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which it is preached, the con- almost any part of the world; gregations are far from being and, urged by the obligations of large :-it will appear, that of gratitude and near relationship, those who attend upon evange- which elsewhere have no exliçal worship; not to say, those istence, are abundantly more who among them truly worship forcible! Ought not something God in spirit and in truth, who to be attempted, and that with are a still smaller number, the a seriousness, vigour, and perproportion is exceedingly small. severance proportioned to the Can we rationally conclude, importance of the object itself? that the aggregate of such It ought to be matter of serious amounts to two hundred thou- deliberation, and most earnest sand? If so, we shall leave a prayer, to find out some hitherto million, or, even after the de- untried, or, if not wholly un duction of such, as from their tried, yet much neglected, meage or infirmities, are incapa-thod of endeavouring to rescue ble of attending on religious some of these immortals from worship, several hundred thou- ignorance, vice, and death! sands, who are, beyond all dis- Do not think, my dear sir, that pute, living like heathens; and, this business belongs not to though bearing the Christian you. If you suppose this, I name, “ without God in the would appeal to your consciworld.” Has this fact been suf-ence, in the language of a most ficiently attended to? If it interesting passage of scripture, had, would not the ministers already referred to,“ Doth not and friends of religion, while he that pondereth the heart rethey are laudably exerting them- gard it; and he that keepeth selves for the benefit of their thy soul, doth not he know? fellow-creatures abroad, as well And will he not render to every as in the different parts of our man according to his works in own island, exert themselves It certainly is your business; it with much more vigour for the is the business of every one who thousands within the limits of sustains the character of a mithe city in which they reside, nister, to do every thing in his and who are daily within their power to save souls.
If he ken? I recollect being told of neglect it, he will incur the
zealous clergyman, when threatening denounced against preaching in the precincts of a the unfaithful watchman; the celebrated university, not long blood of souls will be required after the present missionary ef at his hands. Arise, for this forts had commenced, who, matter belongeth to thee; be of when noticing and applauding good courage, and do it.” those efforts, added, “I wish In my next, I shall point out a society were formed for the tò your attention, some of the purpose of sending a mission means you may adopt to proto
I can really scarce mote the spiritual interests of refrain from a similar wish re- this vast multitude of perishing speeting London.' Surely, its immortals.
Yours, &c. claims are as great as those of
opportunity which fairly offers SPIRITUAL CONVERSATION. itself to speak to the glory of
God, our own comfort, or the It requires but little acquaint- edification of others. The gift ance with the religious world, of speech is a noble faculty, fully to understand, that the and was, doubtless, intended, conversation of many professors by our Creator, to be used to of religion is as carnal and the best of purposes. Yet, in worldly as that of persons who the use of it, I presume, most make no profession at all. This of us must acknowledge we are must grieve the minds of good guilty; not having kept our men, because, on this account, tongues from evil, nor our lips religion often suffers in the from speaking guile. It is a estimation of those who are serious and humbling consiunacquainted with its native deration, that our nature should beauty and excellence.
be so far fallen from God as to This evil does not stop bere; dishonour him so much by the the same spirit too generally tongue, which, when rightly prevails even among the mem-employed, is one of the distinbers of Christian churches, guishing glories of man. But and it does not unfrequently though this is the case with happen, that those who have those who are not renewed in made the most solemn avowal the spirit of their minds, it of being the disciples of Jesus should be far different with Christ, are not distinguished such as are taught by divine from others by their speech grace, not to yield their “membeing good“ to the use of edi- bers as instruments of unrighfying, that it may minister grace teousness unto sin." to the hearers."
It is not an
Religion supposes a warm indiscriminate conversation that attachment to Christ and his we wish to recommend. Many cause. The love of God shed truths and many instances of abroad in the heart is the prethe Lord's goodness to bis dominant principle. “Out of people, which afford matter of the abundance of the heart the comfort and ground of encou- mouth will speak. "A good man, ragement to those who feel the out of the good treasure of his influence of those truths, and heart, bringeth forth good experience that goodness, may things.” The name of the Sanot be proper subjects of com- viour, and redemption through munication to those who are his blood, will be delightful strangers to the power of god subjects of conversation to such liness.
a man. Though other things But, while we ought to be require attention, and careful, lest, by an injudicious must, from circumstances, frediscussion of divine things, re- quently be subjects of discourse, ligion should suffer, we should yet the doctrines, precepts, and also take heed that our dis- promises of our holy religion course be congenial to its holy will be our most animating and nature, and that we lose no delightful themes,
It is highly proper it should we could scarcely think or
When we reflect upon speak of any thing but Christ the everlasting love of God and his great salvation. Relidisplayed in the gift of his Son, gion was alive within us, and to recover us from our fallen we were ready to say, state-upon the sorrows and and hear, all ye that fear God, sufferings through which the and I will tell you what he hath Redeemer passed in order to done for my soul.” Psalm lxvi. accomplish that recovery-up- 16. But is it so with us now on the love of the eternal spi- We feel our backwardness, we rit in enlightening our under seem to mourn over our languid standings, subduing our wills, frame, saying, “O that it were and applying the blessings of with us as in months past!" redemption to our souls, how But why this change? Is not is it possible we should either the Lord still the same, and does think or speak of such infinitely not his faithfulness and truth great and glorious favours, with- continue to afford ground of out a peculiar glow of affec- comfort and joy to his people? tion? We are hastening to the We should never want subhouse of our Father, where we jects for conversation were we shall enjoy the felicity of the heavenly in our meditations, Divine Presence, and behold and holy in our desires; we the infinite excellencies and should frequently recollect the eternal glories of the blessed nature and consequences of sin; Immanuel.
the pity and compassion of the Do not children, on their Lord towards us while we were journey home, frequently speak living in ignorance and rebelof their father's house, and of lion; the nature of that state the pleasure they expect to en- from which we have been delijoy there; and should not Chris- vered by divine grace, and the tians often speak of that in- glorious hope which the gospel corruptible and undefiled inhe gives to those who believe in ritance which awaits their pos- Jesus Christ. Shall we, who session? In this state, how- have been bought at the inestiever, the things of time are apt mable price of the Saviour's to engross our thoughts, and blood, be silent in his praise ? to gain so much of our atten- God forbid! “Bless the Lord, tion, that, in some instances, our souls! and all that is it seems as though our high within us, bless his holy name.” birth and exalted privileges, as Psalm ciii. 2.
