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says, the clothing of the man, whereas the real man, according to this error, never dies, never is buried, and never is raised from the dead. Therefore the sectarian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead simply amounts to a belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of a man's clothes, and not a belief of the resurrection of the man himself at all. This is but a counterfeit, and not a belief in the Scripture doctrine of the resurrection. And the gospel that those who hold this error teach and preach is another gospel than that which Paul and the other apostles taught, and Paul says, “ If our gospel is hid, it is hid to them that are lost."
Hid from the Ages and Generations The mystery of the gospel which Paul preached had been “hid from the ages and generations.” What does he mean by this expression? It is this: never before in the past ages of our world did God raise a man from the dead, immortal, and show him openly to witnesses that he had before chosen, and give them the privilege of examining his person with their own hands, insomuch that one of their number, John, writes (1:1-3), “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us). That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Therefore that eternal life which was manifested in the body and person of Jesus, the apostles saw with their own eyes and handled with their own hands, and this, they declare, “is that eternal life that was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” God only hath immortality; eternal life was always existent in the Father's person, and of that life he gave also to the Son, even as Jesus said, “ As the living Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son," and the Son said to his disciples, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
Paul was sent to preach the mystery of the gospel to all nations for the obedience of faith, even as Jesus commanded the other apostles to do in his last instructions to them before he ascended into heaven, saying, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned ” (Mark 16:15-16). He then stated what signs should follow them that believe, and after he had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God. After that they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following, Amen.
When Peter preached the gospel, and opened the door of the kingdom of God to Jews and proselytes to the Jewish faith from all nations under heaven, on the day of Pentecost, and when thousands believed the gospel which he preached and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men, and breth
ren, what shall we do?" then Peter made known the obedience of faith in the following words, “ Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."
This law has not been changed from that day to this; consequently, when Peter was sent to Gentiles, consisting of the household and friends of devout Cornelius, to preach the Gospel unto them and to open the door of faith unto them also, when they believed his word, and when God showed to Peter that he had accepted them, then Peter commanded them to be baptized. When Paul was arrested in his mad career and turned from darkness to light himself that he might receive remission of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by the faith that is in Jesus, he said to Jesus, “Who art thou, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." And Paul, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” And the Lord said unto him, “ Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Moreover the Lord instructed Ananias in a vision what to say and what to do with Saul; and when he was properly instructed, Ananias said to him, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). This command Paul obeyed, and washed away his sins in this ordinance of the Lord Jesus.
But some who have but a faint idea of the binding nature of God's ordinances speak of baptism as only a means of grace, and say that it is not a saving ordinance. Nevertheless, he to whom was given the keys of the kingdom of God says that eight souls were saved by water in the ark; and he adds, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." That is, as Noah and his family were buoyed up in the ark upon the face of the waters, and so saved by water, even so we who believe the Gospel which the apostles preached are saved by baptism through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Therefore baptism is not simply a means of grace, but it is the first great act of obedience to the faith, and it is ordered by the command of the everlasting God; and it is directed to be performed, not before, but after, hearing and believing the gospel of God, and is therefore the first act of obedience to the faith for the remission of sins. The virtue of the ordinance of baptism lies not in the water, but in the command of God to us to be baptized in water. We must obey God, for he says, "They that honor me, I will honor, and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed.” It is written,
It is written, " Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Now the great importance of this ordinance may be shown in this way: in the beginning God gave to Adam a definite command to obey, and as this was a damning ordinance if disobeyed, so is baptism a saving ordinance if scripturally obeyed. Adam the first was a figure of him that was to come; and as Adam the first received a definite command to obey, so did Adam the second. The first disobeyed and brought sin into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for in him we all sinned. The second, on the other hand, obeyed, and so abolished death and brought life and immortality to light, for saith the apostle, “For as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous.” The command that Jesus had to obey was to die for the sins of the people, as Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to the chief priests and Pharisees in council, “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider, that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not; and this spake he, not himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Jesus himself said, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this commandment have I received of my Father.” And although on the night he was betrayed, he began to be very sorrowful and went out and prayed fervently three times, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done,” — yet it was the Father's command and will that he should die for the sins of the people and so learn obedience by the things which he suffered, and by which he brought in everlasting righteousness; so that as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
If Jesus had not obeyed this definite command to lay down his life as a sacrifice for sin, if he had failed in this one act of obedience, he would have failed like the first Adam, and all his other good works would have counted for nothing. Sin entered the world by one act of disobedience, and sin is taken away again by one act of obedience on the part of the Lord Jesus. And it is also by one act of obedience on our part that we are permitted to avail ourselves of the benefits that have been purchased for us by the death of Christ. When we understand and believe the mystery of the gospel, then the command of the everlasting God is to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified, through the faith that is in him.
The Lord's name is placed in the ordinance of baptism, and therefore when a man obeys God, his name is called upon him in that act of obedience, and there is no other way under heaven for a man to avail himself of that name, and the benefits accruing therefrom, than through the divinely appointed ordinance of baptism, for we are baptized into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins by God's express command. Therefore all who attempt to obtain remission of sins by any other means, or in any other way, will utterly fail to obtain what they seek for.
