Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Straightway. xviii. 8. Many of the Corinthians believed, and were baptized. xix. 5. And when they heard this, they were baptized. xxii. 16. Arife and be baptized, and wash away thy fins. Rom. vi. 8. Were baptized into Jefus. 1 Cor. i. 16. Ibaptized the household of Stephanus. x. ii. And were all baptized unto Mofes in the cloud. xv. 29. Elfe what fhall they do, that are baptized for the dead? Gal. iii. 27. As many as have been baptized. These are fome of the principal places in the New-Teftament, where baptifm and baptize are used: and they all mean the ORDINANCE of water baptism, or allude to the use of it, as a standing ordinance. Other paffages, which do not affert, plainly allude to water baptifm. Tit. iii. 15. "Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he faved us by the wafhing (or lover) of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Rom. 6. 4. "We are buried with him by baptifm." The apoftle has this exhortation to christians," Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water, let us hold faft the profeffion of our faith without wavering."

5. The apostles were unanimous in adminif tering baptifm as an appointment of their Lord and - mafter after he had afcended. They baptized all their converts without one exception, that we can find on facred record. Acts, ii. 38. ii. 1. They positively commanded their converts to receive the ordinance. Acts, x. 48. "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jefus." Is it reasonable to suppose that all the apostles in all parts of the world, among Jews and Gentiles, in all

the churches which they gathered, would unitedly, without one fcruple or one objector or objection, go into the practice of baptizing with water, if it was not an inftitution of their Lord, defigned to be perpetuated in his gofpel kingdom, to the end of the world.

The confent of the church from the earliest period of chriftianity, through fourteen centuries, in the belief of the right and duty of water baptifm is a ftrong proof in its favour. Had it been an innovation, we fhould hear of fome objection to it in the first age of chriftianity; we fhould be able to get fome evidence how and when it was introduced. The following are the words of Juftin Martyr, who lived in the age next after the apoftles. "As many as are perfuaded and believe the things taught and faid by us to be true, and promise to live according to them, are wafhed with water in the name of the Father and Lord of all, and in the name of Jefus Chrift our Saviour, and in the name of the Holy Spirit."

It may be proper to confider objections to particular parts, or the general conclufion of the foregoing arguments.

Some have appeared to think that we have no reafon to conclude that water baptifm is meant, where baptifm is mentioned without an exprefs mention of water. The answer is, if we have reafon to conclude that any instances alluded to are not the figurative baptifm of the Holy Spirit, we have reafon to conclude that water baptifm is intended. For only these two kinds of baptism are noticed in the New Teftament. But we have no reafon to believe that baptism with the Holy

*

Spirit is intended, unless it be exprefsly fo termed, Chrift, not the apostles baptized with the Holy Spirit, and being baptized is alfo diftinguished from receiving the Holy Spirit.

It has been faid that though the apoftles did baptize with water, this was not done in purfuance of Christ's commiffion. Paul faid that Chrift fent him not to baptize, but to preach the gofpel, and ? he was thankful that he baptized fo few. John's baptism, it is pretended, had not ceased, and when the apostles administered the rite, they either confidered it as John's baptifm, or did it in compliance with the prejudices and wishes of the people, who were attached to fuch an ordinance. To thefe objections it is replied,

1. It is not correa to fay the apostles did not profess in administering this rite, to do it by virtue of Chrift's authority. If the contrary does not appear, it is our duty to prefume that they had fuch authority; but their baptifms were adminiftered in the name of Jefus Chrift. One of the obvious and acknowledged fenfes of the phrafe, acting in the name of Christ, is acting by his direction, as his meffenger, according to the rules and spirit of his religion.

2. Paul is fpeaking not of his miffion generally as an apostle, but of his being sent to Corinth. His faying that this was not to baptize but to preach the gofpel, is not to be taken abfolutely, but comparatively. Examples of fuch phrafeology in the fcriptures are frequent. See Jeremiah, vii. 22. Hofea, vi. 6. Matth. ix. 13. John vi. 27. Preaching was his principal business, and he rejoiced that he had baptized no more, not because he was not author

B

ized, but because in their divided ftate, and their wicked and foolish contests about different teachers, this people might fay he "baptized in his own name," as the head of a party.

3. As to John's baptifm, Paul thought that those, who had received it, ought yet to be baptized in the name of Chrift. Acts, xix. The apoftles administered no other baptism than that which Christ inftituted.

4. To fuppofe that the apostles baptized without any warrant, in compliance with the prejudices and inclinations of the Jews, is to fuppofe fomething against fcripture and reafon, for it appears continually in this hiftory, that they did baptize in the name of Jefus Chrift, by his authority and warrant. Moreover, the moft exprefs inftances of water baptism, mentioned in fcripture, were of Gentiles who had not been accustomed to the water baptisms practifed among the Jews, and had no previous biaffes or partialities upon the fubject. When the Jews were baptized on the day of Pentecoft, it was not done in condefcenfion to their defires, but in confequence of the exhortation of Peter. The fame may be obferved of the Gentiles, who were baptized at the houfe of Cornelius.

Other objections against the perpetuity of this rite are taken from our Lord's washing the disciples' feet and directing them to do it to each other, from Paul's circumcifing Timothy, St. James directing that the fick be anointed with oil-and the decrees of the first apoftolic council at Jerufalem.

In respect to the first circumstance, it was an example not of a particular act to be performed, but of a spirit and temper to be exercised and difplayed

by all. Could it be fhown that washing one another's feet, of which Chrift gave an example and command to his apoftles, would be as useful in all ages and places as it was then in Judea, that it was understood in a ftrict and literal fenfe, and practised immediately and conftantly by them and their fucceffors, and delivered to the church as a command, we might think ourselves obliged to regard washing one another's feet as a stated duty of our religion.

Paul's circumcifing Timothy was dictated by a. reafon peculiar to the times. The ordinance of circumcifion was not then declared to be abolished ; and Timothy, born of a Jew, might well fubmit to the rite, in order to aid his reception with the Jews. The anointing the fick in the name of the Lord was an appointment for their miraculous cure. But the age of miracles has paffed away. The decree of the famous apoftolic council at Jerufalem was adapted to the cafe and circumftances of the. Gentiles at the time, excepting one article of a moral nature.

Let us make an improvement of the doctrine, here mentioned.

Our first duty is to direct our ferious attention to the designs and ufes of this ordinance. It has been affirmed to be a vain and unprofitable obfervance. Did Jefus Chrift impofe on his church a useless and abfurd rite? It is inftructive and beneficial, as it teaches us our finfulness, our need of renewal-as it brings to our view the objects of our faith, love, fear, and hope; and as it implies our engagements and vows to "live the lives we live in the flesh by the faith of the Son of God." Let us

« ZurückWeiter »