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sacred word of the living God explained of his servant, that walketh in darkfor information, for direction, for reproof,ness, and hath no light? let him trust in and for comfort. O my ever-blessed the name of the Lord, and stay himself Jesus, be thou my teacher; lead me, upon his God. thou who art the way, the truth, and the "How often do believers, that fear life; and if it is thy blessed will to take the name and the word of the Lord, me from the appointed means of grace, walk in darkness from a sense of their do thou in mercy feed my soul by thy sinful nature, and numberless defects!immediate agency; and if this, thou in very justly may they be humbled. Sathy wisdom seest fit to deny me, O tan then takes advantage, and endeaLord, refuse me not this, that thou wilt vours to make them distrust the God of cause me to live by faith on thee. O that all mercy; hides by his arts the loving thou wouldest enable me to receive out Saviour from the eye of faith. Unbeof thy fulness, even grace for grace, to lief takes place, and thick darkness, grant me that appropriating faith, which may be felt, comes on. O how whereby thou, the Lord, art become truly deplorable-how distressing such mine. Show, by thy willingness to re- a situation! The ever-blessed Spirit ceive such an unworthy creature as I has withdrawn his enlightening inam, that grace is free. Be thou my fluences as to any sensible comfort. guide through this barren wilderness; But let such a one, that fears the Lord, fit and prepare me for all tby will, either that obeys his holy will, and makes his prosperous or adverse, may all be sanc-word his rule, that looks only to the tified to my soul. Grant that I may great propitiatory sacrifice the blessed live near to thee, my dearest Lord, that Jesus hath made, let such a one trust when my last summons arrives I may on his God, as his Father, by adoption; meet it with joy, and rise to greet the on God, the Son, as his Redeemer, and Lord of glory, and dwell with him in in God, the Holy Ghost, as his Sanctibliss for evermore. fier. All which glorious privileges are comprehended in those words-Trust, and stay himself upon his God. When evidences are darkened so that conscience cannot find them, then, O everblessed God, may my faith be strong in the might of the Redeemer, and show me, that I have undone myselfbut in thee is my help found, that thou camest to seek and to save that which was lost; that thou never saidst to the
"Ephesians ii. 4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he hath loved us,
"5. Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, hath quickened us together with Christ: by grace ye are saved.
"Who can describe the riches of that grace the Apostle here speaks of, or the mercy and love of our adorable God, that he should condescend to visit sin-seed of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain, ners, sons of apostate Adam, who were but Fear not, it is I. Can a mother dead in trespasses and sins, unable to forget her sucking child? Yea, they think a good thought, out of mere grace, may forget. Therefore trust in God, -nothing to induce him to take our part, who hath given his word for thy combut mercy-mercy and love inexhaust-fort, and his oath for thy strong consoible? When we were dead in sin, he lation. Beware of dishonouring him by hath still had thoughts of peace to us, by unbelief or distrust, but say, with Job, giving us his dear Son to take our ini- Though He slay me, yet will I trust quities on himself, and to quicken us in Him.' Wait on the Lord, and he together with him, to give his people that shall come will come, and will not new hearts, and his blessed Spirit shed- tarry, for in him all the promises are ding abroad the love of God in their Yea and Amen, as the portion of those souls, thereby enabling them to become who are in Christ Jesus." new creatures, and in the strength of the blessed Saviour, endeavouring to live to his honour and glory. O my Father! give me lively and soul-affect- Mrs. Livingston's life and chaing views of thy love; enable me to racter, together with the extracts live an humble, pious, and holy life, de-from her Diary, it is evident her voted to thy service.
