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The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

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Prov. iii. 16. Happy are the youth, who thus
serve God. How inexpressible are the bles-



220

sings which such bring upon themselves ! and
how do Ihey cause the hearts of their parents,
and friends, to overflow with joy ! whilst the
ungodly and disobedient, who, contrary to
counsel, «Sic., give the reins to their unruly
passions, wound their parents with grief, be-
come a reproach to their profession, and ren-
der their own lives short and miserable.



For " The Friend."
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE INFIDEL.

The following lines were written many
years a^o, and were suggested by the circum-
stance, that one of the author's early associ-
ates became an unbeliever, and endeavoured
to maintain his opinions, by no better reason-
ing than is to be found below.

Though an amiable youth, his mind was of
a cast peculiarly liable to be influenced by the
sophistry of those who profess, what are mis-
called, " liberal opinions." He was of quick
parts, but shallow — ardent in his temper, and
hasty in his conclusions. His opinions were
therefore formed rashly, and, from appearan-
ces, rather than realities. Not only was this
the case, as regards things of minor im-
portance, but he judged no better in reference
to those of the highest interest.

He was by nature gifted with a copious
flow of language. This led his associates to
place too high an estimate on the powers of
his mind ; for it is a common error to judge
of the quality of a man's intellect, by the
quantity and fluency of his words. But per-
haps none were more deceived on this point
than himself; for he evidently believed that
he possessed a peculiarly strong and indepen-
dent mind. Thus deceived respecting his
own powers, and leaning upon them, he turned
away from that Divine and inspeaking voice
which leads into all truth, and forsook the
jiath, in which the way-faring man, though a
fool, shall not err. He then wandered " in
darkness and doubt," from one degree of
scepticism to another, until he was finally
tempted to say in his heart, with the fool,
" there is no God."

This individual has long-since gone to give
an account of his stewardship, to Him, who
will not be mocked, and who cannot be de-
ceived. He flourished awhile, " like a green
bay tree," and was cut down. When the ter-
rors of death came upon him, he found that
unbelief had no balm for the pains of his body,
nor yet for the far greater anguish of his spi-
rit. " Having lived without God in the world,
he died without hope, — proving in his last
moments the truth of the Scripture dec
laration, " that the way of the transgressor
is hard."

Whatever a man's natural oracquired parts
may be, or however wise he may be esteei
among the judges of this world, if he rejects
the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit
and relies on his own understanding, there i;
nothing too false or too wicked for " the de-
ceivableness of unrighteousness" to lead him
into. Such a man will inevitably find — and it
may be when it is too late — that he has for
eaken the only source of wisdom and truth —
the fountain oflivinj; waters, " and hewn out for



THE FRIEND.



himself cisterns, — broken cisterns, that will
hold no water." J. S. K.

First hear the Infidel. He argues thus—

If mailer was, as the believers say,

Crtalcd, planned, and fashioned by a God,

All-wise, all seeing, and omnipoient,

Earth would in all her vast eircuinference,

Declare the aulhorsiiip of Deily,

By an enlirc perfectness throughout.

But Is creation perfect? Why do yon

Bleak, barren mountains — vast excrescences —

Useless, unsightly, inaccessible.

In cheerless desolation pierce the clouds?

Why are there dreary deserts— wastes of sand.

Where, of earth's myriads of plants and flowers.

Lavished and crowded upon other plains,

None bud or flourish there, to gladden him.

The poor wild Arab, who inhabits them ?

How oft the wanderer o'er these springlcss wastes,

'rorlured with burning thirst, would gladly give

All his possessions — miser though he is, —

For one heart-cheering drop of that, which yet

In its abundance, proves to other lands

An inundating curse.

If earth is governed by Omnipotence,

And follows laws, fixed and immulab]:',

Why is it rent by earthquakes? Why convulsed

By terrible volcanoes ! Wliy is man,

— Perhaps most perfect of imperfect things —

So often ushered on the stage of lile.

Distorted, crippled, — deaf and dumb, and blind, —

Monstrous in countenance and lacking mind ?

Why is he tortured, through the longest life.

By an accumulating load of ills.

Which has no limit in extent or power?

Say, if there is an overruling God,

Why are there imperfections in his works,

And why is man so wretched ?

Cease, unbeliever, cease ! Blasphemous zeal.

