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· In two ways: first, when men anxiously seek more than they want; and secondly, when they carefully hoard up and keep what they obtain. Matth.chap. vi. ; Luke, chap. xii.
- To what uses then ought Christians to apply what they possess beyond what a just necessity may require for themselves?
When there is occasion, they ought to devote it to the advancement of the divine glory, to the support of the poor, especially of the household of Faith, and to other acts of beneficence,-with this reserve, however, that they be not actuated by any view to their personal glory. This is what Christ inculcates in these words (Matth. vi. 3); “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” .
Wherein may be discerned a mind contented with its lot?
In this,--that, so far from anxiously seeking any thing beyond what is of just necessity, although it may stand in need of something of just necessity, it yet bears its condition patiently. We have an example of this in the apostle Paul, who thus speaks of himself to the Philippians (Chap. iv. ver. 11, 12); “ I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound : every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” To this subject refer also those words, 1 Tim. vi. 8, “ Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content:" and Heb. xiji. 5, “ Be content with such things as ye have.”
I have heard you concerning the “lust of the flesh” and “the lust of the eyes ;" I wish now to know what is meant by “ the pride of life?"
It is the pursuit of vain-glory; and that glory is vain which is not merited, or does not relate to the glory of God, or is otherwise destitute of real utility. To this are to be referred all arrogance, all self-conceit as to ourselves, and contempt of others, and all ostentation ; every kind of excess also relating to a splendid exterior, either as to the decoration of the body, as to attendants, or edifices, or other circumstances of this kind. .
What is humility? • It is the submission of our minds though we be the
superior persons, it is aversion to vain-glory; and a readiness to perform even the meanest offices for others, however low may be their condition (Philipp. ii. 3, 4), which Christ evinced in himself when he washed the feet of his own servants, the apostles, John xii. 4, 5.
Explain now the precepts relating to self-denial ?
The substance of them is comprised in those words of Christ, (Matth. xvi. 24,) “ If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”
What is meant by denying oneself ?
It is to have no concern for ourselves in respect to the flesh, that we may constantly attach ourselves to Christ: or to be prepared to give up life, and much more those things which are equally or less dear to us than existence, in order to follow even to the last
extremity Christ and the doctrine and devotion that he has prescribed to us :—which duty Christ has explained in these words, recorded by Luke (chap. xiv. ver. 26 and 33), “ If any man come to me, and hate not” (that is, and place not after me) “his father and mother, and wife and children, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” “ So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
What is meant by bearing one's cross?
It is to prepare the mind to undergo and endure, on account of Christian truth and piety, not only troubles and afflictions of other kinds, but even death,
—and that not of any particular description, but the most cruel and ignominious,—whenever it shall so please God :--just as if we were bearing our cross on our way to a place of cruel and of infamous punishment.
What is meant by following Christ?
To follow Christ is to be his disciple, and to imitate his example in patience, and in submitting even to the most cruel death. To this refer, among others, the words of Peter (1 Epist. chap. ii. ver. 21), “ Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps.” See also Heb. xii. 1, 2, 3.
Ought we not to follow Christ in other things also ?
We ought, indeed, to imitate him in all the actions of his life; in those at least which were not peculiar to his office, or which had the appearance of virtue.
Hence John observes (1 Epist. chap. ii. ver. 6), “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” But we are in particular and expressly commanded to imitate him, as we have seen, in patience, in love towards others, in gentleness and humility--which virtues shone in the whole of his life, and above all in his death. In respect to love, you may consult John xv. 12, 13; Ephes. v. 2; 1 John iii. 16; concerning gentleness and humility together, Matth. xi. 29; concerning humility separately, Matth. xx. 27, 28; Philipp. ii. 5, 6, to which add Rom. xv. 1, 2, 3.
CHAPTER III. . . .
OF THE BAPTISM OF WATER. EXPLAIN now those things which relate to externali religious acts, or sacred rites.
The external religious acts, or sacred rites, always observed in the church of Christ, are baptism, and the breaking of the sacred bread".
dinthe first edition of this Catechism the account ofthe Lord's Supper preceded that of Baptism, and is thus introduced in the old English translation, p. 104:-Q. “What are Christ's ceremonial precepts, as they call them ?-A. There is but one, namely the Lord's Supper.” From this it would appear that when the Catechism was first published, baptism was not considered by the Polish churches as a Christian institution of perpetual obligation. This, however, was not exactly the case, as we learn from the controversies to which the subject gave rise, The chief advocate of this opinion was Faustus Socinus, by whom, no doubt, as the Catechism was compiled under his sanction and with his assistance, baptism was here excluded from the number of Christian rites. Socinus's senti
What is your opinion respecting the Baptism of Water? That it is a rite of initiation, whereby men, after
ments are collected by Dr. Toulmin in the Memoirs of his Life (p. 251, &c.); and, as they are of some importance towards elucidating the History of the Reformation in Poland, seem entitled to insertion in this place. ." As to the baptism of water, I apprehend it is not a perpetual ordinance of the church, and was not prescribed for them who in any other way have publicly given their names to Christ, or from their earliest years have been educated and instructed in the Christian discipline. Yet I should think, if it is to be retained in these days, it is to be retained princi. pally on their account who have been converted from other religions to the Christian : and I do not see why such may not be baptized by those who have preached Christ to them: or if they have no spiritual father in Christ amongst men, why he may not perform this service, who has been fixed upon for this ofice by the congregation to which they are willing to join themselves : since the baptism of water, administered in the name of Jesus Christ, is only shadowing forth the forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ, in open profession of his name, and a kind of initiation into his religion : nothing is really communicated by it, but it is a recognizance of what hath been granted, and will most certainly be bestowed. Socini Opera, tom. i. p. 350, 351.
“ Amongst the other sentiments and practices of the Calvinists, or Evangelical, which Socinus regarded as erroneous, he reckons their opinion concerning baptism. One mistake, as he thought, which they espoused on this article, was an apprehension, that baptism was a seal from heaven of the remission of sins, and a confirmation of the faith of the adult. On this he remarks, “That the nature of a seal consists in its being a proof or evidence of a transaction; but this is not true of baptism, though an holy rite: for, by the washing of the body, it is only a shadow and emblematical representation of the remission of sins, the doctrine of which had been previously explained by words. As to its being a confirmation of the faith of the adult who receive it, nothing more need be said, than that there is no trace of this in the sacred writings;