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On the nature and efficaey of external rites in religion, 3.6., 43
onent, ordained by Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign, and seal, of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of resmission of sins, and of giving up unto God through Jesus Christ to walk iu newness of life.”—The assembly of Divines’ Catechism asserts, that “baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and o of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.”—Our blessed Saviour says to Nicodemus, “except every one (as it is in the original Greek) be born of water and the Hol Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”—Annanias says to St. Paul, ** arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.”—St. Paul . the Corinthian Christians, “such were some of you, but ye are washed, &c. Cor. vi. 11. and to the Ephesians, chap. v., ver, 26. Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.—Titus, chap. iii. 5, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regen-eration, and receiving of the Holy Ghost.”—St. Peter says that the ark of Noah was a type of baptism, and as Noah's family were sawed by or in the ark, so the Apostle expressly affirms that baptism saves us. It is true that he adds, “not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God.” This has been thought to refer to the questions put to the adult candidates for baptism, and is as likely to carry this sense, as that of inward purity as opposed to outward washing. For it is certain that it was the ark that saved Noah, and consequently, from the Apostle's allusion, it is baptism that saves us. But perhaps it may be said, it was his faith that saved Noah : his faith did not, and could not have saved him without the ark.-“By faith (says another Apostle) Noah being warned of God, prepared an ark for the saving of his house.” It was his faith that made him prepare the means, but it was his using the means that saved him. So with respect to baptism, like the ark, it is a revealed institution, and whoever shall be brought to it in faith of its efficacy, as Noah brought his family into the ark, shall be -saved. And here it may be observed, that it was Noah's faith in preparing the ark, which is said to save his house, without a single word of their faith. Ali is attributed to the faith of Noah, and to the ark which by that faith he prepared. So that the Apostle's parallel, when all the circumstances of it are adjusted, evidently indicates that there is an efficacy in baptism correspondent to the efficacy of the ark, for the benefit of those to whom it is applied. And as the word baptism, in its radical signification, denotes washing, hence it is concluded, that the use of, and benefit designed by baptism, is to wash, purify, regenerate, or translate the receiver from the state of nature in which he is born, into the Church of Christ, which is a state of grace and favour, and ...that it cleanses the person from whatever it would expose him to, and thereby -saves him from the destroying deluge of God's wrath. P.—I am fully satified with the observations you have made, and am thankful for the light, the knowledge, and the edification which I have received othereby. The next inquiry I would make, is, concerning the sacrament of life JLord's supper. But this I will omit for the present. [To be couliulted.
oN THE NATURE AND EFFICACY OF EXTERNAL RITES IN RELIGION, AS HELPS TO DEVOTION.
LATE English travellel has the following Anecdote : Being at Naples A he attended Church in company with a young Neapolitan nobleman, and an English friend, and when the host, or cunsecrated elements were car| ried round the Church, the whole congregation, agreeable to Roman Catholic custom, fell on their knees, except the Englishiuan, who, being afterwards asked the reason of this singularity, by his Catholic acquaintange, replied I don't believe in transubstantiation, nor I, said the Neapolitan, “an yet you see I kneeled.” On which the writer proceeds to some reflections on ihe comparitive effects, of the Romish, and more simple rites and cerezionics 44 On the nature and officacy of external rites in religion, &c,
