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infant baptism, by giving us the testimony | faith over forms, by waiting for the rise of their silence. of this inward grace ere he will impose the outward ceremonial, he stamps a reflection on that very procedure that was instituted for him who is called the father of the faithful.

It is vain to allege that the Jewish was a grosser dispensation-not so impregnated with life and rationality and spiritual meaning as ours—with a ceremonial appended to it for the purpose mainly of But is it not wrong, when the sign and building up a great outward distinction, the thing signified do not go together? between the children of Israel and all the Yes, it is very wrong; and let us shortly other families that were on the face of the consider who they generally are that are earth; and that this was one great use of in the wrong, when such a disjunction at circumcision, which, whether affixed dur- any time occurs. In the case of an adult, ing the period of infancy or advanced the thing signified should precede the life, served equally to signalize the people, sign. When he offers himself for baptism, and so to strengthen that wall of separa- he asks to be invested with the sign that tion, which, in the wisdom of Providence, he is a disciple-and he makes a credible had been raised for the sake of keeping appearance and profession of his being the whole race apart from the general so. Were it not a credible profession, world, till the ushering in of a more com- then the administrator is in the fault, for prehensive and liberal dispensation. The having put the outward stamp of Chrisflesh profiteth nothing, says the Saviour, tianity on one whom he believed to be a "the words I speak unto you they are counterfeit. Were it a profession renderspirit and they are life." But it so hap-ed credible by the arts of hypocrisy, then pens that in the ordinance of circumci- the minister is free; and the whole guilt sion, there are the very spirit and the very that arises from an unworthy subject, life which lie in the ordinance of baptism. standing arrayed in the insignia of our Viewed as a seal, it marks a promissory faith, lies upon him who wears them. But obligation on the part of God, of the same in the case of an infant, the sign precedes privileges in both cases; and that is the the thing signified. The former has been righteousness of faith. Viewed as a sign, imprest upon him by the will of his pait indicates the same graces. It indicates rent: and the latter remains to be wrought the existence of faith, and all its accom- within him by the care of his parent. If panying influences on the character of he do not put forth this care, he is in the him who has been subjected to it. That fault. Better that there had been no sign, is not circumcision which is outward in if there was to be no substance; and he the flesh, says Paul; but circumcision is by whose application it was that the sign of the heart, in the spirit and not in the was imprinted, but by whose neglect it is letter. That is not baptism, says Peter, that the substance is not infused—he is the which merely puts away the filth of the author of this mockery upon ordinances. flesh; but baptism is the answer of a good | He it is who hath made the symbolical conscience unto God. If the baptism of language of Christianity the vehicle of a infants offer any violence to the vital and falsehood. He is like the steward who is essential principles of that ordinance-the entrusted by his superior with the subprinciples of the ordinance of circumci- scription of his name to a space of blank sion are altogether the same. Circumci- paper, on the understanding that it was to sion is the sign of an inward grace; and be filled up in a particular way, agreeable upon Abraham, in the previous possession to the will of his lord; and, instead of of this grace, the sign was impressed. doing so, has filled it up with matter of a And, in the face of what might have been different import altogether. The infant, alleged, that it was wrong when the sign with its mind unfilled and unfurnished, and the thing signified did not go together has been put by the God of providence -this sign of circumcision was neverthe- into his hands; and after the baptism less perpetuated in the family of Abraham, which he himself hath craved, it has been by being impressed on the infancy of all again made over to him with the signahis descendants. In like manner, when ture of Christian discipleship, and, by his an adult stands before us for baptism, own consent, impressed upon it; and he, should we be satisfied that he has had the by failing to grave the characters of diswashing of regeneration, then may we put cipleship upon it, hath unworthily betraythe question-Can any man forbid wa-ed the trust that was reposed in him; and, ter, that he should not be baptised who has received the Holy Ghost as well as we?' But should any man go further, and forbid water to the infants of his present or his future family, he appears to do so on a principle which God himself did not recognise; and, while he seems to exalt

like the treacherous agent who hath prostituted his master's name to a purpose dif ferent from his master's will, he hath so perverted the sign of Heaven's appointment, as to frustrate the end of Heaven's ordination. The worthies of the Old Testament, who, in obedience to the Go

it is he who hath profaned it.

