Page images

found in that little book. And were we to offer in their turn, every human creed and confession of faith, from the “Solemn League and Covenant of the Kirk of Scotland," down to the fourteen articles of faith of the " White Lick Association, we should find none but the party adopting it, willing to call it the one faith: and we do not believe that a denomination can be found, a majority of whose members would be willing to say, that the creed or confession of faith adopted by the party, contained the faith of the gospel as perfectly as it can be found in the New Testament.

We would then, just propose God's holy book as the only one in the world which contains the “one faith,” in all its : divine perfection. Our opinions and notions, with the many essential doctrines found in the various confessions of faith of the day, whether true or false, constitute no part of the faith of the gospel. The “one faith,” comprehends the whole remedial system, as developed in the word of God. To God's divine book then let us go, if we would become acquainted with the “one faith,” and there we shall find truth without any mixture of error. We think all Christians will agree to this.

Sixth Article. One baptism.” We think that all are bound to admit that the baptism enjoined in the great commis- | sion, (Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; Mark xvi. 16) is the "one baptism” spoken of above. All the commentators, creeds, and confessions of faith, so far as we know, understand it to be water baptism. John Wesley, in his notes on the New

Testament, calls it “one outward baptism.” Dr. Macnight, in his note on the passage, says, “Ye all serve one Lord; have one and the same objects of faith; and have professed that faith by one form of baptism."

We, therefore, take the ground, that the “one baptism" which the Lord commanded his apostles to administer to believers among all nations, is water baptism. This position we can abundantly sustain; but supposing we shall generally agree to it, I forbear any further argument or proof upon this part of the subject.

What is the mode or action of this one baptism? We answer, unhesitatingly, immersion, or dipping. To prove this we shall quote some authority. Baptidzo, is the word in the original Greek, from which we have baptize in the common version of the New Testament. It follows, then, that the word baptize, can have no meaning which the


original term does not possess. Let us then briefly inquire, What is the primary meaning of the Greek word baptidzo? Greenfield, in his Lexicon, says, Baptidzo:- to immerse, immerge, submerge, sink,” &c. He does not give sprinkle or pour as any meaning of the word. But it is sometimes said, that bapto, which is the root, does not signify to immerse. &c. Well, let us see. Greenfield says, “ Bapto :to dip, plunge, to dye.” From this it is very plain, that the primary meaning of both the root, bapto, and the derivative, baptidzo, is to immerse, or dip. John Calvin, in his Institutes, says, “The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse ; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.” Book 4, vol. iii. chap. 15, p. 343. Wesley says, that Immersion was the ancient manner of baptizing.” The great Luther


the same in substance. The Methodist Discipline makes it the duty of the ministers of that church to give to every adult candidate, his or her choice between sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. See Discipline, p. 109, published at the Conference Office, New York, 1836. Then it follows, that the Methodist church holds immersion to be equally good and valid with sprinkling and pouring : so that if every member in it was to follow the blessed Saviour down into the water and be immersed, it would be no violation of “the doctrines and discipline of the Methodist church.” The Presbyterians also admit the validity of immersion, and they have been known to practise it. The Cumberland Presbyterian church also believes in immersion, and if we have been correctly informed, a majority of her ministers in the Western country, have been “buried with the Lord in baptisın." They also practise sprinkling and pouring whenever it is the choice of the applicant.

From all the above facts and testimony, with much more of the same kind which might be adduced, with all that is written in the New Testament upon the subject, we feel authorized to draw the conclusion, that immersion is acknowledged by all Christians to be good and valid baptism ; while sprinkling and pouring are not acknowledged by all, perhaps not by a majority, to be valid baptism. Then we could not all unite upon either sprinkling or pouring, as many of us, perhaps a majority, believe them to be mere human traditions; but we can unite upon immersion, as we all agree to

its validity.

As to the subject and design of baptism, we have only room to say, that all parties agree that a penitent believer is a proper subject; and that by baptism we are initiated into the church, where we enjoy blessings and privileges which cannot be enjoyed out of the church ! Baptism then, administered to a penitent believer, changes his relation; as Peter said, (Acts ii. 38), “ Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus, “ Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Titus iii. 5.) "According to his own mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” We might quote Scripture to almost

any extent upon this subject, but we forbear. We ask our friends to give up that which is doubtful and cannot be found in the word of God, and meet us upon the word of God alone, believing and doing what the Lord has enjoined. We promise to do the same; then we shall have union. On this article, we do think, that we can all agree.

