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the baptism of Infants *; neither can he say any thing of the need of salvation, and of a Saviour, till the child has begun, by acts of sin, to render himself personally obnoxious to the Divine displeasure ; nor even to adults can he set forth, in any adequate proportion, (at least according to our judgment) the exceeding riches of grace, in the kindness of God toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph. ii. 7.)
And if he believes that the state of the inward man, of the understanding, and will and affections, is such as God designed and framed it; bating only such decays as evil practice or example has wrought in each individual; then will he be less sensible of the need of Divine grace, then he will presume more upon his own strength, will be less humble, less devout; consequently he will be less disposed, and less qualified, to impress upon others the necessity of relying solely upon God's help, and of praying frequently and fervently for the grace of his Holy Spirit. -1. !: On the other hand, if the man of God be
* See Note (G.)
lieves that the sin of Adam entailed an hereditary forfeiture upon
his race, brought guilt and condemnation
all mankind, cast them out of God's favour, and exposed them to the peril of everlasting destruction; then will he be able in some degree to comprehend the incomprehenşible greatness of that love, which in the councils of eternity provided the means of our reconciliation; that being delivered from the power of darkness, we might be translated into the kingdom of his dear Son; (Col. i. 13.) then will he be able to discern himself, and to propound to others, the just force of these and similar texts ; “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life :” (John iii. 16.) “ God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us :” (Rom. v. 8.) “ If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;. much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Rom. v. 10.).
AGAIN, if he believes that by the fault of Adam the integrity of man's nature was lost, and a great decay brought in both of light and strength ; so that the natural man can neither receive the things of God, (1 Cor. ii. 14.) nor please him by keeping his laws; then will he discern more clearly the necessity of the renovating influences of the Holy Spirit; and will be able to feel, and to explain, more fully, the force of these and similar texts : " Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God :" (John ii. 3.) “ That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit:" (John ii. 6.) “ that ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind : and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Eph. iv. 22-24.)
Most important, therefore, is the right understanding of this doctrine; especially in those, my brethren, whose lips-should keep knowledge, and the people seek the law at their mouth. (Mal. ii. 7.)
Now the Father of lights, the giver of every good and every perfect gift, send that most excellenit gift of his Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds, the Spirit of truth and of comfort; to guide us into all truth, and strengthen us in all goodness; that we may know and perform his blessed will: through Jesus Christ his Son, our Lord : to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour, glory, and worship, world without end : Amen.