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the excellencies of love, as displayed will necessarily include enemies as by the ever-blessed God, let us ad- well as friends. And here it is, that vert to it as obligatory on us in the religion of the Bible infinitely return. Natural religion teaches us transcends all others, inasmuch as that we are bound to love Him in it teaches us to love our enemies ; whom we live, move, and have our a peculiarity demonstrative of its being; and that we ought to be very divine origin. "Ye have heard grateful, seeing he “ daily loadeth that it halb been said, Thou shalt us with benefits.” Every moment love thy neighbour, and hate thine comes to us richly laden with good, enemy: But I say unto you, Love and every moment should bear away your enemies, bless them that curse some acknowledgment of our obli. you, do good to them that hate you, gations to him; some humble con- and pray for them wbich despitefession of our dependence on him, fully use you and persecute you." and some expression of grateful Apd, “ if ye salute your brethren on. emotions towards him. '
y, what do ye more than others? The moral law requires, that we not even the publicans so?" The should “love God with all our exercise of this grace is fraught with heart, with all our mind, with all so many advantages to ourselves as our soul, and with all our strength, well as to others, that it is astonishand our neighbour as ourselves ;' ing, selfish as we are, that we are not so that obedience, to be acceptable, found more in the cultivation of it. must spring from a principle of love Like mercy (an emanation thereof) to God; and it may well be asked, it is twice blessed. Faith is indiswho is sufficient for these things, pensable, for without faith it is imfór "all liave sinned, and come possible to please God. Read its short of the glory of God." Here glorious achievements as recorded then, redeeming love comes in to in the 11th chapter to the Hebrews. our aid ; Jesus, our great High Hope is to the believer's soul, as an Priest, has " magnified the law and anchor both sure and steadfast, and made it honourable;" and by be. entereth into that within the vail: lieving in Hin we are justified from but these will one day cease, faith all things from which we could not will give place to sight, and hope to he justified by the law of Moses.” fruition, but there is that in this Therefore, “ we are not without law " more excellent way" which far to God, but under the law to Christ." surpasses the other graces, for Debased as is human nature, there “ charity never faileth," that which are few who do not feel a spark of possesses a power next to Omnipogratitude towards a fellow-creature, tent; it disarms revenge of its sting, when a signal favour has been re- and lays prostrate the very worst ceived. " The ox" also "knoweth passions of man in his very worst his owner, and the ass his master's state. “ Amor vincit omnia." Gecrib, but Israel doth not know ;” nuine love stays not to ask, “Am God's people “ do not consider, nor I my brother's keeper," nor is it at return unto Him according to the a loss to ascertain “And who is benefits done unto them.”
my neighbour;" but casting its be“Love so amazing, so divine, 'nignant eye around, il perceives Demands our souls, our lives, our all.” wretchedness and woe in various
Reflect on the excellency of this forms, and proceeds to alleviate the heaven-born principle in reference one, and mitigate the other as opto its exercise between man and portunity offers and ability serves. man, in the world at large; which The cause I knew nol, said Jols,
searched out; and thereby the bless. together of the same promises, and ing of him that was ready to perish travelling to the same eternal home, came upon him. And, although it refuse to discharge the reciprocal is compelled to say, with Doddridge, obligations incumbent on them, and “ But feeble my compassion proves,
even “ bite and devour one another," And can but weep where most it loves;" is a sight that might make an angel still it is not weary in well-doing weep. “If I love not my brother it is not discouraged by difficulties, whom I have seen, how can I love intimidated by dangers, or deterred God whom I have not seen.”. He by ingratitude: but presses for who is the “faithful and true witward, and “ feels a heaven in all ness," has declared “By this shall it does.” “Whoso hath this world's all men know ye are my disciples, if good, and seeth his brother hath ye love one another." Surely the need, and shutteth up' his bowels persons of whom we have been of compassion, how dwelleth the speaking, must want one of the love of God in him."
