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inserted in the historical narrative.* Of bodies ; but if Christianity be a personal these, three, and only three, are cases of and individual affair, received or rejected household baptism-Lydia and the Jailor by every one to whom it is presented for (Acts xvi.)-and Stephanas (1 Cor. i.) himself, whether sprung from heathen or Now I think I may venture to affirm, from parents, surely this duty of Christithat there were not infants in any of anity, as well as every other, must have these cases. The household of Stephanas the same individual and personal atten-(1 Cor. xvi. 15)—is described so as to tion. The national Church of these preclude all idea of there being infants realms is consistent enough in her theory; there. Infants cannot addict themselves she baptizes all, and makes Christians of to the ministry of the saints. Of the them by the act ; she requires all to come household of the Jailor, four times men- to the table of the Lord as Christians ; tioned in as many verses, it will be evi- she regards all as sustaining this characdent on turning to the passage, that in- ter while they live, and after death she fants did not form a component part of buries all “ in the sure and certain hope it. All who were in the house of the of a resurrection to eternal life.” She Jailor, had the Word of God spoken to knows nothing of conversion, or, to use them, and they all believed. In Lydia's the more common term, of regeneration house, the apostle, after his persecution, after baptism. I am astonished, and I saw the brethren ; they comforted each cannot conceal my grief, to hear Dissenother. I do not say, that these brethren ters, good and excellent men, men who constituted the house of Lydia; I do not know that Christianity is a perfectly indithink they did ; but the facts of the case vidual matter, talk of national bodies in are all at variance with her household connexion with religion and of national having infants as one of its component Christian duties. Is this the time for parts. I do not think she had infant ministers of Christ in this country to lose children; my brethren, who affirm that sight of man's individuality, in reshe had, or who take the matter as so ference to every one thing which Chrisprobable, that it may bear an argument tianity enjoins ?-now that Popery, a for infant baptism, are bound to make vicarious religion, a religion in the lump, out the probability.
so to speak, that leaves every man free Mr.Clayton adds, from the commission from responsibility before God, so that given to the apostles by their Master, he is duly baptized, duly confesses and infants are constituent parts of national duly communicates, is casting a longer bodies; therefore they are to be baptized. and deeper shade over our land ?-now This sounds probable; and if the apostles that what has been called Puseyism, are directed to baptize nations as such, Popery in all but in name, is being seduthe conclusion is inevitable ; infants must lously inculcated from scores and hunbe baptized. But all the baptized are to dreds of pulpits, and is deluging our be previously taught; so the commission palaces and our cottages with its soulaccording to St. Matthew runs; and ifevery deceiving substitutes for personal and baptized person is first to belie (and so individual godliness ? Is this the time for according to Mark the commission is ex- my brother to demolish at one stroke pressed,) surely we ought to hesitate on all individuality in candidates for this conclusion. Infants capable of baptism, and maintain that because ineither instruction or faith, may by all fants are parts of national bodies, means be admitted to the ordinance therefore they are to be baptized ? when they believe. “Infants,” says my Shall what we regard as adapted to neighbour, are a constituent part of destroy genuine piety in the established national bodies; therefore they are to be church of these realms, be admitted to baptized.” Is Christianity, then, in any do its deadly work upon dissenting respect national ?
Is the churches also ? religion of Jesus Christ like Judaism in My brother says,
" In the Jewish this matter? Those who talk of Chris- church, children were admitted to church tian countries and of national churches, privileges ; Christ came not to set aside may consistently enough baptize infants, those privileges.” I will not press him for they are constituent parts of national with the inquiry whether he admits baptized infants to church privileges, in | does Christ require? What will attest the flourishing church under his care. the entireness of assent by which I have That may be a matter of little moment. become His ? This is the inquiry of such But do let me implore him to consider a man. And the very day when his inthe unhappy lengths, to which such an quiry is met, will witness his declaring argument for infant baptism must lead him in the sight of all, by this expressive rite,
* They are-The three thousand-Acis ji.; the Samaritans and Simon-Acis viii.; the EunuchActs viii. ; Saul of Tarsus-Acts ix. ; Cornelius, and those with him-Acts x.; Lydia--Acts xvi.; the Jailor-Acts xvi.; the disciples at Ephesus-Acts xix.; Gaius, Crispus, and the household of Steplanas-1 Cor. i.
