Page images

fidence in the Messiah and submission to his will and authority in every single point.

In these points, on which I cannot farther dilate at present, it seems to me these societies are generally defective. They are straitened by a system too small for human nature—by far too little for a nature in which there is incarnate the everlasting WORD OF God-by a system not exactly adapted to man as he was, to man as he is, or to man as he shall be hereafter. There is, moreover, 100 much of the iron bedstead of Procrustes in it for the major part of human kind. Still there are yet, and there have been, many excellent spirits identified with those churches; for whenever the Bible standard is raised good men of very different views, habits, and modes of thinking, will rally round it. If in any one point I am either defective or obscure, I am glad that the matter is still open for farther consideration. A. C.



[Continued from page 398, vol. 4.] Owing to our engagedness in itinerant labors, since early in September last, we have been prevented from continuing a successive monthly communication of our intended remarks upon this all-important subject. We recommence, however, in hope of an uninterrupted continuance, till we shall have considered the sections yet remaining. In the mean time, we cannot but regret, that they will not all appear in the same volame, as the scripture quotations, relative to the entire subject, are all successively exhibited in said volume; however, to supply this radical deficiency, the said citations will be successively recited, at the head of each article, as we proceed.

Section 3. “We walk by faith, not by sight. For the love of Christ constrains us; beoause we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and, that he died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live to themselves; but, to him who died for them, and rose again.-Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." 1 Cor. v. 7, 9, 14, 15. “For, in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision avails any thin nor uncircumcision: but faith, which works by love." Gal. v. 6. Yea—“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal: and though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge: and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself; is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly; seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in

iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears, or coverrs, all things; be-
lieves all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love never
fails,” &c. "Now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the
greatest of these is love.-Beloved, let us love one another: for love
is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love. In this was
manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.-
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved
us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God
dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.—And we have known
and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that
dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him. Herein is our love
made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; be-
cause as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but
perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. He that fears
is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.
1 Cor. xiii. 1, 8, 13.; 1 John iv. 7–12, 16-19.

Section 4. In tho preceding section we have adverted to the divine origin and blessedness of the genuine Christian, as one begotten of God, and resting in the bosom of his love. James i. 18., with 1 John iv. 16.

In the one under present consideration, our attention is called to the divine principle of Christian action and enjoyment, with its immediate effects, namely, evangelical faith, or belief of the gospel, with hope and love. "For we walk by faith, not by sight. For the love of God constrains us,” &c. 2 Cor. v. 7, 14, 15. “Wherefore we labor that whether present or absent we may be accepted of him." verse 9. “For in Christ Jesus, [or under the profession of Christianity, ]neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith that works by love." Gal. v. 6. Now as Christian faith is the radical principle of Christian love,-For we love him because (we believe) he first loved us." 1 John iv. 16, 19. And as Christian love is the efficient principle of all acceptable obedience and Christian enjoyment; (for we can enjoy nothing that we do not love; therefore, without this faith, it is impossible either to please God, or to enjoy him in this world.

Again, as our belief or faith is immediately dependent upon our knowledge; (for we can believe nothing concerning that, of which we are ignorant of which we have never heard)--and as our knowledge of divine truth is immediately dependent upon the use we make of the Bible; therefore, if we would live by faith," we must make a constant, diligent, and prayerful use of that sacred volume, for this blissful purpose.—Yes, a constant, diligent, and prayerful use of it; because it is the very aliment of spiritual life: see Psalm cxix. 97, 103. "Oh! how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. How sweet are thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”—“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Jer. xv. 16. “As new born babes desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." I Peter ii. 2. Thus the word understood and believed, must be

[ocr errors]

kept continually present to the mind, that it may realize and enjoy its all-important and blissful contents;—that it may be a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path.” Psalm cxix. 105. “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; and the reproofs of insiruction are the way of life." Prov. vi. 23. Thus walking in the light of God, "the entrance of whose word gives light.” Psalm cxix. 130. (“For God is light.” 1 John i. 5.) “We have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin:"_makes us clean, and keeps us clean. 1 John i. 5, 7, 9. And thus will it have its proper, formative, blissful influence upon our minds and manners,-our hearts and lives.

Now these things being demonstrably-evidently so; what remains but to make the due use of the blessed Book? That in so doing we may truly realize and enjoy the Christian religion, which is heaven upon earth. See the Apostle's description of the Christian's exercise, even laboring under various persecutions for Christ's sake. 1 Peter i. 5, 8, 9. “Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls;—and are kept by the power of God through faith to a salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."

Such, we are divinely informed, are the efficient principles and effects of pure, genuine, primitive Christianity; namely, divine "faith, hope, and love:” the first of these producing the second, and both of them--the third. The whole three being the direct and immediate effect of the divine word truly understood, believed, and retained: the latter of which, namely, the retention, directly and immediately depending upon the constant and diligent exercise of the mind upon the divine testimony. Whence it necessarily follows, that“Blessed." and only blessed, “is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and who meditates on his law day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season: his leaf also shall not wither; and all that he does shall prosper.” Psalm i. 1, 2, 3.




