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If the world in general considered Mr. Dale as entitled to honour on account of the riches which he possessed, true Christians will think him still more so, because of the noble uses to which he delighted to apply them. 6 God has given me money by shovels full,” he used to say,
66 and I like to deal it out by the same measure." His charities were princely, yet they had no tendency to impoverish him; for at his death he left property to the amount of a hundred thousand pounds! Fuller used to be delighted with honest David DALE; and as a proof of the humility of this man, so eminent, he remarked, that so far from wishing to conceal the meanness of his origin, as is too common with men in eminent stations, he would often delight in telling the tale of his being a poor friendless boy, without a penny in his pocket when he came to Glasgow. It ought not to be omitted in this sketch of his history, that notwithstanding his extensive temporal concerns, he was a magistrate of the town, and the pastor of a christian church, containing some hundreds of members. Mr. Dale was born at Stewartson, in Ayrshire, June 6th, 1739, and died March 17th, 1806, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. [From Morris's Memoirs of the Rev. ANDREW Fuller: p. 141.]
REMARKS ON THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE
BAPTISMAL COVENANT : Addressed to the Children of Pious Parents, and especially to the
Children of Methodists. PERHAPS there is scarcely to be found on earth a more affecting spectacle than that which is presented in infant baptism. The tender babe, yet hardly conscious of existence, about to be solemnly given back to God; the pious parent breathing unutterable wishes to the throne; the holy minister of CHRIST, prepared to administer the sacred rite; the silently attentive congregation; the water, typifying the “inward and spiritual grace;”--these being all obvious to the senses, have a tendency to produce considerable emotion, and certainly, if viewed aright, to excite religious feelings. We are all aware that this cere. mony is used when a child is about to receive its name, its christian name; and is it not to be feared that little more is thought of by the generality of young persons who may be present on such occasions ? The more thinking and reflecting part may consider that the infant thus baptized is received into CHRIST's visible church, and admitted to the privileges of that church, should its life be spared. And this is the truth, and, though not the whole of it, yet of very great importance, and deserving of more gratitude than is generally manifested for so great a favour. We shall be assisted in ascertaining what are the obligations of this sacrament, by adverting to the catechism which is in general use amongst those who have had sponsors in baptism. It is there said that their godfathers and godmothers “ promise and vow three things, that the child shall renounce the Devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh;-shall believe all the articles of the Christian faith ;--and shall keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of his life.” Who can deny that these promises contain the very sum and substance of reli. gion? This is not the place to inquire into the propriety of having sponsors at all, nor to animadvert on the manner in which most godfathers and godmothers perform their solemn vows; but it would be well were dery young persons more cautious in taking upon themselves so awful a responsibility than it is to be feared they are, if any judgment may be formed from the character and conduct of many who undertake the office. Proceeding further with the catechism of the Church of England, we find, after an excellent definition of the Sacrament of Baptism, the two following questions and answers.
Q. What is required of persons to be baptized ?
A. Repentance, whereby they forsake sin, and faith whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God, made to them in that sacrament.
Q. Why then are infants baptized, when by reason: of their tender age, they cannot perform them?
A. Because they promise them both by their sureties, which promise, when they come to age, them, selves are bound to perform.”
Here then we have the obligations of Christian Baptism in full. And amongst the thousands who have thus been admitted into the outward Christian Church in England, during the last fifteen or twenty years,
6C have renounced the pomps and vanities of the world ?”– how many “steadfastly believe all the articles of the Christian faith?”-how many are walking in God's holy will and commaird. ments ?” Let conscience reply, which
" In leaves more durable than leaves of brass
And judgment publish.” If for a moment we look at the candidates for adult baptism from among heathen nations, and at the exa treme caution which is observed by Missionaries in receiving them into the Christian Church, by this
solemn rite, we may certainly be instructed. For what does all this care intimate? Does it not convey directly the idea of duties to be performed, resulting from the vows which the individual then makes? And shall the favoured inhabitants of Britain, most of whom are Christians (nominally) from infancy, be reproved by the conduct of the baptized heathen Still, however, those who have not been baptized according to the forms of the Church of England, and to whom no such promises have ever been made, may possibly consider themselves clear in these matters. But if baptized at all, certain obligations must follow, Peculiarly binding are those which devolve upon the children of pious parents; for as religion has its influence on every part of the conduct, it is reasonable to suppose that it will especially influence the hearts of parents, when presenting their children for admis. sion into the visible church : and this we find accord. ingly to be the case. There are some who seem at such seasons fully to enter into HANNAH's spirit, when she presented young SAMUEL: “Therefore also I have lent him unto the Lord; as long as he liveth, he shall be lent unto the LORD." And can it be that children thus lent unto the Lord, thus given to God, shall sell themselves to work iniquity,--shall give themselves to the Devil, and (O tremendous thought!) be lost for ever? Yes! such is the equity of the divine government, that this must be the case with those who persist in sin, and die without repentance, though to the prayers offered in baptism, be added, the subsequent prayers of parents for many years; and this, notwithstanding the blood-shedding of the Sox of God! At page 122 of this volume, under the article “Parental Anxieties," some sentiments are
quoted from "MR. PEARSON's Life of Mr. Hey of Leeds,” which are strikingly in point, and which, it is there observed, are common to all christian parents. Filial love, therefore, loudly calls upon the children of such parents, to save those honoured individuals from the exquisite suffering which it is certain they must feel, if their children live without God and without hope in the world.
There are many in the present day, who are members not only of the Church of Christ generally, but of distinct parts of it,--suppose of the Methodist Society; amiable young people, who are engaged in various departments of usefulness, and who, to the eye of christian philanthropy, present a most pleasing spectacle, while they are pursuing “whatsoever things are lovely:" but when these individuals retire to their closets, are they not often breathing out such complaints as these, “Alas, I have a name to live, but my works are not found perfect before God! They have made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard have I not kept.” Concerning such, though they have not fully answered the claims which God has upon them, there is hope. But what must they do? Some lay the blame of this lukewarmness upon those very pursuits which are so pleasing in them. selves, and so beneficial to the world. Is not the cause rather to be sought elsewhere? Will it be thought unkind to intimate that in some cases christian works are performed, but christian tempers neg. lected ? Is there not too great a conformity to the world in dress, in spirit, in conversation? Does not the fear of doing harm by being singular, sometimes cover and often lead to a fear of being reproached for Christ's sake? Were God in judgment to send per.