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ted for his followers; and we are to be sion, or sprinkling, is various and abunbaptised, not in imitation of his exam-dant. ple, but in obedience to his institution. 6. We may see in what respect Joho
In a general respect, indeed, Christ, was greater than any of the preceding in bis baptism, may be regarded as an prophets. example for his followers. For as he John was divinely appeinted to prewas observant of all the institutions of pare the way for the Messiah, and pubthat dispensation,under which he lived,licly to introduce him into his high and and performed his ministry ; so it be- | sacred office. This was an honour hoves us to be observant of all the in- | greater than had ever been conferred stitutions of the dispensation, under on any who had gone before him. which we live, and are to perform the Before John, therefore, among them duties of our respective stations. that were born of women, there had
5. There is no evidence in the scrip-not arisen a greater than he; nevertures that immersion is the instituted theless, as he was a minister under the mode of Christian baptism.
legal dispensation, the least prophet or As it was not by immersion that minister in the kingdom of heaven, or Aaron and his sons were washed, or under the evangelical reign of the Mes. baptised, by Moses, at the time of their | siah, is greater, or has greater honour; .consecration ; so there is every rea-than John. son to believe that it was not by im- 7. How important it is that the most mersion that Christ was washed,or bap- serious attention of churches and protized, by John, at the time of his con- fessors should be called to the gracious secration. As Christ was not bapti- || covenant of God. sed by immersion, so neither, as we Necessary as it was, in the days of may reasonably conclude, were any John the Baptist, that under a solemn of the people, who went out to his impression of the covenant, the hearts baptism. But had John baptised by of the fathers should be turned to the Immersion, still, as his baptism was a children, and the hearts of the children, special institution under the law, it to their fathers; is it not equally necescould afford no evidence in favour ofsary at the present day? Have not our immersion under the gospel. But if churches awfully declined into the John's baptism affords no evidence, same criminal negligence and unspiritthat immersion is the instituted mode ual formality in respect to the cove. of christian baptism,to be found in the nant, with which the Jewish church Scriptures. The scripture evidence a- was chargeable ? Until a reformation gainst immersion, and in favour of affu- take place in this all-important partic
* Mat. iii. 16 Out of the water, apo tou ular, is it not to be expected, that the hudatos ; correctly, from, the water. people made ready, prepared for the
† John iii. 23. Much water there ; literally, Lord, will be comparatively few ? And many waters, streams, or rivulets there. Ne-l in this view of the subject, are not the cessary for the convenience of the vast mul- zealous efforts, which are every where titudes with their beasts, but not for the pur-making, to do away the scriptural ideas pose of baptising
# Acts viii. 38. Into the water, eis to hudor, and impressions of the covenant, most properly to the water. Rom. vi. 4, & Col. 1. 12. deeply to be lamented, by all who are Buried with him by baptism. When it shall be waiting for the consolation of Israel? made to appear that water baptism is the cir-Is it not most deeply to be lamentcumcision made without hands, is the crucifia: ed, that such pains should be taken to ion of the old man, and is infallibly connected with the faith of the operation of God and with turn the hearts of parents from their newness of life; then, and not till then, may || children, and the hearts of children we suppose that the baptism mentioned in from their parents ? these passages is water baptism. But even
8. We are led seriously to consider then it will not be proved that immersion is the instituted mode of Christian baptism. the importance of a regular introducSee the passages in their connexion.
tion into the sacred ministry.