Our indefatigable and excellent brother Eaton, of New Brunswick, who edits a very respectable, and, I doubt not, a very useful periodical, called “The Christian,” gives us the following valuable extracts from that most learned and eminent of Baptist Ministers, Dr. Gale:

"One very singular fact connected with this subject, is, that persons differing widely on other points, meet here! Dr. Gale, a celebrated Baptist Minister, who wrote Reflec. tions on Wall's History of Infant Baptism, not only aa mits the connexion existing be. tween baptism and the enjoyment of salvation, but is fully with us on the doctrine of haptism for remission of sins. Our beloved brother Howard, in his travels through Nova Scotia, has procured two volumes of sermons written by Dr. Gale One of these volumes he has sent to us. It is really an Intellectual treat. We were never more surprized than VOL. V-NS


when we found those very sentiments, which our contemporaries are nicknaming Camp. bellism, plainly and fairly stated and enforced by a Baptist Minister, designated in the title-page of his posthumous sermons, The late reverend and learned Dr. Gale,' This voluine, printed after his death, bears date London, 1724, and was consequently wriuen just one hundred years before hrothers Campbell, Scott, and others in America, began not only to advocate, but to practise those principles. But the Doctor speaks so well that lie shall be heard in his own style and language. Nothing but the smallness of our work prevents us from making larger extracts from his excellent sernions, not only on this suliject, but on many others of very great importance:

"To proceed, therefore, to a second consideration, to prove that all helievers are equally obliged to be baptized; I would note to you that one use and end, and design of haptism, was for the remission of sins: of this we are assured in the express words of scripture. Thus in 1 Cor. vi. 11., after the Apostle has enumerated a great many abominable sine and vices, which exclude the anrighteous from the kingdom of God, he adds, And suck were some of yoil; but ye are washed:' i. e. in your baptism you are purified and cleansed from all the guilt and pollution of these sins. Avd Mehrews x, 22 , iu manifest allusion to the necessary purifications under the law required of those who were to come into the presence of God, and wliich consisted in sprinkling blood and the water of separation upon persons who had been defiled, and in the washing their bodies in running water; the Apostle encouraged the Hebrews to raw near to God with a true heart, in follas. surance of faiin, having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and their bodjes washed with pure water:' inporting that as those legal purifications cleansed them from the legal uncleanness, so the Christian bapiism, which wasbed their bodies, purged and purified them tiom all the pollution of sin. And for so much as the natural pariry or cleanness of the water is not to be regarded in the Christian haptism, nor therefore can he strictly meant in this place, it is not improbable ihut the word pure is here to be under. stood actively, or that our bodies are said to be wushed with pure water, to mean, that in haptism our bodies are washed with water, which purities and cleanses us—10 wit, from our sins, wherewith we are defiled, and wbich before rendered us in pure and uncican in the sight of God. Thus Peter says to those who being pricked in their hearts, and convinced by his preaching, inquired what they must do, Acis ji, 37, 38, •Repent and he baptized every one of yon in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and yą shall receive ile gift of the Holy Spirit.' And so again, chapter xxii 16 , baptism is said to wash away sins; for Ananias, lieing sent by God to baptize Paul, after his miraculous conversion, caught bin this, as Paul liimself assures us, in these words, •And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins,' &c.

*As it is not necessary to our present purpose, so to avoid intermixing any viher disputes, I will not now inquire now haptism may be said to answer this end; it is enough for is that it certainly does, in some sense or other, conduce to the purging and purifying 1s from, and the remission and washing away of, all the sins, we have committed: and this being so, either some persons must be supposed, even from their birih, to have been so pure and holy, and free from sin, as to stand in need of no remission nor purification, which I believe few will venture to assert; or else all persons, even they who are born of Christian parents, iind educated in the most caresul inanner in the Christian religion, having sinned and coine short of the glory of God, having need of remission and purifica: tion, must necessarily, as well as Paul, be baptized and wash away their sivs, and be. come clean in the sight of God; that so it may be likewise said of them, 'But ye are wached, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and hy the Spirit of our God.'

Such as seriously consider these things, sure, can never prevail with themselves 10 nieglect this so useful and necessary ordinance; for it must appear very hold and harily for any to expect and promise themselves the remission of their sins in any other way than that the scriptures direct 10, The scriptures show us that Christ instituted laprisin for the remission of sins: and several personis in the scriptures, and among the rest even the great Apostle Paul, are commanded 10 be baptized, in order to the remission of their sins: and what warrant have any now to expect, with any color of reason or modesty, that their sins shall be remitted in any other manner, and without doing that which was formerly so necessary to that end? Had those persons we have mentioned refused to be baptized, notwithstanding the command which was given them, it would have lopen thought a contempt of the ordinance; and their sins, instead of being remitted, would have been thereby increased and bound faster on them. And I cannot see but the case is exactly the same with all those who refuse to submit to baptistn now; for all those in. structions were not only given to them of old time, but likewise to us, and our Lord will require the same humble, un reserved, sincere obedience

