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He answered, "Yes, I mean exactly that; you need not be baptized unless you choose to be, after you have come to repentance and faith in the Redeemer. I will never mention the subject to you. And now, will you seek the Lord with all your heart, and let baptism alone?"
She replied, "I hope I shall be enabled to do so, if I can be a Christian without being baptized."
She soon, says Dr. Spencer, found peace, and a few months later desired to be baptized, and presented her children to be sprinkled, saying, "She did not wish her children to be tormented as she had been," when in after years they might read the command of Christ to be baptized, and remember that they had not passed through that ordinance before they were old enough to be conscious of the stigma of thus owning His name.
After narrating the above case much more at length, Dr. Spencer remarks: Many convicted sinners are kept from Christ by some mere trifle. It is important to remove the obstacle."
When men were pricked in the heart under the preaching of Peter, and said, "What shall we do?" that apostle replied, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you." And Christ says, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." But a Christian pastor of the present age dares to tell a convicted sinner, who cannot brook the thought of submitting to baptism, "You need not be baptized; you need not join the church. Only repent. Give God your heart now, before He leaves you to your own way."
Such counsel may be called an innocently shrewd way of turning the inquirer's mind from an apparent obstacle to her conversion, and of directing it to the "one thing needful;" but the New Testament never prescribes such a mode of dealing with sinners. Sophistry, and shrewdness, and trickery, as the world goes at present, may be deemed admissible in a lawyer's plea, but can never be acceptable to God, either in the court-room, or when used in directing a sinner to Christ.
The Convert's Corner.
MOORE THE BUTCHER.
In a most picturesque and beautiful village, some four miles from Belfast, lived a butcher of the name of Moore. A naval officer, who resided in the same place, and who knew the man well, assured me that he had been, until very lately, a most awfully wicked character-that he had been a notorious drunkard, often drunk
the whole of Sunday-that he had been a dreadful blasphemer, and his language, moreover, so obscene, that the woman who lived in the next house had often to close her door, to avoid hearing the foul expressions that were pouring forth from his lips; in a word, he seemed to be abandoned by God and man.
When the great awakening began to be felt in that locality, a young woman was "stricken" not many doors off; her friends being unable to read, and longing to relieve if possible her agony of mind, sent in their extremity for Moore, who was reputed to be a good scholar. Much to his annoyance he went, and read a portion of the Bible; but mark the power of the Spirit of God! While reading the Scriptures, he was himself overcome by a sense of his sinfulness; however, he tried, but in vain, to shake the impressions off. Three weeks afterwards he attended an open-air service, and was very much affected by what he heard; the emotions of his soul so weakened his physical powers, that he could hardly return home. After earnest supplications for mercy, he realized the forgiveness of his sins, and with that realization he obtained peace.
I went to this man's house, and after he had given me an account of his conversion, I inquired,—
In speaking of his happiness in Christ, he made this remark:"The so-called pleasures of sin were mixed with bitterness before, but now I have constant peace and joy."
I may observe, in passing, that one of the most remarkable characteristics of the present Revival is, that at the moment of being stricken down, at the moment of conversion, God seems in the most wonderful manner to reveal Himself (Gal. i. 16); so that, when those who are affected have obtained peace, they come into the possession of such views of Christ, and of His finished work, and of the whole Gospel scheme of salvation, as are truly marvellous, and of a nature rarely to be met with, except in the case of very advanced and long-tried Christians.
I learnt that this man rose every morning at five o'clock, in order that, before he went to his work, he might have a clear hour for prayer, and for reading God's word; and such was his love for the Bible, that he always carried in his pocket a little Testament, to which he often referred.
The very countenance of the man indicated the greatness of the change that had passed over his soul; and such was his quietness, gentleness, and love, that I could hardly believe that I beheld before me one who, but a few weeks before, had been a terror to his village, and a pest to the neighbourhood.
Before leaving, we engaged in prayer and praise; the moment the sound of the singing was heard, the neighbours began to flock in till the
room was filled; and on my leaving I found, to my surprise, a little crowd that had gathered together round the door and window, for the
purpose of joining in petitions offered to a common Father.-Elliott's "Visit."
The Counsel Chamber.
THE BIBLE; ITS TRUTH, POWER, AND GLORY.
TO-DAY we offer a few words of advice on the greatest of all subjects, the Sacred Scriptures. Infidelity knows that this is the citadel, and that, this demolished, the day is all their own. Popery is one in object, although its means vary: it does not assail the Divine Book, but withholds it. The results are the same. A few facts may serve to fortify the reader's mind.
Sitting alone in my study the other day, I fell into a train of reflections on the preservation of the Bible, and its influences on the history of man. Here before me lies an unpretending little book. What a volume of thought does it suggest! It is by many centuries the oldest book in the world. More than three thousand years ago, the first word of it was written in the desert of Arabia; more than seventeen hundred, the last word was written on the rocky isle of Patmos. It has been read by more people than all the other books in the world put together. More of it is remembered by men than all the books that were ever written. It treats of questions of the highest moment to all men; and proposes to reveal that for which the wisest of all ages have sought in vain-the secret of true happiness. The language in which,
originally, the larger portion was written, is the oldest in the world. These very letters that pass under my eye, are the same as those traced by the finger of God on the tables of stone, amid the thunders and lightning of Sinai. The language in
which the New Testament was written is the same in which Solon, Plato, and Demosthenes wrote and spoke.
