Obrazy na stronie

for us.

[ocr errors]

pate the day, when Jesus shall come Come, nominal Christians, behold in the clouds of heaven, surrounded your holy calling. Is it not time with the ten thousands of his saints? for you to feel and manifest this Will it be a transporting sight, to holy union? Have you not been see Abel and Enoch, and all our “eating for yourselves, and drinkdear brethren and sisters, who lived ing for yourselves ?” Zech. vii. 6. before the flood; and all the holy When you participated in the Lord's patriarchs, who lived before Moses;

supper, was it to enter into union followed by the millions of Israel, and communion with the whole who died in the same faith under church of God, through Jesus Christ the ancient dispensation ? And be the covenant head? Or, was it to hold, they are intimately united

secure your own personal salvawith the millions of the Christian tion? Do

you love Ābel and Enoch, world! All these shall point to the as well as Peter and Paul ? Are the same Redeemer, and sing, with hea children of God, which are scattervenly harmony, “Worthy is the ed abroad, dear to your souls ? Lamb that was slain, to receive Then, “Cast aside every weight," power and riches, and wisdom and “count all things but loss, for the strength, and honour and glory, and excellency of the knowledge of blessing." Rev. v. 12. Behold, Christ Jesus your Lord," and Christians, the blessed assembly! “strive to enter in at the straight They are indeed happy. But with gate.” out the full salvation of the whole Careless sinners: All these things mystical body of Christ, they can appear to you, like an idle tale. not be made perfect. They wait Just so it was with the inhabi

It was said to them, who tants of Sodom. Lot cried, up, had been slain for the testimony of get ye out of this place; for God Jesus, that they should rest for a will destroy it with fire and brimseason, until their fellow servants stone." But they thought it all should pass through the same trials. an idle tale. Well, as surely as Rev. vi. 11. For us, then, o Chris you slight and despise the church of tian brethren, the saints in heaven God, and neglect to enter into his are waiting. They cry, “How long, holy covenant, you shall be set on O Lord, holy and true.” Let us his left hand, at the day of judgstart from our slumbers, trim our ment, and shall hear that dreadful lamps, gird up our loins, and press sentence, addressed to you persontowards the glorious prize! And ally: “Depart ye cursed into eversince the salvation of every member, lasting fire, prepared for the devil is inseparably united with the gene and his angels." You may now ral welfare; so that one mighty por boast that you belong to no church; tion of the church universal, cannot and that you will enter into no en. be made perfect without the other:

gagements with any. But is not this O how solicitous ought we to be to saying,

“ Let us break his bands maintain the peace and harmony of asunder, and cast his cords from the whole! “Blessed are the peace

us ?" Psal. ii. 3.

We will not makers, for they shall be called the have this man to reign over us;" children of God." Mat. v. 9. “ Let was the language of his ancient foes. all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, Luke xix. 14. But those enemies and clamour, and evil speaking, be

have long felt his righteous judg. put away from among us with all ments; and so must you. There is malice; and let us be kindly affec no safety, but in covenant with God. tioned, one to another; forgiving For when he comes to judge the one another, and loving one ano world, he will say, ther, even as God, for Christ's sake, saints together unto me; those who hath forgiven us.” Eph. iv. 31. have made a covenant with me by

« Gather my


sacrifice.” Psal. l. 5. All others

BRIEF THOUGHTS ON BAPTISM. will be driven away in their wickedness. But, perhaps, you will say, That WATER BAPTISM was practhe diversity of the several branches tised at the commencement of the of the church is so great, that you Christian dispensation in conformiknow not which to join; and so you ty to divine appointment, cannot be remain separate from all. Now, denied. “I baptize' with water," this is the very plea, which will con said John, the forerunner of our demn you