If wbat I have said is not a demonstration that our sins shall not be forgiven without baptism: it must, however, be acknowledged to be at least doubtful whether they will be remitted by God any other way. Perhaps, possibly, it seems, and the like, will go but a very little way in opposition to such plain and express passages of scriptore as have been mentioned; it can hardly be pretended that granting the most, they can so muels as ren der it douhiful whether wur sins shall be remitted without ba ptism; and the scripture assures us, Rom. xiv. 23, that he that doubtelh is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. And, therefore, seeing baptism was certainly instituted by our Lord, and once of use for the reuniesion of sins, and there can

[ocr errors]

he no evil, no hazard, or danger in continuing to make the same use of it still; and like. wise seeing there is, on the contrary, no certain express warrant for the disuse of it, and they who plead for the disuse may probably be mistaken; and notwithstanding all their imaginations it may be true, that, according to the scriptures, baptism ought still to be administered to all for the remission of sins; and then they who neglect it run a mighty hazard of continuing still in their sins: I say, seeing there is certainly no danger in continuing to use what was once appointed, and there may, perhaps, be great danger in the disuse of it; would not every wise and considerate man, even in common pru. deuce, choose ihe safest way, in which there is no hazard at all, and continue in the practice of what can do bim no harm, rather tban presumptuously neglect it, when it may possibly do bini some good ?

some, perhaps, may be apt to imagine that there is too great stress laid upon baptism, while the remission of sins is made to depend so much upon it. But this exception lies Against the scriptures themselves, not against our reasoning; for the necessity and usefulness of baptism to the remission of sins, is not our doctrine, but the undoubted doc. trine of the scriptures, which leach nothing more plainly. Peter's advice to his coni. verts was not only to repent for the remission of sins;' but, Acts ii 38, first to repent, and then to be baptized for the remission of sins; and Ananias' advice 10 Paul, even alier the extraordigary appearance of God in his favor, and his repentance, was to be baptized, and wash away his sins. Both those instances show, at least, that baptisin should conduce to the washing away their sins; and that, notwithstanding their repent. ance and every other requisite, without this baptism their sins should not be remitted. The words be baptized for the remission of sins, and be baptized and wash away your sins, can import nothing less than this; unless it can be supposed those holy men acting under ihe influence of the Spirit of God, could order a thing to be done for a cer. tain end, to which the thing had no tendency at all; and that the holy pennien have made use of expressions on purpose to bewilder and inislead us.

Loet none, therefore, deceive theinselves with their repentance, and the regularity of their lives, and promise themselves too inuch on their account. These, indeed, are ex. cellent and valuable qualifications, and absolutely necessary for the remission of sins; but they are not powerful enough to extort remission, and force our Judge to forgive us.

These alone, without the nierits and intercession of our powerful Mediator and Sa. vlour, would, after all, stand us in little stead, and make no sufficieni atonement for our past offences: but our Saviour having bought us with a great price, and redeemed us and reconciled us 10 God hy his own blood, 'we are justified not by our repentance, but freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,''Rom. jii. 24., in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,' Eph. i. 7., Col. i. 14 , as is highly reasonable. Therefore the benefits of his blood must be applied to our souls in his own way and manner. If he required no other condition but our repentance then upon our repentance alone oursins should he forgiven us: but since he has appointed haptism likewise, whereby to wash them away; unless they are so washed away hy baptism, they will reniain upon us unremitted; for he that hreaketh any one command is guilty of all And therefore, though our lives be ever so regular, and nur repentance ever so sincere and perfect, and nothing else be wanting; yet the willol neglect of the ordinance of baptism only, will obstruct the remission of our sins and our acceptance with God, to which we can make no claim but upon bis own conditions, which are not haptism alone it is true, nor repentance alone, bui repentance and baptism jointly: for if we desire to know what we should do to be saved, i'eter bas told niş hy anthority from the Lord himself-Repent,' says he, 'and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins: and what God has thus joined together in the scriptures, let ne inan presume to separate avid put asunder, nor without any groundex. peci the remission of his sins upon his repentance only, and encourage himself in the wiltul neglect of baptism, as insignificant and useless. -Seventh Sermon on Baptismi, p. 193–199.

"Reader, this is the voice of all antiquity. All writers of any note previous to the era of the Reformation, speak with one voice in favor of haptism as necessary to remission of sins and regeneration. Not one person in the days of the Apostles, nor till within two or three hundred years, was ever recognized as pardoned, justitird, reconciled, adopted. sanctified, or saved from his sins, until he was baptized This brother Camp. bell, in nis Ertre on Remission of Sins, to which reference has already been made, has spread before the world in such a convincing lighi, that the individual who has carefully read, and has then opposed it, has ceased to be (religionsly) an honest man.

Several editions have been published in Britain, and more are called for We shall lay the sub. stance of his arguments, in our own style, before the readers of The Christian, together with the authority quoted, and also such other facts as have come under our own on.

« PreviousContinue »