« FöregåendeFortsätt »
poses to which these acquire. of a man far inferior in talents ments were applied, after his to himself. Let no faithful min. call to the apostolical ministry, ister decline a fair and regular abundantly appear from his his. opportunity of preaching the tory and his writings.
gospel. Certainly it is not duty But however useful in its obstrusively to interfere with the proper place human learning may province of another. Discretion be, it can do nothing for reliev, and conscience must decide in ing the troubles of the soul., of particular circumstances, as to this fact Dr. Owen had, in his the propriety of the call. But own experience, the most con- when a just occasion offers, let vincing, though painful proof. it not be declined. On circum- . Profound erudition, elaborate stances apparently insignificant reasonings, the ornaments of and casual, important consestyle, the charms of eloquence, quences often depend. The re. can neither remove guilt from the lation of events to one another, conscience, nor fill the heart though unperceived by us, is with peace and joy. But the perceived and determined by testimony of Jesus, delivered in God. His counsel shall stand, all its simplicity, even by the nor can his gracious purposes feeblest instrument, is mighty be frustrated by men. But if a through the power of God to the minister, through love of ease, or pulling down of strong holds, any other improper motive, neg. and healing the broken hearted. lect an opportunity of useful. Had relief been obtained in ness which he might have improv. consequence of hearing Dr. Cal. ed, precious souls shall be con. amy, or any other of the re- vinced, converted, comforted, or nowned preachers of the day, confirmed, but no sbare of in. there might perhaps have been strumentality in accomplishing some danger of appreciating too these blessed effects shall be his. highly the power of the instru. Let no faithful minister be un. ment. But the preacher is so duly discouraged because he per. obscure, that he cannot be found ceives not the immediate visible out. "The treasure is in earthen fruits of his ministerial labors. vessels, that the excellency and It is certainly desirable in a high power may be of God.”
degree to observe the effects of a Let no faithful minister of the divine power accompanying the gospel be despised or discour, ministrations of the gospel ; but aged, however obscure his sta- the minister who studies to ap. tion in the church, or however prove himself to God, has good inferior in, gifts to many of his reason to hope, that he shall not brethren. The great Lord gives run nor labor in vain. It is talents to his servants according probable, that some, perhaps ma. to his own good pleasure, and ny, are growing up in knowl. assigņs to each of them his prop. edge, and faith, and holiness, and er place. The services of all comfort, and meetness for eternal are necessary; and the most un, life; and that like the honored likely instruments may be re- servant of Christ, who preached markably blessed. An Owen in Aldermanbury church, on the may be profited by the labors occasion to which these reflections
refer, he shall meet with some in be to him for his glory and crown the world of glory, whom he of rejoicing, throughout the ages never knew on earth, who shall of eternity.
THE NATURE AND OBLIGATION OF RELIGIOUS VOWS.
(Continued from page 171.) The nature and obligation of ishment, and have employed its religious vows were considered external ceremonies as a substi. in my last number. The serious tute for inward holiness, as a veil addresses to several classes of or compensation for habitual negpersons who are under solemn lect and disobedience in other vows to God, promised as an ap- respects; or that you have, on plication of this subject, follow. the whole, proved unfaithful to
I begin with those, who have your solemn vows ; in either of vowed to God in the highest these cases what aggravated con. sense, I mean, complete Christian fusion must cover your faces ! professors aud communicants. That holy name, which you have Besides your early baptismal ded- hypocritically profaned; that ication, in which you were passive, table of the Lord which you you have personally put your have polluted and disgraced, that hands and seals to the obligation; heavenly religion, which you you have done it in the face of have exposed to contempt, the day, in the presence of God, an. church of Christ, whose interest gels, and men; to all of whom and honor you have wounded ; you have practically appealed, those sincere Christians whom as witnesses of the transaction. you have grieved, and those ene. Accordingly, the articles of this mies of righteousness whom you covenant between you and your have hardened by your unfaith. Maker have been registered, so fulness; all these will combine to speak, among the standing re. their testimony to convict and cords of heaven and earth, to be condemn yon. If you would es. produced either for or against cape so dreadful a condemnation, you in the day of judgment. If and appear with boldness before it shall then appear that any of the Judge of the world, resolve to you were induced to a religious pay your vows in future in a profession and attendance better manner than heretofore. Christian ordinances by a regard Be persuaded to this by all the to custom and reputation, or to temporal and spiritual mercies worldly convenience and terest, you have received; by the disby the mere influence of surround. tinguishing privileges and obliga. ing example or solicitation, that tions, which result from your you took shelter in the visible covenant relation, and frequent church merely as a refuge from sacramental opportunities. Let present remorse, or future pun. these cords of love bind your