Christ would not commence his | God urges Sinners to accept his offers public ministry without a regular in
of Mercy, by the great motives of roduction. It becometh us, said he, to fulfil all righteousness. He would
Happiness and Misery. carefully observe the forms, which GOD knows the true interest of that dispensation, under which he was sinners and is sincerely concerned to to perform his ministry, made necessa- | promote it, both in time and eternity. ry to‘a regular induction into the sa-In tender compassion he has given his cred office. And that he might be re- Son to die for them, that they may gularly inducted, John was sent before live. And after he has provided a him, and was invested with a special Saviour, he urges them by the most I commission. Should not this exam- proper motives to accept the salvation,
ple of the great High Priest of our ho-|| which he graciously offers in his name. bly profession solemnly admonish all, Yea, he condescends to reason with
who would hastily, irregularly, and them, in order to persuade them to be presumptuously thrust themselves for- consult their own personal interest, as . ward into the sacred ministry ? And rational and immortal creatures. In does it not shew in a very strong light, various parts of the holy Scriptures, the culpable impropriety of encourag- God places before sinners the endless ing and countenancing such as would happiness of heaven, and the endless run before they are sent, and under misery of hell, and urges them by take to preach the gospel, without a re- these great motives to accept his ofgular introduction ?
fers of mercy.--In attending to this 9. How important is the connexion subject, between the Old Testament and the I. I would show that God does ofNew.
fer mercy to sinners. This some deny, From a partial and distorted view of and maintain that all offers of mercy John's ministry in the light only of the are made to the penitent, and none to New Testament, very erroneous con- the impenitent. . But if we examine clusions have been drawn. The case either the Old or New-Testament, we has been similar in respect to other shall find offers of mercy to those who subjects; particularly such as relate to never accepted them, and who re: divine institutions. Rightly to under-/mained impenitent and unbelieving stand these subjects, it is necessary to till their space of repentance and day view them in the united lights of both of grace expired. The apostle tells Testaments. Many important particus that the Israelites, who perished in ulars are clearly stated in the Old Tes- | the wilderness, rejected the offers of tament, which, in the New Testa-the gospel. “For unto us was the ment, are only alluded to as if already gospel preached, as well as unto them ; sufficiently understood. Instance par- but the word preached did not profit ticularly the institution of the Sabbath, them, not being mixed with faith in the institution of the church of God, them that heard it.” The gospel of and the covenant relation of the fered them mercy, but they despised children of the chnrch to their par- and rejected it. Solomon represents ents. To set aside, therefore, or divine wisdom, which is generally to negleet the Old Testament, as if it supposed to personate Christ, aş makwere obsolete, and of little or no jing free and universal invitations to use under the present dispensation, is sinners, who are pursuing the path of to put out or obscure, a very essential | the destroyer. “Doth not wisdom part of the light of revelation, and pre-cry? and understanding put forth her sumptuously to incur the danger of voice? She crieth at the gates, at the endless wanderings in the thickening entry of the city, at the coming in at mazes of error. SILVANUS. the doors. Unto you, O men, I call;
Mass. M. Mag. and my voice is to the sons of men, VOL. 2. 00.
O ye simple, understand wisdom ;|| says, “If thou be wise, thou shalt be and ye fools, be ye of an understand wise for thyself; but if thou scornest ing heart.” By the prophet Isaiah, thou alone shalt bear it.” This is the God repeatedly invites sinners to ae- common language of God to sinners cept of pardoning mercy. “ Come from the beginning to the end of the now, and let us reason together, saith Bible. I will recite a few pertinent the Lord: though your sins be as and striking passages. In the eleventh scarlet, they shall be white as snow; chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses says though they be red like crimson, they to the people whom he had conshall be as wool." And in the same ducted out of Egypt, “Behold, I set prophecy he says again, "Ho, every before you this day a blessing, and a one that thirsteth, come ye to the wa. curse; a blessing, if ye obey the com. ters, and he that hath no money; mandments of the Lord your God, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, which I command you this day ; and buy wine and inilk without money a curse if ye will not obey, the coinand without price. Incline your ear mandments of the Lord your God.” and come unto me; hear, and your In the thirtieth chapter he says again soul shall live." We also find Christ to the same people, “ I call heaven himself freely offering spiritual and and earth to record this day against eternal blessings to