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Theological Notes and Queries.
OPEN COUNCIL. [The utmost freedom of honest thought is permitted in this department. The reader must therefore use his own discriminating faculties, and the Editor must be allowed to claim freedom from responsibility.)
BAPTISM. Querist.-Apart from the cug. toms of all sects and the dogmas of all theological schools, what is the Gospel idea of Baptism?
INQUIRER. Replicant.-In answer to “Inquirer," we give the following extract:
“The passages in the New Testament, which mention the Christian rite of Baptism with water, are very few; and they show clearly that its nature and its use are similar to the natura and use of the Initiatory rites of the Jewish system. This would be antecedently probable; and is made certain by the entire absence of the indications of difference, which would be given if difference really existed.
“ John iv. 1. The Pharisees heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John: though Jesus did not himself baptize, but his disciples.
** Acis ii. 38. Repent, and be baptized each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. –41. Then they, accepting what was said by him, were baptized.
“ Acts viii. 12. They were baptized, both men and women. -16. For not yet had it (the Holy Spirit] descended upon any one of them; but they had only been baptized for the name of the Lord Jesus.
“Acts viii. 36. See, there is water; what binders my being
baptized ? And he ordered the carriage to stop; and they both went down to the water, Philip and the chamberlain, and he baptized him.
* Acts ix. 18. And rising up, he was baptized; and, taking food, his strength was restored.
“Acts xxii. 16. Rise up, receive baptism; and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.
“Acts x. 47. Can any withhold water, that these should not be baptized, who received the Holy Spirit, even as we also ?
“Acts xvi. 15. When she was baptized and her family, she en. treated us, saying.
“Acts xvi. 33. And he was baptized himself, and all belonging to him, immediately.
“Acts xviii. 8. 'And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.
“ Acts xix. 5. On hearing this, they were baptized for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul put his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke other languages, and prophesied.
“1 Cor. i. 14. I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius, that no one should say, that you were baptized for my name.-17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.
“ Heb. vi. 1. Instructions on baptisms, and imposition of hands.
i. These are the only passages in which it appears from the connection that the baptism men
tioned is the baptism of the body 18, 21; iv. 1. It is simply as with water. Our Lord spoke of assumption, without the leas: another baptism, of which He support either from the Net was Himself the subject, and Testament or from the Old, that, which his disciples would also in these figurative espressions share; but this was not the of the Apostles, any reference is baptism with water; nor does made to immersions in water, it appear to be connected with such as were subsequently introit, except as everything in the duced. For these there is the Christian course follows the com- authority of the Fathers of the mencement. He said, I have a third century, but not that of the baptism wherewith to be baptized.' Apostles of Christ. The puritLuke xii. 50. With the baptism cations required by the Jewish that I am baptized with, you shall law, in connection wit, the be baptized." Mark x. 39. It is Temple service, are called Bapof this baptism that St. Paul tisms. Heb. is. 10. But no im. speaks when he says, that they mersion of the body in water is who are baptized for Christ are commanded or mentioned in that baptized for & death like his law. Every purification with death: and, being crucified with water, of one person by another, Christ, are also buried with Him, was by sprinkling. And there and raised to a new life. Rom. were no other public purificavi. 3. So he says that Christians tions with water, but the washing are circumcised with Christ, of the hands and feet. Nothing they are consecrated and cleansed more than these simple by their union to Christ,-being vices was enjoined by laz. buried with Him in baptism, and Nothing more appears to have raised with Him, through their been practised by the Jews during faith in God. Col. ü. 11. As the the times of the Old Testament. circumcision and crucifixion are All the evidence brought forwart spiritual, 80 the burial and respecting the practice of inresurrection are spiritual : and mersion by Jews or by Christians, the Baptism here referred to is of a date comparatively recent, must be spiritual also; and when superstitious customs were exclusively 80, if there be multiplied, and the traditions of consistency in the use of the men were regarded more than the terms, and correctness in the commandments of God. The prestatements. All who have this valent opinions respecting the baptism do seek to be like Christ. rite of baptism, and some other Gal. iii. 27. For them there is subjects, would experience a conone Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. siderable change, if the motto, so Eph. iv. 5. This is the Baptism much extolled but so often for which St. Peter declares does gotten, were consistently maiosave, - that which is, not a tained, "The Bible, and the cleansing of the body, nor à cor- Bible only, is the religion of respondence to the destructive Protestants." GODWIX. food : but the pursuit of a good conscience,—tho antitype to the example of Christ, who
Query to be answered. suffered for sins, the just on be- Does 2 Cor. vi. 14, “Be ye not half of the unjust, that He might unequally yoked together with bring us to God, whose pattern unbelievers," &c., stand opposed of self-denial and suffering all to a business partnership between are called to imitate. 1 Pet. iji. a godly and an ungodly man? or
does it stand opposed to a marriage contract between a godly and an uogodly person? If the latter, what of those ministers who issue
a license, and solemnize the service? Do they not thereby become “partakers of other men's sins ?”
(We hold it to be the duty of an Editor either to give an early notice of the books sent to him for remark, or to return them at once to the Publisher. It is anjust to praise worthless books; it is robbery to retain unnoticed ones.)