of the Protestant worship, concluding with an opinion, that Protestants in general, by discarding too much of the exterior of religion, haye weakened its influence on the hearts of the bulk of men. Such is the opinion of a man, who may justly claim the reputation of as much candour and ingenuity, as any who have ever written on men and manners. To extend this hint further and lay a stronger foundation, the excellent Bishop Horn, I think it is, has some where observed, that as man consists of soul and body, it is as much his duty to worship God with one as with the other; nor need we depend on human authority to maintain this opinion; for an Apostle directly commands us, “to glorify God in our bodies, and in our spirits, which are his ;” and it may well be asked, whether all the sacred rites and ordinances, which now are, or ever were appointed by God, in the Church, are not so many acts of bodily worship Even in Paradise itself man was commanded to worship God by external, visible, and corporal rites; for what else can we understand by the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden o’ It was doubtless a sacred symbol, or or dinance, to be partaken of by man, though in a state of perfect innocence, and complete in knowledge, as a token of his dependance upon God, and a means of preserving him pure and holy, while he should remain in this bodily state. The same and much more may be said of the Patriarchal and Jewish sacrifices; of the shew-bread, the Paschal Lamb, and numerous other ordinances, washings, and purifications under the law of Moses. And though the greater part of these are now done away as not agreeing with the gospel state; yet have we the Lord's Supper, in which they all center, pointing to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Indeed whoever carefully examines the word of God, and compares it with the nature of man, must see that it contemplates him in a two-fold light, consisting of soul and body, and though religion may be intended to fit the soul for exaltation in future bliss, yet to that end, the body, its present companion, has much to do. Nay, more, it is an article of our faith that the body is to rise in the last day, and after being glorified, to assist in celebrating the praises of God to all eternity. If so, ought it not to begin that service while here : Our bodies, though but dust and ashes, by the goodness of God, through a Redeemer, are intended for high honour and glory, and hence it ceases to be a matter of indifference, whether they take any part in rendering praise to God. At least we are sure Almigh God has thought so, by his having appointed bodily acts of worship. . . Wi the serious and devout Christian, these are weighty considerations, inducing iiim to comply with every appointed ordinance, and make use of all proper gestures of body, expressive of reverence toward God. Such as are disposed to look into the reasons of the Divine conduct in this instance, may be furnishcd with them by considering the nature of man. The soul being confined to a material body, and obliged to receive impressions from without, through the Inedium of the senses, external rites of religion become absolutely necessary; hence Almighty God, knowing what is in man, has adapted his dispensations to our wants, has instituted significant rites, as means by which to affect the soul, and keep alive the spirit of devotion and piety. If because the soul is a spirit, we are to make no account of bodily gestures in the worship of God, for the same reason we may lay aside all actual prayer expressed in words, whether public or private, (for is not this a bodily act?) Our houses of God may be converted to other uses ; holy time discarded, seasons of worship neg: lected; we may retire into some corner, each one by himself, and serve God in silent meditation, as some enthusiasts have actually pretended ; and nothing be left by which it may appear whether we are Christians or infidels, whether we believe in a God, or are atheists. No one, of the least reflection, can doubt what would be the consequence of such a system of faith and practice. Mitch the greater part of men would soon sink into utter ignorance and disregard of God and religion. Hence it becomes a question of very serious importance whether true religion is so certainly promoted, as is often supposed, by stripping it, in the manner many Protestants have done, of its exterior forms. The buik of mankind are too much occupied in providing for the body, to retain a due sense of abstraet truths, and articles of faith, however clearly revealed, without something to keep them in mind, by affecting the senses.— And should it be admitted that now and then an individual stands in no need of such external incitements to reverence God, which, however, would be Admitting more than could be proved, yet what is to become of the rest of mail:
The Christian life, a warfare. 45°
