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faithfully and generally discharged, there would be no room for opposers of infant baptism to ask, what profit is there in sprinkling an unconscious in fant? We might confidently reply, and appeal to facts for the justness of our answer, much every way; for hereby our children have the best security of a Christian education. And in this way, by the promised special blessing of a Covenant God, they are generally formed to piety, usefulness, and happiness.
In the life of that distinguished servant of Christ, the Rev. Philip Henry, written by his no less eminent son Matthew Henry, -it is recorded, that, "in dealing with his children about their spiritual state, he took hold of them very much by the handle of their infant baptism; and fre. quently inculcated that upon them, that they were born in God's house, and were betimes dedicated and given up to him, and therefore were obliged to be his servants: Psalm cxiv. 16, "I am thy servant, because the son of thy handmaid." This he was wont to illustrate to them by the comparison of taking a lease of a fair estate for a child in the cradle, and putting his life into it. The child then knows nothing of the matter, nor is he capable of consenting. However, then he is maintained out of it, and hath an interest in it. And when he grows up and becomes able to choose and refuse for himself, if he go to his landlord and claim the benefit of the lease, and promise to pay the rent, and do the services, well and good, he hath the benefit of it; if otherwise it is at his peril. "Now children, (would he say) our
VOL. II. New Series.
great Landlord was willing that your lives should be put into the lease of heaven and happiness ; and it was done accordingly by your baptism, which is the seal of the righteousness, that is by faith; and by that it was assured to you, that if you would pay the rent, and do the service, (that is, live a life of faith and repentance and sincere obedience) you shall never be turned off of the tenement: but if now you dislike the terms, and refuse to pay this rent, this chief rent, (so he would call it) for it is no rack, you forfeit the lease. However, you cannot but say that you had a kindness done you, to have your lives put into it."
"Thus did he frequently deal with his children, and even travail in birth again to see Christ formed in them: and from this topic he generally argued, and would often say, "If infant baptism was more improved, it would be less dispnted."
The growing inattention of parents and churches to this benefit and obligation of infant baptism, and the consequent rapid decline of order and religion in the families and among the children even of Christian professors, are among the darkest symptoms of the present day, and call aloud for immediate remedy.
With respect to those parents, who have themselves been bap. tized, and who yet have never given up their offspring in baptism, such are reminded that even you are under solemn engage. ments both to God and your children. For your own early baptism and covenant relation to the Most High, made it both your duty and privilege public ly to avow this relation and en
tail it as a rich inheritance upon your seed. This obligation is not cancelled by your sinful neglect to fulfil it. Every prayer, which any of you make for your children, every instance of your requesting prayer or thanksgiv. ing on their behalf, in public or private, every secret resolution or open promise, which you have made respecting them in moments of danger, of sickness, or bereavement, all these are recorded in heaven, as so many Vows, which God is tenderly inviting you to pay.
Finally; our subject applies itself generally to all classes of readers, to all who style your. selves Christians in distinction from Deists. In this sense, at least you call Christ Lord; why then do any of you neglect to do the things which he commands? If you own the Bible to be the word of God, why do you not obey it? Why do any of you treat your Maker and Redeemer, your fellow men or yourselves, in a manner which is condemned by your own principles? Does not the professed belief of such momentous truths and obligations, as are contained in revealed or even natural religion, car. ry in it a solemn engagement to a virtuous and pious behavior? Where then is the boasted sin. cerity, or consistency of those who trample upon this engagement? With what an ill grace do the openly profane ridicule the pretended hypocrisy of church members, when their own conduct exhibits the same odious features? I may also ask such persons, whether they have never prayed or vowed to God, in some tender, serious, or alarming
moments? Now is it consistent
or right to pray against sin and temptation, and yet continue to cherish both; to pray for the Holy Spirit, and yet fight against him; to ask for life, health, and prosperity, and yet go on to abuse these blessings; to prom. ise reformation in a season of distress, and when God has finally delivered you, to forget both him and your own engage. ments? Is it consistent to join with God's people in the weekly solemnities of the sanctuary, while your allowed practice be. fore and after these exercises, directly contradicts them? Let those whose consciences charge them with such conduct, consider seriously these shocking instances of trifling with their Ma. ker, and henceforth act an hon. est and rational part.
To conclude; the present state of the christian and infidel world, and the great events of Provi. dence at this day, compared with the prophecies of Scripture, loudly call upon all the friends of religion to make a public, firm, and united stand on the Lord's side; to come out from the anti-christian world, and be whol. ly separated from her sins, that they receive not of her plagues. The great King of nations and of saints, is emphatically saying at this eventful period, "Behold I come quickly; blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his gar. ments." Providence is now awfully teaching us that there is no security for ourselves, for our children, for our country, or the christian world, but in the revival of a strict, courageous, and invincible adherence to the gospel. Let us then unite our fervent prayers for the general revival of such a spirit. Let us
thankfully rejoice in the appearance of such a revival at home or abroad. Let us all, by a faithful performance of our Christian Vows contribute our utmost towards the arrival of that approaching and happy day when Christ's kingdom shall fully come and extend its blessed influ. ence throughout the world. T.
HAVING been a subscriber for your monthly publication, I have often been pleased, and, I hope, edified with its contents. Though the subjects brought to view at one time, and another, have been various, and many of them high. ly interesting, I should have been gratified had some able pen con. sidered the subject of ordinations, and pointed out in what manner they ought to be conducted. A knowledge of human nature, will teach us, that custom is not without effect in religious, as well as in civil concerns. It has, for a course of years, been customary, at the ordination, or installation of a minister, to make an entertainment for those who compose the council. Individuals have also provided for their friends, and others who have attended on the occasion. In some instances, a ball has been appointed in the evening, that the day may be closed with mirth. When a serious mind contem. plates the solemnities of this occasion, and calls up to view the conduct of primitive saints, must he not experience painful reflec tions? Is such conduct becoming the followers of the meek,
the lowly Jesus? Is it congenial to the spirit of his gospel? In the Acts of the Apostles we read, "When Paul and Barnabas or dained elders in every church, and prayed, with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." xiv. 23.
