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every period, and in every condition of life, we behold Him a perfect pattern of every poflible excellence.

We have already contemplated the blessed Jesus in his original glory, before the world was, and in all the wonders of his humiliation to the level of humanity : we have beheld Him in all the affecting intereit of infancy and childhood, born in a ftable, laid in a manger, aimed at by the dagger of a ruffian, driven into exile, meekly retiring into obscurity, ilently increasing in wisdom and ftature, and in favour with God and

From the age of twelve to thirty years, that is for more than half the period which He tabernacled among men, Povi: dence has seen meet to withhold all traces of his history. Within the short space of about three years is comprized the detail of all the things which Jesus did, and taught, and suffered as the Saviour of mankind. To this eventful cra we are now brought forward, and we enter on the contemplation of it with mixed emotions of wonder, reverence and joy.

Stand by, ye princes and potentates of the earth ; the King of kings is about to make his public entry. What is the consecration of a prelate, the coronation or an emperor, the voice of a trumpet, the anointing with oil, compared to the majesty, folemnity and importance of the scene difplayed on the banks of the Jordan ! Bend your heads and cover your faces, " ye angels that excel in strength,” He whoin you are all commanded to worship is here. Behold he cometh from Nazaren of Galilee, to the baptism of John; the greater to be baptized by the less. Eighteen years hast thou now passed, Jefus cf Nazareth! unseen, unknown, unregarded ; under the humble appellation of the carpenter's son, partaking perhaps of the la. bours of his occupation, taring limply, submitting to authority, ünmortified by subjection to poverty, neglect and reproach; and thus halt thou become a gentle and filent, but a severe reprover of the restlessness of ambition, of the thirft of diftin&t. ion, of the impetuo fity of appetite, of impatience of restraint. The Saviour of the world, my friends, was pleased to pass through the fucceffive stages of human life, that he might fanctity and instruct every age of man. He became an infant of days, that He might fanctify infancy, and stamp importance and respect upon it; be shewed himselt in the temple at the age of twelve, that he might sanętıly, and instruct that more advan€ed period of live in the duty of frequenting the house of God, and of reforting to age, office and experience for the lessons of 'wisdom, He advanced to maturity to faictity, and instruct grown men to practise self-denial, felf-gorernment, to be content with their lot, to repress inordinate desire, to aim at emia


nence by learning to become useful. " He that believeth thail not make hafte." He remained thus long in the shade, that He might teach his disciples to bear obscurity and retirement, and to cease from premature aspiring. He emerges at length into the light, the season of open and beneficial exertion being come, that he might correct a fpirit of indolence, irresolution and affected humility; and to tell every man, that he is sent into the world to act an important part, that he is entrusted with talents for the employment of which he is accountable, that God and his fellow creatures have claims upon him, which he muft satisfy at his peril.

The approach of Jesus to Jordan is perceived and announced by the Baptist. The Spirit which enabled Simeon to dis. cern the Saviour in the person of a little child, when present. ed in the temple, now discloses to the eye of the Prophet, who came in the spirit and power of Elias, the fame divine Person on the eve of entering upon his public ministry. He suspends for a moment the employment of teaching and baptizing the multitude, in which he was engaged, to point out to them the Lamb of God which taketh away the fin of the World." “ As the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not ; John arfwered, saying unto them all. I indeed baptize you with water ; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose : he fhall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."

John, at first, modestly declines the exercise of his office in a case fo very extraordinary. Hitherto he had taught only the ignorant and vicious and baptized only the impure, in the view of preparing them to receive the blessings of the approaching kingdom of heaven ; self-righteous Pharilees, unbelieving, profligate Sadducees, rapacious publicans, fedi. tious, violent and discontented soldiers, fuch were the men who came to his baptism. But here the application is made hy Him." who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from simers : who did no sin, neither was guile found in his lips." This, prophet as he was, confounds all the Baptist's ideas of propriety, and he exclaims : “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comeft thou to me?" The reply of Chrift unfolds his fpirit, and conveys to us many a useful lesson: “Suffer it to be so now : for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." Perfect purity can suffer no contamination from intercourse with the unclean; the impure pollute each other, and the contagion spreads. Conformity in things innocent and lawful is

a duty


a duty imposed by decency, kindness and regard to peace; dissent merely for the sake of diflent is a mixture of pride and bigotry. That may be admitted under peculiar circumstances, wbich is not to be drawn into a precedent, nor established as a general rule. A public character is concerned to study his own dignity, and the propriety and consistency of his conduct. The question is not what he may do, but what it becomes him to do. “ Things lovely and ot good repori" must be thought of together with things that are "true, honest, just and pure." It became Him to give public testimony to the baptisın of John, the baptism of repentance, because it led dir Etly to his own mislion, and to the kingdom which He was about to eltablish in the world. It became him to put respect on every inftitu. tion, ceremonial as well as moral, that had the sanction of di. vine authority, of general use, or of obvious utility. The cere. monial law required divers washings," and the immersion of the body in water was by no means a novel praćtice introduced by John, but transmitted through the succeeding ages of the legal dispensation, and compliance with it our Lord considers as part of "the fulfilling of all righteousness," and therefore as incumbent on himself, being the great pattern of propriety. We find him, on another occasion, fubmitting to an arbitrary imposition, that he might not seem to give offence, in the matter of the tribute money, and performing a miracle rather than shew disrespect to governinent. “ Leit we should of. fend them," says he to Peter, "go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth thou shall find a piece of money : that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” Thus he not only " fulfilled," to an iota," all righteousnels,” prescribed by the law, but submitted himself to the “ ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake."

