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ignorant and vicious, and baptized only the - ordinance of man, for the Lord's the inpure, in the view of preparing them sake.” to receive the blessings of the approaching But there was a farther view in this so kingdom of heaven; self-righteous Pharisees, lemn transaction. The Messiah must be unbelieving, profligate Sadducees, rapacious publicly set apart to the execution of his publicans, seditious, violent, and discontented high prophetic office, and He prefers the bapsoldiers, such were the men who came to his tism of John as the mode of performing that baptism. But here the application is made august ceremony. He passes through the by Him“ who is holy, harmless, und ed, water into the reign of Grace; the kingseparate from sinners: who did no sin, nei- dom of heaven was now come, and such was ther was guile found in his lips." This, his humble entry into it. But this voluntary prophet as he was, confounds all the Bap- descent is to be inmediately followed by a tist's ideas of propriety, and he exclaims: “I rise into glory which eclipses all the glory have need to be baptized of thee, and comest of this world. Samuel anointed Saul with thou to me?" The reply of Christ unfolds a vial, and afterwards David with a horn of his spirit, and conveys to us many a useful material oil : the Prince “ upon the throne jesson : “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it of David, of the increase of whose governbecometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Per- ment and peace there should be no end,” is fect purity can suffer no contamination from anointed with the Holy Spirit. The nuintercourse with the unclean; the impure merous and sounding titles of earthly potenpollute each other, and the contagion spreads. tates are at their inauguration, proclaimed by Conformity in things innocent and lawful is sound of trumpet; the simple title of the a duty imposed by decency, kindness, and re- King of kings, and Lord of lords is progard to peace; dissent merely for the sake claimed by a voice from heaven. The eyes of dissent is a mixture of pride and bigotry. and ears of the spectators at once bear witThat may be admitted under peculiar cir- ness to the declaration of the Son of God. cumstances, which is not to be drawn into a “ It came to pass, that Jesus also being bapprecedent, nor established as a general rule. tized, and praying, the heaven was opened, A public character is concerned to study his and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily own dignity and the propriety and consisten- shape, like a dove, upon him, and a voice cy of his conduct. The question is not what came from heaven which said, “ thou art my he may do, but what it becomes him to do. beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."
Things lovely and of good report" must be Painters have presumed to represent this thought of together with things that are descent of the Holy Ghost under the form of “ true, honest, just, and pure.” It became a material dove. The descending, hovering Him to give public testimony to the baptism motion, not the bodily shape of that bird, is of John, the baptism of repentance, because surely all that the expression in the evangeit led directly to his own mission, and to the lists conveys to the mind. As well might kingdom which he was about to establish in art attempt to paint the dazzling lustre of the world. It became him to put respect on flaming fire, or the sound of the voice that every institution, ceremonial as well as mo- spake, or the motion of the splendid appearral, that had the sanction of divine authority, ance which then filled the sky, as pretend to of general use, or of obvious utility. The give precise and permanent form to an appaceremonial law required " divers washings,” | rition of Deity, which, having fulfilled its and the immersion of the body in water was purpose, passed away. by no means a novel practice introduced by Thus, Christians, was consecrated to the John, but transmitted through the succeeding noblest work ever undertaken, the great ages of the legal dispensation, and compli- “ Prophet that should come into the world," ance with it our Lord considers as part of "The Prince of thy kings of the earth," “the fulfilling of all righteousness," and -“ The Apostle and High Priest of our protherefore as incumbent on himself, being the fession." God“ also bearing witness, both great pattern of propriety. We find him, with signs and wonders, and with divers mion another occasion, submitting to an arbitra- racles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost according ry imposition, that he might not seem to give to his own will.” And thus was fulfilled the offence, in the matter of the tribute money, Scripture which saith: “ There shall come and performing a miracle rather than show forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a disrespect to government. “Lest we should branch shall grow out of his roots : and the offend them," says he to Peter, “ go thou to Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spifish that first cometh up; and when thou hast rit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowopened his mouth thou shalt find a piece of ledge and of the fear of the Lord; anu shal] money: that take, and give unto them for make him of quick understanding in the fear me and thee." Thus he not only “ fulfil of the Lord; and he shall not judge after led,” to an iota, “all righteousness," pre- the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after scribed by the law, but submitted himself to the hearing of his ears: but with righteous
