Page images

thee to; how it fheweth thee thine own inability to follow, and how it giveth ability when thou art weary of toiling and labouring of thyfelf. Oh! this is he whom we have waited for! Thus he appeared to us; thus he taught us to turn in, and to turn from the kingdom of darkness within, towards the kingdom of light, which the good feedfman had fown in us as a grain of mustard-feed; which when we found, we knew it to be the pearl of price, and were made willing to fell all for it; and now it is purchased, and alfo poffeffed in a good measure; bleffed be the name of our merciful God, and tender father, for ever and ever.

O hungering and thirsting foul after life (after truth, after the Lamb's righteoufnefs), do thou alfo wait to be taught of the Lord (who thus taught us), and then do thou go and do fo likewife, and thou wilt never repent of this purchase, or of what thou parteft with for it, when once thou comest to enjoy and poffefs any proportion of it.

The Lord make thee fenfible of the vifits, drawings, and leadings of his Holy Spirit, and guide thy feet thereby into the way of truth and peace. Amen.


Concerning Baptifm..

He that believeth, and is baptized, fhall be faved; but he that believeth not, fhall be damned, MARK xvi. 16.


HIS is a very weighty fcripture, and neceffary for every Chriftian rightly to understand, that he may fo believe, and be fo baptized, as to witness falvation by the gofpel of our Lord Jefus Chrift.

Now what believing is this which is here required as neceffary to falvation, and which the promife of falvation is to? Is it any lefs than a believing in the Lord Jefus Chrift, from a fense of the power which the Father hath given him to fave with? Is it not an inward believing, a believing with the heart? And what baptifm or washing is it which faves? Is it not an inward washing, a washing of the foul, a washing of the heart, a wafhing of the confcience, from dead works, to ferve the living God? Doth outward washing fave the foul? Inward washing doth; baptizing into the name doth. Bodily exercise profiteth little; but godlinefs (the inwardly renewing and washing of the mind) profiteth greatly.

There is one faith, one baptifm. Is not the true faith inward and fpiritual? Is not the one baptifm fo alfo? Sure I am, that he that thus believeth, and is baptized, fhall be faved; but he that believeth not, remaineth in the filthy, unwashed state, in which there neither is, nor can be, falvation, but judgment and condemnation, death and deftruction, for ever.

The apostle Peter fhews, Pet. iii. what the baptifm is which faveth, even that which is the antitype, or which inwardly or fpiritually anfwers to Noah's


ark. The Greek word is AliTU, which fignifieth the antitype, or that which answers to the type; the substance, which comes instead of the figure or fhadow; and fo it is more properly and naturally rendered in the old translation thus: The baptifm that now is, answering that figure, faveth. For as Noah's ark faved the bodies of thofe that were in it when God came to judge and destroy the old world; fo the inward washing faveth thofe that are wafhed thereby from the wrath and deftruction which will come upon all that are unwashed.

Now left any fhould misunderstand and mifapply his words, as if he fpake concerning outward baptifm, or washing, he explaineth himself in the following words: Not (faith he) the putting away of the filth of the flesh, not the outward washing of the body, that is not it that faves; but that baptifm which caufeth the answer of a good confcience towards God, by the refurrection of Jefus Chrift. For this is the effect of the inward baptism; fin being washed away by the water of life, by the blood of the Lamb, that which is new, that which is renewed, rifeth up out of the water which wafheth away fin; and then the pure and good conscience answers to God, and the foul knows and partakes of both the death and refurrection of our Lord Jefus Chrift; and fo being baptized by the one baptifm, even the baptifm of Chrift, into the one body, comes into the ftate and fellowship of the living. Another apoftle alfo fpeaketh of the inward washing, even the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghoft; by which, faith he, God according to his mercy faved us, Titus iii. 5.

