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baptize. (a) It is true, we sometimes find the word used in a metaphorical sense; as when our Saviour speaks of the baptism that he was to be baptized with, Matt. xx. 22. Luke xii. 50. whereby he intends the sufferings he was to endure in shedding his blood upon the cross: And it is elsewhere taken, by a metonymy, for the conferring the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, which they were given to expect after Christ's ascension into heaven, and the apostles were first made partakers of at the day of Pentecost, which immediately followed it; wherein there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, that sat upon each of them, as a sign that they should be filled with the Holy Ghost, and speak with other tongues, and be enflamed with a holy zeal for Christ's glory and interest; which was accordingly fulfilled, and seems to be the sense of the word baptism, as taken in this figurative sense; but we understand the word in the most proper sense thereof; and therefore suppose that it must be performed with
As to what respects the mode of baptism, or the application of water, whether the water is to be applied to the person baptized, or he put into it, that, I purposely wave the consideration of, till we are led to speak concerning the subjects of baptism, that we may insist on the several matters in controversy, between those that maintain, and others that deny infant baptism, together, which we shall have occasion to do under the next answer: Whereas, I am ready to persuade myself,
(u) BATT, has been said to signify immergo and exclusively when applied to sacred baptism. And this is necessary to establish immersion as the only mode. The question is not, therefore, whether Barrie, sometimes signifies to immerse, but whether it never signifies any thing else. This can be proved, it is presumed, by no Lexicographer, and no version of the New Testament. In the New Testament it is taken in different senses, for example we read of a Baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire. It is therefore a generic term and not specific, as immerse cannot be substituted for it in all places. If a specific Greek term signifying to plunge had occasionally been used for it, in the New Testament, yet baptism being in our Saviour's commission to his disciples, should not have been confined to one mode, but this is never the case. The numerous admissions of our divines, that Beh, primarily signifies to immerse, and which are disingenuously collected to impose on the ignorant; do not weaken our cause, as they did neither influence the practice nor sentiments of those who used thera. If Bart, signifies to immerse totally, or partially; to dip, to cleanse, or purify, &c. it leaves the mode to our convenience or choice; and reason also accords, that the mode is unimportant with respect to moral defilement.--Porphery has “Barτiferal μexpı xspan;.” The oracle said “Bzzrin him as a bottle” (of leather, which could swim) but it is not lawful to plunge him wholly under water!" Stra bo says, "BZT up to the waist." Aristotle says “Barrandi avizes rurxupa,” it stains and renders florid the hand. Aristophanes says, σε Βαπτόμενος Βραχειας, etained with tawny colours. Homer says, Eßantero d”aluarı xyuva,” And the fourtain was tinged with blood. "Rev. xix. 13. Ipation Bebauer mari" Isaiah xxi 4. “Fearfultras Barnižu me.”
that what I shall advance under this, together with that which respects the improvement of baptism, will not be much contested by those who are in a different way of thinking, with respect to the subjects of baptism, and the mode of administering it.
2. We are now to consider, that baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament; and therefore it differs from those baptisms, or washings, that were frequently practised under the Old Testament dispensation; concerning which, the apostle says, that it stood in meats and drinks, and divers washings, Heb. ix. 10. or baptisms *. Thus we read of many instances in which persons were washed under the ceremonial law: This was an ordinance used in the consecration of persons to holy offices; as it is said, that Aaron and his sons were to be brought to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and washed with water, Exod. xxix. 4. and Lev. viii. 6. when they were consecrated to be priests. Again, when they ministered in holy things, or came near unto the altar, it is said, they washed, as the Lord commanded Moses, Exod. xl. 32. for this reason the laver was set between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and water put therein to wash in; and they washed their hands and their feet therein, ver. 30, 31. And this ceremony was used by them, when they were subject to divers uncleannesses; thus, in the method of cleansing the leper, he was to wash himself, and, after that might come into the camp, Lev. xvi. 8, 9. The same thing was to be done by those who were liable to uncleannesses of another nature, Deut. xxii. 10, 11.
These ceremonial washings, when applied to persons, seem to be ordained to signify their consecration, or dedication, to God, in some of the instances before mentioned; and in others, they signified the means which God had ordained to cleanse the soul from moral impurity; which was denoted by the ceremonial uncleannesses which they desired to be purified from. These ordinances, indeed, expired together with the rest of the ceremonial law: Nevertheless, it is very evident, from the institution of gospel-baptism, that the sign is retained; though there are some circumstances in the thing signified thereby, in which it differs from those baptisms which were formerly used by the Jewish church. They were hereby devoted to God, to observe that peculiar mode of worship which he prescribed by the hand of his servant Moses; we are devoted to God, as those who hereby signify our obligation to walk according to the rules prescribed by Christ in the gospel. They also used this ordinance, to signify the cleansing virtue of the blood of
Jesus, who was to come, and the Spirit that was to be poured forth, as consequent thereupon; we use it to signify or express our faith in what Christ has accomplished, and in the grace which the Spirit works pursuant thereunto; therefore we call it an ordinance of the New Testament.
3. Baptism was instituted by Christ. This is evident from the commission he gave to his apostles, not only to preach the gospel to all nations, but to baptize them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Matt. xxviii. 19. (a) and this he appointed to be a standing ordinance in the church, throughout all the ages thereof; on which account he promises, in the following words, that he will be with his ministers, in fulfilling the commission that he gave them to execute, unto the end of the world: Therefore, we must conclude, that it is a standing ordinance in the church, and not designed to be observed only during the first age thereof, till Christianity universally obtained. This we assert in opposition to the Socinians, who suppose, that baptism was, indeed, instituted by Christ; but the design hereof, was only to be an external badge, or sign, of the heathens embracing the Christian reli
(a) The promulgation of this command marks a new and important era in the history of the church and of the world. These words may be considered as the public and formal abrogation of the Mosaic economy; and the authoritative annunciation of the new order of things under the gospel.
