Page images
PDF
EPUB

searched out; and thereby the bless. together of the same promises, and ing of him that was ready to perish travelling to the same eternal home, came upon him. And, although it refuse to discharge the reciprocal palecit is compelled to say, with Doddridge, obligations incumbent on them, and it ** But feeble my compassion proves,

even “ bite and devour one another," lyse, beir And can but weep where most it loves;" is a sight that might make an angel kout still it is not weary in well doing weep. “If I love not my brotbers petek sig it is not discouraged by difficulties, whom I have seen, how can I love teab men intimidated by dangers, or deterred God whom I have not seen." He listen by ingratitude; but presses for. who is the “faithful and true witward, and “feels a heaven in all ness," has declared “By this shall be constel it does." "Whoso hath this world's all men know ye are my disciples, if adesi ka good, and seeth his brother hath ye love one another.” Surely the need, and shutteth up his bowels persons of whom we have been of compassion, how dwelleth the speaking, must want one of the love of God in him."

most unequivocal evidences of har. ucis CVA Nor is it indifferent to the eternal ing passed “ from death unto life.” welfare of others. It reads, “There are some who profess them. The end Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself, selves Christians, whose tempers that an but in me is thine help found;" and, are nevertheless so morose, whose {"chi viewing the whole human race as manners are so repulsive, and whose udbu sunk in one general ruin, and as all conduct is so overbearing, that it is standing in need of the “common a piece of self-denial, and requires tejat each salvation;" it hastens to their relief, a continual watchfulness to keep on ple certifice by devising plans to lessen the sum friendly terms with them; however, of moral evil in the world, and as even such cannot be supposed to rescue men from eternal misery. It have offended " until seventy times perceives that the “old serpent" bas seven," it remains obligatory on inflicted wounds on every soul, and their brethren to abound in love yet it administers the “balm in Gilead," more and more in knowledge, and points to the “ Physician there,” in all judgment." There are others and applies those leaves that are for so prejudiced, as to refuse to worthe healing of the nations. Having ship with their brethren; or so done this, it prays to Him who alone opinionated as not to co-operate can give the increase, that he would with them in plans of usefulness, shed abroad his love in every heart, because they did not happen to by the power of the Holy Spirit, originale with them; or because

Secondly, in reference to the there may be those engaged therein church universal. Would that we who have done them a supposed, or were justified in adopting the lan- it may be, a real injury. But, shall the guage of Paul, “But, as touching enemies of Jesus merge all their difbrotherly love, ye need not that I ferences, and cordially coalesce to write unto you;" for instead of an

do evil?

Shall a Herod and a exhortation to its continuance, we, Pilate forget their animosities, and in many iustances, look in vain for unite to arraign, contemn, and its eristence, even among those who crucify the Lord of Life and profess to be followers of Him, Glory," and shall not his disciples who “ loved us, and gave himself

“learn to be kind one to another, for us ;” and bath left us an exam. tender hearted, forgiving one anple that we should follow in his other, even as God, for Christ's steps. To see those who are out. sake, hath forgiven them?" If there wardly “one in Christ Jesus," heis be, therefore, any consolation in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

De

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

romiej z Christ, if any comfort of love, if an evil, by introducing another far teral iz any fellowship of the Spirit, if any greater evil, both in its nature and e recipe bowels and mercies; fulfil ye my in its consequences. Surely the a them, a joy, that ye be like-minded, having state of those churches is not to be De severite the same love, being of one accord envied, a majority of whose memke as die of one mind.

bers are incompetent to judge of What a lovely sight does a family the qualification of new members; i ca les present, each member of which is it appears to me a very serious reseen." La actuated by this ennobling principle, flection upon our churches, to sup. d tree when

pose this a case of probable occur“i 'Tis not the coarse tie of human laws,

rence. I wish this suggestion may discrete Unnatral ost, and foreign to the mind, not arise from a mistake in " An Sures? That binds their hearts, but harmony itself, elder's” mind, with respect to what bare de

Attuning all their passions into love;
Thought meeting thought, and will pre- cations of church members. To

are the real, indispensable qualifiventing will, Les olay with boundless confidence; for nought deprive any of the members from but love

voting on these occasions, is exCan answer love, and render bliss secure.” tremely unreasonable and unjust, as

And wbat an imposing sight well as dangerous in its consewould the “ churches of Christ”

quences.

