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we are authorised to expect upon the promise of him that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, who cannot deny him- . self. He has promised to quicken the mortal bodies of those who believe on the Son of God, by his Spirit; of which baptism is an emblem. Hence, Paul, in his Epistle to the Colossians, 2. 10–12. observes, according to Macknight's translation, and commentary, “Ye are made complete in every thing necessary to your salvation by him who is the head of all government and power: by whom also ye have been circumcised with the circumcision made with out hands, by putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh; even by the circumcision of Christ. This appears from your being BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM as persons whose old man hath been crucified with him: in which b:ptism also, that it might be a complete emblem of your cumcision, Ye HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH HIM out of the water, as persons made spiritually alive, THROUGH YOUR BELIEF OF THE STRONG WORKING OF GOD WHO RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD."
For the purpose of a more explicit, and satisfactory view of Paul's meaning in Colos. 2. 12. I will subjoin Macknight's two notes upon the use of baptism, and its connexion with faith as expressed in this verse, produced by the operations of God's Spirit in raising Jesus Christ from the dead, and the miraculous gifts, and operations which were bestowed, and employed in consequence of it. The profound erudition, and deep biblical learning, the impartiality, and love of truth, of this great man, entitle him to the highest regard. His remarks upon the expression “Buried with him in Baptism,” &c. are as follow: “Christ be. gan his ministry with receiving baptism from John, to shew in an emblematical manner that he was to die, and to rise again from the dead. And after his resurrection, he conmanded his disciples to initiate mankind into his religion by baptizing them, as he had himself been baptized, to shew nono. that although they shall die like him, through the malignity of sin, yet as certainly as he rose from the dead, believers shall be raised at the last day with bodies fashioned like his glorious body. Wherefore his disciples having been baptized, as he was, and for the very same purpose, they are
fitly said to be buried with him in baptism; and in baptism to be raised with him. Now since baptism is an emblem of our putting off this co rupt mortal body at death with its affections, and lusts, it is with great propriety called the c ristian circumcision: especially, as by shewing us what we shall be at the resurrection, it teaches us to put to death our members which are upon the earth.--Farther, since our baptismal vow together with the doctrine of Christ which at our baptism we profess, are more effectual principles of justification than the Jewish circumcision or the Pythagorean precepts concerning abstinence from animal food, we may justly be said to be made complete in respect of sanctification by the christian circumcision; which however is not performed all at once like the Jewish, but is accomplished gradually. For it is only begun in the present life by the operation of the word, and will be completed by the putting off of our corrupt mortal bodies at death, and by our obtaining glorious immortal bodies at the resurrection. Because this spiritual circumcision is to be completed by God's raising our bodies fashioned like his glorious body signified in baptism by the raising of the body out of the water, the Apostle, in this verse, to finish his description of the spiritual circumcision, adds, “being buried with him in baptism, in which also ye have been raised with him through the lelief, or faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead"; we are buried with him, and raised with him, through the faith of the operation of God, &c.
