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ask, is there any kind, or degree, of sin, from which all baptized persons are secured? any, from which they all, uniformly and withoutexception, keep themselves? If this be answered in the negative, as I think it must; then, beyond all doubt, being “ born of God,” is something vastly different from baptism.
Let us place these quotations, from this epistle together; “ Ye know, that every one that doeth right“ eousness is born of God."* “ Whosoever is born “ of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth “ in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”+
Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”
“ Whosoever believeth, that Jesus is the " Christ is born of God.” “Whosoever is born of God “ overcometh the world.” “We know, that whoso"ever is born of God sinneth not: but he that is be
gotten of God keepetb himself, and that wicked oné “toucheth him not."$ Let these Scriptures be well considered, as in the presence of God, with earnest prayer, for the promised teaching of his Holy Spirit; and with the great day of judgment full in view; and then let every reader decide, whether baptism, or any thing which uniformly attends baptism, when rightly administered, be exclusively meant.
Every passage, in the New Testament, has now been considered, in which the term regeneration is used, or words of similar import: and in two only is there eve any direct allusion to baptism. There are indeed, several other expressions, which appear to denote the same change, as those which have been adduced, “ You hath “ he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.". “ Even when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened
# 1 John iv. 7.
• 1 John ii. 29.
1 John v. 1.4. 18.
+ 1 John iji. 9.
and keep his commandments? Do they all love the children of God? Do they all by faith in Christ, overcome the world? If they do not; then being “born of “God” denotes something yastly superior to outward baptism, and of a more discriminating and appropriate nature,
“ We know, that whosoever is born of God, sinneth
not; but he that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, “ and that wicked one toucheth him not.”* The apostle is speaking concerning “ a sin unto death;” and his words clearly mean, that no one, who has been “ born “ of God,” or “ begotten of God,”+ committeth this sin unto death. I might here, with a force of argu. ment not easily answered, maintain the final perseverance of all who are “ born of God:” for apostates are espe. cially the persons, marked out as guilty of this sin. I Now if he who has been born of God doth not commit this sin; “ but kecpeth himself, and that wicked one “ toucheth him not;" then it cannot be of them who “ draw back to perdition;” but is “ of them that be “ lieve to the saving of the soul." “ They went out " from us, because they were not of us; for if they had “ been of us, they would no doubt have continued with “us: but they went out, that it might be made mani. “ fest, that they were not all of us.” They were such as “ had no root in themselves;” they were foolish vir. gins, with the lamp of plausible profession; but “ with“out oil in their vessels,” or grace in their hearts. They were guests “ which had not the wedding gar“ment.” They were “ unfruitful branches of the true “ Vine.” They were not born of God.
But, waving this subject for the present, I would only
• 1 John v. 18.
+ Γηγεννημένος, # Heb. vi. 4–6. x. 26-29. G H
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Phil. . vi 10.
“ us together with Christ:" With reference to this, the Holy Spirit, the Author and Giver of life,'* is called “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” “I will put my “ Spirit in you, and ye shall live,” says the Lord by Ezekiel. † Thus our Lord says, “ As the Father raiseth
up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son
quickeneth whom he will."For he is “not only “the Way, and the Truth;'T but “ the Life” also. “ The last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.”H
Fallen man has animal life, and is capable of its pains and pleasures. He is a rational creature, and capable of intellectual enjoyments, such as philosophers experience, in the successful investigation of natural science. But he is spiritually dead; incapable of the joys of true religion, and, consequently, of those pleasures in which heavenly felicity consists. “ The Spirit of life” departed from Adam, when he sinned: on that very day, in this respect, he died; and his descendants continue dead in sin, till “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” 6 the second Adam, the Lord from heaven,' return and restore them to spiritual life. Then they become “ dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God:” they “ yield themselves unto God, as alive from the dead."**
Yet, as the first feelings of one, who has been recovered to life, from a state of insensibility and apparent death, are not pleasant but painful, though introductory to the pleasures of future life: so, the first perceptions of those, who are made alive, by the Holy Spirit, are generally distressing. Fear, sorrow, shame, remorse, are commonly first experienced: but these make way for hope, love, gratitude, joy, and all the peaceable fruits of reconciliation to God, of walking with him, and
• Eph. ii. 1. 6. Iure CUTTOINTI, made alive together.
#Rom. vii. 2. 10. Rev. xi. 11. Ş Ez. xxxvü. 14. CATCH ll 1 Cor. xv. 45. Storcaxy, making alive.
† Nicene Creed.
1 John v. 21 .. Rom. vi. 11. 13.
delighting in his ways; and for the final enjoyment of eternal happiness.
The beginning of this new and divine life, is 'a re• surrection from the death of sin, unto the life of right. eousness.' “ Buried with him in baptism, wherein also
ye are risen with him, through faith of the operation “ of God, who hath raised him from the dead: and you
being dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of
your flesh, hath he quickeded together with him.”_ “ If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things " which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right
hand of God."* “ We are buried with him by bap“ tism into death, that like, as Christ was raised from “ the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also “should walk in newness of life.”+ Here three particulars are mentioned, in allusion to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; to whom believers, are, in a figurative sense, conformed. They become “ dead to “ sin,” as he “ died unto sin once.” They are buried, as he was buried: they arise from among “ the dead in
sin,” as he arose from the dead. It is evident, that ceasing from sin, and becoming incapable of “ living
any longer therein;" that, entire separation from the former course of ungodliness, and from the pollutions of this evil world; and the beginning and progress of a new and holy life, from“ newness of heart;" are signified by this death, burial, and resurrection. Of these things baptism is the outward sign: and in adults, it is an open profession of them. Whether any reference was intended to the outward administration by immer. sion, by the word buried, it is not needful here to de. termine. However that be decided, it is manifest, that neither ontward baptism, nor any thing inseparably con.