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Lord Jesus. 6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7. And all the men were about twelve.
That in these persons we have an example of adult baptism is clear; For, 1. They are called "disciples."-2. They "believed."-3. They "received the Holy Ghost."-4. They "spake with tongues and prophesied;" and were in number twelve MEN. We need not, therefore, add another word respecting them.
CONCLUSION OF THE ACTS.
We have now, Christian reader, passed through all the Acts of the Apostles, and examined all the instances of the administration of this ordinance recorded in this sacred history, and to this place, we can confidently assert, That we have no where found a single place or passage, that describes, records, or implies the baptism of any infants. The reader will not suppose this a hasty conclusion, when he hears the following Pædobaptists:
GOODWIN. "Baptism supposes regeneration sure in itself first. Sacraments are never administered to begin, or work grace. Read ALL the Acts, still it is said, they believed, and were baptized." Works, Vol. I. P. I. p. 200.
MR. T. BOSTON. "There is no example of baptism, recorded in the Scriptures, where any were baptized but such as appeared to have a saving interest in Christ." Works, p. 384.
LIMBORCH. "There is no instance can be produced, from which it may indisputably be inferred that any child was baptized by the apostles." Complete Syst. Div. B. V. Ch. xxii. § II.
MR. BAXTER. (The appeal he makes to Mr. Blake, in this place, might be made, with all confidence, to every Pædobaptist.) "I conclude, that all examples of baptism in Scripture do mention only the administration of it to the professors of saving faith; and the precepts give us no other direction. And I provoke Mr. Blake, as far as is seemly for me to do, to name ONE PRECEPT OR EXAMPLE for baptizing any other, and make it good if he can." Disput. of Right to Sacrar. p. 156. In Pæd. Exam, Vol. II. p. 29.
We now proceed, lastly, to examine those passages in the Apostolica Epistles which refer to this ordinance.
§ I. Passages which contain an express Allusion to the Mode, and the Spiritual Design of Baptism.
Rom. vi. 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
Colos. ii. 12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
The object of the apostle Paul in these places, and their connection, is to show the churches to which he is writing, the necessity of a holy walk and conversation. To this end he puts them in mind of their baptism, the profession they made in it, and the obligation they took upon themselves to live according to those truths symbolically taught by and in the ordinance. Know ye not,' says he to the Romans, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ,' into a profession of his religion, were baptized into his death,' into a reliance upon, and conformity to his death, the great design of which was to take away sin; and, consequently, as our Lord died, and was buried on account of it, so should we die and be buried to the love and practice of it. Then follows this plain and striking allusion to the particular act by which the rite in question is administered, in verse 4, which, with the same allusion in the Epistle to the Colossians, reads to this effect:
"THEREFORE (that is, to express this very design) WE ARE BURIED BY and IN BAPTISM, with Christ our Lord; and as He was RAISED 'UP from the dead by the glory of the Father, so are we at our baptism,
WHEREIN we likewise are RAISED UP to walk thenceforth in new'ness of life; and this is not of ourselves, but THROUGH THE FAITH of 'the operation of God, who thus raised up his Son from the sepulchre 4 to live and reign for ever.'
In these places the apostle does twice describe baptism as effecting a burial and a resurrection, and as such to be a continued representation of the burial and resurrection of Christ, our Pattern and Lord; and this is realized only in immersion.
By these plain allusions to the Mode of the ordinance, the sense of the word "baptize," is most plainly exhibited and confirmed; and the necessity of "going down INTO, and coming up out of the water"-of "baptizing IN THE JORDAN," and where "there was MUCH WATER;" (which phrases we found in connexion with baptism,) here evidently explained. Pædobaptist divines, of the greatest celebrity for learning and information, have frankly allowed what we have above asserted. We have no difficulty but in making such a selection as would be most highly esteemed by the reader. The following are, perhaps, the most unexceptionable that could be produced.
MR. WALL, Vicar of Shoreham, in Kent, and author of that famous work, The History of Infant Baptism, for which he received the thanks of the whole clergy in convocation. "As to the manner of baptism then generally used, the texts produced by every one that speaks of these matters, John iii. 23, Mark i. 5, Acts viii. 38, are undeniable proofs that the baptized person went ordinarily into the water, and sometimes the Baptist too. We should not know from these accounts whether the whole body of the baptized was put under water, head and all, were it not for two later proofs, which seem to me to PUT IT OUT OF QUESTION: One, that St. Paul does twice, in an allusive way of speaking, call baptism a BURIAL; the other, the custom of the Christians, in the near succeeding times, which, being more largely and particularly delivered in books, is KNOWN to have been generally, or ordinarily, a TOTAL IMMERSION." Defence of the History of Infant Baptism, p. 131.
ARCHBISHOP TILLOTSON. "Anciently, those who were baptized, were immersed and BURIED in the water, to represent their death to sin; and then did rise up out of the water, to signify their entrance upon a new life. And to these customs the apostle alludes, Rom. vi. 2-6." Works, Vol. I. Serm. vii. p. 179.
