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people worshipping in the Church in Bennet Street; and perhaps no minister was ever more unseignedly attached to the people of his charge, than was the long wandering preacher. Both the min. ister and congregation might truly be said to worship the Most High in the beauty of holiness. The ordinance of the Lord's supper was administered agreeably to their ideas of its genuine import. Parents brought their children into the great congregation, standing in the broad aisle, in the presence of the worshippers of God; the father received the babe from the bands of the mother, and presented it to the servant of God; who, deriving his authority for this practice from the example of his Redeemer, who says, “Suffer little children to come unto me,' &c. &c., pronounced aloud the name of the child, and received it as a member of the mystical body of Him, who is the second Adam, the Redeemer of Men. How often has his paternal heart throbbed with rapture, as he has most devoutly repeated, “We dedicate thee to Him, to whom thou properly belongest, to be baptized with His own baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and we pronounce upon thee that blessing, which He commanded his ninisters, Moses, Aaron, and his Sons, to pronounce upon his people, saying, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.'
* Mr. Murray rejected the practice of infant sprinkling. To him is to be attributed the ceremony of dedication which has obtained so gen. erally in the Universalist church. His sentiments on this subject will be found scattered through his . Letters and Sketches. The following is a slight conversation concerning ordinances which passed between Mr. Murray and Rey. Elhanan Winchester, shortly after their first interview.
"I have had some conversation with Mr. W. on the subject of ordiW. You do not use water baptism, I think, Mr. M.
M. No, sir; we listen to the baptist, and we hear him say: : I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who cometh after me is mightier than I ; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire;' we know that John the baptist pointed in this passage to the Redeemer, and we prefer his baptism to that of his harbinger; nor can we advocate a plurality of baptisms, when we hear the Apostle say, there is but one Lord, and one baptism.
W. And the Lord's supper, you lay that aside also.
M. No, sir, we esteem this as a divine privilege ; which, while life is lent, we shall religiously maintain, and that too in the way our Lord directed his disciples to use it. "As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, do it in the remembrance of me.' In the symbolic elements we behold the gathering together the many in one.
W. Aye, aye, I have seen all that can be said on that subject in a piece written by a lady. Had you no hand in that performance ?
M. No, sir, not a single letter, not a point, either directly or indirectly, ever was furnished by me.
The preacher, however, never surrendered the persuasion, that he was sent out to preach the gospel, and his visits to his far distant friends were frequently repeated; yet these visits were always made by the assenting voice of the society, and he regarded every individual, congregated under his directing auspices, as in an essential and solemn sense his children. A gentleman, attending in the church in Bennet-street, addressing Mr. Murray by letter, thus observes: 'I was very much pleased at your meeting ; the orderly, respectable, and serious demeanor of your society; their silent, and fixed attention upon you, penetrated me with sentiments of attachment and satisfaction, and I forbore not to invoke the providence of God, that no froward, or adverse spirit, should interrupt the harmony which now so evidently subsists between you.
W. I never doubted its being the performance of a lady.
W. Why, sir, I know no man who could have written so well ; I never was better pleased with the manner of a piece in my life; there is that sprightly, easy, flowery flow of expression that is more characteristic of a female pen than that of a male. M. Is it not amazing that it has not been attacked ?
W. Not at all, sir ; what a despicable wretch must he be, who, how ever he may be opposed to the sentiment, would dare to draw his pen against the author of that preface, in which she declares her résolution of retiring into her closet in the event of an attack, and answering her opponent with silence. I never read a more charming composition than that preface in my life. I should be exceeding glad to see the author.
M. I assure you, sir, she has a strong predilection in your favor ; for, to speak plainly, she is almost as warm an advocate for the devil as yourself.
W. I like her the better for it. M. Why, really, it is much to her honor, for the enemy has been a malignant enemy to her, and done her much injury; and yet in the same moment that she is as much unlike him as possible, she cannot hear of his being cursed through the wasteless ages of eternity, but like Captain Shandy, she hesitates not to commiserate his destiny.
W. Would I could see her. But I have no business to contemplate anything beneath the skies. I am like a prisoner in momentary expectation of a cartel, which is to take me to my native country. '-Letters, &c. i. 350, 351.
In the following, Mr. Murray speaks directly of the origin of the ceremony of dedication :
You ask an account of the ceremony I have originated, instead of infant sprinkling. On my first appearance in this country, during my residence in the state of New Jersey, I was requested, as the phrase is, to christen the children of my hearers. I asked them what was their design in making such a proposal to me? When they replied, they only wished to do their duty. How, my friends, returned Î, came you to believe infant sprinkling a duty ? Why, is it not a command of God to sprinkle infants ?' If you will, from scripture authority, produce any warrant sufficient to authorize me to baptize children, I will immediato. Yes, it is indeed true, that Mr. Murray considered the interests of the people of his charge as his own. Most fondly did he cherish, and perseveringly did he seek, by every possible means, to advance their reputation. He sympathized with the afflicted, and largely partook their sorrows; while, so often as the course of events brought joy to their bosoms, his eye beamed gladness, and his tongue exulted to dwell upon facts, which illumined the hours of his protracted pilgrimage. His voice, at the bed of death, was the herald of consolation. Are there not uncounted numbers, still passing on, in this vale of tears, who, while attending upon their expiring relatives, have witnessed the divine effects emanating from the luminous understanding of the preacher, and lighting up a blissful smile of anticipated felicity, amid the agonies of dissolving nature. To the aged he delighted to adıninister consolation ; bis presence gave a face of cheerfulness to those social hours,
ly, as in duty bound, submit thereto. Our Saviour sprinkled no infant with water those who were baptized by his harbinger, plunged into the river Jordan, which plunging was figurative of the ablution by which we are cleansed in the blood of our Saviour-but infants are not plunged in a river.
