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that “God created man upright, but they have sought out many inventions :" (Eccl. vii. 29 :) which accounts for their savage state.
Men are now like refugees come from renegades : being first fallen from good, and then thrust out from an evil plight by worse men than ourselves, with their hateful pride and overbearing tyranny, through the kind ordering of Providence, like the children of Israel, for example; who, after leaving the land of Canaan once for “ the house of bondage,” weré, upon the expiration of about 400 years, thrust out again from that wretched state by greater wretches than themselves, to make their way back as well as they could into “the land of promise." And as they journeyed toward Canaan, or wandered in the desert, it must have been a goodly sight owing to the skill and precaution of Hobab, the Midianite, teaching them how and where to encamp-(Num. X. 31)-must that of Israel dwelling in his tents according to their tribes : and a very goodly sight indeed it must have been, being enough to arrest the attention of a venal prophet like Balaam, while it was strongly prepossessed with green views of preferment. (Ib. xxiv. 2, &c.) And yet it would also appear as if the Israelites of that period with all their goodly array were not over disciplined, or not suitably, however, to an honourable settlement in the land before mentioned, from what Moses told them ; namely, “Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day-every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest, and to the inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you.” (Deut. xii. 8, 9.)
So common discipline is our land of Canaan; and the subjects of such discipline are not to do as they would in a savage state, “every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes,” or according to the dictates of a savage heart and unreformed imagination. YOU MAY DO WHAT YOU LIKE, WHEN YOU LIKE WHAT IS RIGHT : but in the mean time be humble and attentive; for if individual righteousness be
not discipline, much less will your frowardness and conceit. That cannot be discipline for any individual, however high or exalted, much less for one-or for any num. ber in the common sphere of which I am writing, the sphere of low beginnings both in church and state, and army likewise, if you will.
For in singling out these two departments, or two forms of one, the church and state, for a comparison, I do not mean to insinuate that the whole, or, as St. Paul entitles it, “the body"--of both has not also other forms or types, and others equally common with them; as the army and church, for example. Indeed, they have been all three identified before now—as army, church, and state; that is, when Israel came out of Egypt, even the self same day that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies,” (Exod. xii. 51.) And what the church was then it should be still, an army in one respect and the state also in another; to wit, an army in respect of the actual warfare to which it is enlisted, and a state from its united policy, all tending to one object and disciplined to one purpose—to the object and purpose of universal prosperity, or the kingdom of God upon earth.
If moreover, an army is to be thought the model and standard of discipline, whether in abiding or in wandering, in advancing or retreating, in attacking or defending, with any particular arm or weapon, shew me one superior to the earthly powers, the army of proof--the army of bleeding martyrs, and their heavenly leader “coming from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah ;” (Isai. Ixiii. 1:) which is always on the advance age after age, from the blood of Abel crying vengeance to“ the blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things.” (Heb. xii. 24.) And “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, (or visible, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds ; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that ex. alteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (Cor. II. x. 4, &c.) It is an invisible warfare that we wage, if we suffer visibly sometimes in the course of it: for such is the chance of war.
I only wish I could say, that " in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Rom. viii. 37.) For if ever war could look well in any shape, or any war look lovely, it must be this which he has left us ; although nothing can be farther from it, nor more unchristianlike altogether than those military orders and holy alliances with which it has been falsely decked. And if a military predilection be, as it is often supposed, the sign of a lofty and ingenuous disposition, it must be when it takes this direction. Then it might be a blessed predilection indeed--to up, and escort our immortal brethren,
as strangers and pilgrims," through a wilderness of “fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” (Pet. I. ii. 11,) to effect their deliverance with good teaching and discipline from evil principles and infidels worse than wild Arabs, as well as from their evil root or leader. And if he, their leader, the enemy of mankind, have hitherto had a way of pointing that warlike predilection inwardly to the destruction of the subject-by holy wars especially of all others, it would be turning the tables upon him very agreeably, to direct the same henceforward upon him and his downright villainy; that it might be as David says, Behold he travaileth with mischief: he hath conceived sorrow, and brought forth ungodliness. He hath graven and digged up a pit, and is fallen himself into the destruction that he made for other. For his travail shall come upon his own head, and his wickedness shall fall on his own pate.” (Ps. vii. 15, &c.)
“ Bind up the testimony, (says our leader,) seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob: and I will look for him.-Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when he lightly afflicted the land of
Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isai. viii. 16, &c. ix. 1, &c.) So they have, and without perceiving it; (John i. 5, 10;) but when they do perceive it, and that might also happen ere long, the discovery will be marked, perhaps, by a general burst of indignation against the rulers of darkness such as was never before witnessed upon earth. I trust that you, however moderate in general, and on more indifferent occasions, will not then be one for half measures, dear invisible. You are no milk and water man, I know, in matters of everlasting importance. “ Bind up the testimony;" for we will never shake hands with iniquity. “O man of God”-invisible colleague, the eyes of many invisible witnesses are upon thee. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (Tim. I. vi. 12.) And if many look to you for example in this spiritual warfare, it will also be with you to the same object, the same spiritual warfare in which we are all engaged and have all taken the cross, or put on Christ alike, professing the same good profession. For this profession is not peculiar; it is a military engagement, to which we all—that is to say, all Christendom properly so called, and the people as well as the priest, are inlisted by baptism and adapted by discipline; making all of us together such an army as all Christendom together may be thought to compose, with God himself for their leader.
Now the elements of an army are properly fourfold; as 1, Inlistment; 2, Discipline; 3, Tactics; 4, Command; and the two first of these, namely inlistment and discipline, being as inseparable to each other as they are indispensable to the group, I now propose to consider separately with your leave under the common head of common or inceptive discipline, the first in the way; as its first particular is the beginning by Inlistment or Baptism.
1. Inlistment, the first of the forementioned elements is necessary
men, where men are not to be had without it: and there is no room for volunteers or cadets, any more than there is for an unreformed rabble in the army of the church; its forces are to be all regularly inlisted as well as cleansed and purified from their polluted state--by baptism, which makes them its own and is the beginning of discipline to them, before they can enter the church and properly belong to it. Men may be auxiliaries, if the church will allow it, without baptism; or they may be enemies, if they would rather ; but without baptism they cannot be forces of the militant church ; and as she will not desire them to take any part in her struggle, they consequently cannot expect to reap any share in her triumph., Also before any one ventures to take this high responsibility upon himself, it will behove him, if arrived at years of discretion, to consider his qualification, as the apostle directs. " Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith : prove your own selves.” (Cor. II. xiii. 5.) “For," as the Master says, “no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke ix. 62.) And the same may be said of leaving the plough as of taking to it: having left the plough for the army of martyrs, we must not look back to the plough; " and he that is in the field let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife.” (Luke xvii. 31, 32.)
But there being different opinions on the subject of baptism, which, as I have said, is the beginning of discipline,-also on other topics that I shall have occasion to consider, and the same being, general enough for our argument, which does not run much into particularitiesit may be well to consider them in a general way accordingly, and also in an argumentative way rather, querying occasionally, of one thing and another; as for example..
1-Whether Baptism in any form or in any case ought to precede Discipline, as an entrance or beginning; and what may be required of a Disciple before baptism?