The Mode of Baptism There is but one scriptural mode of baptism, and that is by immersion. The original word in the Greek employed to express this ordinance was not translated, but Anglicized and called baptism, instead of being correctly translated immersion. It was by immersion that John baptized. This required a sufficient quantity of water into which the body of the person might be conveniently buried, and so it is said, “ John also was baptizing in Ænon, near to Salim, because there was much water there; and they came and were baptized” (John 3:23). The reason, therefore, why John was baptizing in this
place was because there was much water there, and they did not carry this water to the people to baptize them with it, but the people came to the water and were baptized. Again, John baptized in the river Jordan, for there was much water there also, and the people came and were baptized, and so it is recorded, “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." That the person was buried in the water, and then came up out of the water, is manifest, for it is said by Matthew (3:16), “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water.” Again it is said of Philip and the eunuch (Acts 8: 38), “And he commanded the chariot to stand still, and they went down both into the water, and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the spirit caught away Philip."
If anything further is required to satisfy the mind of an honest inquirer after the right ways of the Lord, it may be seen in what the ordinance itself is a figure of. It, when correctly understood, represents death, burial, and the resurrection of the dead, as Paul says to the Romans (6:3-5), “Know ve not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into his death, that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Wherefore he says also to the Colossians (2:12), “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him from the dead.”
Therefore, as when a person dies to sin and is buried in water, and rises from the water free from sin, having buried the body of the sins of the flesh,
so also when the righteous die, they are buried in the grave, and when they are raised from the dead, they come forth immortal, free from sin, having left the body of the sins of the flesh behind. When a man who believes the Gospel performs the figure and shadow of the true, by being baptized into Christ, he is then freed from the sins that are past, through the mercy and forbearance of God. But while his sins are thus forgiven, the law of sin and death is not extinguished in his mortal body; but when the righteous die and are buried in the earth, and are raised again from the dead at the last day, they will then come forth free from the law of sin and death which in the days of their flesh existed in their members, bringing forth fruit unto death.
A person who was infatuated with this modern system of sprinkling which they falsely call baptism once said to me boastingly, “When you baptize a person, do you apply the man to the water, or the water tū the man, to baptize him?" I replied, “ First answer me this, When a man dies, do you apply the man to the grave, or the grave to the man, to bury him?” He said no more.
Some years since, while Archbishop Hughes of New York yet lived, there was a discussion between himself and Mr. Brooks, editor of the New York Erening Express, touching the issues existing between the Catholic and Protestant churches, which was published in the columns of that Journal. Among the questions raised was that of baptism; the Archbishop admitted that baptism by immersion was the method by which the ordinance was administered in the days of Christ and his apostles, but claimed that by virtue of the power conferred upon the Bishops of Rome, as successors of Peter, they had the right to change the ordinance, which they did, to sprinkling, instead of immersion; and he charged that the Protestants had stolen this ordinance of sprinkling from them. And we may add, that if the charge be true, they got nothing of value when they stole it, for it is only a base counterfeit of the genuine.
But the true form of baptism by immersion is of no value to any one unless it is preceded by a belief of the mystery of the Gospel as Paul preached it, which was made known to all nations by the command of the everlasting God for the obedience of faith. Jesus said, “ Preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved.” And therefore, if a man believe another gospel, baptism would be of no value to him. He might indeed be passed through the water, but he would not be scripturally baptized. To conscientiously believe a lie, and be baptized, will not benefit any one. To be regenerated, a person must conscientiously believe the truth and obey it by being baptized into Christ.
But some will say, How much must a man believe before he is baptized? To say the least, he must believe the Gospel, as Jesus said, “ Preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Paul, who was sent to the Gentiles, preached the mystery of the Gospel to all nations for the obedience of faith; therefore a man must believe and understand the mystery of the Gospel before he can be scripturally baptized into the name of the Lord. We have just proved that this consists in the doctrine of immortality manifested in a material body of flesh and bones at the resurrection of the dead, either by translation, or resurrection. We must believe and entertain the hope set before us, which is salvation by resurrection; we must believe the things that Philip preached to the Samaritans, of whom it is said, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them," and the manner in which he preached Christ unto them is seen by what followed, for it is said, “ But when they believed Philip preaching the things of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
THE THINGS CONCERNING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Again he said, “Ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world." His kingdom is from above, from whence he himself came. His kingdom is an invisible, angelic kingdom; therefore unless a man is himself born again of the spirit (that is, himself made immortal), he can not see, neither can he enter the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God comes not like other king. doms, which come by observation so that you may see their rise and progress; but the kingdom of God, when it comes in power, comes as quick as the lightning; neither will they have time to say “Lo here,” or “Lo there," for "behold the kingdom of God is among you "; and when it comes, it will consist only of immortal persons, the least of whom, being immortal, will be greater than the greatest of the prophets while they are still in the flesh,