صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

affection, or from the emotions of gratitude for mercics received or expected, These engage

ments having been once made, the law was very strict in requiring the fulfilment of them.


"a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear "an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he "shall not break his word, he shall do accord"ing to all that proceedeth out of his mouth." Num. xxx. 2.-"When thou shalt vow a vow "unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack "to pay it for the Lord thy God will surely re"quire it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be น "no sin in thee. That which is gone out of "thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even "a free-will offering, according as thou hast "vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou "hast promised with thy mouth." Deut


xxiii. 21-23,

And is it not reasonable that such engage. ments should be fulfilled? While we consider a faithful performance of promises as indispensi ble in the intercourse of men with each other, shall we admit insincerity in our transactions with the blessed God? Will not the hearta serious searching God require from all of us

discharge of those duties to which, as Christians, we have professed ourselves bound? If in matters of indifference, and resulting from voluntary offers, he exacts punctuality, will he not, at least, equally require it in things which arise from our relation and obligation to him as our Lord and Saviour?

It is my intention at present to call your at tention to those promises which you have all made to the blessed God, and to urge you to an immediate performance of them. And here I might observe, that on many occasions we have engaged to serve him, and it becomes us to re flect that God is not an unconcerned spectator of our conduct. How many amongst us have solemnly bound ourselves to a life of religion at the Lord's table! After commemorating the dying love of Jesus, we have expressly presented ourselves to the Lord, and besought him to accept the offer as our bounden duty and service. How emphatical are the words which we have adopted! "Here we offer and present unto

thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, "to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice "unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that all "we who are partakers of this holy communion

may be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly << benediction. And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to "offer unto thee any sacrifice; yet we << beseech thee to accept this our bounden ❝ duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus "Christ our Lord." I might further observe,

[ocr errors]

that every act of worship, whether public or private, is virtually a dedication of ourselves to 1 God; it is an acknowledgment of him as our God, and an expression of our humble reliance on his gracious protection, and earnest desire to "glorify him by our bodies and spirits, which are his." In the Confession, we pray that "we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and "sober life, to the glory of His holy Name." And after praising him in the General Thanksgiving for the inestimable gift of his Son, for the means of grace, and the hope of glory, we add a petition, that we may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we may shew forth his praise, not only with our lips, but with our lives; by "giving up ourselves to his service, and hy walking before him in holiness and righteousness all our days." In these prayers and

praises we virtually bind ourselves to the service of God; and therefore if they have been lightly offered, and sinfully neglected, we are now called upon not to defer the payment of our vows.

But with a view to the approaching so lemnity of Confirmation, I would now consider more particularly the solemn engagements into which we have all entered at Baptism. Our parents and sponsors then promised, on their parts, that we should be instructed in the Christian faith; and, on our's, that we should, under the influence of Christian principles, keep God's holy will and commandments. These promises we could not fulfil in our infancy; but when we come to age, i. e. when by reason of our understanding and instruction we are able to discern our obligations, and to see the necessity and importance of a religious life, we are bound to perform them. It is wisely ordained by our Church, that children, when they have attained to a certain age, should themselves, in a solemn and public manner, renew and ratify the engagements which in their infancy had been made in their name. The ceremony used on this occasion is called Confirmation, because we then confirm our baptismal vow; and because, if

seriously performed, the blessing of God accompanies the ordinance; and his Holy Spirit confirms in us our good desires and resolutions.

With a view then to the important object of my present address, permit me first to call to your recollection the vows which were made for you at your baptism; and having done this, to consider the importance of confirming those vows, and the manner in which this duty should be performed. And may the gracious God vouchsafe his blessing to every reader of this little dis


I. Let us first consider our baptismal vows. These cannot be better described than in the words of our Catechism: They did promise


"and vow three things in my name : first, that "I should renounce the devil and all his works, "the pomps and vanity of this wicked world, "and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.

[ocr errors]


condly, that I should believe all the Articles "of the Chistian Faith. And, thirdly, that "I should keep God's holy will and command"ments, and walk in the same all the days of my life."


In these three points are included the sum and substance of all Christian duties. They de-.

« السابقةمتابعة »