This ordinance lays a responsibility on parents-the sense of which has, we doubt not, given a mighty impulse to the cause of Christian education. It is well that there should be one sacrament in behalf of the grown up disciple, for the solemn avowal of his Christianity before men, and the very participation of which binds more closely about his conscience all the duties and all the consistencies of the gospel. But it is also well that there should be another sacrament, the place of which in his history is, not at the period of his youth or manhood, but at the period of his infancy; and the obligation of which is felt, not by his conscience still in embryo, but by the conscience of him whose business is to develope and to guard and to nurture its yet unawakened sensibilities. This is like removing baptism upward on a higher vantage ground. It is assigning for it a station of command and of custody at the very fountainhead of moral influence; and we repeat it to be well, that Christianity should have here fixed one of its sacraments-that it should have reared such a security around the birth of every immortal-that it should so have constituted baptism, as to render it a guide and a guardian, whose post is by the cradle of the infant spirit; and which, from coming into contact with the first elements of tuition, has, we doubt not, from this presiding eminence, done much to sustain and perpetuate the faith of the gospel from generation to generation.

whom they served, circumcised their chil- | birth, it is he who moved the baptisin and dren in infancy, never forgot that they were the children of the circumcision; and the mark of separation they had been enjoined to impose upon them, reminded them of the duty under which they lay, to rear them in all the virtues of a holy and a separate generation; and many a Hebrew parent was solemnised by this observance into the devotedness of Joshua, who said, that whatever others should do, he with all his house should fear the Lord; and this was the testimony of the Searcher of hearts in behalf of one who had laid the great initiatory rite of Judaism upon his offspring, that He knew him, that he would bring up his children after him in all the ways and statutes and ordinances that he had himself been taught; and it was the commandment of God to His servants of old, that they should teach their children diligently, and talk to them as they rose up and sat down, and as they walked by the way-side, of the loyalty and gratitude that should be rendered to the God of Israel. Thus was the matter ordered under the old dispensation. The sign was impressed upon the infant, and it served for a signal of duty and direction to the parent. It pointed out to him the moral destination of his child, and led him to guide it onward accordingly. There ought to be a correspondence between the sign and the thing signified. At the very outset of the child's life, did the parent fix upon its person the one term of this correspondence, as a mark of his determination to fix upon its character the other term of it. It was as good as his We have one observation more. Bappromissory declaration to that effect: and tism, viewed as a seal, marks the promise if this be enough to rationalize the infant of God, to grant the righteousness of faith circumcision of the Jews, it is equally to him who is impressed by it; but, enough to rationalize the infant baptism viewed as a sign, it marks the existence of Christians. The parent of our day, of this faith. But if it be not a true sign, who feels as he ought, will feel himself in it is not an obligatory seal. He who beconscience to be solemnly charged, that lieves and is baptised shall be saved. But the infant whom he has held up to the he who is baptised and believes not shall baptism of Christianity, he should bring be damned. It is not the circumcision up in the belief of Christianity; and if which availeth, but a new creature. It is he fail to do this, it is he who has degra- not the baptism which availeth, but the ded this simple and impressive ceremonial answer of a good conscience. God hath into a thing of nought-it is he who has given a terrible demonstration of the utter dissolved the alliance between the sign worthlessness of a sign that is deceitful, and the thing signified-it is he who and hath let us know that on that event as brings a scandal upon ordinances, by a seal it is dissolved. He thus stands stripping them of all their respect and all emancipated from all His promises, and their significancy. Should the child live adds to His direct vengeance upon iniand die unchristian, there will be a pro-quity, a vengeance for the hypocrisy of per and essential guilt attached to him in its lying ceremonial. When a whole circonsequence; but it will at least not be cumcised nation lost the spirit, though the guilt of having broken a vow which they retained the letter of the ordinance, he was incapable of making. And yet He swept it away. The presence of the the vow was made by some one. It was letter, we have no doubt, heightened the made by the parent; and in as far as the provocation; and beware, ye parents, ruin of the child may be resolved into the who regularly hold up your children to negligence of him to whom he owes his the baptism of water, and make their bap

