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the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an anti-christ. Look to yourselves, that we lose'not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
This epistle, be it remembered, is written "To the elect lady and her children," and does not in any way deal with Church questions. It is given for the guidance of individual christian conduct, especially respecting those who may call upon us at our dwellings professing religion. If such bring not the doctrine of Christ (i.e. particularly, that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh), we are neither to receive them, nor bid them God speed.
Marvellous to say, the meeting was imposed upon by this, and considered they were fully furnished with justification for their arbitrary proceedings. And to this day the "exclusives" boast of it as a piece of profound wisdom. Yet " the doctrine of Christ, and his coming in the flesh" was not at all in question— nor has the Scripture quoted the most distant application to the case over which judgment was assumed.
All this would be very mortifying if it were desirable that mere human arrangements, as touching the things which belong to Christ, should succeed. It is, however, far better that the Lord alone, should be glorified. We have not a doubt that "the Brethren," from first to last, have been desirous of acting most conscientiously: but the old nature has betrayed them. They commenced as a "feeble few, " and were abundantly blessed. As soon as they became a strong party, they began to fail. They gathered simply to the name of Jesus, and trusted to his guidance personally, and by the Holy Ghost and the Scriptures. He has never failed them. But as their numbers increased, they began to think they had found therein a fresh source of strength. It is a common mistake. Let the world have its axiom, "Union is strength"—Christians ought to hold exactly the reverse. "The Lord said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee : for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Then says Paul: "Most gladly will I glory in my infirmities, that the Power Of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
None are more ready than "the Brethren " to receive such truth as this theoretically: Paul held it practically. So must all who would profit by it.
If any party, as such, ever could deserve success—according to human thought, "the Brethren " might well look for it. We bear them witness that, save in the matter of Baptism and substituted rules, together with this mistake of federal union, they seek to conform to the mind of Christ. But success, as a party, would have been dishonour to Christ—and they could not wish that. Let this thought console them. Nay, may it
make them rejoice. With respect to the writings of some who have constituted themselves"enemies of "the Brethren," such as those we have alluded to—nearly all their statements abound with errors, and malice is stamped upon them. They are like the men of Belial; we must let them alone.
Dear " Brethren, "—Let us ask you, in all love, what do you get by holding on to your mutilated federations? Would you lose if you were to seek only the unity of the Spirit, and to give up the vain struggle for an unity of the body which God alone can preserve? Why cling to the importance which attaches to a large union? Drink of the spirit of Christ— give up the desire for greatness here—and you will be infinitely richer for the loss. Do you fear a lack of ministry? Is the Lord's arm shortened? Are your resources in men? On this point let us in faithfulness exhort you. Beware of " the itching ear!" You need to be warned in common with all Christians against an excessive love of preaching and hearing. Fear not a lack of the things of 1 Cor. xii: but cultivate rather the theme of 1 Cor. xiii.
We do not dispute the advantage of pre-eminently gifted ministry. But the Lord is equal to all our needs. Only wait upon him, and he will give the best gifts according to his own estimate of our wants. Alas! how apt we are to think we can manage for ourselves! Remember, those who have troubled you in times past were gifted men. The strong ones are they which have brought leanness upon you. Ministry is not the chief thing.
Beloved,—Your union brings you both weakness and sorrow. Why should Islington be perplexed and hindered with the affairs of Guernsey or Kensington? Why should Exeter sit in j udgment because error creeps in at Bristol? Such interference between local churches is quite opposed to Scripture.
You are bearing heavy burdens. Listen to the invitations of Jesus—" Come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My Yoke upon you, and Learn Of Me ; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
These considerations, and many more in "the Word," offer abundant inducement, for any who have faith, to abandon the confederacy, and become really what you now profess to be—two or three gathered in the name of Jesus. Should any of you act thus in faithfulness, your fellow-Christians generally may think you very foolish. So much the better. "The foolishness of God is wiser than men's. and the weakness of God is stronger than men. # # # # Q0(i hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence"! Brethren—do you believe it?