ness shall he judge the poor, and reprove you then voluntarily undertook to bring them with equity for the meek of the earth: and up in the fear, “nurture, and admonition of he shall smite the earth with the rod of his the Lord.” Meditate frequently and serimouth, and with the breath of his lips shall ously on the responsibility under which you he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall are laid, to God, to your children, to the be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness world. Your fellow-worshippers will witthe girdle of his reins." And thus is the ness against you, if you trifle with, if you church of Christ founded upon a rock, “and neglect, if you corrupt your sacred charge. the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” These young ones look up to you for protec
Is it unworthy of remark, that this testi- tion, for instruction, for an example; they mony to the Son of God, from “ the excellent call upon you to fulfil your promise in glory," was given while he was praying ? their behalt
. They ask bread of you; will “As He prayed” also, on the mount of trans- you give them a stone? They ask a fish; figuration, a similar testimony was exhibited, will you give them a serpent? They look “ There came a cloud, and overshadowed to you for the portion of goods that falleth to them: and there came a voice out of the their share; not only “the meat which pecloud saying, This is my beloved Son; hear risheth, but the meat which endureth unto Him.” Again, while Jesus prayed, “ Father, everlasting life." If you are unfaithful they glorify thy name;" the testimony from on are undone. On the other hand, “great is high was repeated. " Then came there a your reward” on earth, and still greater voice from heaven saying, I have both glori- your reward in heaven," if you are honourfied it, and will glorify it again.". Such is ed to become their spiritual parents, as you the promptitude of intercommunication be- are parents after the flesh; if, after having tween earth and heaven. So rapidly ascend introduced them into this world of nature, the breathings of a devout spirit to the you are made the happy instruments of inthrone of God; so swiftly descend the to- troducing them into the kingdom of God; if kens of “good-will to men. “ The effect you and they together are at length added ual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avail to the general assembly and church of the eth much.” And if the earnest prayer of first-born, which are written in heaven, and an Elias had power to bind up the clouds of to the spirits of just men made perfect," heaven for years together, and to smite a through Jesus the mediator of the new coguilty land with thirst and famine; how venant, and the “ blood of sprinkling, that much more powerful must be the prayer of speaketh better things than that of Abel.” the great Intercessor, that " in the wilderness Young man, thou wert in early infancy, waters may break out, and streams in the by the piety of affectionate parents, baptized desert;" that “the parched ground may be in the name of the Father, and of the Son, come a pool, and the thirsty land springs of and of the Holy Ghost. The birth of nature water!" Therefore also “men ought always bestowed on thee the name of thy Father to pray and not to faint.'
after the flesh; when thou wert sprinkled Here are the “ Three that bear record in with water, another name was prefixed to it, heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy which continues to be thy distinctive appel Ghost; and these three are one." “ Who lation. Both were indeed imposed without can by searching find out God: who can find thy consciousness or consent, but in both out the Almighty unto perfection?" "Who thou hast cheerfully acquiesced, perhaps they isable to comprehend what is the breadth, and are a source of pride to thee. Even the aclength, and depth, and height; and to know quisition of an estate will hardly induce a the love of Christ which passeth knowledge?” man of spirit to forego his parental designa
We have made no remark on the mode of tion, but the Christian name is indelible. baptism which John C.ployed, because it -Every time thou writest it then, every might lead to controversy, which is unprofit- time thou hearest it addressed to thee, thou able, to the neglect of practical “ goodness," art admonished of thy dedication to God. which is profitable unto all things.” “ Let Baptismal engagements rise into view. “I every man be fully persuaded in his own am not my own, for I am bought with a price. mind.” “Why dost thou judge thy brother? What, deny my name! What, sell it for a or why dost thou set at nought thy brother ?" painted bauble! No, I glory in it; I will not * Who art thou that judgest another man's permit it to be dishonoured. What my paservant? to his own master he standeth or rents did in my behalf when I was a little falleth." Let the spirit of the ordinance be child, I now openly avow. They have done chiefly attended to: wise and good men may their part, through the help of God I will do very innocently differ about the form. " It is mine. The name of Christ shall not be blasthe spirit that quickeneth,” the outward form phemed through my unworthiness. My is of secondary importance.
