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Now if this commission (here given to the apostles, Matt. xxviii. 16, &c.) was to baptize with water, then Paul was inferior to the other apoftles: for he, though he had seen the Lord, and was sent from him to open the eyes of the Gentiles; yet he was not sent to baptize with water, as he expressly faith: be was not sent to baptize (that is, outwardly with water) but to preach the gospel. But if the baptism intended by Christ was inward and spiritual, even into the name, virtue, life, and power of the Spirit, then Paul had the apostolick commission as fully as any of the rest, and the grace and power of God did work as mightily in him to this end as in any of them.
But men are as much mistaken about the teachi required by this commission as about this baptism: for this teaching is not a literal teaching of chings, or a discipline into an outward knowledge and way, but a teaching in the Spirit and power; and him whom God enableth fo to do, he also enableth to baptize into the fame Spirit and power. Yea, indeed, when the life and power ministers (the word spoken being mixed with faith in them that hear), it brings the earthly part under, and brings the life and power of the Lord Jesus Christ over the heart and spirit. And this is the true baptism, and the substance of the figure or shadow, which was before the figure either of baptism or circumcision was, and remains when they are gone. .
Object. 3. This baptism in the commission was to all nations; but the baptism of the Spirit fell only on some few at the beginning..
Anw. The promise of receiving the Spirit is upon believing, and it extendeth to every one that believeth. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly fall flow rivers of living water : but this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive, Jobs vii. 38, 39.
Answerably Peter said to that great assembly to which he preached, whereof there were added about three thousand fouls, Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of fins, and ye pall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts ii. 38, 39.
Indeed several gifts of the Spirit were given (some to one, fome to another, according to the pleasure of the giver), and diversities of manifestations and operations of the same inward life and power : but every one received so much of the Spirit as to make him a son, and to cry Abba Father, and to wash him.
And this is the one washing which all the flock are washed with, and so baptized into the one, pure, living body; and this is the substance of the figure, which substance belongs to the gospel-Itate ; though God also law an use of fome figures in that day, and so inclined their hearts then to inake use of them, which his gathered sons and daughters (by the gospelSpirit and power in this day) would make use of also, if the Lord did so require them. For the Lord is our judge, and the Lord is our king, the Lord is our lawgiver; who by his Spirit and power determines in every age what he would have his people do; and who leads into the way of life, truth, and holiness, which always was and is but one and the same for ever.
And what if the Lord, who hath caufed his everlasting day to dawn again, and the everlasting gospel to be preached again, will have every shadow and figure to fly away (seeing they are but of one elementary nature and use, and not everlasting and abiding); who may gainsay him herein, and say, that this is not the ministration of the everlasting substance, or the same gospel the apostles preached, because some shadows which they expect, and have a strong belief concerning, are not found therein ?
Object. 4. The baptism in this commission cannot be the baptism of the Spirit, because it is to be administered in the name of the Spirit.
Answ. The Greek word is not év, which signifieth in; but is, which sig. nifieth into : so that the baptism here commanded is to baptize into the name, into the Father's name, into the Son's name, into the Spirit's name, by turning them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God; and then the power and life of God's Holy Spirit comes over their hearts and minds, and breaketh the power of Satan, and washeth their consciences from that which is dead, and plungeth or dippeth them into that which is living.
Now as God made them able ministers of the New Testament (which is a spiritual ministry, an inward ministry), and gave them the heavenly treafure of life and of his Spirit to minister with ; so he required and expected of them the work of the spiritual ministry, which was the spiritual teaching and spiritual baptizing into the inward name.
But that there was also a baptizing with outward water, that I do not deny; and that it was of use, as a type to the weak and ceremonious state the Jews were in (when Christ sent forth his apostles to gather them out of the law-state into the gospel-Itate) I am also satisfied in: but it hath been since corrupted, and set up above its place by apoftates; and every one should conlider and wait on the Lord, to know what God requires and will accept of him. For the kingdom of God stands not in meats or drinks, or any outward washings, nor comes in the way of man's observation, but in an heavenly feed, and in the Holy Spirit and power of life; which, happy are they who are made partakers of, baptized with, and led by. God will try every man's religion, work and practices, by the true reed or measuring line : blessed is he whose religion will bear that trial !
It is a great matter to know the gospel-state and ministration, the gospelSpirit and power, the gospel-church and ordinances, the words of the holy prophets concerning the day of the gospel, the words of Christ concerning
It is a great heathe cofuel-church and ordinance
of Christ concerning
the kingdom and power of God, the words of the apostles concerning the mystery of faith, and the Word which was from the beginning.
These are weighty things, and of great concernment, about which men may easily miss and wrest the scriptures, unless they be enlightened by the Lord in the renewing of their minds, and their eye kept to the holy anointing, that they may not out-run (and so imagine and conceive of themselves according to their own ability of understanding), but know and keep to the gift and inspiration of the Almighty, which giveth true understanding, For as no man knoweth the mind of a man, but man's own spirit within him ; so the mind of God (in the words which his Spirit spake), no man knoweth but his Spirit. And there is a key of knowledge to open the words of scripture by, which they cannot be opened without; I mean, such scriptures as relate to the mystery of life and salvation, which was always hid from the wife and prudent in every age,
The pharisees had got a great deal of knowledge and understanding of the law of God, and prophesies of things to come, from the words of Moses and the prophets; but they had not the key of knowledge; and so they erred, not knowing the scriptures (notwithstanding all their diligent reading and studying them), nor the power of God.