Upon the remaining part of the verse in his second note Macknight remarks, "I'he circumcision which Christ
performs, being accomplished by the influence of the doctrines of the Gospel on the minds of the believers; and their belief of these doctrinies being founded on their belief of the resurrection of Christ, their belief of that great iniracle is justly represented as the means whereby they are raised out of the water of baptism new creatures, who, as the Apostle observes in the next verse, are like Christ to be raised at the last day to an eternal life in the body.” Of the efficacy of the belief of the resurrection of Christ in confirming men's faith in the Gospel, Peter likewise hath spoken, 1 Peter, 1. 3. 23. Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath begotten us again
to a lively hope or to a hope of life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Macknight's note upon this verse stands thus—“Jesus having been put to death by the Jews for calling himself the Son of God, his resurrection was a declaration from God that he is his Son, and to shew this, God termed his raising him, his begetting him. Acts xiii. 33. Wherefore Jesus having promised to return, and raise the dead, his resurrection is both a · proof and a pledge of our resurrection: on which account God is fitly said to have begotten us again to the hope of life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” - This resurrection is justly called the regeneration of the body, of which baptism is a fit emblem when administered by inmersion. Hence Christ told Nicodemus, that except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; being born of water is baptism itself by water; which is emblematic of the resurrection by the Spirit, and power of God, of the body from the dead, and is expressive of the purity in which it shall be raised. Being begotten again to a hope of life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; we express, and mani. fest that hope by submitting to be buried as he was in baptism, and to be raised again out of the water, as he was by John. This baptism of the Saviour was afterwards explain. ed as having been a prefiguration of his death, and resurrection by the Holy Ghost. Yielding to the same ordi. nance of baptism, we thereby express our belief that as Christ died by the imputation of sin, so we shall die by its malignity; and as he was raised again by the Holy Ghost with a glorious body, so we shall rise by virtue of the same power from the dead with bodies like his. Christ's baptism was not the baptism of repentance; for he never committed sin: but he submitted to be baptized, that is, buried under the water by John, and to be raised out of it again as an emblem of his future death, and resurrection. In like manner, the baptism of persons is emblematical of their own death, burial, and resurrection, as it is commemorative of Christ's. It was with a view to the resurrection of the body, that Paul wrote to the Romans as follows: "even we ourselves waiting for the adoption, namely, the redemption of our body; for we are saved by hope; now hope which hath obtained its object, or is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth or possesses how also can he hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with patience for it. This is the hope which hath begotten us again, even that which is produced by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and the promise that we shall rise as he did. Paul writes to Titus, "we are saved according to the mercy of God our Saviour through the washing or bath of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. The renewing of the Holy Ghost here, has a reference to the purifying influence of the Gospel believed, and the resurrection from the dead. Macknight observes, "the gift of the Holy Ghost which, on some occasions, was shed on the believing Jews, and Gentiles, from heaven, and on others was imparted to them by the imposition of the Apostles hands, it is with great propriety called the renewing of the Holy Ghost, because by that gift their belief of the divine original of the Gospel was greatly strengthened, so that the doctrines of the Gospel thus confirmed must have had a powerful influence in producing such a change in their dispositions as made them new creatures. Regeneraton is further explained, 1 Peter 1. 23: “Having been regenerated or born again, not of corruptible seed, (not of flesh, and blood,) but incorruptible through the word of the living God, which remaineth forever." These words, said Peter, are they which we preach unto you; they are the same which Christ said are Spirit, and life. Macknight observes, “The incorruptible seed, through which believers are born again," (I would also say, by which they are made to believe,) "is not the bodily seed but the word of the living God, because they were given to Christ by God; and are said to be incorruptible because they are never to be altered. The corruptible seed which proceedeth from the human body, with the high birth which it conveys to those who are born from it, remaineth only during the present life, while the incorruptible seed, together with the new, and noble nature which it conveys to those who are born from it,
will remain through all eternity." The incorrupti. ble seed, which is the word of God, can never produce spiritual discernment, nor inspire lively hope or the hope of life, unless it is received in the sense in which it was originally conceived, and revealed by the Holy Spirit; nor will it do to be taken in a disjointed form. It is not every verse of the word of God which is suited to produce this hope of life. The word says, "the soul that sinneth it shall die.” The incorruptible seed which regenerates the soul is the word, said Peter, which by the Gospel is preached unto you. The word which by the Gospel was preached, and is preached, when preached aright, is that which teaches, and proves to us, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and a sure resting place for all who put their trust in him; who redeems, not by corruptible things, as silver, and gold, from vain conversation, received by tra. dition from the Fathers, but with his precious blood, as of a lamb, without blemish, and without spot, who was verily fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for us who by him do believe in God that raised him from the dead, by which we are begotten unto a hope of life; and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God. The word of God employed about these things, and used not only to communicate them to our minds, but also to assure us, that as God hath raised up the Lord, he will also raise up us by his own power, and which exhorts us to gird up the loins of our minds, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus
Christ, which promises are yea and amen in Christ--this is the incorrupt. ible seed by which we are regenerated or born again. And as it is established in heaven, and is as immutable as God himself, being expressive of his unchanging, and gracious will, purposes, and operations, all of which will be performed, and accomplished in due time, and, of course, furnish proper objects for faith, and hope-it endureth for ev
As a farther proof that regeneration, in its literal meaning, embraces the resurrection of the deac, Christ, in Mat. thew, 19th, and 28th verse, in answer to this question of