tism by the Holy Ghost no part of your concern or of your prayer-lest you thereby swell the judgments of the land, and bring down the sore displeasure of God upon your families.

This affords, we think, something more than a dubious glimpse into the question, that is often put by a distracted mother, when her babe is taken away from herwhen all the converse it ever had with the world, amounted to the gaze upon it of a few months or a few opening smiles, which marked the dawn of felt enjoyment; and ere it had reached perhaps the lisp of infancy, it, all unconscious of death, had to wrestle through a period of sickness with its power and at length to be overcome by it. Oh, it little knew, what an interest it had created in that home where it was so passing a visitant-nor, when carried to its early grave, what a tide of emotion it would raise among the few acquaintances it left behind it! On it too baptism was imprest as a seal, and as a sign it was never falsified. There was no positive unbelief in its little bosom -no resistance yet put forth to the truth no love at all for the darkness rather than the light-nor had it yet fallen into that great condemnation which will at tach to all who perish because of unbelief, that their deeds are evil. It is interesting to know that God instituted circumcision for the infant children of Jews, and at least suffered baptism for the infant children of those who profess Christianity. Should the child die in infancy, the use of baptism as a sign has never been thwarted by it; and may we not be permitted to indulge a hope so pleasing, as that the use of baptism as a seal remains in all its entireness-that He who sanctioned the affixing of it to a babe, will fulfil upon it the whole expression of this ordinance: And when we couple with this the known disposition of our great forerunner-the love that He manifested to children on earth-how He suffered them to approach His person-and, lavishing endearment and kindness upon them in the streets of Jerusalem, told His disciples that the presence and company of such as these in heaven formed one ingredient of the joy that was set before Him-Tell us if Christianity do not throw a pleasing radiance around an infant's tomb? and should any parent who hears us, feel softened by the touching rememprance of a light, that twinkled a few short months under his roof, and at the end of its little period expired-we cannot think that we venture too far, when we say that he has only to persevere in the faith and in the following of the gospel, and that very light will again shine upon him in heaven. The blossom which

withered here upon its stalk, has been transplanted there to a place of endurance; and it will then gladden that eye which now weeps out the agony of an affection that has been sorely wounded; and in the name of Him who if on earth would have wept along with them, do we bid all believers present, to sorrow not even as others which have no hope, but to take comfort in the thought of that country where there is no sorrow and no separation.

O, when a mother meets on high
The babe she lost in infancy,

Hath she not then, for pains and fears-
The day of woe, the watchful night-
For all her sorrow, all her tears-
An over-payment of delight?

We have put forth these remarks, not for the purpose of inspiring a very violent distaste towards the practice of others in respect of baptism, but of reconciling you to your own; and of protecting you from any disturbance of mind, on account of their arguments. It forms no peculiarity of the age in which we live, that men differ so much in matters connected with Christianity; but it forms a very pleasing peculiarity, that men can do now what they seldom did before, they can agree to differ. With zeal for the esssentials, they can now tolerate each other in the cir cumstantials of their faith; and under all the variety which they wear, whether of complexion or of outward observance, can recognize the brotherhood of a common doctrine and of a common spirit, among very many of the modern denominations of Christendom. The line which measures off the ground of vital and evangelical religion, from the general ungodliness of our world, must never be effaced from observation; and the latitudinarianism which would tread it under foot, must be fearfully avoided; and an impregnable sacredness must be thrown around that people, who stand peculiarized by their devotedness and their faith from the great bulk of a species who are of the earth and earthly. There are landmarks between the children of light and the children of darkness, which can never be moved away; and it were well that the habit of professing Christians was more formed on the principle of keeping up that limit of separation, which obtains between the church and the world-so that they who fear God should talk often together; and when they do go forth by any voluntary movement of their own on those who fear Him not, they should do it in the spirit, and with the compassionate purpose of missionaries. But while we hold it necessary to raise and to strengthen the wall by which the fold is surrounded-and that, not for the purpose of intercepting the flow of kindness and of Christian philan

