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and foretaste of angelic bliss. “Grant unto Thy people, that they may love the thing which Thou commandest, and desire that which Thou dost promise ; thau 80, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord."*
THE DUTIES AND PROSPECTS OF THE BAPTISTS.
BY THE REV. W. WALTERS.
(Concluded.) 4. It is our duty to remember that in , but the true way of dedication is by believing maintaining and advocating our principles prayer, Christian counsel, and holy example, we occupy the position of a witnessing | Dedication is not baptism. Christian baja Church. For three things especially we tism must be an intelligent, voluntary, pioi s have to testify. First, we have to bear act. These conditions meet only in the witness to the supremo authority of the immersion of believers. will of Christ. While others talk about In the third place, we have to witness : the decisions of conferences, synods, convo- for spiritual religion. The advocates of
cations, councils, and even parliaments, we infant baptism differ widely among themdeclare what “the Spirit saith unto the selves as to who are the proper subjects for churches." While others quote from syg. it, and as to what are its uses. Some would tems of divinity, creeds, catechisms, and administer it to the children of believing confessions of faith, we say, “ To the law parents only; and thus they perpetrate the and to the testimony: if they speak not old error concerning the advantages of deaccording to this word, it is because there is scent from a religious ancestry, cherished no light in them." Above all human opinions, by the Jews. Against this error Jobp even those of the wisest and best saints, we protested, when he said, “ And think not to place the express command of the Lord say within yourselves, We have Abraham to Jesus Christ, when he said, “ All power is our father; for I say unto you, that God given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go is able of these stones to raise up children ye, therefore, and teach all nations, bap. | unto Abraham;" and against this error we tizing them in the name of the Father, and have to protest now. I admit that a pious of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching ancestry is a blessing. Paul, when sumthem to observe all things whatsoever I ming up the privileges of Israel, says, have commanded you."
“ Whose are the fathers.” From godly In the second place, we have to witness ancestors may descend prayers, holy exfor a personal, intelligent, voluntary profes ample, wise counsel, and benedictions; but sion of service to Christ. I need not tell they cannot transmit grace, nor anything you that infant baptism is a denial of this. | which can justify the application of baptism If it be regarded as an initiatory ordinance, to their seed. whereby the subjects are introduced into And as grace cannot be transmitted by the Church of Christ and this is the light descent, neither can it be secured by ceriin which many view it—then so far as those monies. Many of the advocates of infant to whom it is administered are concerned, baptism regard it as the instrument of it is meaningless, compulsory, and destitute | regeneration. Some consider that the water of every element that enters into acceptable regenerates; others say that the child is Christian service. If it be considered in the | inevitably regenerated at the time of baplight of simple dedication to God-and tism, but hesitate to aflirm that the water many parents profess to regard it only as imparts the virtue; others only charitably such-then, confessedly, a human ceremony | hope that the child is regenerated at its ?s introduced as a substitute for a Divine | baptism; others regard its baptism as tho institution. I can understand and appre- seal of new covenant blessings; while multiciate the feelings which prompt pious pa- | tudes attach to the ceremony some sort of rents to dedicate their children to the Lord; ' virtue, but what it is they cannot tell. All
* Collect for the fourth Sunday after Easter.
these opinions are varieties of the doctrine | dation. The existence of a National Church of sacramental efficacy. They are opposed would be impossible without the theory of to the spirituality of the Christian religion, a baptized nation. It is obvious, then, that and the New Testament teachings concern in contending against the union of the ing the nature of the Church of Christ. Church of Christ with the secular power, noe
It is therefore our business to maintain occupy a vantage ground superior to any that there is no hereditary membership in other Nonconformist body. Christ's Church, that that Church consists And Popery, who shall consistently oponly of persons who have for themselves | pose that? What lies at its foundation? accepted Christ and professed to be his Is it not the doctrine that tradition is of disciples, that sacraments possess no sav equal value with the written word, and that ing efficacy, and that no power save that the Church has the power to ordain sacra. put forth by the Holy Ghost can regene ments and usages though they are not found rate the heart, and transform a child of in the Bible ? Infant baptism can be sus. nature into a child of grace. This is the tained by no other theory. If its advocates solemn testimony that God requires us to say it is enjoined in the word of God, we ask, bear. Upon the Baptists he has imposed “Where?: It was introduced at a time this weighty responsibility. He calls us to subsequent to the completion of the canon occupy this post of honour. May we have of Scripture, and therefore we search for it the grace of wisdom, fidelity, and courage to in Scripture in vain. The Papist knows be true to our high vocation!
