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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 04, 2013
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BAPTISM.BY J. W. McGARVEYSince it has been announced that my subject to-nightwould be Baptism, I think it highly probable that thequestion has arisen in tlie minds of some, Why anothersermon on that old hacknied theme ? Perhaps the ob- jection has arisen that this subject has been discussedand debated for hundreds of years, and it has never yetbeen settled. Why then continue to disturb the mindsof the people with it ? This objection involves a seriousmistake. The question, it is true, has not in one sensebeen settled, that is, all the people have not been broughtto an agreement in regard to it ; but in another and a veryimportant sense, it has been settled thousands and thous-ands of times ; that is, it has been settled in the minds of menand women who have to give an account to God in the greatday, and they have acted according to the settlement of itin their own minds. And let me say to you who are hereto-night, it is a necessity laid on you, you can not avoidit, that you shall also settle the question in your ownmind and for your own soul. You can not go into anychurch on earth except that of the Quakers, without be-ing baptized — that is, without submitting to an ordi-nance which the church calls baptism. And if you areever to become a member of any church, with the excep-tion of the one named, before you do so you are compelledto decide in your own mind what baptism is, and that109110 SERMO IX.will be settling the question so far as you are concerned.If you answer me, o, sir, tlie question was settled for me
by my parents when I was an infant, and they baptizedme, even this does not enable you to escape the necessityof which I speak ; for you are compelled to decide foryourself before God, whether you will be satisfied withthat as youi' obedience to this divine command. So then,to come to some practical decision of this disputed theme,is a necessity laid upon everj^ one of you, and you willall give an account thereof to God in the day of judgment.Don't be impatient then when a man proposes to discussthe subject in your presence. Don't be unwilling to hearhim. Whatever may be the position he takes, whicheverside of the controverted question he stands on, don't beunwilling to hear all that he says, and to hear it candidlyto weight it fairly, so that you may decide the questionintelligently.But a man says, "According to my understanding of this controversy, it requires some knowledge of the deadlanguages, and especially of the Greek, in order to renderan intelligent decision as to what baptism is ; and as Iam no scholar, I think God will not hold me to an accountif I should happen to decide it incorrectly." Well, that is amistake. It is a mistake to suppose that it requires schol-arship in any dead language to determine what baptismis. And I am inchued to believe — I do believe, that everyman who has ordinary common sense can take his ownEnglish Testament, and learn from the careful study of it, what God requires of him in order that he may live alife well pleasing in the sight of his Maker. I do notthink you will find a Protestant preacher in the UnitedStates who will call that proposition in question.What then is a man to do who does not understandGreek, who is a plain English scholar, and no more ? IBAPTISM. Illonce heard (a good many years ago), a man of very plain
common sense, with no scholarship, not even an accm-ateEnglish education, make this remark: "If my mindwere unsettled in regard to baptism, I would take thiscourse : — I would take my own ew Testament, and, be-ginning at the first chapter of Matthew, T would read itall the way through, watching for that word 'baptism' ;and everywhere I found it, I would examine carefully thepassage in which I. found it, and learn all I could aboutit ; and when I got through I would put all of this to-gether, and I would make up my mind on the whole sub- ject of baptism that way. Then I would feel sure that itwas God teaching me, and that he would approve my de-cision." The remark struck me with great force, and Ihave from that day to this been of the opinion that it isthe best way by which any man can proceed to settle thismuch controverted question. It does not involve a singleword in any language but our own. It does not involvearguments and disputations on the subject from other men.It involves nothing but listening to the utterances of God'sword as you have it in your own vernacular, forming yourown conclusions, and then taking up your line of action.ow, if that is not safe, I don't know what is. Youmay imagine it a very big task to read the book throughand through, but there is not mu^h more readingmatter in it than there is in to-day's Courier-Jour-nal. I don't think there is as much. When I tell youthat I propose to lead you through that kind of an exam-ination of the subject to-night, don't think I am going tokeep you here till midnight. To save us the time thatwould otherwise be involved, I have already gone throughmy little Testament, and turned down leaves and markedwith my pencil the passages, so we will not have to huntfor them very much. I now propose that every one of 1 12 SERMO IX.you who has a Bible in hand, or can lind one in your pew,will join me in this plain, simple, child-like search for

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