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mouth of the Lord, doth man live." Surely thou wilt recall to mind some unexpected mercies—some unforeseen blessings, which came to thee when unthought of, in a way mysterious and obscure, and at a time the most unlikely, and led thee to attribute them to chance; but He that commandeth the ravens, whom the winds and the seas obey, who clotheth the grass of the field, which to-day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, it is He who giveth to thee liberally, and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. A prophet was directed to go to Zarephath, and went; a widow had also been commanded to meet him there,—the same almighty hand led them both, and she took him under her roof, and she, and he, and her house did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruise of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah. (17th 1st Kings, 15 & 16.)
Thus, my Christian Reader place your entire dependance upon God, for without him ye can do nothing! You may be called to affluence, or tried by adversity; bear each as the intention of Providence towards you for some wise end, and be not exalted with the one, or depressed from the other. "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." For who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
A. M. W. Chelmsford, 26th Feb. 1845.
SHEARCROFT, TYP. CHELMSFORD.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF BAPTISM.
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
3rd of John, 5th verse.
This is a subject which not only occasions much unhappy dissension, but requires our most careful consideration. The very command of Christ himself to his apostles, proves the necessity of Baptism; for if regeneration were not a thing necessary to eternal life, would He have taught Nicodemus that to see the kingdom of God is impossible, saving only for those men which are born from above? Our Lord's last mandate was couched in these words,— All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, Baptizing Them In The Name Of The Father, And The Son, And The Holy Ghost. St. Paul tells us, If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. What is essential then in order to secure the blessings of Christianity?
In the first place, hearty and undivided faith in the Lord Jesus, —a dependance upon the cross of Christ—and an everlasting hope of eternal life from His ascension, who now sits at the right hand of God, being delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. We must not only mortify our sinful inclinations, and amend our conduct, but our sins must be washed away. You will naturally enquire,—How is this to be effected? I answer, by God only. "Buried with Christ by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Baptism then, if received rightly, is the plenary remission of sin.
This is proved by the following passages from scripture :~Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. (Acts ii. 3—8.) Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins. (Acts xxii. 16.) He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Tit. iii. 5.) Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. x. 22.)
The Fathers speak in the same language :—By the sacrament of Baptism the pollution of our natural birth is put away. Origen t» Luc. 2. Horn 14.* It is lawful for any man, in his infancy, or in middle age, or in old age, to receive this circumcision made without hands (i. e. baptism,) wherein we do not undergo labour, but lay aside the burden of our sins, and find the forgiveness of our faults committed at all times. Chrysostom in Gen. Horn 40. Renovation in baptism is made in a moment by the remission of all sins; for there is not as much as one that remains, however great, which may'not be pardoned. Augustin de Trin. 1.14. c. 17.) Now being made free from sin, says St. Paul to such persons, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. The apostle Peter says,—Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God.
Seeing then the importance of this holy Bite, let it encourage Parents to bring their Infants into covenant with God. Let not the irreligious lives of baptized persons around you be an excuse for neglecting this blessed privilege; for they are increasing their responsibility, and will have to answer for their sinful course before a pure and holy Judge, at the last day. Still even to such, there may be forgiveness, one of the articles of our Church teaches us, that after we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God, we may arise again, and amend our lives. Tertullian says, God would not threaten the impenitent unless he forgave the penitent. Hooker says, Predestination bringeth not life, without the grace of external vocation, wherein our baptism is implied. (Rom. viii. 3.) If Christ Himself who giveth salvation, do require Baptism, (Mark xvi. 16.) it is not for us that look for salvation, to sound and examine Him, whether unbaptized men may be saved; but seriously to do that which is required, and religiously to fear the danger which may grow by the want thereof. Bear in mind that the efficacy of Christ's blood applied in baptism continues, and the penitent and contrite heart may obtain fresh supplies of strength and grace by seeking and praying for the help of the Holy Spirit.
Last, but not least, be careful in your selection of Sponsors; choose such as are living in the fear of God, and striving to keep his commandments: such as will give your children when they advance in years, not only good counsel and advice, but their good example, and ultimately perhaps, with Divine assistance, be the saving of little ones, of whom it is our heavenly Father's will that not one of them should perish. Who is there that does not feel his own natural corruption, and the tendency consequent upon it, to neglect spiritual matters and religious ordinances? To such who feel this weakness, let them go to the fountain of living waters, and like Naaman, the Syrian, wash, and be clean! Look upon this ordinance as accomplishing an outward purification. Let it be verily, "a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness;"— and having begun a good work, live to perform it in righteousness and faith, until the coming of our Lord; when renewed, and cleansed, and sanctified, you will be called to mingle among the redeemed -when this mortal shall have put on immortality, and you are borne on angels' wings to meet your [Deliverer in the air; for the door of heaven is opened, and Myriads Of Saints are lifting up their heads as they enter the portals of this holy city to receive the ransomed of the Lord, and an entrance is "ministered unto them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
"In token that thou shalt not fear
Oh, may the Holy Ghost with power
Thy heav'nly birth attest;
Then be thy name confest.
Fearless, and faithful to the end,
Tread all temptation down;
Hereafter share his crown."
9IIKARCROFT, TYP. CHSLXSTOAB.