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thropy from within, but for the purpose slender partition of one of its apartments, of intercepting the streams of contamina- and the door of which is opened for the tion from without-we should like to see visits of welcome and kind intercourse to all the lines of partition that have been all the other members of the Christian drawn in the fold itself utterly swept family. Let it never be forgotten of the away. This is fair ground for the march | Particular Baptists of England, that they of latitudinarianism—and that, not for the form the denomination of Fuller and object of thereby putting down the signals of distinction between one party of Christians and another, but, allowing each to wear its own, for the object of associating them by all the ties and the recognitions of Christian fellowship. In this way, we apprehend, that there will come at length to be the voluntary surrender of many of our existing distinctions, which will far more readily give way by being tolerated than by being fought against. And this is just the feeling in which we regard the difference, that obtains on the subject of baptism. It may subside into one and the same style of observation, or it may not. It is one of those inner partitions which may at length be overthrown by mutual consent; but, in the mean time, let the portals of a free admittance upon both sides be multiplied as fast as they may along the whole extent of it; and let it no longer be confounded with the outer wall of the great Christian temple, but be instantly recognized as the

Carey and Ryland and Hall and Foster; that they have originated among the greatest of all missionary enterprises; that they have enriched the Christian literature of our country with authorship of the most exalted piety, as well as of the first talent and the first eloquence, that they have waged a very noble and successful war with the hydra of Antinomianism; that perhaps there is not ǝ more intellectual community of ministers in our island, or who have put forth to their number a greater amount of mental power and mental activity in the defence and illustration of our common faith; and, what is better than all the triumphs of genius or understanding, who, by their zeal and fidelity and pastoral labour among the congregations which they have reared, have done more to swell the lists of genuine discipleship in the walks of private society-and thus both to uphold and to extend the living Christianity of our nation.


ROMANS iv, 16-22.

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham who is the father of us all. (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were: who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God: and being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perfcati. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”

V. 16. You may here remark, that faith | is not a meritorious work in the business of our salvation. It does not stand in the place of obedience, as the term of a new bargain, that has been substituted in room of an old one. It is very natural to conceive, that, as under the old covenant we had salvation for our works-so, under the new, we have salvation for our faith; and that therefore faith is that which wins and purchases the reward. And thus faith is invested, in the imagination of some, with the merit and character of a work; and Heaven's favour is still looked upon as & premium, not a premium for doing, it is true, but a premium for believing: And this, as we have already said, has just the effect of infusing the legal spirit

into the letter and expression of our evangelical system; and thus, not merely of nourishing the pride and the pretensions of its confident votaries, but of prolonging the disquietude of all earnest and humble inquirers. For, instead of looking broadly out on the gospel as an offer, they look as anxiously inward upon themselves for the personal qualification of faith, as they ever did upon the personal qualification of obedience. This transfers their attention from that which is sure, even the promises of God-to that which is unsure, even their own fickle and fugitive emotions. Instead of thinking upon Christ, they are perpetually thinking upon themselves-as if they could discover Him in the muddy recesses of their own heart

