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produced more material effects, if the safety of the prophet had required their intervention.
In view of such considerations as these, we are enabled, I think, to fix with tolerable certainty the time when our Lord was glorified. When we perceive the ease with which, in a higher state of being, the spiritual body appears to be transformed into the natural, and the natural into the spiritual, it seems reasonable to conclude that He was glorified on rising from the and that in all His subsequent fleshly appearances He merely used a capacity of transformation common to all spiritual bodies. But not till we are emancipated from these clay barriers can we have any adequate conception how such transformations are effected; it is enough for the present to have the assurance, in the suggestive words of the Apostle, that there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.'
I may be permitted to note, in conclusion, another probability in the economy of this spiritual body. In referring to the bodily as well as spiritual likeness to Christ to be attained at last, the language of St. John is peculiar and suggestive : 'It doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. What we shall be does not appear at present, because we are in the flesh, and cannot understand the change to be wrought upon us ; but we know that He shall appear in great glory, and we know that we shall be like Him then; for we shall see Him as He is. The peculiar idea here seems to be, that the sight of the Redeemer's physical glory is to be the cause of the saint's resemblance to Him. We shall be like Him, not merely when we shall see Him as He is, but because we shall see him as He is. The Psalmist, too, gives utterance to almost the same idea : 'As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness : I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.' (Psalm xvii. 15.) The seeing of God's face is here intimately associated with the attaining of His image. This bodily assimilation to Christ's likeness, and the means by which it is realized, appears to be just a counterpart of the soul's moral assimilation to His image. It is by beholding His moral beauty that we come to possess and reflect that beauty. The chief difference is, that the bodily likeness will be attained at once, by a sudden sight of Him 'as He is'; while the spiritual resemblance is attained gradually, because He is seen now as in a glass. We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' This gradual moral transformation affords us a pledge and an illustration of the instantaneous bodily transformation to be realized at last. On awaking from the sleep of the grave, the first object the saint sees is Christ ; and, lo! the sight of Him immediately transforms the vile body into His likeness.*
* This thought is finely presented in our Hymn (72, verse 3) :
* His image visibly exprest,
It was so in a small degree with Moses. He beheld a little of God's glory on the mount, and the poor mortal flesh caught up so much of that glory that it had to be veiled. If such was the effect of a very imperfect vision of God, vouchsafed to man in this mortal body, how glorious must be the effect when Christ is seen as He is,' and when His image shall be reflected by the spiritual, immortal bodies of His saints !
Now what I would venture to put forward as highly probable is : that this final transformation into Christ's likeness may be due, not so much to a direct act of Omnipotence, as to the nature of the spiritual body itself. The mere seeing of Christ appears to be the cause of this wonderful change. May not all spiritual bodies be so constituted that on seeing Christ they immediately reflect His image? We have seen that the spiritual body appears to be endowed with the capacity of voluntary transformation. May we not also consider it to be essentially predisposed to one passive transformation,that of becoming like Christ the moment it beholds Him? Some such supposition as this appears to be in full harmony with the not obscure hints afforded us of the method of future glorification.
And certainly we can conceive of nothing more honouring to Christ. What an amazing tribute of glory to Him, that every redeemed one of His should, on seeing Him, immediately glow with His image. And who can say but this may be one means of raising the redeemed from glory to glory, throughout eternity? We can conceive that the Saviour might, at epochs, display new phases of material glory; and His saints, on beholding these new visions of Him, would be transformed into higher manifestations of His image, and so rise into new experiences and new delights. Thus, while He would ever remain the Source and Centre of their joys, their capacities would be endlessly enlarged and endlessly gratified.