ARCHBISHOP SECKER. "BURYING, as it were, the person baptized in the water, and raising him out again, wITHOUT QUESTION, was anciently the more usual method; on account of which Saint Paul speaks of baptism as representing both the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and what is grounded on them,-our being dead and buried to sin, and our rising again to walk in newness of life." Lect. on Catechism, L. xxxv.
MR. SAM. CLARKE. "We are buried with Christ by baptism, &c In the primitive times the manner of baptizing was by immersion, or dipping the whole body into the water. And this manner of doing it was a very significant emblem of the dying and rising again, referred to by St. Paul, in the above-mentioned similitude." Expos. of the Church Catechism, p. 294, ed. 6.
MR. WELLS. "St. Paul here alludes to immersion, or dipping the whole body under water in baptism; which, he intimates, did typify the death and burial (of the person baptized) to sin, and his rising up out of the water did typify his resurrection to newness of life." Illust. Bib. on Rom. vi. 4.
MR. NICHOLSON, Bishop of Gloucester. "In the grave with Christ
we went not; for our bodies were not, could not be buried with his; but in baptism, by a kind of analogy or resemblance, while our bodies are under the water, we may be said to be BURIED with him." Expos. of the Church Catechism, p. 174.
MR. DODDRIDGE. "Buried with him in baptism. It seems the part of candor to confess, that here is an allusion to the manner of baptizing by immersion.” Fam. Expos. Note on the place.
MR. GEORGE WHITEFIELD. "It is certain that in the words of our text, Rom. vi. 3, 4, there is an allusion to the manner of baptism, which was by immersion, which is what our own church allows," &c. Eighteen Sermons, p. 297.
MR. JOHN WESLEY. "Buried with him-alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion." Note on Rom. vi. 4.
MR. WHITBY, author of a Commentary on the New Testament, and more than forty other learned works. "It being so expressly declared here, Rom.vi. 4, and Col. ii. 12, that we are BURIED with Christ in baptism, by being buried under water; and the argument to oblige us to a conformity to his death, by dying to sin, being taken hence; and this immersion being religiously observed by ALL CHRISTIANS FOR THIRTEEN CENTURIES, and approved by our Church, and the change of it into sprinkling, even without any allowance from the author of this institution, or any license from and council of the church, being that which the Romanist still urges to justify his refusal of the cup to the laity; it were to be wished that this custom might be again of general use, and aspersion only permitted, as of old, in case of the Clinici, or in present danger of death." Note on Rom. vi. 4.
The apostle uses the figure of Planting, as well as of Burying, in allusion to baptism, verse 5. "If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." This also is in perfect agreement with the same Mode of administering it. The circumstance in nature, from which the figure is borrowed, is the same as that employed by our Lord, John xii. 24. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." The seed to be planted must be buried in the soil; so the Christian in baptism is 'planted in the LIKENESS of the death, that he may be also in the likeness of the resurrection of his Lord.'
MR. MACKNIGHT. "Planted together in the likeness of his death. The burying of Christ, and of believers, first in the water of baptism, and afterwards in the earth, is fitly enough compared to the planting of seeds in the earth, because the effect, in both cases, is a reviviscence to a state of greater perfection." Note on Rom. vi. 5.
ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES. 66 If we have been planted together, &c. By this elegant similitude the apostle represents to us, that, as a plan that is set in the earth lieth as dead and immoveable for a time, but after springs up and flourishes, so Christ's body lay dead for a while in the
grave, but sprung up and flourished in his resurrection; and we also, when we are baptized, are buried, as it were, in the water for a time, but after are raised up to newness of life." Annot. in loco.
Inference. With certainty I may gather from the Scriptures at the head of this section, That the outward form of baptism in the apostolic age was a BURIAL IN WATER. It is made infinitely interesting to the heart of a Christian by that which it was intended to represent, viz. the death, burial, and resurrection of the Redeemer; and here too I may infer the infinite and irresistible obligation the baptized person is under to devote his life to that Lord to whose death and resurrection he is thus emblematically conformed in the baptismal rite: and I see also in these verses, by what principle and power this is all to be realized, "through faith, which is of the operation of God." In none destitute of that living principle can this intention of the ordinance be fulfilled. If sprinkling were the mode, and infants the subjects, these passages never could have been written. To the baptism of believers alone, and that administered by immersion, will these passages apply.
§ II. Occasional Mention of Baptism.
Eph. iv. 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
1 Cor. xii. 13. 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 into one Spirit.
Gal. iii. 27. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.
1 Cor. xv. 29. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?
To the Ephesians and Corinthians the apostle is recommending peace and unity; that they should be all of one heart and mind, so that there be no schism in the body, as all were one in Christ. To urge which, he puts them in mind of what they had been uniformly taught, that there was but "ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM;" and that "all were baptized into ONE BODY, whether Jews or Gentiles." We should here observe, (what we have so frequently noticed before,) that the apostle places faith BEFORE baptism, as Christ the great Lawgiver had done, He that believeth, and is baptized. "One faith, one baptism." If this passage were to be expressed according to the general practice of the present day, the order both of Christ and the apostle must be "reversed." See Simeon, at p. 28.