the impenitent and you, that I have set before you life unbelieving. “In the last day, that and death, blessing and cursing: great day of the feast, Jesus stood therefore choose life, that both thou and cried saying, If any man thirst, let and thy seed may live.” And Moses him come unto me and drink." And commanded the twelve tribes, after when he sent his apostles to preach they had passed over Jordan, to dithe gospel, he commanded them to vide equally, and half stand upon make the offer of salvation to all in mount Gerizim, and half on mount every house and city into which they Ebal; and commanded the Levites, entered, whether they would receive or while the twelve tribes were in this reject it. Indeed nothing is plainer solemn situation, to read both the from the whole current of scripture, blessings promised to obedience, and than that God offers salvation to sin- . the curses denounced to disobedience,
This he has done ever since that all Israel might choose the Lord to the first apostacy unto the present day. be their God, upon the pain of his And it has been the general practice everlasting displeasure, if they rejected of prophets, priests, apostles and min-him. Long after this, God directed isters to exhibit the offers of mercy to Isaiah to tender his mercy to his peo. all to whom they preached the gospel. ple under the same awful sanctions. Nor can the gospel be fully and faith- “ Say ye to the righteous that it shall fully preached without exhibiting God's be well with them: for they shall eat gracious invitations to sinners of all the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the ages, characters and conditions, to ac- wicked; it shall be ill with him : for cept of salvation through the media- the reward of his hands shall be given tion of the Divine Redeemer. God him." Christ urged men to receive represents himself in the gracious atti- the gospel by the great motives of futude of calling to sinners while they ture happiness and misery. And in are refusing, and of stretching out his the commission he gave the apostles hand to them, while they are disre- to preach the gospel to every creature, garding. I would now show,
he commanded thein to say--" He II. That God urges sinners to ac- that believeth and is baptised shall be cept the mercy which he offers them, saved; but he that believeth not shall by the great motives of happiness and be damned.” A mullitude of passages misery. These motives he addresses of this import might easily be adduced; of every sinner by Solomon, when he but enough have been recited to make
it appear that God does urge sinners God certainly knows, that sinners are to accept the mercy he offers to them, altogether selfish, and have no regard by the great motives of happiness and to his glory, or to the good of the uni
rnisery. These are indeed great mo- They are so entirely attached de
tives; because the happiness promis- to their private, separate, personal haped and the misery threatened are both piness, that they prefer it to any scheme exceedingly great. They are as great which has the good of others for its ob
in degree and duration as they can be;||ject. They are not willing to give up ed
for the happiness promised to him that their temporal good for the temporal this
accepts of mercy is eternal life; and good of others; and much less are they the misery threatened to him that re-willing to lose this life, that they may jects mercy is eternal death. God find it, in the only way which the gospromises every one, who accepts the pel reveals. The gospel is the most offer of merey, all the good which he disinterested, benevolent scheme, that
is capable of enjoying through the ever was devised. It is founded in 6
boundless ages of eternity. He prom-the most perfect, disinterested benevises to give every penitent believer a olence of the Deity. It is a scheme place in his heavenly kingdom, and to perfectly calculated, in its nature and make him as holy and happy as his operation, to promote the highest posnature will admit. Or in other words, sible good of the universe, at the exhe promises to bestow as much of the pense of the endless misery of multiwhole happiness of the universe upon tudes of intelligent and immortal creahim, as he is capable of enjoying. tures. None therefore can heartily This is justly called “an exceeding | embrace the gospel upon selfish con
and eternal weight of glory.". But onsiderations. A holy, benevolent heart | the other hand, he threatens the unho-|| is absolutely necessary to prepare any
ly and the unbelieving with eternal sinner to accept of that mercy, which death, which comprises complete and God offers to bim in the gospel. And
endless misery. He threatens to pour God knows that every sinner is total1 out the vials of his wrath without mix- ly destitute of the least degree of true mi
ture and without end upon every soul of holiness, or disinterested affection. man, who dies in his sins. Our Sar. Why, then, does he urge sinners to iour has set the portion of the righteous embrace a benevolent gospel, which and of the wicked in the most awful they perfectly hate, and which no selcontrast in the twenty-fifth chapter of fish motives will have the least tendenMatthew. He says_-“The wickedcy to make them love? If they regard shall go away into everlasting punish- eternal life, or dread eternal misery, ment; but the righteous into life eter-only on sellish principles, this will not
