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"One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism."-EPH. iv. 5.
DARTON AND HARVEY, GRACECHURCH STREET.
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
FRIENDS HISTORICAL LIBRARY
JOSEPH RICKERBY, PRINTER,
TO THE READER.
THE subject of Baptism is one that I have lately been induced seriously to reconsider. The question whether the baptism enjoined by our Lord was of an outward and elementary, or of an inward and spiritual character, being one affecting my own individual duty as a professing Christian, I felt the importance of giving the subject a calm, dispassionate, and scriptural examination. This investigation has been pursued with a sincere desire and earnest prayer, that I might arrive at a right conclusion. The result has been a confirmation of the opinion I had before held and acted upon, that Christian baptism is the baptism of the Spirit, and that our Lord did not institute water-baptism as an ordinance in His church.
The course of inquiry that has been pursued is set forth in the following pages; and in submitting them to the serious attention of my friends, I can truly say, that it is only so far as the sentiments brought forward are in strict accordance with "the truth as it is in Jesus," that I venture to ask the divine blessing upon this endeavour to uphold what appears to me, a correct and scriptural view of an important question.
When I reflect upon the excitement which so generally prevails in the professedly Christian church, and the spirit of inquiry which is abroad, I cannot but regard the language of our Saviour to His disciples as a peculiarly appropriate watchword at the present time. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;" for whilst the
meek and humble follower of a once crucified, but now glorified Redeemer, may, in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, find himself engaged in controversy, he will, I believe, on such occasions, if properly impressed with the words of his divine Master, "the flesh is weak,” feel the need of increased attention to His emphatic injunction, “Watch and pray;" lest in advocating what he believes to be divine truth, and supporting his views by sound and scriptural arguments, he should be doing so in an unchristian spirit; and thereby be in danger of losing that distinctive mark of discipleship, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples; if ye have love one
May the language of the apostle be continually borne in mind, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."-1 Cor. xiii. 1. (And see the whole chapter.)
If, however, we are, through divine grace, preserved in a truly Christian spirit towards others,-our own minds kept open to conviction,—and in a meek, teachable disposition, I can humbly trust that the great Head of the church will be pleased to overrule the trials and commotions which at present agitate the Christian church, to the furtherance of His own gracious designs, and that He will make "all things work together for good to them that love God." The cause of gospel truth is His own, and He alone has power effectually to carry it forward; and however He may see meet to make use of instrumental means, may all be prepared feelingly to acknowledge, that to Him alone belongeth all the praise and all the glory.
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." -Matthew xxviii. 18, 19, 20.
DID our Lord Jesus Christ, in the above commission given to his disciples, institute Water-Baptism as an ordinance of perpetual obligation in his Church?
It is generally admitted that baptism with water was administered on receiving proselytes to the Jewish faith; and its being so seems in accordance with the divers washings and purifications under the Mosaic Law.
We learn, also, that John the Baptist was directed to use it, when he came as the forerunner of Him, who was about to introduce a more spiritual and a lasting dispensation, in the place of one, which, although ordained by God, and in His infinite wisdom designed to last for a time, was yet of a temporary and more outward character; and was about to pass away, when He, whom John pointed out as "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and who was himself the antitype of