Imatges de pÓgina

of must refer to the prophet's wife, who conceived and bare a son, as recorded in Isa. viii.

and, therefore, should you deem the following observations worthy of public attention, you will oblige me by their insertion in your Miscellany.

In examining the circumstances under which our Lord's prayer was dictated, the Evangelist Luke, narrating his "It came to pass, history, informs us, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Both from sacred and prophane history it appears that during our Lord's ministry there were four distinguished sects among the Jews. The first were Sadducees; this was a sect which denied the existence of angels and disembodied spirits the resurrection of the dead, and a future judgment. But whether they admitted the providential government of God, and prayed that he would do them good, give them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and fill their hearts with food and gladness, we The second sect are not informed. were Pharisees; these were persons opposed in sentiment to the Sadducees, and habituated to frequent and long


These objections and others of a like nature, are to be met with in antient Jewish writers, and are still repeated by the learned Jews of the present age, as well as by other unbelievers. should be glad, if some of your correspondents would furnish a judicious vindication of the apostolic interpreta-prayers, engaging in these exercises in tion of this prophecy, and thus throw the most conspicuous situations; in the light upon the truths of the gospel, streets, the synagogues, and the temple, which will never perish. and pleading their personal and comparative moral purity, though addicted to extortion and excess. The third were Essenes this sect were celebrated-for their celibacy-their community of goods-their agricultural pursuits, and their devotional exercises; for Josephus

I am, Sir,

ON USING THE LORD'S PRAYER. informs us that rising very early in the morning, they abstained from all secular conversation till day break, and put up certain prayers, received from their forefathers, as if making supplication for the rising of the sun. The fourth were the disciples of John the Baptist. These were persons baptized upon a profession of their repentance, and of their faith in the approaching reign of God. These persons, dissatisfied, I suppose, with the principles of the Sadducees, and also with the prayers and conduct of the other sects, requested John to teach them to pray. And the disciples of Jesus, feeling a similar dissatisfaction, and having witnessed the humility, submission, ardour, and faith of him, who offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears," when he ceased, one said, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disci

2. That before this child should know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land should be delivered from the evils which were inflicted upon it by the two hostile kings.

3. That the birth of a son, at the distant period of many centuries, was an event too remote to be a sign to Ahaz, of the certainty of an immediate deliverance of himself and Judah.

4. That the son here foretold, means the son of the prophet, concerning whom it is said, that before he should be able to say, my father and my mother, the power of both kings should be destroyed. Compare chap. vii. 16. with chap. viii. 4.

5. That the name of this child was to be Emmanuel, not Jesus.

Yours respectfully,

Sep. 11th, 1824.



I was lately requested to assign a reason on behalf of myself and brethren of the Baptist denomination, for our uniform omission of the Lord's prayer, both in domestic and public worship.

In order to assign a reason on behalf of myself, I examined the circumstances under which that prayer was dictated the writings and conduct of the Apostles after the day of Pentecost-and also the nature of the prayer itself. It is somewhat remarkable that two publications on prayer, should so recently have issued from the pens of Baptist Ministers; but, whether the subject" before me has been discussed in either of them, or has appeared in any periedical publication, is unknown to me,

ON THE USE OF THE LORD'S PRAYER. ples." Such appear to have been the circumstances under which the prayer was dictated.

In examining the writings and conduct of the Apostles, I suppose that two principles will be admitted; the one is, that the apostolic prayers were "the prayers of the saints"-those which were offered upon the golden altar, and ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. This being admitted, it must be also granted that their prayers were accepted; and these prayers were offered up under a great variety of circumstances. We have on record a prayer at the election of an Apostle-at the release of Peter and John-at the martyrdom of Stephenthe imprisonment of Peter-the imprisonment of Paul and Silas-a prayer for complete sanctification-for preservation of body, soul and spirit, and for a capacity to comprehend the breadth, length, depth and height of the love of Christ; yet under all this variety no allusion is made to our Lord's Prayer. Their conclusions ran thus: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us; unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end, AMEN."

