Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pierre Allix on the Psalms

Pierre Allix (1641-1717) was a French Protestant pastor and author. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 compelled him to take refuge in London. There he set up a church in Jewin street, Aldersgate. He was the most celebrated Huguenot preacher of the 1680s in England. In 1690 Allix was created Doctor of Divinity by Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and was given the treasurership and a canonry in salisbury Cathedral by Bishop Gilbert Burnet.

The work is composed of two parts: First Allix presents an essay describing the correct method of interpreting the Psalms. The second part is the whole book of Psalms itself, supplied with short explanatory notes before each one.

The introductory essay by Allix, explaining the proper method of interpreting the Psalms, is an outstanding work. He argues conclusively, that the idea of “double meaning” is foolish. Neither Christ, nor His apostles ever understood the Psalms to have a double meaning (applied to David or Solomon, and also to Christ).

Allix write: “Nothing is more ordinary among the interpreters of the scripture, than to explain the Oracles of the Old Testament in the first place according to the Letter, and afterwards according to the spirit. They carefully refer to David, for instance, or to solomon, what they think belongs to them in the Psalms, and then what they find is non-applicable to David or to solomon, they pretend it has a regard to the Messias. The ground these Divines go upon-is, that the Holy Ghost in the New Testament has referred to our Lord Jesus Chris divers Prophesies, which seem to have been pronounced under the Old Testament with respect to David and to Solomon, and which indeed seem to befit them in some measure, though they have not an exact fulfilling in those Princes, but only in the Person of the Messias. “They assert therefore, that no inconvenience will follow from referring to the Type what belongs to it, and to the Antitype what concerns it; nay, they look upon this duplicity of sense in the same Prophecy, as worthy of the spirit of God, being an instance of the care he has taken to give his ancient People Types of the time to come...“I affirm that method to be absolutely unknown to the holy Writers; it is an human fancy, grounded only upon the invention of the Interpreters. And indeed, as it is not agreeable to natural Principles for God to grant a Revelation treating and speaking of two different Subjects and of two different Persons in the same speech, and with the same words, so one could never have guessed the Spirit of God did intend his Predictions should be so understood, without his particular Revelation that they had two senses this respected two Persons very different from each other in all the circumstances of place, time, and actions.”

Allix goes on to show how Peter, for instance, when citing Psalm 16, argues that it would be absurd to interpret it of David. Also, the Apostles refer more than once to David as “a prophet,” signifying that what he wrote could not possibly be about himself. It was the normal practice of Christ and His apostles to refer all of the Psalms to Christ – and to assert – in no uncertain terms - that they spoke of Him.

The early church did the same thing. This is seen in Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, in Tertullian's Treatise Against the Jews, and Cyprian's books to Quirinius. Allix says, in essence,
“You can't go wrong interpreting the Psalms the way that the Apostles did – mainly because they did so under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit who put the original words in the mouth of David.”

The power of the predictive nature of the Psalms is blunted, Allix maintains, by this double method of interpreting them. So he says, “And truly, supposing that method of interpreting Scripture by a double sense to be true, they could never have been able to persuade anybody from the old Prophecies. Go and tell an Heathen or a Jew that there are Prophecies in the Old Testament that speak of two persons; viz. of David and of the Messias; at the same time, without any difference in the Stile, but distinguished only by this characteristic: that what has been fulfilled in David in a lower sense, was to he fulfilled in the Person of the Messias in a much higher and more magnificent sense, and I am sure he will appear not at all satisfied. with the Proposition...So long as Divine Revelation is brought in to declare a fact which is at a distance, and which cannot be known and which cannot be known otherwise, the efficacy of the Prophecy is much weakened by supposing that the Holy Ghost has expressed himself concerning two Facts, one present, and the other more remote, in the same terms, this thing would naturally confound the sense of the Prophecy, and seems to want a new revelation for the distinguishing of its senses.”

There are some valuable insights in the prefatory notes for each Psalm, but the real gold is the introductory essay on interpreting the whole book. 