We trust our readers generally will catch the spirit in which these remarks are written. Our object is the very reverse of seeking to ferment the unholy enmity against the Plymouth Brethren which exists in the minds of many who name the name of Christ. We have exposed their failures and weakness, that others may be warned; and in the hope that many among themselves may be led to search for the mind of the Lord, as to what He would have them to do. The sweet words of encouragement and promise in Rev. iii. 7-12 are not given to a strong confederation, but to a local Church which has but "a little strength." For such the Lord has set " an open door."
BELIEVEES - FOLLOWERS - SERVANTS
We discern in Scripture- the above three attitudes in which those who are saved should be found in this present state, in relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The Believer may remain simply a believer, and not advance to the other conditions. Where that is the case it is greatly to be deplored, because it entails a low, grievous, and unhappy course here, loss of reward hereafter, and dishonour to God and Christ. That belief may apparently exist alone is evident from the case of Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night and said—"We know that thou art a teacher come from God;'' and Jesus, by receiving him and patiently teaching him, admitted his faith. But what glorious opportunities did Nicodemus lose of following and serving the "Teacher come from God;" and what must have been his grief when, tho God-sent One having been crucified, he could do nothing but honour His lifeless body! Are there no believers now who endeavour to do without daily communion with a Living Lord?
Nicodemus was not alone in this respect, for we read in John xii. "Among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for thoy loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." So it is now; if believers will look at, and reckon up what they will have to lose by conformity to the Word of God, they will probably fail to becomo followers and servants.
In John vi. 66 we read of believers who essayed in their fleshly will to be followers also, but who impatiently went backward, and walked no more with Jesus, when he began to press heavenly truth upon them. With how many is this the case now. Men set up their "I think this " and "I think that," and will not receive the plain statements of Scripture! How few regard the Written Word as deserving the same unquestioning obedience and reverence as was due to the Incarnate Word when He was on earth! More or less, Christians who will argue, where the expressions of Scripture are plain, must go backward, and, in some respects, swerve from following. Where there is no doubt as to the simple meaning of words in the sacred writings, there is no room for the exercise of opinion. To draw inferences, is to dishonour the text and to open an avenue to the subtleties of the Deceiver.
But it may be said, the instances above produced are from among those who believed before the Holy
Ghost became the Indweller of believers, and that to believe now and not to follow is impossible. Is it? Is it not possible to "quench" the Spirit? If believers are of necessity followers, why does Paul exhort the Corinthians, "Be yo followers of me, even as I also am of Christ"? Does not the apostle weep over certain believers, because by their teaching ana conduct they were (instead of being followers) "enemies of the cross of Christ"? Is it not possible to be fruitless branches of the True Vine, and to be taken away in consequence? Does not the Spirit say by Peter that tho believer who neglects to add to his faith—virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, becomes blind, and (though not ceasing to be a believer) actually "forgets that he was purged from his old sins"? Who will say it is not possible for a believer to neglect and decline to "take up his cross daily and follow'' Jesus? Oh, it is ever needful for us to exhort one another not to be "conformed to this world," remembering what Jesus says to all who are his—"Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world."
Not only may dear Christians, in the general tenour of their daily walk, not be following Christ, but whenever such as are endeavouring (by his grace) to follow him, do listen to their own wills or the wishes of others in any matter, and do not make direct reference to his wishes, and his will, they cease for the time to be followers of Him who came not to do his "own will, but the will of him that sent him."
2. And for what reasons did believing ones become Followers of Jesus when he was on earth and should be (in spirit) now ?—Because they loved to be with Him; they loved to learn of Him; they desired to become like Him ; they were delighted to view the marvels of his power and grace; and to honour Him. As they have opportunity, all believers should rejoice to make it evident that they are disciples, or learners, and followers. If all could not personally follow Christ when he was on earth, all believers can now, through his grace, his Spirit, and his Word.
3. From among those wrho follow the Lord spiritually, and thereby increase in conformity to Himself, He chooses and sends forth Servants. It is true that service may immediately succeed faith, as in the case of the woman of Samaria; but generally, we believo, the Lord observes the same rulo now as He did with the apostles and evangelists —" Come ye after Me, and I will make you fishers of men." "Every one that is perfect shall be as his Master." Blessed encouragement!
