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selves after him who baptized them, instead of calling themselves after Christ, and dwelling on him alone. "I thank God, says he, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I baptized in my own name. And I baptized also the house of Stephanus. Besides I know not whether I baptized any other, for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” Now this confession of the Apostle, which is usually brought against the Quakers, they consider to be entirely in their favour, and indeed decisive of the point in question. For they collect from hence, that St. Paul never considered baptism by water as any Gospel ordinance, or as any rite indispensably necessary, when men were admitted as members into the Christian church. For if he had considered it in this light he would never have said that Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. Neither would he have thanked God, on account of the mere abuse of it, that he had baptized so few; for doubtless there were many among the learned Greeks, who abused his preaching, and who called it foolishness, but yet he no where says, that he was sorry on that account that he ever preached to them; for preaching was

B1 Cor. 1. 14, 15, 16.

a gospel ordinance enjoined him, by which many were to be converted to the Christian faith. Again-If he had considered water baptism, as á necessary mark of initiation into Christianity, he would uniformly have adopted it, as men became proselytes to his doctrines. But among the thousands, whom in all probability he baptized with the Holy Spirit among the Corinthians, it does not appear, that there were more than the members of the three families of Crispus, Gaius, and Stephanus, whom he baptized with water.

But still it is contended, that Paul says of himself, that he baptized. The Quakers agree to this, but they say that he must have done it, in these instances, on motives very different from those of an indispensable Christian rite.

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In endeavouring to account for these motives, the Quakers consider the Apostle Paul as not in the situation of Peter and others, who were a long time in acquiring their spiritual knowledge, during which they might be in doubt as to the propriety of many customs; but as coming, on the other hand, quickly and powerfully into the knowledge of Christ's kingdom. Hence, when he baptized, they impute no ignorance to him. They believe he rejected water-baptism as a gospel ordinance, but that he considered it in itself as an harmless

ceremony, and that, viewing it in this light, he used it out of condescension to those ellenistic Jews, whose prejudices, on account of the washings of Moses and their customs relative to proselytes, were so strong, that they could not separate purification by water from conversion to a new religion. For St. Paul confesses himself that "to the weak he became as weak, that he might gain the weak, and was made all things to all men, that he might by all means save some." Of this his condescension many instances are recorded in the New Testament, though it may be only necessary to advert to one. At the great council at Jerusalem, where Paul, Barnabas, Peter, James, and others, were present, it was determined that circumcision was not necessary to the Gentiles. St. Paul himself with some others carried the very letter of the council, containing their determination upon this subject, to Antioch to the brethren there. This letter was addressed to the brethren of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. After having left Antioch, he went to Derbe and Lystra, where, notwithstanding the determination of himself and the rest of the council, that circumcision was not a Christian rite, he circumcised Timotheus, in con

d

c

c Acts 15.

d Acts 16. 3.

descension to the weakness of the Jews, who were

in those quarters.

In addition to these observations on the practice and opinions of the Apostles, in the course of which the Quakers presume it will be found that the baptism of John is not an ordinance of the Gospel, they presume the same conclusion will be adopted, if they take into consideration the practice and opinions of Jesus Christ.

That Jesus Christ never forbad water-baptism, the Quakers readily allow. But they conceive his silence on this subject to have arisen from his knowledge of the internal state of the Jews. He knew how carnal their minds were; how much they were attached to outward ordinances; and how difficult it was to bring them all at once into his spiritual kingdom. Hence, he permitted many things for a time, on account of the weakness of their spiritual vision.

That Jesus submitted also to baptism himself, they allow. But he submitted to it, not because he intended to make it an ordinance under the new dispensation, but to use his own words, "that he might fulfil all righteousness." Hence, also he was circumcised. Hence he celebrated the Passover. And hence, he was enabled to use these remarkable words upon the cross: "It is fulfilled."

But though Jesus Christ never forbad waterbaptism, and, though he was baptized with water by John, yet he never baptized any one himself. A rumour had gone abroad among the Pharisees, that the Jesus had baptized more disciples than John the Baptist. But John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, who had leaned on his bosom, and who knew more of his sentiments and practice than any other person, is very careful in correcting this hear-say report, as if unworthy of the spiritual mind of his master, and states positively, e" that Jesus baptized not."

The Quakers lay a great stress upon this circumstance for they say, that if Jesus never baptized with water himself, it is a proof that he never intended to erect water-baptism into a Gospelrite. It is difficult to conceive, they say, that he should have established a Sacrament, and that he should never have administered it. Would he not, on the other hand, if his own baptism had been that of water, have begun his ministry by baptizing his own disciples, notwithstanding they had previously been baptized by John? But he not only never baptized, but it is no where recorded of him, that he ordered his disciples to baptize" with water." * He once ordered a leper to go to the

e John 4. 2.

f Mat. 8. 4.

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