The book can be accessed here

Saturday, January 13, 2018

H.P. Liddon on the Timeless Nature of Scripture

“Some instruction, no doubt, is to be gathered from the literature of every people; the products of the human mind, in all its phases, and in circumstances the most unpromising, have generally something to tell us. But, on the other hand, there is a great deal in the wisest uninspired literatures that cannot properly be described as permanently or universally instructive; much in that of ancient Greece; much in that of our own country. And therefore, when an Apostle says of a great collection of books of various characters, and on various subjects —embodying the legislation, history, poetry, morals, of a small Eastern people —that whatsoever was contained in them had been set down for the instruction of men of another and a wider faith, living in a later age, and, by implication, for the instruction of all human beings, —this is certainly, when we think of it, an astonishing assertion. Clearly, if the Apostle is to be believed, these books cannot be like any other similar collection of national laws, records, poems, proverbs; there must be in them some quality or qualities which warrant this lofty estimate. 

“Then we may observe that, as books rise in the scale of excellence, whatever their authorship or outward form, they tend towards exhibiting a permanence and universality of interest; they rise above the local and personal accidents of their production, and discover qualities which address themselves to the mind and heart of the human race. 

This is, as we all know, the case to a great extent with Shakespeare. The ascendancy of his genius is entirely independent of the circumstances of his life, of which we know scarcely anything, and of the dramatic form into which he threw his ideas. He has been read, re-read, commented on, discussed, by nine generations of Englishmen; his phrases have passed into the language, so that we constantly quote him without knowing it; his authority as an analyst and exponent of human nature has steadily grown with the advancing years. Nay, despite the eminently English form of his writings, German critics have claimed him as, by reason of the wealth of his thought, a virtual fellow-countryman; and even the peoples of the Latin races, who would have greater difficulty in understanding him, have not been slow to offer him the homage of their sympathy and admiration. 

“And yet, by what an interval is Shakespeare parted from the books of the Hebrew Scriptures His grand dramatic creations, we feel, after all are only the workmanship of a shrewd human observer, with the limitations of a human point of view, and with that restricted moral authority which is all that the highest human genius can claim. But here is a Book which provides for human nature as a whole and which makes this provision with an insight and comprehensiveness that does not belong to the capacity of the most gifted men. Could any merely human authors have stood the test which the Old Testament has stood? Think what it has been to the Jewish people throughout the tragic vicissitudes of their wonderful history. Think what it has been to Christendom. For nineteen centuries it has formed the larger part of the religious handbook of the Christian Church; it has shaped Christian hopes; it has largely governed Christian legislation; it has supplied the language for Christian prayer and praise. The noblest and saintliest souls in Christendom have one after another fed their souls on it, or even on fragments of it; taking a verse, and shutting the spiritual ear to everything else, and in virtue of the concentrated intensity with which they have thus sought, for days, and weeks, and months, and years, to penetrate the inmost secrets of this or that fragment of its consecrated language, rising to heroic heights of effort and endurance. Throughout the Christian centuries the Old Testament has been worked like a mine, which is as far from being exhausted today as in the Apostolic age. Well might the old Hebrew poet cry, 'I am as glad of Thy Word as one that findeth great spoils.' 'The Law of the Lord is an undefiled Law, converting the soul the testimony of the Lord is sure, and giveth wisdom unto the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, and rejoice the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, and giveth light unto the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.'

“Even those parts of the Old Testament which seem least promising at first sight have some instruction to give us, if we will only look out for it. Those genealogies which occur in historical books sometimes remind us of the awful responsibility which attaches to the trans mission, with the gift of physical life, of a type of character, which we have ourselves formed or modified, to another, perhaps a distant generation or sometimes they suggest the care with which all that bore on the human ancestry of our Lord was preserved in the records of the people of revelation. Those accounts, too, of fierce war and indiscriminate slaughter, such as the extermination of the Canaanites, pourtray the vigour and thoroughness with which we should endeavour to extirpate sins that may long have settled in our hearts. Those minute ritual directions of the Law, which might at first sight read like the rubrics of a system that had for ever passed away, should, as they might, bring before us first one and then another aspect of that to which they pointed the redeeming work of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

H.P. Liddon, The Worth of the Old Testament, A sermon preached Second Sunday of Advent (December 8, 1889)