The other principle, which I suppose will be admitted, is, that the apostles rigidly adhered to all positive precepts which were deemed binding after the death of Christ; for they, in obedience to positive precepts, went into Galilee tarried in Jerusalem-went into all the world and baptized the disciples, yet not the most distant allusion is ever made, either in conduct or epistle to the Lord's prayer; from which I infer, that this prayer was not deemed binding, and that its omission will not prevent our prayers from coming up with acceptance before God.


impurity, that we are more spotted than the leopard, more ignorant than the ox, and more filthy than the swine: so that our prayers, if answered, can only be answered through the spotless purity of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. In the Lord's prayer there is no reference made to the atonement of Christ;* yet this enters into the mode of our access to God. When the patriarchs and prophets prayed, it was either with the offering up of typical sacrifices, or at the time of their offering up, or with windows opened towards the place of their offering up. And when the Jewish High-Priest made intercession, he entered the holy of holies with the blood of others.-But Jesus is gone within the vail with his own blood;blood this which reconciles! which pardons! which forms the cloud of incense! and by which he intercedes for the transgressors And if we are answered, it is through this blood of sprinkling. I find no reference to the offices of Christ, yet these enter into the mode of our access to God. Jesus appears in the presence of God, as our great High Priest, one who has offered the prescribed and required atonement; as our mediator, one who, being "God manifest in the flesh," can lay his hands upon us both. And he appears as our righteous advocate; one who can plead, that in his conduct not one jot or tittle of the law failed, but all was fulfilled; and if we are answered, it is through this Son of man, whom God has made strong for himself. I find no reference to the influences of the Holy Ghost, one part of whose of fice it is, to teach us to pray-to help our infirmities and to make intercession with our spirs. And, finally, I find in the prayer itself, that its forms of expression are varied: compare Mat. vi. 11, 12. with Luke xi, 34. and what Matthew inserts in verse 13, the evangelist Luke wholly omits, which appears remarkable, if Luke himself adopted the prayer-or heard it universally adopted-or if it had been designed for adoption throughout all ages. From these omissions I conclude, that, the prayer was not intended for a permanent form-that it may be used by persons who tread under foot the Son of

In examining the nature of the prayer itself, I find, there is no reference made to the mediation of Christ; yet this enters essentially into the medium of our access to God, a circumstance ever calculated to remind us of the holiness of his nature, "that he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.". And it also serves to remind us of our own

Neither is there any direct mention made of Christ's atonement in any of the other prayers recorded in Scripture, to which our correspondent has alluded. His argument therefore against the use of the Lord's prayer, merely on this ground, is inconclusive.-EDITOR.

God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. And also that the prayer is incomplete, according to what we are taught in John xiv. 13, 14. and John xvi. 23-27. Before I dismiss the subject, permit me, Sir, to suggest, that when this prayer was adopted, it is not in the least probable, that it was according to modern custom, which is, after praying for ourselvesour domestics-the Church-the afflicted our native land and the uttermost parts of the earth, then to add this at the end, as if to give efficacy to all which preceded; but it was used, either as their only prayer or as their pattern. And, allow me to remark also, that this prayer presents a striking contrast to the prayers of the heathen, and even to the prayers of many professors of Christianity. It is not unusual for men of slender talents and attainments to pray in public nearly three quarters of an hour, and in the domestic circles nearly half an hour; but in our Lord's prayer, the same subject, and the same forms of expression are not twice repeated! We should remember, that, though we are praying in the name of Christ, yet it is written, "God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few."

I am yours,



N. B. Will you, or some of your correspondents, inform me of the origin of the modern use of the Lord's prayer?



MR. EDITOR, On opening the Congregational Magazine" for the present Month, my attention was arrested by a " Review of Mr. Cox's recent work on Baptism." Knowing that Independent Ministers of considerable eminence are the Conductors of that work; from the brilliancy of talent which its pages display; from the general excellence of its reviews; and from the great length to which the one in question extends; it appeared that Mr. C. had at length "roused the lion from his lair," and that the Baptists were about to be completely "overwhelmed" by a torrent of most conclusive and irrefragable ar

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gument. How far their apprehensions are likely to be realized, let the readers of the Review determine; for my own part, (notwithstanding the very high opinion which I entertain of the reviewers,) I cannot help considering their present production as " Vox et præterea nihil;" and offer to you a few observations in support of this opinion.



