Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

C

BAPTISM.

the canons of African Councils, and the fact is stated that they were fol- Baptism, or as the word implies, lowed by very distinguished eccle- immersion, was the only mode that siastics.

Christ and his Apostles appointed for In our own country, anno 690, entrance into his church and kingdom, Benedict Briscop, abbot of Weir- and we may search the Scripture and mouth, was an ingenious and indus- early antiquity in vain for the case trious artificer ; and in the reign of of a single individual entering into it Edgar, near the close of the first in any other manner. In the scripmillennium of the Christian era, a tures, and in early antiquity, we find statute occurs recommending priests it always stands connected with faith, to learn and diligently practice some reformation, confession, regeneration, useful handicraft--a statute which, and remission of sin. In modern for aught I know to the contrary, times, this association being exploded, may still be a part of the law of the we find it in connection with a lecland, as it is certain that lately some ture to children. Tertullian is the others were of equal age but not of first Christian writer that refers to equal wisdom.

infant baptism, and he mentions it To this age belongs the celebrated with unequivocal disapprobation. IreDunstan, successively bishop of Win- neus, I believe, was the first to give chester, London, and archbishop of it the sanction of his authority ; yet Canterbury. He was born at Glas several ages elapsed before it became tonbury, of noble parentage, and was the common practice of the church. skilled in painting, transcribing, illu- | The disseverance of this institution minating, and music, as well as being from its ancient connections, was not an excellent forger and refiner of metal. fully effected till a new principle had

Fourthly. -The primitive disciples arisen, which was supposed to be assembled every Lord's day to break perfectly capable of supplying their bread—a practice which, with its at- place. That principle was the doctendant subscription for the poor, trine of priestly efficacy. With this continued throughout the early ages. association it assumed an appearance This practice has found no imitators not altogether devoid of plausibility among the sects of modern Protest- and consistency. Its evangelical adantism ; and though there is an evi- vocates have had an infinitely more dent impropriety in celebrating the forlorn case to defend ; and that they resurrection of the Lord once every should have so far maintained the seven days, while we commemorate credit of a practice essentially inimihis death only once a month, or after cal to the evangelical principle, is a a longer interval — though the prac- proof of the great deference paid by tice of the ancient church is well | Protestants to authoritative settleknown to all that have any acquaint- ment, above the claims of the clearest ance with church affairs — though | argument and evidence. We add, some of the greatest lights of the mo- that in almost all Pædobaptist condern churches have attempted to re-gregations, there are individuals who vive the practice, and nothing in our are dissatisfied with the evidence on modern theology was at all repugnant which this practice rests. to it-yet it has not been revived. An

J. N. obstacle has existed, not of a theological but of a financial nature. There must The way to excel, in any kind, is to propose have been resuscitated with it a prac

the brightest and most perfect examples to our

imitation. No man can write after too good tice inconsistent with the principles

and perfect a copy. He that aims at the heathat regulate the finance of modern

vens will shoot higher than he who aims at a churches.

mark within his reach.

CORRESPONDENCE.

conversion of Jews and Gentiles to the one
creed of the apostles, and the one proper name

Christian.
A FREE GOSPEL,

It is well observed by A. Campbell (Christian “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh System, third edition) -- “ There is a number away the sin of THE WORLD” (John.)

of incongruities and inaccuracies in the contro“Christ loved THE CHURCH, and gave him

versy about the nature and extent of the atoneself for it” (Paul.)