Elders or ministers then were formally set apart to the solemn work by fasting. The manner in which ordinations at the present day, are conducted, cannot therefore be considered as according with apostolic example.
It may be said, "the church of Christ is now in a different state from what it was in the times of the apostles." That the ordina. tion of a minister is a joyful occasion. If these things be granted, it will by no means justify the conduct above mentioned. Can Christians express their joy in no other way, than by feasting and mirth? Is not such conduct more consonant to the spirit of those times, when Bacchus, Venus, and others were called gods, and worshipped, than to the present enlightened age of christianity? Few events are so highly interesting and solemn
the setting apart one to the work of the ministry: great and weighty is the charge committed to such, that even an apostle exclaims, "who is sufficient for these things." Surely then every thing connected with the transaction ought to be conducted in such a manner, as may solemnize the minds of minister, and people.
If it be allowed, that the religious performances in public are appropriate to the occasion; it may be asked, what propriety is there in passing from the solemnities of the sanctuary, to the
house of feasting? From the prayers and praises of God's house, to a sumptuous entertainment? Is not such a scene cal. culated to eradicate every solemn impression, which may have been made on the minds of the clergy and of the laity, to dissipate serious thoughts, and to produce such sensations, as are not congenial to the interesting occasion? Our Savior declared, that "his kingdom was not of this world." He called his disciples "the light
of the world." Those who are his friends ought to manifest a spirit becoming so dignified a character. To pass from one of the most solemn transactions
in the world, to a feast-to spend and close a day, the events of which relate to the glory of God, and the eternal interests of immortal souls, in hilarity and mirth, must appear to a serious, contemplative mind, highly im. proper. For the honor of christianity it is desirable that ministers and people would seriously reflect on the subject here suggested; that they would in
future exert themselves in their respective spheres to discountenance a practice so contrary to the example of primitive saints, so injurious to christianity, so painful to numbers, who wish the followers of the Lamb would
let their light so shine before others, that they might glorify their Father who is in heaven. A.
drim, or acts of the Assembly of Isra elitish Deputies of France and Italy, convoked at Paris by an Imperial and Royal Decree, May 30th, 1806. Translated by Kirwan. EDITORS.
AFTER mentioning the change produced in the christian world by the Reformation, he proceeds thus,
"Perhaps a still more momen. tous revolution is approaching, and Christianity upon the Con. tinent, is about to be once again reduced to the judaism, in which it began. Socini.
ans have long contended, that Jesus Christ was but a Jew philosopher, educated at Alexandria and thus prepared to adopt that amalgamation of platonic and judaic opinion, in which the pe
culiar character of his doctrine principally consists. They consider him as a human reformer of the Jewish church, who favor. ed the dismissal of its local rites, and gave the sanction of his wis. dom to its fundamental doctrines concerning God and an hereafter, The industry of his zeal and the inspiration of his eloquence, at. tached numerous disciples to the promulgation of his tenets; the efficacy of his instructions, and servedly ranked him with the the example of his morality, degreatest prophets of his country. His wonderful resurrection, no longer denied by the Jews of Germany, has ceased to be a stumbling block, or obstacle, to the meeting and union of the Unitarian and Jewish churches ; and thus an identity of belief has overspread, under the auspices of the professors Eichhorn and Paulus both the Socinianizing protestants of the continent and the Jews.
Similar opinions have made great inroads in the Catholic church: Italy has its Geddes as well as England: De Lacy and his friend Gregoire are allowed to prompt both the councils of the Gallican church, and the transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim: and it will soon be found when the Jews have accepted a Presbyterian form of church government, that a leading min ister of the protestants, a Marron for instance, could with equal propriety officiate in the church of St. Thomas, or in the Synagogue.
To this state of things the government of France is gradually drawing the various sects of its European empire. A systematic disposition may be traced to organize the religion of Rousseau, and to prepare its general substitution to the established but decaying superstition. It is prob. able that the ensuing pope will be selected from among the vota. ries of the judaizing reformers, and a general council of Christendom may perhaps be called at Rome to confirm the unity of the Godhead, by the authority of a papal bull. A most important and well devised step toward this great change, was the convention of a Jewish Sanhedrim at Paris, which has been so managed, as exactly to obtain from the Jews a concession or dereliction of those few peculiarities, which unfitted them for an immediate, entire comprehension in the new projected universal church. They have been induced to acknowl. edge that their laws concerning marriage and divorce are subordinate to those of the magistrate; that their dietetic peculiarities may be dispensed with during
military service, and ever during absence from home: that the ecclesiastical constitutions of the Jews may vary with times and places, and is not hostile to Presbyterian mode of government and that the prohibition, or permission of usury in cer. tain cases, respects charitable loans, and not commercial inter course. In return for these sat. isfactory explanations, the govTM ernment has been induced to confer pensions on the Jewish cler gy, who are now patronized by the French sovereign with the same liberality as the Catholic and the Protestant clergy. A co-estab. lishment of all the biblical sects has been thus realized in France."
The plan of church govern ment adopted for the Jews of France, with other interesting transactions of the Parisian San. hedrim, may be found in the Panoplist for October, 1807, p. 229, &c.