Transcends thy knowledge far. Dost thou presume,

A dwarf in iutellecl, to judge the works

Of Ihe Omniscient and Eternal God ? —

Works, which those giant minds, permitted here.

To look most deeply m their mysteries.

Have to exclaim, with saints of holy writ,

' How great and marvellous are all thy works

Lord Gud Almighty, just and true tliy ways.

Thou King of saints !' Yet thy dim • jauudiced eye,'

Sees error and imperfeclness in all !

Know that the error 's thine ! The works of God,

Serve all the interests of his creature man ; —

Knowledge adores, whilst Ignorance reviles.

Even those barren mountains, lowering high.

Have their appointed service. They give birth

To fertalizing rivers, and a.ssist

To purily the atmosphere we breathe.

Yea, the volcano in its fearful might,

And the upheaving earthquake, and the flood.

Are never things of chance, but follow laws

Planned in unerring wisdom and design.

And every clime is suited to the wauls

Of him, to whom it is assigned of God.

Know that the hunter on his alpine heights.

Springing from cliff to cliff', in swift pursuit

Of the wild chamois, o'er eternal snows,

Thinks nature showers her luxuries on him.

And clings with (bndness to his mountain home ;

While the wild Arab, on his desert sands,

Springless and flowerless as they seem to be,

Would curl his lip with a contemptuous smile.

To hear thy lamentation over him ;

And bid thee sigh for those, condemned to dwell

In the green vallics of fertility.

But Christians own, that this is not a scene
Of perfect happiness, nor was designed
By God to be so. They esteem the world
But as an outer court, to prove them in,
And fit them for a belter. They can see.
In things accounted imperfections here —
In the distorted, lame, and blind, and sick.
Strong evidence to prove this world is not
-Man's final habitation, and can feel, —
Yes, the diseased Ihemselvcs, and thousands do —
Grateful to God, that in his providence,
Afflictions are pcrmilted, to wean man



From a reliance here, and point him towards

That brighter, belter, and eternal world.

Which is to be revealed !

Ah, unbeliever ! wilfully made blind !

Wretched in this life— hopeless of the next !

How cold and cheerless thy philosophy !

It has no consolation for that day

Rapidly coming, when, in Deatli's embrace,

Thy form shall moulder into kindred dust.

Thy brightest hope is for eternal sleep !

But thou hast fears! — yes, agonizing fears,

Lest there may be, for spiritual life,

A resurrection I — and the very thought

Curdles thy flowing blood with agony !

Oh yes ! there is an ' after scene' for those,

Who on His earth have blasphemed, and reviled

Almighly God, and his wise providence,

Turning in impious mockery away

From that redemption purchased by his Son.

For these, eternity 's an awful scene.

Of weeping, wailmg, and of gnashing teeth !

But for the righteous, in that solemn day,

When all the visible creation fades,

\ud the soul's tenement returns to dust,

Ti.ere is a place of purity on high,

Wiierc the redeemed no longer sltall be clothed

With flesh diseased, corrupted, or deformed.

All shall be clothed anew — all put on robes

Of immortality, and dwell within

That golden tity, whose foundation stones

Are jasi,er, emerald and amclhist;

Where is tlie tree of life, and that pure stream,

Whose waters are all gladness ; and tlie throne

Of the all-wise, eternal, infinite.

And glorious Creator ! — unto whom

Holiest ofllolies, be, forevermore.

Joyful thanksgivings, and the song of praise 1



The Xhtmeg Tree flourishes in Singapoore,
near I he equator. It is raised from the nut
in nurseries, where it remains till the fifth
year, when it puts forth its first blossom and
shows its sex. It is then set out permanently.
The trees are planted thirty feet apart, iQ
diamond order ; a male tree in the centre.
They begin to bear in the eighth year, in-
creasing for many years, and they pay a large
profit. They are cultivated chiefly by Euro-
peans. There is no nutmeg season. Every
day of the year shows buds, blossoms, and
fruit, in every stage of growth to maturity.
The nutmeg is a large and beautiful tree, with
thick foliage, and of a rich and deep green
colour. The ripe fruit is singularly brilliant.
The shell is glossy black, and the mace it ex-
poses when it bursts, is bright scarlet ; making
it one of the most beautiful products of the
vegetable world.