ment, which, as the mists of the morning re

tire from the hills before the rising sun, disapMr. EDITOR, --We know that it is laid on pear from our mental horizon when the light all who continue steadfastly in the apostles' of scriptural definition breaks in upon our souls. doctrine, to preach the gospel to every crea The atonement, or propitiation, has no extent,' ture, as opportunity and ability are given them; because God alone is its object. It contemfor so Christ commanded, adding the promise, plates sin as a unit in the divine government, “ And lo, I am with you alway, even to the and therefore ' the Lamb of God beareth away end of the world” — which could not refer to the sin of the world;' and his death is a sinthe apostles personally, who were so soon, like offering. As to its value, it is unspeakable. others, to disappear ; but is, evidently, a pro Commensurate it is, indeed, with the sin of the mise to giving success to their word, until the world, for it makes it just on the part of God, conclusion of the world's duration (John xvii. to forgive and save every one that believeth in 20.) He, therefore, that believeth and is bap- Jesus. Reconciliation and redemption have, tized, shall be saved; but he that believeth however, a certain limited extent. Reconcilianot shall be damned. Now, as was observed tion is not universal, but partial. All do not in a former paper, God cannot call upon man believe in Jesus: all are, therefore," not recon--that is, mankind ---- to believe what is not ciled to God through him. Redemption, or detrue; much less will he condemn any creature liverance from the guilt, pollution, power, and made after his own similitude, for rejecting a punishment of sin, is only commensurate with testimony which is not veritable. But in com- the elect of God, i.e. with those who believe in mauding all men every where to repent-every | Je us, and obey him.” For many are called, one who hears the gospel, to believe it and be but few are chosen. In this passage, and other baptized for the remission of sins --- it must scriptures like it, the terms “called” and needs follow, that Christ tasted death for every “chosen” are put in opposition. By the forman---that he is the propitiation for the sins, mer are denoted those who have been invited not of the elect only, but also for the sins of into, and have entered upon, the service of the whole world. It is true, we read in some Christ by baptism, having washed away their scriptures, that Christ gave himself “a rahsom sins calling upon his name: and by the latter, for many :" and hence some seek to reconcile those who have approved themselves as the serthe testimonies already considered with what vants of the Lord, having their fruit unto holiis called " particular redemption”-saying that ness, and the end everlasting life. The general the word of God cannot contradict itself. On sense is, that in the dispensation of the grace of the other hand, the preachers of “ general re-God, the publication of certain blessings, subdemption" maintain that the word “many" ject to such and such conditions, is indiscrimi. must comprehend “all,” because truth is uni- nate, and made to all; but the receiving of form with itself. But is it for man who is a these blessings, subject to the obedience of worm, and knoweth nothing, to comprehend the faith, is not indiscriminate, nor equally characunderstanding which is infinite?--to reconcile teristic of all, nor are the benefits of the offer what he supposes to be discrepant in the things | as general as the publication thereof. Thus, which are revealed to be believed, and where many comparatively would be called, by having human reason must necessarily be ever at the offer of eternal salvation made to them; but fault Can mortal man, who is but of yester- the number of those who shall obey from the day, see the end from the beginning ? — both heart, and make their clection sure, would be east and west, and north and south, at a glance ? comparatively few. So also in Rom. v. it is For want of submission of mind to the word of evident that the many, in antithesis to the one, God, as a whole, one half of the religious world are equivalent to all, and comprehend the whole says that Christ died only for the elect, and multitude--the entire species of mankind. It therefore fails in declaring the whole counsel of is not, however, to be understood as meant, God to men ; whilst the other half denies that that all mankind are actually justified or made Jesus loved the church, and gave himself for it righteous; but only that the benefit of this gift, in an especial sense, and so comes short of edi. or grace, or justification of life, is held out to fying the body of which he is the head. Hence | all, and if they do not reap the benefit of it, it the divisions and offences contrary to the sound is through their own unbelief or disobedience, doctrine once delivered to the saints--the ab- wherchy they judge themselves unworthy of sence of unity, in affection and work, among everlasting life. The term "many,” in Ieb. those who otherwise might serve the Lord with ix. 28, is generally explained by Arminian one consent; and the stumbling block to the ' teachers, “ even as many as were born into the world” -- by Calvinistic ones, “as many as, and stamps a sense of pardoning love and fortruly believe in Christ.” The former sense giving grace upon the real believer. . cannot be admitted, as being a manifest gloss; You will excuse one remark. An idea ocand truth needs no such help. It has been al- curred to my mind while reading the Essay, ready shown that the “ mauy” is often equiva- | namely, that although I had preached against lent to “ all :” but here the apostle speaks of intemperance for twenty years, yet I never sucthose that " wait for him”-i. e. who wait for ceeded in making one truly sober professor, unChrist's second coming, as a righteous judge, til the total pledge came from America, the land in humble yet in the blessed hope of receiving of truth and liberty. The pledge was pleaded the reward, which is of grace and not of debt ; against by our logicians, as amounting to noand these, manifestly, are not the whole human thing in the scale of virtue; yet it is an underace. So, also, in ii. 10, it is said that Christ niable fact, that it has accomplished an end that bringeth many sons unto glory. Wherefore, no pure abstract doctrine ever did or can effect. the reason why, in some places, Jesus is said to I mean the pledge of entire abstinence from the give himself a ransom for “ all,” and in others intoxicating drug. only for “many," appears to be, that when all I am fully aware that Mr. Campbell is not is mentioned, it is meant that to all he offers favorable to the teetotal question ; I have seen the blessings of salvation by the gospel; and some of his remarks on this subject, and am of where many are spoken of, it is considered that opinion that justice has not been done to that by all the gospel will not be obeyed.