kind Religion is intended for all men alike. All are equally interested to erve God to his acceptance, with all the faculties of their souls and bodies. #. reasoning on the nature of man, the opinions of wise and good mem, d the word of God, all conspire to prove the duty of bodily worship, as w&is as that of the heart and soul. The doctrine here contended for, may perhaps be offensive to some; but until men are moulded into different creatures from what they now are, or the light of Revelation extinguished, it will be true. It was not the intention of the writer queted in the begining, nor is it the design of these remarks, to recommend the rites of the Romish Church, many of which are absurd, and some certainly border on idolatry. out there is in all cases somewhere a mean, and by an unreasonable fear of one extreme, we are always in danger of failing into the opposite. It is hoped, therefore, that what has been said, will be seen in its true light, as intended to lead to some further reflections on the exterior of religion to be found in tile Church; to show that here is the golden inean between too much, and too little form and ceremony, and to recommend to all her members, that sober, ecent, yet not unornámcntal service of God, which they have so many grounds of besies, is most conformable to primitive faith and practice. This surely may be done without impeaching the motives of those who differ:h opinion and practice. . And should these remarks fall into the hands of any such, it can do them no harm to give them a candid examination and review. It is the bounden duty of every veil wisher to the peaceable religion of Jesus, to contribute his inite towards setting the minds of men on some stable foundation, that they may serve God in peace, quietness, and assurance; which is the design of what has here been said. In a future ilumber, if this meets with approbation, some thoughos, which have been but barely histol, will be further prosecuted. - . - EUSP.EIUS,
YE wrestle not only with flesh and blood but with principalities and
powers, &c., and therefore have need of, and must put on the whole armour of God, if we wish or expect to maintain our post, and to be crowned with victory. It is the case of almost all Christians, to be exercised with manifold temptations;–troubled with wandering thoughts ;-alid often more or less, distressed with evil suggestions—The secure and siniul, the carnal and worldly never feel,-never complain of such inward contests; but they prove that the soul is alive unto God, that the conscience is tender; and as Christ himself was tempted can never be a mark of God's displeasure. However they are strong warnings to us, to keep on the watch and never relax our Christian duty. Let the Christian therefore follow the advice of St. Paul—Put on the whose armour of God.--Let him walk cautiously, wisely and circumspectly.—Let him keep as much as possible out of the way of tempoations, especially such temptations as he finds most likely to prevaii against him. . . Let him fill up his time and keep his mind engaged—disgently aid industriously employing himself in the honest duties of his station.—Let him be as much and as servent as he can, in the use of joculatory prayer, since he finds his attention so strongly diverted, in longer acts of devotion ; which he should by no means omit on that account, but endeavour with all his might, to gain the spirit of attention which habitual devotion will at length procure. —A reflection on the works of creation will repel all Atheistical thoughts; a reflection on God's works of Providence will dispel all Epicurean and desi. thoughts; and reflections on the redepmtion of mankind by the merts and death of his merciful Saviour, will dispel all hard, uneasy and ungratcJul thoughts and suggestions. Indeed the constant and serious reflection on 'God as love (see 1 John ch. iv. v. xvi.) and as manifesting that love, will serve above all things, to induce an holy, happy, easy, and resigned framic of mind. * “rry, -
Theodore Zuinger, when he lay on his death-bed, took his leave of the world, in a paraphrase on the 122d Psalm ; translated from the Latin, by the late tearned and pious Mr. Merrick. It may serve as a finished specimen of the noble, and eralted use, which a Christian may, and ought to make of the
Psalms of David.
1. WHA's joy, while thus I view the day, That warns my thirsting soul away, What transports fill my breast ! For, lo, my great Redeemer's powes *Unfolds the everlasting door, And leads me to his rest.
2. The festal morn, my God, is come,
3. Een now to my expecting eyes,
4. Hither, from earth's remotest end,
lo, the redeem'd of God ascend, Their tribute hither bring; Here crown'd, with everlasting joy,
5. Great Salem's King; who bids each state On her decrees dependent wait : In her, ere time begun, High on eternal base uprear'd, JHis hands the regal seat prepar’d, For Jesse's favour’d son.
6. Mother of Cities; o'erthy head
3. Thy walls, remote from hostile fear, Nor the loud voice of tumult hear, Nor war's wild wastes deplore; There smiling plenty takes her stand, And in thy courts with lavish hand Has pour’d forth all her store.
8. Let me, blest seat, my name behold
Among thy citizens enroll’d,
Let Charity my steps attend,
in hymns of praise their tonguesemploy, My sole companion, and my friend.,
And hail th’ immortal King.