From the preceding sketch of
religion included the following characteristic features; on each
"July 19th. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice
of which we can only offer a few to reject our hope, if we still "fear God and obey the voice of 1. Her faith was appropriating his servant," speaking in his in its nature. She felt herself word. It is in the spiritual day, warranted to call God, My as in the natural-Clouds may God," Christ My Saviour." obscure the sun, though notwithThe great and important truths standing this obscurity there is of the Bible pertaining to a sin- daylight. Thus the Sun of rightner's salvation, she used for her eousness may be veiled to our present wants and her eternal view, and still satisfactory eviblessedness. She received and dence remain that we have passed rested upon Christ, for herself, as from death unto life. he was offered unto her in the 3. She highly valued the ordiGospel. Thus her comfort in nances of God's house. How life and death was, to quote the feelingly does she lament a silent words of the Catechism of her Sabbath! How carefully improve Church, thus, "That I with the preached word! The Lord's body and soul, both in life and day was emphatically to her a death, am not my own, but belong day of rest from all worldly cares, unto my faithful Saviour Jesus and of enjoyment in holy services. Christ who with his precious She was not satisfied with attendblood hath fully satisfied for all ing once a day-she went a semy sins, and delivered me from cond time; and when in this city, all the power of the devil: and on her annual visits, a third time. so preserves me, that without The intervening periods between the will of my Heavenly Father the hours of worship she spent in not a hair can fall from my treasuring up in her memory, and head; yea, that all things must be applying to her own case, what subservient to my salvation, and she had heard. How unlike many therefore by his Holy Spirit he professing Christians, who, after also assures me of eternal life, and the service of the morning and makes me sincerely willing and evening, walk abroad, not to meready henceforth to live unto ditate upon the things to which him." their attention has been called, 2. She perfectly understood but to divert themselves; or, if the difference between faith and they remain at home, amuse sense. When she walked in dark-themselves in vain conversation ness as it respected the light of or idle books! To such the SabGod's countenance, she still trust-bath is a weariness, and they most ed in the name of the Lord, and unblushingly profane it. To Mrs. stayed herself upon her God. L. this day was a type of that Faith regards the promise of God eternal Sabbath which she hoped -sense, present enjoyments. The to spend with her God and Sawant of the latter cannot destroy viour, and its enjoyments afforded the certainty of the former. We her a foretaste of heavenly joys. ought never to be regulated by 4. She attained a high state of our frames of mind in the exercise sanctification. This is evident of our faith. In times of doubt, from her desire to abound in adoarising from the want of God's ration, and her wish that in family sensible presence, we ought not and public prayers expressions
of adoration might be more fre-nigh when John the Baptist apquent and pointed. That Chris-peared in the wilderness of Judea, tian must be very far advanced with the spirit and the power of in ripeness for heaven, who is so Elijah the prophet, preaching the absorbed in the contemplation of baptism of repentance for the rethe divine glory, as to make adora- mission of sins. He had his raition the principal topic in his ad- ment of camel's hair, and a leadresses to the throne of grace. thern girdle about his loins; and The more that glory is manifested his meat was locusts and wild hoto his faith, the more he will be ney. Thus plain in his dress, transformed into the same image, and self-denied in his manner of and the more he will delight in living, he sharply rebuked the the peculiar employment of the sins of his countrymen, warning saints in heaven, profoundly ador- them to flee from the wrath to ing Him who is holy, holy, holy, come. His success was great; the Lord God Almighty. for there went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan; and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. As at this time the people were in expectation of the Messiah, who was promised to their fathers, all men, attracted by the fame and the influence of John's ministry, mused in their hearts of him whether he were the Christ or not. Whilst he was in Bethabara, beyond Jor
We now, once for all, give notice, that in this and several other essays on the subject of Baptism, which we purpose to insert in our work, we do not wish our readers to consider us as always recording our own sentiments. We have been requested, and we think it proper to comply with the request, to admit a temperate discussion on this subject, in which the opinions of those who in some respects differ (though they in the main agree,) shall be exhibited, and dan, baptizing, the rulers at Jerutheir respective grounds stated. Indeed, salem judged it proper that cersuch a discussion of a number of other sub-tain of their number, whose сараjects will not be excluded, though we need not at present mention them particularly.
city and learning rendered them EDITORS. equal to the task, should go and examine him. " And this is the record of John," saith the evangelist, "when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask THE legal economy, or Mo- him, Who art thou? And he saic dispensation, was typical in confessed, and denied not; but its nature, having a shadow of confessed, I am not the Christ. good things to come, and not the And they asked him, What then? very image of the things.' By Art thou Elias? And he saith, I the establishment of the evangeli- am not. Art thou that prophet? cal economy, or Christian dispen- And he answered, No. Then sation, it received its fulfilment, said they unto him, Who art and was for ever abolished. The thou? that we may give an antime predicted by prophets, and swer to them that sent us: What expected by saints of old, when sayest thou of thyself? He said, this great and important change I am the voice of one crying in was to take place, was drawing the wilderness, Make straight the