Friday, December 15, 2017

John 6 Is Not About The Sacrament Of The Lord's Supper

By corporal manducation, we understand the eating of bread and wine, which Jesus Christ honoured with the title of bis body and blood, because they are the sacrament and commemoration of them. But our opponents pretend actually to eat the body of Jesus Christ with the mouth, and to transmit it into the stomach; and to support this very gross and Capernaitical manducation, they allege the sixth chapter, where Jesus says that he is the bread come down from heaven, and promises to give them his flesh to eat.
  1. To believe that, we must purposely shut our eyes and contradict the Son of God, — for the whole discourse is ad dressed to the Jews of Capernaum, to whom he promises to give his flesh to eat. If by these words he promised to give them the Eucharist, he deceived them, for he never administered nor presented to them the Holy Supper.
  2. That even appears by the time at which Jesus Christ pronounced this discourse. The Holy Supper was not then instituted, nor till about two years after. How could our Lord's disciples know that he spoke to them of the Eucharist which had yet no existence, and which had never yet been mentioned any where throughout this discourse?
  3. Does our Lord make the slightest mention of the table, or of the cup, or of the supper, or of the breaking of bread, or of the distribution of bread among many? In short, there are none of those actions wherein the ad ministration of sacrament consists.
  4. It is to be remarked, that Jesus Christ often speaks in the present tense. He does not say, "I shall be the bread of life, — I shall be the bread come down from heaven;" but "I am the bread come down from heaven, — I am the bread of life; and he who eats my flesh hath eternal life." He was, therefore, the bread of life before the Holy Supper was instituted; and this bread could be eaten, and was the nourishment of the soul, at the time when the Holy Supper was not yet in existence.
  5. Now, that by eating and drinking the Lord means believing and confiding in himself, and thereby being made alive and sustained, he himself shews, saying, (verse 35,) "I am the bread of life; he who comes unto me shall never hunger; and whosoever believes in me shall never thirst." Who does not see that in this passage believe is put for drink, since thirst is quenched by believing; and as by the word come he speaks of a spiritual coming, so by the word drink he means a spiritual mode of drinking?
  6. And when the Lord says, (verse 47,) "He that believeth on me hath eternal life, — I am the bread of life," who does not see that this bread is received by believing? For Jesus Christ shews how he is the bread of life, viz. that they who believe on him have eternal life.
  7. Even the words on which our adversaries found the most, are those which are most adverse to them. The Lord says, (verse 53,) "Except ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you." — Here it is evident that he speaks of a manducation necessary to salvation, and without which no one can be saved. He does not, therefore, speak of a corporal and oral manducation of the Sacrament, seeing that without it so many are saved. To say that this manducation is not necessary in the fact, but in wish and desire, is to approach to our belief, and to reduce the necessity to a spiritual manducation. Besides, to say that no one is saved without desiring to partake of the Lord's Supper, is to exclude John the Baptist and the malefactor who was crucified with our Lord, from salvation, neither of whom partook of it either by act or wish. And we might bring the example of many Pagans and idolaters who, by hearing the words of martyrs, were suddenly converted, and were executed the same hour, without ever having heard of this Sacrament, and consequently without having formed any wish to partake of it. Many suffered martyrdom without even being baptised, and therefore were far from being prepared to partake of the Eucharist.
  8. The same thing likewise appears by what Jesus Christ adds in verse 54: "Whoso eateth my flesh hath eternal life." He does not speak of the manducation of the Sacrament, for many who eat of it have not eternal life. The usual evasion is, that Jesus Christ speaks of such as eat of this flesh worthily; from which it appears how clearly the truth is on our side. For, according to our be lief, the words of the Lord are true without any addition. — But our opponents, to extricate themselves, add their glosses, which proceed from their own invention, and not from the word of God. We may indeed eat of the bread unworthily, as Paul says, (I Cor. xi.) "whosoever shall eat this bread unworthily." But it is impossible to eat of the flesh of the Lord unworthily, since, as. we have shewn, to eat is to believe. We can no more believe in Jesus Christ unworthily than than we can love God unworthily, seeing that our worthiness consists in believing in Jesus Christ, and in loving God. This is what Cardinal Cajetan remarks on John vi. saying, "Jesus Christ does not say, whoso eats my flesh and drinks my blood worthily, but whoso eats and drinks; that we might know that he speaks of an eating and a drinking that has no need of modification," &c. It, therefore, clearly appears, that this discourse ought not to be understood literally; and that the Lord does not speak of eating and drinking the Sacrament, but of believing, and of being spiritually nourished by faith in his death.
  9. The Lord adds, in v. 56: "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." These words are decisive of the controversy. For they would be false if they were understood of the manducation of the Sacrament, it being a thing certain that hypocrites and the profane, who participate in the Sacrament, do not dwell in Christ, nor Christ in them. They receive the Sacrament into their stomach, and there it is soon destroyed by digestion. But to dwell in Christ is to be united to him by the constant, lasting, and reciprocal union, between him and believers. — For Cornelius Jansenius very justly remarks, that "he who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in Him; that is to say, he is intimately united to me, and I to him." And then he proves it by other passages: "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 John iv. 16. And again: "He that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him; and hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit he hath given us." Chap. iii. 24. Thence he infers that the Lord speaks in John vi. concerning a manner of eating peculiar to those who have faith working by love, and not of a corporal manducation, in which the wicked are partakers.
  10. If, to have Christ dwelling in us, it be necessary to eat him with our mouths; for the same reason, it will be necessary that he should eat us, that we may dwell in him.
  11. To direct our minds from carnal thoughts, Jesus adds, v. 63; "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." Since by Spirit he means his Spirit, by which we are regenerated, so also by flesh he means his human body. But it, he assures us, profits nothing — viz. by being taken in the way in which the Capernaites imagined. What would it profit a man to have Christ's head and feet in his stomach: or whether he swallowed it entire or by morsels? The absurdity is in each way equally great.
  12. Jesus adds: "The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life;" that is to say, life-giving and spiritual. They are quickening only to those who understand them spiritually, and who fancy no corporal or carnal manducation. This doctrine was maintained by Augustine, in his twenty-seventh Treatise Upon John. He asks: "What are we to understand by these words, they are spirit and life?" He replies: "It is necessary to understand them spiritually. Hast thou understood them spiritually? They are spirit and life to thee. Hast thou understood them carnally? In this manner, also, they are spirit and life, but not unto thee."
  13. At this the Capernaites and some of his disciples were offended, and said, It is a hard saying. Then he answered, "What if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" Augustine favours us with an explanation of these words, also, in the Treatise just quoted: "What does he mean in these words? He there solves the question that perplexed them. They thought he would give them his body; but he said unto them he would certainly ascend entire into heaven. When ye see the Son of Man ascending into heaven, where he was before, then, at least, you will surely see that he does not give you bis body as ye thought, — then, at least, ye will understand that his grace is not consumed by morsels."