And FAITH, and HOPE, farewell!
photos, by this my mind ye
- know ; 4.earn to pronounce your sermons slow; *Give ev'ry word of a discourse it's proper time, and life and force: And urge what you think fit to say, An a sedate, pathetic way; *Grave and delib’rate as 'tis fit To comment upon Holy Writ. Many a sermon gives distate, $33, being spoken in great haste; Which, had it been pronounced with
Would have been listen’d to with pleaAnd thus the Preacher often gains JHis labour only for his pains; . As (if you doubt it) may appear Prom ev’ry Sunday in the year. For how indeed can one expect, The best discourse should take effect, Unless the maker think it worth Some needsul care to set it forth . For what's a sermon, good or bad If a man reads it like a lad,
Qr like a freshman of some college #’uff'd up with pride and lack of know
Jossays and thoughts on various subjects. 4?
goe following truly Christian prayer, which was constantly used by an eminent English Archbishop, merits a place in the Churchman's Asagazine, and cannot fail to be acceptable to every pious reader.
LORD GOD of truth, Ihumbly beseech thee to enlighten my mind by O thy Holy Spirit, that I may discern the true way to eternal salvation, and to free me from all prejudice and passion, from every, corrupt affection. and interest, that may either blind or seduce me in my search after it. - - Make me impartial in my enquiry after truth; and ready, whenever it is discovered to me, to receive it in the love of it, to obey it from the heart, and practise it in my life, and to continue stedfast in the profession of it to the end. of my days, - I o resign myself, O Lord, to thy conduct and direction, in confidence that thy mercy and goodness are such, that thou wilt not suffer those who sincerely desire to know the truth, and rely upon thy #. finally to miscarry. And if in any thing which concerns the true worship and service of thee my God, and the everlasting happiness of my soul, I am in any error or mistake,. I earnestly beg of thee to convince me of it—to lead me into the way of truth, and to confirm and establish me in it more and more. And I beseech thee, O Lord, always to preserve in me a great compassion. and sincere charity towards those that are in error and ignorance of the truth. beseeching thee to take pity on them, and to bring them to the knowledge of it, that they may be saved. And becanse our blessed Saviour hath promised, that all who do his will shall know his doctrine ; grant, O Lord, that I may never knowingly offend thee in any thing, or neglect to do what I know to be thy will and my duty. Grant, O heavenly Father, these my humble and hearty, requests, for his sake, who is the way, the truth, and the life, my blessed Saviour and Redeemar, Jesus CHR Is T. Amen.
MA. parts of what is called learning resemble the man's horse, which had but two faults; he was hard to catch, and good for nothing when he was caught. - * SOME people rate the modern improvements in religious knowledge by the volumes of metaphysical subtilities written on the subject : as the Emperor Heliogabalus formed an estimate of the greatness of Rome, from ten thousand pounds weight of cobwebs which had been found in that city. THE late Sir Edward, Dering used to say, “he did not pretend to under“stand much of the Bible, but he was sure the gentleman who wrote the book * of Ecclesiasticus knew the world as well as any man that ever lived in it.”— There is more good sense, and there are better precepts for the conduct of life, than in all the morality of the Heathen, WHAT inextricable confusion must the world for ever have been in, but for the variety which we find in the faces, the voices, and the hand-writings of men no security of person, no certainty of possession, no justice between man and man, no distinction between good and bad, friends and foes, father and child, husband and wife, male and female. All would have been. exposed to malice, fraud, forgery, and lust. But now every man's face can distinguish him in the light, his voice in the dark, and his hand-writing can speak for him theugh absent, and be a witness to all generations. Did this happen by chance, or is it not a manifest, as well as an admirable, indicative of a divine superintendent * BOERHAAVE, through life, consecrated the first hour after he rose in the morning, to meditation and prayer, declaring ; that from thence he derived vigour and aptitude for business, together with equanimity under provocations, and a perfect conquest over his irascible passions. “The sparks of calumny,” he would say, “will be presently extinct of themselves, unless you blow them,” and therefore, in return, he chose rather to commend the good qualities of his calumniators, than to dwell upon the bad. Such is the force of education and habit, that there is hardly a Quaker to be found... young or old, who has not. the command of the irascible passions. Why cau is not be se with otherst