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and to all who prosecute that work ac- | families of the earth be blessed." But cording to his commission, he hath though God seems here to be enveloped promised, "Lo, I am with you always, in clouds and darkness, yet righteouseven unto the end of the world." I ness and judgment will eventually apcould have wished you had told me pear to be the establishment of his particularly what it was that gave you throne. The Divine Being is here tryso much trouble, that I might the more ing the faith of the old Patriarch, and feelingly have sympathized with you. at the same time teaching him in a You are too reserved. Let me know if figure, the method in which he himself your society is encreasing, and lively would in the fulness of time manifest and hearty in the profession, and fervent the riches of his grace, and the glory of in brotherly love. his justice, in the salvation of a perishing world. Without being tedious, we may easily see a number of particulars in this wonderful transaction, which will bear a resemblance to the wonders of Mount Calvary, and the influence of divine truth on the minds of men.
As to the present state of our churches, I have reason to bless the Lord that we all appear to be united in hearty affection that the members in general are making progress in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-and that the Lord hath added to us a considerable number within these two years past. Experience, however, has taught us, that we have always need to take care that we be not high-minded, but fear. We have sent no one to Chester. There are several small societies with us who want pastors, and we cannot supply them. As I understand there are vessels frequently going betwixt this and your place, could you not step into one of them, and pay us a visit? If you could be absent from your people so long, it would do us a pleasure, and perhaps might be of mutual benefit.
My answer to Huddleston (or rather Paterson) are all sold off a considerable time ago. I shall send you my answer to Glas along with the rest. Meantime, I remain yours, with sincere affection for the truth's sake,
THE remarkable character and history of Abraham, are subjects which have occupied the tongues and pens of men of almost every denomination under the Christian name. And there is indeed abundance of matter, both to gratify our curiosity, and establish our minds in the truth. The commandment here given is one, which to all human appearance, is inconsistent with the law of the great Creator, relating to the shedding of human blood, and would seem to render impossible the accomplishment of the divine promise--"In thee, and in thy seed, shall all the
I. Isaac appears here to be a striking type of the Messiah-his name imports joy and gladness. And in Christ our mouths shall be filled with laughter, and our lips with melody. His birth was long foretold, and ardently expected. The birth of Christ had been the subject of prophecy for near 4000 years; and in the prospect of this event, the church had often exclaimed-" O ́that the sal vation of Israel were come out of Zion." And when the time arrived for the ac complishment of the divine promise, such was the joy it occasioned upon earth, that death itself seemed to wear a smile to those who were looking for him. Old Simeon could exclaim with transport
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." --The birth of Isaac was extraordinary, his father being an hundred years old, and his mother well stricken in years. And when the prophet announces the coming of Messiah, the Prince of peace, his kingdom, he declares "his up name shall be called Wonderful." He is the new thing which the Lord created in the earth-the holy thing born of the Virgin-the Son of the Highest-Ema nuel, God with us.-Isaac was a son and heir. Christ is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the prime Heit of all things, upon whose Almighty shoulder the government of his king dom rests. -Isaac was an only son Christ is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Angels and men are called sons; but unto which of the angels said he at any time, "Thou art my Son, this day have I be gotten thee. And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the
ON ABRAHAM OFFERING UP HIS SON ISAAC.
to see my day, he saw it, and was glad." When he arrives at the appointed place, he erects an altar, lays the wood in order, and binds his son, his only son Isaac. He confers not with flesh and blood, saying, what account can I give to the world for my conduct?. or, how can I expect to see the fulfilment of the divine promise-"That in Isaac shall thy seed be called?"-No, he staggers not at the promise of God through unbelief; but accounting that God was able to raise him up from the dead, from whence he also received him in a figure, he takes the knife, and when just going to lodge the fatal weapon in the breast of his son, a voice from heaven says" Abraham, stay thy hand."
world he saith, "Let all the angels of God worship him."-Isaac was a beloved Son; and a voice from heaven more than once declared concerning Jesus "He is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."-Isaac was to be offered at the divine command; and it was at the command of Jehovah, that the sword of justice was bid to awake and smite the man that was his fellow.-Isaac carried the wood and the knife, &c. Christ carried the wood of his cross, and bare our sins in his own body upon the tree. It was by the hand of his Father that Isaac was to receive the fatal stroke; and it was our heavenly Father who put the cup of wrath into the Saviour's hand, which made him to cry out, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."Isaac was offered by his own consent, for he had the power to escape, had it been his will. Christ could declare, "No man taketh it from me, I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again."-It was for no sin of his own that Isaac was to suffer. Christ suffered the just for the unjust to bring us unto God.-The hand was stayed when Isaac was to have received the deadly blow, and a ram caught in a thicket supplies his place. But Chris, was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, that by his stripes we may be healed.
