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cles which these people of Samaria church and of the world. It is not witnessed; the Saviour has not enough that we have a firm perpersonally visited our cities as he suasion of the Divine inspiration did their's, or endued his ministers and infinite importance of Chriswith the power of miraculously tianity; we must be willing to take healing the sick and casting out up the cross of our Saviour, and, devils; but we have the record of whatever reproach may await us, rethose very miracles handed down main firm and consistent in our proto us by credible witnesses, who fession of his name before mankind. sealed the truth of their testimony In the present age no such peril with their blood; and we discern or persecution assails us for calling also the same moral and spiritual ourselves Christians as threatened effects in the hearts and lives of all the first disciples of Christ; we are who truly receive it, as “ the power not exposed to pain or infamy or of God unto salvation.” The Sa- death for the sake of our professed maritans had “known Christ ac- religion; and to be baptised in the cording to the flesh,” as one who name of the Father and the Son searcheth the inmost secrets of the and the Holy Ghost, even in inheart; “ come see a man that told fancy, has become so general that me all that ever I did ;” but though it is often complied with as a cuswe have not thus his immediate tomary rite, with scarcely any conpresence, we have the same testi- sideration of its meaning and immony to the truth of his word, for portance, either on the part of it is quick and powerful, and those who present a child for bapsharper than any two-edged sword, tism, or of the baptised person piercing even to the dividing asun- himself when he comes to years der of soul and spirit, and of the of reflection. But very different joints and marrow, and is a dis was the case at the time when cerner of the thoughts and intents these Samaritans became candiof the heart." The Samaritans had dates for admission to this holy witnessed unclean spirits come out sacrament; for, in coming to the of many that were possessed with font of baptism, they solemnly rethem, and many that were taken corded their belief in the Saviour, with palsies, and that were lame, their reliance upon his atonement, healed; we have the testimony of and their determination to live to these facts, and also those spiritual his glory. They declared by the miracles of healing, by which sin- very act their earnest resolution, ners are cleansed from their trans- through the grace of God strength. gression, renewed after the image ening them, “ to renounce the of Christ, transformed in the spirit devil
, and all his works, the pomps of their minds, and translated from and vanities of this wicked world, the kingdom of satan to that of the and all the sinful lusts of the flesh; Son of God.
to believe all the articles of the 3. We next learn that the people Christian faith, and to keep God's of the city of Samaria, having atten- holy will and commandments and tively heard the word of God, and to walk in the same all the days of received it by faith, “ were bap- their life." And with regard to tised." They were not ashamed of ourselves, who were baptised in our the Gospel of Christ, but hastened infancy, our baptism is of no spiri. to confess him openly before man, tual value to us, yea rather it will inby a compliance with his own ap- crease our condemnation, if, having pointed sacrament, by which all thus named the name of Christ, we who should receive him as their do not depart from iniquity. We Saviour, were to declare their be- may say of it as the Apostle said of lief in him in the presence of the the Jewish rite of circumcision, that of itself “it availeth nothing, but a his ministers had hitherto borne new creature ;" it is only an out- the sway over them, they now beward and visible sign and seal of came the servants of God. “ One an inward and spiritual grace, which was their Master, even Christ,” grace is the washing and regene- whose personal instructions to them, ration of the soul, by virtue of when he visited Samaria three or faith in the atonement of Christ, four years before, they probably and through the renewing influ- well remembered; and to whom, as ences of the Holy Spirit.
the promised Messiah, they now 4. This gift of the Holy Ghost, turned with full purpose of heart, we are further informed in the nar- trusting in his atonement, endearative before us, was conferred upon vouring to walk in his steps, and the people of the city of Samaria. worshipping God in the manner he In the early days of the Christian had taught them, “ as a Spirit,” church it pleased God in many“ in spirit and in truth.” instances to bestow upon its mem- 6. And in so doing “ there was bers not only the ordinary influ- great joy in that city." The Goences of his Holy Spirit, for their spel of Christ, wherever faithfully instruction, consolation, and sanc- preached and cordially received, tification, but also especial and is a source, the only true source, of miraculous gifts, for the confirma- substantial happiness. The joy of tion and extension of the faith. Pro- the men of this world is founded bably both the miraculous and the on no solid basis ; it is at the mercy ordinary gifts of the Spirit were of time, and chance, and casuality; given to the church of Samaria : but the blessings of religion are the former have long ceased; but satisfactory and durable : they inthe latter are still promised to clude the pardon of sin, a conevery true Christian. It is the science at peace with God, adopHoly Spirit who alone can open tion into his family, the enjoyment the heart, as he did that of Lydia, of his favour, and the hope of everto attend to the things which are lasting glory in heaven. The heal. spoken in his word. To him musting of the sick, and the casting out we look up, to enlighten the eyes of unclean spirits, which caused of our understanding, to convert such joy in the city of Samaria, our hearts, to strengthen our faith, were expressive emblems of the and to lead us in the paths of spiritual blessings conveyed by the peace, of joy, and of devotion to Gospel. We were weak, and we are the service of God.
