« PreviousContinue »
To the Gospel dispensation, therefore, types do not belong; and, therefore, the ordinance of baptism to be administered after Christ rose from the dead, is not to be considered as having the use of a type.
But does not the apostle say, We are buried with him by bas. tism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the deed by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walks newness of life. Rom. vi. 4. Truly he does. But let it be observed, that this baptism, whatever it may be, in some sense bilds the subject. He is buried into death. It also revives him. He is raised up to walk in newness of life. But all this, it is corceived, has nothing more to do with water baptism, than that other text of the apostle, in which he says, “For by one spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink in to one spirit.” 1 Cor. xii. 13. Our Saviour did not die, when be was baptized of John; oor are they drowned, who attend upon the ordinance now. It follows, therefore, that being buried with Christ by baptism into death, is not water baptism.
2. It is not the design of baptism to put away the filth of the flesh. It may be, that in times of greater ignorance, some may have entertained an idea, so gross as this. It is hoped, however, that in the present enlightened age, there are none so poorly informed. And if there were such, the declaration of the apostle, must supersede all argument, who says, "Baptism is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience." I Pet. iii. 21.
3. It is not the design of the ordinance of baptism to regenerate or to sanctify the soul. To renew the heart of men is the work of the Holy Spirit; and the effect is such as water cannot produce. It will readily be granted, that many are regenerated before they are baptized; as was the case with Cornelius, Lydia, the jailor, the apostle Paul, and all others, who are baptized upon the ground of their own faith. On the other hand, people may be baptized with water, and still be unregenerate; as was the case with Simon the sorcerer, who, after his baptism, was still discovered to be in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. Nor can it be reasonably doubted, that some are regenerated by the grace of God, and will finally be saved, who never had the opportunity of being baptized with water. This ordinance, therefore, was no more designed to serve as the efficient cause of regeneration, than to put away the filth of the flesh.
4. It is not the design of water baptism to be any certain evidence, that the subject of it is regenerated by the spirit of God. Jf this were the design, then all, who are baptized would be regenerated persons as soon as they are baptized; and after baptism, would brio forth the fruits of holiness. But this, it is evident, many baptized persons do not; both such as were baptized in their infancy, and such as were baptized in adult years. So far is it, then, from being any certain evidence, that all, to whom
ris ordinance bas been applied, are real believers, that unless 1ere be exhibited fruits meet for repentance, it is not to be conidered as any evidence at all.
5. It is not the design of baptism to be any resemblance of the esurrection of the dead. To say this, aside from the consideraion that it has no such resemblance, would be giving it a place gain, amongst the types; an idea already exploded. No such iesign is specified in the scriptures. Some indeed were said to have een baptized for the dead: that is, when some, who bad put on Christ were slain for the testimony which they held; others came forward to supply their places, and, in consequence of their testimony, were baptized and put on the christian profession, and thus were baptized, uper for, on account of, or instead of the dead. And why, says the apostle, should they do this, if the dead rise not? Why should they go forward in the same cause, and subject themselves to similar sufferings, and, in regard to the things of this life, be of all men the most miserable; if there were no prospect of the resurrection of the dead, or of a blessed immortality? But this is nothing in proof, that the ordinance of baptism, bears any resemblance to the burial and resurrection of the body. It is also true, that there is a spiritual baptism, by which the believer is buried with Christ into death, and raised up to walk in newness of life: but that is a thing very different, from being buried into water, and then taken out again. The statement, therefore, that baptism is designed to be a visible resemblance of the resurrection of the dead, is only the assertion of such as please to make it, without a syllable in the Bible to support it.
6. Baptism is not an institntion without any meaning, appointed merely that christians might yield obedience to it. This has sometimes been suggested; but that any one can be satisfied with such a statement is not credible. To command a thing that is of no use, does not consist with the wisdom of the lawgiver. It would, certainly, be a solitary instance, amongst the institutions of heaven. All the rites and ordinances of the ancient dispensation, had an important meaning. The institution of the sabbath, and the continuance of it under the gospel dispensation, is designed to answer a most useful and benevolent purpose. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is expressly designed to commemorate the great atonement, made by the death of the Son of God. All these institutions and precepts of the gospel, have some wise object. Aud now is it credible, that the ordinance of baptism should be commanded to be solemnly administered, in the name of the adorable Trinity, when there was no valuable purpose to be answered by it? Such representations are derogatory to the character of God, and are made without warrant.
What then, is the real design of Baptism? I answer,
1. It serves as a token of God's everlasting covenant. The covenant, which God made with Abraham, is an everlasting corenant. It comprehends in it all believers. "If ye believe, then are ye Abrabam's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
When God entered into covenant with Abraham, there was a i ken in the covenant instituted, viz, circumcision, which was a plied to him and his household, as a seal of the righteousness the faith which he had. This covenant, that is, the token of was in the flesh of Abraham, and of all the families of God's A fessing people, throughout their generations, until the time of formation. Under the present dispensation of the gospel, he lui enters into covenant with God by faith, is to be baptized. thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest. The exterie ordinance of baptisın, appears to be administered in consequence of faith, and is a seal of the righteousness of faith, the same a circumcision anciently was. It is administered to a similar sus ject, upon a similar condition, and upon a similar occasion. 1 may, therefore, with great propriety, be considered as a sigo, bı which that same covenant is ratified and kept in remembrance.
2. It may represent the necessity of being purified from moral pollution. Circumcision, not only served as a token of the core nant, which God made with Abraham and his spiritual seed; bas it also represented the necessity of regeneration. Hence such as continued impenitent, are styled, in the language of scripture, upcircumcised in heart and ears.Ť Baptism, also, is not only admiristered to the believer, in consequence of his faith, betokening bis acceptance in the covenant of grace, but it is, likewise, a very striking eniblem of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, which God pours out upon his people. Hence God, by the mouth of his inspired prophets, promises to sprinkle clean water upon them, as an emblem of cleansing them from their filthiness. Hence the figure, “the washing of regeneration." And hence the a postle in another place speaks of those, whose hearts were sprinkled from an evil conscience and their bodies washed with pure water.
