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signs, the invisible grace of God is communicated to believers.

He that cometh to God must have some visible sign, by which he may bear testimony of his real internal conversion; and God himself desires, by certain signs, on the other hand, to assure and confirm to us his gracious promises. We ought not to suppose, however, that God is unable to perceive our real conversion without these sensible signs, or that he could not have assured us in some other way of his gracious promises, and of our being admitted into the covenant of his grace. But he appointed them for the better establishment of his church; for as man is constituted, not of a soul only, but of a body also, and as that which strikes our senses usually produces the deepest impression upon the mind, and as the church is a visible society in the world; so for these reasons, our Lord, ever watchful over our salvation, was pleased to institute visible ordinances, that we, in the observance of them, might confirm and bear testimony to our faith before all; that we might likewise have the stronger confidence in the divine promises; and by these visible signs be mutually united to one another, while the church should be thereby evidently separated from all other societies.

Such ordinances are, by the church, denomina

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ted mysteries; for this reason, that in them, we believe in something different from the visible sign; for example, I see in baptism the body washed with water, but I believe, that in the baptismal font, the soul is washed from its sins by the Holy Ghost.

There are different mysteries, some of the Old and others of the New Testament. Those of the Old were two, Circumcision and the Passover, or the eating of the paschal lamb. Circumcision was ordained by God to Abraham, and to all his posterity. It was a holy ordinance, which on a man's receiving, he entered into a covenant with God; Gen. xvii. 10. This visible circumcision, according to the explanations of Paul, was a sensible sign, (Rom. ii. 29.) of the internal circumcision of the corrupt passions, which ought, indeed, to be cut off, by all who desire to serve God faithfully. Hence it is easy to conceive, why all believers are called the children of Abraham, because they ought always to be careful about their spiritual circumcision, the sign of which Abraham received.

When the finisher of our salvation, Jesus Christ, came into the world, and by offering up himself a sacrifice, cleansed us from all sin, then the Jewish circumcision of the flesh was abolished, because, on the appearance of that which was prefigured,


the type could no longer remain. The apostle writes thus to the Colossians: "In whom (in Christ) also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;" ii. 11. Baptism, in the New Testament, occupies the place of circumcision in the Old.

The second mystery of the Old Testament was the eating of the paschal lamb; and the manner in which this was done is particularly describ ed in Exod. xii. It was instituted at the time of the Israelites coming out of Egypt, with this particular aim, That this holy ordinance might serve to keep in everlasting remembrance the great goodness of God, in delivering them from Egyptian bondage. Exod. xii. 27.

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This mysterious eating of the paschal lamb, was an evident type of Christ, the lamb without spot or blemish, to whom we are united by faith. Therefore, this Jewish ordinance came to a glorious end, when the Lamb of God and Saviour of the world was exalted upon the cross, and when he, going to meet death, instituted in its place the mystery of the eucharistical supper. These are the mysteries of the Old Testament.

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Our church in the New Testament holdeth seven mysteries: Baptism, the Chrism, the Eucharist, Repentance, Ordination, Marriage, and the Sanc tified Oil.

The two chief and most eminent mysteries in the New Testament are, Baptism, and the Eucharist or the Communion. Of the rest, the Chrism and Repentance belong to every Christian; but Ordination, Marriage, and the Sanctified Oil, are not binding on all.


Of Baptism.

Baptism is a mystery, in which, by the washing of the body with water, the soul of the believer is washed from its sins by the blood of Christ.

This mystery was instituted by the Lord himself, in the command which he gave to his disciples: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" Mat. xxviii. 19. And it is administered in the following manner: 1st, The person who comes to be baptized, if an adult, ought to be properly instructed in the faith of the Gospel. 2d, After having been thus instructed, he shall renounce the devil, the world,


and himself; for our Saviour saith, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself;" Mark viii. 34. 3d, He shall be immersed in water at the pronouncing of these words by the servant of Christ: The servant of God is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

These are the visible signs, and the invisible effects, which are only attained by faith, are the following:

1st, The person is washed from all his sins by the blood of Christ, that is, our heavenly Father, for the sake of the merits of our Mediator, pardoneth the sins of him who is baptized in faith.

2d, He is received into the divine covenant, that is, he enters into covenant with God, to devote his future life to his holy service; for this is the signification of being baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and through this he receives a right to the inheritance of eternal life.

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8d, He is born again, according to the words of Christ, John iii. v. that is, he receives new affections and spiritual powers; namely, in the understanding an enlightened conception of God, of virtue, and of the real happines of man; in the heart, the fear and love of God, and a strong


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