The apostle Paul fpeaks of a circumcifion made without hands, and tells wherein it confifts; to wit, in putting off the body of the fins of the flesh: and fheweth how this is effected; namely, not by Mofes's circumcifion, but by the circumcifion of Chrift, Col. ii. 21. And truly they who are thus circumcised are the true circumcifion, the fpiritual circumcifion, who worfhip God in the Spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh, but rejoice in Chrift Jefus, who thus circumcifeth them. Now in the next verfe he fpeaketh of baptism, of being buried with Chrift in baptism, and of rifing with him in the fame, through the faith of the operation of God, who raised him from the dead. What is this baptifm? Is it inferior to the circumcifion before fpoken of? Is it not without hands alfo? What is it that buries into the death of Chrift; that raifeth into the life of Chrift through the faith of the operation of God? Is not this the one fpiritual and heavenly baptifm, wherewith the one body is baptized by the one Spirit? What doth outward circumcifion avail? Doth it avail any thing? What doth outward washing avail? Doth it avail any more than outward circumcifion? But the inward circumcifion of the Jew inward, and the inward washing of the foul from fin, doth avail very much.

Now for that place, Matt. xxviii. 19. where Chrift exprefly commandeth baptizing, it is a queftion very weighty, and worthy duly to be confidered, what baptifm he there commandeth. For if it be outward baptifm,


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

they greatly err who apprehend it to be the inward and spiritual baptifm; but if it be the inward and spiritual baptifm which Chrift intended in those words, then they greatly err who apprehend it to be the outward. Now confider the words in the fear and weight of God's Spirit.

It is faid, Go teach, baptizing; but it is not faid, baptizing with water, but in the name, or rather (as the Greek is) into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft.

Now to baptize with water is one thing, and to baptize into the name is another; as they who experience the fpiritual baptism know it to be. For the word of faith turns men from Satan to the power of life; and then as they receive the power, and are made partakers of the power, they are baptized into the power and virtue of life; and fo they are buried (fo far as they come into Chrift) by the power of his Spirit, with this heavenly baptism, into death unto fin, and by the fame power are made alive unto righteousness; and fo the name of the Lord, the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, comes over them, and they rise up in it unto life and righteoufnefs, and fo are dead unto fin, and alive unto God. Now any outward circumcifing or washing can be but a figure of this; but the inward circumcifing and washing is the thing itself. For Chrift fent not his able minifters of the New Teftament to minister the letter, or to minifter the figures of things; but to minifter the Spirit, (elfe how were they able minifters of the Spirit?) to minifter the substance; not to minister a circumcifion or baptifm which might be fhaken and pass away, as outward and elementary, but to minifter the circumcifion and baptifm which cannot be fhaken; which is the circumcifion and baptifm of the gofpel, the circumcifion and baptism of the Spirit, the circumcifion and baptifm of the kingdom, which is never to be shaken and pass away as elementary, but to stand and abide for ever. Read Heb. xii. 26, 27, 28. and confider how all elementary and outward things which could be shaken, were to be shaken and pass away; that thofe things which were of an higher nature (even of the nature of the kingdom), might remain and be established in their stead.

And indeed as the inward circumcifion could not be throughly and alone established while the figure thereof remained, the fame may be truly faid concerning the inward baptifm; so that by this it may appear, that the baptifm of water cannot be the baptifm which Chrift intended in this place, because the baptifm here fpoken of was to continue to the end of the world; but the baptifm of water is plainly of fuch an outward elementary nature, as might be fhaken as well as circumcifion, and fo was to be fhaken in due time, that that which could not be fhaken might remain. Read alfo Rev. xi. 12. where it is plainly fignified, under that phrafe of the outward court being left out of God's measure, and given to the Gentiles, that things of fuch a nature were fhaken; and fo were those that were not the true and fpiritual worshippers in God's fight. For they are Jews under the gospel who are Jews inwardly; and they who are Hhh



not Jews inwardly, are by God's Spirit numbered amongst the Gentiles. And confider how not only the notorious Heathen, but fuch as had got the form of godliness, but denied the power thereof, were rejected, with their outfide fhadows, as really as outward Jerufalem was rejected to be trodden under foot of the Gentiles.

Object. 1. But against this it is objected, that the baptifm of the Spirit cannot be the baptifm Spoken of in this place, because the baptifm fpoken of in this place is commanded; but the baptifm of the Spirit was never commanded, nor was it any man's fin not to be fo baptized.

