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Having the highest esteem for his learning, and the deepest coftviction of his piety and devotion to the truth, his authority over me then was paramount and almost irresistible. We went into discussion. He simply conceded, that we ought not to teach nor practise infant baptism without Divine authority; but, on the contrary, preach and administer the apostolic baptism. Still, however, we ought not to unchristianize ourselves and put on Christ, having not only professed and preached the Christian faith, but also participated in its solemn rites. We discussed this question, and all that family of questions, at sundry interviews, foș many months. At length I told him that, with great reluctance, I must dissent from all his reasonings upon that subject and be baptized. I now fully and conscientiously believed that I never had been baptized, and, consequently, I was then, in point of fact, an unbaptized person; and hence could not consistently preach a baptism to others, of which I had never been a subject myself.
His response was—"I have, then, no more to add. You must please yourself.” On leaving, in the morning, he asked me when, where and by whom I intended to be immersed. As to the place, I preferred to be baptized near home, among those who were accustomed to attend my preaching; as to the time, just as soon as I could procure an acceptable Baptist minister. The nearest and, indeed, the only one known to me was Elder Matthias Luse, living some thirty miles from my residence. I promised to let my father know the time and place, as soon as I obtained the consent of Elder Luse.
Immediately I went in quest of an administrator, of one who practised what he preached. I spent the next evening with Elder Luse. During the evening I announced my errand. He heard me with pleasure. Having, on a former occasion, heard him preach, but not on that subject; I asked him, into what formula of faith he immersed. His answer was, that “the Baptist church required candidates to appear before it, and on a narration of their experience, approved by the church, a time and place were appointed for the baptism.”
To this I immediately demurred, saying:— That I knew no scriptural authority for bringing a candidate for baptism before the church to be examined, judged and approved by it, as prerequisite to his baptism. To which he simply responded:-" It was the Baptist custom.” But was it, said I, the apostolic custom? He did not contend that it was, admitting freely that such was not the case from the beginning. “But,” added he, “if I were to depart from our usual custom they might hold me to account before the Association.” “Sir," I replied, “there is but one confession of faith
that I can make, and into that alone can I consent to be baptized.” “What is that?" said he. "Into the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the confession into which the first converts were immersed. I have set out to follow the apostles of Christ and their master, and I will be baptized only into the primitive Christian faith.”
After a short silence he replied, saying—"I believe you are right, and I will risk the consequences; I will get, If possible, one of our Redstone preachers to accompany me. Where do you desire-to be baptized?” “In Buffaloe creek, on which I live, and on which I am accustomed to preach. My Presbyterian wife,” I added, “and, perhaps, some others will accompany me.”
On the day appointed Elder Henry Spears, from thə Monongahela, and Matthias Luse, according to promise, met us at the place appointed. It was the 12th of June, 1812, a beautiful day, a large and attentive conconrse was present, with Elder David Jones of Eastern Pennsylvania. My father made an elaborate address on the occasion. I followed him with a statement of the reasons of my change of views, and vindicated the primitive institution of baptism, and the necessity of personal obedience.
To my great satisfaction my father, mother, and eldest sister, my wife and three other persons besides myself were that same day immersed into the faith of that great proposition on which the Lord himself said he would build his church. The next Lord's day some twenty others made a similar consession, and so the work progressed, until in a short time almost an hundred persons were immersed. This company, as far as I am yet informed, was the first community in the country that was immersed into that primitive, simple, and most significant confession of faith in the divine person and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, without being brought before a church to answer certain doctrinal questions, or to give a history of all their feelings and emotions, in those days falsely called “ Christian experience;" as if a man conld have Christian experience before he was a Christian!
ACTS OF APOSTLES,
SECTION XIII., -CHAPTER XIX.
XIX.--Now it eame to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth,
1. “Upper parts.”—Galatia and Phrygia lay north of Ephesus.
