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body, and so members one of another: If then they made the different circumstances of their baptism a cause of disunion, and a badge of distinct sects, they perverted one great design of it; and their pretended baptism into Christ, was only baptism into a sect.
Some of you, my brethren, think that adults only are subjects of baptism, and that immersion is the proper mode of administration. Others are persuaded, that the children of believers are proper subjects, and the affusion of water a scriptural mode of baptism. But whatever be the manner, or the age, in which you received baptism, ye were all baptized in the name of Christ, not in the name of a sect. "Endeavor then to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace; for there is one body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of you all."
You all plead for liberty of conscience in this mat ter. Let all enjoy it. If you exclude Christians from your communion, because they were not baptized just as you were, you deny them the liberty which you claim; you erect in Christ's kingdom a despotism, which the benevolent spirit of his religion abhors; you introduce a species of persecution into his church; for you inflict the highest punishment known in his kingdom on earth, exclusion from Christian privileges, merely for a supposed error in the circumstances of an institution, when still you believe, the heart is right.
My brethren; you are assembled to dedicate this house to God. But what is it that you dedicate to him? Not merely stone and timber, naked walls and empty seats. With the house you dedicate yourselves, living sacrifices, holy and acceptable.— This is a reasonable service. If this house is in future to be the Lord's, use it, as the Lord's, for his glory, and according to his will. Here maintain and VOL. IV.
attend his instituted worship and ordinances. Here seek your own and the common edification in knowledge, charity and holiness. You now stand by God's altar to make a covenant with him. The covenant is, that you will walk in his command. ments, and keep them with all your hearts. Abide in this covenant, and depart not from it all the days of your life. Here renounce all the vanities of an ensnaring world, and all the licentious opinions and manners of a guilty age. Choose the Lord to be your God, Christ to be your Savior, the Spirit to be your Sanctifier, and the gospel to be your guide. If it seem evil to others to serve the Lord, yet for yourselves and you houses resolve, that you will serve him. Cultivate religion in your hearts, display it in your lives, maintain it in your families, transmit it to your children.
You erected this house, not merely for yourselves, but for those, who shall live when you are gone. But what benefit will they receive from it, if they come forward into life without a regard to God and
his word? Whether they shall grow up in ignorance and vice, or in knowledge and virtue, will much depend on the education, which they receive from you. Instruct them in religion at home, injoin their attendance at the sanctuary, exhibit to them the beauties of religion in your conversation, commend them to the grace of God in your prayers.
My dear young friends; Look on this house: See what your fathers have been doing. They certainly aimed at your edification and salvation. Let not their pious and benevolent intention be defeated. Reverence the sanctuary of God; worship him in the beauty of holiness; cultivate an acquaintance with his word, seek salvation through his Son; make your souls your chief care, and religion your daily practice; subscribe with your hands to the Lord;
and cease to hear the instructions, which cause to err from the words of knowledge. If you hear any speak lightly of your bible, disrespectfully of your Savior, contemptuously of God's sabbath and ordinances; turn away your ears with pious indignation; and say to all such evil doers and vain talkers, "Depart from us; we will keep the commandments of our God." Attend to the counsels of your parents; seek instruction from their lips; join in the family devotions; pray in your closets; be conversant with the scriptures; and, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. In a word, make religion your early choice; then will you rejoice all your days, your end will be peace, and your eternity will be glorious.
It is probable, I shall never speak to this assembly again. What I have spoken is from the fulness of my heart. May it be seriously received, candidly reviewed, and faithfully applied.
And the Lord give you understanding in all things..
LUKE xi. 5- -10.
And he said unto them, which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him: And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be giv en you seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
As Jesus was praying in a certain place, one of his disciples, affected, no doubt, with the prayer which he heard, requested his Lord to teach them to pray. On this occasion Jesus gave them that form, which is commonly called the Lord's Prayer, and which is recorded in the verses preceding our text.
When he had taught them in what manner they should pray, he judged it proper to place before them such a motive to the duty, as was suited to operate on their minds. The motive is taken from the power and goodness of God to answer prayer. And what other motive can we need? We all have our wants; and wants which we feel. Now if we believe, that God is able and ready to supply our wants, what should hinder us from applying to him? If we need a favor, and may have it for asking, what more reasonable than prayer? Can we desire the favor on easier terms?
The great hindrance to prayer is unbelief. We do not fully believe, or sensibly realize that our prayers will avail; and therefore we pray with coldness, or but seldom, or perhaps not at all. To convince us that God will answer our importunate prayers, Christ refers us to our experience of human goodness. If there is goodness in men, there is more in God; and if our earnest petitions will prevail with them, much rather will they prevail with him.
To illustrate this argument, our Lord states a familiar case. You have a friend in your neighborhood, to whose goodness, in cases of necessity, you have been wont to resort. You go to him at midnight, and ask the loan of a little bread to refresh a friend, who has called upon you at an unseasonable hour, and at a time too, when you happen to be unprovided for his entertainment. The case is not of the most urgent kind. If you had been burnt out in the night, your friend, on the first notice, would open his door to you. If robbers had broken in up, on you, he would immediately fly to your defence. Or if your children were starving for want, he would not hesitate to send them a supply. But all which you plead is, that a friend has called upon you at a