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for worship at stated times and places; third, the choosing of officers, and the prescribing of their duties; fourth, the administration of the ordinances in an orderly manner. These facts show that the church in the apostles' day was regularly organized, and had a form of govern
1. Public worship is to be maintained. This can only be accomplished by establishing some form of church government. There must be times and places for worship. This was the apostolic order. Mr. Watson says, "The scriptural obligation of public worship is partly founded upon precept, and partly upon example." Paul commanded that some of his Epistles be read in the churches (Colossians 4:16). In Hebrews 10: 25 he exhorts them not to forsake the assembling of themselves together. The singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is enjoined as an act of public worship. If organization and public worship were abandoned, the church would fade and die. How vastly important and necessary that every true Christian do his part in maintaining public worship. As to the manner of conducting public worship, it is only necessary to say that it should be solemn, sincere, simple, pure, and cheerful; above all, it should be spiritual. No form of worship, however orderly it may be conducted, will be pleasing to God unless it is offered "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23, 24).
2. The edification of believers. This is another purpose for which the church was organized, and a reason as well why public worship should be maintained. We are not to misconstrue the meaning of the word edification. It does not mean simply to please or entertain, but "to instruct and improve in knowledge generally, and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.' The reading of the Holy Scriptures, the preaching of the word, the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and the offering of fervent prayer to God, are all edifying and helpful to sincere Christians. Many in the church are weak and sickly because they neglect to attend the public worship of God. One of old said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the
house of the Lord." An aged woman who was quite deaf, was asked why she attended public worship, as she could not hear a word. She answered: "I come to the house of God because I love it. I am not satisfied with serving God in private; it is my duty and privilege to honor him regularly and constantly in public." Every true Christian, when at all practicable, will attend the public worship of God, not so much from a sense of duty, but because he loves to meet and worship with the people of God. Many a tempted, discouraged, and weak Christian has gone away from the place of public worship, strengthened, comforted, and edified.
3. The conversion of the world to Christ. Jesus died that all might be saved. "He gave himself a ransom for all." The church was organized to carry this glad news to the ends of the earth to every creature. This, first, last, and all the time, is the real mission of the church; and Christ has not a true disciple on earth who does not feel the spirit of this great mission. "A genuine missionary spirit is deeply rooted in the constituent parts of Christian character." It is hardly a question whether or not a man can be a real Christian and not possess a missionary spirit. Can such a thing be? In Romans 8:9 Paul says, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Did Christ possess a missionary spirit? What kind of spirit moved his great heart when he bade his disciples to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," and when he said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"?
The conversion of this world to Christ ought to be the supreme desire of every true Christian. We say it ought to be; yea, more, we say it is. A denomination that does not possess the spirit of missions has no right to exist; and a man or woman who does not possess such a spirit has no right to claim a place among the disciples of Christ. The church of Christ is a missionary church, and will be until every wanderer is brought within her fold. Every one can do something if he will. All cannot go to heathen lands, but all can help to sustain those who can and will go. A young clergyman once asked the Duke of Welling
ton if he did not think it was almost useless to preach the gospel to the Hindoos. The Duke immediately rejoined, "Look, sir, to your marching orders: 'Preach the gospel to every creature."
The outlook for bringing this world to Christ, as compared with a hundred years ago, is most hopeful and encouraging. Missions have been planted in every great nation on the earth, and it would seem that "nothing is now wanted but a united and consecrated effort on the part of the whole church of Christ," and this sin-stricken world will be given to Him whose right it is to reign from sea to sea and from pole to pole. Let every one who names the name of Christ see to it quickly that he has some part in winning this world to him who bought it with a price-even his own precious blood.
THE CONFESSION OF FAITH
- ARTICLE VII.
OF THE SACRAMENTS.
We believe the sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, are to be used in the Church, and should be practiced by all Christians; but the mode of baptism and the manner of observing the Lord's Supper are always to be left to the judgment and understanding of each individual. Also, the baptism of children shall be left to the judgment of believing parents.
The example of washing of feet is to be left to the judgment of each one, to practice or not.
THIS article contains three general propositions: first, concerning Christian baptism; second, the Lord's Supper; third, infant baptism, or the baptism of children.
As a denomination, we believe in but two sacraments; namely, baptism and the Lord's Supper. These, and these only, were instituted by Christ, and commanded by him to be perpetuated. As to the design of these sacraments, Protestants generally agree that they are signs and seals of a living faith in Christ.
The rite of baptism was adopted by Christ, and connected with the great commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). The fact that our Lord connected it with the commission, is evidence conclusive that it was to be a permanent and perpetual institution in his church. The design of this ordinance is a solemn, public, and practical profession of Christianity, or an outward, visible sign of the grace of regeneration. Concerning the solemnity and dignity of this ordinance, we cannot be too deeply impressed when we remember that it is to be administered "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost." By divine authority it has a place in the Christian church, and there is not an intimation in the New Testament that it was to be abrogated. But "it is no substitute for the blood of atonement, by which alone sins can be washed away; or for the influence of the Holy Spirit, by which alone the regeneration and sanctification. of the soul can be secured." It is the belief of the Church that this ordinance is a perpetual obligation, and that it is the duty of all who profess the name of Christ to observe it. The Lord Jesus commanded it, the apostles practiced it, and we need no higher authority. Dr. Clarke says, "Baptism, properly speaking, whether administered by dipping or sprinkling, signifies a full and eternal consecration of the person to the service and honor of that Being in whose name it is administered."
Concerning the mode of baptism, the United Brethren Church has always allowed great liberty, attaching but little importance to the mode. Four things are considered essential to the validity of the ordinance; first, proper administrator one duly authorized by the Church to administer the ordinance; second, a proper subject — an adult believer, or children of believing parents; third, that the ordinance be administered in the name of the Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; fourth, that water is the proper element to be used in the ordinance. The quantity of water and the position of the body are immaterial. The Scriptures do not point out any one mode to the exclusion of all others. Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind, and choose that mode which to him or her will be the answer of a good conscience.
Too many, it is to be feared, are indifferent as to whether or not they are baptized. If it is, as we believe, an institution of perpetual obligation, no one can afford to neglect it. In an important sense, it is a test of our love and obedience. What if we did not, and could not, know anything about the design of the ordinance? That is no reason why we should neglect or ignore it. Jesus commanded it, and his will ought to be supreme with us. He said to his disciples, and to us as well, "If ye love