strengthened ; we were guilty, and 5. This beneficial effect of the we are pardoned; we were sinful, preaching and reception of the Go- and we are cleansed; and if the spel was seen in the case of the angels themselves rejoice over a people of Samaria. Hitherto, though sinner that repenteth, how much not idolaters like the Gentiles, they more should the sinner himself rehad been following the evil incli- joice when thus turned from the nations of their unrenewed hearts; error of his ways, and restored to some of them were under the domi- the favour of his Creator. Let us nion of “ unclean spirits;" and the then, like the Samaritans in the whole of them, “ from the least unto text, give heed to the things which the greatest,” had gone after “a are spoken to us of God; let us becertain man called Simon, who used lieve them; let us duly estimate sorcery, and bewitched the people.” their importance; and let us hold But now, believing the preaching of them fast, amidst the troubles of Philip, they turned from their deeds life and in the hour of death, that of darkness to newness and holi- we may find them the well-spring ness of life. Whereas satan and of happiness to all eternity. Amen.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. for, if the promises are of individual
application, certainly I have a right Though I have not seen M. to believe that they are made to me Malan's book on which your corres. individually (M. Malan could not pondent B. W. makes the “ friend- mean exclusively of others), and to ly remarks " inserted in your last apply them to myself individually; Number; and therefore cannot pre- and this, connected with an entire tend to say how far they are just; reliance on the merits and bloodyet I cannot but think that they shedding of Jesus Christ for my contain some positions that cannot salvation, I apprehend is true faith. be defended by a comprehensive B. W. says, that “it is unscripview of the whole of the Holy tural and dangerous to speak of salScriptures, so as to reconcile the vation as already granted and obseemingly contradictory passages tained.” But does not the Apostle relating to doctrine with each Paul do so ? " Who hath saved us other. First, your correspondent and called us with a holy calling.” objects to M. Malan's proposition, This is surely speaking of salvation, “No works in order to salvation," as granted and obtained: and does and says it should have been, “ No not the Holy Ghost, by the mouth works in order to justification.” of Zacharias say, that John the M. Malan evidently means, that Baptist " should go before the face our good works have no part in pro- of the Lord to give knowledge of curing our salvation, which position salvation to his people by remission certainly accords with the whole of their sins;" that is, as I undertenor of Scripture. Had he said, stand the passage, a consciousness that we may be saved without hav- of forgiveness, by which they might ing any good works to shew, B. W. be assured, that God was now remight well have considered such an conciled to them by the mediation assertion objectionable, as it would of his beloved Sor, and made them have been tantamount to saying, heirs of salvation. True, this salvathat we may be saved without faith tion, though granted" through the in our Lord Jesus Christ ; for if we tender mercy of our God," is not have faith in him as the Saviour of yet complete in the experience of the world, our lives must neces- Christians in the present life, nor sarily exbibit works acceptable both will be so until the resurrection of to God and man.
B.'w. admits the body; yet, the Scripture certhat we are justified irrespectively tainly authorises them, yea, most of good works : now, if so, we are earnestly exhorts them, to believe evidently saved irrespectively of it, and to rely upon it, as a thing them ; for it is written, “ whom he perfected in the purpose of God, justified them he also glorified " with whom to will and to do are the (Rom. viii. 30). Good works are same. “ Fear not, I am with thee, certainly necessary to justify (or I am thy God” (Isaiah): “ Fear not, prove our faith genuine) before I have redeemed thee (Jeremiah) man, but not before God who “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; knoweth the heart.
for he hath clothed me with the Again, B. W. says, “It is erro- garments of salvation, and covered neous and dangerous to assert, that me with the robe of righteousfaith consists in believing and ap- ness.” (Isaiah lxi.) And does not plying the promises of the Gospel, our Saviour assure us, that they as if they were spoken absolutely, who believe on him “ have passed personally, and individually to our- from death unto life;" and the selves. The promises of the Gospel Apostle John, “ now are we the are of a general, and also an indivi- sons of God, although it doth not dual application.” This passage yet appear what we shall be?” certainly involves a contradiction ; B. W. also quotes some observations respecting the unchangeable changeable grace of God in the love of God to his people, and the Gospel, argue for a liberty to live impossibility of their falling from licentiously ;--but why? because a state of grace, from M. Malan's they have never known “ the grace book, in pages 80 and 81, which he of God in truth," and have «nei. thinks exceptionable; but he does ther part nor lot in the matter." not state why. I am sure he will be Since it is impossible that men can very far from replying to this doc- be saved but by the free, uncons trine as the men of the world do, ditional gift of this grace in Christ who say, Then may a man follow his Jesus (unconditional, I say, for faith evil desires, and live in sin, since, and repentance, are not conditions from the unchangeable love of God, on our part, but fruits of this grace he can never come into condemna. bestowed on us), shall the ministers tion. He knows that wherever God of Christ hide its freeness and fulbestows his grace on the soul, it ness from the world, lest they excites an unfeigned hatred of sin, should turn it to licentiousness; as and an ardent desire for holiness. if they were wiser than God, and « I will put my fear in their hearts, knew better how to deal with our and they shall not depart from me?" fallen race than he does? God I grant that Antinomians, from the forbid.