before God. Has he per Lord, to the Jews, John i. 26; and mitted so much variety in his church? that his baptism was from heaven is Is the door left so wide? and can certain from the commission under you not find the way into the church which he was acting, as well as from universal? It is evidently, because the question proposed by our Sayou desire an excuse. You are not viour to the chief priests and elders willing to serve God any where. of the people concerning its origin. You do not love any of his people, Mat. xxi. 25. Jesus Christ himself of any denomination. Therefore

was baptized by John; and afteryour pretended excuse, will be the wards, in the course of his ministry, ground of your final sentence, and administered the same heavenly hopeless misery. “Live without rite. Rabbi,” said some to John, Christ, an alien from the common “ he that was with thee beyond Jorwealth of Israel, a stranger from the dan, to whom thou bearest witness, covenants of promise, and without behold the same baptizeth; and all God in the world," a few days long men come to him." John iji. 26. er, and the door of mercy will be Having risen from the dead, the shut; and you must live without Redeemer gave to his apostles a God for ever.

commission to baptize as well as to Dear young people: You are the preach the gospel. Mat. xxviii. 19. « lambs of the flock." How afflic În execution of their commission tive to the shepherd, to see the lion they administered this sacred rite and the bear, tearing away his lambs! to all their converts. On the meSuch is the sorrow of the shepherd, morable day of Pentecost, three whom God has set to watch and feed thousand were added to the church his spiritual flock. He sees you by baptism; for it is expressly stated leaving the fold, the church, and

go in Acts ii. 41, “ Then they that ing astray, into the world. Can you gladly received his word were bap; find better

company than that of the tized.” Philip preached the gospel saints, who are styled the excellent to the people of Samaria, and bapof earth ? Are satan, and his ser tized those who professed to bevants, better company than Christ lieve, both men and women." and his people. Beware what you Chap. viii. 12. Among the number do, O young people; for “when that received this Christian ordionce the master of the house has nance at his hand was Simon Marisen

and hath shut to the door,"

gus, who had made a profession of you are undone for ever.

faith in Christ, but was afterwards Come then, follow the faith of

discovered by Peter to be “in the Moses, and of the whole church of gall of bitterness, and in the bond God. Determine to suffer affliction of iniquity." Chap. viii. 13, 23. with the people of God, rather than Paul was baptized by Ananias, who enjoy the pleasures of sin for a sea had been sent for that purpose by

Then you will be joined in the Lord Jesus. Chap. ix. 18. Peter one spirit and hope of your calling, baptized Cornelius and his friends, with all the Israel of God. And with them, in due season you will

to whom the Holy Spirit had been be made perfect.

given. Chap. x. 48. Lydia and her household were baptized by Paul.

[ocr errors]


Chap. xvi. 15. The jailer and his of this ordinance. But if the unifamily were baptized by Paul and form practice of apostolic men be Silas. Chap. xvi. 33. “Many of the not sufficient to settle it, a doubt Corinthians hearing, believed, and should not remain, when we consiwere baptized,” by the great apos der the words in which the commistle. Chap. xviii. 8. At Ephesus too sion is stated. The commission exhe baptized certain disciples. Chap. tends to all nations, not only those xix. 5. The Roman Christians were which existed in the first ages of baptized. Rom. vi. 3, 4. That the Christianity, but nations then unCorinthians were baptized is mani born, and nations that shall still fest from a passage already cited, rise into existence in future ages of and is still further evident from the world; for if this be not the what Paul says in his first epistle meaning of the commission, there is to them. Chap. i. 13, 16, 17. no authority given by the Head of From these texts it appears, that the church to ministers of the

preboth Peter and Paul, apostles of sent day to preach his gospel. That Jesus Christ, were in the constant this is the true meaning of it, and practice of baptizing their converts. that it was intended to comprehend That the baptism which they ad the ministry in every age, is maniministered was water baptism is fest from the promise connected unquestionable. “Can any man," with it, which runs parallel with said Peter in reference to the cen time: “Lo, I am with you alway, turion and his friends, “forbid water, even unto the end of the world.” that these should not be baptized, 'The commission must be co-extenwhich have received the Holy Ghost sive with the promise given, to enas well as we?” Paul undoubtedly courage the apostles and their sucspoke of water baptism, and not of cessors in discharging the duties the baptism of the Spirit, when he enjoined by it; and as the promise said, “Christ sent me not to bap reaches to the end of the world, so tize, but to preach the gospel.” The must the commission. But the compractice of the other apostles, it is mission prescribes the administracertain accorded with the practice tion of water baptism; consequently of these two illustrious men, who