But if our Christians, had either escaped hearts have been divided beour thoughts, or lost their tween God and the world, and power to engage our affection. earthly things have had too
I am fully persuaded, that a great a share of our affection, little reflection will convince it is no wonder if our convermost of
that we feel a consi- sation has become worldly. derable degree of cold indiffer- We frequently lose the relish ence towards heavenly and divine for spiritual converse in the things. There was a time, when dust and bustle of this life. VOL, VII,
We should also beware lest spiritual things, furnishing us we suffer by light and vain con- with useful remarks; so that versation. Foolish talking and our conversation would be made jesting are not convenient for up of words fitly spoken, which the people of God. Eph. v. are as apples of gold in pictures 4. Not suitable to their cha- of silver. racters as saints, nor agreeable Dereham.
GREEN. to the divine will. There are few things more unprofitable to Christians than vain and idle
REMARKS discourse; it unfits the mind
NUMBERS, XVI. 38, &c. for pious reflection and religious
In connexion with a late Review in exercises : it produces a bar
this Magazine, of a Publication renness of soul which a good
entitled Eugenio and Epenetus, or, man must lament. We should, Conversations on Infant Baptism. therefore, take heed to our ways, that, in this respect, we Tothe Editors of the Baptist Magazine, sin not with our tongues.
I HAVE every reason to be any man seem to be religious satisfied with the manner in and bridleth not his tongue, but which you speak of my public deceiveth his own heart, this cation in general. I could have man's religion is vain.” James, wished, however, that you had i. 26.
entered a little more particuContentious and angry talk- larly into the statement of the ers, in refraining from this argument contained in the sepractice, would find the saying cond conversation. There is a of the wise man true, “Whoso view there given of the import keepeth his mouth and his of circumcision as a seal of the tongue keepeth his soul from righteousness of faith, which is troubles." Prov. xxi. 23. We not, at least, that usually taken may speak to display our wit of it in the discussions respectat the expense of our comfort, ing infant baptism. It was, in a and a single word may cause good measure, new to myself us hours of uneasiness. “ The when it occurred to me on extongue is a fire, a world of in- amining this subject; at least, iquity.” It will readily be con- if I had seen it before hinted fessed by all those who feel the at, I had never seen it followdepravity of human nature, that ed out to its consequences, and, great wisdom and prudence in this way, it had escaped my are necessary to order our con- notice. It was chiefly to have versation in a suitable manner. the view suggested of this part
True piety, a familiar ac- of the argument fully examined, quaintance with the word of that I thought of publishing at God, and a proper attention to all on this controversy. I had passing circumstances, would always before found myself emenable us to speak to edification. barrassed with the argument in Our minds and memories, judg-support of infant baptism, dements and affections, would, in rived from the analogy between time, become storehouses of baptism and circumcision. I never was satisfied with the ham did, his faith will be common method of getting quit counted to him for righteous. of that argument by explain- ness. ing away, in a considerable de- The former is the common gree, the spiritual nature of the view taken of this subject, and covenant with Abraham, and that on which the supposed making circumcision chiefly re-analogy between circumcision fer to a right to the land of and baptism is founded. In Canaan. But, if the interpre- the conversations above-mentation I have given of circum- tioned, I state what appear to cision, as styled a seal of the me insuperable objections to righteousness of faith, be found, this interpretation, and my reaon examination, to be tenable, sous for decidedly preferring while it secures the spiritual the other, which represents cirview of the Abrahamic cove-l cumcision as a seal.or memonant, it will, at the same time, rial of a general truth. I am persuaded, tend most ef- In opposition to the first infectually to destroy the argu- terpretation, I remark, first, ment which has been so often that, if circumcision be viewed and so strenuously urged in as sealing something to the insupport of infant baptism, from dividual, it is extremely diffithe analogy it is supposed to cult to see what it sealed, or bear to circumcision.
that it sealed any thing to all It is from having lately dis- those called to receive it. Here covered a striking illustration I show, that in many cases it and confirmation of this part of cannot be viewed as sealing to my argument on the passage in the individual, either temporal the book of Numbers above- or spiritual blessings. mentioned, that I now request A second argument against your attention to it. Permit this interpretation is, that it me, however, first, to remind does not appear, that even you, and your readers, of that where adults were called to particular view of circumcision submit to circumcision, a prowhich, I conceive it fitted to fession of faith was necessary illustrate and confirm.
to their receiving it. Here I I remark, in general, then, endeavour to prove, by a vathat when circumcision is call- riety of passages, that if any ed a seal of the righteousness slave, for example, refused to of faith, there are two senses submit to circumcision, he was in which the expression is ca- liable to be put to death; and pable of being understood. that this is the import of the
First, It may be understood uncircumcised soul being cut as implying, that certain bless- off from the people. ings are sealed to the individual A third objection to suppartaking of this rite; or, posing it sealed something to
Second, That it is merely a the individual, is derived from seal, confirmation, or memo- the case of Ishmael. Though rial of a general truth, that he was expressly called to be whosoever believeth as Abra- circumcised, it was as expressly