- Pierre Du Moulin, Anatomy of the Mass, Chapter 37

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Roman Catholicism is novel, and was invented for the benefit of the Pope and the Clergy.

It is not with a very good grace that our opponents, after having disfigured and entirely changed the Christian religion, venture to accuse us of novelty. For, in truth, the Romish religion is a garment patched up with new pieces, — a heap of doctrines, invented and amassed from age to age, forged upon the anvil of avarice and ambition. We are ready to submit to all sorts of punishment, if, in five hundred years after Christ, and we could descend lower, it be proved that there was a single man who had a religion in the least resembling the religion of the Romish Church, such as it is at the present time. Can a single Church be found in antiquity, which deprived the people of the cup in communion? Did the Ancient Church forbid the people to read the Holy Scriptures? Did she believe in purgatory? Did any one then speak of Romish indulgences, and of the treasure of the Church, in which the Pope stows the superabundant satisfactions and penal works of saints and monks, and distributes them to others by his indulgences? Were images of God and the Trinity, in stone or in painting, then made? Were the images of saints worshipped? Were penitents seen whipping themselves in public, not only for their own sins, but also for the sins of others? Did the bishops of Asia, Egypt, or Africa, swear fidelity to the bishop of Rome, or accept letters of inves titure from him? Was the public service performed in a language which the people did not understand? Was the bishop of Rome then called God? Did he claim worship? Did he canonize saints? Did be pluck souls out of purgatory? Did he grant pardons for two or three thousand years? Did he depose kings, or vaunt of having the power to give and take away kingdoms? Had he the power to dispense with oaths and vows, and of dissolving marriages legitimately contracted, under pretence of the monastic profession? Did any then talk of chaplets, rosaries, blessed grains, Agnus Dei, &c.? I say the same of the titles, Queen of Heaven and Mistress of the World, given to the Virgin Mary; and of the various charges given to the saints, to one over a country, to another over a sickness, to another over a disease, to another over this or that trade. The power which the priests arrogate to themselves of pardoning sins in their quality of judges is likewise new, and is part of the iniquity of the later ages. In like manner, there is not a vestige to be found throughout antiquity, of private Masses, where there are no communicants and no hearers, said at the instance of those who pay for them. — The book, entitled the Tax of the Apostolic Chancery, shews at what price absolutions may be obtained for murder, parricide, incest, perjury. So many groats or ducats for having killed a father, and so many for maternal incest. A Romish Jesuit, named Sylvester Petra Saneta, lately wrote a book against me, from which I learn one thing I did not know before. He mentions, in chap. xiii. that during the time of Advent and Lent, the Pope does not permit any one in Rome to pass a whole night in a brothel, which would be a violation of the sanctity of Lent. On this account, during these days of devotion, it is permitted only to pass the day and part of the night with bawds. Are such laws to be found in the Ancient Church? In short, this religion is wholly of a late date — it is a confused collection of doctrines and laws, which were never heard of in ancient times, and were invented expressly for the pro fit and extension of the Papal Empire, — for the establishment of a monarchy, which had no existence in the first ages of the Church, — and for retaining the people in ignorance, lest the mystery of iniquity should be discovered. — The Pope and the Clergy find indulgences, private masses and prayers for trespasses, to be exceedingly lucrative. By means of auricular confession, the priests obtain knowledge of family secrets, and hold the conscience in bondage. They do not grant absolutions for nothing. The supererogatory works and satisfactions of monks replenish the spiritual treasury, of which the Pope keeps the key, and distributes them to the people by his indulgences, so lucrative to him , self and clergy. By granting absolutions, the priests make themselves judges of souls and judges in the cause of God. By reserving the communion cup to themselves and to kings, they make themselves the companions of kings, and assume a rank above the people. By the celibacy of bishops and other clergy, the Pope prevents the dissipation of the ecclesiastical treasures, and their being applied to the support and enriching of their children. 