Every one had need be wary left he err after the same manner, and so set up his own apprehensions from the scriptures, instead of God's truth and the mind of his Holy Spirit; for then he cannot but also oppose that which is indeed his truth, and truly agreeable to the scriptures, though to man's mif-biassed judgment it may seem different or contrary,
The Lord begec in peoples hearts true desires after himself, and guide them into the way wherein they may obtain all the desires of their fouls, which he begets in them; and the Lord preserve all that fear him, from clashing against the present dispensation of his life and power in their day and generation !
The pharisees little thought they would have killed the prophets, had they lived in their days : nay, they greatly condemned their fathers for so doing; and yet they themselves crucified Christ. And many now little think they would have crucified Christ, had they lived in the days of his felh; and yet they disdain, reproach, and persecute the appearance of the fame Spirit, life and power, as it now appeareth in his faints, whom he hath redeemed and dwelleth in, and in whom he manifefteth himself, preacheth and suffereth, whatever men think of them.
Oh! blessed are they that are not offended in Chrift, in the present appearance of his life and power! For they are not offended at him who gives life in the Father's name to all that receive him and wait upon him, and worship in the quickenings and virtue of his Spirit.
XXI. Some Questions anfwered, concerning the Gentiles doing by Nature the
Things contained in the Law; and so shewing the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, Rom. ii. 14, 15.
Quest. 1. D Y what nature did the Gentiles the things contained in the law ?
D By the enlightened or unenlightened nature? By nature, as it lieth corrupted in the fall, or by nature in some measure renewed by the light of God's Spirit shining in the heart? And by what covenant was the law written in their hearts? Is not the writing of the law in the heart a promise of the new covenant ? And can it be writ in any heart, but by virtue of the new covenant? Is not the least writing of the law in the beart a degree of the promise ? For the old covenant contains only the law in the letter ; but the new covenant contains the writing of the law in the heart by the Spirit.
Anfw. The apostle had shewed before, that that which might be known of God was manifest in them, for God had thewed it unto them; fo that they had a manifestation of the light of God's Spirit in them, whereby they might discern his eternal power and godhead, in or by the things made ; for that which is visible shadows out and declares that which is invisible, which the inward eye fees, being opened by the Lord..
Now their hearts being joined to this manifeftation of God within, it changeth the heart and nature, and in the changed heart and nature, God. writes his law; and the law being writ in any measure in the heart, it hath fome power upon man, to cause him to subject to it, and answer what God requires of him thereby; and so his heart and conscience will accuse him, or excuse him, as he is found answering or rebelling against the holy light and law of God's Spirit within, manifesting the will of God unto him. For God, though he peculiarly chose the Jews, and in that sense had cast off the Gentiles, not choosing them fo to be his peculiar people, yet he was not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also ; and had a care of their precious fouls, visiting them with that light, and inward manifestation of his Spirit, which was able to save and deliver them from the darkness. And it is teftified, they came thus far by this inward manifestation of God in their hearts, and what God had shewed them thereby, that they knew God, Rom. i. 21. They had a true knowledge of God from the light within; they had a measure of the pure and heavenly gift: but they were not thankful for fo great a gift, in their dark state; and when they came to some true knowledge, did not glorify God, according to what they knew of the Lord, from the light of his Spirit within; but ran out from the measure of the gift into imaginations, into the conceivings of their own wisdom; and this brought darkness upon them, and gave deceit power over their hearts.
Now, if they had not professed themselves to be wise, but kept low to the manifestation of God's Spirit, and denied their own wisdom, they might have been truly wise; but running out from the measure of the gift, into their own wisdom and thoughts, they became fools as to the true wisdom, and wandered into gross idolatrous conceptions, and brought great judgments from God upon themselves. And this was their condemnation (not that the light of God had not shone in their hearts ; not that that which might be known of God was not manifest in them; but) that they loved their own dark wisdom, thoughts, and conceivings, more than the manifestation of the light of God's Spirit within.
Quest. 2. But if God was the God of the Gentiles, and thus vifted them, were any of them faved. thereby? Did not all the Gentiles universally perish, notwithstanding this light, or manifestation of God's Spirit within ?
Answ. God forbid, that the inward manifestation of his light and visitation of his Holy Spirit, should be of no effect to none of the Gentiles; but that they should all perish notwithstanding it! It is testified here, that some of them came fo far as to have their nature changed, so that they were a law to themselves, and did by nature the things contained in the law; which it is impossible for corrupt fallen man to do. And these hearkening to that, and following that which led them thus far, could not chuse but like to retain God in their knowledge, which the generality (who followed their own wisdom) did not; whereupon God gave them over to a reprobate mind, ver. 28.
But now, those that had the law written in their hearts, and answered it, fearing God, and working righteousness, and liking to retain God in their knowledge, such God did not give up to a reprobate mind, but kept them savoury to himself, and made them more and more partakers of the truc and inward circumcision; so that their want of outward circumcision was no hinderance to them as to acceptance with God, but their uncircumcision went with God for circumcision.
And this their state (from the inward life and power) judged the Jew, who boasted so much of his state, because of the letter of the law, and outward circumcision, Rom. ii. 26, 27. Yea, this state shall be justified by God, when God cometh to judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel, said Paul, ver. 16. Jesus Christ is the judge, who will justify whatever his Spirit hath made known of God the Father in the hearts of the Gentiles, and them in their sense thereof, and subjection thereto.
That man who hath bowed to the Spirit, been taught by the Spirit (having had the law of God written in his heart), and learned obedience in the new nature, so as to do the things contained in the law, and hath received the inward circumcision, which cutterh off, teacheth to deny, and keep down that which is corrupt; which will never answer the law, nor suffer the man in whom it rules to answer it; I say, he that cometh into the sense of God's Spirit, and the law chereof, and into the denial of his own spirit,