• Paul declares he was not sent to baptize, and he thanks God that he had baptized so few: nor does it appear that among those few, there were any infants. It is not a solitary instance to find a whole household without a babe. The eunuch conceived it necessary there should be much water for the performance of the rite of baptism : all this seems to preclude the idea of sprinkling and of infant baptism : and it is said, that whole centuries passed by after the commencement of the Christian era, before the sprinkling of a single infant. I am, however, commencing a long journey-many months will elapse before my return. I pray you to search the scriptures during my absence; and if, when we meet again, you can point out the chapter and verse wherein my God has commanded his ministers to sprinkle infants, I will imme. diately prepare myself to yield an unhesitating obedience. I pursued my journey-I returned to New Jersey, my then home-but no authority could be produced from the sacred writings for infant sprinkling. Still, however, religious parents were uneasy, and piously anxious to give testimony, public testimony of their reliance upon and confidence in the God of their salvation. Many, perhaps, were influenced by the fashion of this world; but some, I trust, by considerations of a higher origin.
I united with my friends in acknowledging that when God had bless. ed them by putting into their hands and under their care one of the members of his body which he had purchased with his precious blood, it seemed proper and reasonable that they should present the infant to the God who gave it, asking his aid in the important duty which had devolved upon them, and religiously confessing by this act, their obligation to and dependence on the Father of all worlds. Yet we could not call an act of this kind baptism; we believe there is but one baptism ; and this, because the Spirit of God asserts, by the apostle Paul, that there is but one baptism, and the idea of this single baptism is corroborated by the class in which we find it placed. One Lord, one faith, which the numerous classes, with whom he mingled, were wont to appropriate to enjoyment. Children lisped with infantile transport the name of the philanthropic preacher, and they were even eloquent in expressions of unfeigned attachment. The pleasures of young people, if under the dominion of innocence, were uniformly sanctioned by their preacher; and his appearance in wellregulated circles of hilarity, so far from clouding, was always considered as the harbinger of high-wrought entertainment. If we
one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all
. Ephesians iv. 5,6. After much deliberation I proposed, and many of my hearers have adopted the following mode : The parent or parents (I am always best pleased when both parents unite, bring their children into the great congregation, and stand in the broad aisle, in the presence of the worshippers of God. The Father receiving the babe from the arms of the mother, presents it to the servant of God, who statedly ministers at his altar. The ambassador of Christ receives it in his arms, deriving his authority for this practice from the example of the Redeemer, who says, Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. The minister, therefore, taking the infant from its father, who gives him, as he presents it, the name of the child, proclaims aloud, John or Mary, we receive thee as a member of the mystical body of him who is the second Adam, the Redeemer of men, the Lord from heaven. We dedicate thee to him, to whom thou properly belongest, to be baptized with his own baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and we pronounce upon thee that blessing which he commanded his ministers, Moses, Aaron, and his sons, to pronounce upon his people, saying,
"The Lord bless thee and keep thee; • The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto • The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
For this procedure we have the command, the express command of God. Our reason and our religion concur to approve the solemnity, and our hearts are at peace.
• The Lord, we repeat, hath commanded us to bless the people; God himself pronounced this blessing upon all the people, in the first Adam, when he placed him in the garden of Eden, and blessing and cursing came not from the same mouth upon the same characters. God, our God, is the ever blessing God; nor are blessings given only to the deserving. The blessings of providence and of grace are freely bestowed upon the evil and the unthankful; and when the evil and the unthank. ful obtain the knowledge of this truth, they earnestly sigh to be good, to be grateful.
. But the ever blessed God, not only blessed the people in their first general head, but in that seed, which is Christ. In thy seed, said the Lord Jehovah, shall the families, all the families of the earth be blessed. This was a royal grant. We are not, in general, sufficiently attentive to this particular. It is common to talk of being blessed by, and some say, through Christ, but few, very few, ever think of being blessed in Christ.'— Sketches, sc. ii. 366—368. See also · Letters and Sketches,' iii. 345.
except a single instance, we do not know, that, through a series of revolving years, the harmony subsisting between the minister and his congregation, suffered either interruption or diminution. This instance originated in political pertinacity. Party spirit occasionally ran very high; and federal and deinocratic leaders were among the adherents of Mr. Murray. A July Oration was to be delivered; much invidious disquisition was afloat; but it is fruitless to delineate; suffice it to say, that this oration, and its consequences, were pregnant with anguish to an oft-stricken heart; but blessed be God, the threatening aspect of affairs, which seemed to gather darkness, was soon dispersed, and the sun of righteousness seemed to break forth, with renewed splendor. Nor is it wonderful, that transient animosities existed; it is rather astonishing they were not more frequent. It was truly affecting, it was beautiful, and eminently consolatory, to behold persons of the warmest feel ings, and strongest prejudices, depositing every dissenting, every foreign sentiment, at the foot of the cross, meeting, and mingling souls, and emphatically, although tacitly, saying to every minor consideration, Tarry ye here, while we go up to worship.'
Too soon have the years of felicity fled away. They rise to view like the vision of some blissful era, which we have imagined, not realized. Suddenly we were aroused from our dream of security; the torpid hand of palsy blighted our dearest hopes; the Preacher, the Head, the Husband, the Father, was in a moment precipitated from a state of high health, and prostrated beneath the tremendous stroke of the fell destroyer.
Record continued from October, 1809, to September, 1815, including
the closing scene.
Portentously the dense, dark cloud arose ;
It was upon the nineteenth day of October, one thousand eight hundred and nine, that the fatal blow was given to a life so valuable, so greatly endeared, so truly precious; but, although the corporeal powers of the long active preacher became so far useless, as to render him as helpless as a new-born babe; although he was in