hearts to your infinite Benefac. emp transaction, in which you tor, and engage you to renewed publicly announced your faith zeal and activity in his service. in, and obedience to Christ ? Aspire, to be distinguished from And yet you all neglect one of the world by a holy and edifying his plainest and most interesting conversation, as much as ye are precepts. Yea, there is reason by your sacred profession and to fear that not a few, who make privileges. Especially distin- this profession, live in the gener. guish yourselves by that noble al neglect of religion in their clos. badge of Christ's disciples, broth- ets, families, and daily conversa. erly love, by cherishing a tender tion, and that they employ what sensibility, and ardent zeal for is styled the baptismal covenant each others welfare; by readily merely as an instrument of ob. giving and receiving fraternal in. taining baptism for their children, struction and counsel, reproof that they may avoid the disgrace. and admonition; by laying aside ful imputation of singularity, every appearance of an envious, and of heathenism in a Christian vindictive,censorious,and slande land. Thus they sacrifice the rous Spirit; by executing in a holy name of Jesus to the idol of gentle, yet resolute, manner, the private honor! Is it not a tremen. prescribed laws and discipline of dous spectacle, to see a rational Christ's kingdom in their fullest creature solemnly vowing allegiextent. By such a conduct we ance to Christ; while he uniform. shall honor God, religion, and ly refuses to obey him? God ourselves ; strengthen and beau, and your own consciences can tify the church of Christ, and be best tell, whether your neglect ripening for a blessed union with of the ordinance of the Lord'sSup. the church of the first-born in per, proceeds from careless in. heaven.
difference, or serious, distressing Let me now address the subject scruples of conscience. If the to those who have recognized former, it is plain that your pretheir baptismal dedication, and tended covenant with God, was yet neglect the dying command but an empty compliment; and of their professed Master and that it would have been far better Sovereign.* I would ask such never to have vowed, than thus to persons, have you not publicly sport with solemn
engagements. chosen Christ for your King, his At best, religious promises of laws for your rule, and his atone. such persons as you are, were ment for your salvation ? Was the offspring of short-lived, seri. not this the language of that sol. ous impressions, which have
* The writer of this communication, vaoished as the morning cloud we presume, supposed that the Panoplist and the early dew, and have left of many to whom the following address your minds more hardened than would be applicable. For the sake of ever ; or of sudden, inconsidersuch of our readers we admit it, with ate and self-confident resolutions, out intending, however, to convey any opinion of our own, either for or against,
which hurried you, like the fool. the practice, which renders such an ad ish builder, to engage in a relig. dress appropriate. In respect to this ious profession, without first practice there is a diversity of opinions in our churches, with which we wish not, counting the cost, and without at present, to intermeddle. EDITORS. heartily seeking and securing
that stock of divine grace, which and unworthiness, are, generally is necessary to your finishing the speaking, the very persons, who spiritual fabric. Let me therefore have the best qualifications for, as exhort you to remember the aw- well as the most need of this com. fal doom which the Bible de forting sacrament, and may ex. nounces upon those, who put pect the most sensible relief and their hands to the plough and benefit from it. Let such fearlook back, who seem to begin ful souls, therefore, impartially in the spirit, but end in the flesh, inquire, whether amid all their who draw back from hopeful humble complaints, they have beginnings into a cold and per. not a real and steady desire to haps contemptuous neglect of honor their Master, and to be christianity; remember the terri. conformed to his example and ble language of the King of Zion will; whether sin be not their to the Laodicean professors for greatest burden, and duty their being lukewarm, or indifferent greatest delight; whether an in. in their spiritual concerns. In terest in the holy salvation of the short, consider that your unfeel gospel be not the object of their ing and indolent spirit, w which
supreme concern and pursuit ? prevents your obeying Christ in If so, let them resolve to dismiss all his instructions, is itself a their old excuses and delays, and very criminal and dangerous to complete the payment of their state of mind, that it affords no Christian vows.
