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pious relatives and friends be of any | magnified; to be anything, to be avail to us. “What though we be nothing, so that Christ may be all." descended from pious ancestors; have He shall baptize you with the Holy been blessed with a religious educa- Ghost, and with fire.—It is the pretion; have had our lot cast in families rogative of Christ to bestow the gifts where the fear of God is uppermost, and graces of the Holy Spirit. It and have good friends to advise us, is the office of the Holy Spirit, in and pray for us ; what will all this the work of sanctification, to conavail us, if we do not repent, and live vince of sin, to enlighten the undera life of repentance ;"—that is to say, standing, to renew the soul, to -if we do not give our hearts to God, strengthen and comfort the believer, and live like the children of our to sustain his hope, and to inflame heavenly Father?
his love to God, and zeal in God's The are is luid unto the root of the service. May this sacred fire ever trees.-" They whose hearts are not more and more shine into our hearts, pierced with the sword of God's kindle our affections, and consume word, shall certainly be cut down the dross of our corruptions! and destroyed by the axe of his Whose fan is in his hand, and he judgments.” And the threatening will thoroughly purge his floor. "In extends to every tree which bringeth a floor there is straw as well as not forth good fruit. The barren tree, grain, chaff as well as corn, tares as as well as that which brings forth well as wheat, cockle and darnel as bad fruit, is in danger. Remember well as good seed. Thus in the the parable of the barren fig-tree. church, on earth, there is, and will Well may we pray to God to forgive be, a mixture of good and bad, saints us our sins! We should be on our and sinners, hypocrites and sincere guard against omission of duty as well Christians." But Christ will fan as against the commission of ungod this floor, and purge out all its corliness in act and deed.
ruptions. “Something of this kind He that cometh after me is mightier is often done in this world, when thun 1.—This is a thought in which God calls his people out of Babyall ministers of Christ may thank- lon; Rev. xvii. 4. But it is the fully rejoice; trusting that his strength day of the last judgment that will be will be made perfect in their weakness, the great winnowing, distinguishing not only in their individual experi- day, which will infallibly determine ence, but with regard to the work concerning doctrines and works and success of their ministry.
(1 Cor. iii. 13), and concerning perWhose shoes I am not worthy to bear. sons (Matt. xxv. 32, 33), when saints . - Let us take a lesson from John's and sinners shall be parted for ever." humility. “ Those whom God puts He will guther his wheat into the honour upon, are made very humble garner, but he will burn up the chaff and low in their own eyes; willing with unquenchable fire.—“Heaven is to be abased, so that Christ may be
the garner into which Jesus Christ
will shortly gather all his wheat, and from Galilee to Jordan unto not a grain of it shall be lost. In John, to be baptized of him. beaven the saints are brought toge 14 But John forbad him, sayther, and no longer scattered; they | ing, I have need to be baptized are safe and no longer exposed ; of thee, and comest thou to separated from corrupt neighbours without, and from corrupt affections within, and there is no chaff among
15 And Jesus answering said them.—Hell is the unquenchable unto him, Suffer it to be so now: fire, which will burn up the chaff; for thus it becometh us to fulfil and this will certainly be the portion all righteousness. Then he sufand punishment and everlasting de- fered him. struction of hypocrites and unbeliev
16 And Jesus, when he was ers. So that here are life and death, good and evil, set before us ; accord- | baptized, went up straightway ing as we now are in the field, we
out of the water : and, lo, the shall then be in the floor."
heavens were opened unto him,
and he saw * the Spirit of God HYMN.
descending like a dove, and Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, And lighten with celestial fire.
lighting upon him : Thou the anointing Spirit art
17 And lo a voice from heaWho dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
ven, saying, “This is my beloved Tby blessed unction from above,
Son, in whom I am well pleased. Is comfort, life, and fire of love. Enable with perpetual light The dulness of our blinded sight. Anoint and cheer our soiled face With the abundance of thy grace.