by overthrown-for it is in the very attitude of leaning upon God, that man is up. held not only in hope but in holiness. It is in the very position of standing erect upon the foundation of the promises, that the promised strength as well as the promised righteousness is fulfilled to him. It is in the very act of looking unto Jesus, that the light of all that grace and truth and moral lustre which shine upon him from the countenance of the Saviour is let in upon the soul; and is thence reflected back again in the likeness of this worth and virtue from his own person. We have no fear whatever of a simple dependence on the grace of the gospel, operating as an impediment to the growth of the holiness of the gospel. We believe that it is the alone stay of our deliverance from the power of sin, just as it is the alone stay of our deliverance from the fears of guilt: And, meanwhile, go not to obscure the aspect of this free and generous ministration, by regarding the gospel in any other light, than as an honestly announced present of mercy to all who will; or by regarding the faith of the gospel in any other light, than you would the ear that heard the communication of the present, or than you would the hand that laid hold of it.

without previously admitting Him by the avenue of a direct and open perception. They ought surely to cast their challenged and their invited regards on Him, who is the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever, when He calls them by His word, to look upon Him from all the ends of the earth and be saved. But no! they cast their eyes with downward obstinacy upon their own minds; and there toil for the production of faith in the spirit of bondage; and perhaps, after they are satisfied with the fancied possession of it, rejoice over it as they would over any other meritorious acquirement in the spirit of legality. This is not the way in which the children of Israel looked out upon the serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness. They did not pore upon their wounds to mark the progress of healing there; nor did they reflect upon the power and perfection of their seeing faculties; nor did they even suffer any doubt that still lingered in their imaginations, to restrain them from the simple act of lifting up their eyes: And when they were cured in consequence, they would never think of this as a reward for their looking, but regard it as the fruit of Heaven's gracious appointment. Do in like manner. It will make both against your humility and your peace, that you regard faith in the light of a meritorious qualification; or that you attempt to draw a comfort from the consciousness of faith, which you ought primarily and directly to draw from the contemplation of the Saviour. If salvation be given as a reward for faith, then it is not of grace. But we are told in this verse that it is of faith, expressly that it might be by grace. And therefore be assured, that there is an error in all those conceptions of faith which tend to vitiate or to destroy this character; which make the good things of the gospel come down upon you as a payment, and not as a present; which make the preaching of eternal life through Christ any thing else than simply the offer of a gift, and faith any thing else than simply the discerning of this offer to be true, and receiving it accordingly. In the one way, you can only be as sure of the promise as you are sure of yourself; and what a frail and fluctuating dependence is this, we would ask? In the other way, | you are as sure of the promise, as you are sure of God; and thus your confidence has a rock to repose upon; and the more firmly you adhere and are rivetted to this foundation, the less chance is there of your ever being moved away from the V. 18. Abraham, perhaps, had no suspihope of the gospel; and though this be cion, at the utterance of this promise, of established, not on what is within but on any deep or spiritual meaning that lay what is without you, let us not thereby under it. He certainly apprehended it in imagine that all the securities for personal its natural sense, and perhaps in this worth and personal excellence are there-sense alone. Looking forward to it with

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But, to return from this digression. V. 16. 17. The inheritance is of faith, that it might be by grace, which can be extended to many nations; and not of the law, which would confine it to one nation. This makes it sure to the whole seed of Abraham, not merely to his seed by natu-ral descent, but to that seed which stands related to him from being believers. It is in this sense that it is written of him-he is the father of many nations. It was his faith which introduced him into a filial relationship with God; and in the eyes of God, on whom he believed, all who believed after him were regarded as his children. It was very unlikely that Abraham should in any sense be blest with an offspring. But God calleth out from nonentity such things as be not-and He also sees such an analogy between natural and spiritual things, that He gives to a spiritual relationship the name of a natural relationship. He did both in the case of Abraham. In the face of a very strong unlikelihood, He conferred a real posterity on Abraham. And He constituted him in a mystical sense the father of a still more extended posterity, by making him the father of all who believed.

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