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Mr. R _'s views of infant Baptism. yet any evidences of decided piety. When from day to day this happy family assembled around the domestic altar, an occasional cloud of gloom would come over the parents' hearts in relation to their offspring; for they believed that their children must be regenerated with the Holy Spirit in their moral nature before they could be truly the children of God. At such times, however, they would take hold of the divine promises, and stay their souls on the pledged word of the Lord.
These parents not only felt it their duty to pray frequently for, and with their children—not only to set before them a uniform example of piety, and give them pointed and practical instruction upon all the great truths of the Bible, but also to remind them of the relation in which they stood to God, as given up in covenant to him. In illustration of this I will here insert a note, which I received from Mr. Rone day after having conversed with him, in relation to the blessing of God upon his offspring and the manner in which he viewed the subject of infant baptism. He fully believed that God would regenerate all children who were given up to him in faith, and were reared " in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” This idea he expressed fully in the conversation just referred to. Alluding to this, in the letter, he remarks : “ With the views I have entertained respecting the rite of infant baptism, I have considered it an important duty, when
my children have attained to years to understand the subject, to explain to them as clearly as possible the nature of the ordinance, as respects both parents and children. I have instructed them to consider, that they were made members of the visible church, and that there were great and precious promises made to them as such. I have taught them that it was a great blessing to be brought into the fold of Christ, and instead of being strangers and aliens, to be made partakers of children's blessings. But I have warned them of the dan. ger of forfeiting all the blessings of the covenant through unbelief and disobedience. I have particular
I have particularly at such times alluded to the confidence with which parents, who had so consecrated their offspring to God, could present them at the mercy seat in prayer; but I have warned them that no exter. nal rite, no prayers, nor tears, could save them without repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.'
The conversion of Henry RThere is another fact in this case, which I deem important.In these views and endeavors, there has been a perfect agreement between myself and Mrs. R And I doubt if we have, either of us, at any time, lost our hold upon the covenant, with respect to our children. We have, without doubt, had seasons of darkness, when faith has been very weak, but I believe it has never been extinguished.”
Henry was the fourth son. It was he whom we described as being led at the time of his baptism to the house of God, by the hand of his mother. He had now reached his fifteenth year. Through the admonition of a young friend, his mind seemed suddenly awakened to a deep sense of his guilt as a sinner before God. For many days he was greatly bowed down with the weight of his exceeding sinfulness. Notwithstanding the apparent blamelessness of his past life, he felt that his heart had been so turned away from God, that he could adopt as his own the lowliest expressions of confession, and say with one of old—“O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to thee, for my iniquities are increase ed over my head, and my trespass is grown up unto the Heavens.” But there was help in Israel concerning this thing.-There was indeed found in his case, balm in Gilead, and a physician there. The light of God's reconciled coun. tenance was made to shine upon him, and he was enabled to rejoice in the Saviour's pardoning love with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Pious parents, who have seen a family of children growing up around them, without a single individual of them evincing any decisive evidence of being reconciled to God, and then have witnessed, when they least expected it, one of their number coming over to the side of the Lord, and exhibiting unequivocal manifestations of renewal of heart, can enter somewhat into the feelings of these parents on this occasion. Their hearts were indeed filled with joy and gladness, and the voice of thanksgiving and praise went up before the Lord, as incense, from the family altar.
Nearly three years had elapsed since the conversion of young H-, and during all this time he had manifested con. tinual and multiplied evidences, that he was truly born of God. I ought perhaps to have mentioned before this, that Mr. Rin his earlier days had commanded a yessel, which in its va
A letter detailing the incidents of a voyage. rious voyages, had visited almost every port, and circumnavigated the globe. He had however, of late, retired from this business, and his sons were now coming forward to take his place. The eldest had already become the commander of a vessel. On a certain occasion it was so arranged that Mr. R- and young H-- were going as passengers in his vessel on a short voyage. Some of the incidents of the voyage are alluded to in the following letter written by Mr. R- to Mrs. R-, the beloved mother of his children :
“ Beloved Wife,
“ You have undoubtedly, through Mr. S—, heard something of our situation after the hard gale, which we had on Nantucket Shoals. I shall only state briefly what occurred. After leaving G-, we had (almost continually) a gale of wind for twelve days. And at the end of fifteen days we left N and in just three w. 'eks, we arrived at this place, without any damage, but with much hardship. Two nights and a day we were at anchor on the shoals, curing which the wind blew so hard that we had great fears of losing our an. chor, with but little prospect of saving out lives. A great deal of the time the vessel plunged the end of her gib-boom in the water. After that wind abated we got up our anchor, which was the next Monday after we left G-The morning was pleasant, and we hoped for a pleasant voyage, but oh! how fleeting are all earthly promises of good! In a few hours another gale from the south-west attacked us far more violent than the former one, and attended with much more danger. We were about half way over the shoals. To proceed was impossible, and to return nearly so.