this; and hence the moment the Protestant Remember, brethren, that your principles begins to talk to him about the rule of faith, can be advocated only by yourselves. Some and quotes the aphorism of Chillingworth, people may think that we are too earnest in “The Bible, and the Bible only," he quietly our advocacy, and make too much noise asks him where in the Bible he finds his about our views. It is just possible that infant baptism; and receiving silence as a we are too earnest for their liking; but sure reply, proceeds to argue that if it is lawful I am, we are not as earnest as the truth and to go to tradition for the ceremony which the circumstances of the truth demand. 1 initiates persons into the Church, surely it Bear two things in mind :-First, if we are cannot be wrong to go to the same source silent, then this portion of the truth of God for the doctrines they are to believe and the will be without expression and enforcement. ceremonies that are to regulate them after Hitherto we have been like Milton's Abdiel, they are in. Here, too, it is clear that our who was
position in discussion with the Church of
“Faithful found Rome is immensely superior to that of all Among the faithless, faithful only he:
other Protestants. It would be no difficult Among innumerable false, unmoved, Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
matter to show that many other errors in 1 IIis loyalty he kept, his zeal;
connection with doctrine, polity, and disNor number, nor example, with him wrought cipline, spring from this one of infant bapTo swerve from truth or change his constant mind,
tism, and that therefore we who repudiate Though single.”
the parent error are best qualified to contend We occupy the same solitary position still. with its multifarious offspring. This is a sufficient justification of our most By these considerations I beseech you to oft-repeated and earnest testimony.
"stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, In the second place, remember that we be strong." “ Earnestly contend for the only are in a true position to grapple with faith which was once delivered unto the some of the most fearful evils that beset the saints ;” at the same time, “Let all your Christianity of our times. I need but call things be done with charity ;” “speaking your attention to State Churchism and the truth in love." Popery. I believe that the union of religion 5. In whatever light we consider then, to the State, that which is termed a Na. these duties to which I hare referred press tional Church, is about one of the great upon us. Christ calls upon us to discharge est calamities that can fall on Christianity. them; and though we disregard all otber It tends to increase formalism, to multiply voices, we cannot neglect his. He is our hypocrites, to foster a persecuting spirit, dearest friend. When we were lost, he and to make the ministers of Christ lovers saved us. And when nothing less costly of filthy lucre rather than the souls of men. than his most precious blood was required Its influence is evil, only evil, and that as the price of our redemption, that price 'ontinually. But infant baptism is ita foun: I was cheerfully paid. He died that we might
live for ever. By all the sacred considera- | the Gracchi.” This is what our grand old tions of love and gratitude, we are bound | Church exclaims in our hearing to-day. to hearken to his law. He is our King; | Let us obey her commands, and distinand we must obey him. We dare not | guish ourselves by honourable and heroic therefore be indifferent.
deeds. He lives to preserve us, and to overrule Finally, The youth growing up around us, all things for our welfare. And we cannot, and future generations, must not be disrewhile he is attentive to our best interests in garded. Our young people require to be heaven, allow his truth to be neglected on instructed in the principles and practices of earth. He will be our judge; and how shall our denomination. We should make them we meet him, if we are faithless to the familiar with all the facts of its history. We great trust he has here reposed in us? should inspire them with reverence for our
The truth demands our obedience. The great and good men. We should endeavour majesty of truth should ever be paramount. | to make them feel proud and grateful that It is as much your duty to propagate truth they are in any way connected with such as to hold it. Many persons imagine that men. We should, by all possible means, seek if they apprehend a truth for themselves, to attach them to "the way” of their fathers. they have nothing further to do. This is a | This may be done by Sunday school teachers great mistake. Every privilege has a cor in their classes, and parents in their families. responding obligation ; and if you enjoy the I rejoice to think, brethren, that you are not privilege of clearer light than other men it altogether unmindful of this. One of the is your imperative duty to impart that light most encouraging features of this church
and congregation is seen in the number of Your own consistency summons you to | young men and women that belong to us. the work I have set before you to-night. Long may there be witnessed here the fulYou should discharge it that you may jus- filment of that Scripture, “Instead of thy tify yourselves. We prove the sincerity of fathers shall be thy children;" and so may our belief when we endeavour to propagate God make his "name to be remembered in it. The conviction is thus produced, that all generations.” whatever others think of our doctrines and | I must now proceed briefly to sketchpractice, we think them of importance. The interests of others claim our regard.
