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This same blessing is couched under different ordinances; such as circumcision and baptism. “ For by one Spirit are we 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," i Cor. xii. 13. And this drinking into one spirit is explained by Christ himself; “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” John iv. 14. This is the one baptism of which water is an outward sign.
And circumcision in the flesh is no more than a sign likewise: for it is said,, that Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, being yet uncircumcised, Rom. iv. 11. For true circumcision is performed by God himself; as it is written, “ And the Lord thy God will circuncise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live,” Deut. xxx. 6. Hence baptism and circumcision are both one thing in the spiritual meaning, for both give life: and hence God says, “ All these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart, therefore I will punish the cir.cumcised with the uncircumcised,” Jer. ix. 25, 26. Yea, more. The New Testament tells us thạt, that is not circumcision which is outward in
the flesh: on which account all who are regener rated by the Holy Ghost, are said to be baptised into one spirit: and by the same Apostle they are called the true circumcision which worship God in the Spirit; which makes baptism and circumcision to be one and the same thing, in the explanation God gives of them, who is the best judge of his own meaning. And hence it is plain also, that to be baptised with the Holy Ghost and with fire amounts to the same thing as circumcision, for the sweetest and hottest ingredient in that fire is love; and it is well known that, “ The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us,” Rom. v. 5. His powerful operations as a comforter, sealer, and an earnest in our hearts, and God's love shed abroad therein by him, constitute this fiery baptism; and life eternal is the blessed effect of it. Thus this divine blessing, if it be not in the earthquake, yet is it in the wind, in the water, and in the fire But now I must come a little nearer home.
Our Lord tells us, that this divine life is not a pool, or standing lake, which is fresh and wholesome for a while, and then becomes stagnated, useless, and loathsome, as we see the ministry and profession of too many to be in our day: but it is something that keeps springing up, and will spring up to all eternity. And this appears from our Lord's discourse with the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well; where our Lord seems to confirin all that I have said about this blessing of all
blessings, and this glorious gift of all gifts, and in which all other gifts are included. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water,” John iv. 10. And, had I known as much of this mystery when I first came to London as I do now, it would have saved me many a restless hour, many a bitter sigh, many a silent groan, and many dismal expectations. For, when I saw and heard of so many wise, able, learned, and popular ministers, both in the church and in other places of worship, shining, and flourishing for a time, and then seeming to wither, decline, die away, lose their audiences and come to nothing, I was fully persuaded that the same would be my lot after a while; that my gift would get stale, my life and joys wither, a sameness would appear in all my discourses, and the people would be sick of the same tale, so often told. But there is a difference between one talent and two; between a ministerial gift, and a gift attended with the grace of life to feed that gift; and I know that he must be a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, instructed of God, and this his instruction must lead him into the kingdom of heaven, so as to be a subject of it, if he continues useful to the end; and he must have not only the treasure of grace in his heart, but continual supplies of that grace, if he continues to bring forth out of his treasure
things new and old, Matth. xiii. 52; for he can never bring forth things new that lives upon, and trades with nothing else but the old stock.
Where the Spirit of all grace takes possession, there, and only there, will eternal life spring up, as our Lord declares; “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life," John iv, 14. Into a life of endless glory in the highest heavens will this water spring up; nor can the power of sin, the rage of Satan, or all the world, prevent this spring from rising; but rather make its springing more strong, and its overflowings more rapid; for, “ By these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit,” Isai. xxxviii. 16. Nor does this spring in us rise alone; the believing soul rises and falls, ebbs and flows; and always moves in concert with it, as it is written; “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses,” Isai. xliv. 3, 4.
But some may object, and say, if this living water is thus to spring up into everlasting life, and those upon whom it is poured are to spring up with it, and under the fructifying influences of it, as among the grass, and as willows by the water courses, how comes it to pass that so many, after a splendid shew of springing up, wither, fade, shake off their unripe fruit, come to nothing, and perish? As the wayside hearers, who heard the word, and were plundered by Satan, and those who received seed into stony places, and suddenly they sprang up, having no deepness of earth, but in time of temptation fell away; and other parts of the word fell among thorns, where the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, overtops ped and choked the word, and they came to nothing. Others begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh; others, like the foolish virgins, abide to the last in company with the wise, and then are shut out: others, like Ananias and Sapphira, though joined to the church, are both ravished by Satan, commit sacrilege, tempt the Spirit in the Apostles, lie to the Holy Ghost, and perish in their falsehood, and all for a little money. Demas forsakes Paul, having loved this present evil world: Abithophel becomes David's counsellor, guide and companion to the house of God; but, when he becomes rich, aims at David's life, and hangs himself, because he could not accomplish it. Others have got rich wives, and some into a large line of business, and have accumulated wealth entirely by their profession; and, when such prizes have been obtained, their lamp has gone out in obscure darkness. All this is true, and every day makes it manifest; but no man in his senses will ever say that such professors are the elect of God. It is not without cause that