By painting God the Father in the apparel of the Pope, the opinion is instilled into the people that God is like the Pope, and has a vast intimacy with him, since he has borrowed his robes. By the canonization of saints the Pope causes his valets to be worshipped by the people, and gives them the title of saints in recompense for their services.— By the sacrament of penance, the Pope and the priests usurp the power of imposing upon sinners pecuniary fines and corporal punishments, even to the flogging of kings. By performing the service in the Latin language, the people are retained in ignorance; by having it imposed upon them, they are taught that they are within the pale of the papal empire. The Roman language is bestowed on them for the purpose of subduing them to the Roman religion.— The power of the Pope to dethrone kings, makes him king of kings, and erects for him an empire, where he is elevated above all the grandeur of the world. The images, called the books of the ignorant, accustom men to neglect the Scriptures, which are utterly unknown in those countries where the inquisition reigns. By transubstantiation, the priests can make Jesus Christ, and keep him under their control. The Pope, by ordaining holy days during the week, regulates the civil police, causes the shops to be shut, and the sittings of the Courts of Justice and King's Council to be suspended. When merchants shut their shops, the clergy open theirs; and then it is that the people obtain pardons, visit relics, and sprinkle themselves with holy water, which is always at hand. The Pope, by the distinction of meats and fast-days, regulates the markets and stomachs, kitchens and tables, of kings and people. The more numerous the prohibitions are, the more frequently are applications made to Pope and Prelates for dispensations. The Pope decreed marriage to be a Sacrament, that he might take the cognizance of it away from judges and magistrates: for Sacraments are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Church.

The Pope, by dispensations for the degrees of consanguinity within which marriages are forbidden in the word of God, obliges the children of Princes, (for such dispensations are granted to none but the great,) born of such marriages, to defend his authority, that their own legitimacy may be maintained. From Annats and Archiepiscopal cloaks, the Pope derives incredible gain. For a mantle of this kind he draws sixty thousand ducats. The Pope, by the power he has assumed of being able to change the commandments, of God, and of absolving from oaths and vows made to God, exalts himself above God. For he who can absolve men from fidelity and obedience to God, must be greater than God. 

The invocation of saints, the worship of relics, and the miracles said to have been wrought by them, serve to build many churches and monasteries, which powerfully support the domination of the Pope; in short, all the crafty devices in the world has been employed to this end. Never was an empire raised with so much artifice. The doctrine which teaches us that Jesus Christ, by his death, delivers us from the guilt and punishment of sins committed before baptism, but that we must bear the punishment of the sins commit ted after baptism, either in this life or in purgatory, takes from the merits of Christ to make room for vile traffic, and to give credit to indulgences, and masses for the dead: every thing, in short, is turned to profit—even death itself is tributary to the Romish clergy.