sober principle. But I feel persuaded that toOn the general truth contained in Christ tal abstinence will as assuredly keep a professor having given himself for the church in an espe sober, as baptism will be the means of conveycial sense, we might speak of it, Ist, with re- | ing a sense of pardon to the penitent believer. spect to God having had, as he could not but Still there is no comparison between the value have had, a fixed purpose as to the end for of pardon and that of sobriety: yet tippling which his Son died, namely, the salvation and has kept many a saint from attaining eminence bringing to glory of all those whom he had in piety, and many a poor sinner in the gall of chosen in him before the foundation of the | bitterness. I have no doubt, that the teaching world. 2ndly, That the new covenant which of baptism as a sign of inward good, and not as was dedicated and made of force by the death a seal of pardon, has been instrumental in keepof Christ, has no respect to the world; and ing many a poor doubting soul in a state of that of the things contained in it, and obtained bondage, which, otherwise, might have been for the church by his death, these two, faith assured of the pardoning love of God. and repentance, could not be said to be obtain- I feel thankful for this further light — pered for those who never have them, as forgive-haps I ought to say for the new light now given ness might be said to be. Accordingly, for- by Mr. Campbell on the sacrament of believers' giveness is preached to all men, as a gift and baptism; but I cannot see, at present, that a blessing to be received on certain conditions; sense of pardon is confined exclusively to those but faith and repentance are not preached to who observe this holy ordinance. I am perthe world as blessings given by God, but as the suaded, however, that in the hands of judicious obedience required by him — that is, the very | ministers, it may prove an answer to that imconditions on which forgiveness is to be re- portant question, “ Shall I bring to the birth, ceived. But to enter upon all that is contain and not give power to bring forth, saith the ed in these things would be in fact, to write a Lord ?” May the Lord bless the well-directed sermon, or many sermons.

labours of his servants. Respectfully yours in I am, Mr. Editor, in submission of mind to the covenant, all revealed truth, yours,

April, 1849.

F. A BAPTIST. A Lover of Good MEN. April 2nd, 1849.

MR. EDITOR, I have lately read one volume of your useful miscellany, and the four publish

ed numbers of the present year. Of many of BAPTISM FOR THE REMISSION OF

the articles I highly approve. As a Baptist of SINS.

course I think every believer ought to be im

mersed into the name of the Father, Son, and MR. EDITOR,--I have read with diligence, Holy Ghost; but I cannot assent to all that is three times, Mr. Campbell's Essay on the Re wriiton on John üïi. 5, in the present April mission of Sins, and if figures be not mistaken number. As regards being born of water, the for facts, we have certainly too lightly esti-writer contends that baptism is “part of remated immersion. As Baptists we have been generation ; not, indeed, the greater, nor the uniformly taught to consider baptism as an | first, second, or third stage of it, but in fact the outward sign of inward good; but, according concluding item, the being born into the kingto Mr. Campbell, baptism is not a sign, but a dom of God.” He also says, it implies that by seal -- a means through which the Holy Spirit it believers are brought into a new state, (and conveys his saving power to the repentant soul, I some of your correspondents say, that without

