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Observer, Nov. 1, '72.

to the Holy Spirit as guide and comforter; to angels as their bodily protectors ; to the rest of the brethren as friends and associates. It was a voluntary association of believers called out of the world to serve the living God.

In order to admittance into the church there was interposed but one constitutional test-oath--the organic law of induction—and that was baptism, by the authority of Jesus Christ, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Without submission to this no one could become a Christian. Only penitent believers were baptized, immersed, buried with Christ in baptism. Men and women were recruited by evangelists and brought to the Saviour; after which they enlisted in the army of Christ, "the Captain of their salvation,” by taking the test-oath-the sacramentum -in which, by taking Christ as their Lord and King, they renounced forever the world, the flesh, and the devil. As the raw recruit, under the Roman law, became an enlisted Roman soldier, by means of the sacred oath-the sacramentum—by which legal process he took upon himself the name of a Roman citizen, thus renouncing all other powers, and by this oath signified eternal fidelity to the government of the Cæsars, so the convert to Christ takes upon himself the name Christian, and through the ordinance of immersion becomes a loyal citizen of the kingdom of God, promising henceforth to serve the Lord Christ alone. No one was ever baptized who did not express faith in Christ, and publicly confess His name. Rom. x. 10. Phil. ii. 11. 1 John iv, 2, 3. Matt. x. 32.

De Pressensé, himself a Pedo-baptist, thus, as an honest historian, testifies as to the importance of baptism : “Baptism, which was the sign of admission into the church, was administered by immersion. The convert was plunged beneath the water, and as he rose from it he received the laying on of hands. These two rites correspond to the two great phases of conversion, the crucifixion of the old nature preceding the resurrection with Christ.” [This idea of the laying on of hands directly after baptism is not found in the New Testament, and therefore, the author must have derived his information from the Apostolic Fathers.] "Faith was thus required of every candidate for baptism. The idea never occurred to Paul that baptism might be divorced from faith-the sign from the thing signified; and he does not hesitate, in the bold simplicity of his language, to identify the spiritual fact of conversion with the act which symbolizes it. We are buried with Christ by baptism into death,' he says. Rom. vi. 4. With such words before us, we are compelled either to ascribe to him, in spite of all else that he has written, the materialistic notion of baptismal regeneration, or to admit that with him faith is so intimately associated with baptism, that in speaking of the latter he includes the former, without which it would be a vain form. The writers of the New Testament all ascribe the same significance to baptism. It pre-supposes with them invariably a manifestation of the religious life, which may differ in degree, but which is in every case demanded. Acts ii. 38; viii. 13, 17, 37, 38; X. 47; xvi. 14, 15, 33. · The baptism which saves us,' says Peter, 'is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter iii. 21.

Regarded from the apostolic point of view, baptism cannot be connected either with circumcision or with the baptism administered to proselytes to Judaism. Between it and circumcision there is all the difference which

Observer, Nov. 1, 72.

exists between the Theocracy, to which admission was by birth, and the church, which is entered only by conversion. It is in direct connection with faith, that is, with the most free and most individual action of the soul.

Christian baptism is not to be received, any more than faith, by right of inheritance. This is the great reason why we cannot believe that it was administered in the apostolic age to little children. No positive fact sanctioning the practice can be adduced from the New Testament; the historical proofs alleged are in no way conclusive.” Early Years of Christianity, pp. 375-6. This is strong language from a Pedo-baptist source, and Neander, another Pedo-baptist, is equally strong and direct, where thus he writes : “ In respect to the form of baptism, it was in conformity with the original institution and the original import of the symbol, performed by immersion, as a sign of entire baptism into the Holy Spirit, of being entirely penetrated by the same.

“Baptism was administered at first only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive baptism and faith as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution, and the recog. nition of it which followed somewhat later, as an apostolic tradition, serves to confirm this hypothesis.” Neander, vol. 1, pp. 310–11. Such is the undisputed testimony of the learned world, to say nothing of the New Testament testimony, which, to the honest and candid mind is, of itself, entirely convincing.

R,

“ COME.”

One charm of the “ Old Book” is its free use of the simplest, commonest, and, therefore, best understood words. If there be a good old word of one syllable that has been mingled and twisted and woven into the very web of life; that has thrilled the hearts of thousands, and still lives with undiminished power, you may be sure it will be found in the Book of God. Such an one is the word “

come.”

