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of which Jesus is the elder brother, and at the same time made members of his mystical bride ?
It is written, “ To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, eveu to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John i. 12, 13.) This
passage shows us, that not by the will or charitable work" of any man, can persons be introduced into this family, and also plainly restricts the power of becoming the sons of God to those that believe on his Name, to as many as receive him : and such are born of God. But how born ? A birth supposes à concealment, and the emerging from it. Nicodemus wonderingly enquired of his heavenly Teacher, How can a man be born when he is old ? " &c. The difficulty is solved (John iii. 5;) "be born of water and of the Spirit.” The water is the medium of concealment; the power of the Holy Spirit as residing in the word of truth, is the cause of this birthi. The person hearing, understanding, 'beliering the glad tidings, “ receiving the truth in the love of it," in obedience to that word of truth, is buried in the water, and emerges from it “a babe in Christ," for certainly this is the appointed means of being brought into Christ,” (Rom. vi. 3,) “ baptized into Jesus Christ.'
No one, we should imagine, will presume to say however, that without faith any one can be in Christ ; an infant, therefore, is not a proper subject for baptism, neither is an adult unless he believe the gospel ; an adult or an infant
be bowl of water” without believing the gospel, but this is not being "bom of water and of the Spirit"-and it is, " Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” It is easy to say, that being first baptized and afterwards believing, is equivalent, but this is a violation of analogy. The Spirit's testimony concerning Jesus, the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King, must be the motive-power in the heart of the subject, impelling to obedience ; thus is he born of God, God himself having provided both agent and medium. his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures,” (James i. 18.) “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration," &c. (Titus iii. 5.)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obèyjing the truth through the Spirit," &c.“ being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,” &c. (1 Peter i. 22, 23.) that believeth (the gospel, i.e. receiveth the incorruptible seed,) and is baptized (with water, being thus born of water and of the Spirit,) shall be saved.” (Mark xvi. 16.)
Now we come to the ceremony of espousals; and we must remen
ber, that amongst the Jews, this frequently took place long before the marriage : the bond was sacred and indissoluable, and it appears that the parties were then one in the eyes of the law; but the preparation of the wife intervened between the betrothal and the return of the bridegroom to make her his bride. We find Mary designated as the wife of Joseph before she was his bride, and accordingly they repair together to Bethlehem, that their names may be recorded together. Just so it is with the Bride of Christ. The marriage of the Limb is not yet come ; and yet we find Paul writing to the Corinthians, " I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." He has purchased her to himself, and this is the time of her preparation for him, and as each member is added, as each believer is espoused to him, does the Bride advance to perfection. Poor, empoverished, enslaved children of Adam, hear the voice of his messengers, (his Apostles and Prophets,) declaring that their ransom is paid, calling them to partake of his inheritance, describing to them the glories of the kingdom he is preparing, assuring them that through his Name, they may obtain all they need to fit them for his presence, namely, freedom from their fetters, i.e, remission of their sins; an earnest or token of the future inheritance, i.e. the gift of the Holy Spirit; this gift being also the ointment of perfume, or anointing oil, for it, shed abroad in the heart, produces those fruits of righteousness, peace, and love, which are said to be as an odour of a sweet smell, as incense to the Lord. All these and more are attached to the NAME of Jesus Christ.
“That repentance and remission of sin should be preached in his Name," &c. Luke xxiv. 47.
“To him gave all the Prophets witness, that through his Name whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins.” Acts x. 43.
“ These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his Name.” John xx. 31.
"Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts iv. 12.
Well, believing those things concerning the kingdom of God, which are declared in the Scriptures, and also the things concerning the Name of Jesus Christ, if desirous of entering that kingdom, of receiving these present and future blessings, they want to take his Name, since that is the only way to come at his possessions : they desire to be espoused to him. How is this to be done?“Repent and be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts ii. 38.)
“ Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon the Name of the Lord.” (Acts xxii. 16, viii. 16, x. 41, xix. 5.)
From these passages we see how the Name was taken in the Apostles' days, and viii. 12, points out the class of persons who use to take it. Now, if there has been no new revelation to set aside their teachings and practice, certainly there is no other way in which the Name can be obtained ; and since all the blessings are attached to the Name, it is a just conclusion, one would suppose, that there is no other way of obtaining a legal title to them, than by being baptized into the Name. Thus the believer of the things of the Kingdom and Name of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One.) becomes a member of his mystical spouse, as well as a child of God by a new and heavenly birth.
But we said the betrothed had to share her husband's fortunes. Let us trace her fellowship with him here. No sooner was he baptized, than the Spirit witnessed that he was the Son of God, and be was Anointed. This is her case too. (Gal. iv. 6, 1 Cor. i. 21, 22.) During her sojourning here she is, like him, the despised and rejected of men ; she is the beloved of Jehovah, but hated by the world; she is subjected to the oppression of men, but like him she must uncomplainingly submit.
