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mersed in the Holy Spirit. I conceive our translators correct, in supposing John to refer solely to the elements with which baptism was to be administered. He baptized with water; but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire; and how this was performed is stated to be by pouring out of his Spirit, by shedding forth, by the Spirit coming upon the disciples, (Acts ii. 17, 33. Matt. iii. 16,) as he did upon himself. The many baptisms in houses are nearly demonstrations that the rite was observed in this manner. That of Cornelius, the first fruits of the Gentiles, iş so related as to prove this conclusion. Peter seeing that the Holy Spirit was poured out on all that heard the word, said, “Can any forbid water, that these should not be baptized ?” Acts x. 47. This language fairly implies, “ Can any forbid water (to be brought into the room) that these may not be baptized ?" It does not appear that either he or they removed from the room where they were all convened ; and it is not probable, in the nature of things, that they could all be immersed. The baptism of Paul, of the jailor and his household, appear to have been performed in the same manner.
As to the allusion to the mode of baptism, Rom. vi. 4. Coloss. ii. 14, on which much stress has been laid, another, and in my opinion, a more rational and consistent interpretation has been given. See notes in loc. In our sense of the term, our Lord was not actually buried; he was only laid out, and for convenience put into a tomb, with the intention, after the Sabbath was over, of embalming him, and then interring him. Nor was he let down into a tomb; but as this was hewed out of a rock, and a door left for entrance, his body was directly conveyed into it, and a stone was placed against the entrance, not upon it. His glorious and triumphant resurrection prevented his actual interment. The manner in which Jesus, while in the state of the dead, was put into the tomb, will be as far from resembling immersion, as pouring. The truth is, the apostle is treating of the design of baptism, , and the obligations of those who have received this rite, to become dead to sin, and to live a new life. As the first thing usual in preparing a corpse for interment, and the word the apostle uses, denotes all the preparations,) was washing the body, then wrapping it in linen, &c. so through baptism, into his death, believers were washed, and the design was, to teach them to avoid all pollution, both of the flesh and the Spirit, and to walk in newness of life.
I enter no farther into the discussion of this subject, than to state 'my full conviction, that pouring water on the head or face of the person baptized, was the apostolic mode of administering this ordinance; and that immersion, either of a part or of the whole body, was subsequently introduced. In the representations of this rite, copied from Ciampani, in the Facts and Evidences on Baptism, by the. learned and laborious editor of Calmet, it is evident to every man's eyes, that where partial immersion was practised, the act of baptizing was performed by the baptizer pouring water on the head of the person baptized. The artists exhibited what was the mode in the third and fourth centuries; but it is well known that the simplicity of christian institutions had been much corrupted before the end of the second century, and still more in the third. Baptism and the Lord's Supper were called christian mysteries; and to render these ordinances more sacred and awful, various ceremonies were gradually added. In baptizing, the minister began by exorcism, or casting out the devil, then by.prayer, consecrating the water; after which the person went into the water, to the waist, and then water was poured on his head in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and then followed unction, signation, and imposition of hands. Unction was to denote that the person baptized was anointed ; signation was making the sign of the cross with the ointment; and imposition of hands was to confirm him in the christian faith, by imparting the Holy Spirit. These ceremonies were observed at the end of the second century, and those who used them justified the practice, as to anointing, because the Jewish High priest was anointed ; and because Christ was anointed with the Spirit; and as to signation, or making the sign of the cross on the forehead, because the priests of
Mithras signed the forehead of their soldiers; and in respect to confirmation, because :“we' do not receive the Holy Ghost in baptism, but when our bodies are cleansed, that most Holy Spirit willingly descends from the Father,” on the imposition of' hands. Such are the reasons of Tertullian and Cyprian! How unsupported all these observances are by the New Testament account of Baptism, is apparent to every man of judgment.
