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taking place the constant interchange of friendship and Christian love, on the occasions of baptism and the Lord's Supper-the interment of dear departed friends in each other's burial grounds-the daily honorable, brotherly intercourse in all the private transactions of life-the increase of ministerial fellowship on the most interesting occasions, all form so many bonds in the hands of Christ, which, even a hundred years have not been able to dissever-and with which, as so many cords of love, the Head of the church will, I trust, very shortly bind us together in one great and delightful ecclesiastical communion.
Permit me to suggest to you, that Union Prayer-Meetings should be generally established amongst us, for the purpose of carrying this glorious object into effect. These meetings should be conducted by ministers and members of both Synods unitedly. Addresses might be delivered at them on the necessity, and the many advantages of such a measure. Thus, and thus only, would opposition to it (if there should be any) be consumed by the fire of divine love that would descend upon us. Thus the little jealousies and envyings that may exist amongst neighbouring ministers, would speedily give way before a spirit of ardent prayer; and, perhaps, before many months, we would form the United Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, and in the eyes of God and all holy men, be like a garden that the Lord has blessed-and then we might sweetly sing together-" Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." May the great Head of Zion hasten it in his own good time.
I remain, &c.
[The following paper will be interesting to our readers. It describes the method pursued by one of our churches, in the admission of its members.-EDIT.]
THE admission of members to the fellowship of the church, by partaking of the Lord's Supper, is accompanied with much responsibility. Both the office-bearers of the church and the
candidates for admission should take care that it be done with understanding and sincerity. It should be seen that they who are received have a clear and scriptural knowledge of the ordinance-1 Cor. xi. 29; that they concur in the religious principles of the church with which they desire to be connected-1 Cor. i. 10; and that they are duly sensible of the obligations which they thus take upon themselves-1 John i. 3. As far as possible to secure these ends, the Eldership of the Presbyterian Church in have agreed to adopt the following plan in the admission of candidates to the fellowship of the church, with the government of which they have been entrusted.
I. To ascertain their knowledge of the ordinance, the candidates shall be requested to explain their views, in answer to the following questions:
1. What is the Lord's Supper?
2. For whom is it intended?
3. Why do you wish to partake of it?
II. To be certified of their concurrence in the religious sentiments of the church, the candidates shall be asked
1. Do you believe that all men are, by nature, depraved and guilty in the sight of God?
2. That there is no salvation for sinners, otherwise than by the obedience and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ?
3. That he is an Almighty and suitable Saviour, being both God and man, in two distinct natures and one person?
4. That it is only by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to the sinner, and received by faith, he can be justified before God?
5. That they who believe in Christ, and so are justified, are at the same time sanctified, whereby their hearts are renewed and their lives become holy?
6. That the Holy Ghost is the author and finisher of this work of grace in the soul?
7. That there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that these three are one?
8. That all men are, at their death, made completely happy or miserable?
9. That the world shall be judged at the last day, and that the happiness of the righteous and the misery of the wicked shall be eternal?
III. To be assured of their readiness to discharge the obligations which they thus take upon themselves, the candidates shall be further asked
1. Do you resolve henceforth to devote yourselves to the service of Christ, considering that you are not your own, but bought with a price, and that you should glorify God in your body and spirit, which are his?
2. Do you purpose to use whatever means God shall enable you, for the advancement of religion in the family of which you are a member?
3. Do you promise to study the peace and unity of this church, and to endeavour to discharge the various duties of brotherly love towards its members, as you shall have opportunity?
4. Do you acknowledge the obligation of seeking to advance religion in the world by such means as shall appear to you to be scriptural? And do you resolve to bear your part in them, so far as your circumstances may allow ?
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sake, I will now say, Peace be within thee; because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good."-Psalm exxii. 6-9.
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."-Psalm cxxxiii.
SESSION-ROOM, December, 1832.
