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the various sacrificial observances of the Jewish ritual, had been made manifest to Israel. As thus used by John, water-baptism may be further regarded as a lively emblem or sign of that cleansing of the floor of the heart, which the spiritual baptism that was to succeed it would effect.

We find from Matthew iii. 13, 14, 15, that when Jesus came unto John to be baptized of him, "John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness; then he suffered Him." It is also probable that the early followers of Jesus were similarly baptized, as it is said, speaking of John, "Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and were baptized of him, confessing their sins." If the disciples had themselves been baptized by John, on accepting his message; seeing that baptism was so much in use among the Jews as an initiatory or emblematic rite, we need not be at a loss to account for their adopting the practice, when spreading the knowledge of Him, whom they believed to be the promised Messiah, but we are not bound to conclude by their adoption of this practice, that it had been enjoined upon them to do so by their Divine Master as an institution of his religion; we further find that they did adopt it, before the supposed injunction was given.

Whilst the other three evangelists are altogether silent on the subject, John, in the third and fourth chapters of his gospel, informs us of the circumstance. In the former of these chapters, he speaks of it in a manner that would lead to the conclusion that our Lord had himself administered the rite; yet on again mentioning the subject in the fourth chapter, as if to prevent such a supposition, he expressly says, "Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples," which must be received as an

explanation of what he had before said on the subject. Though from this relation of the evangelist, we may infer that Jesus was with his disciples when they baptized; yet taking it in connexion with other circumstances, particularly that of John's baptism, I cannot regard this as constituting an ordinance by our Lord, or as the establishment by Him of a rite obligatory upon His followers under the gospel dispensation. We must remember that our Saviour, who, on assuming our nature, came of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, and who was made under the law, submitted not only to the baptism of John, but to the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation; and further, that from various circumstances, and especially from his partaking, with his disciples, of the Paschal supper, a Jewish ordinance, the night before he suffered, it is evident that the dispensation enjoining these outward observances was not terminated until, on the cross, our Saviour declared "It is finished, and he bowed his head and gave up the Ghost ;" and "the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom." The previous language of our Saviour is a confirmation of this view, when He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil, for verily, I say unto you, 'till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law 'till all be fulfilled.” Matt. v. 17, 18. Under these circumstances I think we are not warranted, from the adoption of any ceremonial observances by the disciples of our Lord, during His personal ministry, and during the continuance of the legal dispensation, to draw the inference that they were authoritatively introduced into the gospel system.

On John's entering on his ministry, it is remarkable how careful he was to keep in view the essential distinction between his baptism, and the one that Jesus Christ would administer; a distinction explicitly stated by each of the four evangelists.

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."-Matt. iii. 11.

"I indeed have baptized you with water, but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost."-Mark i. 8.

"John answered, saying unto them all, 'I indeed baptize you with water, but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and He will thoroughly purge his floor,""&c.-Luke iii. 16, 17.

"And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with WATER, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," John i. 33. How appropriate in this view is the declaration of John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease."*John iii. 30.

The consideration naturally arises, whether in the course of his personal ministry, before his crucifixion, either in his numerous public exhortations, or in his more private discourses, our Saviour said any thing that must necessarily, or that can fairly be understood to enjoin baptism with water? I think he did not:-his language to the sons of Zebedee, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ?--Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with," &c., (Matt. xx. 22, 23,) cannot be understood to refer to water; neither can his declaration in Luke xii. 50; "But I have

It is worthy of remark that although neither of the Evangelists Luke nor John mentions the commission of the Saviour given in Matt, xxviii., the former quotes as amongst the last words of our Lord the distinction which he drew between water-baptism and His own by the Holy Ghost.

a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished," have any reference to elementary water. Nor do we find when our Lord sent out His twelve disciples, to preach the kingdom of God, or afterwards, when He sent out "other seventy" (Luke ix and x.), that either He gave them any commission to use water-baptism, or that they did use it.

After our Lord's resurrection, in one of the last interviews with his disciples, He marks the distinction which John had so much dwelt upon, betwixt the baptisms which they should respectively administer. After having 66 commanded them [his apostles] that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith He, ye have heard of me," He adds, "For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence," Acts i. 4, 5. And it would appear to be on the same memorable occasion, that He gave the commission, "Go ye, therefore, teach all nations, &c." If after pointing out the essential distinction between his baptism and that of his forerunner, our Lord had designed to institute a perpetual ordinance in his church, may we not believe He would have clearly shown that the external rite used by John, was not to be superseded by that spiritual baptism of which He then spake to his disciples, and of which John had also plainly spoken? Would He not have clearly laid down the requisite circumstantials of the rite, and have made the method in which it was to be practised as plain as those instructions were, which were given to Moses for the direction of the children of Israel? and the more especially, when we bear in mind, that the dispensation which was about to be introduced was to do away with one abounding in outward observances? But as no such explanation was given, may we not understand the command to "teach, baptizing" as having reference to that living

faith which Christ would enable his apostles to produce, when, preaching "in demonstration of the spirit and of power," and proclaiming the glad tidings of the gospel of Christ; He, the great Head of the church would be with them, and accompany the word spoken with the quickening efficacy of his spirit,-the hard heart would be broken, the sinner melted into penitence towards God, and being enabled to lay hold of faith in Christ, be made a partaker of the abiding influence of the Holy Ghost, and when the preacher would thus be really enabled to "teach, baptizing," "in [or into] the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

It has been alleged that the apostles could not of themselves baptize with the Holy Ghost, that this was the prerogative of Christ alone. This is readily admitted; but neither could they of themselves work miracles, or, which was a part of the command in question, "teach all nations," in the generally received sense of the word “teach” in this place, that is, make disciples or Christians of them. But He who gave the command could, without doubt, make those whom He commissioned to preach the gospel, instrumental to the conversion of their hearers, and thus enable them to "teach, baptizing." For let us never forget, that our Lord introduced the command in question by the declaration, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;" and, knowing the entire inability of the apostles without his assistance to keep the command, He graciously adds the assurance, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

What a notable instance does the case of Cornelius, as related in the tenth chapter of the Acts, afford of the manner in which the apostles were, and may we not venture to add all true ministers of the gospel according to their measure, may be, made instrumental in administering the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Commissioned from on high,

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