F. declaration of the free and un.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. taken without good reasons, after
having well considered the matter, The form of abjuration of Popery and without any temporal induceused in Ireland, in the numerous ment. You then, N. N., who wish conversions to Protestantism now to leave the communion of Rome, in progress in that country, having to unite yourself to our church, been published in the journals, it “Do you renounce the traditions may be interesting to many of your which the Romish Church believes readers to compare with it the form should be added to the sacred used in the French Protestant Scriptures, in order to render our Church in London.
faith more perfect; and do you beThe minister addresses the con- lieve, on the contrary, that every vert as follows :
thing which is essential to religion. “My brethren,-Truth cannot be either as respects doctrine, or worfound in two communions whose ship, or morality, is contained in doctrine and practises are opposite the pure word of God, which is to each other : and the sacred contained in the writings of the Old Șcriptures teach us, that there is and New Testaments ? but one bride of Jesus Christ; but
“ Do you
renounce the supremacy ope road which leads to heaven; but of the pope; that is, his rank as head one church. Therefore they who and universal oracle of the church, are concerned in earnest about their and also the infallibility of any assalvation, are in conscience bound sembly or of any council whatever? to abandon a religion in which they • Do you renounce indulgences, perceive errors, and to embrace the merit of good works, auricular that which is conformed to the confession, and purgatory; so as to word of God, and consequently depend for the remission of your true. But as this step is one of in- sins, and the bope of your salvation, finite importance, it should not be only upon the free mercy of God,
and upon the merit (mérite) which sons would conform silently and pracJesus Christ has procured for us by tically, who would feel alarmed at a his precious blood ?
formidable public act of abjuration. “Do you renounce the belief of In the case of the Catholic priestthe real presence of Jesus Christ in hood no ceremonial of conformity is the sacrament, and also transub- now required, except the test of restantiation, and the sacrifice of the ceiving the sacrament of the Lord's Mass?
supper at the hands of a Protest“Do you renounce the idolatrous ant clergyman ; and the conseworship which the Romish church quence has been, that the number pays to the Host; the invocation of of these practical recantations has saints, and the religious worship of greatly increased, though with little images and relics?
notoriety or public excitement. “ Do you leave the Romish church, to unite yourself to the communion of the Protestant churches, without any secular in. Tothe EditoroftheChristian Observer. terest, any carnal view, but simply with a view to promote the glory of The Commencement Sermon at God and the salvation of your soul? Cambridge is of some importance:
“ Do you promise to continue for the commencing masters of arts immovable in these sentiments, and are assembled on that occasion in to continue till death in the profes- the university on account of their sion which you this day make?” degree being conferred ; and as Prayer.
many of them are not clergymen, “Great God, we thank Thee, with
and those who are have few opporthe warmest feelings of our hearts,
tunities of hearing sermons, being that in these times of apostacy and
confined to their own churches, it is scandal Thou consolest us, and re- highly desirable that sound doctrine, pairest from time to time the enlarged views, and exemplary style, breaches in thy church, by ever
should all be found in the discourse adding to it some one to be saved. which is then delivered. It is to Thee alone that we owe this. gard to Mr. Rose's sermon, at the last It is Thou who enlightenest the Commencement, though I am about mind of him who now presents to object to some of the writer's posihimself here. It is Thou who hast tions, I cheerfully allow, that the ofawakened his conscience, who hastfice might easily have fallen into inclined his will, and who hast much feebler hands. His discourse opened a way for him to escape embraces two principal subjects, from idolatry and superstition. We the end and object of all knowpraise Thee, we bless Thee for this: ledge—and the kind of knowledge but, O Lord, deign to complete thy which tends most, rather, according mercies; grant him perseverance, to Mr. Rose's theory, solely, to that preserve him invulnerable from all end. In the first branch, I agree the attacks of satan, the world, the with the writer ; in the second, I flesh, and the errors of the age, must decidedly differ.' Mr. Rose that, being faithful unto death in the would“ direct man to aim at a profession of a pure faith, and an general development of all his fairreproachable life, he may receive culties, with reference to their great from Thee the crown of everlasting end; and so to point his earnest life. Amen."
expectation to another, a better, This formulary is very appropri- and a higher state of existence.” ate; but reasonable doubts, I think, He has some excellent passages to may be alleged against the use of this effect. It is “ mightily importany public recantation whatever, at ant,” he says, “ that on even minor least on a large scale. Many per- matters there should be a due reCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 303,