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PRAYER FOR THE GOSPEL STANDAR!),
Ainidst the bustle of our monthly scene,
The Gospel Standurid named:
Long be its pages famed.
And grieve the saints of God;
Oppress'd on Zion's road.
Yet in these chilling days,
The Gospel Flag to raise.
And your Dictator be:
That glory we would see.
Whose blood did once atone :
That saints his sceptre owli.
And may the sacred flame
Give glory to the Lanılı.
The weary pilgrim's lours:
Fair Canaan's peaceful bowers.
And soon he'll fetch them home.
Jesus väl quickly come!
“ Blessed are they which do hunger aud thirat after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”—Matt. v. 6.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”—2 Tim. i. 9.
“ The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”—Rom. xi. 7.
“ If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.-In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”—Acts vii. 37, 38; Matt. xxviii. 19.
“If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.-In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."-Acts viii. 37, 38; Matt. xxviii. 19.
This, Messrs. Editors of the Gospel Standard, is the last passage of Scripture with which, as a declaration of your principles, you head your valuable little work; but implying, as it does, the personal manifestation of the glorious truths contained in the others, connected with the approbation, nay, the absolute presence, of the adorable Trinity, I think you will agree with me that, though last, it is by no means least. In the first, you have the heart-soothing, soul-supporting fact, that “they that hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed, and shall be filled;" in the second, that those very same persons are “ saved, and called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to God's own purpose and
grace, which was given them in Christ Jesus before the world began;" in the third, their name, or character—" the election,"—in contradistinction to the rest, who are blinded;" and here, you have their confession of personally experiencing
the blessedness of hungering and thirsting, of being called according to God's purpose, and of having a good hope, through grace, that they are amongst that happy number," the election," acknowledging, at the same time, as sensibly lost yet saved sinners, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that had it not been for free, sovereign, almighty, discriminating mercy, so highly favoured they would not have been; and this is connected, as I have already intimated, with a solemn proof of the existence of Three Persons in the Godhead, and the absolute presence of those Personsan evidence of his almighty approbation, and that the ordinance is of his own divine instituting.
Before entering upon the subject, however, I must premise, that I have been considerably tossed about in my mind as to the propriety or impropriety of doing so at all, knowing, as I do, that many of your readers, whom I sincerely esteem for the truth's sake, differ from me on this point, and fearing that you, perhaps, might be the ultimate sufferers. But seeing, on the one hand, that you have requested it, and, on the other, that I am upheld by Scripture in being faithful, whether in season, or out of season, my scruples have all vanished, and I have determined upon not mincing the matter, in so far as I have been taught, but honestly, though briefly, commenting upon my text, appealing to the consciences of those who profuss to have tasted the pardoning love of a dear Redeemer, as to the truth of what I may advance, and leaving the result in the hands of that God who searcheth our hearts, and trieth our reins.
“If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.”.
Beginning at the 26th verse of this chapter (Acts viii.), we shall find that the Spirit of the Lord sent Philip to preach Jesus to an eunuch, of great authority; and it is clear, from what subsequently took place, that the same Almighty Person opened the heart of the eunuch to receive and understand the word, while Philip preached it unto him. As it is written: “ As they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized ?"- -And when he was baptized, “ the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing." So that, no doubt can be entertained, that he not only“ gladly received the word," but that he experienced powerfully the presence of the Lord in his soul, otherwise he could not have so rejoiced. Now observe, for this is the cream, doctrinally,
of the argument; Philip did not immediately comply with the eunuch's request, but first required his confession of faith, saying, “ If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest."
Each of your readers, Messrs. Editors, who truly knows the plague of his own heart, finds daily, that to say, with all his heart
, “I believe,” is one of the hardest things conceivable, so hard, that nothing short of the power of almighty God the Spirit can enable him so to do. Well; hard as it is, Philip lays upon the eunuch the strict injunction that he must confess his faith, and say he really believed with all his heart, before he could baptize him,-implying, that none, save such as did believe, were proper subjects of that ordinance.
How different is this to the conduct of many ministérs in the present day, some of whom, in other respects, are sound in the truth! Philip required a belief in the Son of God, and a capability of expressing that belief, before he would haptize: they make it a common-place thing, and say it is the duty of parents to have their children baptized, thereby revers ing the order of Scripture, and prostituting a most important and solemn ordinance to a mere Popish and unmeaning ceremony.
Now, I know what some will say to this: Were not Lydia and her household baptized ? and can you say there were no infants amongst them? And were not the jailor and all his baptized, as also the household of Stephanus ? To which I reply, Yes, truly; and I am thankful that such a testimony of the all-quickening power of God the Holy Ghost is left upon record: for, as regards the former, if we refer to the 40th verse (Acts xvi.), we shall find, that Paul and Silas, being delivered from prison, went into her house, and having seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed." So, no doubt can be entertained that, under the apostle's ministry, Lydia's household were all converted to God, otherwise the apostles would not have called them brethren; and not only so, but it is added, “ they comforted them.” What with ?--sugarplums, and other sweetmeats ? O, no; but with the word of God's grace. Besides, no mortal can tell whether Lydia was a maiden woman, a married wife, or a widow, saying nothing about her having come a great distance to sell her púrple, Therefore, the cause must be bad indeed which needs the proof of her having children to support it. Well might the poet say,
Pray, Mistress Lydia, let us know,
Where does he live!_We want to spy him:
When your whole household were baptized." Then, as regards the jailor. It does say, “ he and all his were baptized." But mind; it also says, " they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house; and he rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house."
So that, his household were such as were capable of having the word of the Lord 'preached unto them, and to whose souls God made it a blessing, insomuch that they rejoiced in the Lord together.
And if a whole household hear the word of God, feel its power, believe in it, and rejoice in God, then let them all be baptized, I say; and who, that does not deny the word of God, will say, Nay. And as it respects the household of Stephanus, they were the first fruits of Achaia, and had addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, and the apostle exhurts the saints at Corinth to submit unto them. (1 Cor. xvi. 15, 16.) Therefore, there could not be any untaught infants there.
And now, in my turn, let me direct you to Acts x. 47, where Peter sends forth a solemn challenge: “ Can any map forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” And then, no man, as it were, daring forbid it, “he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” For what were they baptized ? because it had been omitted in their infancy? No; but because they had received the Holy Ghost. «Then prayed they him to tarry certain days."
Does this need any further comment? What do think of it, Messrs. Editors ? Have you any infants that you can call brethren, or that can be comforted with the ministry of the word, or that can believe and rejoice in God, or entreat his ministers to tarry with them, or addict themselves to the ministry of the saints, and to whose ministry the saints are called upon to submit? I trow not.
The limits of your magazine will not allow me to enlarge upon this part; therefore, I will just add two or three more testimonies, and then proceed: - John preached the baptism of repentance" (Acts xiii. 24); " John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus ; and when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts xix. 4);