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Meth. Preacher. Sir, will you be so kind as to answer me a plain question which I wish to propose? Cam. Teacher: Most certainly, with pleasure.
M. P. I presume you administered the ordinance of baptism in the vicinity of this town on yesterday.
0. T. Yes, sir, I immersed one or two.
M. P. I suppose you considered yourself acting under divine authority? C. T, By all means!
M. P. Now, sir, the question 1 wish to propose is this: On what passage of scripture do you found your authority to baptize? [handing him the Bible:) cite me the text.
C. T. Certainly; you do not doubt the authority to baptize, for you were baptizing yesterday also.
M. P. I baptized fourteen persons by pouring; but that has nothing to do with answering my question. In the presence of Mr. 1 demand your authority to baptize.
C. T. Why, sir, I must confess I never was asked that question before.
M. P. Indeed, sir, I am surprized at that, and yet more surprized that you are at a loss for an answer.
C. T. We certainly have the Apostle's example for it.
M. P. The Apostles wrought miracles, and did many wonders; but I still demand your authority to baptize. You certainly have not been baptizing several years without authority. I shall conclude you have
C. T. Why, sir, I–I— must say, it is taking me too suddenly.
M. P. The question is certainly a fair one, and ought to be answered.
C. T. If I find a text containing my authority I will let know.
M! P. No answer will be satisfactory unless the book, chapter, and verse are specified. When you are prepared for this I shall be glad to hear from you.
So it ended. No answer has yet been given, though several weeks have passed. “Any person can understand the Campbellite's difficulty on the subject above referred to, when it is remembered that they deny a special call to the ministry.”—!!!
If such a conversation ever took place, I think the preacher ought to be silenced who could not refer to his authority to baptize. He could not have been sent by Jesus Christ, by the Apostles, or by the Church; for had any of these sent him, he could not have said so. Jesus sent the Apostles; the Apostles sent out preachers; and these erected churches; and these churches sent out their evangelists, missionaries, and proclaimers; to whom they gave all the authority of that church whose head is Christ. The only authority possessed by any man on this earth to be a public man in Christ's kingdom as a preacher, teacher, or baptizer, is the church; and that is all that any preacher of any deno. nination in America has-Romanist or Protestant. Apostles we have none; Prophets or Evangelists, immediately sent forth by the Lord, we have none; of successors to the Apostles, in a direct line, there is not one on earth. No living man can show higher authority to officiate in things sacred than his own sect. Popes, bishops, Roman and Pro. testant, who claim succession, are all usurpers. Not one of them can show title from the Book, nor veritable history. The power of all Christian office is in the Christian people governed by the New Tes. tament. They make their own servants and functionaries. How the church may exercise this power, in one or more congregations acting in concert in popular assemblies, or by the presbyteries she may appoint, or the bishops she has clothed with authority, may be questions of prudence or of expediency; but that the power is always resident in the church, no intelligent man can doubt. All sorts of persons commissioned by the church anciently baptized-apostles, evangelists, deacons, and private persons, when specially appointed to the work. The Apostles sometimes baptized-Philip, one of the seven, baptizedAnanias, a private Christian, so far as the scriptures speak, immersed Paul; and hence a special and exclusive class of baptizers has no authority from the New Testament—had no existence in the primitive church. Romanists themselves, with all their haughty assumptions, teach and allow lay baptism. The person, then, who can sprinkle water on the face of an infant in the name of the Lord, and then ask for divine authority for immersing a believer, is beyond all doubt a hypocrite or a simpleton. Large sums of money have repeatedly been offered for only one text from the Bible authorizing any one to sprinkle water on any one in the name of the Lord; and if thousands more were offered, not a man on earth could obtain the boon. For a Methodist to ask for authority to baptize, is, indeed, a singular abandonment of their own practice: for, though calling themselves episcopal, they never had one episcopal ordination among them in the modern and current ecclesiastical import of the term. The stream cannot rise above its fountain. Mr. Wesley could make a class-leader, but never presumed to make a bishop.