It is a curious fact that the best slate quar-
ries in Europe are in Bangor, in Wales, and
slate quarries have been discovered near the
town of the same name in this country, Ban-
gor, Maine, which are pronounced by all the
Geologists to be quite as extensive and valu-
able as those of VVales. The quarries at Ban-
gor, Wales, employ 20110 men and boys, and
during the shipping season twenty or thirty
vessels are constantly waiting for cargoes,
which are delivered at the wharf for .f 10 to
.$12 per ton. It has been ascertained from
actual experiment on a considerable quantity,
that equally good slate from the main quar-
ries can be delivered on the wharf at Bangor,
Me., at the same price, under all the disad-
vantages of a new business. — Newburyport
Herald.



THE FRIEND.



221



For " The Friend."
WATER BAPTISM.

(Concluded from page 310.)

Again. We are aware it has been asserted
that the apostles understood our Lord to mean
water baptism, because they uniformly prac-
ticed it afterwards. We have already shown
that they uniformly practised it before; will
this also prove the same point? or will it not
rather prove that their practice, both before,
and after, had its origin from a very different
source? this we purpose showing under our
last head.

But let us suppose, for the sake of argu-
ment, that the apostles did understand our
Lord to mean water baptism, and practised it
accordingly ; would this prove ihey were cor-
rect? or would it not rather prove that they
had misunderstood him ? And lest any surprise
should be suggested at our supposition, we will
show in the first place, that they did misun-
derstand the major branch of this commission.
And,

2d. VVe purpose showing that if they un-
derstood him to mean water baptism, they
misunderstood the minor branch also. 1st.
The main branch of this commission was,
" go teach all nations." Now it is manifest,
that one and all of the apostles misunderstood
this part of the comnussion, since it required
almost a miracle to convince Peter that it
was his duty to go and preach to Cornelius
and his Gentile friends, and on his return, h
was taken to task by the rest of the apostle
for having done so.

So inveterate were the prejudices of the
apostles against other nations, that they mis.
took a plain command. This being the case
would it be any wonder, if, while their strong
Jewish prejudices were in play, they should
continue a practice after our Lord's ascen-
sion, which they had uniformly practised be-
fore, more especially, if they supposed they
had our Lord's sanction for its continuance.



2. W(



purpose



to show that if they



did understand our Lord to mean water bap-
tism, as above stated, they misunderstood
him. It will be readily admitted on all hands
that the advocates of water baptism, (as found-
ed on this commission,) consider it a very
broad one, clothing, not only the apostles to
whom it was given, with authority to adminis-
ter it, but also the entire Christian ministry to
the end of the world. A very comprehensive
commission indeed !

We should like to hear these strenuous
advocates, in behalf of this broad commission,
^^^ for the circumstance of its not being
^^^^nough to clothe Paul with authority.
Henas told us explicitly that he had " no
commission to baptize with water." Can it
be possible that the apostle had never seen or
heard of the commission recorded in Matth.
xxviii. 19; or can wesu|)pose that he was the
only Christian minister singled out, from the
days of Jesus Christ to the end of the world,
who was left without a commission to ad-
minister this supposed indispensable ordinance
of the gospel? We trust that no one will ven-
ture to make such an assertion, for we will
undertake to say, without the fear of contra-



diction, that no other gospel minister, from The true state of the case is this: our
his day to the present, ought to have been so ■ Lord makes the same use of water that John
particularly authorized to administer this or- does of fire; they are both used as figures;
dinance, had it been intended by Jesus Christ water denotes the washing of moral pollution
as an ordinance of the gospel church. Was from the soul ; fire denotes the purifying the
he not particularly and specially called to be dross of sin from the soul, and separatmg it
the apostle of the Gentiles ? his field of labour from the pure metal. Now if we take one of
was much more extensive than that of all the these texts in a literal sense, by what rule of
other apostles, and yet we are told that all the criticism or divinity can we take the other in
others (together with the entire Christian a spiritual sense ?

ministry, lo the present day, to a man) were ' We are aware that it maybe said that
conmiissioned, and Paul left without. This John the baptist alluded to the cloven tongues
supposition is too preposterous ever to have of fire that accompanied the out pouring of the
entered into the calculation of any, but those Spirit, and which sat on each of the disciples
who have been carried away by the prejudice on the day of Pentecost. Well, be it so, as far
of education. _ ' as that miraculous appearance was an emblem