This book has survived the revolutions and changes of three thousand years. It has seen Nineveh, Babylon, Memphis, Thebes, Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Rome, Athens, and a thousand other cities, rise, flourish, and fall. It has lived amid wars the most bloody; amid desolations the most complete; amid tyranny the most grinding; amid darkness the most profound; amid superstitions the most degrading; amid idolatry the most repulsive; amid blasphemy the most heaven-daring -and has been, against all these, the great witness for God.
This book has outlived all the efforts made to shake the faith of man in its revelations, and to banish it from the world. Celsus, Porphyry, Julian, and a host of others, fiercely attacked it in the first ages of the Church, but still it lived. Hume, Hobbes, Voltaire, Paine, and many
others of the rabble rout of infidelity, in modern times, but still it lives, while its enemies sleep in dishonoured graves. This book has laid hold of all classes. The warrior has carried it next his heart in the storm of battle; and the bullet aimed at his life has buried itself in the leaves of his Bible. It has been laid upon the throne of the monarch, as his safest guide-book in the administration of justice. It has been exalted by the man of God in the cathedral, amid solemn chants and penitential confessions of sin. It has been sought by the world-sick for its healing balm; by the hermit in his cell for its consolations; by the poor man for its promise of more than earthly riches; by the homeless wanderer for its promise of a "home in heaven;" by the guilty for its assurances of pardon; by the living for its guiding principles of truth; by the dying for its pass-word into the "heavenly places."
This book has been given to the world in all its babbling tongues. In more than two hundred languages and dialects is it read by a sinful race. It has long been unchained from the high altars of old temples, and sent out to all the tribes, nations, and peoples of the world; and yet it cannot be supplied fast enough, though a Bible is printed for every minute in the day.
This book has marched at the head of civilization in all ages. It went with the Jews into Palestine, it invaded Greece, Rome, and all the states of the ancient world, under the preaching of the first heralds of the truth. Its principles have been at the base of all revolutions that have
pushed forward the human race. It was so in Germany, in England, in France, in Scotland, and in America. The pilgrims fled to American wilds that they might enjoy the blessings of Bible truth and Bible teachings, unmolested and unoppressed by the laws of tyrants. It was devotedly recognized as a book especially needful for a people struggling for freedom by the fathers of the Republic. In the darkest and stormiest hour of the Revolution, when money could hardly be found to pay the starving, naked, and bleeding soldiers of liberty, Congress (in 1777) appointed a committee to confer with the printer, with the view of striking off 30,000 Bibles at the expense of the Congress; but it being difficult to obtain paper and type, the committee of commerce were ordered to import, at the expense of Congress, 20,000 from Holland, Scotland, and elsewhere. They gave as the reason, that its use is so universal, and its importance so great. In 1780, Congress appointed a committee attend to printing an edition of the Bible in Philadelphia, and voted that they highly approved the pious and laudable undertaking as subservient to the interests of religion, and recommend this edition of the Bible to the people of the United States. In eight successive years, Congress voted and kept sixteen national feasts and thanksgivings. On the committees which report the bills were such men as Governor Livingstone, of New York; R. H. Lee, of Va.; Roger Sherman, Conn.; Elias Bondinot, and James Madison. Some of these signed the Declaration of Independence, and most of them
were engaged in procuring the Constitution, and knew its true spirit.
Thus was the Bible honoured by these apostles of freedom. When their children, who enjoy the fruits of their labours, shall cease to cherish it as the palladium of civil and religious liberty-that moment will the nation begin its downward march to ruin.
England, beyond all lands, is the land of the Bible. To that she owes her freedom, strength and glory. This made, steeled, and ennobled the mind of her people. While this book maintains its supremacy within her borders, she will continue to hold the first place among the nations of the earth.
DISCOURSE BETWEEN MR. GOOD CONSCIENCE AND A CHURCH OFFICER.
CONSCIENCE. - You hold a very respectable office. You are expected to be an example and a leader among the church members.
Officer. That is true; and I try to act accordingly.
C.-" Act accordingly,”—does not that imply a great deal? Do you really set such an example that the other members would always do well to imitate you? Do you lead the way in such efforts to do good as the church should be making?
0.-Well, to speak the truth, I often fear I do not. I wish to do so, but I often fail of it; and frequently I feel that I am not living as I ought. How shall I live? What shall I do?
C-Why do you ask? Do you not know that you should live so as to be like Christ, in seeking to do good? and especially in seeking to save perishing souls?
0.-Yes. I ought to be seeking the salvation of my neighbours by all the means in my power, and showing my fellow-Christians that
to be a follower of Christ is to be earnest in seeking the salvation of souls.
C.-Have you been living according to this confession lately? Have you been an example of engagedness in seeking to do good?
0.-No; I have not. I have tried, somewhat, to live a blameless life; but, truly, I have not been an example of earnestness for the salvation of my neighbours.
C.-Then you have been acting unworthy of your office.
0.-I have. I cannot deny it. C.-Will you continue to act so? 0.-I hope not. I hope I shall know better.
C. On what do you ground that hope? Have you not often hoped so, and not done it?
0.-Yes; it is a fact; I cannot deny it.
C. And the consequence has been that your Christian friends, who look to their officers for guidance, have followed your example in negligence, and religion has languished,