Service is too multifarious in kind to allow us to go into details. It includes everything that can possibly be done unto the Lord, and may be active or passive, apparent or unknown to men. The true servant, while not desirous of hiding his good works, would rather cultivate that love which "vaunteth not itself." It is enough for him to serve the Master, and to know that tho Master sees all.
It is self-evidont that, even in the affairs of this life, no one can take upon himself the power of appointing another man's servant. Christ's servants must be made by himself. Take, for instance, the preacher of the Gospel; "How shall he preach unless he be sent?" (Rom. x. 15.) Again, "He gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; some, pastors and teachers;" &c. (Eph. iv.) "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers." (Acts xx.) Worldly churches, according to their own institutions, and assemblies of believers, do constitute and appoint clergymen, but such a course of action does not make them the servants of Christ. They are only servants of those who appointed them. It is true that such may be previously and afterwards true servants of the One Master, do his work, and be honoured by him; but all this does not justify them in receiving a badge of office from man, but on the contrary proves its non-necessity. There is no ground for Christians claiming the power to appoint to the ministry, or for ministers to ordain one another. When believers assemble, they should gather, not to each other, nor primarily for the benefits of ministry, but to the Lobd. Will he suffer his own Body to want for ministration? "No man yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth, and cherisheth it; even as the Lord the church.''
There is great danger in these times of religious bustle, when human instrumentality is over-estimated, to forget the necessity even of life, in order to do Christian service. We are thinking just now of a young man whom we knew, and a young woman of whom we have read, being engaged as Sunday-school teachers who were not clear as to their own salvation! Think of the miserable work of pointing the way to heaven and not being in it! The young man said he thought he was "doing good;" no doubt he had undertaken the work at the earnest solicitation of Christians, who taught him, as he said, that "in watering others his own soul would be watered also."
What a snaro! It really does become us, in very faithfulness, to press upon nominal Christians that "they that are in the flesh cannot ploase God;" "Without faith it is impossible to please him." There cannot be any kind of service till there is simple faith unto salvation. We have known a similar instance of unregeneracy in a district visitor. Worship is the highest form of service; but as it rather appertains to tho attitude of sons than of servants, we will not consider it here.
Believer, dost thou desire to be a servant? Thou "desirest a good thing." But remember the command of the Eternal Father to those who had already been servants for some time—" This is my beloved Son; hear ye Him." Follow on as a learner and a lover, doing whatever Jesus has given thee to do, as "unto the Lord and not unto men." Purge thyself from all that is not of the Word, keep thy body under, and He will "set before thee an open door." Do not for a moment forget the emphatic declaration of the Master—
"Without Me ye can do nothing;"— or the experience of a fellow Servant—
"I can do all things through Christ which
SCRIPTURE MEETINGS. 'Search the Scriptures.'—(John v. 39.) (rawstorne Mbbtixo Room, No. 47, Rawstorne-street, Goswellroad, Saturday, Sept. 2. A FEW TnEASCRED THOUGHTS.
"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor; for your's is the kingdom of God."
How blessed to have the eyes of Jesus "lifted up" in complacency and blessing upon us! But in order that it may be so, we must be " disciples " (or learners) as well as believers.
It was noticed that these words did not countenance the notion that poverty in itself was 'a blessing, but only the poverty of disciples—poverty in connection with faith.
The question was raised, Did our Lord mean poor in spirit 1 Doubtless poverty of all kinds is meant, a primary reference being made to straightened temporal circumstances. Whom Christ pronounces blessed must be blessed indeed, absolutely blessed—the poor. How different from the conclusions and maxims of the natural man!
One of the chief blessings which were seen to arise from the discipline of poverty, was that it led the child of God to go on from day to day in faith; hence such an one comes to be, though "poor in this world, rich in faith," if rightly exercised thereby.
How wonderful is the antithesis which the' Lord himself makes!—" Blessed are yepoor, for your's is the kingdom." [Oh, that every poor saint among our readers may rejoice, entering into the mind of Christ on this subject. Wait. Patiently wait.]
COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL BY
(Written expressly for this publication.)
CHAPTER I. Verses 35, 36.—" Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, ho saith, Behold the Lamb of God I" The " voice " had yesterday called his hearers to behold the Lamb of God with reference to sin; now ho cries, Behold tho Lamb of God, that his hearers may bocomo followers of the Lamb. John's mission would now soon come to an end. He had, in the first days of his ministry, proclaimed the coming of tho Messiah. Then he had declared him as the Son of God. Next, he had made known that the Lamb of God, as the Saviour, was in the midBt of his people. Finally, ho had emphatically called attention to Jesus as tho one who ought to fill the vision of all who have hope in God. "Behold tho Lamb of God!" There was no object on earth worthy to be compared with him! Yet John tho Baptist did not himself become & follower of Christ. His was a separate mission; he belonged to tho former dispensation. Like tho prophets who preceded him, the purpose of his testimony was to direct tho attention of all to tho Messiah. Having heralded tho approach, and declared the presence of tho long-oxpocted One, his own sojourn upon earth soon terminated.
37.—"And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus." Most blessed result! It is a happy thing to be under tho guidance of a man who can point us to "Tho Truth." But when, by faith, wo see Josus, lot us follow Bim. As believers, we may well bo thankful to our John—tho voice which made Jesus khown to us—whoever ho may be. Wo should, indeed, "esteem him very highly for his work's sake." But wo have now a divine guido: we must follow our Saviour.
38. "Then Jesus turned and saw them following, and
saith unto them, What seek yo? They said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where dwellest thou f" Hore wo have tho enquiry of true-hearted followers of Christ. They long to know tho place whei-e he dwells.
39. "He saith unto them, Come and see. They came
and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day; for it was about the tenth hour." How many sinners, saved by grace, have heard the same response to the desire of their hearts! In the midst of suffering and sorrow here, weary of human leaders, troubled, perhaps, with manifold perplexities, they have turned to the Lord and said, " Where dwellest thou':" and have received his gracious invitation, "Come and see." They have gone, as to a temporary abode, hut it is to be with him. They must be raised, with us, in glorified bodies, before they can be put in possession of the mansions which Jesus has gono to prepare. Meanwhile, tho Lord has pitied his weary followers, has answered many who have cried to him, and has put them to rest. Their day had reached the tenth hour, so he has taken them to be with him in Paradise: "Absent from the body, present with the Lord."
40,41,42.—"One of the two that heard John and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ; and he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon, the Son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a stone." It is sweetly said here of Andrew, that he not only told his brother Simon of the precious One he had found, but " he brought him to Jesus." And the Lord put a new name upon Simon, though he did not then give him the place of an Apostle. Jesus did not call out the Twelve till the public ministry of John the Baptist had absolutely ceased by his being shut up in prison.
THE WORLD CANNOT BE IMPROVED BY CHRISTIANS
Followers of the Lord Jesus should not seek to reform the world. TJmegenerate men of course strive to remodel, alter and refine themselves and their affairs. But according to the mind of God, all such efforts are quite hopeless. Man is by nature radically bad—bad at the heart. The divine remedy for his condition is, a new nature! This is given to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence the plain teaching of the Saviour. "No man seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment, else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse."
Many Christians foolishly imagine that the world is to be gradually improved and Christianized. All Scripture is directly opposed to this thought, and all experience is equally against it. The pure doctrines of Christ have been taught during 1800 years. Believers have in measure practised them. Unregencrate men have been impressed with a sense of their loveliness, and have endeavoured to appropriate a portion of them. Members of Christ have entered into a league with the men of the world. Unbelievers have consented to be called Christians; while the (professed) followers of the crucified Saviour, have agreed to be of the world. This, too, in spite of that emphatic declaration of the Word,—" The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
And what is the result produced by opposing God's mind and counsels? What is the aspect of Christendom at this moment? England presents the most favourable picture which can he found in it, and what are its characteristics as seen by the Lord of all? We find a full description in Mark vii. 21,22. "Adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." The newspapers teem with accounts of crime in its most hideous aspects. Adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts—every evil which springs from that corrupt thing—the heart of man, And, oh,
the iniquity God sees there which is never published to the world!