brothers bear with me the common name of Parents, have ye devoted your infant off- our ancestors, but I will render my own disspring to God, by the sprinkling with water? tinguished among many brethren. I will Remember the solemn engagements which never blush at being called a Christian."
My friend, thou hast passed through the way of our Lord Jesus Christ;" for though you ter at the age of puberty. Baptism was thy own were not "eye-witnesses of his majesty,” you act and deed. Thou hast entered into the have "a more sure word of prophecy; kingdom of God, consciously, deliberately. whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as The vows of God are upon thee. That young unto a light that shineth in a dark place, unperson, made a Christian by the act of parents, til the day dawn, and the daystar arise in when come to years may disallow that act, your hearts.” may renounce the name, but thou hast sub Ye call Christ “ Master and Lord;" and scribed with thy hand unto the Lord. ye say
for so He is. " It became him Thou hast put the yoke of Christ upon thy to fulfil all righteousness;" He put respect own neck, and hast assumed his burden. on the ordinances, on the house, on the word Thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, of God; " leaving us an example, that ye and must not look, must not go back. Thou should follow his steps.” “Let the name, the standest pledged to God and to the world to day, the temple, the word of the Lord be support the honour of the Christian name, hallowed in your eyes.” “Know ye not that “ to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour so many of us as were baptized into Jesus in all things." You feel and acknowledge Christ were baptized into his death? Therethe obligation; no temptation, no compulsion fore we are buried with him by baptism into can induce thee to retract it. Next sacra- death; that like as Christ was raised up from mental solemnity the vow shall be renewed, the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so repeated. The language of thy heart is: “I we also should walk in newness of life.” am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for “ The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily it is the power of God unto salvation, to every shape, like a dove, upon Him:" when he was one that believeth:” “God forbid that I leaving the world, and going unto the Father should glory, save in the cross of our Lord he promised his disciples to "give them anJesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified other Comforter, to abide with them for ever; unto me, and I unto the world.”
even the Spirit of truth.” That Comforter If the spirit and power of the institution, was to teach them all things and bring all we repeat it, are thus understood and felt, things to their remembrance. “ He showed let a man pass through water into the pale of himself” to them “ alive after his passion, by the church of Christ, or procure that privi- many infallible proofs :". He repeated his lege for his child, by the rite of aspersion as promise; “ He commanded them that they conscience may prescribe, and let us be should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait “kindly affectioned one to another, with for the promise of the Father, which, saith brotherly love; in honour preferring one an- He, ye have heard of me. For John truly other."
baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized The evangelist, at this interval, presents with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence." us with the genealogical table of Christ's It was accordingly fulfilled: “When the descent from Adam downward. It brings us day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all to the common level of brethren. Through all with one accord in one place. And sud. endless and intricate ramifications every man denly there came a sound from heaven, as of finds himself derived from one and the same a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the root, “the son of Adam, the son of God." house where they were sitting. And there And the Christian is “ born again," he is “a appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as new creature,” being “begotten again unto of fire, and it sat upon each of them: and a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and Christ from the dead, to an inheritance in- began to speak with other tongues, as the corruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not Spirit gave them utterance.” Thus were away." The law of nature binds us to each they comforted for their Master's departure; other as men, the law of the gospel doubles thus they received "an unction from the and strengthens the cord of love. This is Holy One," whereby they were set apart Christ's “new commandment,” the badge of unto, and fitted for their great work; thug discipleship, the fulfilling of the law,” « the were they strengthened to begin and pursue bond of perfectness." "A new command- a career which will be felt till time expire. ment,” says our blessed Lord, “I give unto The same Spirit is promised, and is given to you, That ye love one another; as I have us to help our infirmities,” to “guide us loved you, that
ye also love one another. By into all truth,” to take what is Christ's and this shall all men know that ye are my dis- show it unto us, to “comfort us in all our ciples, if ye have love one to another." tribulation," to show us things to come. We
Has God vouchsafed to give such testimo look not for a miraculous effusion, to enable ny to the son of his love? Receive it, rest us to speak with tongues, to prophecy, to upon it, improve it as a rule of life, as a work miracles, but we have good ground to source of consolation. Ye“have not followed ask and to hope that God will give us cunnirgly devised fables, when we have spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound made known unto you the power and coming mind.” “O send out thy light and thy truth;
let them lead me, let them bring me unto , fairly delineated, the world would have cause thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles; then to wonder at the frequent and hideous will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my chasms, the wild confusion, the indecent raexceeding joy."