On a theme so sacred speculation must be kept within reverent bounds. But as the mind is apt to invest the future scenes of bliss with colours and forms of its own imagining, I think he renders a real service to mankind who advances any reasonable supposition-though it be nothing more—to keep in due check, or haply take the place of, merely gratuitous conceits. Clear and positive knowledge, however, belongs only to the future. When speculation shall have done its best, it will be as true as ever that there have not entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.' *
We shall gladly admit an equally well-reasoned and well-written Paper on this very abstrase subject, in support of the alternative hypothesis. It will be seen that the difficulty of determining the localization of the risen Lord during the greater part of the forty days, when he was invisible to all, belongs alike to either supposition.EDITOR
OUR BAPTIZED CHILDREN :
Among the original Nonconformists in England, Philip Henry shines a star of the first magnitude. His Life has found almost universal acceptance. It was inserted in the Christian Library by Mr. Wesley, who also desired his Preachers to read to the Societies that part which relates to Family Godliness ; and it even found a place in a collection of Ecclesiastical Biography published by Dr. Wordsworth, the father of the present Bishop of Lincoln. It was abridged in a series of six articles for this Magazine, in the year 1812 ; and six years afterwards another and larger abridgment was published at the Book-Room, by the Rev. Samuel Taylor. But it is now out of print, and not easy of access, and those who would wish to take Mr. Wesley's advice would not find it easy to do so; though a short extract is given in this Magazine for 1866 (p. 28). Certainly religion has seldom been made to wear a more winning aspect than in this biography, and those of the son and daughters born and reared at Broad Oak. All were early converted, and the famous Commentator earliest of all. Among his miscellaneous works is a valuable Treatise on Baptism, from which the passage following is extracted :
"Our law requires that he who is (subditus natus) born within the king's allegiance, and consequently to all intents and purposes the king's subject, shall, when he is of the age of twelve years, take an oath of allegiance, and promise that to which he was bound before, viz., to be true and faithful to the king (Coke's Inst., i., 68) ; and this oath to be taken among the neighbours in the leet, or in the sheriff's town. I would compare the Confirmation I am pleading for to this. It is the solemn profession of that allegiance which was before due to Christ, and an advancement to a higher rank in His kingdom, The sooner this recognition is made the better. Youth is quickly capable of impressions ; and the more early the impressions are, usually they are the more deep and durable........ Where this is neglected, or negligently performed by the congregation, it is yet the duty of every one to do it, as far as possible, for himself in private ; in the most solemn manner, as in the presence of God ; the more expressly the better ; and it may add some strength to the engagement to subscribe with the hand unto the Lord. (Isaiah xliv. 5.)'
Good reason had this blessed saint to write thus. Among his papers was found one written by himself in his thirteenth year. It recounts how he began to be convinced of sin three years before in hearing his father preach from Psalm li. 17 : 'I think it was that that melted me. Afterwards I began to enquire after Christ.' The next year he had 'reason to believe that his sins were blotted out. What a holy and useful life he led, without a break, from that time forward need not now be more than hinted at. The kind of Confirmation for which he pleads, may, he says, 'not unfitly be done by imposition of hands, according to the practice of the Primitive Church.' But he knows no reason why they must necessarily be Episcopal hands. When every deacon hath authority to administer the great ordinance of baptism, ......it is a riddle to me why the subordinate constitution of Confirmation should be so strictly appropriated unto Bishops....... The investiture were
most properly received from that Pastor who is to administer other ordiDances.'
This avowal and renewal of our baptismal engagements he presses as one part of the improvement of our baptism ; and the general duty of improving our baptism he illustrates under the following particulars : 'It is a trust to which we must be faithful. It is a talent which must be traded with and accounted for. It is a privilege which must be improved. It is a profession which must be lived up to. It is an obligation which must be performed. It is an oath which must be made good.' On this last point he speaks more at length :
It is an oath of allegiance from which no power on earth can absolve as. It is a perpetual covenant never to be forgotten. (Jer. 1. 5.) God will not forget it, and we must Dot....... It is a covenant of salt. (2 Chron. xiii. 5.) God is said to remember His covenant when He bronght His first Begotten into the world (Luke i. 72, 73) ; it was " to perform the oath,” though that oath was sworn many ages before. So what we do in religion we should do with a regard to our baptismal oath ; in remembrance of the holy covenant, and in compliance with the purpose and design of it....... The superadding of repeated engagements to the same parport at the Lord's Table, or on other occasions, doth not supersede, but strengthen and confirm that great engagement.' (Miscellaneous Works of Matthew Henry. Ed. 1833, p. 1180, et seq.)
