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(PREACHED ON EASTER SUNDAY.)
ROMANS, vi. 3, 4.
KNOW YE NOT, THAT SO MANY OF US, AS WERE BAP
TIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST, WERE BAPTIZED 'INTO
66 TF we have been planted together in
the likeness of Christ's death,” says the Apostle, “ we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body; but yield yourselves unto God, as them
that are alive from the dead. Reckon yourselves, to be dead, indeed, unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. For then, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye shall have your fruit unto holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” :
Such is the language, which the church has adopted from Saint Paul; and, by the lips of her ministers, has this day, solemnly delivered to her children. Language, peculiarly accordant with the spirit and design of this great commemorative festival. For, it were in vain to celebrate the death and resurrection of our blessed Lord, unless it be our serious purpose to show forth that death, and to imitate that resurrection, in the whole tenour of our lives and conversation.
It is usual, indeed, on this day, to expatiate on the blessed hope of immortality. But, is there not a more immediate concern, which demands our more immediate thought and care ? For, how could the most absolute assurance of im
mortality be a source of real comfort, unless to us the day, at least, have dawned, and the day-spring have arisen, in our hearts ? Christ, indeed, has died for our offences, and risen for our justification. But to us, it will be only aggravated condemnation, that Christ has died, except we be made conformable to his death. To us, it will be no more than accumulated woe, that Christ has risen, except in spirit and affection, we also be risen with Christ. If, therefore, we would know the power of his resurrection, we must first experience the fellowship of his sufferings; and if, at the last, we would inherit his victorious kingdom, we must not, merely, through the chinks and crevices of a worldly life, amuse our fancy with the dim perspective of a reversionary heaven. It must, on the contrary, be our great aim and purpose, by the imitation, and through the grace, of our blessed Lord, in self-denial, in self-conquest, in self-possession, in the love of high and heavenly objects, and in the attainment of pure and holy dispositions, to possess an inward, and a present heaven; the pledge, at once, and foretaste, of that eternal rést, which remaineth to the people of God.
This doctrine is abundantly confirmed, by the sound and venerable words of our church liturgy. In the collect for the vigil of this holy day, we are taught to implore, “that, as we were baptized into the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, so, by continual mortifying our evil and corrupt affections, we may be buried with him.” In the ordinance of baptism, “ we humbly beseech our most merciful Father, to grant, that we, being dead unto sin, and living unto righteousness; and being buried with Christ in his death, may crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the whole body of sin.” In the exhortation, at the close of the same office, we are reminded, “ that baptism doth represent unto us our profession, which is, to follow the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto
him; that, as he died, and rose again for us, so should we, who have been baptized, die from sin, and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying every evil and corrupt affection, and daily proceeding, in all virtue and godliness of living.” And, as the summary of this great truth, we are briefly instructed, in the church catechism, that “ the inward and spiritual grace of baptism, is a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness.”
But why do I thus revert to the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, to those obvious and familiar truths, which, from earliest infancy, have been imprinted on our memory, and which, in all reason, should be no less deeply imprinted on our conscience and our hearts ? To yourselves, my brethren, I would freely appeal, in full assurance of a candid and ingenuous reply. · Are these first principles, these obvious and familiar truths, thus deeply imprinted in your memory, thus indelibly engraven on your con