WE are to remember, that when a man is justified he is only freed from the guilt of all his past sins. His salvation, therefore, is still incomplete. He may yet transgress, for there is not a just man upon earth, who doth good and sinneth not. We are also to bear in mind, that every new breach of the law has a curse annexed to it. Inasmuch, then, as justification involves only the cancellation of what is past, it may, perhaps, be supposed, that the condition of the believer is still insecure. It may be said, how little avails his pardon if he may afterwards commit sins which God has threatened to visit with condemnation? Is not his justification of an imperfect and of an unsatisfying nature? A more intimate acquaintance with the provisions of the covenant of grace, will serve to obviate these objections. God, indeed, cannot annihilate a nonentity-he cannot forgive what cannot yet be charged against us- -he cannot blot out what has not yet been written down. The commission of sin must precede the exercise of forgiveness. Christ, indeed, died for his people, and he thus prepared the way for their acceptance; but their transgressions are not actually pardoned until they repent and believe the Gospel. His word is of no avail to us, until it is applied by faith to the broken and the contrite heart. But though justification extends only to sins that are past, yet that
grace which at first leads the transgressor to repentance, still continues to retain him within the pale of the covenant. The compilers of our Westminster Confession very perspicuously explained this subject. "God," say they, (West. Conf. chap. xi. sec. 5,) "doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them until they humble themselves, confess their sins by pardon, and renew their faith and repentance." Thus those profound theologians expound the doctrine of our justification. Thus they describe the bond of connexion which subsists between the Redeemer and the saints. That Saviour through whom the Christian obtained acceptance in the outset of his course, still keeps upon his pathway of communication with the Father of mercies. He who is the Author is also the Finisher of his faith. He not only implants this principle in his heart, but he also guards it against extinction. Thus it is that the Christian lives by faith. By faith he is still renewing his pardon. By faith he is continually making fresh applications to the blood of sprinkling, that he may be cleansed from the guilt of his daily trespasses. The Lord never utterly forsakes any of his saints. He never permits them to die in sin. Though they may fall, they shall not be altogether cast down, for he upholdeth them with his hand. When they violate his laws, he shews them their ingratitude; and when he has taught them to abhor themselves, he stirs up their faith, that their iniquity may be obliterated. Thus they are kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation, (1 Pet. i. 5.) He not only justifies us freely when we first believe, but he likewise repeats this act of grace when we subsequently look to him for forgiveness. As often as faith is exercised, so often mercy extended.
We would ask further, reader, is this the nature of your faith? Are you continually renewing the charter which conveys to you the promise of future happiness? Are you daily waiting upon God, and pleading the merits of Jesus? or do you imagine, that if you have once repented and believed, you are never to repeat these exercises? Do you conceive, that if we have once obtained justification, we may be less watchful and less humble, and less devout than heretofore? Do you suppose that justification confers not only pardon for the past, but also a species of dispensation to do evil for the future? If such are your views, they are equally dangerous
and antiscriptural. Faith is the rudder by which the Christian guides his course. Whenever, for a short time, he neglects to exert it, he finds himself entangled in spiritual difficulties. When he maintains it in the liveliest exercise, his hope is brightest, and his peace of conscience most abounds. The man who alleges that he has been already justified, and that, therefore, he does not fear sin, is destitute of the feelings of the ransomed of Jesus. The genuine Christian cherishes a penitent and a believing spirit—he attends upon the means of grace, that he may deepen his convictions of guilt, and that he may strengthen his hope of forgiveness. When he offends, the Lord quickens his faith, that he may not come into condemnation, and he thus preserves him throughout the whole period of his life from final and irrecoverable apostacy. He not only begins the good work in him, but he also performs it until the day of Jesus Christ.
THE REV. D. BAGOT AND THE REV. J. S. PORTER.
WE feel that we ought to apologize to our readers for introducing the present article under the designation which it bears. We at once admit it to be a misnomer; but for the purpose of gratifying our Arian and Socinian friends, we have generously conceded the point. We know that they have abundant reason to deplore their "fallen state," "and to mourn in sackcloth and ashes over the tattered shreds and fragments of their once-boasted, but now immolated system; and we have, therefore, every disposition, which Christian sympathy could dictate, to treat with forbearance the prostrate advocates of Arian absurdities and Socinian abominations. Mercy never appears so truly lovely as when it is manifested by the victorious; and though our Unitarian friends may not, during the first smart of their unexpected defeat, give us sufficient credit for our charitable intentions towards them, yet we feel perfectly assured, that so soon as calm, unprejudiced reason shall have assumed its functions, they will be able to interpret correctly our assurances of condolence with them in their present unhappy and lamentable condition. For the purpose, therefore, of manifesting our reluctance to add to the feelings of disgrace which are always attendant upon defeat, we will grant to them the name of Unitarians, though we verily believe they have just as good a claim to it as have Deists or Mahometans.