I have thus endeavoured to set forth some of the grounds and reasons of the opinion I expressed at the last Conference. And in so doing I have found the opinion strengthened, that by adopting under proper regulations the simple rite of Confirmation, we might prevent the falling away of many of our baptized children, might lead many others to an earlier decision than they would otherwise make, and do much to revive and extend the work of God in our Connexion.
In conclusion, I would remark that I have not seen or heard of any objection calling for a very lengthened reply. To those who say that we do not want more rites, but more grace; not ceremonies, but conversions, it is enough to reply that this is simply a question of means and agencies; and in my belief this agency will greatly multiply conversions, which we all agree to regard as the one thing needful. To those who doubt whether the doctrine of laying on of hands, which is among the first principles of Christianity, has any application to this subject, it suffices to say that this simple and Scriptural ceremony may be used now on various occasions as it was in the beginning of Christianity, and that this is a very fitting occasion for the use of it. There is nothing whatever in Scripture to restrict the use of it to ministerial ordinations, though there is much to justify its use at such times. Those who think that we have done well enough without Confirmation so far,' may be reminded that there is a difference between'well' and 'well enough.' If they are satisfied with the state of things in regard to our baptized children, I, and many others are not. I venture to say, there is a growing number, within and without our Community, who desire much improvement in this particular, and think they have a right to expect it. We will look first at some of our neighbours.
The Relation of Children to the Church formed the subject of a paper read at one of the Congregational Union Meetings in 1868. It attracted the attention of a gentleman of that persuasion and led him to enquire how matters stood. Sending out circular letters to many Ministers he obtained replies as to the
ages of the members of three hundred and eighty-four Churches in England. The aggregate number of members was forty thousand three hundred and seventy-four, of whom eighty were under fourteen years of age, or one in five hundred and five; and between fourteen and eighteen years of age, one thousand and forty-five, or about two-and-a-half per cent. Greatly grieved and dissatisfied with this result, Mr. Mander (recently, I believe, Mayor of Wolverhampton) addressed a series of letters on the subject to The English Independent. Many of his remarks are inapplicable to us, as may be readily supposed when we find him stating that out of the three hundred and eighty-four Churches, which he is persuaded may be taken as fair samples of the whole, there were no fewer than three hundred and seventy-nine without one child member; and one hundred and ninety-nine without one member under eighteen years of age.
Some of his doctrinal statements also would not be accepted by us. But one or two things that he has said well deserve our attention. Will not some of us see our own faces in the glass of his history, as given in the following paragraph ?
In the paper read in onr most solemn assembly, on The Relation of Children to the Church, baptism is not once even alluded to. With us, baptism is indeed “of perpetual obligation," because its continued observance is clearly commanded, but it is a mere symbolic rite ; it testifies that the child needs cleansing, and that the means of cleansing are provided ; or it is a dedicatory ceremony; or it may be both : but having been all my life a Dissenter, I never knew it regarded as a sign and seal of covenant blessing. The child has been baptized, but none the less is he regarded as in and of the world.... It is hoped that some day, when pretty well grown up, he will experience a change of heart, profess his faith in Christ, and unite himself with His people ; but till then he is looked upon as simply an "alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and a stranger to the covenant of promise.'
In regard to what Mr. Mander justly calls . The terrible interval' of delay between childhood and Church-membership, he has many striking observations. One I beg to subjoin :
Consider that by the law of habit impressions lose their force by repetition, and a new course of action becomes natural. It is a law which begins to operate from birth. Is there no danger in " sitting under" an Evangelical ministry that this law should operate injuriously? Our children listen from infancy to discourses on the most solemn themes, and to appeals based upon them. What is to prevent these themes losing their interest, and these appeals their force under the constant operation of this law ? Nothing but immediate action. . . Bat let there be after the truth is apprehended, months and years of delay-sermons, prayers, invitations, remonstrances, from six to sixteen--then does this law of habit work incessantly, alas ! how often fatally against the young person. Procrastination and inaction become natural to him, and he is proof against impression.' (The Relation of Children to the Church. By Samuel S. Mander. London, 1872.)
To come back to ourselves. A glance at the Minutes of the Conference as