2 and finding there some disciples, he said to them, Have you, on
your believing, received the Holy Spirit? And they replied to
him, No; we have not so much as heard whether the Holy 3 Spirit is received. And he said unto them, Into what, then,
were you immersed? And they said, Into John's immersion. 4 And Paul said, John, indeed, administered the immersion of re.
formation, telling the people that they should believe in Him 5 that was to come after him: that is, in Jesus. And hearing
2. “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”-Such was the ancient order of things Men received the Holy Spirit after, not before they believed.
"Whether there be any Holy Ghost.”—The proper supplement here is similar to that in John vi. 39; which in the common version reads, “For the Holy Ghost was not yet given." The translators miglit, with equal authority, have supplied in this case the same worl—"given.”
3. “Unto what”—or, rather, Into what “were you then baptized.”—Persons were originally by baptism in water introduced into somethingperson, name, or relation; else this question would have had no pertinency..
4. Paul here explains “John's baptism." 5. “When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."— There are not wanting respectable critics of the order of Beza and Dr. Gil, who make these words a continuance of Paul's speech, and therefore deny that these persons were again baptized, or baptized into Jesus Christ. Still, the more judicious, and indeed the more learned, understand this verse as the words of Lnke the bistorian; who simply states, that on hearing the exposition of John's bapti-in which Paul gave as merely introductory to Jesus, "they were on hearing it baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus." We must regard this as every way most consistent with a common sense view of the whole context, and as more consonant to the style and manner of the author of the Book of the Acts.
“In the name of the Lord Jesus.”—The obstinacy of an erroneous prejudice is seldom more strikingly exemplified than in this case. We have the same preposition, eis, three times connected with baptism in this context; twice translated into and once in.—"Into what were you baptized?”— "Into John's baptism."-"They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Why not in the last case into the name? Because of the erroneous precedent found in the mistranslation of the commission—"Baptizing them in the name” instead of “into the pame of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Doddridge is consistent with the original and the apostolic usage, and renders it as we have done.
On the imposition of the Apostle's hands these twelve men received the Holy Spirit -as conferred by the Apostles—in its miraculous gifts. Hence when the Apostle asked whether they had “received the Holy Spirit since they boli ved,” he meant in its miraculous powers. For on receiving it, “they spake with tongues.”
The case of these men, which has, in one particular, so long perplexed commentators and creed-makers, seems to be this:— They had been biptized by some of the disciples of John after the death of John, or asier John's baptism had ceased; consequently it was to them of no value whala ever: for inasmuch as "all Judea and Jerusalem had gone out 10 John at Jordan,” and vast multitudes had been by him immersed --not one of whom is said, on that account, to have been excepted from Christian baptism., Now of the vast multitudes convert-d in Jerusalem and Judea immediately after the ascension of the Lord, it would be wholly inadmissil.le that none of them were of the disciples of John.. If any one say there was not one of these thousands belonging to the converts of John, we ask him, Wherein
6 this, they were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. And
Paui, laying his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; 7 and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied. And they were, 8 in all, about twelve men. And he went into the synagogue, and
discoursed with boldness, disputing for the space of three months,
and evincing the things which related to the kingdom of God. 9 But as some were hardened, and would not believe, speaking re
proachfully of this way before the multitude, he departed from
them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school 10 of one Tyrannus. And this was done for the space of two years,
so that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard 11 the word of the Lord. And God wrought extraordinary mira. 12 by the hands of Paul; so that handkerchiefs, or aprons, were
carried from his body to those that were sick, and the diseases 13 removed from them, and the evil spirits came out. And some
of the strolling Jews, who were exorcists, undertook to name
the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, 14 saying, We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches. And
there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who 15 did this. But the evil spirit answering, said, Jesus I know, and 16 Paul I know; but who are you? And the man in whom the evil
spirit was, sprung upon them, and getting master of them, pre
vailed against them, so that they fled out of the house, naked and did John prepare a people for the Lord, if none of them received him! It is inadmissible. Therefore, as we do not read of one of the disciples of John having been exempted from Christian baptism because a subject of John's baptism, we must regard these as not having been the legitimate subjects of John's baptism—that is, baptized after it ceased to be a divine justitution.