Seventh Article. One God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in you all.” This crowns the whole matter. We all have one Father, even God. Then we are all brethren, and, of course, should not be divided off into sects and parties! But notwithstanding we acknowledge that God is our common Father, we act unworthy of that paternity whenever we become divided contrary to the express authority of our Father.

God's authority is supreme over his house, or family, and he does not ask any of his children to assist him in making laws for their government; and he must be a very rebellious child who would presume to do so. God is through all his children. His love is shed abroad in every Christian's heart, and thus he is through them all, binding them all together in a bundle of love. Love is the golden chain that binds all the happy spirits together in heaven and on earth. Paul calls love, or charity," the bond of perfect

We ask, then, how is it possible for division to obtain between two individuals, who have the love of God in their hearts ?

But God is in all Christians. By his Holy Spirit he dwells in the one body, or church-and in every



of it. Paul says, “Know you not that your bodies are the temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in ?" Again,“ If you have not the Spirit of Christ you are none of his." From this we are prepared to say, that no two individuals can be found, who have the love of God in their hearts, the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, enjoying the “one hope," and having the “one faith," and " baptism," and acknowledging the “one Lord; we say, two such individuals cannot be found hating one another; but, on the contrary, they will “ love one another with pure hearts fervently."

We have now briefly examined the seven items of this summary, not for the purpose of differing with our religious friends, but for the purpose of agreeing, if possible. We hope we shall not be understood as proposing to take the above summary out of the book, for the purpose of making another confession of faith! We wish to keep it in the Bible just where inspiration has placed it. Nothing short of the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, do we propose as a confession of faith. We advocate no union of sects; we believe such a union would be a curse rather than a blessing. The union we contend for, is a union of all the lovers of the Lord, upon the one foundation ; not a union in opinions and doctrines; but a union in heart, in faith, in spirit, in love, in obedience to all the will of God. In short, the union for which Jesus prayed. J. M. M.



PARIS, TENNESSEE, “MOREOVER, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein yo stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose agaiu the third day according to the Scriptures." - Cor. 15. 1-4.

We remarked in the preceding part of this discourse, that to be conformed to Christ, morally or spiritually conformed, we must die to sin, be buried, and rise with Christ to “ walk in newness of life.” Now, there is only one place on earth

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

where we can be buried with Christ, in becoming thus conformed to him. “ How clearly is it stated (Rom. vi. 4; Col. ii. 12), that we are BURIED WITH HIM IN and by BAPTISM; THE ONLY place on earth where any mortal can be BURIED WITH CHRIST! We may have been buried and raised up often, (Col. iii. 1), but was it with Christ? Reader, pause and think whether you have een buried with your Lord. He sleeps not in the grave as once he did. Find another place than IMMERSION where we may be buried with Christ, or never claim to be baptized without it.”.

As we wish to illustrate the preceding part of this discourse, and present the subject in as forcible manner as we can to the mind of the reader, we introduce the following extract from the Millennial Harbinger :

Jesus Christ was buried and raised literally. In baptism we are physically buried in the water, and physically raised out of the water by the operator; the moral meaning of which is, we, having died to sin, mentally and morally, are laid in the watery grave. The body of sins' is there buried, and there we leave our corruption. We are also morally raised 1-our state is changed and exalted, and our minds elevated to things in the heavens. Again, we have in this a pledge, that as we are buried by immersion into Christ's death we shall be literally raised and glorified by him at his coming. The antithesis is perfect; for as is the burial so is the resurrection-burial in the earth, resurrection from the earth, in the case of Christ-burial in the water, and resurrection out of the water, physically in this institution-burial of our sins or corruptions, and resurrection to a new life in our state and feelings-immersion into Christ by faith, resurrection with him by faith. As is the burial so is the resurrection, literally, physically, figuratively. Jesus, before his crucifixion, confessed before Pontius Pilate that he was the Messiah; he was then killed, buried, raised, and finally ascended up into heaven. We confess Jesus to be the Messiah, die with him to sin, crucify the flesh, are buried with himn in immersion, arise with himn in state, and ascend with him in our affections. If you then be raised with Christ, set your affections on things above, where Christ sits, at the right hand of God.' The antithesis or comparison is all in good keeping."

« PreviousContinue »