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ment pretends the Jews admitted. And, Thirdly, that there is no ground in history for suppo(ing,that thejews had any such established custom in the ancient times here supposed. The Old Testament is absolutely silent about it; so is the Apocrypha, so is the New Testament, so are Jofephus and Phllo, grave and credible historians, who prosessedly treat of the antiquities and ceremonies of thejewt. Josepbus, in relating two cases of proselytifm, mentions circumcision only, and gives not the least intimation about a baptism. The most early christian writers appear to have had no knowledge of it. St. Paul, for a prelude to christian baptism, fixes on the Israelites being baptized in the cloud, and in the sea, instead of hinting at this Jewijb baptism; which, if it was really the model of that appointed by Christ, he had the fairest opportunity in the world of introducing some account of, and could scarce have failed to introduce. Upon what ground then, it may be asked, have learned men advanced and propagated a notion, that seems so little credible? I answer, upon the bare authority of Talmudical books, not composed till about three hundred years after Christ, and stuffed with blasphemies, full of stupid infatuation and wild romance, and upon whose credit, if it was not invalidated by what has been already offered, no man, who wishes not to be imposed upon, would ever rely. And are these principles, from which to deduce duties of religion, on which to found positive institutions of God? If Jewijb legerids are to be the ground work of christian duties, the whole face of the gospel may in time be so mangled, and disfigured, as to bear nothing at all of the aspect of primitive and unadulterate Christianity. Th* last inquiry which I proposed is,

Whether baptism was intended as a temporary institution, and to be confined to proselytes only, or be of universal and perpetual obligation? And this is reduced to narrow limits, by my having already rendered highly improbable, the principle on which it has been chiefly attempted to be established, namely, the ancient practice, long before Christ, of Jewijb proselyte baptism. I shall therefore only observe further; that whether any institution of Christianity be temporary, or whether it ought to be confined to some particular characters, can only be known one or other of these three ways: either by the express words of the institution itselfj or from the nature he hath prescribed. And to those, in particular, who are fully convinced of their duty, but have hitherto sailed in this part of their obedience, 1 beg leave to address myself in the words of Ananias to Saul, Acts xxii. 16. with which 1 shall conclude. And now why tarriejl thou ? Arise, and be baptized, and [sincerely repenting] -wajh away thy Jinst calling on the name of the Lard.

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THE

NECESSITY

O F

BAPTISM,

IN ORDER TO

Church Membership

AND

CHRISTIAN COMMUNION,

ISHEWN FROM CH R IS T's OWN WORDS,

John iii. 3, 5.

IN TWO LETTERS
T O

A LEARNED DIVINE.

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