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and power. And if at length, after all my deep and long misery, the Lord hath given me to meet with and enjoy that which is truly excellent (among those whom men despise) I could heartily wish for you, that ye also might meet with and enjoy the same, without passing through that misery and bitter anguish and distress of spirit, through which the Lord led me thereto. The Lord preserve his people, by the arm of his mighty power
, which he hath stretched out for them, and whereby he hath gathered them to himself. And those which are not yet of this fold, oh! that it would please him to seek them out, and bring them home also; that the Lord may be one, and his name one amongst us, and that that which divideth and scattereth from the living truth, might be scattered and brought to noughe every where, in all who would be one, and desire to serve God (with one consent) in that which is true and pure, Amen.
Query 1. HICH is tbe gospel-baptism, or of what kind is the bap
tism in the gospel-fate? Is it outward or inward? Is it ibe
figure of the inward baptism, or the inward baptism itfelf?
· N. B's. Answer is, It is a stooping to God's law,
Reply, This is a very improper answer, and not all to the thing in hand; for the query was not concerning the stooping or subjecting to baptism, bur what the baptism is, 'which is to be stooped and subjected to, whether that be an inward or outward baptism? Whether it be a figure of the holy and heavenly baptism of the gospel, or the holy and heavenly baptism itself? So that, in these words, there is no answer at all returned to the query,
but rather the asserting of another thing, which the query did not mention, altogether improper in this place; for the query tends to determine what the baptism itself is, and when that is once determined, about stooping and subjecting to it, there will be no question I hope between us.
Now to explain what this law of God is, which is to be stopped to, he saith, It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ; quoting to prove it, Reth viii. 2. Matt. xxviii
. 18, 19. Mark xvi. 16. Reply, That baptism, water-baptifm (as he afterwards expresseth it in his answer to this query), is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, I never read in scripture. Nor doth it effect in the heart what the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus doth, which the apostle faith, made him free from the law of fin and death; and it hath virtue and power in its nature over the law of fin and death, which waiperibaptism biash-not. The taw of Tin and death is of an inward and spiritual nature ; and the law of the Spirit of life also is of an inward and fpiritual nature, ftronger than the law of lin and
death, and is able to make free from the law of fin and death inwardly. But water-baptism is an outward thing, an elementary thing, not able to reach the law of fin and death, nor to make free from it. I beseech you consider, ye who look upon this to be a command and ordinance of our Lord Christ, are ye, or are they, who are outwardly baptized with water, made free from the law of fin and death thereby ? Nay, Paul himself, who was by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made free from the law of fin and death, yet was not made free so by outward baptism. For if he was outwardly baptized (as I am ready tu believe he was, it being usual at that time) it was when Ananias came to him, and when the scales fell from his eyes, and he received fight, Aets ix, 18. But he was not then made free from the law of fin and death; for afterward, in his inward and spiritual exercise and holy travail, he found and complained of a law in his members, warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of fin in his members, Rom. vii
. 23. This was not a state of freedom from the law of sin; for with his Aesh he still served it, while in this state. But when by the Spirit the flesh was crucified, when the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jefus prevailed over the law of fin and death in his members, then he was no longer under Satan's captivity by fin, but a delivered man, made free therefrom, by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Then he knew the truth, and the power and virtue of the truth manifested itself in 'him, and made him free, and he was free indeed ; and said no more he could not do the good he would, nor forbear doing the evil he would not; but he was more than a conqueror over the evil, and fet at liberty to work righteousness, and could do all things through Christ that itrengthened him. Oh! that ye that plead so much for outward water, knew this law writ in your hearts, and the effectual power and virtue thereof freeing you from the law of fin and death, and then ye would no more attribute that to an outward thing (or to your obedience as to such an outward thing) which belongs to the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus, and to the law of his life inwardly written in the heart.
Another scripture he brings to prove water-baptism to be the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is Matt. xxviii. 19.
Reply, If it were granted, that Christ did in that place command waterbaptism, yet that would not prove it to be the law of the Spirit of life in him. The law of the Spirit of life in him is a deep thing (i beseech you do not mistake it), and hath mighty effects in the soul, which water-baptism never had, nor can have upon any. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath that virtue and power from God in its nature, which water-baptism is not capable of. The figures, the outward reprefentations, have not a capacity to receive that from God, which the inward law and substance hath.
But that outward baptizing with water is there commanded by Chrift
, is not at all manifest from that icripture, blit rather the contrary, if it be well minded. For Christ faith, all power was given him in heaven and earth, and bids them go and baptize. Doch he lay with water? Nay; doch he not fay into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit? So that now, when the gospel is preached in the Spirit and power of God, and his Spirit and power reacheth to our hearts, we are by that Spirit and power both taught and baptized inwardly, gathered into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit
, and baptized into their name. And he that doch this in the heart, teachech the heart to call this the gospel-baptism ; and to call that which came forth in the hands of the fore-runner, the type or figure of this, the representation of this, the shadow of the gospel-baptism, but not the gospel-baptism itself. Indeed we dare not call John's baptism, or water-baptism, the golpel-baptism, or Christ's baptism; the Lord who hath manifested things to us, and taught us to put a difference between things that really differ, would judge and condemn us for so doing.
Mark further, Christ, who faith, All power in heaven and earth is given me, and therefore bid them go teach and baptize, yet withal bid them wait for the same Spirit and power which was given him, Acis i. 4.-8. And then having his Spirit and power, wherewith he inwardly taught and baptized, might they not be able therewith to reach the heart and conscience, and spiritually both to teach and baptize, as instruments in God's hand, in the springings of his life and power in them?
Now to manifest this further ; for I feel the Lord opening my heart in this thing, and I hope it is for your fakes (Oh! ye mistaken ones in this weighty business!), that the Lord may explain things of this nature to you, and do you good thereby. To whom was this commission or command, in the authority and power of God's Spirit given, to go and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name, &c. ? Was it not especially given to the apostles, who were especially gifted thereunto? And was not Paul one; yea, one of the chief, made so by God our Father, and the Lord Jesu Christ? And he being in a special manner sent to the Gentiles, or Heathen nations (for the Jews were but one nation), did not this commission extend to him, and this command lie upon himn ? Now if this command did extend to inward, spiritual, gospel-baptizing, with the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus, he had it as full as any of them; but if it be understood of water-baptism, we do not find that he had any such commission, but rather otherwise. Read his commission, Asts xxvi. 18. is there any thing of water-baptism in it? There is remission of fins, which depends upon believing and turning to God, in his illuminating Spirit and power, but nothing of water-baptism. And mark, it is God that opens mens eyes, and it is God that opens their hearts, and inwardly turns them from darkness to light, and Satan's power to God; yet Paul was sent by the Lord to do this. And is it an harder matter inwardly to baptize, than to do this ? So that it