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shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth : and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of bis reins.” And thus is the church of Christ founded upon a rock, " and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Is it onworthy of remark, that this testimony to the Son of God, from “ the excellent glory," was given while he was praying? “ As He prayed” also, on the mount of transfiguration, a similar testimony was exhibited, “ There came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and there came a voice out of the cloud saying, This is my beloved Son; hear Him.” Again, while Jesus prayed, “ Father, glorify thy name;" the testimony from on high was repeated. " Then came there a voice from heaven saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Such is the promptitude of intercommunication between earth and heaven. So rapidly ascend the breathings of a derout spirit to the throne of God; 80 swiftly descend the tokens of " good-will to men." “ The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." And if the earnest prayer of an Elias had power to bind up the clouds of heaven for years together, and to smite a guilty land with thirst and famine; how much more powerful must be the prayer of the great Intercessor, that " in the wilderness waters may break out, and streams in the desert;" that “the parched ground may become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water !" Therefore also "men ougbt always to pray, and not to faint."
Here are the " Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are one.” “Who can by searching find out God: Who can find out the Almighty unto perfection ?” “Who is able to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge ?”
We have made no remark on the mode of baptism which John employed, because it might lead to controversy, which is unprofitable, to the neglect of practical “goodness," which " is profitable unto all things.” “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” “Why dost thou judge thy brother ? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother ?" "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth." Let the spirit of the ordinance be chiefly attended to : wise and good men may very innocently differ about the form. “ It is the spirit that quickeneth," the outward form is of secondary importance.
Parents, hare ye devoted your infant offspring to God, by the sprinkling with water ? Remember the solemn engagements which you then voluntarily undertook to bring them up in the fear, “ nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Meditate frequently and seriously on the responsibility under which you are laid, to God, to your children, to the world. Your fellow-worshippers will witness against you, if you trifle with, if you neglect, if you corrupt your sacred charge. These young ones look up to you for protection, for instruction, for an example; they call upon you to fulfil your promise in their behalf. They ask bread of you ; will you give them a stone? They ask a fish; will you give them a serpent ? They look to you for the portion of goods that falleth to their share; not only “the meat which perisheth, but the meat which endureth unto everlasting life." If you are unfaithful they are undone. On the other hand, “ great is your reward” on earth, and still greater “your reward in heaven," if you are honoured to become their spiritual parents, as
you are parents after the flesh; if, after having introduced them into this world of nature, you are made the happy instruments of introducing them into the kingdom of God; if you and they together are at length added “ to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to the spirits of just men made perfect," through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Young man, thou wert in early infancy, by the piety of affectionate parents, baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The birth of nature bestowed on thee the name of thy Father after the fleshs; when thou wert sprinkled with water, another name was prefixed to it, which continues to be thy distinctive appellation. Both were indeed imposed without thy consciousness or consent, but in both thou hast cheerfully acquiesced, perhaps they are a source of pride to thee. Even the acquisition of an estate will hardly induce a man of spirit to forego his parental designation, but the Christian game is indelible. Every time thou writest it then, every time thou hearest it addressed to thee, thou art admonished of thy dedication to God. Baptismal engagements rise into view. “I am not my own, for I am bought with a price. What, deny my name! What, sell it for a painted bauble ! No, I glory in it; I will not perinit it to be dishonoured. What my parents did in my behalf when I was a little child, I now openly avow. They have done their part, through the help of God I will do mine. The name of Christ shall not be blasphemed through my unworthiness. My brothers bear with me the common name of our ancestors, but I will render my own distinguished among many brethren. I will never blush at being called a Christian.”
My friend, thou hast passed through the water at the age of puberty. Baptism was thy own act and deed. Thou hast entered into the kingdom of God, consciously, deliberately. The vows of God are upon thee. That young person, made a christian by the act of parents, when come to years may disallow that act, may renounce the name, but thou hast subscribed with thy hand unto the Lord.
Thou hast put the yoke of Christ upon thy own neck and hast assumed his burthen. Thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, and must not look, must not go back. Thou standest pledged to God and to the world to support the honour of the Christian name, " to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." You feel and acknowledge the obligation ; no temptation, no compulsion can induce thee to retract it. Next sacramental solemnity the vow shall be renewed, repeated. The language of thy heart is : “ I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth :" " God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
If the spirit and power of the institution, we repeat it, are thus understood and felt, let a man pass through water into the pale of the church of Christ, or procure that privilege for his child, by the rite of aspersion as conscience may prescribe, and let us " be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another."
The evangelist, at this interval, presents us with the genealogical table of Christ's descent from Adam downward. It brings us all to the common level of brethren. Through endless and intricate ramifications every man finds himself derived from one and the same root, “the son of Adam, the son of God.” And the Christian is " born again," he is "a new creature,” being " begotten again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away."
