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In the above verse to the Galatians, the apostle thought to be alluding to the change of garments which must necessarily take place after the administration of the ordinance; to which may allude the expressions, "putting off the old man with his deeds," and "putting on the new man," Eph. iv. 22, 24; Col. iii. 9, 10; and especially, as here, "putting on Christ," as "the Lord our righteousness."
ADAM CLARKE. "When he [the person baptized] came up out of the water, he seemed to have a resurrection to life. He was therefore supposed to throw off his old Gentile state, as he threw off his clothes, and to assume a new character, as the baptized generally put on new or fresh garments." Comment. on Rom. vi. 4.
The last verse cited above, 1 Cor. xv. 29, has obtained many inter pretations, as the meaning of the apostle in the words, "for the dead," is not certain.
JOHN EDWARDS. "Some of the fathers hold that the apostle's argument in the text is of this sort: If there should be no resurrection of the dead hereafter, why is baptism so significant a symbol of our dying and rising again, and also of the death and resurrection of Christ. The immersion into the water was thought to signify the death of Christ, and their coming out denotes his rising again, and did no less represent their own future resurrection." In Stennett's Answer to Addington, p. 105.
MACKNIGHT. "Christ's baptism was-an emblem of his future death and resurrection. In like manner, the baptism of believers is emblematical of their own death, burial, and resurrection.” Apost. Epis. Note on Rom. vi. 4.
Inference. If faith PRECEDED baptism in the apostles' days, and the persons who received that ordinance had imbibed the influence of that ONE SPIRIT, and had put on CHRIST as the robe of righteousness, the spiritual adorning of their souls, hoping for their part in the first resurrection at His appearing and glory, it is most manifest, that none but a genuine convert to Christ could thus be baptized, or enjoy such high and delightful privileges.
§ III. Baptism illustrated by Events recorded in the Old Testament.
THESE are the LAST PASSAGES we find in the New Testament which relate to we subject of our examination.
1 Cor. x. 1. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
1 Pet. iii. 20. The long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 31. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not
the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The better to understand the apostle Paul, in the first passage above, the reader would do well to peruse the account, in the Old Testament, in Exod. xiv., to which he refers. In verse 22, we are told, that the Israelites" went into the midst of the Red Sea upon dry ground," that the water divided, opening a passage for them, and forming "a wall unto them on the right hand and on the left." We also learn, that "the cloud" which had conducted them, now removed its situation; stood between the two armies, and overspread and concealed the Israelites from their enemies; that it was bright, and "gave light" to the former, while it was "darkness" toward the latter. It does not appear that any water actually touched the Israelites in any sense whatever; and hence, the word "baptized" must be used by the apostle in a figura tive sense; and if it has a reference to the mode, we have only to ask, Does the situation of the Jews, "IN the cloud, and IN the sea," best agree to sprinkling with water, or a total burial in it ? Pædobaptists of the highest celebrity will answer :—
"WITSIUS (says Mr. Booth) expounds the place to this effect. How were the Israelites baptized in the cloud, and in the sea, seeing they were neither immersed in the sea, nor wetted by the cloud? It is to be considered, that the apostle here uses the term 'baptism,” in a figurative sense, yet there is some agreement to the external sign. The sea is water, and a cloud differs but little from water. The cloud hung over their heads, and the sea surrounded them on each side; and so the water in regard to those that are baptized.'" In Pæd. Exam. Vol. I. p. 185.
WHITBY. "They were covered with the sea on both sides, Exod. xiv. 22; so that both the cloud and the sea had some resemblance to our being covered with water in baptism. Their going into the sea resembled the ancient rite of going into the water; and their coming out of it, their rising up out of the water." Ibid. p. 187.
By the apostle Peter, in the passage cited, we are taught that as Noah and his family "were saved by water," so baptism, the antitype of the water of the deluge, "now saves" the believer; not by a wash ing of his person, or a ceremonial purification, which cannot take away sin; but the water being a "like figure" in both cases, that is, EXHIBIT ING CHRIST AND HIS MERITS, the believer is saved by the SACRED REALITY signified. In this case, baptism is "The answer of a gooa conscience toward God:" both the answer given to inquiry at baptism, and the subsequent testimony of the mind to God, are conscientious, being in accordance with a sincere and heartfelt faith in the merits of the dying and rising Saviour.
OWEN. "I deny not but that there is a great analogy between salvation by the ark, and that by baptism, inasmuch as the one did repre
sent, and the other doth exhibit Christ himself." On Hebrews, Vol. IV. p. 138. Williams's Abr.
MACKNIGHT. "This answer of a good conscience being made to God, is an inward answer, and means the baptized person's sincere persuasion of the things which, by submitting to baptism, he professes to believe; namely, that Jesus-arose from the dead, and that at the last day he will raise all from the dead to eternal life, who sincerely obey him." Apost. Epist. Note in loc.
Inference. If the exercise of "a good conscience" is associated with the ordinance of baptism, in none but a believer in Christ can this union be realized.
CONCLUSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
HAVING now, my reader, completed the chief design of this pamphlet in transcribing and laying before you every passage of this sacred volume that relates to the subject of our inquiry, and contains any information, whether on the subjects, mode, or spiritual design of baptism, I have, I humbly hope, fulfilled the title I have assumed, in presenting you with "THE SCRIPTURE GUIDE TO BAPTISM.' Our Divine Master commanded us to "search the Scriptures," and I have no doubt but that it would meet with His gracious approbation if this plan were adopted, in reference to any subject pertaining to His cause or kingdom. "To the word and to the testimony," is an inspired maxim in theology, and one from which no Protestant will dissent. "Ye do err," said our Redeemer, "not knowing the Scriptures."
