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tered to infants, so may the other, Col. ii. 11-13. In this passage they are referred to indiscriminately, as alike the signs of regeneration. Baptism, indeed, is explained by circumcision; and as infants under the New Testament stand in need of the same blessings as those under the Old, that which is the sign of them under the former, may certainly, with as much propriety, be administered to them, as that by which they were represented under the latter. This, indeed, is the prominent point of their accordance.
4. Infants are represented as being in covenant with God, and members of the church alike under the Old Testament dispensation and the New. That they were such under the former, is testified in such passages as Gen. xvii. 7; and the sign of their membership was circumcision, Gen. xvii. 9—14. And that they are to be received in like manner under the latter, is declared in Acts ii. 38, 39; Matt. xix. 13-15. Children are members of the kingdom of God, that is, of the church upon earth, or in heaven, should they die. But how are they to be admitted ? There is no inference more reasonable than that it shall be by that ordinance which corresponds to the rite by which they were admitted of old.
5. It is only upon the principle of administering baptism to infants we can apprehend the meaning of many portions of scripture, such as I Cor. vii. 14. 6 Your children are holy.” Of what can this be understood ? Not that the faith of their parents conferred faith upon them, but that, as of old, the faith of the parent gave the child a title to religious ordinances. And to what ordinance, save to that which corresponds to the initiatory rite of circumcision ? 6. The covenant of which circumcision was a seal, is the
very same as that of which baptism is a seal; and if the one seal was administered to infants, we infer the propriety of administeriog the other also. Circumcision is expressly called “ seal of the righteousness of faith,” Rom. iv. 11. In other words, it was a seal of the covenant of grace, which God made known to Abraham, and into the blessings of which he received him. Now the very same is the covenant under which we are placed. Gal. iii. 8; Heb. vi. 10–20; viii. 10. Of this covenant baptism is now the seal, as circumcision was of old. Rom. vi. 3, 4. And if the seal was administered to infants, under the former dispensation of the covenant, why not the seal now under the latter dispensation, when infants were alike capable, and alike needed the blessings of the covenant under both dispensations.
Not to pursue the argument farther, the case stands simply
thus. From the first organization of a church, of which we have an explicit account, infants were recognized as members of it; and in token of this privilege, were circumcised. When the old dispensation closed, the apostles opened the new, proclaiming that its blessings were to them that should believe, and to their children; they gave a visible representation of their doctrine, by baptizing men and their households; and they thus so satisfied the scruples of the Jew upon the subject of his children, that one complaint is never recorded as having been made against the gospel, on the ground of making no provision for children. Had baptism not been extended to them, there can be no doubt that the complaint would have been made. But where is the insinuation that children were not henceforth to be acknowleged as of old? There is no such thing. But until such be produced, it is the duty of the church to receive infants into its membership; and to administer to them that rite which corresponds to the initiatory rite of old.
It is objected to infant baptism, that it is not expressly commanded in the Scriptures. But neither is the observance of the first day in the week, as the christian Sabbath, And the reason in both cases is the same, because neither was a new institution, but an old one, banded down from former times, and continuing to be obligatory. It is the duty of those who refect infant baptism, to shew the statute repealing it, inasmuch as it existed virtually before in circumcision.
It is objected again, faith is necessary to the subject of baptism, but infants cannot exercise faith, and therefore they ought not to be baptized. But faith is said to be necessary to salvation, and if this reasoning be conclusive, neither can infants be saved. It is clear, that in both cases, faith is essential only in the instance of those who are competent to exercise it. But inasmuch as intants are incapable of faith, so it is not required of them either for baptism or salvation. It is enough that they need and are competent to receive the blessings of salvation, signified by baptism.
It is asked, likewise, what practical good can be accomplished by the administration of baptism to infants ? As this is a part of the subject of much importance, yet apt to be overlooked, we shall dwell a little upon it, and both state and impress some of the great and good ends that may be answered by it.
1. We are herein led to adore a most wise and gracious adaptation of christianity to our situation as men and sinners, Look on an infant- and whát mingled feelings of fear and hope arise in our bosom? We would anticipate a prosperous life, but we sannot suppress foreboding fears. Where, at such a time,
do we naturally turn? What a luxury, to learn that God has instituted an ordinance that pointedly has respect to infants — in which we are encouraged to bring the little one to himcommend it to his blessing—and in which we have an assurance that he will be a God to us, and to our seed. We feel the institution to be most tenderly addressed to some of our strongest passions—and have a new, manifestation of the adaptation of the gospel to human nature.
2. Such an ordinance exercises the most powerful influence over the minds of parents. It is an encouragement to them. Privileged to dedicate their children to God, they, cheerfully undertake to bring them up in his, nurture and admonition. It is an incentive to faithfulness. God has said to them," take this child, and nurse him for me”--they have publicly responded to his call, in the observance of baptism; and the recollection that the vows of God are upon them, will excite them to duty and fidelity. It is a comfort to them when their children die. They dedicated them to God--they said in their hearts they were his, to dispose of them as seemed good in his sight; and now that they are gone, the recollection of these things is sweet.
