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easy, when we recollect the circumstances under which it was originally compiled. Meanwhile there is at least satisfaction in knowing that it has been authoritatively decided by that which, as members of the Church of England, we are bound to recognise as the supreme court of appeal,-by those, moreover, most capable of coming to an impartial decision on the matter, that the language of the Prayer-book, even in those parts which approach nearest to dogmatic assertion, is to be interpreted according to the rule of charitable assumption, and not of absolute, unqualified declaration.
To return, however, to the question before us. Ordinarily speaking, spiritual regeneration does not take place in baptism, but at some subsequent period of life. If I am now addressing many who through the grace of God have become spiritually regenerate, it is probable that your own experience corroborates this; you can look back upon some period, and upon some providential dealing,
as the time and the method of your conversion to God: with what feelings may you regard your baptism? May you so contemplate the fact of your having been baptized into the name of Christ, as from thence to derive the incentive to increased devotion in the service of your Redeemer ? Undoubtedly you may. I would have you revive the recollection of having been dedicated to God in the season of infancy. Then you were solemnly given to Christ; then the name of the Sacred Trinity was named upon you; then you were signed with the sign of the cross, in token that you should never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ and Him crucified. Then it was engaged in your behalf that you should renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh. Revive, I say, the recollection of this solemn dedication. Though the privileges to which it introduced you were long despised, and the responsibility it laid upon you long neglected, yet now strive to grasp the one
and to fulfil the other in the strength of the Holy Spirit ; let the covenant engagement of baptism form the subject of close and of earnest self-examination: Am I walking worthy of the vocation wherewith I am called? Have I renounced,-am I renouncing, the world and its thousand ensnaring temptations; the flesh, with its manifold lusts; and the devil, whose devices are so crafty and so many ? The vows of your baptism appeal to you; by those vows you are the servant of Christ : shall they be trampled under foot or forgotten? or, rather, shall they not form the motives for redoubled exertion, in giving all diligence to make your calling and election sure ? Let baptism remind
you of the need that you should be cleansed by the blood of Jesus from all sin, and purified by the operation of God the Holy Ghost. Baptism held forth to you the offer of great and precious privileges; it seemed to whisper of enrolment into that mystic body of which Christ is the living
Head; of adoption into the family of God, and of a citizenship in heaven. True, the offer will only serve to increase your ultimate condemnation, unless, in the might of God's Spirit, you are enabled to fulfil the conditions annexed to this covenant of grace. Yet now "stir up the gift of God which is in thee ;” and by the privileges, the responsibilities, the hopes connected with a visible dedication to Christ's service the increased guilt which cannot but be incurred through neglect of baptismal engagements—by all these strive, God helping you, to “ grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.'
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
1 COR. X. 16.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the
communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ?
The subject for our practical meditation this morning is the Holy Communion, considered as a mean of grace to promote the believer's spiritual welfare.
The declaration of St. Paul contained in the words I have now read is appropriate to the subject before us. It relates to the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and speaks of that ordinance as a communion, or a fel