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Quakers show that the baptism, included in the great commission, which appears not to be the baptism of John, is the baptism of Christ, from a critical examination of the words in that commission-Way in which the Quakers interpret these words-This interpretation confirmed by citations from St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Paul.
HAVING attempted to show, according to the method of the Quakers, that the baptism of John is not the baptism included in the great commission, I shall now produce those arguments, by which they maintain that that baptism, which is included in it, is the baptism of Christ.
These arguments will be found chiefly in a critical examination of the words of that commission.
To enable the reader to judge of the propriety of their observations upon these words, I shall transcribe from St. Matthew the three verses that relate to this subject.
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations,
o Mat. 28. 18, 19, 20.
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the
end of the world."
The first observation, which the Quakers make, is upon the word "THEREFORE." As all power is given unto me both in Heaven and in earth; and as I can on that account, and as I will qualify you, go ye therefore, that is, having previously received from me the qualification necessary for your task, go ye.
The next observation is, that the commission does not imply that the Apostles were to teach and to baptize as two separate acts, but, as the words intimate, that they were to teach baptizing.
The Quakers say again, that the word " teach" is an improper translation of the original " Greek, The Greek word should have been rendered "make disciples or proselytes." In several editions of our own Bibles, the word "teach" is explained in the margin opposite to it, " make disciples or Christians of all nations," or in the same manner as the Quakers explain it.
On the word " baptize," they observe, that be
p Aidaoxw is the usual word for teach, but paneva is used in the com. mission; which latter word occurs but seldom in the New Testament, and always signifies to "disciple."
cause its first meaning is to wash all over, and because baptism with Christians is always with water, people cannot easily separate the image of water from the word, when it is read or pronounced. But if this image is never to be separated from it, how will persons understand the words of St. Paul, "for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body?" Or those of Jesus, "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" Or, if this image is not to be separated from it, how will they understand the Evangelists, who represent Jesus Christ as about to baptize, or wash all over, with fire? To baptize, in short, signifies to dip under water, but, in its more general meaning, to purify. Fire and water have equally power in this respect, but on different objects. Water purifies surfaces. Fire purifies by actual and total separation, bringing those bodies into one mass which are homogeneous, or which have strong affinities to each other, and leaving the dross and incombustible parts by themselves.
The word "in" they also look upon as improperly translated. This word should have been rendered 1 "into." If the word "in" were the right translation, the words" in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," might be con
q The word in the original Greek is ¤ş and not “
strued into a form of words to be used at the time
But we have no evidence that such a formulá was ever used, when any of the Apostles baptized. Indeed, the plain meaning of the word is "into,' and therefore all such formula is groundless. "Jesus Christ did not, says Zuinglius, by these words institute a form of baptism, which we should use, as divines have falsely taught."
On the word "name," the Quakers observe, that, when it relates to the Lord, it frequently signifies in scripture, his life, or his spirit, or his power. Thus," in my name, shall they cast out devils." And, t ce by what power, or by what name have ye done this?"
From the interpretation, which has now been given of the meaning of several of the words in the verses, that have been quoted from St. Matthew, the sense of the commission, according to the Quakers, will stand thus: "All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth. In virtue of the power which I have, I will give you power also. I will confer upon you the gift of the Holy Spirit. When you have received it, go into different and distant lands; go to the Gentiles who live in ignorance, darkness, and idolatry, and make them proselytes to my new dispensation; so purifying
r Lib. de Bapt. p. 56, tom. 2. Oper. s Mark 16. 17.
t Acts 4.7%.
their hearts, or burning the chaff of their corrupt affections by the active fire of the Holy Spirit, which shall accompany your preaching, that they may be made partakers of the divine nature, and walk in newness of life. And lest this should appear to be too great a work for your faith, I, who have the power, promise to be with you with this my spirit in the work, till the end of the world."
The Quakers contend, that this is the true interpretation of this commission, because it exactly coincides with the meaning of the same commission as described by St. Luke and St. Mark, and of that also which was given to St. Paul.
St. Luke states the commission given to the Apostles to have been "" that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." The meaning therefore of the commission, as stated by St. Luke, is precisely the same as that stated by St. Matthew. For first, all nations are included in it. Secondly, purification of heart, or conversion from sin, is insisted upon to be the object of. it. And thirdly, this object is to be effected, not by the baptism of water, (for baptism is no where