She is to learn obedience through the things which she suffers." Remembering that he returned good for evil, praying even for his murderers, she is called upon to manifest a likeness to him in this, and inasmuch as he was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," she is to “ hate even the garment spotted by the flesh." It seems indeed her heavenly Father's will that she should be subjected to the same discipline as er Lord, that she may be transformed into his likeness that she may be fitted to share bis honours, his kingdom and glory in the age to come. It is a delightful thought, that, during his absence, and whilst she is looking and longing for his return, he too has her in his heart—that he is directing the springs of this world's machinery with an eye to that day of joy, when, having clothed her with immortality, and presented her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish” she shall sit down with him in his throne to rule over the world in righteousness, and “to dispense blessings to all the families of the earth.” “Hearken therefore, oh daughter, consider and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy (first) father's house ; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty, for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.'
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad
and rejoice and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
Blessed are they which shall be then called to the marriage supper of the Lamb !
Derby, February, 1849.
[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50.] “Moreover, when you fast, look not dismal as the hypocrites, who disfigure their faces, that men may observe that they fast. Indeed, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not appear to men, but to your Father, and your Father, to whom, though he is unseen himself, nothing is secret, will recompense you.” Matt. vi.
The first question, which our lesson suggests for consideration is, What is meant by fasting ? What is the literal, obvious signification of the word—that which indicates the subject matter, and without which the duty (if fasting be a duty) is not attended to at all?
If now we were writing for laymen, we might refer for an answer to this question to the intelligent clergy—to all standard English dictionaries: but we write not for them: we write for the disciples of Christ, whose prayer continually is, “ Lord, what wilt thou hare me to do?” We might refer to the intelligent clergy and the dictionary; but this reference would be most unsafe on many words for them-on faith, repentance, baptism, for instance—on all that have been subjects of controversy. But we refer, Christians, directly to the law and the testimony-to the text and context of several passages in the living oracles, where the word fasting occurs.
1 Samuel ch. xii. it is written, “And David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose and went to him to raise him up from the earth : but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.” After this—“They set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this, that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child while it was yet alive ; but when the child was dead, thou didst arise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept."
Now, what can be more manifest than that David's fasting here spoken of, was his not eating bread ? It was not his “ going in," (wherever that might be)-It was not his lying all night upon the earth-It was not his weeping: for all these are spoken of as adjuncts, and distinguished from it.
Again : Esther iv. ch. “ Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this apswer.
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in
Shushan, and fast ye for me”. How? We are informed in the very next words ;-"neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise ; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.” Can any reader of this testimony-any Christian reader-persuade himself or herself to believe, that the fasting of Mordecai and :he Jews with him, and of Esther and her maidens, here spoken of, consisted in any thing else, than in abstaining from food and drink?—Or, whatever else they did or refrained from doing, that it did not, and could not, properly bear the name of fasting, if they had eat and drunk during this time as much as was usual for them at other times ?–We presume not. What need, then, have we of further testimony? Is not the question answered, and the point established, that “ to fast” means “ to abstain from food ; ” and “ fasting,” “ the abstaining from food.” Most certainly this was the literal obvious siguification of the word in the passages we have considered from the Old Testament in the days of David and of Esther: and that it meant the same in New Testament times, one more passage from the testimony of Matthew iv. ch. will fully establish. Aud after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter accosting him, said, If thou be God's Son, command that these stones become loaves. Jesus answering, said, It is written, Man lives uot by bread only, but by every thing which God is pleased to appoint.”
If fasting be a duty,” we have said. A word or two now, under his head. In the passage last quoted, we are informed that Jesus fasted—that he connected fasting with prayer. If, now, Jesus' praying be an example for his followers; why not his fasting also ? But more direct and explicit to this point-Matt. xviii. A demoniac is brought to the disciples : but they could not cure him.
Why not? Jesus answers: “ This kind is not dispossessed unless by prayer and fasting ; plainly implying, that had they fasted as well as prayed, which was equally a duty to be done, they might have been able to cure this kind of demoniacs also. Again : ix. ch. “Then John's disciples addressing him, said, We and the Phraisees often fast; why do your disciples never fast? Jesus answered, Can the bridemen mourn while the bridegroom is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then will they fast.” Mark (ii. 18, 19.) and Luke (v. 33–35.) record the same question and answer". They will fast." In other words, it shall be their duty to fast, and they will perform it. To the same effect, the Saviour's instructions first quoted in the conclusion of our last essay, and placed at the head of this—the lesson, which we are considering: “Moreover, when you fast,” &c. Why thus 'in