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with Christ, (by grace ye are saved ;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workınanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."*
The same spiritual and sublime strain is continued to the end of the chapter: but in what one part of the context there is an allusion to baptism, I am at a loss to conjecture. Let us then examine the words first quoted, where, if in any part, we may expect to find it. Here is, first, two states contrasted," dead in sin," and "
quickened together with Christ;" secondly, an allusion to the resurrection of Christ, whereby he was quickened, or his humanity raised from death to a heavenly life: thirdly, the agent quickening us from a state of sin is God. But where is baptism?
15. It is obvious that the two states are intended as a contrast. As the former state, therefore, is that of sinful death, the latter
* Eph. ii. 4-10.
must intend that of holy life. The contrast to death is life, and the contrast to sin is holiness; not relative, but real. The contrast to that relative holiness to which baptism introduces the subject, was a relative uncleanness. But will
any one pretend, that to be “ dead in sins” means to be " common or unclean” in an outward and merely relative sense, as the Gentiles were, compared with the Jews; or as unbelievers are compared with professing Christians? Surely to be “ dead in trespasses and sins," must be something very different from being “ unbaptized :” and consequently, to be “ quickened” from that state, must be something different from being “ baptized.”
How the allusion contained in the words to the resurrection of Christ, can befriend baptismal regeneration, is next to be considered. It will be found on impartial reflection, I believe, that a Christian cannot be said to be “ quickened with Christ” any other way than by divine influence, in virtue of a vital union with Christ our divine head of influence, and by faith in him, who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. To suppose that being “ born of water” makes us alive to God, or begets faith in the subject, has not a ray of evidence, either from scripture testimony, from observed fact, or from rational analogy;
and to imagine that a spiritual principle of life, is the immediate effect of being baptized, is about as congruous, as to imagine that a substance is the immediate effect of a shadow ! For what is baptism but a shadowy representation of that which is spiritual, as the sacramental
supper is of the body and blood of Christ:
§ 17. The author of this change is God, who is rich in mercy, and great in love. But is it probable, that the richness of his mercy, and the greatness of his love towards us, should be so emphatically extolled, by the baptismal rite? Is it not rather as improbable as, that the same attributes should be commended by the rite of circumcision, or the ordinance of the Lord's supper? Might we not, in short, with as great propriety exclaim, how rich the genius, and how great the wisdom of Sir CHRISTOPHER WREN, who has given us a model of St. Paul's! It is somewhat more natural, I humbly submit, to connect the genius and skill with the grand structure itself, than with the model. Rich grace and great love are indeed manifest in an immortal soul being quickened into a moral and spiritual life, in giving us a Saviour and raising him from the dead, by virtue of which favour we may by faith reckon ourselves “ dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God;" but the positive
rite that represents this, derives its value by reflection, rather than communicates the substance. When it can be proved that the sun derives his splendour from the moon, then, and not before, can it be proved that baptismal regeneration communicates quickening grace.
“ Buried with Christ in baptism."* Here, indeed, we find baptism, but in what expression shall we find the idea of spíritual blessings being communicated by it? Perhaps the context may furnish something like it. “ And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 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.” In this passage, we learn in the first place, that persons interested in the exalted Saviour, have a complete acceptance in him. In the next place, we learn that those who are so interested, have a complete substitute for the circumcision which was abolished;-a substitute both internal and external: since they had internally that which the literal circumcision represented, and which
* Col. ii. 12.
is called “circumcision made without hands :" viz. the circumcision of the heart by the power of
grace: and they had externally the ordinance of baptism, called “ the circumcision of Christ;" an ordinance appointed by Christ in the room of circumcision. Thirdly, we find that the external substitute for circumcision required of them conformity to Christ in whom they were complete. They were required, for instance, to part with sin, not merely the mutilation of a member, but the whole body of it,—to divest themselves of it, as a man puts off a vile garment, to wear it no more for ever: and this body of carnality they were required not only to crucify, but also to bury with Christ, who was“ put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.” As Christ was “ delivered for our offences” to death and the grave, so they were “required to reckon themselves dead indeed unto sin.” They were also required by their baptism, to rise with Christ into a life resembling his a new, a spiritual, a heavenly life, into which their baptism was a significant ceremonial initiation. In the fourth place, these words inform us, that this new life, which was both signified and required by baptism, was actually entered upon by faith
through the faith of the operation of God.”
§ 19. Let the candid and sound critic now determine, whether this passage was intended by