Imatges de pàgina

are all calculated to impress the mind with the deepest solemnity.

The act of devotion to God in the ordinance of confirmation, is as EDIFYING as it is solemn.


Edifying, in regard to the persons who perform it, and to all others.

Edifying to the persons who perform it; for it brings before them, in the most impressive manner, all the great truths of religion, and engages them to the belief of these truths. It exhibits to them the nature and perfections of the adorable Godhead; the relations which they sustain to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; the all-sufficiency of those merits of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through which alone they can be justified; the efficacy of that intercession of the great Mediator through which alone all their prayers must be offered, and their highest acts of obedience rendered acceptable; the power of that grace by which their erring and corrupt nature is to be enlightened and purified, temptation vanquished, and every act of holy obedience to be performed. Then they are called to consider the nature of that spiritual society of which they were made members by baptism-the orders and authority of the ministry set over it to proclaim its messages of truth and salvation, and to dispense its sacraments, the means and the pledges of mercy and grace-and the exalted destiny designed for them, as the members of this mystical body of the Lord, in the glory which he has gone before to prepare for them in his kingdom above. These are the articles of the Christian faith professed for them in baptism, which

are now presented to their devout consideration, and to the belief of which, as constituting their perfection, and consolation, and happiness, they are called. Highly edifying is a solemnity which thus tends to make those who are the subjects of it fully and practically acquainted with those truths which alone can make wise unto salvation.

It is edifying still further, as it impresses upon them their Christian duty, and engages them to perform it. Their duty to God, recognising him as their Maker, to whom they owe the deepest homage-as their Preserver, on whom they should profess constant dependence-as their Benefactor, who claims, for the countless mercies which he bestows, their liveliest gratitude-as the Almighty Sovereign, who demands their unreserved and constant obedience—as their heavenly Father, to whom they should render confidence and submission--as their Judge, who will bring them to an account. Realizing his constant presence with them, his holy inspection of their conduct, they will fear to sin, even though the darkness of night may conceal the transgression from the world. The High and Holy One, who is able to save and to destroy, they are resolved alone to fear, and him only to serve. Impressed with the majesty of that name, before the glory of which cherubim and seraphim make obeisance, they guard against even the light and frivolous mention of it, and shudder at the profanity which connects it with the gross imprecation. Taught to regard homage to this first and best of Beings as equally their duty and their privilege, his sacred courts, where his perfections are adored, his grace invoked, and his favour supplicated, are the objects of their earnest desire, and their holy

choice; here they resolve to be present, with the emotions of penitence, with the impressions of reverence, with the lively exercises of faith, and among the assembled congregation to bow before the Lord, and to worship the God of their salvation.

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In the renewal of their baptismal vows, the obligations of love and gratitude are also presented, which they owe to the Saviour who redeemed them, to that eternal Son of God who, for their sakes, left the highest heavens, and sojourned upon earthlaid aside the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, and took upon him the body of flesh-forsook the praises with which the heavenly host cease not to adore him, and encoun tered the scoffs and the contradictions of sinnersand finally, amidst the contumelies and revilings of his bitter enemies, sustained the death of the cross. Impressed with the mingled emotions of awe and of gratitude for this mysterious display of infinite compassion in the Lord of life, they cherish confidence in the fulness of that atonement which he made for their sins, and trust in his merits as the only ground of acceptance with their Maker and their Judge; and they resolve to live to the glory of him who gave himself for them, and to seek, by the fidelity of their devotion to him, and their uniform obedience to his commands, to testify the sincerity of their love for the Benefactor of their souls, and the fervours of their gratitude to that compassionate Redeemer who loved them even unto death.

At the period of their renewal of their baptismal engagements, the various duties also of justice, of benevolence, and of mercy to their fellow-men in

general of honour, of obedience, of gratitude, of affection to those with whom, by nature, or the institutions of society and the church, they sustain the most important relations and of temperance, of soberness, and of purity, by which they are to preserve their bodies and their souls from corruption, disgrace, and misery,-are exhibited to the young disciples of Christ, and they are engaged to the practice of these duties by the most solemn resolutions and the most powerful motives.

For it is not the least edifying view of the scene which confirmation exhibits, that the everlasting destiny of those who are the subjects of it, and their immortal character and hopes, are then most forcibly impressed upon them. 'Disciples of Christ,' is the language which is then held forth to them, 'while you enlist under the banner of your crucified Lord, and renew your vows of devotion to him, look at the eternal glories with which he is preparing to crown your triumphs in the holy warfare to which he calls you to reward your self-denial, your zeal, your sacrifices, your fidelity in his service. Look also at those stores of vengeance which he will pour forth on the apostates from his cause, and on those who have neglected or dishonoured it in the preference of some corrupting pursuit of worldly ambition, or in the devotion to some unhallowed object of sensual indulgence. Yours, then, is a most momentous destination-yours a service which should engross your souls. The favour or the wrath of him who bears the glories and the terrors of omnipotence-felicity with him in his presence in heaven, or wo among the outcasts in those prisons of the accursed from which there is no redemption,--is to be your final portion. VOL. II.


Arouse then your souls to a holy ambition to attain the glories that are set before you; fill them with awful dread of that wrath which will be executed on those who, by their sins, put their Saviour to an open shame, violate their vows to him, and disgrace his sacred cause. Keep constantly in view the judgment to come, where the divine Redeemer, in whose service you are engaged, distributes the rewards or the punishments of eternity. Let no calls of worldly ambition, no allurements of sensual pleasure draw your supreme attention from those scenes where the award of your Judge will fix your doom of happiness or misery for ever. Let not the earthly joy that most delights and animates you, cause you to forget, that, as the denizens of that heavenly Zion, where the Lord is an everlasting light and God an eternal glory, you have pleasures in anticipation, in comparison of which the brightest worldly joy fades away-pleasures that flow from the infinite source of all felicity, and that last for ever.'

What enduring, what ennobling, what holy impressions is such a solemnity calculated to seal on their minds a solemnity, too, in which God, we trust, dispenses to the humble and sincere those renewed supplies of his grace, by which they are enabled faithfully to profess the truths, and resolutely to discharge the duties, and to secure the privileges of their Christian calling.

Nor is it alone edifying to those who are immediately engaged in it. You who hear the vows by which the disciples of Christ pledge themselves to his service-you who witness them, in the exercise of an enlightened and firm resolution, engaging to discharge the obligations by which nature, and

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