Anfw. Surely this is a great mistake. Was the inward washing of the heart never commanded? Rent your hearts, and not your garments. What is this but the fpiritual baptifm? The gofpel is a miniftration of inward things, and the inward things are ftrictly commanded there. Can any man be faved without inward baptizing? and is he not commanded to receive inward baptizing? and doth he not fin, if he do not wait to receive it, and give up his heart and foul to be baptized by God's Holy Spirit? If the eye were opened in people to look into the gofpel-ministration, and into the inward nature of things, this might eafily be demonstrated to the least babe there. For as the gofpel was before the law, and could not be difannulled by the law; fo this miniftration of the Spirit's baptifm (for nature and kind) was long before John's baptifm, and could not be difannulled by any outward ministration of baptifm, but abideth the fame for ever; and is to have its place in the gospel-ftate, where the figures and fhadows of things pafs away, and that which is true, lasting and substantial, filleth up the room thereof.

Now the baptifm of the Spirit, or the spiritual washing and circumcifing the heart (which is all one in fubftance), was called for and required of the Jews under the law; and it was their fin not to answer God's call and requiring therein. Confider thefe fcriptures following, with many more of the like nature; Break up your fallow-ground, and fow not among thorns, Jer. iv. 3. Can the fallow-ground be broken up, and the thorns rooted out (elfe the fowing will be amongst them), without the circumcifion or baptism of the Spirit, which is all one in nature and ground? Again: Circumcife the fore-fkin of your hearts, and be no more ftiff-necked, Deut. x. 16. Make you a new beart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O houfe of Ifrael! Ezek. xviii. 31. (Is not this all one in fubftance with that fcripture, He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved?) O Jerufalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayeft be saved! how long shall thy vain thoughts Lodge within thee! Jer. iv. 14. Wash ye, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; ceafe to do evil, learn to do well; feek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reafon together, faith the Lord: though your fins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimfan, they fhall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye


refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the fword: for the mouth of the Lord bath Spoken it, Ifai. i. 16. to 21.

Is not here the true baptism, and the remiffion of fins, which enfueth thereupon, with the bleffing on the baptized eftate, and the curfe on the unbaptized, which extendeth both to Jew and Gentile? for with God there is no respect of perfons.

Oh! that men could read the fcriptures of truth, with the true spirit and with the true understanding! For these things which were written to the people of the Jews, were written for our learning; and precious things may be learned from the fcriptures, by those whofe eyes are opened by the Lord, and who keep close in their reading to that which anointeth and openeth the eye; whereas others cannot but misunderstand and wreft them, to their own great danger at leaft, if not to the ruin and deftruction of their fouls.

I fhall here mention but one place more, which is that of Pfal. li. 17. The facrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite beart, O God, thou wilt not defpife. Can any offer up the facrifice to God, but he who is inwardly and fpiritually wafhed from that which defileth and hardeneth? And doth not God require this baptifm? And what is this but the baptism of the Spirit? who thus washeth the foul with his heavenly water, in the ministration of his word and power, when the virtue and efficacy thereof reacheth to the heart, in and through the faith.

Object. 2. The baptifm of the Spirit cannot be bere intended, because this baptifm is to be administered by men, but the baptism of the Spirit was never administered by men; Jefus Chrift was the alone minister of this baptifm.

Anfw. The apoftle faith, that God had made them able minifters of the New Teftament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life, 2 Cor. iii. 6.

Mark; They were made able minifters by God, of that which giveth life and that they did minister the Spirit by impofition of hands, is manifeft, Acts xix. 6. and in many other fcriptures.

Indeed the apostles were not able of themselves, or by any virtue or ftrength of their own, to beget men to God, or to baptize men into his name and power; but their fufficiency was of God.

Again, Paul was fent to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, Ats xxvi. 18. Now, opening the eyes of the blind is as peculiar to Chrift, as baptizing with the Spirit can be.

When Chrift gave his apostles commiffion to teach, baptizing, he told them, All power in heaven and earth was given him; and bid them not depart from Jerufalem, but wait for the promife of the Father: for John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghoft not many days bence; and that then they should receive power. What to do? To baptize with water? or to baptize into the name with the fame baptifm wherewith they themselves were baptized? See Matt. xxviii. and Ats i.

Hhh 2


« PreviousContinue »