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and commence their circling progress round His throne ;—they who have beheld these manifestations of the Saviour's power and wisdom, must regard with serious interest the beings for whose wel. fare He left the exercise of His dominion to encounter the violence of wicked hands, and shrouded the effulgence of His eternal glories in a veil of flesh.
This infinite regard for the creatures of his power, which led the Redeemer to make so great a sacrifice to save them, illustrates with prevailing eloquence the worth of man. One who perfectly understood our character; whose wisdom, while it spanned the measure of our future being, was not blind to our frail and dependent nature; yet hesitated not to offer his life a price to purchase our affections, and a pledge of his esteem for man.
No longer can we plead our insignificance as the ground of exemption from moral obligation and responsibility. For He who exercises this high jurisdiction, who cannot err in estimating the works of His own hands, has included men in the number of His accountable subjects, and preserved especially for him the immunities of his kingdom. The redeemed from among men will be privileged to take upon their lips the most exalted theme of heavenly rapture.Cherubim and Seraphim shall often suspend the strains that peal from their loud harps, to listen to the sweeter notes of the songs of redemption. Out of the mouths of even babes and sucklings Jesus will perfect his praise.
Man is enlarged when seen through the medium of Christ's resurrection. When the Saviour left the grave, He broke up forever its gloomy covering, and threw back upon its darkness a beam of heavenly light; a harbinger of the bright morning of immortality, which shall soon pervade that realm of silence. How precious to the dying saint is the assurance which he draws from this event, that himself also shall one day vanquish death. We have seen his fading eye, as the last flashes of this life's lustre were playing over its glassy surface, kindle again in anticipation, as it were, of the glorious rays that should next enlighten it. Nor can the sceptic deprive him of these early emotions of bliss. The Christian knows in whom he has believed. He trusts in his Redeemer's power for deliverance from the chains of sin and from the prison of the tomb. Whatever consolation it may be to the Infidel in death, that an eternal sleep is to be his future condition, it is the believer's consolation, it is more, his triumph, that the night of the grave shall be so transient, and that its gloomy darkness shall so soon be dissipated by the splendor of Immanuel's coming.
And the race of man is more ennobled still by having received in trust the precious riches of the kingdom which Christ has established on the earth. The honor of being redeemed from a lost and shameful state of moral ruin, to the condition of kings and priests to God, is not all that distinguishes the subjects of this great salvation. The Lord has reposed a confidence in them which angels might almost be said to envy. They sustain the dearest interests of His church, and the brightest glories of His crown. The sinner that repents and returns from the ranks of his rebellion to the benign
banner which waves before the followers of the Lamb, receives the gifts of the grace of God, and is admitted to the Saviour's fellowship and love.
For whom did Jesus weep ? For man. To whom did he say, “ to day thou shalt be with me in Paradise ;” To man. With whom, as he was going to resume his throne of Glory and his equality with God, did he leave the endearing assurance, “I will be with you always, unto the end of the world ?” With men like me! O my soul, trifle no more,-be worthy of thy exalted being ! *H.*
AMONG the various characteristics of divine excellence which manifest that the kingdom of our Redeemer is not of this world, we must admire that spirit and practice of mutual love and benevolence which it indisputably requires of all its subjects. At present, we would call the attention of our Christian brethren to the consideration of this heavenly charity, as exhibited in the important duty
Of giving and receiving faithful reproof for sin.
It has been justly remarked, that the most important duties are the most arduous. That this remark is applicable to the case of giving and receiving Christian admonition, must be acknowledged by all who are practically acquainted with the duty. It is indeed easy, and perfectly congenial to the “old man,” to speak of the imperfections of our brethren, and to censure their conduct; for in so doing, we may only be gratifying our own pride and self-conceit. And it is comparatively easy, even when we are in some degree influenced by better motives, to speak to others of the misconduct of our brethren in terms of regret and disapprobation, but the difficulty and self-denial attending the faithful admonition of an erring brother, “between him and thee alone,” and of restoring him “in the spirit of meekness,” is evident, in that it is so little practised.
So also in respect to receiving reproof; we are willing to acknowledge in general terms that we are transgressors; we are ready to confess with the great congregation that we have sinned with our fathers : but to confess to a brother who comes privately to admonish us, Brother, “I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight," (especially if the admonition is not given in that spirit which the gospel inculcates, requires a high degree of that humility which is the brightest ornament of Christian character.
Arduous, however, as this duty may be, it is essential to our growing up “an holy temple in the Lord. It is a part of that admirable system of discipline in the house of God, which manifests it to be " the ground and pillar of the truth.” And if it is neglected, whatever union or prosperity we may boast of, it is manifest that our union and our prosperity cannot be holy.
To illustrate and enforce this duty, some passages of divine truth may be considered.
How positive was the command of God to his ancient people, “Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him," or, that thou bear not sin for him. Lev. xix. 17. Our Saviour also has directed us, in 18th of Matthew, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between him and thee alone ; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
The Apostle also exhorts the brethren of the church at Galatia to this duty. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Gal. vi. 1. He commends the church at Rome, because they were “ able to admonish one another.” Rom. xv. 14. Those professors of Christ who walked contrary to the order of the Gospel, were to be particularly noted, and not to be associated with in their disorderly conduct; yet, where there was reason to hope they were the disciples of Jesus, they were not to be counted as enemies, but admonished as brethren. 2 Thes. iii. 14–15. Paul rebuked Peter for not walking uprightly. Gal. ii. 11-14. The apostle Jude writes, “ And of some have compassion, making a difference, and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." How excellent is the language of the Psalmist on this subject! “Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil which shall not break my head : for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.” Ps. cxli. 5. How did his character shine, when he exemplified this humility in the case of Nabal! In his wrath he had determined to avenge himself on Nabal, by destroying him and all he possessed. Abigail, the wife of Nabal, and the messenger of peace, came out to meet David to appease him. After she had wisely admonished him, he said unto her, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.” i Sam. xxv. 32–33.
