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ye are sealed to the day of redemption." Eph. iv. 30. Thus, it is by the Holy Spirit that we are sealed under the Gospel-and not by water.
The Society of Friends, therefore, believe that the baptism of John 'was a type, that has long since done its office and ceased in the Church of Christ. That it was used for a time, and on particular occasions in the primitive Church, will be readily granted ; but this is no more than may be said of some other ceremonies of the Law. Long after the ascension of our Lord, there were many thousands of the believers who were lous of the Law," Acts xxi. 20; and could not see that they were entering into a Dispensation purely spiritual, in which the substance of things being enjoyed, those types and shadows ceased. And this weakness was yielded to by the apostles; for, on the occasion alluded to in Acts xxi. 23—26, the great council of elders and James, recommended the apostle Paul to join with four men that had a vow, and were about purifying themselves according to the Law, and shave their heads; that all might know that he walked orderly, and kept the Law.
There was the same reason to account for the continuance of water baptism. There were those who held the ministry and baptism of John in high estimation, firmly believing them to have been of God, as they really were, as well as the Law. To such attachments to things once necessary, although it might be in weakness, as not properly distinguishing the right time when they were to cease, there has always been great tenderness and condescension in the Church of Christ. And we freely agree, that this tenderness is still extended to
those who sincerely believe in the necessity of these outward ceremonies, though about eighteen hundred years have passed over, since Jesus Christ put an end to types and shadows, “ blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances, that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Col. ii. 14.
And seeing this strong attachment, in pious minds, after the lapse of so many ages, we can form some idea of the effects of the same thing, when the causes were all recent, and the nature of the Gospel Dispensation had hardly been clearly unfolded.
We see that the apostles and elders were as sing fathers” in the Church, not willing that any should stumble or be wounded or offended; regarding above all things, the sincerity with which the new converts were actuated. Thus Paul declared he would rather eat no meat, than offend a weak brother. 1 Cor. viii. 13. We find him also conforming to rituals that were perfectly unessential, merely in condescension to the same weakness. Acts xxi. 23_26., 1 Cor. ix. 20—23.
But though this weakness was, and still remains to be, regarded with tenderness; yet it deserves to be seriously considered, that weakness is not a situation to be desired or continued in.
The apostle admonished the Galatians, to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” v. 1. And he testified, that if one of the rituals of the Law, which he mentioned, was observed, they were debtors to the whole Law. v. 3. Let it be a serious consideration, in contending for the continuance
of types and shadows, which have had their fulfilment in Christ, how far such individuals are entangling themselves with the yoke of bondage, and becoming debtors to the whole ceremonial institutions of the former Dispensation, and even detracting from the excellencies of the New Dispensation which was introduced by Jesus Christ.
The baptism of the Holy Ghost, or Christ's spiritual baptism, is still continued to the true believers; for the apostle Paul declared; There is “one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism." Eph. iv. 5. And the apostle Peter, in speaking of saving baptism, says; Which is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Ist Epist. iii. 21. These testimonies, were there no others in the Scriptures, are sufficient to prove that it is no elementary operation; and that it is of a lasting, unchangeable nature. The ministers whom Christ sends, are still enabled to teach, baptizing; and when that baptism is experienced, there is no doubt remaining of its sufficiency. The substance is enjoyed ; and we dare not turn from it to embrace shadows.
When our Lord first spoke to his disciples, of their eating his flesh and drinking his blood, it was heard with astonishment, and the exclamations, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat ?"-" This is an hard saying, who can hear it ?” John vi. 52, 60. Their views were then outward; and they construed his words literally, when their meaning was altogether mystical. This has been the case, in relation to the flesh and blood of Christ, from the day that He first mentioned them down to the present period.
Thus some, taking the words of our Lord in the most literal signification: “ This is my body," &c. and * This is my blood of the New Testament,” &c. and “This do in remembrance of Me,” have supposed that they were authorized to repeat this ceremony, and that the bread and wine became the very flesh and blood of Christ. Others, revolting at these gross conceptions, have variously modified their opinions, until they have brought it down to
an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." And even thus modified, it is contended for as a standing ordinance in the Church of Christ.
That we may examine how far this idea is supported by the text, I will transcribe the several relations that are given of that transaction, by the four evangelists. Matthew
says ; “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said ; Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the
it to them, saying; “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” Matt. xxvi. 26_29.
Mark's account is almost exactly in the words of Matthew. Mark xiv. 22-25.
Luke says; “And He took bread and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying; This is my body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying ; This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Luke xxii. 19, 20.
John passes over the supper, and proceeds to ano. ther transaction, thus; “ Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, (the Devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him,) Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that, He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter said unto Him,