nal.” These greatest of all motives prepare them in the least degree to alle God places before sinners to urge embrace the self-denying terms of the
them to aecept the offers of mercy.gospel. So that the motives of hapIt now remains to show,
piness and misery, which God places III. Why God urges these motives before sinners must either have no efupon sinners for such a purpose. This fect on their hearts, or else make them is the most difficult part of our subject more strongly opposed to the gospel. to set in a clear and consistent light. Hence the question still returns, Why It appears plaio from what has been does God urge the eternal interests of said already, that God does urge sin- | sinners to persuade them to embrace a ners to accept of his mercy, by the perfectly holy and benevolent gospel ? great and everlasting motives, which It is always necessary to make a diffiare drawn from a future and eternal culty appear, in order to remove it. state of rewards and punishments. But perhaps, after all that shall he said, But
many find a difficulty in account. some may imagine the difficulty is in ing for this part of the divine conduct. not removed. We shall, bowever, at
tempt to show why God urges the the blessedness of Heaven, must give motives of eternal life and eternal them the highest possible evidence of death upon sinners, to persuade them his regard for their eternal good. And to embrace the offer of mercy made this is one good reason for his setting in the gospel.
life and death before them, and urging 1. God urges sinners to embrace them by all the weight of their eternal the offer of life, by motives of their interests to choose life. own future happiness, because he re- 2. God urges sinners to embrace ally desires their highest good. He the offers of life, which he makes knows the nature and worth of their them, by the motives of eternity, besouls, and the importance of their e- cause they are proper motives to be ternal interests. He knows how much | set before rational and moral beings happiness they are capable of enjoy in their situation. Though they are ing, and how much misery they are totally selfish, yet they are capable of capable of suffering, in a future and seeing the propriety and feeling the eternal state. And he feels an infinite-obligation of securing their eternal ly tender and compassionate concern happiness, in a way which is disinterfor their everlasting welfare. His ested and benevolert. They are ca. heart is deeply affected in a view of pable of seeing and feeling, that they their making an unwise choice, and ought to have a benevolent, and not destroying themselves forever. He a selfish regard to their own interest knows, if they reject life, and choose both in time and eternity. When, death he must pour out the full vials therefore, God urges their own eternal of his wrath upon them forever, which happiness and misery, as powerfal is in its own nature infinitely contrary motives to persuade them to choose to his benevolent feelings towards life and avoid death, they are capable them. Hence he addresses the sin- of seeing and feeling their obligations ners in Zion in this melting language, to comply with the motives in a be“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? nevolent, and not in a selfish manner. How shall I deliver thee, Israel ? How For these are proper, and just, and shall I make thee as Admah ? How powerful motives to that very beneva shall I set thee as Zeboim ? Mine olence, which is necessary to approve heart is turned within me; my re- of the benevolent scheme of salvation pentings are kindled together.” Now through the redemption of Christ. if God feels such tenderness and con-|And were they truly benevolent, the cern for the good of sinners, he must motives which God urges upon them be disposed to expostulate with them, would appear infinitely weighty and and urge them by the great motives important. Their not being benevoof eternity, to make a wise choice and lent is no reason why God should not accept the great salvation, which he exhibit proper motives to benevolence. has provided for them and tenders to Though they are selfish and regard thein in his word. It must be highly their own interests in time and eterniproper that sinners should know how ty in a selfish manner; yet they ought their holy and offended sovereign feels to regard them as God regards them, towards them. “And though the mo- in a benevolent manner. And when tives he exhibits to their view should God exhibits these motives before totally fail of persuading them to se-thern, he uses the most proper means cure their eternal felicity, yet they will to excite their benevolence and not answer the valuable purpose of de-| their selfishness. If these motives do monstrating his good will towards excite their selfishness, God is not anthem. To use the infinitely weighty swerable for it, but they themselves. motives of their own eternal happiness | They exercise wrong affections, in and misery, to persuade them to es- view of right motives. God offers. cape the damnation of bell and secure them mercy on the terms of the gos