Who is to draw the line od ots present, did but their members of distinction between competent

walk in love towards one another; and incompetent judges ? By what

and were bat each individual willing law is such a distinction to be endeepa

to make sacrifices for the good of forced on the one hand, or borne

the whole,—where nothing is done on the other ? but “an elder" has parent through strise or vain glory, but in confessed his ideas to be mere matter

lowliness of mind each esteeming of opinion, but, surely something another better than himself.

more is necessary than matter of " The fellowship of kindred minds opinion, on a subject so intimately Is like to that above."

connected with the peace and order And what a different aspect would of Christian churches, as the introthe world exhibit, did but this prin- duction of new members. “An elder" ciple universally prevail; or did we would exclude those members from in all cases but do unto others as the privilege of voting on church we would they should do unto us, affairs who have been recently add. "And now abideih faith, hope, ed to our churches, is it not a well. charity, these three, but the greatest known fact, that some of our young of these is CHARITY,” Amen. people and young members too, are Salisbury, Sept, 25, 1824. G. S. better acquainted with the laws and

discipline of Christ's church, than On Admission to a Christian Church. Some of those who have been long

standing in a profession of ChristiThe following remarks were anity. How would be act in some drawn up before the question to of our newly formed churches, which they refer appeared in the where all the members are recently Magazine. I was glad to see the converted to the faith-(but it is subject started, and waited the re- not my intention to examine “Au sult of a reply to the questions on elder's” statementat present, though the subject; that reply appears to he may possibly hear from me again me very nnsatisfactory and unrea- upon the subject.) I proceed to sonable. An elder has attempted copy the observations that I have to remove whạt be conceives to be had by me, for some time, ou the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

subject, if they are thought worthy time: thus many are wade sorry

, a place in the Magazine.

whom Christ has made glad. Dlany

are prevented from doing what they I shall propose three questions know to be their duty. In such for the sake of answering them ? cases, I have sometimes asked for

1. What is required of a person New Testament precedents, and as a qualification for baptism? have received for reply," It is the

in de baptiu 2. What is necessary in order to custom of our church." But we church fellowship?

ought to have a thus saith the Lord, 3. What connection have these for the articles of our creed and the

in des bapti with eacb other?

rules of our practice, “ to the law is It is universally admitted, in our and to the testimony." Did Philip Baptist churches, that a credible take the eunuch to Jerusalem, or to profession of faith in our Lord Jesus any other place, that he might be Christ, is essential to a candidate examined by the church? Did he for baptism. We find none in the submit his case to their judgment, in New Testament baptized without order to know if he were a proper

1 it. On this point I need not en- subject for baptism, or not? No: print large. A question connected with he was too well acquainted with his e Diri this subject is, Whether any thing Lord's commission to hesitate, and more than a confession of faith is on the authority of that commission necessary? To which I reply, If a he was bound to baptize the eunuch person be a believer in Christ, he as soon as he had a confession of may, and ought, to be baptized, on faith from his lips. Nor did that sebase, application to a proper person; as confession extend to a relation of soon as he coufesses himself a be- his experience, nor to his doctrinal liever. Another question is, To sentiments, but simply to his view Parts of whom ought this confession to be of Jesus Christ. “ If thou believest

i tot he made? I answer, To the person with all thine heart, thou mayest." who is 10 administer the ordinance To which the eunuch replied, "I to the candidate. I mention this, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son because it is the custom of some of of God," and on that confession (the our churches, to have every candi- sincerity of which he had no reason date for baptism brought before to doubt) he was baptized, Acts viïi.

en them, to be examined by them; that 37, 38. they may dictate to the minister Before what church was Saul of who he ought to baptize, and who Tarsus brought, in order to give an he ought not; and it not unfre- account of his experience that he quently happens that genuine be- might be baptized ? As soon as lievers in Christ are prevented from Peter was convinced that Cornelius being baptized in his name, because and his friends received the record the church which examined them of God concerning his Son, they have not been satisfied with their were baptized. Nor did the three views of certain doctrines, or they thousand Jerusalem converts stop to are deemed pot sufficiently informed relate their experience before they with respect to their peculiar views were baptized in the name of tlie of divine truth; or, perhaps, their Lord Jesus. Nor do we find a sinexperience does not rise to a certain gle instance in all the New Testastandard, they are a little too legal, ment, of persons being requested to or they have not been long enough relate the dealings of God with their acquainted with divine things, they souls, in order to be admitted to the must, therefore, stand over for a ordinance of baptism. Ifa minister

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

of the gospel be satisfied that a can- baptized believer, he is fit for didate for baptism is a believer in church fellowship. If his subsethe Lord Jesus, be ought to bap- quent conduct be inconsistent with tize bim.