We once got into conversation with a cler- of the holy fire within, which inspired the
gyman of the Campbellite baptist order, who tongues of the disciples to proclaim the won-
acknowledged that Paul had no commission to drous works of God ; but that it went no
administer baptism, but observed, that " the farther than the outward appearance, is con-
apostle always took some one with him that I tradicted by what follows in the succeeding
was commissioned." We have stated this verse :" Whose fan is in his hand, and he will
occurrence to show how lame error is. The thoroughly purgehis floor,andgatherhis wheat
futility of such a shift is made manifest by the into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff
circumstance, that the Apostle Paul adminis- j with unquenchable fire."
tered water baptism, as well as the other 'i"o understand our Lord's meaning, we must
apostles, and it is evident that his administra- take the whole discourse on both sides to-
tion of that ordinance was just as valid as that!gether. It is evident that Nicodemus believed
of the others, which it could not be, if the rest | that Jesus was a messenger from God, and had
had a commission and he not. If it was theja desire to know more of him and his doc-
case that all the others were commissioned,! trine ; his candid acknowledgment of our
and Paul not, then he was practising a base i Lord's Divine mission was followed on the
imposition upon all those whom he baptized part of the Saviour, with the prompt declara-
with water. Will any one dare to say thisltion, that "except a man be born again he
was the case? Will any one dare to say the cannot see the kingdom of God."
apostle was an impostor? and yet this is the| This Nicodemus could not understand, he
dilemma to which all those are reduced who could not see how " a man could be born again
believe that Jesus Christ commanded water when he was old, or how he could enter the
baptism as an ordinance of the gospel church, second time into his mother's womb and be

Having thus tested the strength of the main born." Our Lord now brings forward the
pillar that supports the mighty fabric of whole subject ; the type as well as the anti-



water baptism as a gospel ordinance com-
manded by Jesus Christ, we come to the
second strongest text that is brought in sup-
port of this claim. John, chapter iii., v. 5,
Except a man be born of water, and of the



type, and shows Nicodemus that it was a spi-
ritual birth, and not a birth of the flesh, to
which he alluded. It is worthy of observation,
that when our Lord first broached the sub-
ject, he said nothing about either water or



Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of j Spirit. It was no surprise then that Nicode-



God." This text, understood literally, proves
a little more than baptists themselves contend
for. In the first place, it proves that water
baptism is just as essential to an entrance into
the kingdom of God, as that of the Spirit;
WQre this true, then water baptism is essential
to salvation. Will any man undertake to say
that none but those who are baptized with
water can go to heaven ? 2d. It proves two
baptisms belonging to the gospel, equally
essential to the salvation of the soul, the one
of water, the other that of the Spirit. But
why must we understand our Lord lo mean
water literally? Did not John the baptist,
when speaking of the introduction of Christ's
baptism, say, that it should be with the Holy
Ghost and with fire ? Must we understand this
text literally too? if so, then we shall have
three baptisms, one of fire, one of water, and
one of the Holy Ghost ; and should no other
mode but that of immersion answer the pur-
pose, then the subjects of fire baptism must
be plunged into fire. These are the legiti-
mate conclusions to which we are inevitably
led by understanding these texts literally.



did not understand him ; but when the
Saviour had explained the subject, and showed
him that the birth of the Spirit was the anti-
type of water baptism under the law, he then
makes it a matter of reproach to Nicodemus,
as a master in Israel, that he did not know
these things.

Now this part of the subject is a key to all
the rest ; for if being born of water, as well as
being born of the Spirit, was new to Nicode-
mus, and had been taught lo him by our Lord
for the first time, as those would have us be-
lieve, who suppose this to be the case, how
could it be a matter of reproach to Nicodemus,
as a master in Israel, that he did not know
these things? The meaning then of the en-
lire passage, is this; — Our Lord having got
the attention of Nicodemus wakened up to this
wondrous subject of the new birth, ho takes
him immediately back to the legal disjiensation
where he knew that Nicodemus, as a master
in Israel, would be at home, and there shows
him that those typical cleansings by water,
pointed to that very new birth he was then
talking about, and that water baptism under



QOO



THE FRIEND.



the Jewish dispensation was a shadow of this
good thing to come, according to Paul, He-
brews X. 1. After our Lord liad shown Nico-
demus that it was a spiritual birth, the anti-
type of water baptism among tlie Jews; he
then says to him, " Marvel not that I said unto
thee, ye must be born again," and proceeds to
show him by the analogy of tlie wind blowing,
that this spiritual birlii could only be known
by its eff(3cts; "The wind blowelh where it
listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,
but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth, so is every one that is born
of the Spirit."