3. It is also calculated to exert a happy influence orer the minds of children. To be told they have been dedicated to God, may come with great power upon their conscience. How the child Samuel must have felt when informed by his pious mother how she had early dedicated him to God, and now expected he would make good all her promises. And the same thing is virtually done by every parent, when in faith he presents his child to God in baptism; and the same happy influence might be exerted over the youthful mind, by a seasonable and faithful inculcation of his early presentation to the Lord.
Upon the whole, we may conelude, heartily acquiescing in the just' and eloquent language of Dwight upon infant baptism: " The helpless circumstances of the child; the peculiar tenderness of the relation existing, between it and the parents ; the strong expression of their faith in God, in giving up their beloved offspring to him, devoting it to his service, and engaging to train it up for his glory; the exhibition of their reliance on the blood of Christ, and the agency of the Spirit of truth to cleanse it from its original pollution; the affecting manifestation of the divine mercy and goodness in permitting us thus to offer up our children to God; united, with the solemnities of the day, the place, and the occasion; form a combination of facts, and doctrines, and duties, scarcely paralleled in the present world.”
- A MINISTER'S EXPERIENCE.
LET humility be a prominent characteristic in all you do.
Whenever you preach, remember “God is here;' and that “We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.”'
To be much admired, should humble you as much as to be lightly esteemed.
When you are high in the praise of every one, remember you must probably one day descend; it may be soon, rapidly.
In each sermon let there be but a few divisions, and eaclı division be well illustrated by facts and Scripture.
When you enter church, expecting to meet a large assembly, and find only a few-instead of giving something different from that which you intended, reserving your big ideas, and big sermons, for large congregations, give of the best you have to the few who are present, and make an unusual effort to deliver it in the most striking manner. Do otherwise, and you
will make small meetings smaller. Your hearers will soon learn to reason thus:-“It is bad weather to-day, and there will be but few out, and when that is the case, our minister only makes a few common-place remarks, so for my part, as I shall not learn much if I go, I shall stay at home. Good weather will bring out good congregations; and if, when the weather is unfavourable, you do your utmost, it will be said, “we must not stay at home, for on such days as this, we are sure to hear something excellent.". In this way, your congregations will be always good, and can be relied on; the great advantage of which, in the delivery of a discourse, every observing minister well understands. It will often happen when you suppose that you
have done well, your people will think very differently. And often too, on the other hand, when you go home discouraged, and cast down, lamenting your want of zeal, and piety, and ability, your flock will go away the most delighted; hence always cultivate a calm, and equitable, and humble frame of mind.
Sometimes, in a small social meeting perhaps, an important idea will forcibly occur to the mind; pride suggests, "you had better not waste this on so few; keep it for a Sabbath day's effort, when many shall hear it.” Never yield; vanity is at the bottom. Now you feel its force; use the thought suggested; and it will have effect; defer it, and you may not have it so strongly presented to your own mind again. “Be instant" at all times, is the Christian's motto.
Sometimes you will have, what in the retirement of your You will gene
study, might be called a literary sermon, and one of superior excellence; and you enter the sacred desk with great self-confidence. At such times, a fall is before you. -rally meet with a sad failure.
You will be able to preach best, when you feel most perfectly, your own entire weakness, and the necessity of throwing yourself upon the arms of the Saviour. God will never help you to preach, unless you
utmost to help yourself. He will not send you ideas, unless you look for them.
A FRIEND'S LETTER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN, SIR,
I HAD lately an opportunity of paying a trifling attention to a worthy Minister of your church. He has been pleased to acknowledge my humble hospitality in the following letter. And it appears to me to be so excellent, and I have derived so much benefit from it, that I am induced to forward it to you, in the hope that you may deem it worthy of a place in the Orthodox Presbyterian. I am, yours, &c.
A. C. Belfast, 17th Dec. 1834.
220 Nov. 1834, SIR,
I feel much obliged for the attention which you lately paid to my son when in Belfast, on his way homeward, and also to myself on a previous occasion. I hope that you and Mrs. are in the enjoyment of wonted mercies. May each of you be blessed with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places in Christ. May you live the life, and die the death of the righteous, that your last end may be like his. .
Let us now.inquire, in what preparation for a better world consists.
Do you know, then, “ that it is not by works of righteousness which we can do," Titus iii. 5. This may seem a strange expression, but it is the language of Scripture, and is worthy of your particular notice. If you ask why not saved by my own works?” the reason is obvious. By the fall, man lost his original righteousness, and became subject to moral inability. His powers are now all so contaminated by sin, and his nature so depraved, that he cannot satisfy the claims of divine justice, expiate his past transgressions, or remove the curse pronounced on him as a sinner. Now, to be saved by our own works, our motives must be absolutely pure and unmixed; our hearts must be divested of all corruption; our obedience must be complete, universal, and perpetual. The