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cue it from mystical perversions, it is requisite to proceed step by step in the argument, and to prove that which to most persons
will seem to have been self-evident.
And here, then, when we turn to the masters of the mystical school, what daring words do we find them to have uttered on this ordinance of our Lord! The Quakers tell us that it is “ a mere ceremony, imposed in days of weakness;" “ a beggarly element;" “ an outward form of darkness;" “ a thing to be discarded;" “ an act of imagery ;"* a species of idolatry;” “a figurative, preparatory, decreasing, and terminating institution;" “ weak, inufficient, and unavailing;" “ that they who wish to abide in it do give an evidence of human weakness, and are as much in bondage as the Galatians were to circumcision; and that Paul, convinced of the weakness of this symbolical observance, pertinently, and with amazement, inquires, · How turn ye to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage ?!” &c. &c.
Much more of this sort, and far more violent and indecent, might be quoted from the older writers, who are now held up by their successors as pre-eminently spiritual, and in a high degree endued with light from above. But, as a proof that this their doctrine remains substantially the same, though restrained within more comely and sober language, we have only to hearken to J. J. Gurney,t the leader of the modern school, who thus declares the sentiments of his Society :
“ It is our belief that we have been led out of the practice of this rite by the Spirit of truth ; that we could not recur to it without grieving our heavenly
* This is the language of Job Scott in his book on “the Baptism of Christ,”-a most portentous production of impudence and reckless daring, and a most striking example of the genius of mysticism, which, with the language of extreme spirituality, not only deals forth unutterable scorn on all those who have not soared to the mystical altitude, but, without scruple, undertakes to give such interpretations of Scripture as nothing but the spirit of wilful untruth would have essayed. Some quotations from this author will be given, which will fully justify these remarks. + In the seventh Number of THE INQUIRER is a very interesting document,
-" Com. ments on certain Texts of Scripture, which are frequently misinterpreted by Friends ; by J.J. Gurney;" which exhibits, in a most striking manner, the collisions of the old and the new school. Recent circumstances have compelled the leading Friends to be peculiarly cautious in their statements, and to soften the ancient mysticism of the Society as much as possible. Mr. Gurney has distinguished himself in these efforts; but in the document in question we find that he gives the proper interpretation to 2 Pet. i. 19, “the sure word of prophecy,” which he distinctly states refers to the written word only. George Fox, however, taught quite the contrary; for, in one of his raptures at Nottingham, he says, the Lord's power was so mighty upon me, and so strong in me, that I could not hold, but I was made to cry out, and say, 'Oh no! it is not the Scriptures,'” &c. Who then is right, George Fox, or Joseph John Gurney? Which of them speaks by the Spirit of truth ? Are we to believe the old or the new school? What are we to do when the trumpet gives an uncertain sound?
Monitor ; and that, in fact, it is not in accordance with the entire spirituality of the Gospel dispensation."- Peculiarities, p. 61.
The words of this declaration are gentle, the meaning of them is as strong as any thing that can be said on the subject; for, if the Spirit of truth has led away Quakers from submission to baptism, and if they could not return to it without grieving the Holy Ghost, and lowering the entire spirituality of the Gospel dispensation, then must they have received a special revelation from heaven on the subject, of which the church catholic of believers knows and accepts as little as it does of the evangelicum æternum of the Franciscans; and then also must it follow that all those Christians who follow the example of our Lord, and, like him, adopt the baptism of water, must be grieving the Holy Spirit, and be walking in darkness, and not knowing whither they are going. But what then? are we to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, in the very commencement of his ministry, solemnly and with great note, submitted to an extra-canonical rite, nothing thereunto inciting him in the law of Moses, out of which rite his followers were to be led by the Spirit of truth? If this be so, then it has come to pass that the very Spirit of truth which, on the occasion of our Lord's baptism, descended upon him so as to be seen by John the Baptist at least, (John i. 33,) and probably by others who were present, should afterwards be sent with a totally different message, to lead a peculiar sect out of this error, which, in the beginning of our Lord's ministry, had been sanctified by the Son of God, by the descent of the Holy Ghost, and by the voice of the Father, saying, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And why, then, we demand with confidence, was there no intimation of the extraordinary revolution which was to take place respecting this rite? and why did neither our Lord himself, nor the voice from heaven, intimate that water-baptism would hereafter be discordant with the entire spirituality of the Gospel dispensation, and that they who practised it would grieve the heavenly Monitor? Why was no warning given, that though the Head of the church was fulfilling righteousness in his baptism, the members of his church would grieve the Holy Spirit by following his example? Why was the church left in this incomprehensible darkness on the subject,--a darkness which will be found to be still more perplexing when we take into consideration the subsequent conduct of our Lord and of his church relating to this great ordinance ?
