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many there be who go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth bad fruit. A good' tree cannot bring forth bad fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy name cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand : and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes.
(Then a Selection from the Word shall be sung, all standing. If the Responses after
the Commandments were chanted, this Selection may be used or not, at the discretion of the Minister.]
[Then follows the Sermon.)
[Then a Selection from the Word shall be sung, all standing.)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
[The Minister commences by delivering some introductory instructions. The following
may be used, in whole or in part.]
NATURE AND USES OF BAPTISM.
The primary thing which distinguished the Israelitish church from the Christian, was circumcision; and because all things of the Israelitish church, which were external, figured forth all the things of the Christian church, which were internal; therefore the primary sign of that church was inwardly similar to the sign of the Christian church: for circumcision signified the rejection of the lusts of the flesh, and thus purification from evils. Baptism also signifies the same ; whence it is manifest that baptism was commanded in the room of circumcision, in order both that the Christian church might be distinguished from the Jewish church, and that the internal church might thus be better known: and this is known from the uses of baptism, which are as follows.
The first use of baptism is introduction into the Christian church, and at the same time insertion among Christians in the spiritual world.
Not only infants, but also all, are inserted by baptism among Christians in the spiritual world; because people and nations in that world are distinguished according to their religions, as Christians, Mahometans, Idolaters and Jews. And all, of the same religion, are arranged into societies in heaven, according to the affections of love to God and love towards the neighbor. On this distinct arrangement there, the preservation of the whole universe depends; and this distinction cannot be effected, unless every one, after he is born, be known by some sign, indicating to what religious society he belongs : and baptism is a sign in that world, that a man is of Christians.
The second use of baptism is, that the Christian may know and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior, and follow him.
This second use inseparably follows from the first. For the name that one is a Christian, that is, that he is of Christ, and not to acknowledge him and follow him, that is, to live according to his commandments, is as a shadow.
By the name of the Lord Jesus Christ are meant his divine qualities or attributes; and by being baptized into his name are spiritually signified an acknowledgment of him, and a life according to his commandments. By name also is meant the quality of any person: the reason is, because in the spiritual world every one is named according to his quality : wherefore by the name that one is a Christian is meant his quality, that he has faith in Christ, and charity towards the neighbor for Christ. This name all receive at baptism, for it
is in the sign.
The third use of baptism, which is the final use, is that man may
be regenerated. This use is the very use, for the sake of which baptism was instituted ; thus the final use. The reason is, because he who is truly a Christian, knows and acknowledges the Lord the Redeemer Jesus Christ, who, because he is the Redeemer, is also the Regenerator.
These three uses of baptism cohere as one. For the first use is, that one may be named a Christian : the second fol. lowing from this is, that he may know and acknowledge the Lord, the Redeemer, Regenerator and Savior : and the third is, that he may be regenerated by him : and when this is done, he is redeemed and saved. Since these three uses follow in order and join themselves together in the last, and thence in the idea of the angels cohere as one, therefore when baptism is performed, read in the word, and named, the angels who are present do not understand baptism, but regeneration. Let the Christian therefore know, that whosoever does not believe in the Lord, cannot be regenerated, although he has been baptized; and that baptism, without faith in the Lord, has no saving effect.
It is said in the Word, that the Lord God, our Redeemer, baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire. By this is meant that the Lord regenerates man by the divine truth of faith, and by the divine good of love or charity. Those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, that is, by the divine
truth of faith, are distinguished in the heavens from those who have been regenerated by fire, that is, by the divine good of love.
Those who have been regenerated by the divine truth of faith, are called spiritual angels; but those who have been regenerated by the divine good of love, are called celestial angels.
(Then the Minister may read the following.)
DOCTRINES OF CHARITY AND OF FAITH.
I. That God is one in essence, and in person : that from love towards men he assumed humanity and glorified it: and that he thus became God with us, the Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
II. That the Word is Divine Truth, proceeding from the Lord : that it was written by inspiration, and is adapted to all the various states of angels and men: and that thus it is the divine medium by which men are consociated with angels, and by which men and angels are conjoined with the Lord.
III. That the Lord alone is the Source of genuine life, the precepts of which are the Ten Commandments : that these precepts are to be obeyed by man as of himself, with the acknowledgment that the will and power to do them are of the Lord alone : and thus that men are regenerated and saved by the Lord, by means of a life according to his precepts.
(The Minister shall then read one or more of the following passages from the Word.)
COMFORT ye, comfort ye my people ! Saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, That her warfare is accomplished, That her iniquity is pardoned: For she hath received of Jehovah's hand Double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of JEHOVAH;