Page images

wrong in either case, and it was your duty to have corrected him, and not to have supported him.

Observe also a circumstance which, no doubt, made Abram still more anxious to preserve peace between himself and Lot. “The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land." They were living among heathens, and he could not bear that men who were distinguished as the worshippers of the One Jehovah, should bring such a discredit on that Holy Name by which they were called. These poor heathen, no doubt, he thought, who are ignorant of our God, whose affections are taken up with this world, and who know nothing of a better, might be expected to dispute about such trifles ; but let it not be so with us! We are taught better, and therefore we ought to act with a better spirit, that our example may be the means of drawing them to the knowledge and the love of the true God. And this motive which influenced Abram, should be an additional motive with Christians to avoid contentions.-" Ye are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hid:" men's eyes are upon you, and what will they think of religion, if they see that you who profess to attend to it, can be as proud, passionate, and contentious, as your neighbours ? Perhaps I should not say as much so, for if you are influenced by the spirit of Christ, you will, in some degree, strive against these works of the flesh; but when you consider how quick-sighted the world is to the faults of Christians, it should put you doubly on your guard. If you are at any time hasty and passionate with your children, violent with your partner, or clamorous with your neighbours; what discredit does this bring to religion !--wbat occasion does it give to the adversaries of the Lord to blaspheme! And recollect, though men see your sin, they see not your repentance. You may weep a silent flood, but the world will triumph in your fall. - " Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children, and walk in love." If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.' “ If it be possible, as much as lieth in you-the task may be difficult, you may have troublesome tempers to deal with ; “but as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Follow peace with all men ;" says the apostle. Follow it; as much as to say, it may seem to fly from you;

it hard to maintain ; but still, follow it. Shew that, “ the wisdow that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits."

T. B.P.

may be


As Christians, we are pledged, by the Sacrament of Baptism to these three things :

1st. To renounce the Devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.

2dly. To believe all the articles of the Christian faith.

3dly. To keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of our lives.

Through the mercy of God, we are admitted into the privileges of the Gospel ; and we pledge our selves to observe its rules.

It must however be observed, that persons are supposed to understand the pledge which they are making, and the privileges which they expect. But infants, at their baptism, are not of an age to understand these things. Still we must not keep them from their Christian privileges, for our Saviour has told us that he will receive them into his fold. We therefore bring them to him in thankfulness for such his mercy, and we offer up our prayers that they may ever continue in the number of his flock.

But we must remember that those who would be Christ's people must be guided by the directions which Christ has given; and, therefore, it is not being baptized alone which will fit us for the kingdom which Christ hath purchased for us, but it is keeping those promises which, when we were baptized, we made.

To impress this obligation on us the more strongly, the Church calls upon us when we are of a proper age, to repeat and ratify our baptismal vow, and thus to take upon ourselves those promises, which were made for us at our baptism, by others. This we do when we are confirmed by the Bishop. Confirmation is not a sacrament, as baptism is, but it is a solemn ordinance of the Church, practised from the earliest ages of Christianity. In this ordinance, we shew that we wish to be considered Christians, not merely because we had a Christian name given to us when we were too young to understand the bigh privileges to which we were called, and the great duties to which we were pledged; but that, now we do understand these things, we earnestly wish to be members of Christ,” children of God," and " inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.”

Now, if we think, as we ought to do, of this solemn rite, we shall see that it is not a light or trifling matter, but that it is a sacred engagement by which we are called upon to believe, to think, and to live like Christians. And in this ordinance, the prayers of the Church are devoutly offered up for us, and by us, accompanied by the laying on of hands, that practice of the early Apostles, by which they were commissioned to convey to others the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And, since we know that our Lord has promised to be with us, even onto the end of the world," we may indeed, earnestly hope, and faithfully believe, that He will bless this oor solemn dedication to his service, and by bis Holy Spirit give us an earnest desire to live to his service, and to obey his heavenly will.

That we may know then the duties to which we are pledged by Confirmation, we should look at the vows which were made for us at our Baptism.

1st. Then we pledge ourselves to war against sin; to strive earnestly against what we know to be wrong; to resist the temptations of the adversary of our souls, and to keep from those babits of the world which are contrary to our profession as Christians, to resist those sinful indulgences, which, indeed gratify the body, but deaden the thoughts to those holy exercises which strengthen and improve the soul: or, to express the same pledge in the words in which it was given, it is “ to renounce the Devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.”

2ndly. We are to accept the gracious offers of the Gospel, looking for salvation to the merits of our blessed Lord and Saviour; we are to trust, for pardon of our sins, to his atoning blood, and to rest oor whole confidence and trust in his mercy: we must seek, moreover, for the promised help of the Holy Spirit, that we may be fitted for the kingdom of glory to which we are called, and to which the kingdom of grace here is our introduction, and our preparation. We are, thus practically, to “ believe all the articles of the Christian faith.'

3rdly. We are to seek to live in constant obedience to those holy rules which are given in the Scriptures, for our guidance. We are, not only to abstain from those sins which God hath forbidden, but we are to be diligent in the performance of those duties, which he has commanded. If we truly believe, as we have declared, all the articles of the Christian faith, and, amongst the rest, that important article, “the assistance of the Holy Spirit,” we shall know that this Spirit is given to enable us to “ work out our salvation,” to assist us; and to strengthen us in the discharge of those duties, to which, in our several stations, we are called.

In habits of obedience to the will of God, a Christian will find his happiness as well as his safety : and he, moreover, knows that he is pledged to

keep God's holy will and commandments, and to 'walk in the same, all the days of his life.”

Let every one, who is about to be confirmed, 'consider what he is undertaking, and let him seek to understand, and to feel, the importance of this ordinance, before he enters upon so solemn an engagement. It is an ordinance full of advantage, and of comfort, if properly received ; but, as with all the ordinances of religion, it is fearful to trifle with it.

Some persons to avoid receiving the ordinances of the Church unworthily, will think that they escape from a difficulty, hy not receiving them at all. This is a lamentable mistake. For the offers of the Gospel are offers of mercy, and he who does not accept those offers, and put himself under the pro. tection which the Gospel holds out, still remains with all the terrors of the laws in dread array against him, without any means of escape. By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified,” not from any defect in the law, but from the corruption of man's nature, which has reduced the practice of the very best of men below the standard of the divine law. How then shall we escape if we neglect the great salvation held out to us in the Gospel?—We are to accept then this salvation by faith, and we are to confess this faith, by the celebration of religious rites; and we are, by our conduct, to shew that the religion which we profess, produces the effect of improving our hearts and lives; and thus, we are to let our light shine before men,” that, seeing our" good works," they may be brought to “glorify our Father which is in heaven.”


« EelmineJätka »