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sixteenth verse; there it is said to one, (6 Why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Here "calling on the name of the Lord," is united with baptism, which is certainly a solemn act of religious worship; and it is performed in the name of Christ, equally as in the name of the "Father and of the Holy Spirit." The commission is, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Baptism is an ordinance of consecration, or dedication to the service, of whom? The Father, Son, and Spirit, as one God; and I know not whether this may be the meaning of what we read of, in a very early part of the sacred scriptures, namely in the days of Enos, the son of Seth. "Then men began to call on the name of the Lord," Gen. iv. Various views have been given of that scripture, but "the name of the Lord" is very frequently a title given. to Jesus Christ, in the Old Testament; and calling upon the name of the Lord, may bear the same meaning there, that it afterwards had; distinguishing between true believers in the Son of God, and those who rejected him.
Of a similar nature is the apostolic form of benediction generally used in Christian churches, when the public service is concluded-" the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you"-and it is remarkable that, in some of these benedictions, the name of Jesus Christ stands first; not to denote superiority; but certainly in the position of the sentence, cannot denote inferiority; and the order is changed in different places, perhaps to shew that these Three are indeed One. The grand doctrine of the Trinity, including the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, whatever may be the efforts of adversaries, will never be banished from the Church, while these scriptural forms are retained in it.
And not only so, but we have instances of pious_
individuals calling upon the name of the Lord, and in the most peculiar and trying circumstances. For instance, the first Christian martyr, Stephen. (Acts, vii. 59.) While they were stoning Stephen, he was calling upon God, or invoking, and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Who but God can receive, and preserve the departing spirit of a saint? and it is observable that these are the same words, or nearly the same words, which our blessed Lord addressed to his Father in his last moments upon the cross so that this petition of Stephen ascribes the same power and grace to the Son, that the Son of God himself ascribed to the Father.
The Apostle Paul likewise speaks of himself, as paying this honour to the Son. 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9when he was earnestly desirous of the removal of that thorn in the flesh, which he thought might hinder his usefulness-" For this thing, I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me; and he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness; most gladly therefore will I rather glory in mine infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Jesus Christ is, doubtless, that Lord upon whom he called, and from whom he received this answer.
I will mention one more instance, that of the Apostle Thomas, after that fit of unbelief, as I may call it, when he declared he would never believe the resurrection of Christ without ocular demonstration of it: but, when he was convinced, "Thomas said unto him, My Lord and my God." Some would evade the force of this argument, by saying, it was only an exclamation, occasioned by sudden surprise; but I apprehend the apostles were not accustomed to this profanity of language; they were not used to express themselves vainly and lightly, in taking into their lips the sacred name of God. It was therefore not a profane exclamation, but a solemn invocation; and it was as much as to
say, Thou art my Lord, and my God; though I did doubt of it, I now am perfectly convinced.
I shall only add, that the Apostle John recommends this worship of Christ, in his first epistle, chap. v. verses 13 and 14, "These things, have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God; and this is the confidence that we have in Him, That, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we desired of him." Now it is observable, that, in the same epistle, chap. iii. ver. 22, the same mode of expression is used with reference to God the Father, "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him." Surely then, this affords a proof that the Lord Jesus Christ is properly the object of divine worship.
That these were the views of the primitive Christians, will be made to appear, from several instances recorded in ecclesiastical history, a few of which shall be mentioned.*
Ignatius, of Antioch, who suffered for the faith, about the year 117, and who had conversed with some of the apostles, thus begins one of his epistles: "I glorify Jesus Christ our God, who hath given unto you this wisdom."
Again, Polycarp of Smyrna, another martyr, who suffered in the year 167, said, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ himself the eternal High Priest, the Son of God, build you up in faith, and truth, and in all meekness, to live without anger, " &c. and when he was brought to the stake he concluded his last prayer with his doxology to the Trinity, "I bless thee, I praise thee, I glorify thee for all things, together with the eternal and heavenly Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, with whom,
* See a Sermon by bishop Horne, on Romans, x, 13. vol. v. p. 189.
unto thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory, both now and for ever, world without end;" which doxology seems to have been common in Christian churches, from that time to this.
There was another eminent man named Justin Martyr, who flourished about the middle of the second century; he uses these words, "We worship and adore the God of righteousness, and his Son, and the Holy Spirit of prophecy." Yet, a little after, he tells the emperor, "We hold it unlawful to worship any but God alone."
Again, in the Dioclesian persecution, Eusebius the historian, says, "that the inhabitants of a city in Phrygia, men, women, and children, while assembled in the church, were surprised by their enemies, and burnt, calling upon Christ, God over all."
To which I shall only add, it is well known that Pliny the historian, writing to the emperor concerning the Christians, mentions it as a common custom among them, to meet, on a certain day, before it was light, and sing a hymn to Christ as God. The testimonies fully prove that Jesus Christ was considered by the first Christians, as a proper object of religious adoration; or, according to the words of our text, that "they called upon the name of the Lord."
Is calling upon the name of the Lord, the practice of real Christians-have we then done it? Do we know any thing of thus calling upon the name of the Lord. Some perhaps call upon the name of the Lord in a light, trifling, and profane way; this alas! is to call down condemnation on their own souls; and it is very shocking to hear men, and women too, in the street, exclaiming, “O Christ-!" But it is a blessed prayer, "O Christ, hear us and help us?" Or, as it is expressed in the Litany of the Established Church, "Son of God,
we beseech thee to hear us; O Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world; have mercy upon us-O Christ hear us-Christ have mercy upon us:" and what an encouragement does this text afford us when calling upon him. It is a positive promise, like that well-known scripture" Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."
With what confidence may we call upon the name of the Lord, seeing that he is the Almighty God. We may derive much encouragement from the success of those who, when our Lord was upon earth, called upon him for various purposes. Let me remind you of a few instances. You recollect the poor miserable leper (Matt. viii. 2.) who fell down before him and said, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." The gracious answer of our Lord was, "I will, be thou clean." When the centurion applied to Jesus in behalf of his servant, who was sick of the palsy and grievously tormented, he immediately said, "I will come and heal him." When a certain ruler worshipped him, and said, "My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thine hand upon her, and she shall live;" Jesus heard, and it was done. Again, a poor woman, who had been long diseased, touches the hem of his garment; her heart called upon him, though her lips were silent'; the cure was granted, and "she was made whole from that hour." Two blind men cried aloud, "Thou son of David, have mercy on us," and their eyes were opened. The friends of a dumb man cried to him for help, and the dumb spake. Peter, sinking in the sea, cried "Lord! save me. I perish!" The compassionate Saviour caught him, and saved him. When the Canaanitish woman cried, "Have mercy upon me, thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil;" Jesus heard, and replied, "O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Time would fail us to recount all the instances of success, which attended those who cried to the Lord for temporal benefits;