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without it words will often flow, that have little meaning and no correspondent affections. We should also be very particular in our secret devotions; both in confession, in supplication for temporal and spiritual mercies according to our circumstances, in thanksgivings, and in prayers for others; for, while men deal in general words, they must either be very short and superficial, or run into needless repetitions.-Occasional ejaculatory petitions also are a blessed addition to stated seasons of retirement.-All our prayers should be explicitly offered in the name, and through the intercession, of the divine Saviour : in dependence on his merits, with realizing expectation of success, and in a loving forgiving spirit.
Finally, a thorough acquaintance with the devotional part of the Psalms, and the petitions contained in other parts of scripture; and a careful attention to the requests which the sacred writers offered, the pleas which they used, the order and proportion which they observed, and the confessions, adorations, and grateful praises which they intermixed with their fervent supplications, for personal and public, temporal and spiritual mercies, will be more useful to the serious Christian, in this part of religion, than all other helps whatever. Above all, the Lord's Prayer, well understood and digested, will teach him what the confidence and leading desire of his heart in every prayer should be ; what are the blessings especially to be sought for ; and with what moderation and submission he should ask for temporal mercies, compared with the forgiveness of his sins, and deliverance from temptation and the tempter, from evil and the evil one: that, in approaching the throne of grace, he may “seek first the king“ dom of God and his righteousness," assured that “ all other things will be added unto him.”
1 Rom. viii. 26, 27.
ON BAPTISM, AND THE LORD'S SUPPER.
Among the ordinances which the Lord has appointed in his church, as means of grace and acts of solemn worship, some have, from very early times, been distinguished by the name of Sacraments. The word sacrament originally signified the military oath which the commanders of the Roman armies required of their soldiers ; and it seems to have been thus transferred to these institutions, because they were considered as solemn engagements to be faithful and obedient to Christ, under whose banner all Christians have enlisted. In process of time sacraments were multiplied, which gave rise to immense superstition and absurdity ; and, as human nature continually verges to extremes, it may perhaps be found, on impartial inquiry, that the profession and obligation, implied in the ordinances thus distinguished by the primitive church, are now by numbers too little regarded. The word sacrament, however, is not found in scripture; but the nature of these two solemn institutions, which are by protestants called by this name, in a general view may
be thus stated. In order that the great truths of the gospel may be exhibited to our senses, and illustrated to our minds, by outward emblems, and the reception of spiritual blessings represented by significant actions ; observances, in themselves indifferent, have, by divine appointment, been con
stituted a part of religious worship: thus they become honourable to God and profitable to us; and hence positive duties arise where none before subsisted by moral obligation.
Baptism is the initiatory ordinance of Christianity; as circumcision, under the old dispensation, from Abraham to the ascension of Christ, was the door of admission into the visible church. It consists in the application of water to the baptized person, “ in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Water is the universal purifier of our persons, garments, houses, streets and cities ; it is essential to the beauty and fertility of the earth ; and it is the original element from which every liquor, that quenches our thirst or exhilarates our spirits, is derived. It is, therefore, the constant and most expressive scriptural emblem of the pure and satisfying blessings conveyed to us by the gospel ; especially of the purifying, enliven
" The design of this compendious publication renders it wholly improper to treat of this subject in a controversial manner. After a long and patient investigation, and mature reflection, the author is a pædo-baptist; and his discussions will consequently be most applicable to those who coincide with him in sentimentand practice. But he considers all as brethren who“ love the Lord Jesus « in sincerity;" and would not willingly offend any man who conscientiously differs from him in such matters : he therefore reasonably hopes for similar candour from his readers. The disputes about the mode and subjects of baptism have too long occupied a disproportionate degree of attention; whilst numbers remain ignorant of the nature and obligations of the ordinance itself. Mr. Henry's observation seems well grounded : “ If
infant-baptism were more conscientiously improved, its obligation would be less disputed.' 2 Matt. xxviii. 19.
ing, fructifying, and consolatory influences of the Holy Spirit: and many ceremonies of the law, as well as the introductory baptism of John, exhibited these benefits by the use of it. The whole of that blessed change, which the apostle describes, may be denoted by the baptismal water : “But ye are “ washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified “ in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the
Spirit of our God.” This accords with the Lord's promises by his prophet, “Then will I
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be “ clean; from all your filthiness, and from all
your idols will I cleanse you ;” and with various other passages in the sacred oracles.2 Yet baptism seems more immediately to represent the purifying of the judgment and affections from the pollution of sin, by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. The beginning of this work is therefore described with reference to the outward emblem, as being “ born “ of water and of the Spirit" : it is called “ the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which God our Saviour has shed
upon us abundantly:" and it is especially, though not exclusively, meant by “ the baptism of the “Holy Ghost."3
The appointment of this emblem, in the initiatory ordinance of Christianity, emphatically testifies the doctrine of original sin and the necessity of regeneration : for it declares every man, as
1 Cor. vi. 9-11. 2 Ezek. xxxvi. 25–27. Ps. li. 2-7. Zech. xiii. 1. John xiii. 8. xix. 34. Eph. v. 26. 27. 1 John v. 6. Rev. i. 5, 6. vii. 14.
• John i. 3) -33. iii. 3-8. Tit. iii. 5, 6.