THE NATURE AND DESIGN OF
way of the Lord, as said the pro- came in the spirit and power of phet Esaias. And they which were Elias. As such he was announsent were of the Pharisees. And ced, in ancient prophecy, by they asked him, and said unto Malachi, and as such was recoghim, Why baptizest thou then, if nized by Christ, who told his disthou be not that Christ, nor Elias, ciples, This is Elias-not the neither that prophet? John an-identical Elijah who flourished in swered them, saying, I baptize the reign of Ahab, and was transwith water but there standeth lated-but the Elijah of whom one among you whom ye know Malachi prophesied, "that he not. He it is, who, coming after should turn the hearts of the me, is preferred before me, fathers to the children, and the whose shoe's latchet I am not hearts of the children to the worthy to unloose."--From this fathers." He had, therefore, aurecord of John, as the evangelist thority to baptize, as the foreruncalls it, we learn that the musings ner of the Redeemer, and the of the Jews concerning him pro-harbinger of the evangelical ecoceeded not from the matter of his nomy. As the correct underpreaching, but from the fact of standing of his baptism is neceshis baptizing. It was not his doc-sary to arrive at a certain and trines that excited their attention, satisfactory conclusion concerning or caused the embassy which was the nature and subjects of Chrissent to him, but his administra-tian baptism, we shall direct the tion of the rite of baptism. Be-attention of our readers to the sides, the priests and Levites who same as preparatory to a number questioned him on this occasion of Essays on Christian Baptism. were not surprised at his baptiz-The following inquiries embrace ing, but at this-that though he every thing which is of imporbaptized he denied that he was tance on this subject. Christ, or Elias, or that prophet The rite itself, therefore, was not a novelty to the Jews; but the novelty consisted in this-that he who administered the rite disclaimed his being one of the persons named. They expected that a person clothed with propheti-gard cal authority would baptize; and therefore demanded of John, Why baptizest thou, since thou art not I. Was baptism a novel rite in that Christ, nor Elias, neither the Church ?-Assuredly it was that prophet? Their expecta-not; for, as has been already tion, however, related to three stated, the Jews expressed no persons specifically, and John surprise at John's baptism. It very properly declared he was was a rite which they expected neither of them. He was only Messiah, or a prophet, would adthe voice of one crying in the minister to the nation, and which wilderness, Prepare ye the way had been administered from time of the Lord: and yet he was a immemorial to proselytes from prophet of the Most High, and among the Gentiles. Each of these
I. Was baptism a novel rite in the church?
II. What was the nature of John's baptism.
III. By what authority did he baptize?
IV. In what light must we rethe whole of his ministry? Each of these inquiries will be answered in order.
particulars will be noticed in de to proselytes from among the tail.
Gentiles. This is not indeed exFirst. It was a rite which they pressly mentioned in Scripture ; expected Messiah, or a prophet, neither have Philo and Josephus, would administer to the nation. two Jewish writers of reputation, This is evident from the question taken any notice of it. But, as which they put to John. Several M.Knight justly remarks, the sipassages of the Old Testament lence of ancient writers will by seem to have produced this ex. no means prove the rite to be of pectation. They could not but modern original : for, as the know from the promise in Jer. easterns greatly delighted in emxxxi. relative to the days of Mes- blematical instruction, it was nasiah, that great changes would tural for the Jews, by the relitake place in their ceremonies.gious washing of their proselytes Indeed, their own writers cha- with water, to teach them that in racterize these days as those becoming Moses's disciples they wherein God will renew the were cleansed from all the defileworld.* Amongst other things ments of Paganism, and that they they expected the purifying of the were pardoned and accepted of unclean. Thus one of their Rab-God. Learned men, who have bies interprets Ezek. xxxvi. 26. examined the subject, and to “A new heart also will I give you, whom the Jewish writings were and a new spirit will I put within familiar, do maintain and bring you ;---in this way I will expiate abundant proof of the fact, that you, and remove your unclean-when a Gentile proselyte was reness, by the sprinkling of the wa- ceived into the Israelitish coreter of purification.” And another nant, three ceremonies of initiaupon Zech, ix. 6. gives this mean- tion were used ; to wit, circumciing : “ And Elias came to distin- sion, baptism, and sacrifice. The guish the unclean, and purify Jewish masters, they say, have them.” Nay, they appear to established it as a law that this have expected that they were all baptism is so necessary, that withto be baptized, either by Messiah out it, as much as without circumhimself or by some of his attend- cision, there can be no proseants ; because it is prophesied in lytism; but this, along with sacri. Zech. xiii. 1. “In that day there fice, is all the initiation that is neshall be a fountain opened to the cessary in the case of a female house of David, and to the inha- proselyte. In the administration bitants of Jerusalem, for sin and of this rite, little children were for uncleanness." Such seems to included, being generally baptiz. have been the nature of their ex- ed at the same time with their pectation concerning the baptism parents.* The origin of this to be administered by Messiah, or rite is traced back to the days of any other prophet.
the patriarch Jacob. We find, in Secondly. Baptism had been ad-Gen. xxxv. that God commanded ministered from time immemorial him to arise, and go up to Bethel,
" and make there an altar unto These authorities are taken from Light
God, that appeared unto thee when foot and M.Knight. See also Pool's Synopsis in loco.
Lightroot's works, Vol. II. p. 117, 118,