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thou fleddest from the face of There seems, indeed, to be ant Esau thy brother!" Then Jacob, allusion to this baptism of prosesaith the sacred historian, said lytes in Ezek. xxxvi. 24, 25, where unto his household, and to all that God promises, "I will sprinkle were with him, Put away the clean water upon you, and ye strange gods that are among you shall be clean: from all your and be clean, and change your filthiness, and from all your idols, garments, and let us arise and go will I cleanse you." And a heaup to Bethel. The command he then writer, in his commentary gives to his household "be on another writer, calls a convert clean," the Jews say meant that to the Jewish religion a baptized they should wash the body, or be person.* But, even if we could baptized. Thus also they inter- not prove the baptism of prosepret the command given at Sinai lytes, still the washings, or bapto all Israel, before the publica- tisms, practised at the consecration of the law, in Exod. xix. 10. tion of the priests, show that bap"And the Lord said unto Moses, tism was not novel to the Jews in Go unto the people and sanctify the days of John. Of such washthem to-day, and to-morrow let ings we have an example in the them wash their clothes ;" i. e. let case of Aaron, Lev. viii. 6. " And them be baptized. In this way, Moses brought Aaron and his i. e. by baptism, they say that sons, and washed them with wathe 153,600 proselytes in the ter." The Jews, thus, were acland of Israel, in the days of quainted with the thing itself, and Solomon, were initiated into the with its signification. The thing covenant.* Although Jewish wri- itself was the application of water ters give this account of the bap- to the body of a person. The tism of proselytes as an ancient thing signified was some great rite, and many, perhaps the ma- change either in the opinions or jority, of Christian writers, con- practices of those who submitted sider the account as correct, yet to it, and implied a promise of acit must not be concealed that ceptance with God on the part there are respectable Christian of them who administered it. writers who consider the prac- II. What was the nature of tice among the Jews to have John's Baptism?- To understand commenced after the Christian this aright, let us ascertain, first era. They do not, however, ac-of all, to what dispensation John cording to the best examination belonged. Before we can do we have been able to give the this, it will be necessary to find subject, appear to have substan-out when the legal economy endtiated their objections. Some ed, and the Christian commenced. disagreement among the Jewish This appears to us to have been writers would have been detect-just before Christ ascended on ed; some facts, contradicting their high, when he declared that all accounts, would have come to power was given unto him in light; but of such disagreement, heaven and upon earth, and by or of such contradictory facts, virtue of this authority sent forth there is not a shadow to be found. his apostles to convert, to baptize,
* Lightfoot on Matt. iii. Hor. Tal.
* M'Knight, John i. 19-28.
and to teach all nations. The sins, and therefore his baptism arguments which support this con- could not be that of repentance : clusion are the following: nor could it have been the bap1. The legal economy being tism he instituted after his resurtypical, could not be terminated rection; for it is absurd to supuntil the types were fulfilled. pose that he was baptized in the But they were not fulfilled pre-faith of himself. What adds weight vious to Christ's ascension: for to these remarks is, that Jesus the great work of intercession at was baptized when he was about God's right hand, in the highest thirty years of age, which was heavens, had not yet been com- the time when priests were inaumenced. And yet this was signi- gurated to office. In addition to fied on the great day of atone-this baptism of consecration to ofment by the entrance of the high fice, Christ, before his death, ate priest into the holy of holies. Un- the passover, in conformity to its til Christ's ascension, it was still original institution. This fact adds the duty of the high priest to of to the force of the argument ficiate on this important day. drawn from the entrance of the 2. Christ is expressly called high priest into the holy of hoby the apostle Paul, Rom. xv. 8. lies; for the same reason which a minister of the circumcision; made it necessary for Christ to and, in consistency with this, he eat the passover, previous to himself says, "I am not sent but the time when he, the great to the lost sheep of the house of Sacrifice signified, was slain, Israel." Matt. xv. 24. As one of made it necessary for the high the discriminating features of the priest to go into the holy of holies evangelical dispensation, is the until Christ had ascended on admission of the Gentiles into the church; it is evident that before 4. Christ directed others to Christ's death, at least, that dis- comply with the institutions of pensation was not commenced. the law, which he would not have For, in addition to his declaration done if the legal economy had not concerning himself, just quoted, been in force. Thus, when he he directs his apostles, Matt. x. 5. had healed a leper, he bid him "Go not in the way of the Gen-"Go thy way, show thyself to the tiles, and into any city of the Sa- priest, and offer the gift that Momaritans enter ye not: but go ses commanded for a testimony rather to the lost sheep of the unto them." And, on another house of Israel." occasion, addressing himself to 3. Christ was made under the the multitudes that followed him, law, and conformed to it in every and even to his disciples, he tells respect. He was circumcised as them that it is their duty to be the law directed; and as he was subject to the Mosaic, or legal a priest, he was set apart to that economy. The scribes and the office by his baptism; for thus it be- Pharisees, he says, sit in Moses's hooved him to fulfil all righteous-seat. All, therefore, whatsoever ness, i. e. to comply with all the they bid you observe, that obinstitutions of the law. That his serve and do. baptism was nothing else must appear from this, that he had no
If these reasons are satisfactory, and such they appear to the
writer, in proof of the position, legal ritual as if John had not ap-
3. They who were baptized 1. The legal economy, as we by John did not profess their have endeavoured to show, was faith in Christ, as come; nor did not yet ended; and, therefore, they receive their baptism in tesits ceremonies were yet binding. timony of their entertaining that If John's baptism had been Chris- belief. On the contrary, they tian baptism, they to whom it was were baptized, confessing their administered would have been sins, and then exhorted to believe freed forever from these ceremo- on him which should come after nies. And yet we find that his him; that is, on Christ Jesus, as disciples remained Jews, and liv- we are informed by the apostle ed as perfectly obedient to the Paul, Acts xix. 4. Now there can be no Christian baptism without the profession of faith in Christ previously declared. "If
* Williams on Baptism, Vol. I.
