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mained in an upright, sitting posture, with his eyes unclosed. Unusual unction accompanied this prayer, and Israel received it, to keep with him ever after.
Not that it was always present in his memory; but its influence remained. The rain falls upon the plot of ground; it dries, and is seen no more; but a fructification remains, which shall repeat itself in endless growths. Would
know the reason why this prayer was remembered ? It was short. It was glowing with feeling. It had color, shape, sweetness, the strength of true reverence for the Unknown God! Not a word was wasted; not one misplaced. The minister had come to the attainment of this Fine Art in Religion, as a genius arrives at excellence in any department of effort, by dint of patient labor. All true genius must have an inspiration. In this case, superadded to the labor was the Unspeakable Gift.
In the earlier periods of his ministerial career, he had often indulged himself in roundly-worded and excursive prayers. He seemed to be striving to obey the injunction of the mournful prophet, “In the beginning of the watches (or exercises) pour out thy heart like water before the face of the Lord.” But he made a mistake and poured out his head. Hence, much was as if spilled on the ground, and could never be gathered up. What remained on the surface was not clear. It mirrored neither the image of God nor mán. Had he poured out his heart, it would have been otherwise.
One day, he made a discovery, which, though important, is generally missed by men of his profession.
This was, that, while he was at prayer in the sanctuary, some persons dreamed. The circumstances attending the event were ludicrous, but they entered his soul as though they had been sublime. He pondered the matter. Then, he knew, if some slept, others, whose temperament forbade this lapse from the dignity of the august occasion, would " endure the hour” by considering many subjects foreign to those in which he strove to lead.
There was an error somewhere. Further pondering convinced him of the difficulty, even as men learned by the ass Nauplias what was the matter with their vines. By gnawing them, the creature taught the art of pruning. These stupid people gnawed into his sensibilities, but they showed him how to prune their excessive manifestation.
After this, the minister had no more trouble with sleepers while he prayed.
As Israel listened, his mind expanded towards the speaker, and he felt a sensation of need. When one mind is attracted by another human mind, a want is created to supply a vacuity, as a rise of the water of the sea at any place, in what is called a tide, produces a depression at another. The attraction of the infinite mind can alone give any impression of supply. But this is never complete in the natural life. Hence, it is written “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness.”
At present, Israel regarded truth as a palpable reality which he was about to grasp.
SKETCH OF THE BAPTIST MINISTER'S SERMON.
“My text this morning," announced the preacher, “is found in Isaiah, fifty-fifth chapter, twelfth and thirteenth verses,
ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree : and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.'”
This sermon had two general heads.
Second The harmonious relation of the heart of the true disciple with the external world.
Growing out of the first division of the subject
1. The persons who will go out with joy and be led forth with peace are those who keep the divine commandments. “ If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love." John 15: 10. The Holy Spirit, in his office of Comforter, abides with those who love God, so that they are enabled to rejoice under all circumstances.
2. What are the divine commandments and how are they kept? The first sermon which Jesus preached, after his preparation by the temptations, had for a text - Repent. His first public act touching himself, as he had no need of repentance, was baptism.
The word of John the Baptist was also Repent ye.
All need repentance, and this should be the first work of the soul who seeks for God.
John's next act of ministry was the administration of the ordinance of baptism. He baptized Christ by immersion. Hence, baptism by immersion is not less obligatory than repentance. All other modes of baptism are desecrations of the sacred rite. He who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life," pronounced those who climbed into the fold by any other way, thieves and robbers.
“ If there is one soul in my congregation to-day,” continued the minister, “who doubts about immersion being the scriptural rite of baptism in profession of faith, or who thinks that another mode will answer a good conscience just as well as the true one, let me inquire, in the words of another, “if there is not improbability that the just, wise, and merciful Saviour would enjoin upon His disciples the observance of a rite the nature of which could not be determined with any certainty, or at least not without great difficulty. With all the resources of the most copious language in the world at His disposal, it is utterly incredible that He should have selected, to designate the act by which He requires all His followers to profess their faith in Him, a word so vague, or so ambiguous, as to make it impossible for them to understand precisely what He
would have them do. The supposition would, in fact, be highly dishonorable and very insulting to Him. If He could have wished to express His requirement by a word which would be equally applicable to several quite different acts, such as sprinkling, pouring, and immersion, it may well be doubted whether He could have found such a word in the Greek language or in any other; but we are bound to believe He could not have wished any such thing. What we have to do, then, is to ascertain as exactly as possible what word He would have used had He spoken in the English language.
“When the meaning of any word which often occurs in the Scriptures is called in question, it is to be ascertained by a collection and comparison of all the passages. That is the true meaning which gives a consistent sense in all the various relations and connections in which the word is used. The scriptural meaning of the Greek words for baptize and baptism is that which best agrees with all that is said about the rite in the New Testament, without any forced interpretation or elaborate explanation. That is the true sense of the words which naturally and obviously explains the expressions, 'going down into the water,' coming up out of the water,' being baptized in water, in the Jordan, into Christ;? which shows that the abundance of water in Ænon was the reason why John chose that place for the scene of his baptism; which exhibits the resemblance between our baptism and a burial and resurrection; which makes it pertinent to call the overwhelming sufferings of Christ a baptism; which accounts for the fact that