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but "the Lord taketh the wise in honourable to his name, we cannot their own craftiness;" and such expect too much in answer to them; difficulties will presently vanish for "he is able to do exceeding from the serious, humble mind: yet abundantly, above all that we ask Christ himself reminds us, that "our or think." The Scripture abounds Father knoweth what things we have with examples of the efficacy of need of, before we ask him" (Matt. prayer: Abraham ceased to ask, even vi. 5-8); and it is obvious, that our in behalf of Sodom, before the Lord prayers cannot be requisite for the refused to answer him; and "God information of Omniscience, or to remembered Abraham, in preservdispose the God of all grace to supply ing Lot from the overthrow" (Gen. our wants. But prayer, when seri- xviii. 17-33; xix.29). Jacob wresously engaged in, tends directly to tled with God, and prevailed with increase our acquaintance with our- him; and Esau's heart was softened selves, and our own character and and his rage disarmed: he set out situation to lead our attention to an enemy, yet met him as a brothe promises of God; to abstract ther (Gen. xxxii; xxxiii). When the mind from all selfish and carnal Moses prayed, Amalek was discomconfidences; and thus to bring us fited: and when he pleaded for into that humble, dependent, and Israel, the Lord said, "Let me waiting frame of spirit, which is the alone, that I may destroy them." preparation for duly receiving and The time would fail to speak of using every Divine blessing. To David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezepray in a suitable manner, is in kiah, Nehemiah, &c. Doubtless effect to say, "Lord, we are poor, the conversion of Saul was an vile, helpless, wretched creatures; answer to the prayer of dying Stewe have no other refuge to flee to, we phen: and we may suppose, that know not what to do; but our eyes the believers at Damascus were are unto thee, because we believe heard in their cries for protection that thou art ever ready to forgive from that cruel persecutor, in a and save all that call upon thee." manner beyond their most enlarged As therefore the parent requires the expectations; as were those at child to ask those things that he Jerusalem, when they prayed for intends to give, that the child may Peter's deliverance from Herod feel his dependence and obligation, (Acts xii). But indeed, except in and be brought to a proper disposi- the case of miraculous interposition towards the parent; so the tions, the same is still experienced; Lord requires us "to make our and the more any man has made the requests known to him," that we trial, the fuller will be his assent to may be prepared to receive his in- this truth. The Christian, who has tended benefits with thankfulness, been frequent,fervent, and particular to notice his hand in them, and to in his supplications, for a length of give him the glory of them. And time, has doubtless found, that many when our prayers accord to his pre- of his petitions (defective and decepts, are grounded on his promises, filed as he knows them to be) have imply submission to his providence, been manifestly answered, both in and spring from a supreme desire his own temporal and spiritual of spiritual blessings: when we concerns, and in behalf of others; pray for those things that are truly often beyond his expectations, and good for us, conducive to the advan- contrary to apparent probability: tage of our brethren, or in any way some requests have been granted,
not exactly in his meaning, but in alor protection against them; to far more desirable way: he hath carry every point that is truly good prayed for the removal of the "thorn for us; to bring down blessings on in the flesh" but the Lord hath our families, friends, and country; answered him by showing the suffi- to procure peace and prosperity to ciency of his grace, and employing the church, the conversion of sinthe trial" to bumble, and prove ners, and the spread of the gospel; him, and to do him good at the lat- and for all things, which we can ter end" (2 Cor. xii. 1-10): so desire or conceive; must be allowed that the things that seemed the most by every man, who reverences the against him, have most effectually Scriptures, or knows what it is “to promoted his highest interest. Or walk with God." Did men specuhe has found his prayers answered, late and dispute less, and pray more, by feeling his mind wonderfully their souls would be like a watered reconciled to a denial, from a con- garden; fruitful, joyful, beautiful, viction that " he knew not what and fragrant. Prayer is the first he asked;" or by a calm serenity breath of divine life: it is the pulse in waiting the Lord's time for those of the believing soul, the best critethings, which he had impatiently rion of health or sickness, vigour or desired. The causes of his pertur- debility. By prayer we draw wabation and anxiety remain, after ter with joy from the wells of salvahis prayers have been presented tion: by prayer faith puts forth before God; but the solicitude its energy, in apprehending the proitself hath given place to a divine mised blessings, and receiving from 'peace which passeth all under-the Redeemer's fulness; in leaning standing;" for "he called on the on his Almighty arm, and making Lord and was strengthened with his name our strong tower, and in strength in his soul." In short, overcoming the world, the flesh, he can scarcely produce an instance, and the devil. All other means in which he "poured out his heart," of grace are made effectual by with earnestness and importunity, prayer: every doctrine and inthat he failed of obtaining the bles-struction produces its effect, in sing he sought, or was not, after a proportion as this is attended to: time, satisfied with the denial. In every grace revives or languishes many cases his intercessions for according to the same rule. Our those around him have been graci-grand conflict with Satan and our ously answered; in others he may own hearts is about prayer; the still retain hope; and in all he may sinner feels less reluctance, and be assured, that they will return into meets less resistance, in respect of his own bosom. So that the efficacy all other means, than in retiring to of prayer, to bring light and wisdom pour out his heart before God in into the mind, peace into the con- secret: and the believer will find his science, submission into the will, and chief difficulty to consist in continupurity into the affections; to keep ing instant and fervent in this spiriour garments clean, our armour tual exercise. If he succeed in this, bright, and our hearts joyful: to all else will eventually give place make us strong for the conflict, for before him, and turn out to his beneservice, or for suffering; to obtain fit and comfort.
