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these elements are uniformly represented as poured, inspired, and made to fall
from above. The question which arose between some of John's disciples and the Jews, about PURIFYING, (John iji. 25. compared with ver. 23.) evidently originated in the understood meaning of Baptism, as a figure of the washing of regeneration. When considered as dispensed by the Apostles, on and after the day of Pentecost, in confirmation of their testimony that Jesus was risen from the dead, it still had a particular reference to the work of the Holy Spirit, whose promised coming depended on our Lord's resurrection. " It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you,” John xvi. 7.
The work of the Holy Spirit is spoken of in scripture under the emblems of water, air, and fire, in allusion to the Mosaic account of the original creation of man. • The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (lives ;) and man became a living soul,” Gen. ii. 7. In the formation of the body, the Creator is supposed to operate as a potter on clay,* which im. plies the rendering of the “dust” capable of “formation," by the admixture of “water."
In the com
• The word used is (1789,) which signifies to form, fashion, shape, model to a particular shape. As a participial noun, a forner, especially a potter, from the manner of his work. This is the foundation of many scriptural allusions to the old, and the new, creating work of God.
munication of animal, and rational, and divine life, there is the inspiration of that “wind which bloweth where it listeth,” by the first blowing of which the fire of life is kindled, and by the subsequent respiration of which, that fire is maintained. These elements are also the purifiers of life, essential to its health and beauty, no less than to its commencement. Hence they are alluded to, as the means of washing the body or the garments, and of refining metals. Now, as the gospel reveals a new and holy life, the preaching of it is accompanied with the ordinance of Baptism as a pledge of that unspeakable blessing; and to render the pledge the more significant and striking, it consists in a representation of all the elements employed in our first creation. There is actually administered to us the Baptism in the name of Christ with water; and it is connected with the promise of the Baptism by Christ himself with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. This promise was given to all the disciples. It belongs to them, both as it regards gracious influence, and as it regards miraculous inspiration ; for all who believe are born again, and are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, that is, their faith is founded on the authority and energy of that Spirit by which the apostles and prophets were inspired.
As all the emblems of the work of the Holy Spirit descend from heaven, so does every scriptural view of the mode of the administration of the elements of Baptism. It is always from above, and never from beneath. Not only does Bantibw (bap-tizo) admit, but all the related words require, that the ordinance
should be understood as an effusion, a perfusion, or an infusion, but not even once as an immersion. Thus, John iii. 3. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, èàv uń τις γεννηθή άνωθεν, except a man be born FROM ABOVE, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This expression, being born “from above,” is explained in ver. 5. to include both the symbol, the Baptism of water poured down by man, and the reality, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit sent down by the Saviour ; εάν μή τις γεννηθη εξ ύδατος και Πνεύματος, « except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Again, John xx. 22. “And having said this, švequonge, he BREATHED Into them" (as he stood forth into the midst of them, ver. 19. they probably reclining,) and said unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost.” From what follows in ver. 23. he evidently was confirming by a token, the promise which was to be performed to them on the day of Pentecost. That promise is again referred to in Acts i. 5. and is called Baptism, and compared with John's baptizing with water. “Because John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.” Now, the mode of this Baptism is explained in ver. 8. 'Αλλά λήψεσθε δύναμιν 'ΕΠΕΛΘΟΝΤΟΣ του αγίου Πνεύματος εφ' υμάς. « But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is COME UPON you.” Let us now proceed to the history of the performance of this promise, Acts ii. 2. from which it will be observed, that “the sound” (see John iii. 8.) of the wind was heard DESCENDING-from heaven and filling the house, and distributed flames of fire
appeared like tongues, and sat DOWN upon every one of them. Και εγένετο άφνω 'ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΥ ήχος ώσπερ φερομένης πνοής βιαίας, και επλήρωσεν όλον τον οίκον ου ήσαν καθήμενοι. Και ώφθησαν αυτούς διαμεριζόμεναι γλώσσαι ωσεί πυρός, ΕΚΑ'ΘΙΣΕ ́ τε 'ΕΦ' ένα έκαστον αυτών. Και επλήσθησαν άπαντες Πνεύματος αγίου, και ήρξαντο λαλεώ ετέραις γλώσσαις, καθώς το Πνεύμα εδίδου αυτούς αποpoéyyɛodas. “ And there came suddenly FROM HEAVEN a sound as of a rushing mighty wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared flames of fire like tongues distributed to them, and a flame sat DOWN UPON every one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance."
With this description of the descent and the remaining of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, that of his descent and remaining on the Lord Jesus exactly agrees. When John had sufficiently prepared the way of the Lord, by his preaching, and by baptizing others, then came Jesus himself to be baptized of him. When John would have hindered him, objecting his own pollution and unworthiness, “Jesus answering said unto him, suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." The meaning of the ordinance, and the very mode of its administration, implied that, in observing it, our Lord confirmed the truth that the Holy Spirit was about to be given. (John vii. 39. Acts xix. 2, 3.) Immediately afterwards he was to be endowed with his influence, visibly descending from on high, and abiding upon him.
It was, as the Mediator, “Thus" endowed with the unmeasured influence (see John iïi. 34.) of the Holy Spirit, that “he should fulfil all righteousness.” Ps. xlv. 2. “Grace is POURED INTO thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.” Isa. xlii. 1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit UPON HIM; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isa. lxi. 1. “ The Spirit of the Lord God is UPON ME; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.” Heb. ix. 14. 6. Who THROUGH
ETERNAL SPIRIT offered himself without spot unto God.” Rom. i. 3, 4.“ Which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS, by the resurrection from the dead.” Then John suffered him. He suffered him to receive the symbol of the Holy Spirit's descent, and presently he was seen, by miracle, to receive the reality. “ And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water ; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God DESCENDING like a dove, and LIGHTING UPON him: and, lo, a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matth. iii. 13–17.
The miracle, which thus followed the Baptism of the Saviour, was declared to be the token, that he should be the person who should baptize the disciples with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. John was not ignorant of the character of Jesus, as is manifest, from