The law of nature binds us to each other as men, the law of the gospel doubles and strengthens the cord of love. This is Christ's “ new commandment,” the badge of discipleship, “the fulfilling of the law," " the bond of perfectness." " A new commandment,” says our blessed Lord, " I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye bave love one to another." · Has God vouchsafed to give such testimony to the Son of his love? Receive it, rest upon it, improve it as a rule of life, as a source of consolation. Ye“ have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we have made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;" for though you were not "eye-witnesses of his majesty," you have “a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts."
Ye call Christ“ Master and Lord;" and ye say well, for so He is. “It became him to fulfil all righteousness;" He put respect on the ordinances, on the house, on the word of God; “ leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." Let the name, the day, the temple, the word of the Lord be hallowed in your eyes." " Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
" The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, like a dove, upon Him :" when He was leaving the world, and going unto the Father, he promised his disciples to " give them another Comforter, to abide with them for ever; even the Spirit of truth.” That Comforter was to teach them all things and bring all things to their remembrance. “He shewed himself” to them “ alire after his passion, by many infallible proofs :" He repeated his promise; “He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water ; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.” It was accordingly fulfilled : “ When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Thus were they comforted for their Master's departure ; thus they received “an unction from the Foly one,” whereby they were set apart unto, and fitted for their great work; thus were they strength ened to begin and pursue a career which will be felt till time expire. The same Spirit is promised, and is given to us to “help our infirmities," to " guide us into all truth," to take what is Christ's and shew it unto us, to “comfort us in all our tribulation," to shew us things to come. We look not for a miraculous effusion, to enable us to speak with tongues, to prophecy, to work miracles but we have good ground to ask and to hope that God will give us “ the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” “O send out thy light and thy truth ; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles; then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy."
Our blessed Lord entered on his public ministry at the age of thirty, and it was accomplished within the space of little more than three years. Think how much was done in that short space. Were the things which Jesus did, as they stand on this record, and the “ many other things" not recorded there
in, to be " written every one,” such would be their number and their lustre, that they would to the world appear to be absolutely incredible, and therefore the world would not be disposed to receive them. Here we have an illustrious pattern of the employment, of the improvement of time. “I must work,” says he, “ the works of Him that sent me, while it is day ;" the duty of the season in its season. How ought we to blush at our laborious idleness, at our pompous nothings! What have we to shew for our thirty, forty, fifty, threescore years? Hardly enough to furnish a decent inscription for a tombstone. Were the history of the most industrious and useful life to be fairly delineated, the world would have cause to wonder at the frequent and hideous *chaems, the wild confusion, the indecent rapidity, the causeless delay which the detail would present. What a picture then must the life of the professedly idle and dissipated, of the profligate and vicious exhibit! All enters into the book of God's remembrance, and must all come into judgement. What precious time, what invaluable opportunities of doing and of receiving good, have been shamefully neglected, have been vilely cast away!
What moment granted man without account?
Night THOUGHTS, II. 30.
Much is irretrievably lost. Who knows how little may remain ? " Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: the night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day," and "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See that ye walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, fedeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
MATHEW IV. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And wbee ke had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the lempier came to him he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Bil he answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. And the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth big on a pinnacle of the leinple, and saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God, cast thyselt down: 107 it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their bands they shail bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, it is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding bigh mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the wo and the
them, and caith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus uuto him, get thee hence, satan : for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
WONDERFUL is the influence which external objects possess over the mind of man: wonderful it is to reflect how body and spirit act upon each other, On a simple determination of the will, every limb is in motion, every nerve is exerted; and the man is burning under the line, or freezing at the pole. Let the blood be transmitted with a little more than usual rapidity, or more a little more sluggishly, and all the mental faculties are deranged, a new world arises, every former idea is blotted out. The glance of that eve, at one time, chills me with terror, and at another it melts me into love. This note rouses me to the battle ; and that soothes me into melancholy. Internal serenity and depression are produced by a clearer or grosser state of the air. And if we are thus liable to be affected by objects merely material, what must be the influence of mind upon mind! How powerful must be the sympathy, how prompt the cominunication of kindred spirits, intuitively perceiving and interchant. ing mutual sentiments of kindness, gratitude or esteem! Who can conceive or explain the influence which beings wholly spiritual may exercise over the human species, creatures composed of matter and spirit, whose senses, whose imagination, whose memory, whose understanding, all are so easily impressible?
Of all the faculties which spiritual beings possess, that of rendering themselves the objects of sense most of all exceeds our comprehension. They present a form, they utter, and receive, and return articulate sounds, and anon they are vanished into air, thin air." The appearance of Gabriel to Zacharias and to Mary, and of the multitude of the heavenly host to the shepherds, is a striking demonstration of it. We have before us another instance of this astonishing faculty, in a spirit of a very different character, and for a very different purpose-Satán, the destroyer, “ foe to God and man," tempting Christ in the wilderness.