THE REVIEWER'S CANON,
The Nonbuch PROFESSOR IN HIS MERIDIAN SPLENDOUR; or, the Sin
gular Actions of Sanctified Christians. By WILLIAM Secker, To which is added, The Wedding Ring, a Sermon, by the same
Author. London: R. D. Dickinson, Farringdon Street. The author of this work lived in the last century, and was minister of " Allhallows Church,” London. He was evidently a man of peculiar genius, original thought, and strong religious feelings. His imagination was fertile with striking and sometimes grotesque illustrations. His style pithy, antithetic, quaint, and pungent. His dedicatory epistle to Sir Edward Barkham and his lady may be taken as a fair specimen of his style of thought and expression. It is as follows:
“Honoured Worthies, -You have tied me in so many silken cords of kindness, that I must live and die in these pleasant bonds. The only return I can make you is by pen and ink, to acknowledge myself your debtor; persuaded that your noble minds are like that of Artaxerxes, as condescending to receive small things from others, as to grant great things himself. I am sensible what prejudices are conceived against recommendatory epistles. I presame I shall not kindle strange fire upon your altar, by informing you that I believe you take more pleasure in godliness than in greatness. You have learned that piety is the best parentage, and that to be new born is better than to be high born. It is reported that in some great personages' houses, there are more oaths heard in one day than prayers in one year.' But in your house, there are more prayers heard in one day than oaths in one year. God has ornamented your terrestrial crowns with many choice jewels. He has given you of the fatness of the earth as well as of the dew of heaven. Esau's venison, as well as Jacob's blessing; the nether springs of common bounty, as well as the upper springs of special
mercy. There are four showers which have watered your gardenfruitful posterity, an inward tranquillity, a faithfal society, and a grateful memory. Ah, how liberal has God's hand been toward you; and how lively should your hearts be towards Him! You have a large room in many godly bosoms; but, alas ! the best man's confidence on earth is insufficient to carry you to heaven. A crack in the greatest pebble is not equal to a flaw in the smallest diamond. These present you with a piece, which is more practical than notional; more fit for a Christian to live upon than for a critic to look upon. I hope the dregs do not lie so thick in it as to prevent your drawing clear wine from it. I have attempted from this scripture to draw a believer's picture, ani hope you will view it with an attentive eye. May you remember that by how much you are made greater than others, by so much better you should be than others ! On earth it is your chief business to seek God, and in heaven it will be your chief blessedness to see God. While some look with envy on the rich man's estate, may you look with trembling on the rich man's accounts! You know you should not only be the pictures of piety, but also patterns of piety; then, while you are descending the hill of nature, you will also be ascending the hill of grace, you will prove yourselves such jewels of mercy as shall be locked up in the cabinet of glory. Now, that your happiness may exceed your hope, that your little family below may compose a part of the family above, that it may live holily with you on earth, and eternally with God in heaven, is the earnest prayer of, most Fortby patrons,
“ Your humble servant,
“WILLIAM SECKER." This extract will stimulate our readers, we are sure, to procure this extraordinary little volume.
A SUGGESTIVE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT ON AN ORIGINAL
Plax. St. Luke. Vol. II. By Rev. W. H. VAN DOREN. London:
R. D. Dickinson, 92, Farringdon Street. WERE a young divine, possessing the necessary qualifications, namely, great philosophio penetration, high poetic feeling, profound reverence for truth, a through acquaintance with the original language, an accurate and extensive knowledge of oriental manners, scenes, and customs, to ask us what literary work he should give himself as the greatest and most urgent ? our reply would be that of abstracting the great universal and eternal principles of the Bible. We would tell him to go through every chapter of that grand old book, com. mencing at the beginning, stripping it of all orientalisms, localisms, symbolisms, and ascertaining the moral and redemptive substance of the whole. That redemptive and moral substance which could be put into a space small as compared with the great bulk of the book, would be the very spirit of the Bible :—that which man wants to
regenerate, quicken, and perfect him. We would not accept, however, this tract, which it would be, containing the spirit of the Bible, in lieu of the Bible as it now is, for we like the wonderful, variegated, and often gorgeous wrappages with which the old book enfolds eternal principles, but we would accept the tract as infinitely more valuable than all the bulky commentaries extant on the Holy Scriptures. This
suggestive commentary” does in some degree what we desiderate. Only it does a great deal more, and therefore swells the bulk of the book. It imports many ideas that are not found in the text, and often, homiletically, gives the reader the substance of a sermon. What we have said of the first volume holds true of this. Sunday-school teachers. and preachers will find the work a great boon.
PREPARING FOR HOMB. A Series of Expository Discourses on the
Fifth Chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. By
Row. The preface to this volume, in which the author speaks of the work entitled “Heaven our Home," as a “valuable treatise," we confess did not at first propossess us with a favourable judgment of him as a teachor of that religion which inculcates self-obliviousness, which tells us we must lose our life, and not seek our own. The selfishness and sensuousness which are imported into modern evangelicalism, are the devil in the garb of religion. In modern evangelicalism heaven and hell are preached as the great arguments for a religious life. Salvation is reprosented as a rescue from some outward hell, rather than as a rescue from selfishness, ignorance, carnality, and ungodliness. The religion of Christ is urged as a means to an end, rather than exhibited as the grandest ond of being. In our view, religion is urgent, not because there is a heaven or hell, but because there is a God of infinite perfection to be adored, worshipped, and obeyed. Though the work before us is a little tainted with this corrupt evangelicalism, it scarcely belongs to the class. There is a good deal of high spiritual teaching in it, a good deal in keeping with the doctrine that Christ came “ to redeem men from all iniquity,' &c. On the whole we heartily commend it.
Sermons: Experimental and Practical. An Offering to Home Mis
sionaries. By Joel HAWES, D.D. London: R. D. Dickinson,
92, Farringdon Street. “The sermons in this volume," says the venerable author, are of a miscellaneous character, not designed for the discussion of points of Christian doctrine, or any peculiarities of religious sentiment; but plain, practical, experimental, setting forth in direct, simple style the great evangelical truths and duties which the author thoroughly