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the Son, who came into the world to offer himself a sacrifice and propitiation, for the sins of mankind, and to purchase eternal redemption for them.
And they must know, and believe in God the Holy Ghost, who, according to our Saviour's promise, should be to them, and in them, the author of all light, and life, godliness and virtue. All these points of doctrine, constituted that gospel, which the apostles taught the world, and less than these they could not teach, in order properly to fulfil the next branch of their commission, which was that of
Admitting mankind into covenant with God, by the rite of baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Baptism was not a new thing to the disciples, for they had heard of John's baptism. But now, in a more solemn manner, was this ordinance appropriated to the Christian church, by our Lord, commanding his disciples, to use it after a peculiar and express form, “go ye and teach all nations, said the Saviour, “ baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Baptizing them in, or. rather into the name, (not names) of the sacred Three, implied a professed dependence upon each, and a devoting of themselves to the service of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, separately and jointly, with a devout and humble acknowledgment of the work of each, in the accomplishment of man's salvation-so that by using the form, which was thus prescribed by our Lord, the rite of baptism became an holy ordinance--a seal of the Gospel covenant,“ an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” The external washing, or sprinkling with water, being emblematical and significant of that inward regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, by which, from “ being children of wrath, Christians are made the children of grace, become members of Christ, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.”
We are to observe, in these words, which our Lord thus commanded to be used in baptism, the clearest and most irrefragable proof
of the doctrine of the trinity ; that is, of the proper deity of the Son, and of the distinct personality and Deity also of the Holy Ghost, for it would be absurd to suppose that a mere man, or creature, or a mere mode, or quality of God, should be joined with God the Father, in the one name, into which all Christians are to be baptized. Therefore, were there no other testimonies to the same, effect, in scripture, (of which, however, there are abundance,) we should have sufficient ground to consider the confession of a true faith,” as consisting in acknowledging the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine majesty, worshipping the Unity
Our blessed Lord hath told us, that in the moral, as well as the material edifice, as is the foundation, so will be the building. " Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, that built his house upon a rock, and every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand,” by which we learn, that it is on the
truths, wbich we are taught by Christ, and on them alone, that the Christian edifice is to be erected to build on Christ, is to build
upon a rock; not to build upon him, is to · build upon the sand, “ for other foundation
can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
And as all our pretensions to Christianity will be forfeited, by a want of reverence for the person, and a firm dependence upon the merits of its divine author,--so the claims of the professed followers of Christ cannot be supported, unless their faith is exemplified by internal purity, and moral righteousness.
Justification, by faith alone, built upon the doctrine of the redemption of mankind, by the death and sacrifice of Christ, was the great gospel principle, on which protestanism was founded. But some of the fanatics, in their abhorence of the Popish tenet of merit, were guilty of the most impious abuse of this doctrine,-first, by depreciating morality, and secondly, by dispensing with it.
Modern enthusiasts have, to a certain
extent, imitated this culpable example, for though they do not absolutely deny the necessity of good works, yet by enforcing the performance of them, in a manner altogether devoid of energy, so little importance is attached to them, that they are considered by many, not as indispensable requisites, but mere appendages to the Christian profession.
St. Paul, after expatiating largely upon the mercy of God, manifested in the Christian dispensation, puts this question to his reader, -- " what shall we say then, shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound ?” which he answers by a strong negative,“God forbid,” -he foresaw, that some might misinterpret his expressions, and he anticipates their mistake. He is beforehand with them, by protesting against any such use being made of his doctrine.
By way of shewing scripturally the necessity of personal virtue, all the numerous texts, which exhort to holiness, and admonish us against sin, might be quoted, indeed every page of the New Testament.-“ Not