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rious achievements to be commemorated by which our redemption was effected. A church was instituted, which was to be the repository of the laws, of the mercy and grace of God.— Destined to be everlasting in its duration, it was the promise of the Divine Founder of the church, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. Officers were appointed to rule it; to administer its ordinances; to conduct its worship; to enact its laws; to execute its discipline—and, with them, successively deriving their power from him, the Redeemer promised to be “alway, even to the end of the world.” Into this church, the “body” which derives life, strength, and salvation from Christ its head, baptism was instituted as the sacred rite of admission. In this regenerating ordinance, fallen man is born - again from a state of condemnation into a state of grace; he obtains a title to the presence of the Holy Spirit, to the forgiveness of sins, to all those precious and immortal blessings which the blood of Christ purchased. The humble christian, who, by actual ". by lively faith, and holy obedience, fulfils his baptismal engagements, is invested in the holy rite of confirmation with all those spiritual privileges and blessings which baptism conditionally conferred, with the manifold and strengthening gifts of the Holy Ghost.*. In the hallowed worship of the sanctuary, he maintains that * Acts viii. 17.
sacred intercourse with heaven by which his faith is confirmed, his love quickened, his resolutions of obedience strengthened, his soul prepared for the exalted and blissful services of the church and temple of God eternal in the heavens. By that powerful grace which accompanies the preaching of the word, the terrors of the law are fastened on the hearts of the secure and careless; the cheering promises of mercy applied to the trembling conscience of the penitent; divine light, consolation, and triumph poured upon the path which conducts the christian to immortal blessedness and glory. In that most sublime and exalted ordinance, the Holy Eucharist, are concentred all the blessings of the Redeemer's mercy, and the almighty energies of his grace and love. In the participation of it, the humble and devout believer offers unto God the acceptable sacrifice of thanksgiving for the infinite mercies of redemption. He becomes united to his Saviour in the bonds of the everlasting covenant. The pardon of his sins, the renovating and consoling guidance of divine grace, the love and favour of his reconciled Father and God, a title to immortal felicity and glory, are conveyed and sealed to him by the body and blood of Christ, of which, under lively emblems, he gratefully and triumphantly partakes. Behold then, O my soul, the same glorious plan distinguishing all the divine dispensations! It hath pleased the Sovereign Lord of the uni
verse uniformly to dispense his mercy and grace through the channel of ordinances and rites, instituted as the means and pledges of salvation. Humble and insignificant to the eye of sense, to the proud and presumptuous mind, may appear the rites which Jehovah makes the pledges of his mercy, the effectual means of redemption to his fallen creatures. But faith will discern in them the power of the most high God, whose ways are not as our ways ; who, both in nature and in grace, accomplishes the most stupendous objects by the most humble instruments; and who more illustriously magnifies his power and confounds. the pride of man, in proportion to the natural weakness and imperfection of the agents who carry on and effect the purposes of his sovereign will. The holy sacraments of the church advance. our salvation, not only by their natural tendency to cherish faith, gratitude, penitence, love, and every other divine virtue, but by the refreshing grace and mercy which they convey to those who receive them worthily. They are not merely lively and affecting memorials, calculated to impress on the mind the interesting truths of redemption, and to display, by significant emblems, the exalted glories and triumphs of redeeming love. But they are instituted by God as pledges of his grace and mercy, as channels to convey to degenerate man spiritual blessings and privileges, ordina
rily to be obtained in no other way. The sprinkling of the body by water, is a significant emblem of our natural guilt and pollution, and of the spiritual purification which we must undergo. Bread broken and wine poured out, may be considered as lively symbols of the sufoferings and death of the Saviour, in remembrance of whom we eat the bread and drink the wine. The Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, considered in this single point of view, as memorials or emblems of the most interesting spiritual truths, are calculated to produce the most important instruction and consolation. But their value and importance rise beyond all comparison, when we regard them further as the instituted means and pledges of all the blessings of salvation. Wherever the *gospel is promulgated, the only mode through which we can be admitted into covenant with God, the only mode by which we can obtain a title to those blessings and privileges which Christ has purchased for his mystical body the church, is the sacrament of Baptism. The only mode by which we can become interested in the merits of the Saviour's death and passion, by which the guilt of sin can be removed, and its power subdued in our hearts; the only mode by which our perishing natures can derive the divine blessing of immortal glory, is the participation of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Repentance, faith, and obedience, will not, of themselves, be effectual to our salvation. The holy sacraments are the instituted means by which God conveys to the penitent and faithful those spiritual and immortal blessings, for which repentance, faith and obedience are indeed necessary qualifications. “Repent, and be baptised for the remission of sins.” “Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” We may sincerely repent of our sins; we may heartily believe the gospel; we may walk in the paths of holy obedience; but until we enter into covenant with God by Baptism, and, ratifying our vows of allegiance and duty at the holy sacrament of the Supper, commemorate the meritorious sacrifice of Christ, we cannot assert any claim to salvation. We possess the necessary qualifications for it—but it is solemnly and formally conveyed to us only in Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These are the only means by which we receive the inestimable blessings of redemption—the only pledges by which they are astured to us.