this Christian ordinance must be stood pre-eminent among their as

continued in the church to the end sociates: for they all acted under of the world. the same commission from Jesus Yet baptism has been called a Christ to evangelize and baptize the carnal ordinance, a mere Jewish nations. The epistle to the Co rite! How mistaken are they who rinthians was written, it is com- use this unwarrantable language! puted by some, about the 60th year The apostles for a time tolerated of the Christian æra, and that to the observance of the Mosaic ritual the Romans in the 61st; and from by their converts from among the the dates of these epistles we learn, Jewish people. But so far from rethat the administration of water quiring Gentile Christians to subbaptism was certainly continued in mit to circumcision and other posithe church by apostolic men, nearly tive institutions of Moses, they, in twenty years after the ascension of a solemn assembly, convened for our blessed Lord into heaven. deliberating on the subject, proFrom this long continued prac

nounced it as their judgment that tice of the apostles, it is manifest they were under no obligation to that they understood their commis observe them. Acts xv. 4,5,22—29. sion as requiring the administration Yet these founders of the Christian of water baptism; and it ought to be church did command Gentile, as considered as being decisive of the well as Jewish, believers to be bapquestion relating to the perpetuity tized; and uniformly, in the whole

course of their ministry, adminis ly another text in which a similar tered this Christian ordinance to phrase is used. “ Labour not for their converts. And shall baptism the meat that perisheth,” says our be called a mere Jewish rite that Lord, “but for that meat which enordinance which was instituted by dureth unto everlasting life.” John Jesus Christ, just before he ascend vi. 27. Now, they never interpret ed into heaven? that ordinance this command, so as to believe that which he commanded his apostles Christ absolutely forbids them to and their successors to administer, labour for their daily bread. They in a commission that will not expire well know that he enjoins nothing till the conflagration of this world? more than that a preference should

But, it is insisted, that baptism by be given to heavenly objects, and water has been abolished. When ? that we should seek them with suwe demand, and by whose authori preme

desire. How is it then that ty? It is certain that no authority they imagine Paul meant to assert inferior to that of Jesus Christ, by absolutely that he had no commiswhom it was instituted, was compe sion from Christ to baptize, when tent to set it aside. Now, if he has he tells us in this

in this very chapter that abolished his own ordinance, let the he had baptized several of the Copassage of sacred scripture be pro rinthians ? Surely he would not duced that certifies the fact. A re have administered baptism to any, cord of its institution has been made if it had been abolished, or if the in the statute book of his king- observance of it had not been endom; and if it has been annulled, joined on the church, or if he had an annunciation of his


will not been commissioned to apply it must have been given, and a record to suitable subjects. In our appreof it must be found in the same hension there is no difficulty in unbook. Produce the passage, and we derstanding the apostle. We besubmit to his authority. Shall we lieve he only meant to exalt the be referred to the declaration of preaching of the gospel in imporPaul ? « Christ sent me not to bap tance above a positive institution; tize, but to preach the gospel." and to inform the Corinthians that And can any imagine the apostle he regarded the publication of the really meant, that he had receiv

glad tidings of salvation as his chief ed no commission from Christ to ad. business, in comparison with which minister baptism? If this were his the administration of baptism was meaning, why did he administer it in his view a matter of inferior conat all? That he did baptize, and sideration. He therefore seems to even some of the Corinthians, is cer have left the latter duty to others, tain from the context of that very that he might have more time for passage; for he says expressly, “ Is attending to the former. Yet he did Christ divided ? was Paul cruci not wholly neglect the other, but fied for you? or were ye baptized as circumstances required applied in the name of Paul? I thank God

