« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
In speaking of the immersion of females, Mr. Sawyer says, page 23, " There is often a severe struggle in their minds between propriety and duty, and if the latter prevails, as agreeably to their belief it ought, it prevails at the expense of the former. Effusion and sprinkling are free from any objections of this kind, and are adapted to excite only the purest and most spiritual affections.” I could reply, by relating many substantial facts, one of which must suffice :In Monroe county, New-York, there lived a Mrs.
, who believed that immersion was baptism, but did not believe in close communion : 10 get clear of the laiter, she concluded to exchange the former for sprinkling, and accordingly united with the Presbyterians. At the time she was sprinkled the Spirit reproved her, and she knew she was doing wrong; but for the sake of enjoying open communion she submitted to it, and took her seat at the Lord's table. When the bread was approaching her conscience told her that she was not baptized, and therefore ought not to commune: she was much distressed, and declined. When the wine was passed she was still more distressed, and refused to partake. She now looked round upon the communicants, and realized that they were all partaking without being baptized, and she said the place appeared horrible to her. She arose and left the house, and like Peter, she went out and wept bitterly, and remained ont until the congregation was dismissed. She stepped into the carriage, bidding farewell to the place, and a few days after this she related these exercises. together with her religious experience, to us, and I baptized her; and she often afterwards referred to this effectual and praclical cure of open communion.
I shall close these remarks in the language of Dr. Lightfoot. "This new notion of occasional communion in some parts of worship, (Lord's supper,) ex
clusively to others, (exchanging pulpits, church discipline, &c.) is disowned by all sorts of (consistent) churches, and is a late fancy, taken up purposely to avoid the charge of superstition. - - Why should not those general rules of approving the things that are most excellent, and holding fast that which is good, persuade such a man that it is not lasyful to leave the best communion, merely to show what defective and tolerable churches he can communicate with ; which is as if a man should forsake his muskmellon to let others see what pumpkins he can swallow."
Dr. Lightfoot's Works, vol. ii. p, 531
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
. This expression is sometimes written simply, He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit, tv II veðuatı ay.w; as Mark i. 8: Acts i. 5: John i. 33-sometimes fully, in the Holy Spirit and fire,' ev IIveðuatı ayı” xal Augu; as Matt. iii. 11: Like iii. 16. This phraseology corresponds exactly with the Greek, and is supported by nearly all the ancient versions, as well as by many eminent critics. IIvevua ayıOL XQL AVQ, 'the Holy Spirit and fire,' is put for nuo avevPatoş aylov, the fire of the Holy Spirit, or avevua aylov nupos, the Holy Spirit of fire. Compare 1 Kings xix. 12, Heb. stiliness and a voice,' for a still voice. Ex. xiv. 20, 'a cloud and darkness,' for a dark cloud. Matt. iy. 16ququ xau sula θανατου, “ the region and shadow of death,' for χωρα σκιας Oavatov, the region of the shadow of death, as some MSS. actually read in Isa. ix. 2: Luke xxi. 15, Stoua *as sopia, la mouth and wisdom, for stóua gogus, a mouth of wisdom, perhaps equivalent 10 hdyos gopias, 1 Cor. xii. 8. Compare also Acts vi. 10, opa &ap Nivemua, 'wisdom and spirit,' with Eph. i. 17, avevMCA popias, spirit of wisdom. Ilup, fire, is taken for the element of light. Some oriental nations at the present day, in metaphorical expressions, use the term fire for light.