Let Christians be well assured that no human power can alter i'. That which believers can do is to live Christ, and preach Christ. In both ways warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come. Let it be no longer hid from mankind that not only is there to be a judgment day when the dead small and great shall be judged; but that, long before that day, the wrath of God will be poured out upon this present evil world. "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and tumeth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. * * * * The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants are burned and fete men lejt. * * * * * The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard; and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it," &c, Isa. xxiv. All this is fully confirmed in Matt. xxvi. 29, 30 ; 2 Thess. i. 7—9; 2 Pet. iii. 3—10; Jude 14, 15; Rev. xix. 11—21, andnumerous other Scriptures.
In vain do both believers and unbelievers seek to explain away these prophecies, telling us they are to have only a spiritual fulfilment. Our Lord has said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall net pass away." The judgment formerly pronounced against the ante-diluvian world was literally fulfilled, that against Sodom and Gomorrah was literally fulfilled—the long series of judgments prophesied against the Israelites from the time of Moses until Christ, have been, and are being, literally fulfilled. The condition of the Jews for the last 1800 years is a standing witness that the promised visitations of God will always be strictly executed. May real Christians in these last days learn for themselves in the "written Word " the mind of their Saviour and Lord, on the two following points.
First. His Teaching that, denying "ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good tcorfa." Titus ii. 12—14.
Second—His injunction—■" Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book : for The Time Is At Hand. He that is unjust let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy let him be filthy still : and he that is righteous let him be righteous still: and he that is holy let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." llev. xxii. 10—12. The coming of Christ will bring an effectual reformation; none but he can produce it. Meanwhile, our warning cry to the unregenerate, is, "Escape for your lives."
ITS PLACE, AND MEANING,
(A8 GIVEN IN THE SCRIPTURES.)
In Scripturo, baptism is never proposed to the believer as a matter of choice. The Lord Jesus Christ did not leavo room for a question to be raised about it, but issued His command to His servants—" Baptize." His words are, " Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of tho Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matt, xxviii. 19.) Again, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved j but ho that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark xvi. 15, 16.)
In the foregoing first-named Scripture, in which tho servant's office is contemplated, the command is absolute, to "baptize," while in Mark's Gospel the result of receiving or rejecting the word of life is also declared; and hero belief and baptism are linked together, and are laid as a responsibility upon all who hear the Gospel.
Though the Lord know full well the perversity of the human heart, and certainly foresaw that His commandments would be disobeyed, he completely ignored all questioning on tho subject of baptism, and contemplated only obedience in connection with belief.
[n strict accordance with this, when we turn to "tho Acts," to see how the Apostles carried into practice the instructions of their Master, we find a total absence of demur to the ordinance of baptism. In the second chapter we read Peter's first sermon after the descent of the Holy Ghost. His hearers are pricked to the heart, and say to Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, (verse 37,) "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you," &c. "Then they that gladly received his word (verse 41) were baptized; and the same day there were added about three thousand souls."
Now notice what follows (verse 42): "And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
Here we have the simple but perfect construction of the church j and all who follow any other model, must necessarily dishonour the Head, and grieve the Holy Spirit. How beautiful is the order, and how exactly it commends itself to the spiritual mind — Faith in Jesus Christ, baptism, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayers. Alas! that Christians should have the presumption to think they can make better arrangements than this.
Any spiritually minded Christian who would look into the "word of God" for instruction respecting water Baptism, should first prayerfully seek to dismiss from his mind all the traditions of men respecting it. The confusion which exists on the subject is trulv astonishing.
The following questions naturally suggest themselves to an earnest enquirer after tho truth:—
lit. Why are Christians to be baptized?—To which wo answer, Simply because our Lord and Saviour ordained it, and no human authority whatever can set aside His ordinanco without rebellion against Him who has bought us with his own precious blood.