most unequivocal evidences of have Nor is it indifferent to the eternal ing passed “ from death unto life.” welfare of others. It reads, “ ( There are some who profess themIsrael! thou hast destroyed thyself. selves Cbristians, whose tempers but in me is thine help found;" and are nevertheless so morose, whose viewing the whole human race as manners are so repulsive, and whose sunk in one general ruin, and as all conduct is so overbearing, that it is standing in need of the " common a piece of self-denial, and requires salvation;" it hastens to their relief. a continual watchfulness to keep on by devising plans to lessen the sum friendly terms with them; however, of moral evil in the world, and as even such cannot be supposed to rescue men from eternal misery. It have offended “ until seventy times perceives that the “old serpent” has seven," it remains obligatory on inflicted wounds on every soul, and their brethren to “abound in love yet it administers the “balm in Gilead,” more and more in knowledge, and points to the “ Physician there,” in all judgment,” There are others and applies those leaves that are for so prejudiced, as to refuse to worthe healing of the nations. Having ship with their brethren; or so done this, it prays to Him who alone opinionated as not to co-operate can give the increase, that he would with them in plans of usefulness, shed abroad his love in every heart, because they did not happen to by the power of the Holy Spirit. i originate with them; or because
Secondly, in reference to the there may be those engaged therein church universal. Would that we who have done them a supposed, or were justified in adopting the lan- it may be, a real injury. But, shall the guage of Paul, “But, as touching enemies of Jesus merge all their difbrotherly love, ye need not that I ferences, and cordially coalesce to write unto you;" for instead of an do evil ? Shall a Herod and a exhortation to its continuance, we. Pilate forget their animosities, and in many instances, look in vain for unite to arraign, contemn, and its existence, even among those who crucify the “ Lord of Life and profess to be followers of Him. Glory," and shall not his disciples who “ loved us, and gave himself “ learn to be kind one to another, for us:” and hatb left ús an exam. tender hearted, forgiving one anple that we should follow in his other, even as God, for Christ's steps. To see those who are out. sake, hath forgiven them?” If there wardly “one in Christ Jesus," heir be, therefore, any consolation in
Christ, if any comfort of love, if an evil, by introducing another far any fellowship of the Spirit, if any greater evil, both in its nature and bowels and mercies ; fulfil ye my in its consequences. Surely the joy, that ye be like-minded, having state.of those churches is not to be the same love, being of one accord envied, a majority of whose memof one mind.
bers are incompetent to judge of What a lovely sight does a family the qualification of new members; present, each member of which is it appears to me a very serious reactuated by this ennobling principle, flection upon our churches, to supwhen
pose this a case of probable occur. “ 'Tis not the coarse tie of human laws,
rence, I wish this suggestion may Unpat'ral oft, and foreign to the mind, not arise from a mistake in “ An That binds their hearts, but harmony itself, elder's” mind, with respect to what Attuning all their passions into love;
we are the real, indispensable qualifiThought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
cations of church meinbers. To With boundless confidence; for nought deprive any of the members from but love
-, voting on these occasions, is exCan answer love, and render bliss secure.” tremely unreasonable and unjust, as
And wbat an imposing sight well as dangerous in its consewould the “ churches of Christ” quences. Who is to draw the line present, did but their members of distinction between competent walk in love towards one another; and incompetent judges? By what and were but each individual willing law is such a distinction to be ento make sacrifices for the good of forced on the one hand, or borne the whole, where nothing is done on the other ? but “an elder" has through strife or vain glory, but in confessed his ideas to be mere matter lowliness of mind each esteeming of opinion, but, surely something another better than himself. more is necessary than matter of “ The fellowship of kindred minds opinion, on a subject so intimately Is like to that above."
connected with the peace and order And wbat a different aspect would of Christian churches, as the introthe world exhibit, did but this prin- duction of new members. “An elder" ciple universally prevail; or did we would exclude those members from in all cases but do unto others as the privilege of voting on church we would they should do' unto us. affairs who have been recently add. “And now abideth faith, hope, ed to our churches, is it not a well. charity, these three, but the greatest koown fact, that some of our young of these is CHARITY." Amen. people and young members too, are Salisbury, Sept.25, 1824. G. S. better acquainted with the laws and
discipline of Christ's church, than On Admission to a Christian Church.
some of those wbo have been long
standing in a profession of ChristiThe following remarks were anity. How would be act in some drawn up before the question to of our newly formed churches. which they refer appeared in the where all the members are recently Magazine. I was glad to see the converted to the faith-(but it is subject started, and waited the re- not my intention to examine “ An sult of a reply to the questions on elder's” statementat present, though the subject; that reply appears to he may possibly hear from me again me very unsatisfactory and unrea- upon the subject.) I proceed to sonable. An elder has attempted copy the observations that I have to remove what he conceives to be bad by me, for some time, on the
subject, if they are thought worthy time: thus many are made sorry, a place in the Magazine.
whom Christ has made glad. Many
are prevented from doing what they I shall propose three questions know to be their duty. In such for the sake of answering them ?cases, I have sometimes asked for
1. What is required of a person New Testament precedents, and as a qualification for baptisin? have received for reply, “ It is the
2. What is necessary in order to custoni of our church.". But we church fellowship?
ought to have a thus saith the Lord, • 3. What connection have these for the articles of our creed and the with each other?