sufficiency for our place and work, It should be remembered, that and a blessing on our endeavours; prayer may be either public, social, to secure peace with our enemies, or secret. Public worship most
honours God, and is the grand end fered in the name, and through the of our assembling together: though intercession of the Divine Saviour; few seem to understand it so. So in dependence on his merits; with cial worship tends greatly to main- realizing expectation of success; tain brotherly love, and to bring and in a loving forgiving spirit. down blessings on families and Finally, a thorough acquaintance societies. But secret prayer is the with the prayers contained in the grand means of maintaining commu- psalms, and other parts of Scripture; nion with God, and keeping alive and a careful observation of the the power of religion in the soul. requests, which the sacred penmen Without this, the others will dege- offered, the pleas they used, the nerate into formality; and the man order and proportion they observed, himself will be devoid of life, and the confessions, adorations, and strength, and comfort in the midst grateful praises, they intermixed of them. Christians should, there- with their fervent supplications for fore, remember to prepare for pub-personal and public, temporal and lic and social worship by secret spiritual mercies, will be more useprayer, meditation, and reading the ful to the serious Christian in this Scriptures; and not yield to the part of religion, than all other helps temptation of neglecting the one whatsoever. Above all, the Lord's by spending much time in the other. prayer, well understood and digestIf we desire to pray aright, we ed, will teach him what the confimust well observe, that the Scrip- dence and leading desire of his heart ture always calls upon us "to in every prayer should be: what pray in the Spirit," or "in the are the blessings especially to be Holy Ghost," or rather "by the sought for; and with what moderaSpirit;" our first petition, therefore, tion and submission he should ask should be, that the Lord would for temporal mercies, compared graciously give us his Holy Spirit with the forgiveness of his sins, and to teach and enable us to pray deliverance from temptation and the when this is duly attended to, a tempter, from evil and the evil one, very heartless beginning will often that in approaching the throne of have a bright and encouraging con- grace, he may "seek first the kingclusion, and our desires may be too dom of God and his righteousness, 5 large even for utterance; but with-assured that all other things will be
On Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
out it words will often flow, that added to him."