If the vessel had struck, we must have perished. But God had mercy on us, and found out a way for us to escape. To give you any correct idea of our situation is impossible. I thought we might say with the Apostle, we were “a night and a day in the deep.' After getting safe at anchor, we had a head wind all that week, since which our voyage has been pleasant.
“ But I know that you feel anxious to know the state of my feelings and hopes, during that dark season.
And I can speak to you on that subject, in more intelligible language. When we commenced our voyage, it was with prayer. I thought I could commit my all to that merciful Being, who
T'he reflections of Mr. R-during the storm. had all my life watched over me, with more than a parent's care, and who had so recently granted me the the quickening influences of his Spirit, and by this, a new hope in my soul. I did seel in the darkest hours a hope that we should make, our voyage in safety. I did not for a moment doubt that it would end in the glory of God. I could not but hope that my ship-mates, especially my children, would receive some good impressions. At one time I thought it might be the purpose of God, that my life should terminate there. And in that view, I could not but magnify his goodness, in so turning my thoughts and affections from earth to heaven. I could easily perceive that God might make my death the means of quickening my christian brethren in N-I could hope that it might prove the salvation of some, or all of my children.—With such considerations, and with most appalling danger all around us, I could not but think it probable that my time was short. But you wish to know how I supported my hope in this trying hour. I hardly dare answer this solemn inquiry, for I know how easily one may be deceived in such an alternative. But I think it was made the occasion of much searching of heart to me. I think I was prepared to say amen! to the determination of my Judge. My thoughts and my anxieties, were in a measure turned away from myself, to those who were alike exposed to danger without a hope in Christ. I don't know that I can say more.”
On the occasion alluded to in the preceding letter; it might be well said that the whole ship's crew
saw the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. For at his, word the stormy winds
the thereof. They were carried up to the Heaven, they went down again to the depths: their souls melted away because of trouble. They reeled to and fro, and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wit's end." The tempest swept over them with tremendous fury, and the breakers were at hand. Destruction seemed stalking through the deep in a thousand hideous forms.
“But they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He made the storm to cease, and the waves thereof were still. Then they were glad because they were at rest, and soon were they brought
The submission and hopes of young -: His death. unto the haven where they would be.” As soon as the storm had subsided, and all again was calm, Mr. R. seized upon the earliest opportunity to have a private interview with his two sons who were on board.—He begged them to consider what a deliverance had been youchsaled to them.
“ What,” said he, "s would have been your probable doom, had God seen fit to have permitted the vessel to have been lost, and you to have gone down to the bottom of the sea? Had he seen fit to have summoned you to his bar amid the wild howlings of the storm, and the angry surges of the deep?"
H— replied : “My mind was upon this very subject. I was led to close self-examination, and when there seemed no possibility of escape, I felt that I could say • Lord, here am I, I give myself up into thy hands, I hope in thy promises. And immediately the words of the prophet came to my mind, • Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.'"
This was indeed remarkable. But it was like a cordial to a christian father's heart. It was the last conversation that Mr. R ever had with this son on the subject of religion. In a few weeks H went out in another yessel to the West Indies. And the first intelligence the parents received in relation to him, was, that strangers had closed his dying eyes, and that he was buried in a foreign land. It seems that in a short time after his arrival, he was seized with one of the fevers incident to the climate, and lived only a few days.“ The bereaved parents, however, had every reason to believe that God had fulfilled his promise in reference to this child, and that he had died, being “regenerate and grafted into the body of Christ.”
They now viewed him as garnered up in glory, and safe within the chrysolite walls of the New Jerusalem. And now their thoughts turned with increased solicitude to their surviving children, and their prayers were offered with more fervency, that they also might be brought in, and “saved with the remnant of the true Israelites."
The character of one of their younger children, Anna Amelią, had been marked with peculiar seriousness from her