They charge Mr. Cox with "vapid braggery," " "consummate arrogance, and indecorum;" with being "unsound, dogmatical, and uncharitable," on account of the assertions in his Advertisement. The correctness of these assertions they deny; but we may perhaps be allowed in a few words to attempt to confirm them. Mr. Cox says, popular feeling is theirs, the argument is ours." To the former branch of this assertion there surely can be no objection. Consider the reproach which is every where cast upon the Baptists, as erroneous, heretical schismatics; as disturbers of the peace of Churches, and enemies both to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Infant race! They are a sect every where spoken against," and their" names are cast out as evil;" all which circumstances combine, to array against them that mass of "popular feeling" which is expressed by superficial thinkers. Now to this they have nothing to oppose but argument, clear and solid argument; not that system of hair-splitting, scholastic Theology, which wraps the plain declarations of the Scriptures up in such a tissue of subtle sophistries, as none but a practised metaphysician can unravel; but the simple reasoning of common sense, founded on the untortured letter ofrevealed truth, which is open to the investigation, and commends itself to the judgment of every man, however unlearned he may be, who desires fully to know, and as fully to practise the will of Christ. It is not denied that there is a vast shew of imposing argument on the other side. Few Baptists are ignorant of this, and hardly can the assertion of the reviewers be credited, that " a popular Baptist Minister” should be in this situation. Still, however, amidst all this display, the last named parties may justly pride themselves, upon being the exclusive possessors of sound Scriptural argument on this subject, much as the Congregational Reviewers may dislike the assertion; and was it not that the remark would savour of "consummate arrogance, and



examination. This is known to be the case, in many instances, with men of more than ordinary vigour of intellect; and it may therefore be very justly inferred to exist in a greater proportion, where men's minds are not so well disposed to, and fitted for enquiry.

indecorum," we might echo their own, words, and say, that "though popular feeling may hold up the cause a little longer, it is high time for all wise and conscientious people to recant."

These Gentlemen deny that "the best Pædobaptist writers have made us repeated and most important concessions;" and seem to intimate that many

Mr. Cox says, "that Pædobaptist Churches contain vast numbers of theo

of the most able writers on other sub-retic Baptists, who have discernment enough to appreciate the force of evidence, but not piety enough to pursue the path of duty." It would have been better, had the latter branch of this sentence been qualified, since as it now stands, it conveys a charge which we would by no means desire to attach to our fellow Christians. But the general fact, that such persons are to be found in considerable numbers in Pædobaptist churches, is unquestionable; and that, not merely amongst "the young, the simple, and the ill informed;" those " who instead of being able to appreciate the argument, are notoriously incompetent for any such decision;" "the timid, the scrupulous, and the weak minded;" but generally amongst those of mature age, of long standing in the church;-of acute discernment, and of cool, discriminating judgment. These circumstances exist, to a greater extent than many pastors are aware of, even in their own churches. Many have partial convictions upon the subject, but are afraid to investigate it fully, lest they should "unsettle their minds;" others have carried their examinations further, but hesitate to avow their results lest they should incur reproach, and become the subjects of inconvenience; and others again do declare their opinions, but deem it unnecessary to act upon them; not considering the point as one of essential importance to their salvation. Every now and then, however, some of these persons are induced" to submit to adult immersion;" not "lest they should incur the TREMENDOUS guilt denounced upon them by some BIGOTTED PARTIZAN OF ANABAPTISM;" nor "from the staggering of some ANABAPTIST advocate," but from the convictions of duty becoming irresistibly imperative upon them; a consummation not unfrequently much accelerated, by the vehement and inconclusive reasonings of some Padobaptist partizan.

Having dismissed Mr. C.'s Advertise

jects, are very incompetent on this. But when I run over the names of Henry, Baxter, Doddridge, Owen, Poole, Bingham, Edwards, Leigh, Jennings, Witsius, Taylor, Wall, Hammond, Whitby, and others, I cannot help considering, that I have fallen upon some of the "best Pædobaptist writers;" and when I put together the concessions which they have made, from a simple survey of the word of God, when not under a particular bias, I confess that I am disposed to place little confidence in their final convictions, when that bias evidently sways them. In the former case, they advance upon a parallel with the sacred record, and in strict unison with the spirit of the Christian dispensation; but in the latter, they are observed to desert this straight path, for the purpose of propping up a rite entirely at variance with both.