rules of our practice,“ to the law It is universally admitted, in our and to the testimony." Did Philip Baptist churches, that a credible take the eunuch to Jerusalem, or to profession of faith in our Lord Jesus any other place, that he might be Christ, is essential to a candidate examined by the church? Did he for baptism. We find none in the submit his case to their judgment, in New Testament baptized without order to know if he were a proper it. On this point I need not en- subject for baptism, or not? No: large. A question connected with he was too well acquainted with his this subject is, Whether any thing Lord's commission to hesitate, and more than a confession of faith is on the authority of that commission necessary ? To which I reply, If a he was bound to baptize the eunuch person be a believer in Cbrist, he as soon as he had a confession of may, and ought, to be baptized, on faith from his lips. Nor did that application to a proper person; as confession extend to a relation of soon as he confesses himself a be- his experience, nor to his doctrinal liever. Another question is, To sentiments, but simply to his view whom ought this confession to be of Jesus Christ. “If thou believest made? I answer, To the person with all thine heart, thou mayest.” who is to administer the ordinance To which the eunuch replied, "I to the candidate. I mention this, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son because it is the custom of some of of God," and on that confession (the our churches, to have every candi- sincerity of which he had no reason date for baptism brought before to doubt) he was baptized, Acts viii. them, to be examined by them; that 37, 38. they may dictate to the minister Before what church was Saul of who he ought to baptize, and who Tarsus brought, in order to give an he ought not; and it not unfre- account of his experience that be quently happens that genuine be- might be baptized ? As soon as lievers in Christ are prevented from Peter was convinced that Cornelius being baptized in his name, because and his friends received the record the church wbich examined them of God concerning his Son, they have not been satisfied with their were baptized. Nor did the three views of certain doctrines, or they thousand Jerusalem converts stop to are deemed not sufficiently informed relate their experience before they with respect to their peculiar views were baptized in the name of the of divine truth ; or, perhaps, their Lord Jesus. Nor do we find a sin. experience does not rise to a certain gle instance in all the New Testastandard, they are a little too legal, ment, of persons being requested to or they have not been long enough relate the dealings of God with their acquainted with divme things, they souls, in order to be adınitted to the must, therefore, stand over for a ordinance of baptism. If a minister of the gospel be satisfied that a can- baptized believer, he is fit for didate for baptism is a believer in church fellowship. If his subsethe Lord Jesus, he ought to bap- quent conduct be inconsistent with tize bim.
his profession, he, of course, falls - 2. What is necessary in a candi. under church discipline. date for church fellowship. First, 3. What connexion is there bethat he be baptized! no one on tween baptism and church memberNew Testament principles can be ship? I have been led to ask this admitted to church fellowship who question, because, from the prohas pot been baptized. Our Lord's ceedings of some of our churches, I commission supposes it. The prac- have been led to think they deem tice of the apostles and primitive them to be one and the same thing. Christians, proves and confirms it. Have you not, Mr. Editor, someAnd this is theauthority upon which times heard of persons baptized into we consider it of importance to act, the church at A, or baptized, on a we cannot feel satisfied with those profession of faith into the church who reduce the present enquiry to at B; this is an incorrect mode of a mere question of convenience, in expression, and we know from defiance of Divine authority, and whence it was borrowed ; not from apostolic example. But on this the New Testament, there we 'read subject I need not enlarge, it is a of persons being baptized into Jesus subject that bas undergone an ex- Christ, of putting on Christ, and of tensive discussion of late. I pro- persons giving themselves to the ceed, therefore, to observe, ihat Lord, then to his church, &c. . every church has a right to expect Being baptized on a profession of in a candidate for church fellowship, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is one a similarity of sentiments as it re- thing, and joining any particular gards the peculiar doctrines of the church is another. We acknowgospel; for how can two walk to- ledge that all believers should be gether except they be agreed, it is baptized, and that all who are bapimportant that they should be of tized should join some particular one heart, and of one soul; striving church. Hence we inser, that those together for the faith (doctrine) of individuals are wrong, who are conthe gospel. Finally, says Paul, be vinced of the importance of bap. ye all of one mind; “ Behold how tism, and know it to be their duty, good and how pleasant it is to dwell and yet live in the neglect of it, betogether in unity." Yet, where the cause the church in their immediate mind of a candidate is not sufficient- neighbourhood differs from them in ly informed as to enable him to dis- the views they entertain of the pelinguish the doctrines and pecu- culiar doctrines of the gospel. This liarities of the different sects of arose from the above error, that Christians, this ought not to be a baptism and church membership bar to bis being admitted to church are the same thing. If a Christian fellowship, as he will generally be cannot feel satisfied with the pecutrained in those views of religi. liarities of Christians in his neighous doctrines that distinguish the bourhood, it is no reason why he church to which he joins himself. should not be baptized, any more If a person's creed be already form- than that he should not read his ed, he will not be forward to join a Bible, &c. chureh of different sentiment. If, As soon as Ananias was satisfied therefore, a person believe the gos. that Paul was a believer, he bappel, he is fit for baptism; if he be a tized him, Paul's joining tlie church