Reader. The great principle of Keep far our foes, give peace at home : Where thou art guide, no ill can come.
duty, in accordance with which our
blessed Lord submitted to the bapTeach us to know the Father, Son, And thee, of both, to be but One.
tism of John, was this, that it became That, through the ages all along,
him, and his followers, to "fulfil all This may be our endless song :
righteousness,"—to own, and put Praise to thy eternal merit,
honour on, every religious institution Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
of divine appointment. It became ORDINATION SERVICE.
him, as man, to comply with a call
given by a divinely commissioned § XI.
teacher. Perhaps also, say some, he
saw fit to act, in this instance, as the CHAP. III. 13-17.
representative of sinful men; and he John baptizeth Christ in Jordan.
may also have designed it as a formal
consecration or dedication to his 13 f. Then cometh Jesus office, according to the manner of
u Mark i. 9. Luke iii. 21. #ch, ii. 22.-y Mark i. 10. 2 Is. xi. 2, & xlii. 1. Luke iii, 22. John 1.32, 33.- John xii. 28. b Ps. ii. 7. Is. xlii. 1. ch. xii. 18, & xvii. 5. Mark i. 11. Luke ix. 35. Eph. i. 6. Col. i. 13. 2 Pet. i, 17.
the priests under the ceremonial law. words, “like a dove," denote that it Exod. xxix. 4.
came down with a motion resembling Theophilus. It is said, v. 16, that the descent of that bird. " he saw the Spirit of God descend | Theophilus. There is something ing." Does that refer to Jesus or to very solemn and affecting in the anJohn ?
nouncement of our Saviour's person Reader. The pronoun in this place, and character by “a voice from and in Mark i. 10, seems to refer to heaven." Jesus; but it is certain, from John i. Reader. And you remember, per12, that the Baptist also beheld this haps, on what other occasions this remarkable appearance,-the visible voice was repeated.—It was heard, symbol of the peculiar presence of for the second time, on the mount of the Holy Spirit.
transfiguration (Matt. xvii. 5; Luke Mary. It is said that Jesus “went ix. 35, 36; 2 Pet. i. 17);-and, for up-out of the water.” This implies the third and last time, shortly bethat he had been immersed, does it fore our Saviour's crucifixion (John not?
xii. 28-30). Reader. We shall have occasion Theophilus. “Why did the Holy to speak of the original mode of ad- Spirit descend upon Christ, seeministering baptism hereafter. But ing that he was truly and really it is remarkable, that the original ex- God?" pression in this place, and in Mark Reader. Remember that he was i. 10, is, that our Lord went up not man as well as God; otherwise he out of the water, but from the water. could not have sustained that illusIf a person were plunged into the trious character, “one mediator bewater, then it would be natural to
tween God and man, the man Christ say that he afterwards went up out of Jesus.” At his baptism, the Holy the water; but if he were taken, or Ghost descended, "first, for the desigwent down to the water, or the water's nation of his person, to show that he edge, then we should say that he after- was the person set apart for the work wards went up from the water. And and office of the Mediator; secondly, such is the Evangelist's expression for the qualification of his person for in this place.
the performance of his office. This Theophilus. Do you suppose that was Christ's unction (Isa. vi. 1), when the shape, or likeness, of a dove was he was anointed above his fellows, to assumed by the Holy Spirit on this be the king, prophet, and priest of occasion ?
his church." Ps. xlv. 6, 7. He is Reader. It appears, from Luke the Head of his church; and through iii. 23, that this must be the mean- him the Spirit is derived to all being of the sacred writer ; although lievers. some commentators suppose
that the Theophilus. I think I have heard form assumed was that of fire, or this passage quoted, as one among some luminous body, and that the many others, in support of the scrip
tural doctrine of the Holy Trinity | start objections against the will of in Unity.
Christ." Reader. Yes.
“ At the baptism I have need to be baptized of thee. of our great High Priest, there was It is said of John that “ he was filled an exhibition to the senses of the with the Holy Ghost” from his very Three Persons in the ever-blessed infancy. (Luke i. 15). But “they Trinity, each acting according to the who have much of the Spirit of God, economy of the scheme of redemp- yet, while here, in this imperfect tion; the Father appointing the Son state, see that they have need of to be Mediator, the Son accepting more, and need to apply themselves the appointment, and the Holy Spirit to Christ for more."