I cannot help remarking, how cruel it is in these Reviewers, to taunt the Baptists, with being one of the smallest of Christian sects, distinguished neither in its past or present state by any overwhelming majority of acute reasoners and genuine scholars," since it recals to their minds, the extreme folly of which they are guilty, in presuming, under such circumstances, to plead for the honour of Divine Truth, in humble imitation of a certain "small and undistinguished sect," which once similarly dared to confront, the "overwhelming majority of acute reasoners and genuine scholars," which the schools of Jewish law, and Greek and Roman philosophy produced. Whether " one half of the Pædobaptist ministers living" admit that the primary meaning of Barrw and Bari is to immerse, I know not; though I think it may very safely be asserted, that more than one half have never bestowed the labour of their own minds upon the subject; but taking the statements of certain favourite writers as their textment, the reviewers "enter upon the books, they have sat themselves down, work itself," by "beginning with the fully satisfied, without any further closing part of his argument," which

expressly denies, that the earliest writers ever mention Infant Baptism in direct terms and as a thing not to be questioned. This denial stands untouched, for the earliest writers are not at all referred to in the Review. The evidence of Tertullian, with the trifling addition, which our brethren would make to it, only goes to prove the "existence" of the practice, but certainly by no means its "prevalence." It does not appear from this, that it was "universal and “unquestioned,” but rather that it existed as an innovation, amongst those to whom this "Father" wrote, and was by him, not only questioned, but condemned. There seems not in this early age to have been any claim of apostolic authority for this practice, but rather that it was founded upon necessity and expediency; and it is precisely upon the ground of this expediency and necessity that Tertullian combats it. In referring to Irenæus, the Reviewers bear very hard upon Dr. Gale, for questioning the authenticity of the chapter whence a very important quotation is made; and attempt to justify the “ Father" at all hazards, in the contradictions and inconsistencies which that chapter contains; but surely we may be allowed to look with much jealousy upon a statement, which so palpably contradicts facts fully established by the Sacred Word, and which must have been perfectly known by Irenæus; and when in connection with these statements, are others so completely in accordance with the corrupt opinions and practices of the church, from whose hands we have received the only copies of these writings which we possess, we may with that "most confused, illogical, and unfair of controversial writers," Dr. Gale, be permitted still to doubt its authenticity. The reference to Justin Martyr is as usual pressed into the service, but without adverting to the luminous display, which he, in another place makes of the views and practice of the Christian Church in this particular; it is not by any means clear, how the fact of many aged persons having been discipled to Christ by teaching, (which is manifestly the import of the term,) in their childhood, can be made to serve the cause of Infant Baptism. We admit their consecutive Baptism, but the associated circumstance of instruction effectually excludes infancy.

Proceeding, the Reviewers inveigh in very uncourteous terms against the observations of Mr. Birt, than which nothing certainly can be more temperate, judicious and conclusive. The point of view in which he has placed the subject is a galling one for his opponents, but it is correct; and the correctness is in no trifling degree proved, by the attempts our reviewers have made, to evade the force of his remarks, and give consistency to their own prac tice, by pleading for a “relative religion.” But what is this "relative religion?” Surely they need not to be told, that religion as revealed to and enjoined upon us by Christ is entirely personal. Its means, and its obligations, however socially attended to, have all a personal reference; and there is not a single duty which can be discharged, obligation fulfilled, or blessing enjoyed by one person for another. The head of a family maintains an altar to God in his house, and commands his children and his servants to attend him to the sanctuary; but of what avail are these acts to the latter parties, except as ordinary means by which their hearts may become affected? Notwithstanding their punctual performance by the parent and master, the children and servants may continue, and thousands are unbelievers of the very worst description; and this relative religion is therefore a nonentity. Widely different were the circumstances of the Patriarchal and Mosaical dispensations, where first to families, and afterwards to a nation, God especially made himself known; but now we recognize only personal religion. For "in every nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness is accepted with him;" and this has a relative effect, only in the fulfilment of the duties we have to perform to those around us, and the accomplishment of which can lay them under no similar obligation, unless they are conscious and voluntary agents. The long paragraph on poptism," seems to be a mere waste of ink. What is contained in the subsequent Whether Mr. Cox has or has not suc


Fathers, 150 years from the Apostles, when all manner of corruptions were fast inundating the Christian Church, can never be made the rule of our faith and practice; and our brethren may therefore remain in full and peaceable possession of all the sanction which they can obtain from Cyprian, and his successors.

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