A CATECHETICAL AND ANALYTICAL INDEX TO THE
STUDY AND TEACHING OF THE BIBLE, Tux design of this biblical catechism is not to answer for the Bible, but to make the Bible answer for itself. We would just observe with respect to the proposed objectnamely, a practical and profitable use of the holy scriptures, that a prevailing want of such a use of the Divine Book is lamentably evident: and, that to reconcile this neglect with the obvious intention of the Book, that is, the real existence of Christianity, is almost, if not altogether, impossible. For ibe whole suin and substance, yes, every jot VOL. V.N. S.
and little of the Christian religion, is exclusively contained in the Bible; and, of course, is no where else to be found. And not only so, but the very support and enjoyment of the Christian life depend upon the constant meditation and study of the holy scriptures; and upon a dutiful attention to the religious exercises which they inculcate. So that blessed, and only blessed is the man, whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and who meditates on his law day and night. And who also, if he have a family, makes it forih. coming for their edification; talking of it when he sits in his house, when he walks by the way, when he lies down, and when he rises up; having his heart and his table welt furnished will the word of life for those blissful purposes: thus feeding his own soul, and training up his family in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.*.
Todced, how can it be otherwise with the genuine Christian? seeing that every such character is born of God; possessed of, and led by, the Spirit of God; a new creature, whose life is bid with Christ in God; having his affections set upon the things that are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of Godt
Is it possible that such a person should not be a prayersul student of the Bible, according to his ability and opportunity, and also a teacher of it in his family, if he have one? What!- a careless, prayerless Christian!--careless about the word of God and prayer!!! Would not such an assertion be an astounding paradox:-a contradiction in terins:-much the same with—"A graceless Christian?" How is it, then, that in the face of the above quotations, and of a multitude more to the same purpose, that might be added, persons can be so beguiled as 10 suppose or profess theniselves Christians, in the absence of these qualifications, and neglect of these practices? Surely they must be under the infiu. ence of a strong delusioni --of an enchanting infatuation.
And what then?-Is it not high time for such 10 awake out of this sleep of death? With many of them the day of life is far spent; the night of death is at hand Should not all such, then, gladly hear that seasonable call of divine mercy? -"Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee lighit."I ll is for the assist. ance of such professors, as well as of all others that have suffered for want of that proper training from their infancy, which the word of God enjoins, that this catechetical index Lo the profitable reading of the Huly Scriptures is specially intended:-to such it is respect fully submitted, and affectionately recommended, by their humble servant in the gospel
What is the
meaning of the word Bible? It means book. Is every book called a Bible? No.- -Why so? Custom has determined other. wise.But why do we call this book the Bible? By way of eminence, to distinguish it from all other books, for there is none like it.Why so? Because every other book is made by some human being; but He that made this book is God.- How did he make it? By men divinely inspired for that purpose. -How many, and who were they? We have a distinct account of but thirty-four; namely, Moses, Job, Joshua, Samuel, Gad, Nathan, David, Solomon, Jonah, Joel, Amos, Micah, Hosea, Nahum, Isaiah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Malachi-Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter, Jude.
-How many books does the Bible contain? Sixty-six.- -Into how many volumes is it commonly divided? Into two= the Old Testament and the New.-How many books are contained in each? Thirtyvine in the former, and twenty-seven in the latter.- -How are the thus;-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, í Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. And in the New thus;Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of Apostles, Epistle to the Romans, -to the Corinthians, 1st and 2d,—to the Galatians,—the Ephesians, the Philippians,—the Colossians,-the Thessalonians, 1st and 2d,
to Timothy, 1st and 2d,-Tita3,--Philemon, Hebrews,-Epistle of - James,-f Peter, 1st and 2d,—of John, 1st, 2d, and 3d,- of Jude,and the Apocalypse, or Revelation of John.