Who has not seen the picture ?-A rosy child, carefully balanced against the wall, whilst the mother slowly retires and, couching in the centre of the room, utters the persuasive “ Come.” From thence, “onward and upward,” through every stage and vicissitude of life ; in pleasure and in pain; in poverty and in wealth ; in sickness and in health-this charming monosyllable plays its humble, simple, but active and radiant part. It is the word of invitation, of persuasion, of encouragement, of friendship, of reconciliation, of hospitality, of welcome, of entreaty-the heritage of all. The Heavenly Father could not miss such a word as come,” nor could He spare it from the divine vocabulary. He has graced it with divine nobility, imparted to it of His own power, and sealed it with the signet of the Deity. Eye had not seen, ear had not heard of it, neither entered it into the heart of man to conceive, the garment of beauty and glory in which this jewel of words should step forth from the bosom of Heavenly Majesty, to make love to a rebel

Hark! Behold! Music and radiance ! " Come and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson, they shall be white as snow.” Again : “Ho everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” The ages heard the cadence as

race.

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Observer, Nov. 1, '72.

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it died away into a music whisper, sinking down and down to a last low and weak vibration, on the strings of time; but ere it ceased, another and and a nobler sweep thrilled and pulsated through the living instrument, evoking music sweeter and more sublime than ever harp of gold had poured into the eternal melody before the throne. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“ The Spirit and the Bride say Come. And let him that heareth say Come. And let him that is athirst Come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely."

We wait for the last grand swelling note, in which all the music and all the power of the foregoing shall be gathered up, and the voice of the Lamb shall ring and resound through the universe of God—“COME, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Amen.

J. COLLIN.

THE BAPTIST UNION. The Baptists have just held their autumnal meeting in Manchester, Oct. 8-10. The Baptist Union is now in its thirty-fifth year. Nearly eight hundred delegates were present, representing more than five hundred churches.

Tuesday morning and evening were occupied by a conference and public meeting upon Foreign Missions. India, it seems, is their chief field of labour. Jamaica, the Bahamas, &c., also receiving attention. On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, at seven o'clock, devotional services were largely attended in various chapels in town. Then at ten o'clock the business sessions began in the Rev. A. Maclaren's splendid new chapel, the delegates occupying the floor, and the general public and friends the galleries. Public preaching services were also held in various chapels by leading ministers, including Dr. Landels, Chas. Vince, Henry Varley, etc. On Thursday evening the conference was brought to a close by grand public meetings in the Free Trade Hall and the Friends' Meeting House, where the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon was the chief attraction, it being his first visit to Manchester.

During the business sittings various topics of interest were discussed. Dr. Thomas, the President of the Union for the past year, dwelt chiefly upon “ The Baptists and Christian Union.” His general thoughts were that their denomination had been greatly benefited by the meetings of the Union, in softening down the asperities of party, and bringing the different sections, such as the “General” and “Particular” 'Baptists, into comparative harmony and united action. Reference was made to Wales, and the doctrinal strife which prevailed there in former times upon hyperCalvinism, Fullerism, laying hands on the baptized, etc., but now more practical themes engaged their attention. In North Wales the churches were for some time considerably agitated by the introduction of the peculiar views of Alexander Campbell, of America. This came after the infection of Sandemanianism, which led away, for å time, some of their leading spirits.

Now, however, he was not aware of a single heterodox or anti-evangelical Baptist church in Wales. Closer union among the colleges then engaged his attention for a little, after which he dilated upon

Observer, Nov. 1, '72.

the wide field embraced by the Baptist Union. Violent doctrinal controversy

had

now passed away, and they were more closely united. Particular Baptists now generally subscribed to“ Moderate Calvinism," and brethren holding extreme views on doctrine were apparently diminishing. Still some differed from the mass of the people upon the necessity and use of baptism, the nature and extent of the ministry, and such ritual observances as the feast of love, feet washing, and the kiss of charity. Their more serious doctrinal differences, however, were upon State education, the nature of the millennium, the second advent of Christ, the end of the world, and the final doom of the wicked. Much cause for joy existed in the visible unity and cooperation of the Particular Baptists, and especially as regarded the position and relations of the general Baptist denomination. The General Baptists were also in full sympathy with their brethren of the Union. The desire for the abolition of sectional names strongly existed; and why should not the Union initiate some practical measure of comprehension on the broad principles they held in common, and, under the appropriate name of “ Baptists," allow full liberty in views of doctrine, more or less general or particular, and also in communion and other equal or more important questions. He then exhorted to a cordial fraternization with the good and wise of all sects for the benefit of our nation and race. True, Christians could not yet see eye to eye, and the time might never come-they would not live to see it for the abandonment of all party names and the union of all under a general designation. Still they all felt the constraining power of the love of Christ, and especially among the free churches of the land they united where they could for the promotion of missionary and philanthropic objects. Where they could not they agreed to differ.