his profession, he, of course, falls 2. What is necessary in a candi. under church discipline. date for church fellowship. First, 3. What connexion is there bethat he be baptized ! no one on tween baptism and church memberNew Testament principles can be ship? I have been led to ask this admitted to church fellowship who question, because, from the prohas not been baptized. Our Lord's ceedings of some of our churches, I commission supposes it. The prac- have been led to think they deem tice of the apostles and primitive them to be one and the same thing. Christians, proves and confirms it. Have you not, Mr. Editor, someAnd this is the authority upon which times heard of persons baptized into we consider it of importance to act, the church at A, or baptized, on a we cannot feel satisfied with those profession of faith into the church who reduce the present enquiry to at B; this is an incorrect mode of a mere question of convenience, in expression, and we know from defiance of Divine authority, and whence it was borrowed ; not from apostolic example. But on this the New Testament, there we read subject I need not enlarge, it is a of persons being baptized into Jesus subject that has undergone an ex. Christ, of putting on Christ, and of tensive discussion of late. I pro- persons giving themselves to the ceed, therefore, to observe, ihat Lord, then to his church, &c. every church has a right to expect Being baptized on a profession of in a candidate for church fellowship, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is one a similarity of sentiments as it re- thing, and joining any particular gards the peculiar doctrines of the church is another. We acknow. gospel; for how can two walk lo- ledge that all believers should be gether except they be agreed, it is baptized, and that all who are bapimportant that they should be of tized should join some particular one heart, and of one soul; striving church. Hence we infer, that those together for the faith (doctrine) of individuals are wrong, wbo are con. the gospel. Finally, says Paul, be vinced of the importance of bapye all of one mind; " Behold how tism, and know it to be their duty, good and how pleasant it is to dwell and yet live in the neglect of it, betogether in unity." Yet, where the cause the church in their immediate mind of a candidate is not sufficient- neighbourhood differs from them in ly informed as to enable him to dis- the views they entertain of the

pes tinguish the doctrines and pecu- culiar doctrines of the gospel. This liarities of the different sects of arose from the above error, that Christians, this ought not to be a baptism and church membership bar to his being admitted to church are the same thing. If a Christian fellowship, as he will geverally be cannot feel satisfied with the pecutrained in those views of religi- liarities of Christians in his neighous doctrines that distinguish the bourhood, it is no reason why he church to which he joins himself. should not be baptized, any more If a person's creed be already form- than that he should not read his ed, he will not be forward to join a Bible, &c. church of different sentiment. If, As soon as Ananias was satisfied therefore, a person believe the gos. that Paul was a believer, he bappel, le is fit for baprism; if he be a tized him, Paul's joining the church

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was a subsequent act. It is a be- nister. A worthy labourer in God's liever's duty, on being baptized, to vineyard was mentioned, and it was take the earliest opportunity to join observed by my friend, that he has some church, whose sentiments he perused a large volume of manudeems consistent with his view of script sermons written by the deNew Testament principles. Yet it ceased, and he was sorry to add, by no means follows, that believers that more than one of the sermons can be justified in waiting till were borrowed from authors, with the price, fo their creed is formed, or till they whose writings he was familiar. We find a body of Christians of precise- both censured the practice, and then she da ly the same creed with themselves, conversed on other topics. After before they are baptized. If these wards I felt a little inward comconsiderations be favourably re- punction on this subject, recollect- tay be ceived, you may expect to hearing that I had, in one instance, done a curtean bu from me again, on a subject inti- something like this; and a degree where a 10 mately connected with the above of relief also, that I had hearkened remarks.

JOHANNES. to him who said, “ Go, and sin no
Aylsham, Oct. 26, 1824.

more.” My reflections ou this sub.
ject ask your kind acceptance.

The evil of delivering sermons
On original Compositions for the which have been copied from the
Pulpit.

19 Gentile writings of others, is manifold. Many, in our congregations, are per

sons of considerable reading, and tooker, i MR. EDITOR,

will almost inevitably detect the kal, con 1 It has afforded me much heart- plagiary, and that, too, before he felt satisfaction to observe the num can proceed far in exhibiting the ber of seminaries supported, for the thoughts of others as his own. purpose of aiding young men in This may be a minor evil, neverthetheir studies, preparatory to their less it is an evil. Such discoveries engaging in pastoral duties. Many will be related to individuals, who valuable ministers of the gospel could not have made them; reputahave been successively drawn from tion will be wounded, and the mithese places of sacred retirement, to nister will not have credit for what scenes of public labour, in which is bis own. When a sermon of a they have long shone as lights in the superior order is preached, there world. A host of worthies have will be a keen look out, and a strong laboured in God's vineyard also, suspicion of theft; and when the whose services have been succeeded preacher is below mediocrity, he will by results the most important for be considered as delivering original eternity, who have not enjoyed aca- composition. Moreover, when serdemical advantages. Both classes mons are obtained by the mere exerhave my prayers and best wishes. cise of reading and memory, ability I am not, however, without appre- for composing a judicious discourse hension, that some who have en- will be, if not destroyed, yet rendergaged in the work of the ministry ed nearly useless. The powers of may have injured the cause they the mind improve and brighten by desire to serve, by an impropriety exercise; aud will as naturally dewbich I would notice in this paper. cay and shrivel up when not proA short anecdote will place my perly employed. In preparing for meaning fully in your view. Being pulpit exercises, we ought to be on a journey lately, an evening from much engaged in examining the home was spent with a brother mic theme on wbich we mean to dwell,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »