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Chap. 3.] THE BAPTISM OF WATER. 261 these words -in illustration of the preceding" and the renewing of the Holy Spirit ;" wherein he shows that he meant a washing which is a regeneration and renovation, by the genitive of difference or of species; which spiritual washing of regeneration he asserts to have been made by the shedding of celestial water, that is of the Holy Spirit, upon men, as appears obvi-, ously from what follows: but the shedding of the Holy Spirit upon meu was in no way connected with the baptismn of water, since we see that it never was done in the baptism itself, but most frequently followod it; and indeed after the laying on of the hands of the apostles, but in no instance before. Acts x. 44. .
But what is to be understood by those words addressed to Paul by Ananias (Acts xxii, 16);-“ Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.”
It is by no means to be understood by them that the mere ceremony of baptism, or as Peter observes (1 Epist. chap. iii. ver. 21) “the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” has of itself the power to wash away sin; but that this power belongs to those things in this ordinance, or resulting from it, which pertain to the mind and spirit, among which is to be ranked, as Ananias subjoins, the “calling on the name of the Lord.” From these things follow the remis sion of sins, and, as Peter also states, “the answer of a good conscience towards God.” For it is to be held, and this consideration may throw light on mary other passages of Scripture, that where, in the writings of the New Testament, that wherein our sal- · vaiion generally is comprised, or that whence our sal
_” which, #
vation results, is ascribed to a rite or ceremony, this is by no means done as if by such ceremony, of itself, this were effected; but because by that external act a certain adumbration only is made of this matter, and an obligation to it established :-since we see clearly that the ground of our eternal salvation is placed in things of a far different description; and that, on the other hand, nothing would be more easy than to gain possession, by such ceremonies, of the kingdom of heaven. On the same principle rest the declaration (Gal. iii. 27), “ As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ ;” and others of a similar kind.49
49 It is rightly stated that this external rite alone cannot effect our salvation. The water itself avails us nothing - but the benefit results from the observance of our Lord's command. That maxim of the Theologians is well known, Non privatio baptismi, sed contemptus damnat. It is not being without baptism, but a contempt of the ordinance, that exposes to condemnation. That which is internal is not therefore to be separated from that which is external. A true faith superadded to the baptism of water, and the profession of this faith, may deservedly be said to regenerate and save us, and “to wash away our sins.” These are therefore joined together Mark xvi. 16, &c. 1 Pet. iii. 21. On which place Grotius thus comments: Plerumque apostoli, cum baptisma nuncupant, simul comprehendunt doctrinam baptismi, &c.“ The apostles frequently, when théy speak of the ordinance of baptism, include at the same time the doctrine of baptism.” See on this point Heb. vi. 2; also Rom. vi. 3, 4; Ephes. iv. 5; Gal. iii. 27; Col. ii. 12. The same writer on the passage quoted above (Titus iii. 5) explains the washing of regeneration to mean baptism joined with the doctrine of baptism, and with the thing signified; and presently adds, “ one part of the new birth is the extirpation of our vices, which is promised in baptism :" « After baptism is given the Holy Spirit, which operates the
It is an institution of the Lord Christ, that believers in him should break and eat hread, and drink of a cup together, with the view of commemorating him, or of showing forth his death ;-which institution ought to continue until his coming.
Do you then consider the commemoration of Christ to be the same as showing forth his death ?
They are the same; as the apostle Paul clearly explains that commemoration in this sense (1 Cor. xi. 26), " For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.” For as to those persons who by commemoration, in the words of Christ, wherein he instituted this rite, understand recollection, or use the latter term for the former,~conceiving that this sacred rite was instituted in order that it might recall the death of Christ to our memory,-they do in this manifestly err. For he who would rightly comply with this ordinance, and in this way show the death of the Lord, ought to have the death of Christ familiarly and at all times in his mind.
What is meant, then, by showing the Lord's death? It is, in the observance of this rite, to celebrate
greatest things. This is the other part of the New Birth.” On this subject are deserving of being read the observations of Schlichtingius in his Confessio Fidei Christiani, edita nomine Ecclesiarum Polonicarum; and in his Vindication of that work.B. WISSOWATIUS.
the the great kindness of Christ, in that, from his unspeakable love towards us, he suffered his body to be tormented and lacerated, and thus in a manner broken, and his blood to be shed: or solemnly to testify by this act how great that kindness is, and how beneficial and salutary to us, to the glory of his name, and the perpetual commemoration of so distinguished a blessing.
But why does our Lord wish the remembrance of this to be above all other things celebrated in his Church?
Because of all the actions of Christ, which he undertook with a view to our salvation, this was the most difficult, exhibited the strongest proof of his love towards us, and was the most proper to him, For the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and his exaltation, were the work of God the Father, and not of Christ himself.
Is there no other stronger reason, on account of which the Lord Jesuis instituted this ordinance ?
There is no stronger reason,--although sonie assert that he instituted it, in order that from the ob. servance of it the remission of sins and the confirmation of our Faith might follow; and others, that it is a sacrifice for the living and the dead.
What is to be thought of these opinions ?
That they cannot be maintained. For as to the first, since this rite is to be observed for the purpose of commemorating or showing forth the kindness manifested by Christ towards us, and no other end besides this is intimated by Christ, it is evident that it was not instituted with the view that we might receive any benefit from Christ at the celebration of it, except in so far as it is worthily observed it forms a part of Christian piety 50. And as to the confirmation of our faith, so far is our faith from being confirmed by the mere use of the bread and wine, that he who would worthily partake of them ought to be already assured of the remission of his sins on the part of God; and the more certain he is of this, the more worthily will he be able to comply with this ordinance.
What is to be thought of the opinion that the Lord's Supper is a sacrifice for the living and the dead?
That it is altogether a great and pernicious error: for the Scripture testifies (Heb. viii. 2, 3, 4; ix. 24) that the offering of the body of Christ, which followed his death, was made in heaven, and could not have been made on earth; and that the body of Christ now dwells not on earth, but in heaven. Besides, as Christ is himself both the priest and the victim, it follows that no one can offer Christ hut himself. Let
50 If it be a part of Christian piety, surely it conduces to our justification, and so to the remission of our sins, which however in the beginning of this question is absolutely denied. M. RUARUS.
This rite may be justly styled a part of Christian piety, for it is a command of Christ, having a view to his own glory and consequently to the glory of God also. Although therefore this external act was not ordained in order that we might by it obtain the remission of sins, yet nevertheless, (as we have observed above concerning baptism,) it may be said to assist us in obtaining justification and salvation ; for obedience to the commands of Christ is required as a condition of salvation.B. WISSOWATIUS.