2nd. What does Baptism signify ?— The act of baptism signifies, on the part of tho Christian immersed in water, that he accepts the death of Christ as his own death. By this act of conformity to the will of his Saviour, he in effoct says this, "I now realize by faith that when Christ the Son of God died on the cross, I died with him. Through His infinite foreknowledge, he anticipated the day when I should believe in Him, and, therefore, accepted death for me. Tho old Adam nature represented by my body is consequently, in the sight of God, a dead thing." And the action of the person immersing a Christian may bo rendered in words thus—"You arc indeed, as
to your sinful, condomned nature, dead, and I, therefore, bury you under the water. But though, through faith in Christ, you are dead as a child of Adam, by that same faith you are alive as a child of God. I, therefore, raise you out of tho water, for you are really in spirit already in resurroction life."
3rd. Is Baptism essential to Salvation?—Certainly not. Baptism is for believers only. The believer has alroady obtained salvation before he comes to be baptized.
4th. If Baptism is not necessary to salvation, what good will it do me P—On this point Scripture is silent. But we may venture to say, the Lord's blessing surely follows upon obedience to His commands. We have put the question in its meanest form. Should not the Christian rather enquire, "Is there anything J can do by which I can testify may faith and love"? There should bo an earnest craving, on the part of one just rescued from eternal death, for some means of declaring, otherwise than in words, that he knows the Lord Jesus Christ to be his or her Saviour and Lord. This right desire is exactly mot by Baptism.
oth. May infants or other unconverted persons be baptised? —It ought to be evident to everyone, that as Baptism is of no assistance whatever as a means of bringing salvation, and as, indeed, in itself, it is of no benefit even to the believer, it can do nothing for the unconverted, whether young or old. But when wo reflect further upon tho act which typifies death and resurrection, and own that theso things can only bo true of those who believe in Christ, it is manifest that to perform the rite upon tho unregenerate is to act a Lie, and mako a solemn mockery of an ordinance of God.
6th. Can sprinkling be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for immersion ?—By putting a person under water, scripture teaches us, we signify burial; but by sprinkling we signify nothing. Men may accompany such an act with whatever prayers and ceremonials they choose to invent, and they may put what interpretation they please upon their own contrivances. But what is the use of it? Real Baptism is an act of faith performed to God. Sprinkling, or Christening (so called), is at best but a delusion—and is, in reality, a denial of faith, being in direct opposition to the counsels of God.
7th. When ought the believer to be baptized ?—As soon as possible after he has received the word of life, It is the true Christian's first active step in the path of faith.
8th. Ought a Christian to be received to the Lord's Supper before being baptized ?—No rightly instructed believer could wish it. Tho Lord has placed water baptism first, and why should anyone seek to reverse the divine order? Moreover, it is evident that death to the old nature—or rather, resurrection life in tho new, is that which brings us into membership in the body of Christ; therefore, the rite, which is significant of this mysterious truth, ought to bo performed before wo are received into fellowship by the members of his Church on earth.
9th. Does it follow from what has been stated, that faithfulness requires all Christians to join the sect called Baptists f— Certainly not. Sectarianism is completely opposed to Scripture. A believer ought to solemnly repudiate every name but that of "Christian." Baptism should no more be mado tho badge of a sect than the Lord's Supper.
The reader will find in the 2nd Chap, of" Acts" tho true model of the Church—and in the Epistles, the vaiious evils which crept in are severely denounced. At the very opening of the first Epistle to Corinthians, sectarian spirit even then manifested, is rebuked and forbidden.
Theso questions and answers are introduced only for the purpose of bringing tho whole subject into a succinct form. Wo will now resume our investigations of Scripturo. May wo accept the teaching of God'B word, and submit to that only.
(To be continued, D.V.)
OUR CORRESPONDENTS AND OURSELVES.
G. P., Lacncestox.—Several communications received with thanks. We are, however, quite unable to find space for them.
A. B., Gaisfobd-stkeet.—Wo would gladly accept sacred poetry if of the very highost order, and calculated to stir the new naturo to faithfulness and worship. Our space, however, is so limited, that we are unable to promise insertion.