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to their father's God and Lord. Aye, and such preparation shall be blessed, and such dedication be accepted ! “ For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring ; and they shall spring up as willows by the water-courses.
One shall say, I am the Lord's ; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel !” Finally, let me entreat on this occasion the
sympathies and prayers of all this congregation. Our youth are called out to give themselves to God. Let us lay our hands upon their heads and say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord !" O may this be the Spring-time of our congregational life, that even as all Nature round us is bursting into vernal beauty and fruitfulness, we too may put forth many and vigorous shoots, to grow up into trees of righteousness !--and may the sap within us be transfused into these young and healthy branches of the One true Vine, that they may flourish in these courts of the Lord, when we ourselves are numbered, even as our predecessors, with the dead !
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONFIRMATION.
ECCLESIASTES, v. 4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it ; for he hath no pleasure in fools : pay that which thou hast vowed.
WHEN Solomon, in the words that I have read to you, speaks of “fools," he uses this appellation not as
a term of contempt, but as expressive of the heedlessness of those who act without consideration of their character, their station, or their engagements. The word denotes that languid indifference to the strongest obligations—that indolent surrender of our conscience to the witcheries of self-indulgence, or the blandishments of the world around us, from which St. Paul endeavours to rouse the Ephesians when he says, “ Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light : see that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” And the caution intimates to us how easily we may forget the relation in which we stand to God and duty-how readily we relax the bonds which have been twined around us, and how needful it is that we be summoned solemnly to “gird up the loins of our mind,” and to wake up to the consciousness, the dignity, and the activity of Christian men.
Now such a summons, my dear young friends, is afforded you by the call which is now made on you to address yourselves to Confirmation. You are reminded thereby that the vows of God are upon you — you are intreated no longer to defer the paying of those vows-you are warned of God's displeasure against the lukewarm, and the careless, who, being His children, think and live as though they were in no way bound to Him ; and invited to obtain, by hearty public recognition of your obligations, that help from God by which those obligations may be fulfilled.
Consider then, I pray you, the IMPORTANCE of Confirmation with reference to such a rousing. of your minds into the energy of Christian manhood. This is the Second particular I have to bring before you, and I wish to press it on your deliberate consideration. To every one baptized in infancy, some personal, deliberate, public dedication of himself to God, on entering into life, seems indispensable, as
perfective of the past, and preparatory for the future. Thus only can we assume the style and title of a Christian with conscious self-determination and open profession of our faith.
Thus only can we pass from being merely adjuncts to the Church of Christ, by ceremonial relation, to becoming lively members of the same, through personal adoption of our baptismal character, and Confirmation of our covenant with God. Such personal appropriation of our privileges and our obligations, is demanded by the very nature of our Baptismal Covenant—and is essential to our spiritual well-being.
IT IS DEMANDED, I intreat you to consider, BY THE VERY NATURE OF YOUR BAPTISMAL COVENANT. For the whole character of that first Sacrament of Christianity is anticipative, It points the mind towards something which shall complete what it begins, and perfect what it introduces to. The very reason assigned in the Catechism why Infants may be baptized, is just because they promise, by their sureties, future personal repentance and faith, “ which promise, when they come to age, they themselves are bound to perform.” The whole transaction, therefore, is inceptive in its nature, and conditional with reference to its ultimate results.
The first characteristic of the Baptismal Covenant is that it is inceptive. That is, it is the commencing ordinance of Christianity- the act by which creatures born in sin are first introduced to God and to his Church, as PRELIMINARY to all future blessings from that relation to be derived ; - the first term of a series of devotional transactions which is to run on, with continually increasing efficacy, even to all eternity. A Covenant is an agreement
-an engagement between two parties, which has reference to some further proceedings — which lays down the rule of their future conduct towards each other, and
way for a right understanding of their mutual relation, and a consequent harmonious intercourse. And such is the Covenant of Baptism, in which God vouchsafes to settle, as it were,
the terms of future intercourse—to declare the character in which he will thenceforth look upon his fallen creature - and to introduce him to all the privileges and expectations which pertain to His holy family. When the Lord Jesus Christ was upon earth, he formed for himself a CHURCH, or community of persons who should enjoy his own immediate teaching, help, and governance. This Church was greatly enlarged by the preaching of his Apostles. And the privilege has descended to the ministers of Christ, in each successive age, of admitting into this Society all who are piously brought to them for that benefit. This admission