baptism they cannot be brought into this new ministered immediately on a person professing state); yet the writer admits that those who his faith in Christ, as the Son of God: so that are born of the Spirit are changed in their he no sooner believed, than he was immersed, views and in heart-have a living faith--are and enjoyed the sense of pardon. But it does warm in love, and are quickened in hope. Now not necessarily follow that this blessing could if this do not constitute a new state of exist- not be obtained without baptism, for Peter deence, I cannot understand the plainest parts of clares that “ whosoever believeth in him shall the word of God. That word says, “ He that receive the remission of sins.” “ All that bebelieveth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of lieve in him," says Paul, “are justified.” Then God”—“ that to as many as received him, to I conclude that such have also received the forthem gave he power to become sons of God, giveness of their sins; and these passages I who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of consider to be in unison with the whole tenor the flesh, but of God” – that such are new of the New Testament. That those who recreatures, old things to them having passed ceive baptism with a strong and living faith, away, and all things become new — that they enjoy a fuller sense of pardon than those who 1 are brought out of darkness into light -- these neglect it, I am not disposed to question ; but | will doubtless be allowed to be new states, but to insist, as A. C. does, that baptism is the only perhaps not the state the writer contends for. medium through which remission of sins can But the following passage must, I think, include be obtained, is, I think, contrary to many porthe one intended -“ Who hath delivered us tions of scripture, and making more of the orfrom the power of darkness, and hath transla- dinance of baptism than the word of God authoted us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Here rises, as well as giving Baptists an unenviable is a translation - a taking from one state, and notoriety in the religious world. If any of bringing into another state, even into that very your correspondents can prove these remarks kingdom of God, into which the writer says to be unscriptural, I shall bow to their decibaptism alone can introduce us. I am aware, sion, the eliciting of truth being my object. it may be replied, that the apostle here alludes

April 10, 1849. to the baptized church at Colosse. It may be so, but I rather think that he is here speaking of believers in general, and of the power of the

REMARKS BY THE EDITOR. gospel; if not, the aforementioned passage,

The three preceding articles, addressed to “He that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is

the Editor by Baptists of distinct denominaborn of God,” and others of the same import, will, I think, be sufficient for my argument:

tions, are submitted to the consideration of our for, in this passage there appears to be no refe- readers. It is thought, by some, that all comrence to believers in their church capacity. But munications of this character should be forif without baptism we cannot be brought into

| mally noticed, either by way of approval or this new state, in what state are they whose

disapproval, as the case may be. Our desire views are changed, who possess faith, love, and hope? The Bible teaches us that there are but

is, in this respect, to avoid extremes ; while, at two states, the believer and the unbeliever ;

the same time, we accord to every one who but according to this writer's views, there must writes with any degree of correctness and canbe a kind of middle state : and yet those in this

dour, and whose object is to unfold or vindimiddle state are said to be born of God, and to

cate divine truth as revealed in the Bible, the be in possession of everlasting life, having a new heart, and faith, love, and hope in lively exer

| full liberty of giving expression to his opinions. cise. If J. D. or any of your correspondents,

Our esteemed friend and old correspondent, will enlighten my mind on this subject, I (and“ A Lover of Good Men,” and his remarks on doubtless many others) will feel much obliged. the “ Lamb of God taking away the sin of the A LEARNER IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST.

world,” and Christ only loving the church, and

giving himself for it, we shall leave with the P.S. Regarding the Replies to the Query, | following observations : -- The apostles of the “In what sense is baptism said to be for the Lord knew from the testimony of the prophets, remission of sins ?”—- I agree with J. D. when

as well as from the teaching of Jesus, that the he says, “ The act of Jesus dying for us, and the act of remitting sins, are separate and dis

