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tend to that only which, according to the word of God, really is an emblem: "Buried with him 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." (Rom. vi. 4.) It is vain to say "the Scriptures are not clear, and therefore our church has judiciously selected sprinkling, or left it optional!" and it is presumptuous to acknowledge that immersion is right and proper, yet to say, that, as it is not essential; and because it is so exposing, you will not attend to it, except it be done privately. (I continue my address to those who know the plague of their hearts.) Can you profess to be followers of Christ, and yet advance such an excuse as this? Are you ashamed to publicly avow your attachment to him by observing his ordinance, because it is exposing? How was He exposed for you? Was he not stripped? was he not mocked? was he not railed upon? was he not jeered at? was he not suspended naked between earth and heaven, as if unworthy of either? was he not crucified, suffering a most barbarous and ignominious death? And all this for you? And can you keep back from that which you believe to be of his appointing, because it is exposing? O, shame upon you, if you can! I should greatly fear you had never tasted the power of his constraining love! But, methinks, whatever may be the answer of the full-headed pharisee, the truly quickened, humbled, broken-hearted child of God is saying, "O no! God forbid that I should call him, Lord, Lord, and do not that which he hath commanded me!
With your permission, Messrs. Editors, I will introduce here a few words upon this subject from a work by our mutual friend Gadsby, called "The Perfect Law of Liberty," lately republished by your printer (page 126):
"When the believer comes to this ordinance in the name of, and by faith in, the Lord Jesus Christ, the language he speaks, by his submission to the ordinance, is, In the presence of God, and all who are here, I profess that I have no hope of immortal happiness, but through the life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; and I submit to this ordinance as a sign that my whole trust and confidence is in my risen Saviour, and herein I answer a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. ii. 21.) I do also in this solemn ordinance profess that, through the power of omnipotent grace, aud by virtue of my union to Christ, I am dead to sin, the law, the world, the flesh, and the devil. I am, therefore, buried in baptism to show, in a
figure, that they are not jointly or separately to rule or reign over me, and that they have no just claims upon me, for by the body of Christ I am dead to and free from them. I hereby also profess not to be alone, but I rise from the water as a sign of the resurrection of my dear Lord and Master for my complete justification, and of my resurrection in him, by virtue of my union to him; and that through the power of the Holy Ghost I am risen to newness of life in Christ my Head, and I rejoice to acknowledge him my Lord and Lawgiver, and profess myself to be married to him who is raised from the dead, that I should bring forth fruit unto God. (Rom. vii. 4.) I do hereby also profess that, as sure as this body is raised from the water, so sure I hope, in the resurrection, to rise from the dead in the likeness of Christ; for this vile body shall be changed and fashioned like unto the glorious body of my dear Lord and Saviour, with whom I shall live in immortal glory.' (Rom. vi. 5, 6; Gal. iii. 27.) This appears to me to be the language of this ordinance; and so long as I maintain these views, infant-sprinkling must appear to me nothing less than a high insult offered to Jehovah, in the name of the Holy Three."
Baptism is also an emblem of the glorious baptism of the Holy Ghost. When the believer is "baptized by one Spirit into one body," he is, as it were, solemnly immersed into the love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, or blessedly and powerfully covered with the love of God, by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Acts ii. 2-4.) It is, therefore, an emblem of the complete washing away of our sins. (Acts xxii. 16.)
Again. I appeal not to the carnal man, nor to the dead professor; but to those who have indeed experienced that the Lord is gracious. Ask your brethren who have been solemnly immersed in the name of their dear Triune God, what were their feelings at the time-ask them if they found it a dead, non-important ceremony. Appeal to their consciences, and ask, whether they did not find the presence of the Lord, cheering their hearts, and bearing testimony that he blessed them in their deed, and giving sweet witness that they were so far following the steps of the dear Redeemer: and contrast the answer they give you with the conduct of the thousands who, having been sprinkled, have been "made members of Christ's body," or "regenerated,"* regenerated," or "initiated into the" invisible
* How solemnly awful to a spiritual mind, really alive to the honour of God, it must appear to see and hear a minister of Christ, after he has
"visible Church of Christ;" and I need say nothing about the inference.
But I must conclude; and, therefore, only add, that if there be any who, with a good conscience, as in the sight of a heartsearching God, can say that they really do not see the utility or importance of believers' immersion, with them I can bear; but I can extend no charity, no union, to those who have professed once to be blessed under it, and then, for the sake of having a good shop-the filthy lucre-have admitted of a mixed communion, or a no-communion at all. We have two or three precious specimens of this even in our own day; but I cannot help believing, that, if the grace of God be in their hearts, they will, ere they leave time for eternity, be made to acknowledge their duplicity and covetousness.
And here, my dear Editors, I leave the subject, as I hope and trust, in the hands of Him who alone is able to make it really useful to his dear family; and subscribe myself,
Yours sincerely, for the truth's sake,
Manchester, Oct. 5, 1835.
THE GOSPEL FEAST.
"And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined, and he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations."-Isa. xxv. 6, 7.
