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“ was he of whom I spake ; he that comer's “after me is preferred before me, for he was “ before me.' " He that believeth in the “ Son, hath everlasting life; and he that “ believeth not the Son, shall not see life, 66 but the wrath of God abideth on him.” He preached good works : " “ fruits," says he, “meet for repentance." 6. For now is the axe laid unto the root of “ the tree; every tree, therefore, that “ bringeth not, forth good fruit, is hewn « down, and cast into the fire.",

Such, my friends, was the method in which · John the Baptist « prepared the

way of the Lord;" and such will be the method of every good minister of JESUS CHRIST, in preparing his hearers for everlasting salvation. He will earnestly exhort them to a sincere repentance; because, unless they be convinced that they are sinners, and are deeply sorry for the sins they have committed, they will feel no want or desire after a Saviour : « they that 4 be whole," or think themselves to be so, “ need not a physician ;” but only " they who feel “ that they are sick.” He will preach to them the necessity of “ faith in is the LORD JESUS CHRIST ;" because, “ without faith it is impossible to please « GOD;". and because,“ by faith alone


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“we are justified, and have peace with “ God, through our LORD Jesus Christ." He will preach to them the importance of good works, because these are the necessary fruits of faith, without which it is of no value in the sight of God. “ He it is that “ loveth me," says Jesus CHRIST, “ who “ keepeth my commandments.”

" Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and every corrupt tree evil fruit; therefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

It is your happiness and advantage, my friends, to live in a country, and to belong to a church, wherein all this is done for you ; where the ministers and stewards of God's mysteries, prepare the way of the LORD," and lead the people committed to their charge into the truth as it is in CHRIST

JESUS ;' where they preach (whatever the ignorant or the mischievous may say to the contrary) the real GOSPEL OP Christ, and teach the way of salvation, upon the authority, and according to the example, of Jesus CHRIST our LORD. The Church of which you are members, is, verily“ built upon the « foundation of the apostles and prophets ; “ JESUS CHRIST himself being the chief cor

ner-stone, in whom all the building fitly “ framed together groweth unto an holy tem“ple in the LORD;" and as such, all its ordia

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nances and regulations are scriptural, reasonable, and done “decently and in order." By infant baptism, it bringeth“ little chil. “ dren” to CHRIST; introduce "his lambs.” into his pasture ; enrols them among his followers; makes them the “ children of “ grace;" and, because they are not of age themselves to enter into those promises of repentance, faith, and obedience, which it is necessary for them to make, and to fulfil, on becoming Christ's disciples ; so it ordains, that these solemn conditions should be entered into by their sureties, their gode fathers and godmothers, who engage that the children, when they come of proper age, shall themselves perform them. By Confirmation, which is the next step to baptism, in the public ordinances of your national church), the sureties are freed from the engagement which they had entered into, when they brought the infants to the font: And the young persons to be confirmed, now advanced to those years, when they are capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong, of understanding the principles of their religion, and are therefore accountable to God for their conduct, make the most solemn promise, in the sight of God and the Church,

to renew the vow made in their names at “ their baptism ; ratifying and confirming

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" the same in their own persons, and ac

knowledging themselves bound to believe " and to do, all those things which their “ godfathers and godmothers had then un“ dertaken for them.” By enjoining those who have been confirmed to partake of the sacrament of the LORD's Supper, your Church provides, that additional means of grace should be afforded to them, and that their spiritual strength may be increased, at that age, when temptations have the most force, when the passions are most strong, the judgment most weak, and when the danger of falling into sin is consequently greatest. To these excellent regulations of the Church of which you are members, may be added the advantage of its Liturgy and other services contained in the Prayer-Book, all framed from scripture, full of good doctriue, comfortable to the spirit, and improving to the soul ; by which help the unlearned worshipper may pray with his understanding, as well as his heart, and those who know not how to ask, may have a “ form of sound " words” to make use of, fitted for all their their wants, and expressive of all their pious desires.

You have also, my friends, a Priesthood, whose general character is that of grave, learned, and righteous men, well qualified

for the important charge which they have undertaken. I do not mean to say that there are no exceptions to this character among the ministers of the Established Church; for, after all, the Clergy are but men, subject to the like infirmities with their fellow-creatures, and, in some instances, acting inconsistently with their sacred profession. In the Church, as in all other callings, “ offences will come, “ though wo be to him by whom the of“ fence cometh ;" but we may safely assert, that the great majority of your pastors ar gifted with learning and grace to enable them to teach you; and that they shew forth in their own behaviour “ the beauty of boli

As they are thus qualified for “ preparing the way of the LORD," so they exercise their functions as faithful stewards of the mysteries of God; not in the vain words of man's wisdom, but in the spirit and words of the everlasting gospel. They tell you of man's fall and corruption in Adam, and of his recovery and glorification through JESUS CHRIST. They tell you that man is a sinner; that the wrath of God is upon

him for his sins; and that he is utterly unable, by what he can do himself, to help himself; . but that the willing sacrifice of his Saviour, accompanied by man's repentance, faith, and holy life, will reconcile him

66 ness.”

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