The first communications of divine truth, through Adam and Noah, were made indiscriminately to the human family; but, in both instances, the precious deposit was generally adulterated, and nearly lost. The wisdom of God, therefore, saw it to be necessary to select and separate from the idolatrous world, a particular family which might serve as a repository of the divine oracles and institutions; until that Seed of the woman' should come, of whom it was predicted, that he should bruise the serpent's head?' and that seed of Abraham' in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed.
But when JESUS CHRIST, our great high-priest of good things to come, had, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, to bear the sins of many; and had by this one offering of his own body, perfected them that are sanctified, the service of the first tabernacle was set aside, and as to any utility, or divine authority, ceased forever; as an emblem of which, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, at the very moment of expiation; when Christ our high-priest, by sheding his vital blood and pouring out his, soul unto death, affered his one great sacrifice for sins.
So great, however, was the power of early and national prejudice, that the apostles did not, for some time, understand the extent of their commission. They had, before, been sent on a short mission, on which occasion it was ordered, that they should not go into the way of the Gentiles, nor even enter into any city of the Samaritans; and they seem to have thought, that by going into all the world, and preaching to every creature, no more was intended, than that they should go to the seed of Abraham now widely dispersed among the nations. But this veil was soon removed, by a particular revelation made to Peter in a vision; and by the calling of Paul to the apostleship, who, from the beginning, received commis-. sion to go to the Gentiles, and was, in a peculiar manner, designated and direct ed, to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. DR. ALEXANDER'S MISSIONARY SERMON. Z
gion, as they were formerly initiated into the Jewish church by that ceremonial washing that was then in use: But the contrary to this will appear from what we shall have occasion to speak to, under a following head, when we consider what baptism was a sign and seal of; which is equally applicable to the church in our day, as it was to those who lived in the first planting thereof.
II. It is farther observed, that baptism is to be performed in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This contains in it a professed acknowledgment, in this solemn act of dedication of the divine Trinity; and accordingly it is an act of religious worship, in which God's right to the persons baptized, is publicly owned, and an intimation given, that all saving blessings, which are desired or expected in this ordinance, are given by the Father, through a Mediator, purchased by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit. This includes in it much more than a being baptized by the authority of these divine persons; which is all that some of the Antitrinitarians will allow to be meant by, in their name: For though no ordinance can be rightly performed but by a divine warrant, yet. this warrant is equally extended to the administering, or engaging in any other ordinance; and therefore, a being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, signifies more than this; namely, a person's being dedicated to them; in which dedication, a solemn profession is made, that they have a right to all religious worship, which we are obliged to perform as well as that all our hope of salvation is from them: Therefore, some think, that this idea, which is principally intended in the form of baptism, would be better expressed, if the words of institution * were rendered into the name of the Father, &c. as it is rendered elsewhere, Gal. iii. 27. where the apostle is speaking of a person's being baptized into Christ †, and explains it as denoting a putting on Christ; or a professing, as it is said, ver. 29. that we are Christ's. Thus they who are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are denoted hereby, to be professedly their servants and subjects; under an indispensible obligation to put their trust in, and hope for, all saving blessings from them, according to the tenor of the gospel.
It is enquired, by some, whether it be absolutely necessary, in the administration of this ordinance, explicitly to make mention of the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? and some assert, that it is not; because we read of persons being baptized in the name of Jesus, in Acts xix. 5. without any mention of the name of the Father, or Holy Ghost; and in † Εις Χρισόν.
• Εις τὸ ὄνομα.
chap. viii. 16. the same thing is mentioned, as it is said, They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But to this it may be replied, that it does not appear, that this was the express form of words used in baptizing those that are here mentioned; but it only argues, that the ordinance was administered, and that Christ's name and glory was proclaimed therein: So that, though the other divine persons are not particularly mentioned, it does not follow from thence, that they did not adhere to the express words of institution, which were given to the apostles; it might as well be argued, that John did not baptize in the name of any of the Divine persons; since when we read of his baptism, it is said, I baptize you with water; but it does not thence follow, that he did not baptize them in the name of God; inasmuch as he plainly confesses that God sent him to baptize with water, John i. 33.
But, that this matter may be set in a just light, we must distinguish between a person's omitting to mention the Son or Holy Ghost, in the form of baptism, as denying them to be divine persons, (in which case the ordinance is invalid ;) and his doing this for no other reason, but because he thinks that we are not to be tied up to a particular form of words, but may sometimes baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and, at other times, in the name of Jesus: In this case, I will not say that the ordinance is invalid; but yet, his manner of administering it, will be highly offensive to many serious Christians, and can hardly be reckoned an instance of faithfulness to Christ; who has, by an express command, intimated what words are to be used therein.
III. We are now to consider, what is signified in baptism, and what engagements are laid on the person baptized. There are some, especially among the Socinians, who maintain, that it is only an external, or visible badge of Christianity in general, signifying a person's right to be called a Christian, or a professor of that religion, which was instituted by our Saviour; and their design herein seems to be, that they might evade the force of the argument which we bring to prove the divinity of the Son and Spirit, from their being the object of that religious worship, which according to our explication thereof, is contained in it. Did they intend, by being a Christian, the same thing as we do, namely, a subjection to Christ, as a divine person, or a professed obligation which we are laid under, to worship God the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, we should have no contention with them about this matter: But since we are not agreed as to the meaning of being a Christian, especially, since they intend no more hereby than our being obliged to adhere to a certain scheme of religious worship prescribed by Christ, of what kind soever it be, in like manner a