Beloved,-While the eye and ear are assailed with the horrid din of our country feasts, those scenes of dissipation under which both age and youth are corrupted, there can be but one opinion held by the truly-awakened soul of the excellency of the Lord's feast; and the vast difference between the
been faithfully preaching the discriminating truths of God's grace, and insisting upon the necessity of the new birth before the sinner can see the kingdom of God, and describing this new birth to be, as it really is, the work of God the Holy Ghost, and that nothing short of this divine change can give Scriptural proof of real Christianity; I say, how awful it must be to see and hear the same man come down from his pulpit, take a babe into his arms, and, after a little ceremony-sprinkling it, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, solemnly thank God that it hath pleased him to regenerate that child! Is it not enough to confirm an Infidel in his opinion that religion altogether is a mere farce! Either the doctrine in the pulpit, or the service connected with sprinkling the child, must be basely false; and must not every real man of God tremble at one or the other? I think they must. May the Lord awaken them to a deeper regard for the honour and glory of God!
one and the other can but be observed. The language of our Scripture is most beautiful; and in our attempt to bring it before you, we would lift our feeble voices against those unhallowed and disgusting scenes with which we are so often annoyed under the term of feasts, where the awful floodings of sin break forth to the ruin and disgrace of those who call themselves Christians. What master of a household, or father of a family, interested for the welfare of those arouud us, and more especially the young among us, but must feel a thrilling of soul in viewing the consequences which arise therefrom; and who shall say to what extent may be ascribed the first departure from the paths of rectitude, to these curses of our land, these hotbeds of sensuality.
I. From the scripture that is before us, we shall inquire, what is the nature and design of feasts?
II. Show the excellency of the Lord's feast; and
I. The nature and design of feasts, as stated in Scripture, was to celebrate some particular and interesting event. Thus the first feast mentioned therein, is the one made by Lot, unto the angels who came to deliver him out of Sodom (Gen. xix. 31); the second, that of Abraham, at the weaning of Isaac (Gen. xxi. 8); the third, that of Isaac, to Abimelech (Gen. xxvi. 30); the fourth, that of Laban, when Jacob claimed of him his daughter to wife (Gen. xxix. 22); and beside this, Pharoah made a feast upon his birthday, when the chief butler was restored (Gen. xl. 20); and which appears to have been left upon record from its connexion with the history of Joseph. I should be almost inclined to think that the three former had reference to things of a higher import (Isa. lxvi. 7-14; lv. 3; xlii. 6; Hosea ii. 19, 20; Eph. 5-27); and I am bold to assert, that they in no way sanction those unseemly and unmeaning feasts that surround us. Tell me not that they are seasons of reciprocity, in which you exchange your mutual regards one to another, but the rather say, they are seasons noted for absenting from the Lord's house, and for the exhibition of every species of folly.
The origin of feasts seems to have been wholly of a spiritual nature, from the expressive command given to Israel upon the formation of them into a nation. Thus, their initiatory feast was that of the Passover, instituted upon the memorable event of their departure out of Egypt, in the whole of which the eye was directed to the one sacrifice and oblation of the Lord Jesus Christ-the feast which the Lord of Hosts hath made in the mountains. (Exod. xii. 14.) This was succeeded, in fifty
days, by that of Pentecost, and is called the feast of weeks, and commemorated the giving of the law from Mount Sinai (Lev. xxiii. 15, with Acts ii. throughout); and after this the feast of Tabernacles, or dwelling in booths, which indicated that they were still strangers and sojourners. (Lev. xxiii. 34.) At this feast, the Lord Jesus was found when delivering those interesting words in John vii. 37-39. These three formed the standing and prominent ordinances unto Israel, and to which every male was bound to appear before the Lord (Deut. xvi. 16; Exod. xxxiv. 23, 24); and what a standing miracle was it to them, that while they obeyed the Lord in the observance of his ordinances, he overruled and restrained the neighbouring nations, so that none desired or came up to molest their wives and little ones, while appearing before the Lord their God. Surely, there must be something highly interesting in these stated perambulations of Israel! and how very different to the ungodly feasts of this day; theirs was to obey the Lord, ours the reverse. An inquiry respecting them would be answered, "It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover," but all that can be said for our absurdities, is, they are gone to such a feast, or such a thump. Alas! that men professing godliness should be such lovers of pleasure, and be found following the multitude to do evil. The Lord keep you from such thumping as this, and, as you have named the name of Christ, enable you to depart from iniquity.
Beside these, the Jewish nation had their feast of Trumpets (Num. xxix. 1; Lev. xxiii. 25); the day of atonement or expiation (Lev. xvi. 20, 21); that of the New Moons (Num. x. 10; Ps. lxxxi. 3; Num. xxviii. 11); the days of Purim (Est. ix. 21); and subsequently was introduced the one at the dedication of the second temple (John x. 22); from none of which can be drawn the precedent of our modern feasts, where our youth are corrupted, and those of riper years" play the fool." (1 Sam. xxvi. 21.)
II. We hasten to notice the excellency of the Lord's feast, which, in this mountain he hath made. The beautiful imagery here made use of by the Holy Ghost, is well understood to refer to the Lord Jesus Christ," in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Hence those Scriptures of the Prophets, as in Isa. ii. 2, 3; Micah iv. 1, 2; Zech. viii. 3; Isa. xxv. 10, the excellence of which arises, in the first place, from its provision, "a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees.' The Lord having all along pointed these things out in the shadowy dispensations of the Jewish economy, by claiming for himself the fat of their sacrifices (Lev.