II. OUR PROSPECTS. To our fellow-Christians, who have not, in 1. The future is full of hope. Our suc. this affair of personal profession, obeyed cess in modern times has been most signal. the Lord, we owe a duty. Brotherly love Take one or two illustrative facts. If we should constrain us to expostulate with look to the Continent of Europe, we find them—to entreat them seriously to consider | that in Sweden we had, in 1856, only 12 their position, and to study diligently and churches and 476 members; while in 1860, honestly the will of God. For the sake of we had 105 churches, and a membership of unbelievers, we should be careful to furnish 4,548. Thirty years ago, there was scarcely a clear copy of the mind of Christ, and a full a Baptist in Germany; now, there are about length portraiture of Christian discipleship. 10,000. If we look at home, we find that,
By the memory of our fathers, we should at the beginning of the present century, we be faithful to the trust committed to us. had, in Great Britain, about 300 churches; Carey, Fuller, Pearce, Kinghorn, the Sten now, we have above 2,000. In America, netts, Gill, Foster, Hall, and others, our our progress has been even more triumphglory in the last century and the earlier ant. part of this; Bunyan, Canne, Williams, It should also be remembered that our Jessey, among the Puritans and Noncon sentiments are making rapid strides among formists; the Lollards; the Waldenses; other sections of the Church. On the one the Novatianists; the Paulicians; the Don hand, it has been estimated that so much atists ; "the glorious company of the apos is infant baptism on the decline, that not tles ;” and the Divine Master himself; all more than 1 in 12 born in connection with constitute our illustrious genealogy. Let Pædobaptist denominations is baptized ; us show ourselves worthy of such royal and, on the other hand, many adults are ancestors. The wish of the noble Roman baptized by Baptist ministers, who still rematron was, “Do not let me be remembered main in communion with their own bodies. as the daughter of Scipio; but do something As a general rule, this course is not to be that I may be remembered as the mother of commended. It must either impose restraints on the baptized, or subject them to , nothing but a candid examination is wanted the charge of being troublesome. Moreover, to bring all sound reasoners to see this to it wears the aspect of inconsistency. On all be a scriptural and a rational practice. grounds, it is better in such cases that per-| The examination will only end in the consons join themselves “to their own com viction that we are right." pany."
4. The concessions of those who differ 2. The hopefulness of our prospects is from us aid our advancement. Many of the increased by the fact that our principles are ripest scholars and the most profound theoin accordance with the word of God and the logians among the Pædobaptists of this spiritual character of the New Testament and other countries, admit that the practice dispensation. We rest our faith on the of the first churches, and the teachings of Bible; and because the Bible is destined the word of God, are on our side. Volumes to be one day victorious over every form of | might be filled with their admissions; and error, we are expectant of universal triumph. however inconsistent with these admissions Just in proportion as men come to study their conduct may appear, yet sooner or the Scriptures, and draw their doctrinal later they must have their influence on the sentiments, and learn their obedience from public mind. The unwilling testimony thus them, will they discover that believer's im borne to the truth, will not be borne in vain. mersion is also a part of the Divine will. It will lead to inquiry; the process of inAs the Church advances towards perfection, quiry will constrain men to examine the clearer light to understand the Bible will be New Testament; and if that examination be vouchsafed, and greater grace to obey it. pursued from right motives, and in a proper There will be a growing decrease in the manner, we may expect, as I have already numbers who say that baptism (as we un intimated, the most satisfactory results to derstand it) is not commanded, and also in ensue. There are several other indications the numbers who say it is not essential. of a hopeful kind to which, had time per
Moreover, all notions of sacramental mitted, I might have called your attention. efficacy must be discarded. They are fig Enough, however, has been said to show ments of Popery, and must by-and-by be that we are on the side of no weak or falling scattered to the four winds of heaven. The cause. If we are true to ourselves, and true conviction that religion is a personal thing to our principles, success is sure. Nay, a transaction between every individual man more, whether we are true to these princiand his God-is gaining ground in the ples, or not, their triumph is certain. “Truth minds of men. This conviction is in har. | is mighty, and must prevail.” Mordecai mony with the genius of the Gospel dis said to Esther when urging her to plead for pensation, and must ultimately become the Jews, “ If thou altogether holdest thy universal. With the approach of its uni. peace at this time, then shall there enlargeversal reign will be the approach of our ment and deliverance arise to the Jews from final victory, and the unrestrained submis another place.” And we say to you, that, sion of mankind to our Divine Lord. should you fail in your duty, and prove