II. Our Lord having been baptised in water, did himself afterwards continue this “unprofitable ceremony," and baptised others; nay, we are told he baptised more than John the Baptist; that is, he presided over and authorised the baptism which his disciples practised, accord
ing to his injunctions, and under his eye; for thus it is written : “ After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptised.”__6When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptised more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself baptised not, but his disciples,) he left Judea,” (John iii. 22; iv. 1-3.) Here then, as yet, there was no intimation given of the unprofitableness of the rite: no light within, and no light without, had dawned upon the church to give “the spiritual” (i.e. Quaker) interpretation of water baptism; but whilst the Bridegroom was with his friends, and presiding over their actions, and ordering their goings, and teaching them his will, and daily preaching the Gospel, he continued the practice of ablution as an ordinance which he approved, as he had already approved of it by having himself submitted to it. Again then we ask, with surprise, why, on this second and long-continued series of opportunities, our Lord did not drop one word in favour of the Quaker interpretation? or why, rather, he thus continued to deceive the church, by countenancing a practice which " was discordant with the entire spirituality of the Gospel ?” Did not Christ at that time preach the Gospel? did he not at that time teach the truth ? or did he hold back in reserve this great secret, which the Quakers have discovered, leaving it hereafter to be made known, not only by a new, but by a totally opposite revelation ? This would seem to be the case; for Job Scott affirms,
“ As John was under the law, though advanced near to the kingdom, Christ has, in redeeming his people from all ceremonials of the law, also redeemed them from water baptism.”... ... ...“ Thus he taught the woman of Samaria, at the well, that the true worship was inward, in spirit and in truth, and turned her mind from outward water to the inward.”... ... ...“ He intended not to baptise others in water himself, doubtless to guard against the force of example.”... ... ...“ As what a man does by others, he is often called the doer of ; so the people then supposing the disciples baptised by Christ's authority and commission, because they were his disciples and followers whom they so baptised, said he baptised; but it is clear enough that he only suffered it, and that in condescension. Nor do I believe it would ever have been so carefully recorded that he himself baptised not, had outward water been any part of his baptism !!!”
Here the audacious gloss of the mystical school is seen in full vigour; for what do we hereby learn, in order to save the doctrine of Quakerism, but that the disciples of Jesus were doing that which was wrong, and calculated to mislead ; that the people were deceived by their actions, and supposed, that as they were the acknowledged disciples of Jesus, they must of course be acting under the authority and command of their Master, who, in consequence, seemed to them to be himself a baptiser; that Jesus, knowing the whole process of this mistakes
có suffered it, in condescension,” to remain unexplained, and never once either told his disciples, or those who came to hear his doctrine, that “the outward water was no part of his baptism ?”
Has any thing worse than this ever proceeded from the school of the Jesuits ?
III. Our Lord having himself been baptised, and having, during his ministry on earth, largely baptised others through his disciples, whom he authorised to administer the rite, was pleased to give solemn injunctions for the continuance of baptism, in one of his last addresses to his disciples after his resurrection. Here, again, was another opportunity, if ever, for disclosing the secret, that 6 outward water was no part of his baptism;" and this was the time, if ever, to declare that all he had done hitherto, with regard to the rite, was to bear “ a spiritual interpretation;" in other words, that there was henceforward to be no baptism at all, and that the laver of repentance for the remission of sins was never again to be represented to the church by the ablution of water. But not so did our Lord: he had never, hitherto, deceived the church, by using words which expressed one thing and meant another; neither did he deceive them at the last, when he said, “ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
This injunction is very plain, very easy to be understood, and is involved in no obscurity. When our Lord commanded his disciples to teach and baptise all nations, he meant that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and that all converts to the faith should be baptised. He as little meant to say that they were to be taught, and not baptised, as that they were to be baptised and not taught; and if we are bold enough to affirm that the baptism here mentioned is not the baptism wherewith our Lord himself had been baptised, which he had made to be a practice of his church, and which his church afterwards continued to practise, then may we say any thing of our Lord's words, give them any turn we choose, and even lay down as a canon of interpretation, that the commands and doctrines of Christ frequently mean the exact opposite of that which they express, and that they are to be taken frequently in the contrary sense.
IV. Our Lord having ascended into heaven, soon made it manifest that he was the Great One to whom all power was committed, by send. ing down gifts for men, and ruling in the midst of his enemies. The pentecostal effusion of the Holy Spirit may be considered unto her the coronation-day of her King. On that day the apostles received the gift of tongues ; on that day they preached the word with power; on that day they made numerous converts amongst the enemies and murderers of the Lord of glory; for some of them had taken an active part in his death, “and with wicked hands had crucified and slain him.” These his enemies were now, by that power which out of the stones can raise up sons to Abraham, “pricked in their hearts;" and, in deep evangelical repentance, said, “ Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”—“ Then they that gladly received his word were baptised: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls," Acts ii. 37, 38. 41.
No one will deny that the baptism here mentioned was the baptism of water; neither do I find that it has ever been denied, even by the Quakers. But how, then, must we be astonished, if their doctrine be true, to find, on this memorable occasion, Peter and the apostles recommending, or rather commanding, the first converts after the resurrection to be baptised in water, and that, in consequence, three thousand converts submitted to this “unprofitable rite,” and “ went into bondage under the beggarly element?” We are told that the Spirit of truth has led the Quakers out of this rite, and that they could not return to it without grieving their heavenly Monitor; but from whence, then, came that Spirit which lighted on the apostles on the day of Pentecost, and which added three thousand converts to the church? If ever there was exhibited the Gospel in its “ spirituality," it must have been on that day, for on that day, if ever, the apostles were divinely inspired; on that day, if ever, the Gospel was preached in the Spirit; on that day, if ever, the doors of the mediatorial kingdom were thrown open to send forth the Spirit of truth, and light, and power on the church; and yet on that day did the apostles, speaking in the Spirit, command three thousand converts to be baptised in water, who were so baptised accordingly! But why, then, did no primitive Quaker rise up in the assembly to give a warning testimony, and to declare that the Spirit of truth was leading a contrary way, and that they could not submit to this rite without grieving the heavenly Monitor? Why, on this occasion, was all silence in the church, so that no intimation was given of that doctrine which the Quakers would now persuade us is a necessary part of the spirituality of the Gospel ? · There can be no solution of this difficulty, but by affirming that the