From all which, it appears, that the Holy Ghost considered the application of water to the body, as a fit einblem to represent the necessity of sanctification.
3. Baptism may serve as a figure of our salvation. Of this, a great variety of things have been used as figures. Noah's ark, it seems, was one. As all who were in the ark, and who bad fled to it for refuge, were saved from the flood; so all who are in Christ, having fled to him as their refuge, are saved from the deluge of God's wrath, which shall come upon the impenitent. “By the like figure baptism doth now save us:” That is to say, as baptism is a token of God's covenant, and an emblem of the sanctification of the spirit; so it is a figure of the salvation of all such, as are the subjects of that sanctification, which Baptism represents the necessity of; or of such, as are the true spiritual seed, to whom the promises are made. And inasmuch as it is a divine institution; whenever it is attended upon, agreeably to its real rature and design, it is the answer of a good conscience towards God † It may also be observed,
4. That the administration of baptism is designed to keep in re*Gal. iii. 29. tActs vii. 51. 1 Pet. jji. 21.
nem brance, the great doctrine of a Trinity of persons in the Godead. This is a doctrine which lies at the foundation of all our ope. And yet it is a doctrine, which is known only by revelation -a doctrine, which through unbelief, men are exceedingly prone to orget and to call in question. Accordingly, it was thought propr, by the great Head of the Church, that it should be continually rought into view, every time the ordinance of baptism is adminisered; that it might be kept in perpetual remembrance, not only hat there are three that bear record in heaven, which three are ne;' but also that each person of the sacred Trinity, had an inortant part to act, in concerting, and in carrying into execution, he work of our redemption. "Teach all nations, baptizing them n the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Mat. xxviii. 19.
These are the real uses of Baptism. And when these are unlerstood, the ordinance will not be deemed useless, or unimportant, by any one, who esteems it a privilege to enter into covenant with God, or who has any belief in the doctrines of
For what believer would not wish to keep his eye forever fixed upon the token of God's mercy and corenant faithfulness?
Who that has any sense of the infinite evil of sin, and of the depravity of his own heart, would not wish forever to keep in mind the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost? Who, that has ever had a desire to be saved with an everlasting salvation, would not bighly prize every thing, which stands, by the appointment of God, as a figure of that salvation? Or who, that has any faith in the covenant of redemption, and who feels the need of the office-work of each of the persons in the adorable Trinity: would not be deligbted in hearing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, distinctly named in the ordinance of baptism? Surely the design of the ordinance is altogether worthy of the infinite wisdom of the divine institution.
[To be concluded.).
BETWEEN A CALVINIST AND A SEMI CALVINIST.
(Concluded from page 309.] Calv. I have aimed to keep the scripture in view in all I have said on this subject, and think I have made wbat is there revealed, the foundation of all my reasonings and arguments on the points; and, that I have been, through the whole of our conversation, “reasoning with you out of the scriptures." From the scriptures we learn that the glory of God ought to be our ultimate and highest end: that we are commanded to seek his glory in all we do, and therefore are forbid to desire or pursue any thing which is contrary to his highest glory; and required to submit to any thing and
desire it may take place, which is most for his glory. Therefor on supposition it be most for his glory that I should not be ser but lost: I ought to submit, and not desire to be saved.
Again, the scripture teaches us that we ought to be all sube sion to the will of God, and always to be disposed to say from heart, “not my will but thine be done.” Therefore on suppe tion it is the will of God to cast me off, I must say heartily, will be done.” Not to say and feel so, is to rise in rebellion agas God.
Moreover, the scripture requires us to love our neighbors as as selves. If I do so, and am willing God should cast any of my low men into hell forever, for his own glory and the general gue: which I must be, unless I rebell against his revealed will; the must be willing to be cast off myself, if this be necessary to at swer t'e same ends.
These are the reasons and arguments by which I have endear ored to prove what I have advanced: And is not this arguing fres scripture? All those passages of scripture which teach us to mas the glory of Gud our supreme end-to be all submission to his su without making any execption, and to love our neighbor as selves, all which it is difficult and needless to mention, do prove an really assert the doctrine I have affirmed.
Besides, I have introduced the express words of Paul, strong! expressing this to be his wish and desire with respect to himsel might this be the means of saving his brethren.
The words of Eli express the same sentiment, 1 Sam. iii, 18 “ It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.” This hit says with respect to God's awful threatening, “That he would judge his house forever, and that he had sworn that the iniquity of Eli's house should not be purged with sacrifice nor offerings forefer. And does not David express the same thing when he says, 2 Samuel xv. 26,“ But if he thus say, I have no pleasure in the behold, here am I, let him do to me, as seemeth good unto him." Does he not resign his whole interest, temporal and eternal, to God's pleasure, without making any condition? If he say, I have no pleasure in thee, is not this to cast him off forever? “Behold, here I
let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.” How could he express this sentiment in plainer and more strong language?
Semi. But what advantage will this be to me, or any one else? If it be true, I see not that it is a point worth contending about, or what will be the benefit of understanding and believing it?
Calv. I may ask you, sir, what benefit there is in opposing it, if it be not true? It' is represented as a very hurtful and wicked doctrine; and if I am not mistaken, you considered it in this light in the beginning of our conversation upon the subject. In this view, you thought it of importance to oppose it. And if it be true, the contrary error must be as wicked and hurtful as this would be, were it not true. The truth will bear examination, and ought not to be given up, because some do not understand it, and do oppose