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that efforts made under such circumstances, are certain to secure God's blessings, not only for those who labour, but for the object of their exertions. It tells us that our Father in heaven, from whom cometh every good gift, is deli cited to behold the creatures of his hands engaged in the same nevolent work, in which he is himself engaged; and that his hand is extended to aid their efforts, and bless them to their full desire. Can the advantages of such teaching be doubted ?
The instruction is given with many prayers, which, like sweet incense, come up before the Lord, and find favour. So that by a triple cord-the three-fold cord of untiring zeal, disinterested exertion, and believing prayer, are temporal and immortal benefits secured to this teaching. And this glorious combination of encouraging circumstances ought to give us full faith in the expected advantages of these institutions.
III. We now pass to a consideration of the advantages which may be expected from the nature of the truths taught in Sabbath-Schools, and some further circumstances under which they are inculcated.
The instructions of the Sabbath-School are wonderfully fitted to affect the youthful heart They are from the word of God, and teaching from the word of God comes home to the feelings of a child like no other instruction. It excites his interest, and wins his affections beyond every thing else. In all story or song, there is nothing found like the Bible,-so simple in pathos, so engrossing in interest, so elevating in influence. The whole relation of God's doings towards the children of men; the creation of the world; the entrance of sin into paradise; the patriarchal history; the wanderings, settlement, elevation to power, and the decline of God's chosen people ; the coming of Messiah, and his character and life, are listened to as no human production ever was; while they impress themselves 'most deeply on the memory, and enter more completely into the heart of the child than any thing else ever does or can. The influence upon conduct, exercised by the heart, is very powerful, whether it be in deterring from evil, or encouraging to good;--and we can readily calculate the advantages to character, both individual and general, that must be produced by a system of education which engages the affections in behalf of virtue.
But not only is that Scripture truth which forms the principal part of Sabbath-School instruction, engaging in manner and pleasing in incident; it is also important in principle, and advantages must follow from its inculcation in this respect. It
teaches the way to eternal life; and, although its lessons may not be blessed at once to the conversion of the soul, yet is it the most common and powerful agent of the blessed Spirit in prodricing that effect. Moreover, an early acquaintance with the Bible, as observation and experience have both shown, is the most certain protection against scepticism and infidelity, even though conversion should not take place. That feeling of awe, with which the Sabbath scholar is accustomed to regard the word of God, together with the influence which its maxims never altogether fail to exert over his actions, is the greatest defence to a yet unsanctified mind, against the attack of the scoffer and unbeliever. Such are the truths of the Bible, that, being received into the young heart, before the devices of Satan and the growth of sin have hardened it and blinded its moral vision, they in a great measure forestal the evil which might otherwise be lodged there; so that the internal convictions of a mind once effectually imbued with them, become, as it were, a part of its elemental character, against which the enemies of truth, and even a wicked life may long labour in vain. It is to be hoped, too, that conversion may take place immediately; and this, more than it has been, should be the object of Sabbath-School instruction, namely, not only the fortification of the mind against temptation, and the preparation of it for conversion in coming years, but its immediate conversion now while young.
Connected with the inculcation of Scripture truths is one circumstance, with the mention of which, this brief view of the advantages of Sabbath-Schools will be closed. The day of instruction is the holy Sabbath;-God's own chosen day. The toil, and care, and bustle of the world, are banished from recollection, and a calm is spread over the mind which fits it for the reception of truth. Even the youngest scholar feels solemn, amid the general solemnity and stilness around him; as the prayer of his teacher ascends to that God whose house he is in, and whose day it is. The effect of such seemingly small things is immense, in predisposing the mind to the reception of profitable instruction, and should, by no means, be forgotten. From the schoolroom the pupils go to the congregation, composed of their parents and older friends, and again hear the truths of the Bible taught, to the solemn and attentive audience. Thus every circumstance seems calculated for effect,-salutary, holy effect. We know not how a scheme of instruction could have been devised more perfect in its adaptation to produce
the desired results, than that of Sabbath-Schools. Without examining the testimony which experience has borne to the advantages that they have produced; without recounting the thousands who have been converted by their means; or the extraordinary effect they have had in a few years on the moral tone of society; or the wonderful rapidity which has marked their increase and extension; but looking merely at the cha racter of their pupils, and of their teachers; the benevolent zeal which originated and carries them onward; the nature of the instruction, and the peculiar circumstances of solemnity under which it is given, we are ready to repeat the assertion with which we commenced, that the advantages which have resulted, and must result, from these schools, is altogether beyond present estimation.
Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."-MAT. xxviii. 19.
THE sacraments of the New Testament are two, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Whatever may have been the original meaning of the term sacrament, it seems now to be used simply to convey the idea of obligation. And this obligation is expressed with respect both to God and man. In the sacraments God condescends to represent himself as bound to man, by his oath and promise; while men, by observing them, declare their submission, and obligation, and purpose to serve him. It is in the former sense the sacraments are called seals of the new covenant. The present paper is devoted to the ordinance of Baptism; and it is considered in its perpetuity, nature, mode of administration, and subjects, with the practical purposes served by its continued observance.
I. The perpetuity of baptism. By this is meant that the ordinance of baptism, as originally instituted by Christ, continues to be obligatory on the church in all generations. And it will be sufficient evidence, upon this topic, to observe what is annexed to the original institution-"lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." The plain meaning of the phrase, "the end of the world, is, the final consummation of all things. And until that takes place, by the destruc
tion of the world, the ordinance of baptism is to continue to be celebrated in the church.
II. The nature of baptism, or what we are to understand by it. Generally it may be said to be a sign of spiritual blessings. And it is only a sign. It does not necessarily convey any blessing to the soul: it may even be so observed as to increase condemnation. It is not connected with the blessings of salvation, so as either to render salvation impossible to those who have never observed it, or certainly to impart it when it is observed. It is but a sign of the blessing which may or may not accompany it, according to the faith of those by whom it is observed, and the sovereign pleasure of God. More particularly we may learn the nature of baptism from the emblem used in it, and the application that is made of it. The emblem is water, and this is applied to the person of the worshipper-the emblem being intended to represent the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and this being applied to the person to express the cleansing of the soul by the blood of Christ, through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Or the nature of the ordinance may be inferred from the language in which it is expressed-" baptizing in (or into) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The term, in or into, teaches, that in the celebration of the rite, there is not merely an acknowledgement of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the one, living, and true God, and as sustaining the various offices and relations assigned to them in the scheme of redemption, but that there is the outward expression of union with them in a new and saving relation. This sentiment is well expressed in the definition of baptism, in the Shorter Catechism, as an ordinance signifying
our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's." It will, however, be more full and satisfactory to collect the nature of the ordinance from the various notices which we find of it in the New Testament, and in which we ascertain what those truths and blessings are, of which the sacred writers considered it to be significant. The propriety of treating it thus may be inferred from the notice of it recorded in 1 John v. 8-" there are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood ;" the water referring, no doubt, to baptism, which is thus pronounced to be a witness to Christ. And how can it be a witness to him otherwise than by shadowing forth the doctrines of his holy religion? What these particular doctrines are, to which it is a witness, shall now be
stated. 1. Regeneration. "Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John iii. 5. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Tit. iii. 5. In both these passages, regeneration, the work of the Spirit, is held forth under the figure of water in baptism. 2. Adoption. "By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, whether we be bond or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor. xii. 13. The language is here obviously borrowed from the ordinance, because it is significant of the doctrine that is treated of. 3. The remission of sins, through the blood of Christ. "Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." Acts ii. 38. The meaning is, not that remission is obtained by observing the rite, but that it is declared by it. 4. The Trinity. In the form prescribed by Christ, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are placed on an equality, are alike worshipped, and their blessing sought. The ordinance is an act of worship, addressed to the three persons in the Godhead, as the God and Saviour of all that believe. 5. Baptism is expressive also of the obedience of the believer. He is to serve God as a Father into whose family he has entered. Hence to the very form of the rite announced by our Lord, it is added, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded." He is a declaration, on the part of him by whom it is observed, of his fixed and hearty purpose, to receive whatever Christ has taught, and do whatever he has commanded. From all that has been said, therefore, nothing can be more plain than the propriety with which baptism is said to be a witness to Christ. It is the Christian religion under a figure. So long as it is observed, there is a standing testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. It is a visible exhibition of the glorious truth, that "in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
III. The mode of administering the ordinance. The only thing positively determined on this subject in the Scriptures, is, that water must be applied to the person of him that is baptized. It has, indeed, been earnestly maintained, that the immersion of the whole body in water is essential to baptism; but no such position can be maintained on scriptural authority. This will be apparent by attending to the following considerations.