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our part is incorrect, (though perfectly consistent on the part of the Paedo Baptist) and the practice would be unprofitable.
One thing more. The greatness of the talents, the copiousness of the reasoning, the energy of the diction, the elegancy of the composition, the brilliancy of the imagination, and the splendour of the eloquence of this writer render his work, as an effort of greatness and literature, interesting to all ; but the principles, which he avows, and on which he endeavours to support free com munion are acceptable to none; I mean to neither the Baptist or Paedo Baptist denomination.
The principle, upon which we are admitted, and so affectionately invited to the communion of the Paedo-Baptist churches, is the practical recognition of the validity of their Baptism. But for them to receive us upon the principle, avowed by the writer adverted to, would be to bring our testimony into the very vitals ot their church, and we should soon be expelled their communion. The fate of the works of this author, upon this subject, is a fair specimen of the unprofitableness and unsatisfactory consequences, which must necessarily result from a general adoption of his system. As respects consistent communion, our sufficiency is of God: and having such hope, we use great plainness of speech.
II. On this part of the subject, the influence which the minister's hope has upon his preaching and character, 1 must be very brief.* One specimen of illustration, however, must not lie omitted. The true and proper Deity of Jesus Christ is involved in the minister's hope. Unless this is the case, we have no hope. Thousands and thousands of mourning, burthened souls, from the knowledge, which they have of sin, and their state and condition, as transgressors, feel a consciousness that none but a Saviour inherently possessing all the attributes of Jehovah, is sufficient to effect their deliverance.
The Divinity of Christ is an experimental subject. The sinner saved by Grace has such views of the character and atonement of the son of God, that he feels it is impossible that he should be any thing short of Jehovah-Jesus. His covenant relation to him is all his salvation, and all his desire. It is not, however, with the proof of this doctrine that we are immediately concerned, though it shines in every page of the Bible. It is with tho deceptive manner, in which some preachers treat it. They m;>kc strong declarations, that they believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ; which declarations are calculated, and, no doubt, in some instances, designed to satisfy those of their hearers, who believe that Jesus Christ is God, co-equal, co-essential and coeternal with the Father. But when you come to examine their faith in the Divinity of Christ, it amounts to no more than this; we believe that He is a Divine person, in the same sense that a son partakes of the nature of the father; but he is not equal with
* See Note A at the end of (he Sermon.
the fattier. This is a deception^ which involves the Interests tit the soul for etemitjr. Arid what renders it peculiarly odious iu the sight of heaveri, and detestable in the vie* of frank, candid men, is, that at the very moment these deceptive representations of their faith in the Divinity of Christ are made, they are claiming to themselves the character of the most eminent, if not the almost exclusive patrdris of talents, learning arid virtue.
Another mode of deception practised by these great moralists is a fallacious system of reasoning. They pretend to exalt reason, and talk much of what they call rational religion ; ds though they were exclusively qualified to decide upbii things, as irrational and >ibsurd, that angels with silent admiration desire to look into.
Hence they urge, that we are riot obliged to believe any proposition inconsistent with our reason. True< we are not; but we are required to b'elieVe things above our reason. We believe and know, not because we pretend to comprehend the subject, but because ad infinitely wise God has revealed it, as a matter of factf and, therefore, of faith, that the mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the fleshy is perfectly accordant with reason. For a man to lay down such a proposition as this, viz. that we are required to believe nothing, but what we can comprehend as rational, contributes his full sha're' towards the introduction and spread of Deisrfy Atheism and universal scepticism. Do they not believe any thing, but what they can comprehend? Can they comprehend the Scriptures 1 They cdriridt. The sentiment,- therefore^ tends to Deism. Can they comprehend the existence add attributes of Jehovah? They cannot. The sentiment, therefore, leads to Atheism. Can they comprehend their own existence, Ot explain the growth of a spire of grass? They canriot. -The sentiment ends in universal scepticism, unless prevented by the interposi-' tion of the marvellous grace of God*
Another aiode df deception is their unwearied efforts to impress the public mind with the ideaj that the Divinity and atonement of Christ are subjects of little importance, so long as our external deportment is irreproachable and amiable. And hence they uoweariedly urge, that we should cultivate charity, and liberal principles, arid good feelings towards all men. The importance of the subject has been before suggested. And, in regard to the latter, it is fiorfi the most liberal principles, enlivened by an enlarged charity, that we are actuated. This prompts to form Bible Societies, Missionary Societies, and variods charitable institutions, to benefit the poor^ and hold forth the light of life to others."
Another mode of deceptiou is ascribing subordinate worship to the son of God. The humble, unsuspecting disciple hears his Saviour comfnended, and feels animated at the thought of whatever exalts his Lord, and concludes this must be the true and acceptable worship* But how great is his disappointment, mortification
» See Note 0.
and regret, when he perceives that nothing bat a decent respect to a good man, or subordinate worship to an exalted creature, is intended. Nothing said about Jehovah-Jesus. No equal honours Ascribed ts-himwitbrthe Father. His precious bloodywhidftddHe cleanses from ail sin, forms no part of such discburses; the work of the Holy Spirit is treated as enthusiasm, and the truly rational Christian is stript of his present hopes, and future prospects.— How different this from the simplicity of Jesus Christ? How different this from the Apostle Paul, who always aimed to be understood by his hearers. He used great plainness of speech. Look to the Saviour upon the cross, expiring between two malefactors, and you cannot want proof of his Divinity. When the fear of God seized one of them, he turned to Jesus and put up this prayer, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. He immediately answered, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.— From the cross he disposes of mansions in the skies. To the Candidate for Ordination.