II. In Abraham's conduct on this Occasion, we have a manifestation of those things which have in all ages constituted the religion of Jesus, and of which the apostle Paul says-" Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity." The faith of Abraham is a subject much spoken of in Scripture. It was this which enabled him to bear up under peculiarly heavy trials; and on account of which he was styled, by way of eminence--the father of the faithful, and the friend of God. "He believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness." For three days together he travelled to the land of Moriah, and on the third day he lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. He not only saw the place where Jehovah had commanded him to offer up his beloved isaac, but he saw by faith the accomplishment of all those things which were to be seen there in a figure. Hence our Lord himself bears this testimony to the faith of Abraham-" He rejoiced
The hope as well as the faith of Abraham is here brought to our view. He had long believed in hope against hope; but this was the greatest trial he had ever experienced. And as his faith could not be shaken, no more could his hope of future glory be destroyed. The ram caught in the thicket would bring to his view the one offering, which would for ever take away sin. And while he calls the name of the place Jehovah-jirah, (the Lord will provide,) he must do it in the joyful expectation that God would fulfil the promise he had made. And to this we are told, that because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely, blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thy seed, &c. Thus adding his oath to his promise-that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we also might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us. Thus what was written of Abraham was not written for his sake alone; but for us also, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.
Again, when we see Abraham cheerfully yielding up his son at the command of God, we see at the same time the genuine spirit of Christianity-" faith working by love." He gave the strongest expression of love to God, that a mortal could do. And the testimony of the Apostle concerning him is, that he was justified by works, when he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar. And if we are walking in the steps of the faith of Abraham, we should also be imitating him in love to God. For our
love to God will always correspond with our regard for his authority, and obedience to his laws.
Feb. 16, 1824.
The remarks of "your sincere well-wisher, Joseph," which you did him the honour to insert in the February number of your valuable Magazine, are generally excellent, and by no means out of season; but some of them are in my opinion extremely injudicious, and highly censurable.
Under his third observation, substituting wit for argument, he attempts to run down, by rendering ridiculous, a class of men, whose piety, disinterestedness, and zeal in the cause of God (to say nothing of their spiritual gifts), justly entitle them to a very different treatment. I allude, Sir, to those useful and necessary members of our churches who, in the nomenclature of popery, are termed "Lay Preachers and ExhorUpon these Joseph, from the height of his sublime elevation, looks down with evident contempt; but they are entitled rather to his pity, if, as he says, they, at least some of them, can rank no higher in the scale of being, than “the nearest affinity to mere instinct." He is doubtless a philosopher, and must therefore know that that link in the chain of existence which connects reason with instinct, or a man with a beast, is supposed to be found natural fools and idiots; he, therefore, by fair deduction, assigns that place to lay preachers. But if those whose honour, and the honour of whose Creator and Redeemer he thus lays in the dust, be after all his brethren in the Lord, has he not placed himself in the dangerous situation of him, who "says to his brother, thou foot?"
On this subject he speaks no doubt feelingly. The "lay preachers" he seems to regard as his enemies, or at least his rivals; and his fears and jealousies may well be excited, when he sees them "increase that trouble him," and has still good reason to expect their greater multiplication. "These persons," he tells us, "have their compauions, and they too must preach, as they can feel no inferiority to those who are deemed competent to such a solemn engagement." How cruel to blame them for not feeling what, if his obser
vation be just, it is impossible they should feel, their intellects having "the nearest affinity to mere instinct!" "They make their attempt," says he, 66 amongst a few illiterate rustics,"there was some sense in that-" and succeed very well, that is, they get through without stopping, and make those stare who had no sense to understand their nonsense." Deficient, therefore, though they be in sense, yet not in volubility,
they get through without stopping," and that is more than can be said of some who have been at School, and passed with credit through the sapient fingers of a D. D. And as for their auditory-poor "illiterate rustics," they might well" stare!" for it takes a very sensible and learned man to "understand nonsense;" perhaps Joseph himself would find some difficulty in it. But what has your correspondent dared to call nonsense? The lay preachers as a body, know and preach the Gospel; and the weakest of them all would not be tolerated as preachers by their evangelic connexions, did they not preach the Gospel. Joseph must surely know this, and it becomes him very seriously to enquire, whether in calling the preaching of the lay preachers "nonsense," he does rot in effect call the Gospel itself nonsense, and "charge with folly" the Spirit of Wisdom, who deigns to bless such humble instrumentality-and thus, "that no flesh should glory in his presence,"-"chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise."
But, continues he, "they must now preach in the Chapel, where they will have a better opportunity of discovering their abilities." Now to the extent of my observation and experience, the case is far otherwise. Rather than in the Chapel, they would preach any where; and prefer to walk ten, or it may be, twenty miles into the country, to "make their attempt among a few illiterate rustics," whose souls they have sense enough to deem as precious as those of the most enlightened and fashionable congregation in the kingdom.
