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understood by this washing of regeneration, and not baptism; when as to the word save, that is here ascribed to it, St. Peter gives that undeniably to baptism; and St. Paul, elsewhere, in two different places, makes our baptism to represent our being dead to sin and buried with Christ; and our being risen and quickened with him, and made alive unto God; which are words that do very plainly import regeneration. So that St. Paul must be understood to speak of baptism in these words. Here, then, is the inward effect of baptism; it is a death to sin, and a new life in Christ, in imitation of him, and in conformity to his Gospel. So that here is very expressly delivered to us, somewhat that rises far above the badge of a profession, or a mark of difference.
Bishop Burnett's Exposition of the XXXIX Articles. Baptism. An external ablution of the body, with a certain form of words, which denotes an internal ablution of the soul from original sin. Ayliffe, in Johnson's Dictionary.
Faith and repentance are pre-required in baptism. He who presents himself as a candidate for baptism, professes, by that very act, to be a Christian; declares himself to have passed into the discipline of Christ. Hence Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. Acts viii. 37. The command of Peter was, Repent and be baptized. Acts ii, 38. The effect of which was, that they who gladly and sincerely believed his gospel were baptized. In baptism therefore we have a sign and testimony of present regene and in regard to the person baptized, a public demonstraVenema's Sac. Dissertat. In Booth on Pædo-Baptism.
tion of it.
Baptism. One of the ordinances which the Lord Jesus hath appointed in his Church. An outward token, or sign, of an inward and spiritual grace. Dr. Hawker.
"Can any inan forbid water," &c. These words contain a plain and convincing demonstration of the error of the doctrine maintained by the Quakers, that water baptism is unnecessary to those who have received the inward baptism of the Spirit; since the apostle bere not only declares that water baptism ought to be administered to
these persons, because they had already been baptized with the Holy Ghost, but also commands them to be baptized on this very Dr. Whitby's Paraphrase and Exposition of
the New Testament.
The practice of baptizing by plunging the person under water, thereby burying him, as it were, in the water, and raising him out of it again, was anciently the more usual method: on which account St. Paul speaks of baptism, as representing both the death and burial, and resurrection of Christ, and what is grounded upon them, our being "dead and buried to sin," renouncing it, and being acquitted of it; and our rising again, to "walk in newness of life;" being both obliged and enabled to practise, for the future, every duty of piety and virtue. Archbishop Secker's Sermons.
"Till we have sealed the servants," &c. This is an expression in allusion to the ancient custom of marking servants in their fore heads, to distinguish what they were, and to whom they belonged. Now, among Christians, baptism, being the seal of the covenant be tween God and man, is therefore by ancient writers often called the seal, the sign, the mark, and character of the Lord.
Bishop Newton's Sermons.
That he might purify it from all sin: and to that end, appointed baptism, therein obliging us to forsake the devil, the world, and the flesh, and covenanting to give us grace to do so; and to that adding his word, the whole doctrine, commands, and promises of the Gos pel, as a powerful means to oblige and enable us to do so.
Dr. Hammond's Annotations on the New Testament.
"We are buried with him by baptism into death." It is probable that the Apostle here alludes to the mode of administer ing baptism by immersion, the whole body being put under the water, which seemed to say, the man is drowned, is dead; and, when he came up out of the water, he seemed to have a resurrection to life; the man is risen again; he is alive! He was, therefore, supposed to throw off his old Gentile state, as he threw off his clothes, and to assume a new character, as the baptized generally put ou new, or fresh garments. Dr. Adam Clarke.
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death," &c. Yea, our baptism doth not only represent unto us our death to sin by the power of his death, but our burial also; and the continuance of that state of the death of sin in us, and our rising again to newness of life that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the omnipotent power of God, even so we should by the power of his Spirit be raised from the grave of our sins, to walk before him in the new life of holy obedience. Bishop Hall's Contemplations.
"We are buried with him," &c. The ceremony of immerging the body of the baptized in water represents the burial of a dead person under ground. The pouring of water upon the party in cases where the former cannot conveniently be done, answers to covering and throwing earth upon a person so dead. But both agree in figuring a death and burial, as the emerging again figureth a new life. And this, it is plain, can only mean the mortification of some old, and the quickening of some contrary principle, in a spiritual sense. Dean Stanhope's Comment on the Epistles.
Such appears to me to be the plain scripture meaning of the word baptism, and the design and intention of the ordinance. But not a step can we take in theology, without entering on disputed ground; and perhaps there is no one doctrine in the whole Christian scheme that has occasioned more contention than this: even before the Arian controversy this appears to have been a disputed point. But what is there in the Christian Church, that the spirit of Antichrist, "the man of sin," has not, at one time or other, endeavoured to mutilate and destroy? And what scripture doctrine, however plain and simple, that he has not attempted to render obscure? That by making the teachings of the scriptures doubtful, he might sow discord among the churches, and annihilate the native simplicity of religion.
Now the question at issue is simply this:-Was immersion in water instituted in the Christian church as an ordinance, to be an outward and visible sign that the partaker of the ordinance was a believer, and that by this public act he renounced Judaism or Paganism, and became a follower of Christ?
Or, Was it instituted as an ordinance in the church, with the design that all who profess Christianity should have a few drops of water sprinkled upon their face; and that all their children, when two or three weeks old, should be sprinkled in like manner, indiscrimi nately, through all after ages of the world?
There are but few persons, I believe, who do not admit that the ordinances of God's house are significant; as the preceding learned authorities show; but what is there significant in sprinkling a few drops of water upon a child when only a few days old; except it be a sign of original sin, or of its being a child of the devil? for the moment it leaves the cradle, it becomes vile in its imagination, 'being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents," &c. Rom. i. 29, 30, &c.
And now let me ask you, who are of the purer sort of sprinklers, From whence got you your authority, for administering the ordinances of the house of God, the pearls of the Most High, to such a swinish multitude? "Cast not your pearls before swine," said Christ; much less apply the ordinance of God to the children of the devil!
Your duty is to "go and teach the nations;"* and when you see that God is calling his people from among the heathen, then baptize them; but to baptize the heathen you have no command. And do you not baptize, in embryo, as it were, those who in a very years are worse than heathens-deists and atheists, who indulge in every kind of blasphemy, with the light of the gospel shining around them?
The following quotations, principally from Pædo-Baptist writers, and those quiet lookers on, the Quakers, will be sufficient, I think, to show that no such practice existed in the days of the apostles.
• Mark xvi. 15.
There is no express precept, or rule, given in the New Testament for the baptism of infants.
Bishop Burnett's Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles. Among all the persons recorded as baptized by the apostles, there is no express mention of any children being baptized.
It cannot be proved, by the sacred scripture, that infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians after the apostles. Luther. In A. R.'s Vanity of Infant Baptism.
If there can be no example given in Scripture of any one that was baptized without the profession of a saving faith, nor any precept for so doing; then must we not baptize any without it. But the antecedent is true; therefore, so is the consequent. In a word, I know of no one word in scripture, that giveth us the least intimation, that ever man was baptized without the profession of a saving faith, or that giveth the least encouragement to baptize any upon another's faith.
Mr. Baxter's Disputation of Right to Sacraments.
Calvin, in his fourth book of Institutes, chap. xvi. confesseth, that it is nowhere expressly mentioned by the Evangelists, that any one child was by the apostles baptized.
Paul does not seem, in Rom. v. 14. to treat about infants. It was not yet the custom for infants to be baptized.
Erasmus, Annot. ad Rom. v. 14. The baptism of infants may be named a tradition; because it is not expressly delivered in scripture, that the apostles did not baptize infants, nor is any express precept there found, that they should Mr. Leigh's Body of Divinity.
The traditions of the whole catholic church confirm us in many of our doctrines, which, though they may be gathered out of scripture, yet are not laid down there in so many words: such as infant baptism, and of episcopal authority above presbyters.
Dr. Freeman's Preservative against Popery. 3 R