It was predicted that the reign of the Messiah should be distinguished by the prevalence of spiritual light or knowledge. Dan. xii. 4, Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Isa. liv. 13, And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord. Jer. xxxi. 34, And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord. Compare Heb. viii. and 1 John v. 20. Again it is said, Isa. xlij. 6, 7, I will give thee (i. e. the Messiah) for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit iu darkness out of the prison-house. Isa. Ix. 1, Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Accordingly in the New Testament Christ is called the light of the world, and his people, the children of light, úcou qwtós. They were once darkness; but are now light in the Lord. They were blind, but God hath shined in their hearts. The eyes of their understanding are enlightened.They have received the Spirit of God, that they may know the things that are freely given to them of God. Thus the reign of the Messiah is generally distinguished as a dispensation of light; and in the apostolical age, Christians, especially the teachers of Christianity, enjoyed the miraculous influence of the Spirit. Hence, to denote how universally their mind was pervaded with spiritual light, they were said to be baptized, i. e. immersed, in the Spirit of light. Baptizo just as clearly signifies immersion in this connection, as it does in any other. The Greek fathers could not have been mistaken as to the meaning of the expression; and they certainly understood it in this sense. Theophylact, commenting on the words, . He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit,' etc. Matt. iii. 11 : says, * That is, He shall inundate you, TOUTEŞTI, xataxhuset vuas, abundantly with the gifts of the Spirit.' Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateches, 17, 8, says: "For as he that goes down into the water and is baptized, is surrounded on all sides by the water, so the apostles were totally baptized (immersed) by the Spirit. The water surrounds the body externally, but the Spirit incomprehensibly baptizes (inmerses) the soul within.'
That 'baptism in the Spirit and fire,' is spoken of the illuminating influences of the Spirit, will appear from several considerations. The prophecy of Joel, quoted by Peter, Acts ii. 17, 18., naturally leads us to this conclusion. Dreams and visions were the usual means by which God revealed his will; and these termas taken figuratively, denote here the extraordinary communications of spiritual knowledge which his servants should enjoy under the gospel dispensation.
The design of this baptism conducts to the same view of the subject. The introduction of the gospel was the most remarkable event in the annals of time; it was the commencement of a mighty revolution, or the moral regeneration of the world ; (Matt. xix. 28 ;) and the point of time occupied by the first Christian teachers, was one of infinite importance. The bigoted Jew and the superstitious Gentile, were equally and inveterately hostile to the cause. Hence it was needful for them to be endued with clear and accurate perceptions of divine truth, as well as with an intellectual energy and moral courage, and the gifts of the Spirit were designed to furnish them with these qualifications. Accordingly Jesus told the apostles not to premeditate when they were brought before magistrates and kings; for the Holy Ghost should teach them what to say—that the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, should teach them all things, and bring all things to
their remembrance which he had snid to them and that they should receive power after the Holy Ghost was come upon them; and should be witnesses for him, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
Some persons have supposed that regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is one and the same thing, but this is evidently a mistake; for we find many Christians spoken of in the Bible who were never baptized with the Holy Ghost, while others in distinction from them are spoken of as being thus baptized. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a miracle, and usually conferred to prepare the subject of it for some miraculous work, as prophecying, speaking with tongues, &c.; and of course ceased when the Scriptures were all written, as other miracles did. It was not only a distinct actiou from regeneration, but usually subsequent to it. Thus Jesus Christ, who never was regenerated, was baptized with the Holy Ghost. Luke iii. 22: Isa. xlii. 1: Ixi. 1. John baptized penitent believers in water, but these were to be subsequently baptized with the Holy Ghost by Jesus Christ, Matt. iii. 11. The apostles were baptized with the Holy Ghost long after they were regenerated and called to the apostleship. John xx. 22: Acts i. 6–8; ii. 4: iv. 8. The promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost, Acts ii. 38, was on condition that they should first repent and be baptized. The disciples at Şamaria believed, Acts viii. 12, and were baptized with water; but afterwards, when the apostles came down, they were baptized with the Holy Ghost. Acts viii. 14
-17. Paul received the Holy Ghost after he was converted. Acts ix. 17. Cornelius, who feared God with all his house, Acts x. 2, was baptized with all his house and spake with tongues, Acts x. 44–47; xi. 15–17. The twelve believers whom John had baptized, Acts xix. 2-6, were baptized with the Holy