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Atraightway. xviii. 8. Many of the Corinthians believed, and were baptized. xix. 5. And when they heard this, they were baptized. xxii. 16. Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins. Rom. vi. 8. Were baptized into Jefus. 1 Cor. i. 16. I baptized the household of Stephanus. x. ii. And were all baptized unto Mofes in the cloud. xv. 29. Elfe what hall they do, that are baptized for the dead ? Gal. iii. 27. As many as have been baptized. These are some of the principal places in the New-Teftament, where baptism and baptize are used : and they all mean the ORDINANCE of water baptism, or allude to the use of it, as a standing ordinance. Other passages, which do not assert, plainly allude to water baptism. Tit. ü. 15. 6 Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us by the washing (or lover) of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 6. 4. “ We are buried with him by baptism." The apostle has this exhortation to christians, " Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water, let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering."
5. The apostles were unanimous in adminiftering baptifm as an appointment of their Lord and - master after he had afcended.' They baptized all theirconverts without one exception, that we can find on facred record. Acts, ii. 38. i. 1. They positively commanded their converts to receive the ordi. nance. Acts, x. 48. " And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Is it reasonable to suppose that all the apostles in all parts of the world, among Jews and Gentiles, in all
the churches which they gathered, would unitedly, without one scruple or one objector or objection, go into the practice of baptizing with water, if it was not an institution of their Lord, designed to be perpetuated in his gospel kingdom, to the end of the world.
The consent of the church from the earliest period of christianity, through fourteen centuries, in the belief of the right and duty of water baptism is a strong proof in its favour. Had it been an innovation, we should hear of some objection to it in the first age of christianity; we should be able to get some evidence how and when it was introduced. The following are the words of Justin Martyr, who lived in the age next after the apostles. " As many as are persuaded and believe the things taught and said by us to be true, and promise to live according to them, are washed with water in the name of the Father and Lord of all, and in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, and in the name of the Holy Spirit." .
It may be proper to confider objections to párticular parts, or the general conclusion of the fore. going arguments.
Some have appeared to think that we have no reason to conclude that water baptism is meant, where baptism is mentioned without an express! mention of water. The answer is, if we have reason to conclude that any instances alluded to are not the figurative baptism of the Holy Spirit, we have reason to conclude that water baptifm is intended. For only these two kinds of baptism are noticed in the New Testament. But we have no reason to believe that baptism with the Holy
Spirit is intended, unless it be expressly so termed, Christ, not the apostles baptized with the Holy Spirit, and being baptized is also distinguished from receiving the Holy Spirit.
It has been said that though the apostles did baptize with water, this was not done in pursuance of Christ's commission. Paul said that Christ fent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, and he was thankful that he baptized so few. John's baptism, it is pretended, had not ceased, and when the apostles administered the rite, they either considered it as John's baptism, or did it in compliance with the prejudices and wishes of the people, who were attached to such an ordinance. To these objections it is replied,
1. It is not correct to say the apostles did not profess in administering this rite, to do it by virtue of Christ's authority. If the contrary does not appear, it is our duty to presume that they had such authority; but their baptisms were administered in the name of Jesus Christ. One of the obvious and acknowledged senses of the phrase, acting in the name of Christ, is acting by his direction, as his messenger, according to the rules and spirit of his religion.
2. Paul is speaking not of his mission generally as an apostle, but of his being sent to Corinth. His saying that this was not to baptize but to preach the gospel, is not to be taken absolutely, but comparatively. Examples of such phraseology in the fçriptures are frequent. See Jeremiah, vii. 22. Hofea, vi. 6. Matth. ix. 13. John vi. 27. Preaching was his principal business, and he rejoiced that he had baptized no more, not because he was not author
ized, but because in their divided state, and their wicked and foolish contests about different teachers, this people might fay he “baptized in his own name," as the head of a party.
3. As to John's baptism, Paul thought that those, who had received it, ought yet to be baptized in the name of Christ. Acts, xix. The apostles administered no other baptism than that which Christ instituted.
4. To suppose that the apostles baptized without any warrant, in compliance with the prejudices and inclinations of the Jews, is to suppose something against scripture and reason, for it appears continually in this history, that they did baptize in the name of Jesus Chrift, by his authority and warrant. Moreover, the most express instances of water baptism, mentioned in fcripture, were of Gentiles who had not been accustomed to the water baptisms practised among the Jews, and had no previous biasses or partialities upon the subject. When the Jews were baptized on the day of Pentecost, it was not done in condescension to their desires, but in consequence of the exhortation of Peter. The same may be observed of the Gentiles, who were baptized at the house of Cornelius.
Other objections against the perpetuity of this rite are taken from our Lord's washing the disci. ples' feet and directing them to do it to each other, from Paul's circumcising Timothy, St. James di. recting that the sick be anointed with oil-and the decrees of the first apostolic council at Jerusalem.
In respect to the first circumstance, it was an example not of a particular act to be performed, but of a spirit and temper to be exercised and difplayed
by all. Could it be shown that washing one an- , other's feet, of which Christ gave an example and command to his apostles, would be as useful in all ages and places as it was then in Judea, that it was understood in a strict and literal sense, and practised immediately and constantly by them and their successors, and delivered to the church as a command, we might think ourselves obliged to regard washing one another's feet as a stated duty of our religion.
Paul's circumcising Timothy was dictated by a . reason peculiar to the times. The ordinance of circumcision was not then declared to be abolished; and Timothy, born of a Jew, might well submit to the rite, in order to aid his reception with the Jews. The anointing the fick in the name of the Lord was an appointment for their miraculous cure. But the age of miracles has passed away. The dem cree of the famous apostolic council at Jerusalem was adapted to the case and circumstances of the. Gentiles at the time, excepting one article of a moral nature.
Let us make an improvement of the doctrine, here mentioned.
Our first duty is to direct our serious attention to the designs and uses of this ordinance. It has been affirmed to be a vain and unprofitable obseryance. Did Jesus Christ impose on his church a useless and absurd rite? It is instructive and bene. ficial, as it teaches us our finfulness, our need of renewal-as it brings to our view the objects of our faith, love, fear, and hope ; and as it implies our engagements and vows to "live the lives we live in the flesh by the faith of the Son of God.” Let us