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tinue as a symbol in the gospel dispensation. I am sustained by apostolic authority in asserting, that water baptism has no pre-eminence over circumcision, excepting that it is a brighter figure, as being nearer the opening of the gospel dispensation, to which both had reference. To justify what has been said on this point, read the testimony of Paul, Gal. 5: 2, where he says, that those who are circumcised shall profit nothing by Christ: and yet the same apostle circumcised Timothy on account of the prejudice of the Jews. In 1 Čor. 1: 14–16 the same apostle enumerates the few whom he had baptized, thanking God that he had baptized no more, for which he gives the following conclusive reason;
66.For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.
I inquire now, with considerable confidence-If baptism by water were an important seal of admission into the brotherhood of Christians, and the apostle obtained his knowledge of the gospel dispensation by the revelation of Jesus Christ,”—why, was this important and positive institution entirely omitted, or utterly disregarded ?-But our surprise increases, when we reflect on the immense field in which this faithful and fearless champion of the cross laboured, and the extraordinary success of his ministry.
We have seen that this apostle practised both circumcision and immersion in water, and that he disapproves both as being entirely beyond his commission. Can any man be led to conclude that this undaunted defender of a crucified Master would shun to declare or to perform a known duty ? Let the stripes, imprisonments, and the appalling catalogue of calamities which he suffered even to crucifixion, testify.
2. The baptism of John in water was a lively type and the immediate precursor of Christ's baptism in the Spirit, but a very different baptism, as shall be presently manifested. You have indeed assumed as
fact that these two form but one baptism;
on what authority, let the scriptures determine.
Water baptism was still considered as belonging to John's particular dispensation, and called by his name, even when the apostles used it. That this was the fact, even after the introduction of Christ's baptism, is evident by Acts 10: 24, 25, where, speaking of Apollos, it is said, that he taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. Now if the baptism of John and that of Chrrist were one, why call it after the name of the servant, rather than that of the Master ? Do you not perceive a force in the conclusion which is very difficult to obviate ? But the language of the text intimates another and a better baptism, and this intimation is made certain by the context. In ch. 19: 2. Paul, having certain disciples, said to them, “ Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed ? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be
Holy Spirit. 3. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized ? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe in him which was to come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."* The inquiry is now pertinent-Did Paul re-baptize these, (about twelve in number) with water ? or did he baptize into the name, or power, or doctrine, of Jesus Christ? In short, was it an outward
* The blunders of the translators in this quotation are so palpable as to be discovered by a very slight investigation. No one will dispute that the use of that uncouth, and now obsolete word, unto, twice used in the 30 verse, is the same as that of in, employed in the 5th verse. All may not know, however, that the same Greek word is used in each instance, which is an obvious fact, and that its true sense is not given in either instance. See a subsequent note on the word for further light on this subject.
ceremony, an immersion of the body in literal water, or was it the baptism of the Spirit, an inward unction of the Holy One ? If it were the former, why repeat the ceremony? If the latter, why should we still cleave to the letter, which cannot profit, rather than to the Spirit which giveth life? If necessity existed for another water baptism to succeed that of John, how many repetitions of the ceremony are necessary to constitute one baptism of which Paul speaks, Eph. 4: 5. and which no person of sound mind will deny to be the baptism of the gospel dispensation ?
I come now more directly to the proof of this position by a recurrence to the language of scripture. And let us first listen to the testimony of John, recorded in Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, and John 1.
“I indeed baptize you with WATER unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am unworthy to bear ; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, [Spirit] and with FIRE."-" I indeed have baptized you with water; but he [Jesus] shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”_" I indeed baptize with water--he [alluding to Christ] shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." - And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet ? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water : but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not.---And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him ; 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 Spirit.
I have quoted thus largely from the scriptures, that we may understand clearly the views of John as to his dispensation of water baptism, which he is careful to distinguish from that of Christ, which he denominates the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is evi. dent that the object of his mission was to point out Christ as the promised Messiah, the Shiloh, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. That this was so considered by him, and that his dispensation was the close of the economy of shadows is obvious from his own confession---He must increase, but I must decrease. But the words of Christ relative to John and his mission are direct proof that John's mis. sion was only pointing to the gospel dispensation, not
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God, is greater than he.” To the same point was the preaching of John--- The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Should you object that the same is given in commission to our Lord's disciples, Matt. 10, the reply shall be given in the words of scripture. John 7, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive : for the Holy Ghost was not yet given : because that Jesus was not yet glorified.". Hence, no follower of Christ, or believer on him, could properly be considered as then in the kingdom of God, or gospel dispensation.
3. I shall endeavour to show in the third place, that the passages which you have cited in maintenance of the tenet, that immersion in water is Christian baptism, fall utterly short of your design. The first in order is. Matthew 28: 19. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Should the translation, in, from the Greek word, Eis, be admitted as correet, I see no reason for conceding, that baptizing in the name, &c.authorizes any one to reduce these words into a mere form by calling them over the recipient of water immersion. I think not a vestige of testimony can be exhibited, either that this was the intention of the speaker, or scripture usage. When John the Baptist, speaking of Christ, says, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, is the most remote hint given, of his own, or water baptism? Certainly not : nor does it any way intimate, that to baptize with the Spirit, is to call the name over those who were immersed in water.
You perceive that I object in a previous note, to the translation unto and inl, as neither consistent each with the other, nor with the rendering in other places, where the same Greek word is rendered into. In the Greek of Greisbach, the question and answer, Acts 19:3, stand thus : Εις τι ουν ε βαπτισθεσε Into what wereye baptized ?E15 TO Iwavvs Bantiqua, into John's Baptism. And, 5: 5, it is said, they were baptized $15 to ovoua into the name, &c. But to show, that the translators strove to put a false construction on these passages, relating to what they considered as a formulary, it may be sufficient to quote one or two of many passages, where they do thus render it, without any assignable reason for the variation, aside from their own prejudices, or the beck of a bigoted king, in the one case, and their regard to propriety in the other.
1 Cor, 1 : 12, contains the word twice, and is rendered into in each.
The baptism of the Ethiopian is frequently quoted as indubitable proof that immersion was the baptism used by Philip in fact, and that the terms thus used make this certain. True, but the term into the water, receives its whole force from Eis, the
word der consideration. Now, render this unto, and where is your strength? But is the form on which you