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revelation of the will of God in the heart), than I have for those who exhibit that deadness of soul manifested by too many of our nominal members.

On looking at the uneasiness of some of our society who desire a change, I wish tenderly and affectionately to remind them, that it really is invaluable we should bear the turning of the hand of the Lord upon us, and not seek relief from water, or any other creature. This is the way, in the Lord's time (which is the only good time) clearly to experience in the heart the going forth of the command, "Arise! shine! for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee :"* then is the time to go forth; if we impatiently move before, or indolently stay behind, we thwart the gracious intentions of Providence towards ourselves, and neglect the one real saving Baptism by the Holy Ghost and by Fire. Thus, for want of allowing patience to have her perfect work, we seek the living among the dead; we run from God in our hearts, where He really is, to seek Him in outward forms, where He really is not: and if we thus proceed, what prospect can we have but to make shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience? Oh, Friends, think of these things;-weigh them in the balance of the sanctuary of Him by whom our actions are weighed, and our souls are weighed. What can forms do for us? What can the world do for us? Oh for the simplicity of obedience, the simplicity of faith, the simplicity of fidelity, the simplicity of love, the simplicity of the christian!

Therefore, though it may be, and I believe is, far better to seek for divine life among departed, and therefore lifeless, forms, than not to seek it at all; far

*Isaiah lx. 1.

better to plunge into each religious rite that has ever been instituted by our Heavenly Father, than neglect to seek His glory in the attainment of the grace to which that rite may once have specifically pointed; yet, whether we go through all these forms, or none of them, we shall find, if spiritual strength should ever be our portion, that we neither need forms, nor our fellow men to aid us in the Work of Grace; but we shall have learned what this meaneth, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice."* Also, "the anointing which ye have received of Him, abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." This teaching would shew us, experimentally, the beauty of that passage, "Be still, and know that I am God." In this state, neither blind zeal nor indifference, neither shadows nor professions, would stand in the way of our receiving the everlasting Substance, in which our souls would magnify the Lord; and to all His holy requirings we should respond, "Thy will be done."

Now, although I admit that the society has had a dreadful fall from the spirituality which once shone forth from it so excellently; though I admit the covetousness of many, which is idolatry; though I admit that many in our foremost ranks, by leaning on each other's judgment, instead of taking every matter to the judgmentseat of Christ in their own hearts, honour their brethren above God, as Eli honoured his sons above God, and which I admit is also idolatry; and though I admit that I have heard more uncharitableness of judging, from some who have a birthright in our society, than I clearly

* Mat. ix. 13. + 1 John ii. 27.

Psalm xlvi. 10.

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recollect ever to have heard out of it, which may well give a tinge of sadness to the heart of every one, who, having observed these things, properly reflects on them, and much excuses, though, perhaps, does not justify some who have departed from us in outward fellowship ; yet, as I think I clearly see that these defections among us arise, not from the want of Water Baptism, but from the want of submitting to the Baptism and the requirings of the Holy Ghost, I feel constrained to advise that we may seek a substantial remedy instead of an imaginary one; remembering, that in the early period of the society, when the zeal of our predecessors against Water Baptism was at its height, they gave the most frequent and striking proofs of life to God and deadness to the world.

Far be it from me to risk disturbing the true faith in any, or divert any from that which profits their souls; and for all who enter on Water Baptism, or any other form or type, most cordially do I wish they might find (if it be possible) sound consolation in it; and that, by obedence to these supposed duties, and to others of no doubtful character, they may be led more fully to appreciate, and more constantly and more simply to obey, the voice of one crying, as in the wilderness of their hearts, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."* Far be it from me to divert any one of you, my dear friends, who are looking towards Water Baptism as a duty required of you, from a full scrutiny into this subject, if you have the slightest idea that the Lord has any service for you in it; or that it seems, even in the slightest degree, to remain a command to be still observed and obeyed. May this scrutiny be followed up so as to yield

* Mat. iii. 3.

conviction one way or the other; may simple and entire obedience follow that conviction whatever it may be; and may all who seek the assistance of those types, even if they have ceased to be the will of the Lord, enter upon them in sincerity, with a desire to HIS glory; and may they experience an answer of peace in the heart, similar to that which was rendered to David, when informed that it was not the will of God he should build him a temple; yet the command to refrain was accompanied with this sweet consolatory assurance, "thou didst well that it was in thine heart :"* so may this subject yield you spiritual peace, whether, in seeking further to know for yourselves the divine will, it should seem your duty to proceed, or your duty to forbear.

On looking a little further into this subject, the enquiry has naturally arisen, to whom will you apply to perform this ordinance? I do not recollect, in my Bible reading, any service required to be performed on behalf of God, but there has been, with the divine requisition, a divinely appointed servant for that service. We have no record of any appointed to baptize, except of the Jewish nation; nor do I recollect that we have any record of the rite being appointed for any but Jews, except the Ethiopian Eunuch, whom Philip baptized; the baptizing of whom, was, probably, intended to remind very degraded sinners of the efficacy of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and of Fire, which could burn up all the offensive contents of even their hearts; although, for blackness, they might be compared to the skin of the Ethiopian.

Should Water Baptism really be a gospel ordinance, yet, a divinely appointed baptizer, would seem essential to its efficacy for the following reasons. Because, if we

* 1 Kings viii. 18.

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consult the Holy Scriptures, we shall see that scarcely any class of persons were so entirely offensive to God, as those who attempted to follow His ordinances in a different manner, or at a different place, or by different priests, than He had ordained: Because, Baptism by Water was a Jewish ordinance, commanded originally (like circumcision and the worship at the Temple at Jerusalem) to the Jews only: Because, we read that those Jews who did not go up to Jerusalem to worship, but planted groves, and erected altars on the hills in their respective localities, that they might worship more at their ease than by travelling to Jerusalem, were gradually so given up to a reprobate mind as to worship Moloch; an apt emblem of such professors of christianity as love the world better than God : Because, we read that Uzza was struck dead for merely putting forth his hand to steady the ark lest it should fall.* Now, what to the creaturely mind seems more entirely suitable than his conduct herein? He had to drive the cart containing the Ark: that Ark which all Israel had mourned the absence of, and which they had recently recovered, and which, moreover, they were right in loving, as containing evidences of the God who had been with them all their lives long, and had given them manna in the wilderness, protection from their enemies, and, above all, spiritual strength and consolation. How suitable it appears that Uzza, seeing the precious ark tottering, should endeavour to steady it; how innocent appears his mode of doing it; yet awful the reflection that this, which would appear wickedly careless to neglect, (reasoning after the manner of men), brought upon him instantaneous death, and made him a terrible

* 1 Chron. xiii. 10.

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