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from original righteousness. But the expressions do. not extend to the affirming of an accountability for any other sin, than such as may be committed in our own persons, and contrary to light bestowed. The being made children of grace by baptism, still upholds the sentiment, that this state is the effect of the due use of the ordinance, relatively as well to infants as to adults.
Then the question comes—"What is required of persons to be baptized?” Answer—" Repentance, whereby they forsake sin; and faith, whereby they sted. fastly believe the promises of God, made to them in that Sacrament." As these conditions were discoursed of in the first lecture, we may here dismiss them. For the same reason, I omit to remark on the next question and answer-"Why then are infants baptized; when by reason of their tender age, they cannot perform them?”—“ Because they promise them both by their sureties: which promise when they come of age, them. selves are bound to perform.”
While repetition is thus avoided; there is perseverance in the wish all along expressed, of stating wherein our Church differs from other bodies of professing Christians, and of showing the ground of her decisions.
The first point to be stated, is that which makes an insuperable bar of profession, between us, and those who deny the obligation of the rite of baptism.
They do not deny, that when there occur in the New Testament narratives of cases of submission to this ordinance, there was a visible transaction, accompanied by the use of water. But they say, that herein there was a conforming to a Jewish institution, designed to be only for a time, and in compliance with prejudice. This is not only gratuitously assumed, but could not have happened; there having been no institution of this sort among the Jews, resting on divine authority; although it had been introduced as a human appointment, to accompany the admission of Gentiles to the privileges of the Mosaick dispensation. Under
such circumstances; to have combined it needless ly with the more spiritual service of the new dis. pensation, would have been to have riveted the prejudice, if it were one, and not to have weaned from it. But supposing it had been thought needful to tolerate, in a new line of direction, an old habit of the Jews; what had this to do with converts from heathenism? When Philip baptized the eunuch of Ethiopia, * and when Peter commanded Cornelius and his household to be baptized,t there could not have been a previous bias to the institution, in these persons. Besides; in the subsequent rapid spreading of the gospel, and the gathering of multitudes of both descriptions within the pale of the Christian Church; it is not alleged, that there was any difference in regard to them, as to submission to the rite of baptism. And then, that under such a design of temporary indulgence, the gospel age should have been suffered to expire, without there being a stop put to an ordinance so alien, as is ima. gined, from the nature of Christ's spiritual kingdom; and that it should be handed down in the nu. merous Churches planted over the whole face of the then known world for this is an uncontradict. ed fact-would have been unworthy of the unen- , lightened wisdom of man; and much more of that wisdom, which is agreed on both sides to have been under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Much is thought of what is found in John, iv. 2. "Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples.” But in quoting this place, it is common to put out of view what is said in the twenty-second verse of the chapter immediately preceding-"After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa, and there he tarried with them, and bap. tized.” What can be the meaning of its being said in one place positively—“ Jesus baptized;” and in the next chapter," Jesus baptized not, but his
disciples;” except, that he performed the rite through the medium of their ministry, and not in person? It is a maxim as reasonable as it is common, that an agent does himself what he does through the instrumentality of others.
A similar use is endeavoured, of what St. Paul has said in the first chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians; * where he thanks God, that he had only baptized Crispus and Gaius, and the household of Stephanas. That he baptized these, is not denied; however contrary it may seem to spirituality. That he had baptized no more, is said of his ministry in the individual city of Corinth; and how many he may have baptized elsewhere, does not appear. But why thank God, for having baptized so few in that city? He gives the reason explicitly. It was, lest his authority should be pleaded in countenance of the prevalent schismatical spirit among the people, of their calling of themselves after the names of those, by whom they had been respectively brought within the fold. St. Paul wanted no such partizans. There were some however, who were not so religiously fastidious: And the race of them has been continued through every age, to the present day. St. Paul's saying—“Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” expresses no more, than that the latter was supereminently the object of his designation; although he had autho. rity, which he occasionally exercised, for the other.
But it is thought on the other side, that a very im. portant distinction is made where it is said by John the baptist, “ I baptize with water”-but “ he” (Christ) shall baptize you with the “Holy Ghost." It is not accurately stated, that the distinction here is between baptism by water, and that by the holy ghost: It is between the baptism by John, which was with water only, and that of Christ, which was with water, but to be accompanied by the Holy
# 14 & 16.
* Matt. jii. ll.
Ghost. The question occurs in what sense was this fulfilled? The answer is—first, by the cleansing influences on the Church of the descent of the Holy Ghost, in the gift of tongues, on the day of Pentecost; an event to which that very saying is referred, in several places in the Acts; and agreeably to the latitude with which a word is often transferred from its proper subject, to one congenial. As the word life, denoting strictly the continuance of our temporary existence, and death, denoting its cessation, are applied also to opposite states beyond the grave; so baptism, as applied to the cleansing of the individual from sin, is made expressive of an operation producing that new state of the Church, which was to begin her future career on earth. But there was especially a ground for the phraseology in the cira cumstance, that in the ordinance of baptism, there are pledged the ordinary influences of the same spirit, whose extraordinary and miraculous presence was made manifest on the day of Pentecost. Hence it is, that we find in the infancy of the Church, an intimate connexion between baptism and the gift of tongues. Thus, it was immediately before the baptism of Cornelius and his assembled friends,* that the Holy Ghost fell on them. It was soon consequent on Philip's baptizing of the Samaritans, that the apostles St. Peter and St. John “ laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”† And so, on St. Paul's baptizing of twelve men at Ephe. sus—“he laid his hands on them, and the Ho Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.”! In all these cases, there is conceded to have been a baptism with water; which looks very unlike there having been a superseding of this, by the promise of the Holy Ghost.
But the next decisive evidence against the fancy of a Jewish rite, and a temporary indulgence of it by the apostles, is the form of baptism now under no.
Acts, X. 44
+ Acts, viij. 17.
Acts, xix. 6.
tice; in which our Lord made the rite his own, and prescribed it to his apostles, to be coextensive as to time and place, with the preaching of his gospel. This is so clear, on the supposition of water baptism's being contemplated; that there was found no other way of avoiding the authority, than by main. taining, that the place has in view a spiritual bap. tism only : And this is done at the expense
supposing, that there was thus enjoined on man, what can only be done by the agency of the Holy Spirit of God.
The next question occurring, is that concerning infant baptism.
The command is “Go teach all nations, baptizing them, &c.” Perhaps the cause of truth may have suffered, from the text's not being translated
- Make disciples of all nations:” which is con. fessedly the strict meaning of the original.
The words are general. The precept is not given in relation to all adults, to the exclusion of children; any more than to all men, exclusively of women; which might be as well imagined as the other. The whole question is reduced to this; whether children can properly be brought under the denomination of disciples, or persons initiated with a view to their being instructed. The question is resolved by the fourteenth verse of the tenth chapter of the Gospel of St. Mark; in which our Saviour enjoinsi Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven:” an expression, confessedly descriptive of the Church.
The precepts concerning baptism are addressed to persons, to whom the Jewish institutions were familiar. They well knew the effect of the circum. cision of infants, as sealing to them the benefits of the legal covenant. Here was a new rite, introductory to a more beneficent covenant: And what was more natural than that they should presume chil. dren to be the intended subjects of it; unless there had been words of exclusion, which are not alleged?