SECTION 2. Of what sort of materials does the Bible consist? It consists of histories, prophecies, doctrinal declarations, commands, promises, threatenings, divine institutions, and devotional exercises. What is that special knowledge which the Bible is divinely designed to teach? It is, 1st. the knowledge of God; 2d. of man; 3d. of sin; 4th. of the Saviour; 5th. of his salvation; 6th. of the principle and means of enjoying it; 7th. of its blissful effects and consequences. These are the seven grand doctrinal topics, in the knowledge, belief, and practical influence of which, consists our present salvation. Is there any thing else, than the fifteen items above specified, to be at.. tended to in the reading and study of the Divine Book, in order to a elear, comprehensive, and retentive knowledge of its blissful contents? Yes, in order to secure those important advantages, the following things should also be duly considered: namely, who speaks; to whom he speaks; what he says; why, when, and where he said so. N. B. Those twenty-one items, duly attended to in all our readings, together with the contextual connexion of the portion under consideration, and a due attention to the biblical import of certain words and phrases, will bring us as near as possible to a distinct and realizing perception of the divine contents.- -How, then, should those things be attended to, so as to answer this desirable purpose? They ought to be attended to catechetically in all our readings, in the following order. Thus-1st. Who speaks? 2d. To whom does he speak? 3d. What does he speak?-Is it histories-prophecies-doctrinal declarationscommands-promises--threatenings-divine institutions, or devotional exercises?' Why, when, and where were these things spoken?
These duly ascertained, with, at the same time, a proper attention to biblical phraseology, puts us into possession of the subject matter and circumstances recorded in the portion read; upon the whole of which, taken together, we next propose to ourselves, to those we instruct, the following queries, respecting the aforesaid doctrinal topics, which the Bible is specially designed to teach: namely, what do we learn from the present reading concerning God-or man-or sia-or the Saviour-or of his salvation-or of the principle and means of enjoying it-or of its blissful effects and consequences? or, What does the portion, now read, teach us concerning all, or any of these things?
These queries, however, may be proposed with equal advantage, whilst we are investigating the subject matter of the portion under consideration; thus, if it be a historic, or a prophetic record, or one of a doctrinal character, &c.; and after having duly considered its import, we may immediately proceed to the above queries: namely, What does this history--this prophecy--this doctrinal declaration, &c.teach us concerning God;--concerning man;-concerning sin;-&c. &c. Thus will we investigate the doctrinal import of the lesson, as we proceed. The peculiar circumstances of the case can only determine, which of these methods of procedure is preferable.
Upon the whole, let it be well understood, and duly observed, that as it is the sole intention of the Divine Book to teach the students religion and morality; therefore, whatever queries or criticisms have not that tendency, are not only useless, but worse than useless; as tending both to divert the minds of the students from their proper and all-important objects, and also to puff them up with poisonous selfconceit, the native fruit of all such knowledge. Also, let it be well understood, and carefully noted, by all that would duly profit by the study of the Blessed Book, that, as “Paul may plant, and Apollos water, it is God alone that gives the increase:" therefore, it is their indispensable duty and high privilege to look up continually to the throne of grace, that they may be disposed and enabled 10 hring forth all the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God; for without Him we can do noihing.'
N. B. Section 1 is circumstantial and introductory; but Section 2 is descriptive of the subject matter and intention of the Book; and of certain things to be observed for correctly understanding both: both, however, should be perfectly memorized.
THE COMING OF THE LORD.-No. IX. This subject is daily assuming more interest. That the coming of the Lord is near, comparatively very near, is now a popular doctrine. Protestants are generally, if not universally, in expectation of it.Hence “the many running to and fro;" the spirit of inquiry now kindling into a fervor, and the thousand heralds of the anticipation at home and abroad, calling upon the people to prepare for the sublime scene. All concur, whatever their theory of his coming, in the opinion that it is to be an awfully grand and glorious event. To Christ's party, a day of gladness-a joyful and triumphant time: to the opposing party, a day of terror and alarm-a day of darkness, an era of vengeance and destruction,
We are glad to see that our brethren are becoming less imaginative and more rational on the subject; that such of them as too greedily drank in the notions of Winchester, E. Smith, and the bold literalists, which 'in all ages and countries have usually terminated in such schemes as Mahometanism, Irvingism, Mormonism, or Materialism, have abandoned or are abandoning those romantic and visionary