engagements, to be faithful and Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Water obedient to Christ, under whose is the universal purifier of our perbanner all Christians have enlisted. sons, garments, houses, streets, and But in process of time sacraments cities; it is essential to the beauty were multiplied, which gave rise to and fertility of the earth; and is the immense superstition and absur- original element from which every dity and as human nature continu- liquor, that quenches our thirst or ally verges to extremes, so it may exhilarates our spirits, is derived. be queried, whether numbers have Water is, therefore, the most exnot lately been induced too much to pressive Scripture emblem of the disregard all distinctions of this pure and satisfying blessings conkind. The word sacrament, how-veyed to us by the gospel; especially ever, is not Scriptural; and the of the purifying, enlivening, fructinature of the two ordinances, which fying, and consolatory influences of Protestants consider as alone enti- the Holy Ghost: and many ceremotled to this name under the Chris-nies of the law, as well as the introtian dispensation, seems in general ductory baptism of John, exhibited to be this: "In them Divine truths these benefits by the use of it. The are exhibited to our senses, and whole of that happy change, which illustrated to our minds, by outward the apostle describes, may be deemblems, and the reception of spiri- noted by the baptismal water; "but tual blessings is represented by sig- ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye nificant actions. Thus observances, are justified, in the name of the in themselves indifferent, by divine Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our appointment become a part of reli- God" (1 Cor. vi. 9-11); according gious worship, honourable to God to the Lord's promises by his proand profitable to us; and positive phet, "Then will I sprinkle clean duties arise, where none before water upon you, and ye shall be subsisted by moral obligation." clean; from all your filthiness, and all Baptism is the initiatory ordi-your idols will I cleanse you," &c. nance of Chritianity, as circumcision (Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27; Ps. li. 2, 7; was under the old dispensation, from Zech. xiii. 1; John xix. 34; 1 John Abraham to the ascension of Christ; v. 6). But it more immediately and it consists in the application of represents the purifying of the judgwater to the baptized person, "in the name of the Father, and of the
The design of this compendious publication renders it wholly improper to treat of this subject in a controversial manner. Upon mature deliberation the writer is a Pædo-Baptist; and his discussions will cou
ment and affections from the pollution of sin, by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. The beginning of this work, therefore, is described with reference to the outward emblem, as being "born of water and sequently be most applicable to those, who of the Spirit;" it is called "the coincide with him in sentiment and prac- washing of regeneration, and the "love the Lord Jesus in sincerity;" and renewing of the Holy Ghost," which would not willingly offend any man, who God our Saviour pours upon us conscientiously differs from him in such
tice. But he considers all as brethren who
matters; he hopes therefore for similar can abundantly: and it is especially,
fies the doctrine of original sin, and and faith. When the Jews made the necessity of regeneration: for proselytes to their religion, they it declares every man, as " born of circumcised the adult males on such the flesh," to be so polluted, that, a profession, according to the nature unless he be washed with purifying of their dispensation: and Pædowater, he cannot be received even baptists in similar circumstances into the outward church of God; would adopt the same conduct. But and unless he be inwardly cleansed we suppose (for reasons that have by the Holy Spirit, he cannot be a been repeatedly assigned), that as member of the true church. In the Jews also circumcised all the this it coincides with circumcision, males in the families of the prosewhich implied, that without the lytes, who were incapable of personmortification of the corrupt nature ally rejecting the Jewish religion; derived by generation from fallen so the apostles baptized the houseAdam, and the removal of that holds of their converts, including obstacle to the love and service of the females, and only excluding God, no man could be admitted such, as, being able to answer for into covenant with him (Deut. xxx. themselves, gave evidence, by word 6; Jer. iv. 4; Rom. ii. 28, 29). And or deed, that they did not obey the like that ordinance, it is "the seal truth: nay, that those children were of the righteousness of faith;" for thus admitted as a part of the visihe, and he alone, who possesses the ble church, and relatively holy, who inward and spiritual grace, which had one believing parent, though both circumcision and baptism out- the other continued an unbeliever wardly denoted, has a Divine attes-(Acts xvi. 3; Rom. xi. 16, 17; 1 tation to the sincerity of his faith, Cor. vii. 14). The adult convert, by and to the reality of his justifica- receiving baptism, acknowledged, tion in the righteousness of the Re-according to the obvious meaning deemer. The form of baptism," in," of the ordinance, that he was a or into, " the name of the Father, sinner by nature and practice; that and of the Son, and of the Holy he repented of his sins, and believed Ghost," contains an unanswerable in Christ for the forgiveness of argument for the doctrine of the them; that he renounced idolatry, Trinity, and constitutes a perpetual and all other objects or forms of profession of it: it implies also, worship, "to serve the living and that the baptized person the true God," in whose name he was avowed worshipper and servant of baptized, according to the revelaGod the Father, the Son, and tion of the gospel; that he cordially the Holy Ghost," who is become believed the truths contained in that the salvation and portion of his revelation, and relied on the mercy people. of the Father, on the mediation of the When the apostles went forth incarnate Son, and on the grace of "to teach," or disciple, "all na- the Holy Spirit, for complete salvations," to baptize them in this name, tion; and that he sincerely purposed and then to teach more fully all to forsake all his sins, and every things that Christ had commanded, confidence, pursuit, interest, or inthat they might observe them (Matt. dulgence, which interfered with xxviii. 19, 20), the converts, whe- these engagements. Thus he openly ther made from among the Jews or joined himself to the Lord, accordGentiles, were baptized on an in-ing to the new covenant in Christ telligent profession of repentance Jesus; and embracing its benefits