pidity, the causeless delay which the detail Our blessed Lord entered on his public would present. What a picture then must ministry at the age of thirty, and it was ac- the life of the professedly idle and dissipated, complished within the space of little more of the profligate and vicious exhibit! All enthan three years. Think how much was ters into the book of God's remembrance, and done in that short space. Were the things must all come into judgment. What precious which Jesus did, as they stand on this record, time, what invaluable opportunities of doing and the “many other things” not recorded and of receiving good, have been shamefully therein, to be “ written every one,” such neglected, have been vilely cast away! would be their number and their lustre, that
What moment granted man without account? they would to the world appear to be abso What years are squander'd Wisdom's debt unpaid ? lutely incredible, and therefore the world
Night THOUGHTS, 11. 30. would not be disposed to receive them. Much is irretrievably lost. Who knows how Here we have an illustrious pattern of the little may remain? “ Now it is high time to employment, of the improvement of time. awake out of sleep: the night is far spent, “I must work," says he," the works of Him the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off that sent me, while it is day;" the duty of the works of darkness, and let us put on the the season in its season. How ought we to armour of light. Let us walk honestly as blush at our laborious idleness, at our pom- in the day," and“put ye on the Lord Jesus pous nothings! What have we to show Christ." " Awake thou that sleepest, and for our thirty, forty, fifty, threescore years ? | arise from the dead, and Christ shall give Hardly enough to furnish a decent inscrip- thee light. See that ye walk circumspectly tion for a tomb-stone. Were the history of not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, the most industrious and useful life to be because the days are evil.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when he had
fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the templer came to him he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But be answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. And the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the king. doms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Salan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and minisiered unto him.-MATTHEW iv. 1-11.
WONDERFUL is the influence which exter- | note rouses me to the battle; and that nal objects possess over the mind of man: soothes me into melancholy. Internal sereniwonderful it is to reflect how body and spirit ty and depression are produced by a clearer act upon each other. On a simple determi- or grosser state of the air. And if we are nation of the will, every limb is in motion, thus liable to be affected by objects merely every nerve is exerted; and the man is burn- material, what must be the influence of mind ing under the line, or freezing at the pole. upon mind! How powerful must be the Let the blood be transmitted with a little sympathy, how prompt the communication more than usual rapidity, or move a little of kindred spirits, intuitively perceiving and more sluggishly, and all the mental faculties interchanging mutual sentiments of kindare deranged, a new world arises, every ness, gratitude, or esteem! Who can conformer idea is blotted out. The glance of ceive or explain the influence which beings that eye, at one time, chills me with terror, wholly spiritual may exercise over the and at another it melts me into love. This human species, creatures composed of mat
ter and spirit, whose senses, whose imagina-| him, like another Herod, to fall down and tion, whose memory, whose understanding, worship him. all are so easily impressible?
