« AnteriorContinuar »
Now that this fiery Appearance at the time of the Apostles being baptized with the Holy Ghoft, was that very Baptifm with Fire which was promifed by St. John Baptift, will appear, if we obferve, that whereas St. Matthew, ch. 3. 11. and St. Luke, ch. 3. 16. do report, that the Baptift declared, that our Savior fhould baptize with the Holy Ghost, and with Fire; the other Evangelifts, viz. St. Mark, ch. 1. 8. and St. John, ch. 1.33. reporting the very fame thing, do fpeak nothing of the Baptifm with Fire, but of that with the Holy Ghoft only. Nor does either our Savior himself, Acts 1. 15. or St. Peter, Acts 11. 16. make any mention of the Fire; tho' both of them do mention that with the Holy Ghoft, and do moft plainly allude to that very Prophecy of the Baptift, in the account of which by St. Matthew and St. Luke mention is exprefly made of the Fire alfo. From whence it follows that Baptifm with the Holy Ghost and with Fire, were not different Baptifms; but that one was a Circumftance attending the other at the first Adminiftration of it, and not afterwards. For we never read of any Appearance of Fire, when Cornelius and his Friends, or any other Perfons, were baptized with the Holy Ghoft.
Befides, Baptifm with Fire was promifed at the fame time with Baptifm with the Holy Ghoft; and without all doubt the promife has been juft ly performed: but this promife never was performed at all, unless it was performed at the Day of Pentecoft; and therefore that Appearance of fiery Tongues upon the Day of Pentecoft, muft needs be accounted the Performance of that promife which was made of Baptifm with Fire.
I must add, that Baptifm with Fire is never mentioned in all the Bible, but when 'tis promifed toge
together with Baptifm with the Holy Ghost. And therefore we muft not feparate them, but explain Baptifm with Fire as I have already done, and believe it to be only a Circumftance, which was once to attend the Baptifm with the Holy Ghost.
If it should be objected, that the promise of Baptifm with Fire was made to all Chriftians, becaufe St. John Baptift faies, he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire, Matt. 3.11. whereas very few were baptized with Fire, if my notion of that Baptifm be true; I anfwer, that the Word you muft of neceffity be limited, as I have fhewn, ch. 18. p. 232, 233. whither I refer the Reader,
Thirdly, as for that Baptifm which is mentioned, Matt. 20. 22. and Luke 12. 50. I take it to be a Baptifm with Afflictions, that is, a State of Mifery and Calamity, fuch as our dear Redeemer was content to endure for our fakes. This appears from the Texts themselves. Our Lord asked the Children of Zebedee, whether they were able to drink of the Cup that he was to drink of, and to be baptized with the Baptifm which he was baptized with, Matt. 20. 22. And Luke 12, 5o. he faies, I have a Baptifm to be baptized with; and how am I ftraitned, till it be accomplished, or finished, as the original imports?
I know, fome perfons had rather underftand this Baptifm to be Baptifm with Death; but I cannot affent to them. Becaufe I think 'tis univerfally granted, that the fame Baptifm is meant in both thefe Texts. Now in the former of 'em Baptifm with Death, or a violent and unjuft Death, cannot be meant. For our Savior tells the Sons of Zebedee, Matt. 20. 23. that they fhould drink of the Cup that he was to drink of, and be baptized with the
Baptism that he was baptized with. Whereas St. John the Evangelift, who was one of the Two, did not die a violent and unjuft Death. I had rather therefore fuppofe, that the Baptifm meant in these two places, is the Baptifm with Afflictions, as I have already faid.
'Tis true, our Lord calls his Death a Cup, Matt. 26.39,42. and he compares Death to drinking of a Cup, when he fpeaks of tafting of Death, Mark 9. 1. and the fame Phrafe is ufed by the Jews, John 8.52. But this does not contradict my notion; because a violent and unjuft Death is a great Affliction, and confequently may be justly called a Baptifm with Afflictions. But I affirm, that the Baptifm mentioned in thofe Texts cannot be limited to our Savior's Death, but muft fignifie a Baptifm with Afflictions in general, one of which Afflictions a violent and unjuft Death is: and I embrace this opinion for the reafon already given. :
But I fhall not contend about this matter; efpecially fince the Quakers feem to be on my Side. For Mr. Barclay (a) faies, He urgeth Chrift's faying, Luke 10. 50. I have a Baptifm to be baptized with; and how am I ftraitned, till it be accomplished? as if this were to be called Chrift's own Baptifm; and fo I shall grant it with respect to his perfonal Sufferings.
(a) Apol. Vindic. fe&t. 13. p. 859.
Of the State of the Question concerning the Neceffity of Water-Baptifm.
Muft now ftaté the Queftion concerning the Neceffity of Water-Baptifm. Our Adverfaries affirm, that God has not commanded us to be baptized with Water; whereas we on the contrary affirm, that God has commanded us to be baptized with Water. But upon Suppofition, that God has commanded us to be baptized with Water, 'tis agreed on both fides, that Water-Baptifm is ne ceffary.
But ftill 'twill be a Queftion, whether it be abfolutely neceflary, or no. Now, tho' we affirm that Water-Baptifm is commanded; and confequently, that 'tis abfolutely neceffary for thofe who do or may know that 'tis fo commanded, to be baptized with Water: yet we do by no means limit the boundless Mercies of God, but grant that he: may extend them in fome cafes to fuch perfons as are not baptized with Water, and consequently have not a covenant right to them. I fay, we dare not tie up the Hands of the Almighty, or prescribe what Rules he fhall obferve in Extraordinary Circumstances; for inftance, when an Infant dies affoon as 'tis Born, or unbaptized through the Parents neglect, or when no lawful Adminiftrator of Baptifm can be called, or when the Element cannot be procured. But yet we firmly believe, that fince Water-Baptifm is commanded by God, therefore he who wilfully neglects being fo baptized, cannot poffibly be faved. Because he wilfully neglects
a pofitive precept, the Obfervance of which God made neceffary to Salvation, And God is as certainly bound by his Veracity to damn fuch a perfon, as he is bound thereby to pardon those who perform what he requires of them.
It may be faid perhaps, that I have now fent the Quakers to the bottomless Pit. But God forbid. For I affert no more, than that thofe who wilfully neglect Water-Baptifm, shall undoubtedly be damned. But do I fay that the Quakers do neglect it wilfully? God only knows their Hearts, and how far their neglect of Water-Baptifm is wilful. And therefore, tho I affirm, that a wilful neglect of Water-Baptifm is most certainly a damnable Sin; yet I do not fay, that this or that perfon does wilfully neglect Water-Baptifm. Wherefore I leave the judgment of particular perfons to God, who alone can make juft Allowances for Prejudice, Education, &c. which may poffibly render the fin of the Quakers involuntary, and confequently fuch as God can, and (we charitably hope) will forgive in thofe, who walk uprightly according to the beft of their Knowledge.
Thus then have I fhewn, in what Sense we affert the Neceffity of Water-Baptifm. We affert, that God has commanded us to be baptized with Water, and that 'tis neceffary for us to obey that, as well as other commands of God; and that if we wilfully neglect to obey that Command, we fhall as infallibly perifh, as if we wilfully neglect to obey any other Command..
Wherefore to prove this Neceffity of WaterBaptifm, nothing more is required, than to prove that 'tis commanded; and this I fhall endevor to do. Only I think it proper firft to observe, that my