Dr. Angus then read a paper on “Our Progress," based on the spiritual and statistical condition of the Baptist body. The leading facts were that in 1801 there were in England 417 churches, and in 1871, 1,940 churches, an increase, in seventy years, of nearly fivefold. The average number of members to each church was some 60 or 70, and now it was 129. In 1801 there were about 70,000 members, and in 1.871, some 180,000. They were thankful for general progress. Still the statistics were humbling, for they had not kept pace with the population during the last twenty years. But they were not worse than their neighbours, and had really been more blessed than most churches. The number of conversions during the last three decades spoke clearly against them, and showed the want of prayer and faith and simple preaching of the gospel somewhere. For their future guidance he advised more attention to the cities rather than the agricultural districts, because they were most easily wrought and most productive.

On Thursday the Rev. Chas. Stovel read a paper on the religious aspect of national education, in which, amidst some dissent, he strongly advocated “that, as citizens of England, they had a right to demand in national education purity from religious and anti-religious dogmata of every kind.”

Noteworthy things done at the conference were the appointment of a “ Court of Arbitration," of some three ministers and two laymen, for the settlement of “all disputes cognizable by law arising within or respecting any church in the Baptist Union, duly submitted to it by the parties. Thus no Baptist need go to law about church property. The arbitrators are also open to reference upon any "ecclesiastical matters or discipline

Observer, Nov. 1, '72.

in the churches voluntarily submitted to them.A resolution was also passed affirming the principle of religious equality and the necessity for the disestablishment of the State Church.

At the public meeting in the Free Trade Hall the Rev. Mr. Glover (Bristol) deplored their want of progress, saying that they had decreased during 1871 some 1,600. The Independents and Methodists were also going back, and the only bodies he knew to be making progress were the United and the English Presbyterians. Where was the cause ? Not in the power of the gospel, but perhaps in their wrong methods of action, the restlessness of their ministers, or in their luxury. The main causes of the decline of their spiritual life was that the church at large in this land had been corrupted from the simplicity of Christ, and that they had failed to go out sufficiently into the world to preach the gospel. They chiefly preached to payers of seat rents, that vile thing, responsible for many evils, taking away the grace of willinghood from every gift, and keeping the ministrations of heavenly comfort and saving truth from those who above all others stood in need of them. (Cheers, also murmurs among the pew l'enters.)

Mr. Spurgeon, in the course of a long and eloquent speech, pleaded for greater unity among the free churches of Christendom, and asked why they could not have a general congress. After all, there would be found more real unity among them than in the Church of England, with its three or more sects. He lamented their decrease, and said that in the name of God it must not be. His suggestions for progress were that the ministers should go on in faith, preaching the gospel and bearing full witness to everything they believed. Duty was theirs. They would not be judged by results, but rather by their fidelity to Christ. Then go on. Let it be said of them that they had done their duty rather than have the mere glory of being successful. He had sent out his congregation in London with thousands of bills and tracts—tracts upon baptism as well as upon faith. They had prayed over them, and God would send the blessing. Further, they should have a burning love for souls, and feel as if they could not live without winning them to Christ. Then they would prosper. Being asked as to the secret of his success, he replied in the language of a farmer in France, who was brought up for witchcraft because of his extra good crops: they got up in the morning with the sun and worked hard; that was the witchcraft.

craft. So with him : he simply preached the gospel as plainly as he could, and wrought as hard as he could. Here was his secret. Besides, he had a praying people around him, and thus felt hinnself to be the strongest man in England, because, like Sampson, he was strong in the Lord and in the power of the Spirit of God.

Thus leaning upon Heaven they were able for anything, and thus alone the united forces of superstition, will-worship and idolatry would fall before them. Also, he exhorted every Christian as a good soldier to be personally active for Christ, and especially “buttonhole” the strangers who came to the preaching meetings. What the preacher failed in the ordinary members might in this way often accomplish. Finally, let them work in communion with God their great ally, and success must be theirs. He concluded with a salutation to the Christians of Manchester.

The Rev. A. Mursell having then addressed the meeting, pleading for his fellow Christians to stand by their principles, and the benediction being

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