Heavenly Father has covenanted to create a tinct, and that it is only by the application of

new heavens and a new earth-a paradise exthe blood of Christ to the soul, the sinner can empt from every evil, and in which the righthave his sins remitted ;” but that this is only

eous, both angels and men, are to dwell for done when a person receives baptism, I think

ever. The disciples of Christ, therefore, may the scriptures will not warrant. The reason I conceive why remission of sins is so generally

quietly and confidently rest assured, that sinconnected with baptism, is, that in the apostles' and death, the consequence of sin -- will be days this ordinance was always, I believe, ad-'taken away by the Lamb of God, who came to

destroy sin and death, and him that had the principle than that of guilty, polluted, condemnpower thereof. But it is the church--the ed, though now believing. repentinig sinners, chosen, called, and faithful—which will be glo- seeking pardon, justification, sanctification, and rified with her Lord for ever. Hence the gos- / salvation, exclusively by the blood of Christ, pel is a savor of life unto life, or of death unto through the bath of regeneration, and the redeath, to those who hear it.

newing of the Holy Spirit, shed on the church Our correspondent “F. A Baptist,” we con abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. fess, gave us no authority to publish his letter, | This is the medium, not only expressive of a but the candour and intelligence manifested in change of heart, but of our state before God. it, together with the gratification it will afford | Thus baptism is both a sign and a seal ---- an to some of our readers, induced us to give it end to obtain a good conscience by the resurpublicity. A short time ago we had the plea- | rection of Jesus Christ from the dead. sure of presenting the writer with a copy of For any person to be baptized under the imA. Campbell's Essay on the Remission of Sins, pression that he is the subject of some inward receiving a promise in return, that after read- good, and as a sign of its possession, appears to ing it he would send his thoughts on the sub- us most delusive, and somewhat akin to the ject, which, in his view, as he then expressed presumption of assuming self-righteousness behimself, was of paramount importance to the fore God. May we not ask, with propriety, children of men. This promise he has now whether this antecedent inward good — or, in fulfilled in the letter before us. We are in other words, Christian experience -- is not formed, in the first place, of what we have re- likely to become the source of hope and joy to peatedly been reminded from early life, viz. | the individual, rather than the fulness, riches, “ that the Baptists are uniformly taught to and glory of the exalted Redeemer? The conconsider baptism as an outward sign of some solation of an intelligent disciple of Christ inward good.” Now we are convinced, and arises from something out of himself. It is the have been for the last twelve or fourteen years, full assurance of hope that consoles his heart. that this view of the subject is both deficient The disciples are saved by hope. But hope and delusive, and would not endure the search that is seen or enjoyed is not hope; for how ing examination of the apostles of the Lord. can a man hope for that which he enjoys ? but The ambassadors of the Prince of Peace taught if we hope for that which we do not enjoy, as plainly, clearly, and emphatically, that bar- then do we with patience wait for it. We are tism is for the remission of sins to every be- firmly convinced, that the baptism of the Bapliever of the gospel. as Elisha, by the word of tist leaves on the mind an impression which is the Lord, commanded Naaman, the Syrian, to truly described by our worthy correspondent, dip seven times in the Jordan and be clean (1) whose communication has elicited these reKings v.) The view of immersion referred to, marks. Let the reader mark well our correto say the least, deprives the believer who sub- spondent's observations: -“I have not the mits to the institution of much consolation, least doubt, that teaching baptism as a sign of robs the gospel of one half its glory, and leaves some inward good, and not as a seal of pardon, the mind still concentrated on the supposed in has kept many a poor doubting soul in a spirit ward good, thereby forming the basis of that of bondage and fear, which, otherwise, might erroneous principle which teaches the necessity have been assured of the pardoning love of of Christian experience previous to making the God.” This we know to be true from painful good confession. Men are not born Christians. experience. How much of Christian experience What, then, is necessary to complete the tran- | had the three thousand sinners mentioned in sition ? An apostle would answer, “ THE OBE- the 2nd chapter of the Acts ?--Saul of Tarsus, DIENCE OF FAITH.” But what is faith? The the chief of sinners ?-or the Ethiopian eunuch, belief in facts that are past, and in facts yet to prior to their immersion into the name of the come. It is the conviction of things hoped Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the remission for. It is the belief, also, in iacts concerning of sins? In this institution the disciples pledge ourselves—that we have sinned against heaven themselves to God, and he pledges himself to and before God--that in us dwelleth no good them : they are his people, and he is their God. thing; and therefore, baptism ought not to be What other pledge is now wanted? Can that attended to under the influence of any other which is human be more potent than that

« FöregåendeFortsätt »