Nicodemus evidenced throughout the whole
of this interview the trutli of what Paul said
of the Jewish people at large, 2d Cor. iii. 15,
" But even unto this day when Moses is read,
the veil is upon iheir hearts." Notwithstand-
ing our Lord had so fully explained this sub-
ject to Nicodemus, yet we hear him manifest-
ing his want of conviction, by asking how
can these things be ? It was at this crisis of
the discourse, that our Lord reproached him
with being a master in Israel, and not know-
ing these things. He had, in the language of
Paul, been reading Moses to him, but the veil
was on his heart. We now conclude our re-
marks on this passage of Holy Writ, by
observing, that upon no other principle can
our Lord's censure of Nicodemus be justified
than the principle laid down above, viz. : tliat
being born of water, alluded to by our Lord,
was the legal purification of the Jewish eco-
nomy, of which the baptism of the Spirit is the
antitype.

The third te.xt upon which water baptism
is built as an ordinance of the gospel com-
manded by Jesus Christ, is found in Mark xv.
16, " And he said unto them, go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature : he that believeth, and is baptized,
shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall
be damned." This is only a different edition
of the commission given, Matth. xxviii. 19,
and contains nothing worthy of further re-
mark, save two particulars, the first of which
is, that this is the text upon which the baptists
lay so much stress in favour of the baptism of
none but adult believers. The only ground of
dispute on this particular, between the view
we have taken, and that of the baptists, is the
following : they say he meant water baptism,
we say he meant the baptism of the Holy
Ghost. We have no idea that our Lord had
any intention of misleading his hearers, by
leaving an impression on their minds that
there was any thing e.-;sential to salvation in
water baptism. Not so with the baptism of
the Holy Ghost ; for, notwithstanding the be-
liever is invariably saved, whether he is bap-
tized with water or not, yet he cannot be
saved unless he is baptized with the Holy
Ghost. Now, as Paul has told us, that there
is but one baptism, and whereas our Lord
couples baptism with believing as equally
essential to salvation, we have no hesitation in
avowing our firm conviction that our Lord
meant the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

There is no difficulty whatever coimected
with this plain literal construction of the text ;
for he who cordially believes with the heart



unto righteousness, and is sanctified by the
baptism of the Spirit, will undoubtedly be
saved. But several difliculties stand in the
way, when we understand it to mean water
baptism.

1st. It makes two baptisms belonging to the
gospel dispensation.

2d. That these two baptisms are equally
essential to salvation : this has uU been noticed
before.



Testimony of the Monthly Meeting of Friends
of Philadelphia for the ISovthern District,
held Ninth month 2oth, 1639, concerning
Jonathan Evans.

CConcliideii from page 215.)

As an elder, he was endued with discern-
ment and sound judgment, in relation to the
ministry; and rejoiced when he was sensible
that it proceeded from the openings of the
Divine gift. He entered into deep feeling and
travail of spirit with the sincere and honest-
hearted labourers, endeavouring to bear up,
and strengthen their hands in the arduous
work, and would speak a word in season,
when discouragement or dismay assailed
tliem. He was careful, that time should be
allowed for those who apprehended it to be
their place to come forward in tliis capacity,
to give proof of their ministry ; and towards
such he acted with prudence, that where a
gift was dispensed it might be properly cher-
ished. When it was evident that any had
mistaken their place in the body, or that
others who had once received a gift were
fallen from it, after proper care was extended,
he was firm with such, in order to preserve
the Society from the desolating effects of a
spurious ministry.

Several years before the separation of
1827, he saw with sorrow the inroads, which
this kind of ministry was making upon the
Society, and contemplated with deep regret,
the disorganization which it was insidiously
introducing amongst a people, who had hith-
erto stood a united body, and whose princi-
ples, and order, had commanded respect from
its members. His love to his own Society, its
faith, and its discipline was strong, and the
prospect of its reputation, and the cause



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 82 of 154)