But there was a farther view in this folemn transaction. The Messiah must be publicly set apart to the execution of his high prophetic office, and He prefers the baptism of John as the mode of performing that auguft ceremony. He passes through the water into the reign of Grace; the kingdom of heaven was now come, and such was his humble entry into it. But this voluntary descent is to be immediately tollowed by a rise into glory which eclipses all the glory of this world. Samuel anoinred Saul with a vial, and afterwards David with a horn of material oil ; the Prince ** upon the throne of David, of the increase of whose government and peace there should be no end,” is anointed with the Holy Spirit. The numerous M



and founding titles of earthly potentates are, at their inaugura: tion, proclaimed by found of trumpet; the simple title of the King of kings and Lord of lords is proclaimed by a voice from heava

The eyes and ears of the spectators at once bear witness to the declaration of the Son of God. “It came to pals, that Jefus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, like a dove, upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, thou art my beloved Son ; in thee I am well pleafed.” Painters have prefamed to reprefent this descent of the Holy Ghost under the form of a material dove. The descending, hovering motion, not the bodily shape of that bird, is farely all that the expreflion in the Evangelists conveys to the mind. As well might art attempt to paint the dazzling luftre of flaming fire, or the sound of the voice that fpake, or the motion of the splendid appearance which then filled the sky, as pretend to give precise and permanent form to an apparition of Deity, which, having fufilled its purpose, passed away.

Thus, Christians, was consecrated 10 the noblest work ever undertaken, the great“ Prophet that fhould come into the world,” _“The Prince of the kings of the earth"_" The apostle and high Priest of our profeflion,” God " also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifis of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will." And thus was fulfilled the Scripture which faith ::" There fhall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jeffe, and a branch Shall grow out of his roots : and the Spirit of the Lord shall reft upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the fpir. it of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ; and shall make him of quick underftanding in the fear of the Lord : and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the bearing of his ears : but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth : and he shall {mite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he stay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins." And thus is the church of Christ founded upon a rock, " and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Is it unworthy of remark, that this testimony to the Son of God, from " the excellent glory," was given while he was praying ? "A's He prayed” also, on the mountot transfigura tion, a similar testimony was exhibited, " There came a cloud, and' overshadowed them : and there came a voice out of the cloud saying, This is my beloved Son; hear Him." Again,


while Jesus prayed, " Father, glorify thy name ;" the tellimo. ny from on high was repeated. " Then came there a voice from heaven saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Such is the promptitude of intercommunication between earth and heaven. So rapidly ascend the breathings of a devout fpirit to the throne of God; to swiftly delcend the tokens of “ good-will to men." "The effettual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." And if the earneft prayer of an Elias had power to bind up the clouds of heayen for years together, and to smite a guilty land with thirit and tamine; how much more powerful must be the prayer of the great latercessor, that " in the wilderness waters may break out, and streams in the desert ;" that "the parched. ground may become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water!” Therefore also “ men ought always to pray, and not to faint,"

Here are the “ Three that hear record in heaven, the Fath. er, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are one.' " Who can by searching find out God: Who can find out the Almighty unto perfection ?” Who is able to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which paffeth knowledge ?"

We have made no remark on the mode of baptism which John employed, because it might lead to controversy, which is unprofitable, to the neglect of practical “goodness,” which " is profitable unto all things.” Let every man be fully perfuaded in bis own mind."

“ Why dost thou judge thy brother ? or why doft thou set at nought thy brother?'*•Who art thou that judgest another man's lervant ? to his own mafter he standeth or falleth." Let the spirit of the ordinance be chiefly attended to : wise and good men may very innocently differ about the form. “ It is the spirit that quickeneth," the outward form is of secondary importance.

Parents, have ye devoted your infant offspring to God, by the sprinkling with water ? Remember the solemn engage. ments which you then voluntarily undertook to bring them up in the fear, “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Med. itate frequently and seriously on the responsibility under which you are laid, to God, to your children, to the world. Your fellow worshippers will witness against you, if you trifle with, if you neglect. if you corrupt your sacred charge. These young ones look up to you for protection, for instruction, for an example ; they call upon you to fulfil your promife in their behalf. They ask bread of you ; Will you give: them a tone ? They ask a filh; Will you give them a fer


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