3. The age is one of thought and inquiry: unworthy of your illustrious ancestry, and this fact is favourable to our prosperity. of the high honour which the Lord has besThere is an increasing disinclination to take towed upon you, then God will raise up religious truth on trust. Everywhere men others to espouse his truth and defend it. are examining for themselves the bases of You will sink in infamy, but the truth to belief. This spirit of investigation, if com which you proved recreant will be crowned bined with a spirit of docility, and devout with unfading laurels. ness, and reverence for God's word, we hail Bestir yourselves, brethren, to your duty. with joy. From it we, as Baptiste, have no In these districts there is ample room for thing to fear, but everything to hope. Our the use of all your means, exertions, and regret has often been, that men were too influence. Strengthen yourselves by daily indolent to study Divine truth for them communion with the Father of our Lord selves, and too confiding in the investiga Jesus Christ, by daily study of the sacred tions and results of others. The quickened Scriptures, by daily meditation on the mental activity of the age is one of our best example and vicarious death of your great allies. "The evidence,” says the Hon. and Redeemer. Your opportunities for labour Rev. Baptist Noel, “in favour of baptizing are fast passing away. Those whom you none but those who make a credible pro- | should benefit are every day going to their fession of faith in Jesus, is so strong, that I graves; and you also are dying meu. “What
soever thy hand findeth to do, do it with loved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, thy might ; for there is no work, nor device, always abounding in the work of the Lord, nor hnowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, l forasmuch as ye know that your labour is whither thou goest.” “ Therefore, my be not in vain in the Lord." Amen.
OH, THESE STONES!
BY REV. J. T. WIGNER.
“Gather out the stones.”—Isaiuh lxii. 10. This metaphor is frequently employed by the sacred writers when speaking of the advancement of the kingdom of Christ amongst men. To compare Isaiah xl. 3, 4, with Luke iïi. 36, will suffice to confirm our statement. The reference is to be found in a practice which has obtained from the earliest ages, of removing all impediments out of the way, as the king or conqueror advanced in his triumphal course; and the same figure will find illustration now, in “keeping the line clear” on a railway; or in the carpeted landing-place, and the crowd of eager spectators kept back, when our beloved Sovereign embarks or lands.
The rapid progress of the kingdom of Christ must be an object earnestly desired by the true Christian. The Divine command to “gather out the stones,” will at once approve itself to both his mind and heart.
We purpose to refer to some of these stones, and the hands which placed them in the way, with a few words concerning the removal of them.
I. THESE STONES. Oh, these stones! which hinder hesitating, weak, timid ones, who have some thought of, some desire for, the kingdom. We can only take a few of them as a sample. Here are some laid by worldly men, ungodly hands, like those who “gowed tares among the wheat.” We say, “ An enemy hath done this." We do not wonder at it: we do mourn over it. The LORD was opposed by the world, and the servant must expect the same treatment. The spirit of the world is utterly, determinately, malignantly opposed to the pilgrim and the pilgrim's road. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” Worldly men will not walk in the road to heaven, and will use what influence they possess to prevent other men from entering that road, or to hinder those who have started out. They will put the stone of FLATTERY in the way; and thus they speak to the anxious one: “Why need you be uneasy and anxious about your soul and heaven? you are as good as your neighbours, indeed, better than many; no one can charge you with gross sin ; you are known as a moral man; and remember God is merciful: cease your anxiety; all will be well.” In this manner, with “much fair speech," the man "yields,” and turns aside from the path in which he was just entering—the path of life. The rough stone of Scorn is another of the stones placed in the way by worldly men. Many a seeker has by it been confounded and injured. Such men scorn the effort, and stigmatize it as fanatical, needless, useless, They scorn the motive. It is only to get favour with godly men; to advance temporal interests; to carry some secretly-cherished object to a successful issue ; to get the name of being a Christian. They pour scorn on the expectation. “ Why," say they, “ 'tis all vain to expect that you can obtain such a prize as you profes8 to seek; you will find it a mistake which will end, in your case, as in others before you, in a delusion and a sham.” Thus, and in other ways, the stone of scorn hinders, and we are reminded of our Lord's words, “ Ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” The weighty, rugged stone of PERSECUTION is another hindrance. Whilst thousands