But, dear brethren, I will not " I am the Lord's alone." pursue the subject. If it be thought, In closing, permit me, dear friends, that I have said more than was ne. to say one word to you, who are about cessary, let it be borne in mind, that this evening to be baptized in the name I have been maintaining an appointment of the Lord.. I trust you are duly of the Saviour. I have been endeavour- mindful of the importance and solemnity ing to aid you in the inquiry on the sub- of this night's act. You are avouch. ject, “What saith Scripture ?” It may ing God for your God; Jesus Christ for be said, I have spoken chiefly of a your Lord and Saviour. You have been mode of a certain action of a ceremony, brought to this avowal by His own free of nothing but a ceremony : the thing and abundant mercy. Be thankful for signified is the matter of importance, and your decision. Ponder the engagements compared with this of what importance you form; and watch over yourselves, is the mode ? Brethren, I should sus- that these engagements may be faithfully pect my own religion, if I could say so. kept. You say to-night, that you die The Saviour deemed it worth while to to sin and the world; you are " buried prescribe a mode; allegiance to Him re- with Christ in baptism, unto death, that quires that I should know what that like as Christ was raised from the dead mode is, and comply with it. I dare not by the glory of God the Father, even so so far reflect on His wisdom as to say, you also should walk in newness of life.” • Any mode will do, so that we have the if you die with Christ and rise with Him, reality to which the rite points ? There set your affections upon things above." seems to me, to be no religion in the If you declare yourselves His disciples, dip, or pour, or sprinkle,' of some let the mind that was in Him be in you. Christians, we care not, so that the re- You will feel, perhaps you are feeling, newal of the heart be effected.' Re- the weight of the duties henceforth to newal of the heart is the all-important devolve upon you. Sometimes, perhaps, matter. Without it, baptism is nothing. you may tremble under a sense of your “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision weakness, and of the difficulties and opavaileth any thing nor uncircumcision, position you will have to encounter. But but a new creature.” This, however, is Christ is all-sufficient. In His might you not now our question. The heart being will be strong; and preserved by His renewed by the Holy Spirit of God, the power and grace, you shall be defended question is, what is that act of obedience, from every evil, and at last presented that external, significant and solemn blameless before the throne of His glory. act, which Christ requires? If He says, You are putting on Christ now.
Nebaptism, in the name of the Father, ver, never, must you put Him off again ; of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” it never rust you relinquish Him. Whatbehoves
every such renewed, believing ever others do, you must serve Him: man, to " arise and be baptized," serve Him in every condition, in all the
Why should he delay? The mistakes relations of life, in each and every duty of his parents, the rites which men may to which your attention is directed. “I have devised and which the Church has have set the Lord always before me.' ordained, the example of multitudes And look forward, I bescech you, now around him, the clamour of anabaptism, and in times of temptation and trial, are as nothing worth in his esteem; he look forward to the solemn, the delightmust“ arise and be baptized ?”' Why ful season, when He shall come to actarriest thou?”. To such a man, it ought knowledge and bless and reward His to be no cause for delay, that he can en faithful servants. ter the Church on earth, or that above, To each of you, I would address the without being baptized? This were to Saviour's own exhortation, and His blesmake an appeal to considerations of self- sed promise~" Be thou' faithful unto interest alone-a low, grovelling, sordid death, and I will give thee a crown of appeal, which should be at once rejected. | life.” " What saith the Scripture ?" What
A SERMON, BY THE REV, W. JAY.
PREACHED AT ARGYLE CHAPEL, BATII, ON SUNDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 22, 1839.
"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him."Nabumi.7.
The desire of knowledge, my brethren, trouble," and that He “knoweth them is natural. Hence the eagerness of curi- that trust in Him.". osity; hence the constancy of inquiry ; Let us review these; premising that hence the eye is not satisfied with see- the sacred writers never speak of the priing, nor the ear with hearing.”
vileges of Divine grace abstractedly from But the lamentation here regards the their subjects. soul's activity, the direction which it com- These subjects are variously demonly takes, and the subjects upon which scribed by them. Sometimes by their its force is generally expended. There sorrow—" Blessed are they that mourn, are things, of which it is even desirable for they shall be comforted.” Someto be ignorant. Where is the person, times by their fear—" Blessed is the who would not, if it were in his power, man, that feareth always."