Pierre Du Moulin, Anatomy of the Mass, Chapter 22

Friday, October 6, 2017

How the Church Benefits From Pædobaptism

The practice of baptizing the children of God's people, is of essential service to the interests of religion.

1. It is a sensible and positive proof of two of the prominent doctrines of revelation, — the depravity of infants, and their need of grace. It is the natural tendency of things in this world, for men to deny and disbelieve the moral corruption of human nature altogether; and, especially, to maintain the spotless innocence of newborn infants. That such errors as these would undermine the very foundation of the gospel, is certain. The denial of human depravity necessarily terminates in the denial of divine mediation; and the denial of the depravity of infants, is but the first step to the maintenance of adult innocence. The history of the church, too, bears ample testimony to the fact, that all such abatements of total human corruption, has finally terminated in the most dangerous heresies. Now, in the baptism of infants, the sinfulness of their natures, and their need of divine grace, are strikingly exhibited, and put beyond the power of contradiction.

2. This practice also impresses on the minds of all, the great importance of the salvation of children. From mistaken views of the innocence of children, or from their inferiority in society, there is a very great tendency to neglect their souls altogether. Thus both the minister and his people are apt, in contemplating the larger forms of human existence around them, to overlook those smaller ones, every where diffused through their families and churches. We preach for adults — we pray for adults, but forget the children. We spend our lives, for the most part, in attempting to straighten the old and sturdy oaks of the forest, while we bestow but little attention upon the saplings and twigs by their side. But wherever the duty of baptizing children has been well understood, and uniformly practised, there their salvation has always been a matter of corresponding interest and effort.

3. The administration of this ordinance to infants, also strengthens the faith and increases the fidelity of parents. The salvation of his child, is that which should burden a parent's heart much more than any thing besides. His relationship to his child, his affection for him, his influence over him, all, should make him seek this object above every other. Now, in the baptism of his child, such parent has his duty defined, his work laid out before him, and the offer of divine help for its execution afforded. The parent may be regarded as properly enough entering into the following soliloquy: 'If my child were not depraved, why baptize him? If he needed not regeneration, why apply to him its sign? If grace were not offered him, why am I commanded to bring him to a gospel ordinance? And if God will not bless my efforts, why enter into covenant with me in behalf of my offspring?' Surely, no parent can possibly attend to this important duty, without feeling, in his own soul, his faith confirmed and his desires elevated.

4. Again. The baptism of the young, promotes the interests of the church, by securing for them a proper religious training. It secures this training in two ways: first, by the propinquity of baptized children to the church; and secondly, by the obligations this ordinance imposes. This end is effected by the propinquity of such children to the professing church. We have already shown, that they stand on the very threshold of the spiritual temple. They occupy a kind of nursery, in the very porch of the Christian community. This being the case, they are neither foreigners nor strangers; but the very seed and offspring of the kingdom of Christ. Their situation yields to them the very best advantages they could possibly have, for the attainment of Christian knowledge. They are like young Samuel, whom his mother dedicated to the Lord, and had raised in the very tabernacle itself.

All the doctrines and hopes of religion, its institutions and blessings, are all theirs by birthright. Over them piety sheds her constant and hallowed influence. Faith, with all her witnesses for the truth, is continually pleading with their hearts. The voice of the Redeemer, saying, 'Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven,' is continually rolling on their ears. For them, Hope is planting on the fair canopy of heaven an immortal star; and Charity, loveliest of the graces, is lightening in their tender countenances, the smiles of eternal joy, and spreading before them all the attractions of a life of holiness and peace. Thus circumstanced, how almost inevitable is the surrender of their youthful hearts to God.

But this practice also secures the religious training of the young, by the obligations it imposes. Obedience to divine commands is absolutely enjoined upon both those who administer and those who receive this ordinance. ' This is my covenant,' said God to Abraham, 'which ye shall keep.' And said Christ to his apostles, 'teach them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.' There is an obligation, therefore, imposed upon the church, as well as upon the parent, to inculcate upon the young disciple the lessons of Christianity. There is also an obligation resting upon the child to receive and practise such instructions. Now it is evident, that, under such circumstances as these, the religious training of the child would be as effectually secured, as in the nature of things it could be in this life.

