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CHAP. benevolent Redeemer should add the powerful influence II.
of his own example to an ordinance, compliance with which he presented as the first great test of the sincerity of obedience, and therefore to the salvation-state of the professed believer. While our glorious Lord has condescended to set us so plain an example, we apprehend the conscience of every believer, who thinks on this subject at all, will never be perfectly at ease till “ he does exactly as He did;" pay a solemn voluntary regard to the ordinance of baptism.
It is lamentable indeed to hear Christian ministers telling their hearers not “to follow Christ in baptism." Error grows more buld, as it tends to its doom. Good
men spoke not thus in former days: hear the founder Institutes, of the presbyterian church, John Calvin; “For this
reason he dedicated and sanctified baptism in his own body, that he might have it in common with us, as a most firm bond of the union and society which he has
condescended to form with us." Christ im That the baptism of Christ was by immersion, has mersed. Mark i: 9. been till of late universally admitted. Like others in. Matt
. iii 6. deed whom John baptized, our Lord was baptized « in Mark i. 14.
Jordan;" but it is also added that “ Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water.” Few persons will be found who can be induced to go into a river for the purpose of being sprinkled; but will agree with Dr. Macknight, that Jesus “submitted to be baptized, that is, buried under water by John, and to be raised out of it again, as an emblem of his future death and resurrection. May all who have hitherto neglected or hesitated to follow their Lord, not only say with Mr. POLHILL, "the pattern of Christ and the apostles is more
Macknight on the Epistles, London edit., 1829, vol. i. p. 262.
to me than all the human wisdom in the world;" but act SECT. upon this principle: and though the Spirit may not be
III. seen to light upon them, nor the voice be heard that then God is “ well pleased,” (for these were honours appropriated to our great Example;) yet shall “ the answer of a good conscience towards God," and the inward “witness of the Holy Spirit, « lead them to rejoice that they have known the way of God more perfectly.”
BAPTISM BY CHRIST'S DISCIPLES.
The church of God is indebted to the “ beloved” John, Christ bapfor considerable accessions to their gospel history; and
tizes by his
disciples. among them for that interesting link in the chain of the history of baptism, in which is the subject of the present section.
“ After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land John ii. 22, of Judea ; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. “Then 25 there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto 26
It is this phrase that appears to have suggested the idea to the mind of the learned President of Illinois College, that in New Testament usage the term baptize is to be considered as identical with purify; and to be regarded solely in its technical import, as relating to an ordinance of purification, without any designation as to its mode of administration. Upon this view of the subject, there is no command that water should be used in Christian baptism; which will hardly be deemed a safe position. If it be urged that the use of water is sufficiently cstablished by example and circumstances, without the term baptize requiring it; I would observe that whatever evidence assures of the application of water at all, assures us equally of its administration by immersion. It may be added, that this idea is
CHAP. him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou
2 that Jesus made and baptized more disciples then John, (though
departed again into Galilee."
the subsequent explanation, “ that Jesus baptized not,
This link in the history, small as it may appear, is of
incompatible with the commission, “Teach all nations, baptizing
great moment; not only as it shows the intimate union sect. of the baptism of John with Christian baptism, but that
IV. this fact entirely overthrows the position often taken by Importance
of these pædobaptists, that there was no need for Christ to direct the apostles to baptize infants, because as Jews they had always been accustomed to consider infants a part of the church. Now, whom had the apostles been accustomed to baptize during our Lord's personal ministry? Disciples, as John had done. None can pretend that there is any more symptom of baptizing infants, or of sprinkling, in the verses before us describing Christ's baptizing, (by his disciples,) than there had previously been in the baptism of John.-It remains to be seen, so far as the testimony of the evangelists is concerned, whether this exclusion of infants is still continued in the last great commission, or whether any exception is at length remembered in their favour.
CHRIST'S LAST COMMISSION TO HIS DISCIPLES.
Previous investigation has led inevitably to the con- Christ's last
commission clusion, that it was the practice of John to baptize only those whom he had taught the necessity of repentance and faith in Christ. The historian John has testified, with equal clearness, that the same course was pursued by Christ and his disciples. The only remaining evidence to be produced respects the commission which Christ gave to his disciples after his resurrection. This command has been recorded by Matthew and Mark, and that with a perspicuity equal to its brevity. .
CH A P. “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the II. name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teach
ing them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
The passage in Matthew contains the direction, that
the apostolic labours are to extend to all nations; whom mea Onttu- they are first to teach ;-then to baptize with the form
prescribed ;-and after that to continue to instruct the baptized converts in all the details of Christian doctrine and duty. The observance of this order in every point is doubtless important, or otherwise on an occasion so solemn as that in which the Son of God was about immediately to return to the right hand of his Father, it would not have been insisted on. An attempt has been made to obscure the first clause of the commission by rendering it “ disciple o by baptizing ;” but is it possible to disciple an adult in any sense that a Christian can regard the term) by baptizing him against or without his consent ? and if baptizing an adult in this manner will
a The term made use of in the commission, matheteu sate, is found also in Matt. xxii. 52: "every scribe instructed into the kingdom of heaven:” ch. xxvii. 57, where Joseph of Arimathea is called the “disciple of Jesus ;” and Acts xiv. 21, “And when they had preached the gospel in that city, and had taught many." These are all the instances in which the verb matheteuo is found in the New Testament. Is there any excuse then for imputing to it the meaning of an outward act of discipling? Does it not in each case indicate the accomplishment of a mental process-instruction ? Those who pervert this direction of our Lord, involve themselves in a deep responsibility; they would do well to peruse attentively the teachings of Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, (ch.ij. ver. 11-18,) as applicable to their case.