It is clear that the tempter, when he used Of all the faculties which spiritual beings the expression “the Son of God,” did not possess, that of rendering themselves the fully apprehend the import of what he said, objects of sense most of all exceeds our that he did not mean by it to acknowledge comprehension. They present a form, they the divinity of the Saviour. Had he known utter, and receive, and return articulate with whom he had to do, durst he have sounds, and anon they are vanished into undertaken to tempt and seduce him? By air, thin air. The appearance of Gabriel to "the Son of God," therefore, he understands Zacharias and to Mary, and of the multitnde only a prophet of distinguished rank, supeof the heavenly host to the shepherds, is a rior to all others, of pre-eminent virtue and striking demonstration of it. We have be- merit, endowed with higher gifts and powers, fore us another instance of this astonishing chosen and commissioned of Providence for faculty, in a spirit of a very different cha- the conversion and salvation of the world, racter, and for a very different purpose and of consequence infinitely dear to God. Satan, the destroyer, "- foe to God and man,” In this persuasion his object is an attempt to tempting Christ in the wilderness.
defeat the plan of Providence, to counteract The two evangelists, who have given us the measures of Heaven, and, as he had sucthe history of this temptation in detail, differ ceeded in the seduction of the representative only in respect of the order of the facts head of the human race, he entertained the related, that which is placed second in St. infernal hope of prevailing also over its ReMatthew's Gospel, is the third in Luke's, storer and Redeemer. He would dive, thereand that which is the second in Luke is the fore, to the bottom of the character of Him, foi third in Matthew. We have chosen to fol- whose appearance in the world such mighty low the latter, because, as he was shortly preparation had been made, and whom a after called to the office of apostleship, he series of circumstances the most extraorprobably received the history from Christ's dinary had pointed out as the peculiar care own mouth; and because the words which of Heaven. The operation of a miracle will He addresses to the wicked one, in the close one way or another serve to clear this up. of the third temptation, according to Mat- The conversion of stones into bread appearthew's statement of it, “Get thee beşind ing to him an impossibility, if Christ refuses me, Satan," seem to have concluded the to perform it, an imputation lies against his
This slight difference, however, power; if he undertake without effecting it, serves only to confirm the authenticity of his divine mission is rendered questionable. both historians, as it is a proof that the one can he be God's beloved Son, if he withhold did not copy from the other. We now pro- the concurrence of omnipotence in a situaceed to the temptation itself.
tion where it is of such high importance to “ And when the tempter came to him, he determine what he in truth is ? And again, said, If thou be the Son of God, command on the other hand, if Jesus pay any attention that these stones be made bread.” Attend to whatever to the suggestions of Satan, he the season which he laid hold of. It was at cannot be the Son of God, for that were to the moment that he saw Jesus ready to betray ignorance of the person who accosts faint with hunger. Attend to the place; it him, and of the design which he enterwas in the wilderness, which produced tained. nothing fit for food. 'Attend to the sugges Mark still farther “the depths of Satan." tion; it presents nothing apparently offen-He too, unhappily, knows what is in man: sive. He only wishes a little seasonable and he well knew what a stimulus it is to a relief to one under the pressure of the great- mind ever so slightly tinctured with pride or est distress, and that relief procured by vainglory, when placed, especially in emimeans at once simple and innocent. The nence of station, to have the power and law had relaxed somewhat of its severity in authority of that station called in question. favour of cases like the present, by exempt-The temptation has, in this view, the air of ing from the punishment of theft, the person a challenge to Christ, to support his high who had committed it only to satisfy his pretensions by corresponding actions, and hunger. But here there was not the shadow thus he would draw Him into a rash, impru. of a crime; He had but to employ the power dent, yainglorious display of his power, which he certainly possessed, and which he without a reason and without an end. Miralawfully might exercise. It would be a cles are intended, and performed for the condemonstration of his immediate reliance on version of the incredulous, at least for their his heavenly Father; it would remove all conviction, and to render them inexcusable. doubt respecting the divinity of his mission. Unless this be in view, power ceases to be Who could refuse to acknowledge Him who under the direction of wisdom. Accordingly was thus declared to be the Son of God? we find that whenever haughty, determined He himself wants only this proof, to induce! unbelievers expected or demanded a sign, it