thou believest with thine whole by Divine authority: for in John heart," said Philip to the eunuch, i. 33. he avows, that God sent "thou mayest." him to baptize. Christ recogni4. But the rebaptism of some zes this truth in his question conof John's disciples at Ephesus, cerning John's baptism-" Was Acts xix. by the apostle Paul, it from heaven, or from men? proves the difference between the Indeed, the whole history of John two most conclusively. "When abundantly proves that he acted they heard this," saith the sacred by special inspiration. He was historian, "they were baptized in announced by his father as the the name of the Lord Jesus;" that prophet of the Highest; and, is, they received Christian bap- when he commenced his public tism. To suppose that these ministration, we are informed that words are Paul's, and not the his- the Word of God came to him. torian's, is contradicted by the Christ calls him a prophet; yea, whole narration. Paul asked, more than a prophet. Hence the "Unto what then were ye baptiz authority by which he acted is ed?" Does not the question in-sufficiently obvious As a prodicate a difference between the phet, specially commissioned, he baptism of John and Christ? But had a right, by divine command, what removes all doubt is Paul's to alter the rites of worship: for, account of John's conduct. He through the medium of prophets said to those who came to his did God make known his will to baptism, that they should believe his people. He who sent John in the Lord Jesus. But we have to baptize is distinct from Christ already seen that they who re-or the Holy Spirit; for he said ceived Christian baptism did pro- to John, Upon whom thou shalt fess their faith first-they were see the Spirit descending, and required, not that they should be- remaining on him, the same is he lieve, but that they had already which baptizeth with the Holy believed. These disciples of Ghost." Here we have another John, professing this faith now, evidence of the distinction between were baptized by the apostle in John's and Christian baptism. the name of Christ. IV. In what light must we reThese arguments prove the gard the whole of John's minisposition assumed, that John's bap-try?-It was the concluding scene tism was a part of the legal eco- of the legal dispensation. Hence nomy, being intended to prepare the least in the kingdom of God, the Jews for Messiah's kingdom. i. e. the evangelical dispensation, It was a Jewish rite, confined to was greater than he. As the last the Jewish nation, leaving those priest, he performed by his washto whom it was administered still ing a final and general purificaunder the yoke of Moses; but tion. Thus he went before Jesus encouraging them to look for- in the spirit and power of Elias, ward to the kingdom of God, according to the declaration of which was at hand. I proceed of the angel, to turn the hearts of to inquire, the fathers to the children, and III. In the third place, by the disobedient to the wisdom of what authority he baptized?-the just: to make ready a people He himself declares, that it was prepared for the Lord. Of this, 2
VOL. II....No. 1.
intimation had been given in an- A second part, to turn the cient prophecy by Malachi. Thus heart of the children to the his great design, or the specific fathers, i. e. according to the anobject of his ministry, was to make gel's comment, to turn the disobeready a people prepared for the dient to the wisdom of the just. Lord, i. e. to prepare Israel for The wisdom of the just is the rereceiving Christ in his personal ligion of the true Christ. Disoministry on earth. For the ob- bedient is the character of all sintainment or completion of this ners. Such was pre-eminently design, two other particulars were the character of the Gentiles: contemplated by John's ministry. they despised the Jews as much The first, to turn the hearts as the Jews hated them. To turn of the fathers to the children. their hearts to the Jews, as well The Jewish Church were as pa- as the Jews to them, was a part rents to the Gentiles. In this of John's ministry. This could light the latter are represented only be done by turning them by the prophets as standing to the from disobedience to the wisdom former. But the Jews had inve- of the just, i. e. converting them terate prejudices against the ad- to the true religion. Thus the mission of Gentiles. To remove design of John's ministry was to these was part of John's work; prepare the way for the union of to make the actual Church feel for Jew and Gentile in one church, the necessities of sinners; to which constitutes a part of the turn the hearts of the Jews to the glory of the gospel church. Gentiles.
1. A Sermon delivered in the Tron
then Minister of Kilmany, now "The following sermon is the fruit of Minister of the Tron Church, a very hurried and unlooked-for exer
Glasgow. New-York. Kirk &