On the version of some passages which bear on the Trinitarian controversy, severe 'remarks have been made; and it is contended, the strong turn given to them is unwarranted. I feel myself compelled to assert that I have followed the honest convictions of my mind, and have not been influenced by any party motives. At various periods of my life this subject has been considered with all the seriousness which its importance demands; and I am ready to confess, that like others, I have 'attempted to discover the mode of the Divine subsistence; and failing in the attempt, was strongly inclined to embrace the Sabellian hypothesis. · At length, convinced of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, I have been brought to confine my attention to their testimony ; and that testimony is, in my judgment, decisive in favour of some distinction in the Divine nature, and that proper Divinity is attributed to the Son and Holy Spirit, as well as to the Father. When asked, How can these things be? I answer, I pretend not to know. As I find myself unable distinctly to conceive the mode of my own existence, I am not surprised that I cannot form distinct conceptions of the manner in which superior beings exist! In a word, on this, and every other subject of religion, my appeal is, to the testimony of the Scriptures.
· The author leaves the Notes and Reflections to speak for themselves. The former contain his views of the sense of the Evangelists and Apostles; of the doctrines which he thinks their language properly and naturally conveys to the reader. He has had recourse to no fari fetched turns, to no twistings, to no hyper-criticisms, to support an hypothesis. He has studied brevity; but indulges the hope that he has not omitted any thing of importance to the illustration of the text. It would have been an easy task to have swelled the Notes, so as to have comprised another volume ; but as a great book has been deemed a great evil, he has kept within moderate bounds, considering the nature of the work.
| The general Index has been drawn up with care, and the design of it is to illustrate the scriptures, by connecting their historical references with the events, circumstances, and transactions, of the nations with which the Jews were surrounded, or with which they had intercourse. Hence it became necessary to give a particular account of the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian kingdoms. The conquests of the two last affected the existence of the Jews as a nation; and without some knowledge of their civil history, we cannot understand the references of the prophets. On the re-establishment of the people in their own land, after the captivity in Babylon, their history is connected with the conquests of Alexander, and the various wars among his successors ; and then with the Roman empire, until the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.
The Topographical Index has been drawn up at the suggestion of some esteemed friends. And in accomplishing this, I am under great obligations to Wells and Reland, and to the editor of Calmet. The Maps will assist the student and the reader, who wishes to know the situation of the places and kingdoms mentioned. In the brief history of particular places, if any thing. remarkable has occurred there, it is noticed; and the passages where the account is contained, referred to. I cannot doubt but that both these Indexes will be useful and instructive to the general reader.
Amidst numerous engagements and labours this work is at length brought to a conclusion; and I have reason for gratitude to God that such a degree of health has been continued for so many years, that I have never been prevented for one week by sickness from pursuing my studies. If, through
divine grace, I have been able to elucidate what was obscure, to confirm what was doubtful; in some instances, through the aid of mss. or versions, to supply what was defective, and to remove both apparent and real incongruities; if the mind and will of God in his word, be in any degree rendered more plain and easy to be understood by common readers; and if my biblical toils shall subserve the interest of Divine Truth, and tend to the promotion of scriptural knowledge, and of peace and com- : fort to serious and reflecting readers, then will the object I have had in view be attained. That such may be the result of my labours has often been my prayer to the Father of lights ; and it shall still be my prayer, that every reader of this work, may receive the Spirit of Wisdom, and be enlightened and sanctified by the Word of God, which contains nothing but pure, important, and saving Truth.
THE NAMES AND ORDER OF ALL THE BOOKS OF THE OLD
AND NEW TESTAMENT.'
MATTHEW hath Chaps. 28 Mark.
21 The Acts
Ephesians Philippians Colossians I. Thessalonians II. Thessalonians 1. Timothy II, Timothy Titus Philemon
4 5 3 6
The Hebrews The Epistle of James I. Peter. JI. Peter I. John. Il. John III. John Jude. Revelation
13 ,5 5 3 5 1 1 1 22
28 Epistle to the Romans 16 1. Corinthians .
16 II. Corinthians
CONTENTS OF VOL. III.