shall answer, by proposing a few other questions, to which every unprejudiced person may give a ready answer.
is not Sunday afternoon a part of the day commonly called Sunday, or the Lord's day :-Åre not taking walks, riding-out, visiting, and junketing, very striking instances of wiiat the prophet calls doing their own ways ; finding their own plessures, and speaking their own words ?-Can they who want such diversions on the Lord's day, be properly said to call the Sabbath e das
ght? Or they who use them, to honour it? Is it not the duty of mechanica
Letter from Pliny to Traian
and mercigids as well as of others, to search the scriptures, to have the word of Christ dwell in them richly; and to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Or by what declarations in holy scripture are mechanics and merchants, that is, one half of mankind exempted from these ob ligations ? Can they employ part of the Lord's day better than in the duties just mentioned? And, are not mechanics and merchants who have their time and thoughts much engrossed by the cares of this world, all the week, under peculiar obligations to attend to the one thing needful on the Lord's day --See Amos viii. 3. QUEST, 3d.Would it not be ap acceptable piece of service to the commu. nity, if some one would draw up, as concisely as possible, all the supposeable arguments which those who disregard the Sabbath, can make use of, in de fence of such a conduct?
Answ. Possibly there are many in the community, who would be pleased to see a collection of excuses, however weak for their open profaneness and ampiety. But, I think the task proposed would be an endless, and at best, an useless and absurd labour, Who can enumerate all the supposeable prem tences, under which men, according to their different circumstances, may eloak, not oply from others, but from themselves, their guilt in profaping the Lord's day ?-And if, as hath been sufficiently proved, all Christians are bound by the law of God and its aiful sanctions, to observe the Lord's day as a Sabbath, and no works but those of prely, charity, and real necessity, Are to be done thereon ; then we may safely, pay, we must, as we value our souls, reject all arguments that can be brought on the other side of the question, because no arguments whatever, which mien may nor use in defence of Sababath-breaking, will be sufficient to excuse them at the judgment-seat of Christ. For he hath already assured us, Luke xii. 47, 48. that servant, which kenew his Lords will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall, (not withstanding any arguments or pretences he may make use of) be beaten with stripes. For unto whomsoerer much is given, of him much shukl les required
TO THE EDITORS OF THE CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE. Gentlemen, 4s the letter of Pliny to Trajan, and the arswer to it, concerning the primio
tite Christians, are such a testimony in favour of our holy profession as deserves untersal attention, their appearing in your next, will be highly acceptable to all your readers, and particularly so ta, gc,
B. $. EPISTLE XCVII.
PLINY TO TRAJAN. (T is, șir, a rule which I prescribe to myself to consult you upon all difficult
occasions. For who can better direct my doubts, or instruct my ignorance! I have never been present at the resolutions taken concerning the Christians ; therefore, I know not for what causes, or how far they may be objects of punishment; or to what degree our complaints may be carried on against them. Nor have I hesitated a little in considering, whether the difference of ages should not make some variation in our procedures, or whether the weaker and more robust, should be equally punished ?--Are those who repent, to be par'doned ? Or is it to no purpose to renounce Christianity, after having once professed it ? Must they be punished for the name, although otherwise innocent? Or is the name itself so flagitious as to be punishable ?-In the mean time, I have pursued this method with those Christians, who, as such, have been brought before me. I have asked them, if they were Christians; and to those, who have avowed the profession, I have put the same question a second and a third time, and have enforced it by threats of punishment. When they "have persevered, I have put my threats in execution. For I did not in the least doubt, that whatever their confession might be, their audacious beharra
Trajan's answer to Pliny's Lettermabbath. four, and immoveable obstinacy required absolute punishme'l we pot, Wise Wh were infected with the same kind of madness, but were Roman citizens, have been reserved by me to be sent to Rome.
Soon afterwards the crime, as it often happens, by being pursued, became inore diffusiye, and a variety of matters of fact were specified to me. An information without a name was put into my hands, contảining a list of many persons, who deny, that they are or ever were Christians; for repeating the forin' of invocation after me, they called upon the gods, and oftered incensé, and made libations to your image, which upon this occasion I had ordered to be brought out with the statutes of our deities : and they uttered imprecations against Christ, to which no true Christiáns, as they affirm, can be compelled by any punishment whatever. I thought it best therefore to release them:
Others of them, who were named to me by'an 'informer, have said, that they were Christians, and have immediately afterwards denied it, by confessi ing, that they had been of that persuasion, but had now entirely renounced the error; some three years, some more, and some even above twenty years. All these worshipped your image, and the images of the gods; and they even vented imprecations against Christ. They affirmed that the sum total of their fault, or of their error, consisted in assembling upon a certain stated day before it was light, to sing alternately among themselves hymns to CHRIST, aseto a God ; binding themselves by oath, not to be guilty of any wickedness; not to steal, nor to rob; not to coinmit adultery, nor break their faith when plighted ; nor to deny the deposites in their hands, whenever called upon to restore them. These ceremonies performed, they usually, departed, and came together again to take a repast, the meat of which was innocent, and eaten in coinmon : but they had desisted from this custom since my edict wherein, by your commands, I had prohibited all public assemblies.
From these circumstances, I thought it the more necessary to try to gain the truth even by torture, from two women,* who were said to officiate at their worship. But I could discover only an obstinate kind of superstition, carried to great excess.' And therefore postponing any resolution of my own, I hare waited the result of your judgment. To me, an aifair of this sort, seems worthy of your consideration, principally from the multitude involved in the danger.
For many persons of all ages, of all degrees, and of both sexes, are already, and will be constantly brought into danger by these accusations. Nor is this superstitious contagion contined only to the cities ; it spreads, itself through the villages and country. As yet, I think it may be stopped and cor*rected. It is very certain, that the temples, which were almost deserted, now begin to fill again ;-and the sacred rites, which have been a long time neglected, are again performed. The victims, which hitherto had few purchasers, are now sold every where. From hence, we may easily infer, what numbers of people might be reclaimed if there was a proper allowance made for repentance.
Probably these were deaconesses.
TRAJAN TO PLINY. TOU have exactly pursued the method, which you ought, my SECUNDUS, brought before you. For in an affair of this general nature, it is impossible to lay down any settled form., The Christians need not to be sought after. If they are brought into your presence and convicted, they must be punished; but with this reservation, that if any one of them has denied himself to be a Christian, and makes his assertion manifest by an invocation to our Gods, although he may have been suspected before, his repentance must entitle him to a pardon. But anonymous informations ought not to have the least weight against any crime whatever. They would not only be of dangerous consen quence, but are absolutely against the maxiın of my governmeat.
tended to the good of society in general, and to the happiness of every parContentment. to
-The letter from Pliny to TRAJAN is mentioned by tlie generality of a
uthors, who have written historically of the Christian Church, It is an angel cient and undoubted accord of that excellent system of morals, whicâ the j urimitive Christians bound themselves by oath to observe :-morals, that titular state. The Christians were at this time become very numerous. They bad undergone a severe persecution, in the beginning of TRAJAN's reign, and PLINY judiciously remarks, that persecutions tend rather to increase, than to destroy the objects, which they pursue.
The ingenious Mr. Melmouth observes upon this letter, that it is esteemed as almost the only genuine monument of ecclesiastical antiqnity, relating to the times immediately succeeding the Apostles, it being written at most not above forty years after the death of St. Paul. It was preserved by the Christians theniselves, as a clear and unsuspicious evidence of the purity of their doctrines ; and is frequently appealed to by the early writers of the Church against the calumnies of their adversaries.
Under what roof below, thou deign'st to dwell;
Where sweet contentment, lovely maid, appears,