5. This practice also elevates the standard of piety in a church. This it does in at least three ways. First, by promoting the religion of the family. It awakens a deeper interest in the bosom of parents about the salvation of their offspring. It causes them to expect more, to undertake more. The consequence of this will be greater attainments of personal piety among parents themselves — more prayerfulness — more self-denial — more frequent fastings, and greater uniformity and consistency of deportment. And as he, who is most busy at home is most apt to be industrious abroad, so the domestic labors and piety of the parent, will but prepare him for entering into more extensive fields of usefulness and duty. But this end is also attained, by uniting and harmonizing the entire efforts of the whole church, in promoting the salvation of her children. From this field of enterprise no believer in Pædobaptism can feel himself excused: — the obligation is an universal one, the duty is common. The necessary consequence of this will be, the originating of all those schemes and plans, by which the minds of children may be reached and well indoctrinated in the truths of the gospel. Parents will teach at home — the Pastor and Elders will visit and catechise — Infant and Sabbath Schools will be gotten up and supported — ordinary schools and academics will be established on Christian principles — and every possible instrument wielded, in order to secure an object so grand and so obligatory. Now, in the carrying forward of such a work as this, consists the very vitality of religion in a church. A stagnant religion can have no existence. Piety is active and benevolent in her very nature. The more, therefore, that a church is usefully employed, the more vigorous will be the exercises of grace among her members. Nor will the good work terminate with the immediate children of the church. Christians would become, under such circumstances, 'nursing fathers and mothers' to the offspring of unbelieving parents. They would be ready to feel for wretchedness, wherever it existed; and thus to diffuse their prayers, their sympathies, and their alms, over the whole world. The other way in which this practice would accomplish the end contemplated is, by furnishing candidates for admission into the church with the most eminent qualifications. Being born and raised in the very nursery of piety, and enjoying the very best opportunities for the improvement of the mind, and the cultivation of the heart, the children of the church would not only be early introduced into full membership, but would come in with advantages for a pious life, which no others could possibly enjoy.

6. This practice also renders the preaching of the gospel more efficient. One of the greatest evils with which the ministry has to contend is, the encountering of that opposition which arises from the ignorance, stupidity, prejudices, errors, and profligacy, which result from the neglect of domestic training. To enlighten a mind long enshrouded in the grossest ignorance, to awaken a conscience long seared in stupidity and sin, to bend a will long accustomed to its own control, to purify affections polluted with the grossest indulgences, to unfetter a soul manacled and chained in impiety, thus to transform the very image of Satan into that of Christ, is a work as discouraging as it is difficult. The filling of the house of God with such hearers as these, is but to render preaching a most hopeless task. It is like sending for the physician when the patient is in the very agony of death. It is to expect reformation, when the principle to be reformed is itself almost entirely annihilated by a course of abandoned profligacy. It is but to tempt God, and require miracles. In this case, the ministry becomes almost an insupportable burden, and is likely to be attended with little or no success. On the contrary, where parents have been faithful in the discharge of their duty, and where, by his early baptism, the youth has been placed under the inspection and control of the church, the work of pulpit instruction becomes both easy and pleasant. In such cases, the conscience is tender, the heart impressible, and the disposition tractable. Long accustomed to venerate his spiritual teacher, the young man esteems him as a father and loves him as a friend. He values his counsels and receives his instructions. His place in the church is agreeable and easy; and every thing connected with religion has, to the view of his mind, a lovely aspect, and exerts upon him a softening influence. The triumphs of the gospel, under such circumstances, must always be great and glorious. The work of saving men is much more than half accomplished in the family. Thus, while the pulpit upholds and sustains the piety of the family, in its turn the latter upholds and sustains that of the pulpit.

7. Another advantage which this practice renders the church is, that it offers the greatest possible inducement to unbelievers to embrace religion. The command to them is like that to Noah, 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark.' The same covenant that embraces the parent, is also extended to the children; the same seal by which grace is offered and confirmed to him, is likewise applied to his offspring. When, therefore, an ungodly father sees, on the one hand, the great injury he is rendering his family, through his impenitence and unbelief; and on the other, the great advantage he may be to them by becoming truly pious; how irresistible are the reasons that thus operate upon his mind? And how powerful must be those appeals, from the sacred desk, to such parents, which represent them as placed in the fearful alternatives, of either bearing their children along with them to hell; or lifting them up by their faith to the abodes of blessedness! What parent's heart can be steeled to such entreaties and motives as these?

Samuel Jones Cassels, Lectures on Pædobaptism (1834), Lecture 12: The Reception of Children into Church-Membership

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