Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

selves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom. vi. 3-11.

In the epistle to the Churches of Galatia, the Apostle showing that men became sons of God, not by adhering to the law of Moses, but by the faith of Christ, drops the following remarks: “ For ye are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been Baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 26–28.

In some of the exhortations addressed to the Church at Ephesus, we observe an allusion to Baptism too striking to be passed over: “Husbands, love your own wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for her; that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her with a bath of water, and with the word : that he might present her to himself, glorious, a Church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that she might be holy, and without blemish,”* Eph. v. 25–27.

In another part of the epistle to the same Church, the Apostle exhorting them to preserve “the unity of the Spirit,” describes this unity as follows: “ One body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all," Eph. iv. 4.-6. When we see a place so exalted as this assigned to Baptism, we may infer that Baptism is a matter of no inconsiderable moment.

The same Apostle, warning the Church at Colosse against the crafty ways of the Judaizing teachers, and assuring them of the perfection of knowledge and of righteousness which they had by Christ Jesus, reminds the brethren of their Baptism in the following manner: “Being buried with him in Baptism, in which also ye have been raised with him, through the belief of the strong working of God, who raised him from the dead. For you, who were dead on account of trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath made alive together with him, having forgiven us all trespasses," + &c., Col. ii. 12, 13.

[merged small][ocr errors]

In the epistle to Titus, there seems to be an allusion to Baptism, which deserves particular notice. The Apostle desiring Titus to inculcate obedience to magistrates, and other excellent duties, says, “ For even we ourselves were formerly foolish, disobedient, erring, slavishly serving divers inordinate desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another. But when the goodness and the philanthropy of God our Saviour shone forth, he saved us; not on account of works of righteousness which we had done, but according to his own mercy, through the bath of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” Titus iii. 3-6.*

One other passage shall be noticed, where Baptism is introduced and spoken of, by the Apostle Peter, as the antitype of the water of the flood, whereby Noah and his family escaped death. “To which water," saith he,“ the antitype Baptism, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) now saveth us also, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," &c. 1 Pet. iii. 21.+

From these several passages we may learn how Baptism was viewed in the beginning by those who were qualified to understand its meaning best. No one who has been in the habit of considering it merely as an ordinance, can read these passages with attention, without being surprised at the wonderful powers, and qualities, and effects, and uses, which are there apparently ascribed to it. If the language employed respecting it, in many of the passages, were to be taken literally, it would import that remission of sins is to obtained by Baptism ; that an escape from the wrath to come is effected by Baptism; that men are born the children of God by Baptism; that salvation is connected with Baptism; that men wash away their sins by Baptism; that men become dead to sin and alive to God by Baptism ; that the Church of God is sanctified and cleansed by Baptism ; that men are regenerated by Baptism ; and, that the answer of a good conscience is obtained by Baptism. All these things, if all the passages, before us were construed literally, would be ascribed to Baptism. And it was a literal construction

* Literal translation, by Macknight.

f Ibid.

of these passages which led professed Christians, in the early ages, to believe that Baptism was in reality necessary to salvation. Hence arose infant Baptism, and other customs equally unauthorised. And from a like literal construction of the words of the Lord Jesus, at the last supper, arose the awful notion of transubstantiation. Hij

But however much men may have erred in fixing a literal import upon these passages, still the very circumstance of their doing so, and the fact that the meaning which they imputed is the literal meaning, all go to show that Baptism was appointed for ends and purposes far more important than those who think of it only as an ordinance, have yet, seen.

It is for the Churches of God, therefore, to consider well, whether it does not clearly and forcibly appear from what is said of Baptism in the passages before us, taken each in its proper connexion, that this Baptism was appointed as an institution strikingly significant of several of the most important things relating to the kingdom of God: Whether it was not in Baptism that men professed, by deed, as they had already done by word, to have the remission of sins through the death of Jesus Christ, and to have a firm persuasion of being raised from the dead through him, and after his example: Whether it was not in Baptism that they put off the ungodly character, and its lusts, and put on the new life of righteousness in Christ Jesus: Whether it was not in Baptism that they professed to have their sins washed away, through the blood of the Lord and Saviour: Whether it was not in Baptism that they professed to be born from above, and thereby fitted for an entrance into the kingdom of God, that is, the Church of God here on earth: Whether it was not in Baptism that they professed to be purified and cleansed from their defilement, and sanctified or separated to the service of God: Whether it was not in Baptism that they passed, as it were, out of one state into another; out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's Son: Whether any were ever known or recognised as having put on Christ, who had not thus been buried with him in Baptism : Whether, in fact, Baptism was not a prominent part of the Christian profession, or, in other words, that by which, in part, the Christian profession was

made: And whether this one Baptism was not essential to the keeping of the unity of the Spirit.