My dear brother.—Let your deportment be regulated by the two following maxims: unshaken firmness in your own principles, and unbounded charity towards all who differ from you. These sentiments are not incompatible with each other. By adhering to the first, you discharge your duty to your conscience, and by indulging in the last, you render you services more acceptable and, consequently, more useful to those who differ from you. When I recal the time and circumstances of our first acquaintance, and the day in which you received, by my administrations that sacrament, by which you began publicly to own the Lord as your hope and pattern, my mind is filled with the most tender and interesting reflections. To you 1 first administered the sacrament of baptism, just after I had passed the most painful and distressing crisis, which ever occurred in my ministry. A division in the church at Charlestown, which I shall always feel and deeply lament to the day of dissolution. To see a lovely youth come forward at that moment, and set to his seal that God is true, was encouraging, was animating. By you the great head of the church, began to strengthen the things that still remain, in the church at that place. Now, dear brother, you are dedicating yourself, in this public manner, to the service of the sanctuary in the presence of God, angels and men. i exhort you to make the word of God the man of your counsel. Take the scriptures as the evidence of your faith and the guide of your life. Attend to your personal religion. Watch over your own heart, doctrine, conversation and walk. Attend to the order of your family and the church. Be vigilant. Be courteous. Comfort the saints; warn the wicked. Let not the blood of souls be found in the skirts of your garments.
Feed the sheep of Christ. Feed the, lambs of Christ. Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Attend to the youth, sick and poor of the church and society. Remember time is short. A steward should be faithful. Fulfil your ministry, that you may at last give up your account with joy, and not with grief.
twflirflriYn mftin in1! ami nnnirteii iind thn jiimi'firfn>llirl»BiminiiliitMj|
2. To the church and society, and the pious, of all denominations, in this town, we offer to day our cordial felcitations. Remember, dear brethren, that privileges and duties are always connected. This day your priveleges are enlarged; and, consequently, your duties are multiplied. Pray for your minister. Attend regularly, candidly, and affectionately upon the word. It is an ordinance of God. Contribute to the support of your pastor, that he may give himself wholly to these tbings,that his profiting may appear unto all. His profiting may, under any circumstances, appear to some partial friends; but it will not appear unto all, unless he is enabled by a comfortable support to spend much of his time in study, meditation and prayer. I would very particularly call your attention to what the Apostle says to the churches of Galatia, upon this subject. Be not deceived. If you withhold from your minister his support, with an easy conscience, you deceive yourselves. God is not mocked. Your frivolous excuses to him and others, is but solemn mockery of God. Whatsoever a man soweth, contributes to the support of the Gospel, that shall he also reap. He that soweth to the flesh, contributes according to the principles of his corrupt nature and suggestions of his covetous disposition, shall of the flesh reap corruption; gain some pecuniary advantage over his more generous brethren; but such advantage is a harvest of corruption. The moth will eat, the rust will corrupt and the thief will steal such riches. But he that soweth to the spirit, i. e. complies with the teaching of the spirit on the subject of the support of a Gospel ministry, Shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. His harvest shall be an increase of the divine life in his own soul here, and an abundant harvest of glory at the day of judgment.
Would to heaven, that every disciple of Jesus Christ might realize, that the design of the Apostle, in the words, upon which I have been commenting, was to enforce upon the churches this exhortation, Lei him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
3. The solemn and interesting transactions of this day cannot be viewed with indifferency, even by those, who have no such hope, as that of the Gospel.
To day a young man is consecrated to the ministry of the heavenly sanctuary in the midst of you. We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in them that are saved and in them that perish. To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? Our sufficiency is of God. But where is your sufficiency? O, says the convinced soul, I have none in myself; I am lost, unless an Almighty Jesus delivers me from sin. Look to his wounds upon the cross and live. The Gospel brings life unto yeu; for it if the wisdom of God, and (he power of God, unto salvation, to every one that believeth; and will increase that life in you to all eternity. It is life unto life. But on the other hand to the individual who rejects the Gospel, its ministry, is the savour of death unto death. It will aggravate your guilt and misery to all eternity. Your condition will be forever growing worse and worse. It will be death to you to reject the Saviour, not only in the first instance, but it will be death unto death, death unto death. O, think on your ways. And now lay hold on Christ the eternal life of felicity and glory to believers. This whole scene is a sweet savour unto God, because it displays his mercy, and manifests his justice.
4. I close the subject, by saying, Fathers and Brethren, ministers of the everlasting Gospel, suffer a junior associate, in this blessed work, to address a word of exhortation and congratulation to you, on the present interesting and important occasion. Standing in the midst of a praying, and solemnly interested assembly, surrounded by the ministers of reconciliation, my feelings are unutterable. What shall I say! ye messengers of the Prince of Peace! tell the love of Jesus to dying men. Be thou faithful onto death, and no man shall take thy crown. Stand fast in the important truths of the Gospel. Mingle the tenderness of dying love in your earnest contentions for the truth. If called to associate with those who differ from you in faith and order, remember that our brethren of other denominations have their rights, and no doubt are as sincere and consciencious as we are. In controversy use hard arguments and soft language. We are not permitted to do evil that good may come. The means of religion are holy, and its end glorious. In view of this, the apostle could triumphantly say, I have fought the good fight; I have kept the faith; I have finished my course; and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day: and not to me only, but to all who love and long for his appearing. How animating the thought, of meeting the seals of our ministry, in the presence of our judge. Enter, brethren, into the spirit of this declaration. Here am I, and the children which thou hast given! or rather, according to its true import, view Jesus Christ, the chief shepherd, and bishop of our souls, sealed upon the throne of judgment, and in the presence of an assembled universe, at the head of redeemed millions, addressing the Father in this triumphant exclamation! Here am I, and the children thou hast given me! Glory bursts upon our view from yonder opening skies. Let every heart in this assembly mingle the heavenly song, Grace, grace unto it! Let the redemption join the Grand Halelujah. Amf.k.