Somethrow off from his mind expressions times by their life—“The crown of life, which defile and images which distress? which the Lord hath prepared for them Some of us have lately heard of the that love Him.” Sometimes by their " Pleasures of Memory."* Ah! the waiting for Him—“Wait on the Lord, pains of memory make a much larger and keep His ways :"
“ Blessed are all they more impressive volume: and if there wait for Him." were a teacher of forgetfulness, he would But you will observe, that there is be frequently preferred to a teacher of something previous to all this, and by remembrance. And there are things,which which all this must be influenced and acit little concerns us to know; the know- tuated; and that is, TRUST in God. This ledge of them is no way necessary to our is the basis of every part of religion. We safety, or conducive to our improvement. fall by losing our confidence in God; and
But there are things, the knowledge of we can only be recovered by the renewal which is not only desirable, but abso- of it. And remember, that the one simlutely and infinitely indispensable. It is ple design of revelation from the beginà momentous concern, for instance, to ning to the end is this : “ Whatsoever know whatGod is, and who His people are: things were written aforetime, were writto know what God is, that we may know ten for our learning, that we through pawhat He requires of us and what we may tience and comfort of the Scriptures might espect from Him; and to know who His have hope.” This is the one grand depeople are, that we may compare our sign of the mediation of our Saviour: selves with them; and, if we are found “God raised Him up from the dead and in their number, we may rejoice and be gave Him glory, that our faith and hope thankful; and if we are strangers to their might be in God.” Hence we are said to state, may pray for the heritage of be "saved through faith ;" to be "jusJacob,” and “take hold of the skirt of tified by faith ;” to be "purified” and him that is a Jew, saying, We will go “ sanctified” by faith ; to “ live by faith” you, for we have heard that the and to “walk by faith.” Now you will
observe, that faith is this trust in its Now our text furnishes both parts of principle ; and this trust is faith in its exthis information ; telling us at once what ercise. God is, and who His people are.
It tells Let us proceed : the subject is importus, that His people are " those that trust ant, and as every thing admits of counin Him;" and it tells us, that He is terfeits—as there are specious resem"good," " a stronghold in the day of blances of every Christian grace as well as
Alluding 10 a course of Lectures recently delivered in Bath, on the British Poels, by James Montgomery, Esq.
of every moral virtue, and as a mistake | else for this warrant. And it is to be found here will be endless misery—let us consi- in the Word of God: as David says, “ I der what it is, that characterizes that hope in Thy Word.” It is this, that makes trust in God, which distinguishes His Him known. It is here that He proclaims people from all others: It is distinguish- His name—“The Lord, the Lord God, able by such qualities as these :- merciful and gracious :" it is here, that
It is difficult. Those, yho find it He holds Himself forth, and says, otherwise, show that they are entire stran- hold Me, behold Me, and make peace gers to it; or that they mistake for it with Me.” It is here, that we have His that common, general undefined reliance engagement, and His engagement conon God, which often indeed leads them firmed by an gath—" As I live, saith the
I hope in God,' I trust Lord, I desire not the death of him that in God, for which hope and trust they dieth ;" for in order that those, who assign no scriptural reason, but the good- are fleeing for refuge” might have ness of God, which in their mind is strong consolation,” the apostle says, always severed off from His truth and that God "confirmed His Word by His His holiness and His justice. But take a oath, that by two immutable things we man, whose conscience is truly awakened, might have a strong consolation.” And who is led to reflect upon his condition we have not only, to authorize our trust and his desert, who now feels the wrongs in God, His promise, but equally one thing and dishonours he has done to God; and more-His command. I may question he will find it is no easy thing to trust in whether I am entitled to a promise ; I a Being, who is “of purer eyes than to cannot question whether I ought to obey behold iniquity," whom he has offended a Divine command. And this is His comtimes without number, “in whose hands mandment,"Look unto Me and be ye savHis breath is, and whose are all his ways,” ed”—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” pas whose "
is upon him, and he is not;' “ This is His commandment, that we and especially to trust in Him, not only believe on the name of His Son Jesus for pardon, but acceptance, and sup- Christ, and love one another as He gave plies and salvation, and eternal salvation us commandment.” Now, here you see, with eternal glory. This Being has never we are, by God Himself, as much authobeen the object of any of our senses; we rized to believe on the name of His Son, have never heard Him, we have never as we are authorized to love one another. seen Him, we have never touched Him. We have the same thing enjoined upon us No; He is therefore, an entirely invisible by the same Being, in the same place, Being to us; and we are to lay hold by the same authority. upon the invisible, and so to hang (as the This trust, therefore, is always of a earth) upon nothing, while it sustains the practical nature.