Let me then excuse for neglecting any divine urge those, who have thus far command; that it unfits you to vowed to God, to take this great perform any duty acceptably, subject into their immediate and and especially to meet an aproach. mature consideration, and to dising death and judgment with miss their old excuses and delays confidence and peace.
and complete the performance of you rest in such a condition ? their vows of Christian engage. Can you quiet your consciences ments. with such an excuse ? O lay these Permit me in the next place to considerations to heart; awake descend a step lower, and to call from
your stupor; give to God upon all baptized persons to re. the fervent affections of your cognize and fulfil their baptismal souls, and then be honest. obligations. By this initiating
If the latter, if your neglect rite, you were visibly marked of the Lord's Supper proceeds and set apart for God, and from serious scruples of con- entered into his family. science, I shall only say, those the infants of God's profess. who are scrupulously afraid of ing people under former dispen. coming to the table of Christ, 'sations, were always admitted lest they should incur guilt and into his covenant and church danger by unworthy receiving, with their parents, and as circumought at least, to be equally a- cision was then a bond upon both fraid of bringing guilt and dan- to keep the whole law; so un. ger upon their souls, by sinfully der the Christian dispensation the neglecting it; for those who have promise is still to us and our the most humbling and tender children ; and baptism is equal. sense of their own unfitnessly a bond upon both to observe
the whole gospel. As Christian but unto the blessed Jesus, for infants are capable subjects of thou hast the words of eternal covenant obligations and privi. life.” Let all these considera. leges, equally with Jewish; so the tions, my young friends, allure evangelical dispensation no where and constrain you to give your repeals the ancient charter in personal consent to the covenant this particular, but implicity, if of God, into which you have not expressly, confirms it. The been baptized, and to distinguish right of parents to lay their chil. yourselves from the children of dren under civil engagements to pagans and infidels, by an early men has never been disputed; and striking display of Christian inuch more then have they author. virtue and piety. Can
bear ity to bind them to God, who to think that such favored chil. has previous and absolute dren, as you are, should be little property in, and dominion over or no better than those wretched them, as his own reasonable crea. young creatures, who either know tures. I may add that many nothing of God and Christ, or children have undoubtedly been who are early taught to deny or consecrated to Jehovah by the blaspheme these glorious names ? private act of their parents, Do you not feel thankful that though the latter have been hin. you were not born and educated dered by their religious princi. in a country where Christian ples or fears from presenting them sabbaths and sermons, ministers to the baptismal ordinance. Let and ordinances, are either un. me then beseech those who have known or wholly slighted ? If been early dedicated to God, es- your Christian baptism and edupecially children and youth, to cation are privileges, will not consider seriously both the duties God call you to account for and privileges which result from your improvement of them? their early consecration and cov. And will it not be far worse in enant relation to their Creator. the day of judgment for careless Can
you bear the thought of and wicked children of godly slighting and defeating the conde. parents, and of Christ's visible scending grace and tenderness of church, than for those of ignorGod and your Redeemer towards ant heathens and unbelievers ? you, in admitting you to this Those parents who have de. near and comforting relation; of voted their children to God, are frustrating the peculiar engage. likewise called upon to fulfil ments, labors, and prayers of the their vows, for favoring their church, of your parents and min, consecrated offspring with the ister, for your everlasting salva. best instructions and government, tion, and of breaking asunder examples and prayers. This is the very special and sacred bonds, à debt which they owe to God, which oblige you to be good and to the church, to the world, to happy? Can you hear Christ unborn posterity, to their own saying, suffer the little children souls, as well as to their beloved to come unto me and forbid them children! To bind parents to not, without feeling yourselves the payment of it is one princiallured into his arms ; without pal design and advantage of inreplying, "To whom shall we go fant baptism. If this debt were