baptismal water with his own hands that I baptized none of you, but to some of his converts. Crispus and Gaius; lest any should It will be said, perhaps, that bapsay that I had baptized in mine own tism was designed only to answer And I baptized also the

a temporary purpose, and to conhousehold of Stephanus; besides, I tinue in use only till the coming of know not whether I baptized any our Lord. If the Saviour's second other.” 1 Cor. i. 13-16. Those coming to judge the world be meant, who urge this text as implying that, we cordially acquiesce in the rein Paul's opinion, baptism was a

mark; for then we believe this and rite unworthy of regard, find no dif all other institutions that pertain to ficulty in explaining very different the Christian dispensation will be

[ocr errors]


abolished, and a new and nobler form that it was instituted by Christ, and of worship, suited to the eternal that for nearly twenty years after state, and the light and glory of the commencement of this dispenheaven, will be established. But if sation it was certainly practised by any other coming of our Lord be in the apostles, and it has been shown tended we dissent from the remark that no passage annulling the ordias unfounded. Let any other be nance can be produced from the saselected, and it can be proved that cred scriptures; and that the applibaptism was not annulled by the

cation of it is enjoined on the mievent. Did Christ come when he nistry in a commission reaching to sent down the promise of the Fa the end of time. Had this ordinance ther, and poured out his Spirit on been of so carnal a nature as some his little church ? Baptism was prac allege, and so inconsistent with the tised by the apostles long after that spirituality of the Christian dispenmemorable day. Did our Lord come, sation, it would not have been inwhen he destroyed both the civil stituted at the commencement of it; and ecclesiastical state of the Jew much less would it have been perish people; when, by the destruction mitted to continue during that peof their temple, he put it out of their riod, when the Holy Spirit was shed power to observe the ceremonies down on the church in the largest appointed by Moses? What influ

measure, and when the disciples of ence could that tremendous judg our Lord enjoyed his richest gifts, ment have on Christian baptism? and felt the power of his grace in This ordinance constituted no part the highest degree. of the Jewish religion; and there It has been rashly asserted, that fore it remained uninjured when if a person have received the baptism the whole fabric of Mosaic institu of the Spirit, he needs not the baptions and worship was overthrown. tism of water. The apostle Peter

Still, however, it is asserted, that did not think so; for when “ the the present dispensation is too spi- Holy Ghost fell on all them which ritual to admit of the perpetuity of heard the word,” and his Jewish water baptism. That it is far more companions “were astonished” at simple and spiritual than the Jew the event, he immediately inferred ish economy, and that it is freed the right of Cornelius and his friends from that burdensome ritual which to baptism; and said, “Can any man was formerly prescribed to the forbid water, that these should not church, is thankfully recognised. be baptized, which have received But it certainly is not more spiri the Holy Ghost as well as we?” tual, than the great author of it was And he commanded them to be bappleased to make it; nor has it been tized in the name of the Lord. Acts so refined as to be suited only to X. 47, 48. The fact is there is no indisembodied spirits. Man, while consistency between this Christian he remains in the body, requires rite and the spirituality of the presome form in which he may do sent dispensation. Had there been homage to his Creator with the in an incompatibility between them, ferior part of his nature. Accord-baptism would not have been apingly, we find, that although we are pointed by our Lord, nor would his required to worship God in spirit, holy apostles have administered it it is made our duty to assemble to to primitive Christians. The first gether, that we may bow before the disciples of our Lord, men filled Lord in the great congregation and with the Holy Ghost, received this sing his praises. Spiritual as is the ordinance; and surely if they subpresent dispensation, it is not in

mitted to it, regarding it at once as compatible with the perpetual use a duty and a privilege, who are we, of water baptism. We have proved | degenerate successors in the hea

« PoprzedniaDalej »