Page images
PDF
EPUB

cal washing; as Heb. 10:22, delovnevoi vdati natap being washed with pure water, compare with 9: 10, diapopor Bantiouou various washings; and sometimes to any other washing, as Eph. 5:26 &c, where baptism is compared to a bath or washing, lourpov, by which spots and impurities are removed. Whereas, if those peculiar circumstances were essential, the apostles would have used them exclusively and uniformly. The reason why Christ prescribed immersion, in baptism, from which the several figures found in the New Testament are taken, seems to have been, that some of his first followers were already accustomed to religious washings of this kind, especially the Jews, who had been used to Levitical washings (Heb. 9: 10), and to the-baptism of Jesus and of John (John 3 : 22 &c. 4:1), and perhaps also to proselyte baptism. Thus we see that a custom, previously existing, gave a peculiar form to baptism, just as the paschal supper of the Jews, gave rise to the Holy Supper of our Lord. Mark 14: 12-26. Luke 22: 14--20. may, therefore, without any hesitation admit, that our Lord would have preferred aspersion or affusion to immersion, if a custom of affusion or aspersion had previously prevailed.

We

1 Vide Seileri Theol. dogmatico-polemica, p. 582--584, 2d ed. In favour of proselyte baptism, see Michaelis' Dogm. $ 180. Against it, Ernesti Vindiciae arbitrii divini, $ 49. Heilmann's Comp. Dogmat. p. 314. Paulus' Commentary on the New Test. p. 194 &c. Reinhard's Dogmatik, p. 563. On Baptism, p. 11--15, where the historical objections against its truth are stated,

$ 110.

The promises which are connected with Baptism. When Christ commands his disciples to administer the ordinance of baptism in honour of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, he thereby declares Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be the God of those who are baptized ($ 43, 45). This declaration amounts to (1) a solemn promise of the divine protection and favour; and as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to be considered the God of the baptized, it includes a promise of those specific blessings which, according to the doctrines of Christ, are to be expected from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In short, by virtue of the union with Christ (2), into which we enter by baptism, we are assured not only of an interest in the death of Christ, and of the remission of sins (3) which results from it, but also of our union with God the Father as our father (4), and our consequent title to eternal life (5); as well as of our union with the Holy Sprit, and the participation of his gracious influences (6). In short, all the blessings, which have a reference to salvation, and for which we are indebted to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are promised to the subjects of baptism; and, in case they do not deny themselves the enjoyment of them, are actually bestowed

upon them (8 111.) (7).

ILLUSTRATIONS.

I. Baptism assures us of the divine protection and favour.-Those who are dedicated to God in baptism, and have thus placed themselves under an acknowledged obligation of obedience to God as their God, are also thereby authorized to expect the protection and the blessings of God. Heb. 11:16, “God calls himself the God of the deceased patriarchs, because they dwell in his presence serving and worshipping him, because he rewards their obedience, and because they live to his glory.” Hence, in 1 Pet. 3: 21, one effect attributed to baptism, is, that it procures for its subject a confident access to God. $ 43. fll. 4. Membership in the christian church, does indeed assure us of this privilege in other ways; but baptism is peculiarly well adapted to produce this confidence in God, inasmuch as it embodies the divine promise in a visible ceremony, and applies it specifically to an individual person."

II. Effects of baptism continued.-Gal. 3: 27, OOOL ELS Χριστον εβαπτισθητε, Χριστον ενεδύσασθε for as many of

you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. By virtue of this union with Christ, the subjects of baptism are entitled, not only to an interest in the death of Christ, but also to the right of being children of God, and the hope of hereafter possessing the riches of their Father. In Rom. 6: 4, 5, the apostle says, We are buried with him, by baptism into (his) death: for if we have been planted with him [become partakers with him) in the likeness of his death, we shall be also &c. Gal. 4: 7. Moreover, as those who are baptized, are children of God, and sustain the most intimate union with the Son of God, the Holy Spirit is given to them. Gal. 4: 6, and because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts. Gal. 3: 13, that ye might receive the promise of the Spirit (the blessing of Abraham.) Those who have, by baptism, been united to the Son of God, the descendant of Abraham (v. 16), will, in consequence of this union, be themselves considered and treated as sons of God, as descendants of Abraham, and heirs of God. To them also is the Spirit given, who inspires them with filial confidence in God, and who is the pledge of their future blessedness. Rom. 8:14--16.1

1 See $ 114. Ill. 13. and Heilmann's Compend. 0 370, and Reichardi Init. doct. christ. P. II. C. III. 0 65. p. 117. ed. 2.

2 Gal. 3: 26. 4: 4. John 1: 12, he gave them power to become the sons of God-adoptio.

III. Subject continued.—Col. 2: 12, Buried with him (Christ) in baptism, compared with v. 13, having forgiven you all your trespasses. Acts 2: 28, be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. Tit. 3: 4, 5, 7, but when the kindness and love of God our Saviour, to man appeared, he saved us, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy (or for his mercy's sake), by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost—that being justified by grace &c. 1 Pet. 3: 21, βαπτισμα-συνειδησεως αγαθης επερωτημα εις θεον. In this passage, the pardon of sins is represented as connected with baptism into the death of Christ. See v. 18.2 Eph. 5: 25, Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water. Heb. 12: 22. In this passage, christians are represented as having by baptism attained an interest in the redemption purchased by the blood of Christ.3

IV. By baptism we become sons of God the Father.Gal. 3: 26, 27, for ye are all sons of God, by faith in Jesus Christ; for as many of you as have been baptized into [in the name of, or in honour of] Christ, have put on Christ. Tit. 3:5, δια λουτρου παλιγγενεσιας. .

V. By baptism we are made “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Gal. 4: 7. Rom. 8:17. compare John 3: 5, where we are taught, that those who are “ born of God” (avωθεν ν. 3. εκ του ουρανου ν. 31. εκ θεου 1: 12) i. e. who are made children of God by water, or by the Spirit, or by the divine agency, have access to the kingdom of God, to eternal life. 3:15–17. In Matth. 21:25, the phrase š ovqavov " from heaven” is placed in antithesis to og avooow" of men," and is therefore synonymous with ex TEOU " of God.”

1 On the Design of the death of Christ, p. 516. Programma de consensu Epp. Pauli ad Hebraeos et Galatas, p. 12, 22.

2 See also the work on the Death of Christ, p. 530. 3 Comment. on Heb. in loc. note h.

VI. Baptism is a means for effecting our union with the Holy Spirit, and obtaining his gracious influences. Tit. 3: 5. Acts 2: 38, be baptized every one of you, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

VII. Tit. 3: 5, EOWOEV &c. 1 Pet. 3: 21, vuv OWŠEL &c. Mark 16: 16, owinoetai &c.

§ 111. Obligations attending the blessings which are promised in bap

tism.

As we may, by our disobedience, forfeit the salvation which was purchased by Christ ($ 67, 72); even those who were baptized will incur this loss, (1), if their reception of this ordinance is not attended by a change of heart, and reformation of life (2). If we desire to regard God, in whose name we are baptized, as our God, whose favour we may expect to enjoy; we must also honour him as our God. And as we were baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we must honour him in the manner prescribed by those doctrines (3), which the Father (4) has revealed through the Son and Holy Spirit. He who sincerely believes that his baptism has secured to him an interest in the suf

VOL. 11.

38

« PreviousContinue »