Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

It is urged, that John and Philip must have been baptized by immersion, because it is said, that they went down into, and came up out of, the water. I shall not here dispute the propriety of the translation. It cannot be supposed that, going down, meant immersion: If so, then Philip was baptized as much as the Eunuch. Besides, the baptism is spoken of, as distinct. They went down both into the water, and he baptized him. It might be by sprinkling.

It is urged, that John went to Jordan and Enon on account of the plenty of water. It is not said that this was for the purpose of baptism : But supposing it was, is it the method of God, in his reve. lation, to leave so important a matter to mere conjecture ? But supposing we know that John practised in this way, yet what is that to our baptism, which is the christian baptism? There is no instance of christian baptism, except the Eunuch's, that looks at all that way.

The three thousand at the day of Pentecost, which was at Jerusalem, it is not at all probable, were baptized in this way.

So, of Paul,—The Jailer, and his household, &c.—But our Baptist brethren lay great stress on this passage in Coloss. ii, 12.“buried with him in baptism.”

It is quite evident, that water baptism is not here intended.

The circumcision made without hands, intends the same as the baptism.

But were this granted, that things signify what they were instituted for, the argument is of little weight. Take, for instance, the Lord's Supper : We might invent some method, as the Papists do, that might more naturally represent the passion of Christ. But if this would prove the baptismn, baptism must be the most natural representation :

Then it must be performed in various modes. John's baptism represented Christ's baptism with the Holy-Ghost and fire, which referred to the efa fusions of the spirit, with fiery appearances at the day of Pentecost, which was called pouring out of the spirit.

This would afford as strong an argument that baptism should be performed by pouring.

So baptism, I expect all will agree, represents the purification of the soul from guilt.

When it is said, having a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience,"it is likely that the words allude to baptism.

But if persons have not been baptized, I am not disposed to contend, if they choose to be plunged. But I think it not agreeable to that simplici. ty, which we find in other institutions.

The arguments in favor of sprinkling's being the mode, are these.

1. It is most agreeable to gospel simplicity and the method of applying any thing to signify purification. Thus the application of blood was by sprinkling a small quantity. The partial application of water in baptism, was intended to signify purification. So, when our Saviour washed his disciples' feet, Peter objected : Our Saviour tells him, “except I wash thee, thou hast no párt with me." I say, it is analagous to God's institutions,

2. There are various passages in the Old-Tes. tament, that have an ultimate reference to that work of grace, represented by baptism; as the passage in Ezekiel ; “I will sprinkle clean water, &c." so that prediction respecting Christ, Isaiah lii. 15. “So shall he sprinkle many nations, &c.” which is supposed to refer to the christian baptism. It is supposed, that an explanation of this led the Eunuch to the idea of baptism. The repre

sentation in regard to Philip, is that his instructions were an explanation of the words read.

These are some of the considerations in support of sprinkling. After all, I cannot fully persuade myself, that it was the design of God to confine persons to any exact mode,

Improvement. 1. We see, if it is so, that God has thus extended his covenant to the seed of his people, how it enlarges the idea of his grace! How comfortable such an idea is to a believing parent, who feels his heart united to the good of his children!

2. We have reason to fear, that the adversary has great hand in making men's differences about modes and forms, a bar to fellowship. We have reason to think, that as the spirit of God is poured out, it will tend to break down these bars,

3. If the covenant in this view is a mean, as the gospel seems to consider it, it will be an important mean of up-building the church in the late ter day,

It is to be expected, that Satan will try to misguide even good men, to renounce the covenant in this view. It may therefore, be a question, whether many are not hurried on,

without

proper examination, to renounce their baptism.

4. It may be a question, whether the inconsistent conduct of those, who profess to believe in house. hold baptism, does not promote infidelity in this respect?

5. How important the motives of parents to discharge covenant duties to their children.

Let me then press it on parents and on churches. DISCOURSE X.

ROM. V. 11.

By whom we have now received the atonement.

THE grand design of God, in his moral government, and indeed, in creation and providence in general, was, no doubt, to give a full display of. himself.

In speaking from these words, I shall

I. Consider some of the grounds of the necese sity of an atonement.

II. The immediate design of it.

III. What there was in what Christ did and suffered, that had a more special reference to the work of atonement.

I. What was the ground of the necessity of an atonement ?

1. It was necessary to secure the end for which God did create, and continues to preserve and govern, viz. to exhibit to view his holy, benevolent feelings, and to appear to have an aversión to sin and regard to the good of his kingdom. If God had dispensed with the law as to penalty, and pardoned the sinner without expressions of his anger and indignation, he would have failed in ex. pressing the feelings of his heart ; and so, of an. swering the ends of government.-Indeed, he could not in his providence, have established a character of spotless purity and infinite aversion to sin.

Should it be said, that obedience to the law would answer every purpose of law.- Why then was it necessary, that there should be any

penal part ? If it does not contain distinct ideas, and illustrate God's character in a view, in which it could not be fully illustrated by the preceptive part of it, then nothing would answer the ends of the atonement, that did not respect the penal part.

-But if we suppose that God, in pardoning, might dispense with penalty, I see not why he might not give up the preceptive part, and in short, the whole law, and have required no atonement. The Bible represents that it has been the purpose of God to exact the full demands, that one jot or tittle should not fail.

2. Not only would it be inconsistent with the designs of God's government and creation, to pardon without atonement; but there could be, from God's providence in that, no grounds to believe his aversion to sin. It is a common and, I believe, a true maxim, that actions speak louder than words. So, that though the law contains a prohi, bition, a mere prohibition does not manifest any great degree of dislike. Nay, it is no certain ev. idence of dislike at all.

No doubt, many in a legislative capacity, make laws to suppress vice, who nevertheless violate them.-Any one may see, that the least degree of remove from indifference, as to virtue and vice, may, prohibit vice. So a threatening, however great, that is not executed, does not afford evi. dence of dislike, or any degree of displeasure against those whom the threatening respects.

There are, in some states, laws prohibiting the profanation of the Sabbath under severe penalties. But no attention being paid to the execution of them, they do not on the whole, manifest any

dis. like.

So, also, unless God, in some way, act out his infinite ayersion to sin, his government does not

« ПредишнаНапред »