“ The more anointing him with the oil of glad- holy a person is, the more sensible ness above his fellows, and qualify- he is of his unholiness; where there ing him for the work he had under- is most grace, there is the greatest taken." “ It is impossible to explain sense of the want of grace,"—the this transaction consistently in any deepest conviction of remaining imother way than by admitting this purity and imperfection, and the most truth, that there are three equal per- earnest desire for final and complete sons in the divine na
deliverance.-John made this and that each of these sustains an im- fession in public, and in the presence portant part in the work of redeem- of those who had a high opiñion of ing men.”
his character and dignity. Let not our honour, or our desire of esteem,
make us ashamed to acknowledge our READER. Let us now consider need of Christ. this history in some practical points
Comest thou to me ?-How lovely of view.
is the conduct of the Baptist, as a Then cometh Jesus—unto John.— picture of humility! Such also was “How dares the greatest upon earth the humility of his pious mother ;despise the ministry of man, being “ Whence is this to me that the appointed by God, which Christ mother of my Lord should come to honoured in his own person, and me ?” (Luke i. 43).-But God degraced with his own presence!" lights to honour and exalt the lowly:
John forbad him.—So also did St. and he “has farther honour in store Peter, when our Lord went about to for those whose spirits continue low wash his feet (John xii. 6–8). when their reputation rises.” "Christ's gracious condescensions are Thus it becometh us to fulfil all so surprising, as to appear at first in-righteousness. This conduct becomes credible to the strongest believers; us, as the disciples of our Lord and so deep and mysterious, that even Master. “They who are of greatest those who know his mind well can- attainments in gifts and graces, should not soon find out the meaning of yet, in their place, bear their testithem, but, by reason of darkness, mony to instituted ordinances, by a
humble and diligent attendance on the office and work of the Redeemer them; that they may give a good ex (Ps. lxxxix. 27; Rom. i. 4).-He is ample to others,” as well as that they the beloved of the Father ;-his dear may themselves receive the appointed Son, or the Son of his love, as it is and expected blessing.
elsewhere expressed (Col. i. 13).Then he suffered him.—Here ob. And the consideration of this truth serve that “the same modesty which may well be a source of great commade John at first decline the honour fort and encouragement to us, as beChrist offered him, now made him do lievers in his name. As such we the service Christ enjoined him.” are accepted in the Beloved ; Eph. And hence we may learn, for the i. 6. Yes :-“Let all the world take guidance of our own conduct, that notice, that this is the Peacemaker, no pretence of humility will excuse the Daysman, who has laid his hand our declining, or retiring from, a upon us both; and that there is no duty which we may be summoned to coming to God as a Father, but by fulfil.
Christ as a Mediator; John xiv. 6. Lo, the heavens were opened unto In him our spiritual sacrifices are achim.-And, in one sense, not unto ceptable, for he is the altar that sanchim alone. “In and through Jesus tifieth every gift; 1 Pet. ii. 5. Out Christ, the heavens are opened to the of Christ, God is a consuming fire ; children of men. Sin shut up heaven, but, in Christ, a reconciled Father. put a stop to all friendly intercourse This is the sum of the whole Gosbetween God and man;
pel; it is a faithful saying, and worChrist has opened the kingdom of thy of all acceptation, that God has heaven to all believers.' Divine light declared, by a voice from heaven, and love are darted down upon the that Jesus Christ is his beloved Son children of men, and we have bold-in whom he is well pleased ; with ness to enter into the holiest. We
which we must by faith cheerfully have receipts of mercy from God, we concur, and say, that he is our bemake returns of duty to God; and loved Saviour, in whom we are well all by Jesus Christ, who is the ladder pleased,"—in whose hands we are that has its foot on earth and its top willing to entrust our highest interin heaven, by whom alone it is that ests, and to whose governance and we have any comfortable correspond guidance we are willing to yield ourence with God, or any hope of getting selves, in body, soul, and spirit. to heaven at last." Lo, a voice from heaven, saying,
HYMN. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.–Our Lord Jesus
Jesus, how precious is thy name! Christ is the Son of God, by eternal
Beloved of the Father Thou ! generation (Col. i. 15; Heb. i. 3);
Oh, let me catch th' immortal flame
With which angelic bosoms glow. by supernatural conception (Luke i.
As angels love thee, I would love, 35); and by special appointment to And imitate the bless'd above.