Next, he attacks them on the score of Exhortation-"to gratify this caprice," as he calls their desire to make known the Gospel, "meetings for exhortation must be held according to the primitive practice." Does he mean then to affirm that such was not the primitive practice This much is plain, if any thing recorded in Scripture be plain, that the
DIPPING, SPRINKLING AND POURING, THREE ACTIONS. 105
by the translators of the Bible, in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, as by any of our modern disputants; and if it can be shown that they used the words Banrw and BaTTiw, in the sense of sprinkling, the Baptists should give up the dispute; but if they use these words to signify dipping and washing, and other words for sprinkling-and especially if these are found in the same connection, or explained by other words whose signification is indisputablewhy then it would seem unreasonable to dispute longer, because the Greek of the New Testament must have the same meaning as that of the Old, being often quoted from it.
Now, Sir, in reading over the Septuagint, I met with several passages that seem to me to put the matter beyond dispute.-Most of them are found in the book of Leviticus, as Lev. iv. 6. "The priest shall dip, Babe, his finger in the blood, and sprinkle pavar, of the blood seven times before the Lord," &c.-Lev. xiv. 6, 7. "As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip, Ba, them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: and he shall SPRINKLE, Tepipava, upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean." Again, in the same chapter, verse 16." And the priest shall dip, Babe, his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall. SPRINKLE, pave, of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord." Now, in these passages and others, the word Banτw, which has the signification of Banti, in the same manner as to chasten has of chastize, in English, is used for dipping, and pavw, expaw, and wepipan, all derived from one word, have the signification of sprinkling, and convince me that baptism and sprinkling are two things completely distinct.
first Christians exhorted one another,
Your obedient Servant,
The subject of baptism has of late been made a frequent theme of discussion, and not unfrequently of angry disputation. It were to be wished, that some mode could be adopted to bring the controversy to an end, that it might no longer be the means of separation to those, who ought to love as brethren, and preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I am myself a Baptist, and have sometimes thought, if our brethren of the Podobaptist communities who can read Greek, would take the pains to examine some passages of the Septuagint, which is you know frequently quoted in the New Testament, and thereby acquires apostolic, and even Divine authority, that much might be done towards the accomplishment of this object, as far as pertains to the mode of baptism. The Greek lan-is expressed by the word Barricaro, he guage was certainly as well understood baptized himself. Now, Sir, if the
Another passage which I have marked in my Septuagint, is one which occurs in 2 Kings v. relating to the cleansing of Naaman the Syrian, whom the prophet bade to go and wash in Jordan seven times. In this command the word Aura, a derivation from As, which every scholar knows means exclusively to wash, is made use of; and the fulfil
ment of the command in the 14th verse
"It is remarkable that we have the three words, dip, sprinkle, and pour, occurring sometimes in the compass of two verses, and distinguished as three different successive actions to be performed with the same thing, which demonstrates that they are not of the same import. Thus the Seventy, in Lev. iv. 6, 7. "And the priest shall Babe, dip his finger in the blood, and @poopave, sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, and before the vail of the sanctuary, and shall exye, pour out all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering." Now, had the priest presumed to convert Barro here into sprinkling or pouring, he would have perverted the whole of this typical institution; been guilty of rebellion against the Lord, and might justly have expected immediate vengeance. And shall we think that the words of our Lord's commission are less plain and determinate than those of the law, and that we are at greater liberty to quibble upon them, and alter them at pleasure?"-See the Works of Mr. ArchM'Lean, vol. III. p. 291. London Edit. 1823.
which baptism was administered to the first converts of Christianity; but, more especially, when we consider, that it involves a principle, which, in its full operation, must effectually set aside the wisdom of men, as having nothing to do with the order and worship of that spiritual temple, which the Redeemer is erecting in all parts of the world, by the diffusion of his truth.
It is generally admitted in this country, that the Scriptures are a complete rule of faith and practice; indeed, it is on this grand principle that Protestantism rests its high claims to the attention of mankind; but what unpardonable inconsistency it would be to admit it in theory, and deny it in practice! Of this, however, we are evidently guilty, when ever we depart from a plain Scripture precept or example, either in believing what is contrary, or practising what is opposite; or attempt to evade its full meaning, by endeavouring so to modify it, as to make it suit our own taste, or satisfy our own mistaken conception of the "reason and fitness of things."
It will be clearly seen from these remarks, that the principle involved in your correspondent's query, is one of incalculable importance; which I should very much wish to see ably carried out in all its practical consequences, and brought to bear, with all its weight, upon the errors and corruptions even of our modern dissenting churches!
I shall not attempt, however, at this time, to go any further into the subject; but simply endeavour to furnish a plain reply to the immediate object of your correspondent's enquiry, which embraces two points-1st. What was the rule acted upon "by the primitive Christians," relative to the admission of persons to christian baptism? and 2nd. Is their conduct binding upon us?
1st. The rule upon which the apostles, and first ministers of the Word acted, in setting up the kingdom of Christ in the world, was, I humbly conceive, the commission given by our Lord to the "twelve," just before he ascended to heaven, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," Matt. xxviii. 18, 19. Here we have the imperial edict of the King of kings, for the universal promulgation of the Gospel of peace, and authority