« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
who had faith, received the spiritual benefit and blessing; for by faith the just shall LIVE.
Through this spiritual baptism, we are declared to be the children of God; as Christ was at his baptism; and we by him. I suppose (says the learned Mede) that, in that baptism of his, the mystery of all our baptisms was visibly acted; and that God says to every one truly baptized, as he said to him in a proportionable sense ;) Thou art niy Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Those, who have been baptized indeed into Christ, do put on Christ.t They are cloathed with him. As Adam and Eve, the first of the church as well as of the world, were cloathed by God with the skins, I probably of victims, slain by his appointment for sacrifice; and as the tabernacle afterwards, which was the figure of the church in Christ, was covered with rams' skins dyed red, also sacrificed, it is likely, at the altar: so all believers liave a covering of Christ and his Spirit upon them, the robe of his righteousness, the garments of his salvation parted among them, after they have beheld him as the atoning sacrifice for their sins. And thus (says the prophet, in that chapter, which is full of allusion to the ceremonial law and its intentions) upon all the glory shall be a defence, or rather, the glory shall be a covering over all: and thus there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day-time from the heat (of temptation and trial,) and for a place of refuge (from wrath,) and for a covert from storm and from rain, or when violence and
* Disc. xvii.
† Gal. iii. 27.
Gen. iii, 21,
cution of the ungodly come against them.* This glory was Christ, under the well-known emblem of a cloud, t which shadowed the tabernacle, and afterwards filled the temple
Baptism sometimes, though rarely, is used to denote sufferings, but still under the idea of purification. Thus the baptism of fire, with the Holy Ghost, is mentioned ; because of its searching and purifying, as well as afilictive, nature; and because Christ will thoroughly purge his floor, or church, by sorrows and trials. And thus also Christ speaks of this baptism for himself; because, through sufferings, he would become a perfect Saviour; bearing, and bearing away, all the sins of his people laid upon him. This affliction was so great, that he says of it; I have a baptism to be baptized with ; and hoto am I straitened till it be accomplished ! If Omnipotence found the curse due to sin so heavy and dreadful; O how should poor, feeble, sinners tremble, at the very thought of their sins being found, unpardoned, upon themselves in death and judgement!
Briefly; the whole matter, with respect to each of oura selves, comes to this. “ Am I baptized, not with water only (for, with this, cups, and tables, and sucha like things, are baptized;*) but also with, what the water signifies, the gracious Spirit of the living God? Do I rest in the form, in the thing done, in the party or profession where it was done; op am I looking, through all this, to the daily renewing of my mind? Am I baptized indeed, not into a sector denomination of Christians, but into Christ himself? And can I prove that I am thus baptized, by having put on Christ; by wearing him as my covering, by looking to him as my life, and by walking after him as my guide? Hath a real change passed upon me? Have I truly a new name, that is, a new nature, a new condition of life, in which all things are become new to me? Is the old Adam more and more dying and subdued; and is Christ, the new Adam, more powerful and triumphant within my soul? Are my evil tempers and dispositions in subjection; hath the spirit of judgement aad the spirit of burningt passed in any measure upon me; and does the life of Christ appear, in its holy vigor, through all the circumstances of this mortal body? Do I use my Redeemer, both as the covering or atonement for my sin, and also as the head of divine influence to induce righteousness and true holiness in my heart and conduct? Do I love his holy ways; and
* Isa. iv, 5, 6. † 1 Kings viii, 10, From y, a cloud, as a type of Christ, comes sy a name for the Messiah among the Jews. Thus the bow of the covenant is, spiritually, in Christ. Gen. ix. 13. The glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud. Exod. xvi. 10. xix. 9, et al. mult. The cloud of glory overshadowed the mercy-seat. Lev. xvi. 2. The cloud talked with Moses. Exod. xxxiii. 9, and conducted Israel, Numb, ix, 15, &c. The cloud overshadowed the disciples. Matt. xvii, 5. Christ will come in a cloud with power and great glory. Luke xxi. 27, Rev. i. 7. xiv. 14.
Mark vii. 4, + Of this baptism of the divine Spirit the prophet speaks, in Isa, iv. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one, that is written for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughter of Sion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from within her, by the spirit of judgement, or decree, and by the spirit of burning,
are all his commandments precious to me? Is it the loathing and abhorrence of my heart to offend my compassionate Master, or to walk in any paths but his own? Are my desires indeed towards him, and the remembrance of his holiness, daily? And am I 'waiting, in faith and patience, for my full redemption, when I shall see my dear Lord face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart, and enjoy him and his for ever and ever?"-Verily,
Christian, if this be in thee and abound, thou hast the tokens of the kingdom of God upon thee. Go on, and prosper. He, that hath begun the good work, will carry it on and compleat it to the day of Christ; when the sublimest thoughts of thy mind, and the widest wishes of thy heart shall all be fulfilled, and more than fulfilled, without end.
T#1 word evidently means made righteous. The persons made rightevus must, previous to their justification, have been unrighteous; and accordingly God is said to justify the ungodly.*' To justify one already righteous, would be the same absurdity, as to make whiteness white, or gold to be golden. Through faith in Christ, the poor and perishing sinner, stript of all other claims and pretensions, is justified or made righteous; yea, so righteous, as, in the sight of him who cannot look upon iniquity, to be considered without spot, or wrinkle, of any such thing ; nay more, to be presented, in the body of Christ, holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight. Thus much for the perfection of the righteousness, by which they are justified.
But whence have weak and dying mortals such a righteousness as this? Do they find it in themselves? Do they work it out? Can they produce or procure it, for themselves ? Common experience shows, that there is not a man upon earth, that there never was a saint born of woman, that it is not indeed in the present nature of man, to have or to exhibit any righteousness of this kind. As man now is, a perfect inherent righte