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ruin? for, He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Prov. 29: 1.)
Lastly, some may yet object and say, that, according to the words of the apostle Paul, "For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” (Phil. 2: 13,) that man can do nothing towards his soul's salvation, but that all is from the Lord whether he be saved or lost? But by the words of Paul we understand that God graciously operates on the minds of men, by the preaching of the word and the intluence of the Holy Spirit, to produce in them a willingness, without any restraint, to come to the Saviour and seek their soul's salvation ; and this seems to be intimated by the apostle in the preceding and succeeding verses, where he says, Wherefore, my belovec, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.......Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (12: 16.)
But here it should be noticed, that to this willingness which is produced in the minds of men by the means of grace, as said above, the carnal mind is enmity; and upon this carnal mind, the adversary of souls operates to produce an unwillingness to obey the call and voice of the Lord, and to walk in his ways: Here man is brought into a strait, as there are now, as it were, two opposite natures within him, namely, the inward man, and the natural man; and these are differently wrought upon, and produces a continual warfare. Of this the aposHe saith, I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight. in the law of God, after the inward man: but I see anoi her law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Rom.7: 21--23.) Again he saith,
: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that you cannot do the things that you would. (Gal. 5: 17.)
. Hence Paul asks, Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servant ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto rightcousness ?(Rom. 6: 16.) And Peter saith, For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is ho brought in bondage. (2 Pet. 2: 19.) In this conflict is set before is, as Moscs set before the children of Isr: el, LIFE and death-blessing and curging—therefore let us choose life. Let us fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto we are called, and thus let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure; that we may obtain the crown of righteousness, wbich the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give at that day, unto all them that love his appeara ance. (2 Tim. 4: 8.)
A FEW RETROSPECTIVE REMARKS
OF THE TRANSLATOR. When I was called on, by my brethren, to undertake the translation of the foregoing - pages, from the German language, in which ihat part which contains the articles of our Confession of Faith has for several centuries been in print, I thought, from a firm persuasion that many excellent passages of gospel truths were contained therein, that it might be useful, and conducive to the benefit of the church of Christ, by reflecting more light on somo controverted points in holy writ. And as our creed has never fully appeared in the English language, we were often misrepresented 1-wrong and unfavorable ideas were taken np concerning our church-misconstructions were made by comparing us to others, whose leading principles differ materially with ours. And moreover, as we hold with adult baptism, and several pamphlets have recently been issued from the press, in our section of country, in the English language, wherein is maintained the doctrine of infant baptism, with which we cannot hold, though our mode in administering it is also by sprinkling or pouring, it was thought to be a duty incumbent upon our church, to maintain the scriptural ground of our mode and practice which is contained in
our Confession of Faith, by a publication of it in the English language.
And as this is done not with any intention of reflecting censure, or bearing on the feelings of our fellow christians of other denominations and branches of the church of Christ; I thought it to be in perfect accordanco with Christian duly, to lend my feeble aid, by engaging in the translation of the work, notwithstanding my humble qualification for an undertaking of this kind; and which would require profound erudition, to bring out a fluent English translation, from so ancient a Gerinan copy as the one from which the pages of our Confession of Faith are translated ; and also from the manuscript written by our beloved pastor, whose profession, as a writer, is but humble. Connequently the pious reader, it is hoped, will consider the difficulties under which a translator must have laboured, under these circumstances: inasmuch also, as it is an acknowledged fact, "That the best scholars have found it difficult to write with perspicuity and siinplicity with a German model before them.” Moreover, sev. eral noted errors have also escaped notice at the press; owing I presume, to the unsettled state in which the printing establishment was during a part of the time in which this work was in press.
And farthermoro, as I profess to be a member of this church, and hold with the general system of our Confession of Faith as being ge
nuine ; with the exception of a few things therein maintained, and phrases used, -it is a duty which I owe to my own feelings, to make a few remarks concerning the present situation of our church. For, while engaged in translating the foregoing pages, how often did my heart burn with a desire that our life and conversation were in accordance with the scripture truths which we pretend to maintain. But, however scriptural our Confession of Faith may be, it is a lamentable fact that our church, especially in some parts of the country, has degenerated very much, and fallen from her primitive and former practical purity,and Christian graces. Where is now the love of the brethren and disciples of Christ, which He so warmly inculcates, and whereby His disciples are to be known Where that holy zeal for keeping the commandments of Christ and promoting the cause of his church ? Where that holy walk and conversation with which we should adorn the doctrine of his gospel ? Where is that light which should shine forth from our good works, as a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid ?-(Malih: 5: 14--16.) How is her silver become dross, and her wine mixed with water ? (Is. 1: 22.) But with these reflections we would not give pain to those true members of our church, who are the salt of the earth; and who are of. ten the most retired, hidden, and obecure; pressing onward in the narrow path of life, and praying in secrel, that they may be rewarded