8 "Disputing”- !2187. Opetros—The term here so rendered, means reasoning or holding conversations with them. As the same is again used in the next verse with regard to two years daily employment in the school of one Tyrannus, we must suppose that either it indicates conversational discussiou, or that Paul was one of the greatest disputants of any age.
« All that dwelt in Asia "_There were two Asias in those days—Asia Minor and Proconsular Asia Asia Minor embraced Galatia, Phrygi'i, Pisidia, Lycaonin, and Pamphylia, where the Apostles had formerly preached. Proconsular Asia included Ionia, Æolia, and Lydia The Apostle and his companions were at one time forbidden to preach the word in this Asia. But now all that dwelt in Asia heard the word”—that is, Proconsular Asia. Here the seven churches were located to whom the seven apocalyptic epistles are addressed.
12. Special miracles.”—These are a new class. That demons are not diseases, as some pretended rationalists contend, is evident from this contrast-diseases departed from them, but the evil spirits went out of them diseases depart in one way-evil spirits escape in another.
13. “Vagabond or wandering Jews”—Exorcists.—Ireneus, Origen, Epiphanus, and Josephus, are quoted by Dr. Whitby in proof that these exorists pretended to casting out demons by arts and charms derived from Solomon. These exorcists were dispossessors of demons by professionnot conjurers. These unfortunate sons of Sceva tł:e priest, give ample proof that demoniacs are not mere lunatics. We have 110 diseases now-adays that come out of men, saying, “they know Jesus and Paul” and respect them. How baseless the scepticism of those who convert demons into physical maladies! This passage is to such spirits inexplicable.
17 wounded. And this was known to all the Jewe, and Greeks also
dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all, and the name 18 of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many of them, who be
lieved, came and confessed, and made a declaration of their 19 deeds. And a considerable number of those who had curious
arts, bringing their books together, burnt them before all: and
they computed the value of them, and found it fifty thousand 20 pieces of silver: so powerfully did the word of the Lord grow
and prevail. 21 Now when these things were fulfilled, Paul proposed in spirit,
that, passing through Macedonia and Achaia, he would go to
Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, it is necessary for 22 me also to see Rome. And sending two of those that minis
tered to him, Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, he himself 23 staid some time in Asia. And there happened, about that time, 24 no small tumult concerning that way. For a man whose name
was Demetrius, a silversmith, by making silver shrines of D:25 ana, procured no small gain to the artificers; whom he gathered
together, with the workmen employed in that business, and
said, Men, you know that our maintenance arises from this 26 manufacture; and you see and hear that this Paul has persuaded
great numbers of people, not only of Ephesus, but almost of all
Asia, and has turned them aside, saying that they are not deities 27 which are made with hands; so that there is danger, not only
that this occupation of ours should be depreciated, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and
her grandeur destroyed; whom all Asia and the world worship. 28 And hearing this, they were filled with rage; and cried out, say29 ing, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! And the whole city was
filled with confusion; and they rushed with one accord into the
theatre, dragging thither Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, 30 Paul's fellow-travellers. And when Paul would have gone in to 31 the people, the disciples would not permit him. And some, too,
the principal officers of Asia, as they had a friendship for him, sent to him, and desired that he would not venture himself into
19 “Fifty thousand pieces of silver.”—It is computed that were these drachmas, or silver denarii pieces, the least silver coin, the value of these books must have been soino 10,000 dollars of our currency. If Jewish shekels, about 72,000 dollars. These books, according to ancient tradition, were Ephesian letters, “written charms" and "aris of magic,” by which these exorcists imposed upon the people and gained reputation for great wisdom and power. I have sean one of that class written in Latin, titled, if I remember right, "De Arte Magica," professing to introduce one into its mysteries.
21.*"Silver shrines for Diana.”_Dr. Hammond and Mr. Biscos, says Dr. Doldridge, gave it as their opinion, and produced some evidence of it, that these shrines were "little models of the temple,” to be used for superstitious purposes. Others opine that they were coins or models, on the reverse of which the temple was represented. The trade, whatever it was, was carried on in rather a large way, as the number of interested tradesmen seems to have been very considerable.
38. “The Chancellor.--Grammateus—"Literally a scribe; but in this city an officer of some authority.” Doddridge.