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to hope that the inward and spiritual grace shall accompany the outward and visible sign: and I cannot conceive that the private mode of baptiz-. ing can afford a ground of confidence, which, either, on scriptural or rational grounds, can be put in competition with it.
But, above all, the opportunities that the public administration of baptism gives to the minister of addressing all descriptions of persons in his congregation on their respective duties, and their failures in them, appear to my mind of the greatest importance. I have long complied with the general custom, and have never, for at least twentyfive years, baptized a child during divine service: but I must allow, that, having once been present where a child was thus baptized, the ceremony being followed by an appropriate address, I was then convinced, that by private baptism (in which I include baptizing in the church, except during divine service on the Lord's day, or on some public occasion,) many advantages of exhorting and establishing our congregations were lost; and many advantages given to those who endeavour to draw our people from us.
If these loose hints be worth inserting in the Christian Observer I shall be glad to see them there, in hopes that the subject may be more maturely handled by some other correspondent, and that the attention of the ministers of the establishment may be called to it.
Your constant reader,
'Mr. Scott acknowledged this paper by inserting it in the
collection of his works, published by himself.-J. S.
THE following remarks were loosely thrown together on reading the paper of your correspondent R. S. in your number for January, p. 12. If you judge them pertinent to the subject, the great practical importance of which will, I think, fully justify to your readers its protracted discussion, you will favour them, perhaps, with an early insertion. I might have moulded them into a more connected and elaborate form, but not discerning any advantage that would result from thus shaping them afresh, I venture to send them to you in their original dress, as they spontaneously offered themselves to my own thoughts, on the perusal of the paper alluded to.
The question about the sinfulness of anger seems in great measure to hinge upon the meaning of the word. If anger means a decided disapprobation of another's conduct, expressed by words and deeds, whether suited to the occasion or not; anger in itself cannot be sinful, unless it be sinful, decidedly to disapprove of what is evil, and to shew that disapprobation by words and actions, according to our situation in the family, the church, or the community. But if anger exclusively means, that state of mind and heart, by which the irritated passions overpower reason and conscience, and urge a man to express his displeasure by inordinate, peevish, and irrational
words and actions; or if anger is supposed necessarily to imply any thing inconsistent with cordial good-will and benevolence to the persons concerned; it must always be sinful. A parent can never be angry with his child without sin, if irritable passions are indulged, and any means are used to express disapprobation, such alone excepted as are wisely suited to promote the real good of the child. But a judge may shew his disapprobation of a murderer's conduct by words and actions, not inconsistent indeed with general benevolence, or good-will to the murderer's soul, but which are calculated to destroy the murderer as to this world, whatever may be the consequence as to the next; and yet his disapprobation is neither sinful in itself, nor in its effects.
They who speak of anger against an individual as incompatible with love, seem to forget that love to an offending individual may imply disregard to the good of numbers, and be incompatible with general benevolence, and especially with love to the household of faith; as Eli's love to his sons, and David's love to Absalom. And they who speak as if it were but once mentioned that our Lord was angry, have not accurately read the Gospels. The word displeased (yavárσE) (ἡγανάκτησε) is indeed used in the following passage, but certainly it means anger in the strongest sense, except irrational passion be exclusively intended by that term; Mark x. 14. The same word occurs again at the 41st verse of the same chapter, where it is said, that "the disciples were "much displeased with James and John." But without resting the argument on verbal criti
cisms: did not our Saviour express his decided and even indignant disapprobation on several occasions, by most emphatical language, against the Scribes and Pharisees; Matt. xv. 3-14, xvi. 4. xxiii. 13-33. Luke xi. 39-54., and even against the disciples; Mark viii. 17-21-33. Luke xxiv. 25.; and indeed in many other places? There was a special reason why our Lord expressed no anger during his personal sufferings. He was wounded for our transgressions, and it was predicted that he should be led as a lamb to the slaughter.
"The word uppaqua, implies the signification "of anger and vehement commotion, with which "we threaten any one, &c." (Leigh.) Yet this word is repeatedly used concerning Christ. Matt. ix. 30. Mark i. 43. John xi. 33-38.
To suppose that Mark, thinking in Hebrew, but writing in Greek, could not find a suitable word to express his idea, but in his confusion used one which implied sin in his Lord, seems inconsistent with the divine inspiration of the scriptures. If neither Mark, nor Peter, who is generally supposed to have revised his Gospel, was of himself capable of distinguishing in Greek between grief and anger; surely the Spirit of inspiration, as superintending the sacred writers, would in this (if in any case) have interposed, to prevent the disciple from imputing sin to his Lord, and misleading all through successive generations, who desired to imitate his example!
"Be not angry without cause." " and sin not." "Let not the sun go
"Be slow to anger."
"Love is your wrath." "not easily provoked." Can you find any thing like this about pride, or avarice, or sensual lusts ? Be not proud without cause; be proud and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your pride; be slow to pride; love is not casily made proud. Be not covetous without cause, &c. Be not intemperate without cause, &c. The absurdity of this is manifest; whence then is the difference? Because there may be a sufficient cause for anger, though not for pride, avarice, drunkenness, or fornication. Eve ought to have been angry at the proposal of the serpent: Adam at the proposal of Eve and each ought to have said, "Get thee behind me, Satan," as Christ did to Peter; or to have answered as Peter did to Simon Magus. Though anger in us, poor fallen creatures, is perhaps never unmixed with some degree of selfish and evil passions, and these generally predominate; yet this is the effect of our depravity, to be counteracted by divine grace. But were we as holy as the Saviour; we should indeed be slow to anger, and ready to forgive, and there would be no mixture of selfish and malignant passions in our displeasure; but we should continually find occasions suited to excite a holy indignation against sin and those who commit it, and to express that feeling in different ways, as magistrates, ministers, parents, masters, &c., yet with the most entire good-will, and the most tender compassion, for those against whom we thus manifested our displeasure, and often with peculiarly tender affection for them.