We ought, therefore, now to be able to answer the three inquiries proposed at the beginning :
1. Who are proper subjects of Christian baptism, according to the authority of Christ, and the practice of his apostles?
Answer. We have met with the baptism of many thousands of persons, and the ordinance administered on many different occasions; but we have no where found, through all this sacred book, any one person baptized (Christ excepted) that we have the slightest reason to suppose was not FIRST INSTRUCTED in the doctrines of the gospel, and had professed to BELIEVE; but this is either expressly testified, or so implied of all, as to leave no just ground of dispute.
II. By what mode should the ordinance be administered?
Answer. We have no where met with a single verse, word, or circumstance, which indicates the application of water, by pouring or sprinkling; but wherever any thing is found descriptive of this ordinance, IMMERSION (as the word baptism undeniably signifies) is plainly implied in circumstances, and confirmed by allusions.
III. What is its spiritual design, and in whom is it realized ? Answer. The passages that have been before us plainly indicate,
that it was the Divine intention that this ordinance should exhibit and teach the important change produced by the efficacy of grace on a sin ner, namely, his PURIFICATION from sin, and BURIAL as to the love and practice of it; his RESURRECTION to a new and religious life; the UNION and FELLOWSHIP into which the Christian enters with the Triune God; and his RISING from the dead, through his risen Lord, at his coming.
Here my pages might close: but when the subject of baptism was first brought under my own examination, and I had read with care these portions of Scripture; being taught from early childhood to consider infant baptism of Divine authority, I felt anxious to propose a FEW QUESTIONS to those competent to answer me and I conceived the generality of inquirers on the subject would feel a similar solicitude. On these questions I have obtained satisfaction to my own mind; and being desirous the reader, if disposed to propose the same questions, should enjoy the same satisfaction, I shall employ AN APPENDIX to the foregoing pages, in expressing those questions, and giving such answers as to me appeared CONCLUSIVE and satisfactory, Whether the reader may consider them so or not, I leave to his own judgment and conscience, and to the influence of that Spirit, whose office it is to "guide into all truth."
I shall support the answers by citations from eminent Pædobaptist writers, as I have done my foregoing observations; and sometimes give such extracts alone, as the best and most conclusive replies.
APPENDIX, PART I.
ON THE GROUNDS OF INFANT BAPTISM, ITS RISE, AND SUPPOSED BENEFITS.
1. Question. Although in the passages of Scripture you have cited, I have not found an express authority, either by command or example, for the baptism of infants, yet will Pædobaptist divines allow that no such authority is to be found in the New Testament?
Answer. BISHOP BURNET. "There is no express precept or rule given in the New Testament for baptism of infants." Expos. of the Articles, Art. xxvii,
MR. S. PALMER. "There is nothing in the words of institution, nor in any after accounts of the administration of this rite, respecting the baptism of infants: there is not a single precept for, nor example of, this practice through the whole New Testament." Answer to Priestley on the Lord's Supper, p. 7.
LUTHER. "It cannot be proved by the sacred Scripture, that infant
baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians AFTER the apostles." (In Pæd. Exam. Vol. II. p. 4.) See also GOODWIN, BOSTON, LIMBORCH, and BAXTER, at page 44 of this pamphlet.
2. What then are we to make of those words of our Saviour, and his subsequent conduct? Mark x. 14, 16. "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."
Answer. If, when our condescending Saviour took these children in his arms, it had been added "and he baptized them," instead of the words "and blessed them," then this passage with propriety might be adduced, and, indeed, would have decided the subject; but as the Holy Spirit has recorded the circumstance, it no more refers to infant baptism, than to infant communion, or infant circumcision. It is certain Christ did not baptize these children, for he never baptized at all, John iv. 2; and if his disciples, who baptized for him and by his authority, had been commanded by their Lord to baptize infants, it is certain they would not have "rebuked" the parents or friends of these children for bringing them.
But this passage, by fair inference, and implication, contains an argument against infant baptism. Here you observe parents bringing their children to Jesus to crave his blessing upon them; or, at least, that he would "pray," Matt. xix. 13, that the blessing of heaven might attend them.
Now let me ask, If baptism would have brought these children into the covenant of grace, or into Christ's church, or secured to them any spiritual benefit, would the Lord Jesus have concealed that circumstance from these parents, and from his disciples ? Would he take them-in his arms and bless them,' and give them back to the parents without baptism, and without a word upon that ordinance? Was it ever known that any spiritual benefit was sought from him and he bestowed it not? Here the spiritual good of these children was sought at his hands, and if baptism was the key, the seal, the door to all the spiritual blessings of the covenant of grace, (as Pædobaptists often describe it,) would the Lord Jesus refuse it, or send them away without it? This is impossible; and, therefore, I infer that infant baptism is no part of the will of Christ, that it can communicate no good, and ought not to be observed. Some of the most learned Pædobaptists are aware that this passage serves not their cause.
POOLE'S CONTINUATORS. "We must take heed we do not found infant baptism upon the example of Christ in this text; for it is certain that he did not baptize these children. Mark only saith, He took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them." Annot. on the place, in Matt. xix. 14.
BISHOI TAYLOR. "From the action of Christ's blessing infants, to