I may try God in a whole course of nature.
thousand ways; but I can only trust God, This leads us to observe, that this trust scripturally, in the path of duty, and in in God is warranted. Newton finely the use of means. I wish I may be able observes--
to make this as plain to you, as it stands " When first before His mercy-seat
now in my own mind. If you are doing Thou dids't to Him thy all commit, He gave thee warrant from that hour,
anything for God, or at work for God, or To trust His wisdom, love and power.” are going to take a journey in the course But where is the warrant to be found? of your lawful business, you may look to There are some indications of this indeed, God for guidance and protection, and you in the course of nature and Providence; but may pray for them, and you may pray in these are not clear enough, nor strong faith for them; for there is something enough, to meet the desiring mind. And for faith to lay hold of, and plead here. these are far more than neutralized by “ He will give His angels charge collcounter appearances; for we find there is cerning thee, to keep thee in all thy not only health, but sickness; not only ways: they shall bear thee up in their breezes, but storms ; not only life, but hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a death ; and these adverse circumstances stone.” But supposing you are going to will have more force on a guilty mind attend a boxing fight, or to step into the (and every man is guilty, and conscious of boat of an air balloon ; could you then guilt), than all the prosperous can produce. retire and pray to be preserved from all We must, therefore, look somewhere danger and accident? or could you pray
in faith? What could your faith have to sperity, when you can lie on a soft bed, take hold of in this case ? On what and sit in an easy chair, and enjoy a could it rely? Would you not hear well spread table, and are surrounded God confounding you by the question, with health, and servants, and friends,
What doest thou here, Élijah?” Peter and succeed in business. But it is very says “Casting all your care upon Him;” difficult to trust in God then : these are not your work. Mind this distinction : the things that keep us from feeling our it is your care, not your work ; though need of Him so much. While these reyou may, and ought, to depend upon main, it is difficult to determine whether Him for ability to perform it, and ask you are depending upon these or upon help from Him. Those therefore now, God: but when a separation is made, with regard to temporal things, who, when these are withdrawn, your dependunder the notion of their being “ careful ance will appear clear enough. If these for nothing," as the Scripture says, and have been your dependence, then you sink taking no thought for the morrow,” sit in hopeless sorrow; then you say, “They with folded arms, and say, “ Jehovah- have taken away my gods, and what have jireh, the Lord will provide,” wandering I more ?” But if while you possessed from house to house as idlers and “ busy- these, you enjoyed God, and made Him bodies in other men’s matters,” and neg-“ the strength of your heart, and your lecting means and opportunities for their portion for ever”—though when they are improvement—these tempt God; but let withdrawn you will feel, and ought to them not suppose that they are trusting feel, you will not faint, or, if you faint, Him. Paul would have them all starve; you will not die ; you will surely recover and it were well, if it were so: “If any this confidence, and say, "Return unto man will not work, neither shall he eat. thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath It is the same with regard to the means dealt bountifully with thee." Birds build of grace. “ The diligent soul shall be their nest in the time of foliage ; but made fat." Those who suffer trifling their nests are discovered when the excuses and indisposition to keep them leaves fall off. Precisely so is it with rea from the house of God, are not likely to gard to us and God. be better in body. More careful for their The other state is a state of adversity. health than for their souls, God neglects When events seem to oppose the protheir health : as He said to the Corin- mises of God, when He seems to shut thians, " For this cause many of you are out our prayer, when we suffer from the sick ;" and He exemplifies by His con- oppression of enemies, and when we pine duct His own declaration here, as well as in langour and disease, while one voli. in other cases—“Them that honour Metion of His will would be enough to set I will honour, and they that despise Me us free; why, we are tempted to say with shall be lightly esteemed.” But take the church, “My way is hid from the your souls.
I never knew a soul that Lord, and my judgment is passed over prospered in the Divine life, yet that had with my God." Or with Gideon—"If not a due regard to the means of grace; the Lord be with us, why then has all neither can I look for the prosperity of this evil befallen us ?" Here is the time, such individuals in spiritual matters, as therefore, for trust in God.
Job, you long as I read, “They that wait on the remember, said, “ He hath taken me by : Lord shall renew their strength, they the neck, and shaken me to pieces.” And
shall mount up on wings as eagles; they yet this did not affect his confidence : shall run, and not be weary; they shall“ Though He slay me,” says he, “yet walk, and not faint.”
will I trust in Him." " In all this job This trust in God is perpetual. “Trust sinned not with his lips, nor charged God in Him at all times, ye people.” “ Trust foolishly.” He was not insensible; he in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord ought not to be insensible: he rose, and Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Now rent his mantle, and fell down on the in general there are two conditions, which ground, and said, “ Naked came I out of this trust in God must pervade ; and both my mother's womb, and naked shall I of them are great trials of this confidence. return thither : thé Lord gave, and the
The first is a state of prosperity. There Lord hath taken away: blessed be the are some, indeed, who say that it is a name of the Lord.” very easy thing to trust in God in pros- This trust in God, therefore, is very