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Matt. iii. 11.
washings of the Mosaic ritual, it could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience. “But ye will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.” So the Forerunner himself had prophesied : “I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Not that water baptism is no longer needed; the Matt. xxviii 19. Risen Lord ere ascending will bid His Apostles
go into all the world, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. But useless is water-baptism, even though it be in the Jordan itself, unless it is preceded by Spirit-baptism. It is only as the Risen Lord Himself baptizes us in the Holy Ghost that we can be endued with power from on high. “Not many days hence.” Ilow swiftly was the Promise fulfilled! Ten days after the Ascension, Pentecost being fully come, the Risen Lord, exalted to His regal seat at the Father's right hand, opened the windows of heaven, and, pouring out the promised flood of the Spirit, baptized His infant Church in the gracious inundation. May the same Risen Lord, enthroned in the same regal session, baptize us all in the same Pentecostal baptism not many days hence!
EPIPHANY TO THOMAS.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
JOHN xx, 29.
THE EPIPHANY TO THOMAS.
John xx. 24.
Alas! one of the Apostles was absent at this The Skeptic's blessed Sunday evening interview: it was Thomás, called Didymus, i. e., the Twin. I know not the reason of his absence. Perhaps it was because of his somber disposition; for melancholy instinctively craves isolation. What I know is this : in being absent from his brethren on the evening of the first Resurrection Sunday he missed unspeakable privileges : he missed the sight and John xx. 19, 20. salutation of his Risen Lord_“Peace be unto you"! He missed the Heavenly Commission - John xx. 21. “ As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you :” he missed the Celestial Endowment“Receive ye the Holy Breath : whosesoever sins John xx. 21, 22. ye remit, they are remitted unto them: whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained ” : he missed the Gracious Exposition—“Then opened He their Luke xxiv. 45 understanding that they might understand the Scriptures” : he missed the Matchless Promise“Behold, I send forth the Promise of My Father Luke xxiv. 49. upon you.” As it was then, so it has been since: the prayer-room is the favorite scene of the Risen
Lord's advents. It is precisely here that He loves to make His epiphanies : “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” But, although Thomas was absent from this gathering of the brethren, do not blame him too severely. It was still early in the career of the Nazarene's Church, and Sunday as the Christian Sabbath was not yet established. By and by Thomas will be among the most stalwart champions of the Church of the Resurrection. Meantime, having heard from the brethren that they had seen the Lord, he stoutly declares : “Except I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
And here let us loiter for a few moments to survey the character of this Apostle. In Thorwaldsen's famous group of Christ and His Apostles at Copenhagen, St. Thomas is represented as a grave, thoughtful personage, standing in a skeptical attitude, holding in his hand a rule, as though he would measure every argument and evidence before yielding his assent. The artist's conception is doubtless just. Thomas seems to have been a man who was naturally disposed to be cautious, scrutinizing, perceiving all the difficulties of a case, slow to believe: in a single word, skeptical. Probably there is no better way of obtaining a clear view of his character than by glancing at two incidents which the Evangelists record concerning him.
The first occurred in the region beyond the Jordan. The conspiracy of Priests and Pharisees
Thomas in the
Perea: John x. 31-40.