And if, on reflection, it should appear that these uses and purposes appertain to the one Baptism, then it should be considered, how far any can now be known, or recognised, or acknowledged as disciples, as having made the Christian profession, as having put on Christ, as having passed from death to life, who have not been Baptised as the first disciples were.

A WORD OF APOLOGY FOR THE SCOTCH BAPTIST CHURCHES IN BRITAIN ; IN A LETTER TO MR. A. CAMPBELL.

London, March 16, 1835. | BELOVED BROTHER IN Christ!

Since I wrote to you, under date of the 3d of September, 1834, the box of books which you kindly forwarded to me has come to hand. Owing to a wrong direction, in which Sutchill was substituted for Critchill [Place, Hoxton,] my residence could not be made out, and the package lay several weeks in the King's warehouse, so that I did not get it into my possession until about the middle of January of the present year. It was not long after that I had a still further gratification in the reception of your very welcome letter of the 17th of November last; and by both of these you have conferred obligations upon me which I have but slender hopes of ever requiting by anything I can transmit you from this quarter. May I hope that the small parcel of books and pamphlets which I forwarded to New York, by the gentleman who took charge of them and of 'my letter, has reached you, and if so it may, at least, serve to testify my good will !

During the few weeks that have elapsed since your communications came into my possession, the claims upon my head and hands have been so numerous and pressing as to leave me but little time for exploring the contents of “The Christian Baptist,” and “ Millennial Harbinger.” However, I certainly have glanced into both these works, and met with sufficient interest in them to satisfy me that they contain very much that will prove acceptable to the friends of the Redeemer's Kingdom in Britain. And as I am not so selfish as to wish to monopolise all these good things, I have commenced a monthly publication, borrowing the title from your own work, the “ Millennial Harbinger," through the columns of which I purpose, so long as it shall

HE

HA

please God to spare me and grant me ability to do it, to gratify my brethren and friends here with copies of our correspondence and extracts from your pages. The London edition of the “ Millennial Harbinger” commenced its career at the beginning of this month, and I hope to be able to get some copies of it, and of the succeeding numbers, conveyed to you regularly through the medium of Messrs. Joseph Stanley and Co., of New York, who I hope will take charge of them.

Before I proceed to offer any remarks upon your letter to me, permit me to express the high and unfeigned satisfaction which it has afforded me to find you, in all your writings, maintaining, with a firm and unshaken hand, the testimony of God concerning his beloved Son, and so earnestly contending for it as “ the faith once delivered to the Saints;" to which also let me add, your simple and scriptural views of our Redeemer's kingdom. May the exalted head of the Church, in whom all fulness dwells, and with whom is the residue of the Spirit, raise up and send forth into his vineyard many such workmen, for “ the harvest truly is great and the labourers few." From my inmost soul do I rejoice in the abundant success with which it has pleased him to crown the labours of yourself and associates, and to his name be eternal praises. Amen.

I feel much obliged, certainly, for the ample illustration which you have given me in your last letter of the paragraph contained in the one you wrote to our brother Wyeth, relative to my old friend “ Archibald M-Lean and his coadjutors,” by whom I suppose you mean his colleagues Messrs. Braidwood, Inglis, Peddie, and the elders and teachers of other Churches in the Scotch Baptist connexion. I have been accustomed to look up to these men as unto fathers in Israel-men who were as heartily attached to the cause of Christ as either you or I, and whose praise is still, I trust, to be found in many of our Churches. They laboured indefatigably in their Master's vineyard, in their day and generation, contending for the very same things that you yourself are contending for, and the Lord' was pleased eminently to bless their labours in sowing the seed of the Kingdom, planting Churches, and so “ building up the walls of Jerusalem." They have laboured and we have entered into their labours. It is said, “ the memory of the just is blessed.” Let us not be ungrateful for the benefits we derive from their conduct, their example, their instructions, whether from the pulpit or the press; and while we pay all due regard to the Apostolic injunction, “ let no man glory in men," let us be thankful to Him who raised them up, qualified them for his service, and bestowed them upon his Churches; “ by the grace of God they were what they were.” With some of these men I deem it a high

« AnteriorContinuar »