This important duty is enforced in the word of God, by the blessed effects of obedience, and by the awful consequences of neglecting it. “He who rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that fiattereth with the tongue." Prov. xxviii. 23. “Rebuke a wise man and he will love thee." Prov. ix. 8. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one correct him, let him know that he who converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." James v. 19-20. This passage is not to be applied to those only who deny the doctrine of the Gospel, but to those also who err from that path of holy practice, which the truth of God requires us to walk in. It is a solemn consideration, that all deviations from the strait and narrow way, tend in their own nature to final apostacy and everlasting death. Therefore the Apostle directed his brethren to “exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb. üi. 13.
“He that covereth his sins, shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy.” Prov. Ixviii. 13. “He who refuseth reproof, erreth.” Prov. x. 17. “ He that hateth reproof shall die.'' Prov. xv. 10.
Various and powerful indeed are our temptations to neglect the duty of reproving each other faithfully for sin.
1. A consciousness of our own imperfections sometimes deters us from this act of brotherly love. This is one of satan's devices. Our own unworthiness and sinfulness require us indeed to confess our faults one to another, but wiil never justify us in covering sin in our brethren. We injure our own souls, as well as the souls of others, by yielding to this temptation; as we lose the influence of the additional obligation to holy living, which we should have felt, had we faithfully reproved our brethren.
2. We are also induced to neglect this duty, by the fear that our reproofs will not be received with a Christian temper, and that we shall only incur the displeasure of our brethren. Allowing these fears to be well founded, they furnish us with no just excuse in the case. We are to do our duty, and leave the issue with the Lord. But how can we know that the means which infinite wisdom hath appointed will be unsuccessful ? Hath not divine grace often made them effectual in cases apparently the most discouraging ? What will not the word and temper of the Gospel accomplish in the hand of an Almighty agent ? Is any thing too hard for the Lord ?Surely he can remove all blindness of mind and hardness of heart. He can change the lion into the lamb, and bring every thought of the proudest and most self-willed into subjection to his holy truth. If indeed we are influenced by selfish motives, and feel more an injury as done to ourselves than we feel for the honor of God, or if in labouring with an offending brother, we confide in our own powers of argument, persuasion, or authority, we may expect disappointment. But if we attend to this duty, as to the King's business, looking wholly to him to crown our efforts with a blessing, we shall certainly receive it in some way or other. If our brother, by hardening his heart, will not suffer our peace to rest upon him, it will return to our own bosom.
3. It is worthy of particular notice, that this duty is also neglected in consequence of substituting something for the standard of Christian obedience in the place of the pure word of God. This is a most dangerous principle. It leads us to justify in ourselves and others, those things which call for faithful reproof and admonition. It influences us to join with the world, with carnal professors, in esteeming those things which are an abomination in the sight of God. Let us beware, my brethren, of this baneful leaven. We are not to be surprised, if those who have only a name to live and are dead should attempt to justify their worldly spirit and worldly practices, under the specious names of “ decent pride,” “laudable ambition”. and “innocent amusements”-or if they cover the idol of their covetousness with the garb of nominal prudence, to hide its defority. But“ ye have not so learned Christ.” “Therefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you."
4. Some Christians excuse themselves in the neglect of faithful admonition, on the pretence that it increases difficulties in the church. We propose to the serious and candid consideration of such, two questions :-First. Is not the duty we advocate appointed by the great Head of the church, as part of the discipline of his house ? If so, we ask, Secondly, Can any body of professors be worthy of the character of his church, who cannot endure the discipline thereof? If the fire of truth consumes us, what are we but dross ? The pure gold suffers no loss in the hottest furnace. The sooner the dross is consumed the better, for then the gold will be refined. Those who will not submit to the holy discipline of Christ's house, ought to have no name nor place there. Let every Christian. and every church remember, that the peace which is obtained by the sacrifice of truth is a false peace, and entirely opposed to that holy charity which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. Let us then, dearly beloved, in the spirit of meekness and love, watch over one another in the Lord, and walk as children of light, proving what is acceptable unto God.
FOR THE PILGRIN.
RELATION OF INFANTS TO THE CHURCH.
MR. EDITOR, The subject of the following remarks is one upon which many private Christians are in a state of doubt. Some who are Pastors in the chuuch are not settled in their views, and of course are at a loss to know what is their duty. The views expressed in this paper, are not designed as a full discussion of the subject; but are offered with the hope of directing the attention of others to it.
A PASTOR. DIFFERENT opinions have been advanced concerning the state of baptized children, and their relation to the church of Christ. The differences of opinion, on which our eye is now fixed, are found among those, who acknowledge the validity of infant baptism, and the duty of believing parents to make this dedication of their infant offspring unto God. That this is their duty, and that baptism, thus performed, is valid, and ought not to be performed a second time, are points which are here taken for granted. Our remarks are to be confined to the relation, which baptized children sustain to the visible church, and the manner in which they ought to be treated by The church.
That this subject is involved in much obscurity cannot be denied. The fact, that there is no uniform course adopted in our churches, in reference to the religious education and discipline of such chil. dren, and the differences of opinion as to the course authorized by the word of God, are sufficient evidence that this subject is more incumbered with difficulties than many other subjects. If baptized children are members of the church of Christ, as it is generally sup