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IN A CONGREGATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL, CONTINUED.
On the following Sabbath, the subject for their lesson being continued, the teacher said, "Perhaps I have already said enough to satisfy you that the baptism of Christ was in obedience to the old law pertaining to the covenant of God with the faithful children of Abraham.”
“ It is not clear to me,” said Israel, " what connection exists between the Old and the New dispensations; or, rather, what evidence is found in the New Testament of the transmission of the benefits of the Abrahamic covenant and the ancient laws given to God's people."
“ In Gal. 3 : 24, we read: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.' And again: Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Hence, in this dispensation they baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
“ Turn to the second chapter of Acts, thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth verses : " Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise
is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.'
“ Here is the most impressive allusion to the promise made to Abraham - to be a God unto him and to his seed after him. To
you and to your children, says Peter. He also exhorts every one of them to repent and be baptized. As his hearers were composed of representatives of many nations, this strictly verifies the promise to Abraham, “Thou shalt be a father of many nations.'
- You will here notice that this was the opening. event of what is called the Christian dispensation ; it was based by the apostle upon the Promise. In Paul's epistle to the Romans, fourth chapter and sixteenth verse, we find these words: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed: not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations.')
“ These words alone, without the aid of further testimony of the writings of the apostles, clearly show the transmission of the blessings of the exceeding great and precious promise included in the covenant with Abraham, to the disciples of the new dispensation.”
“Granting this,” said Israel, “I cannot see but that immersion is the example of baptism under the Christian dispensation, and its subjects only believers.”
“ Looking at one point at a time, we next consider the mode of baptism,” continued the teacher.
66 You must be aware that the Greek word for the
English word 'baptize' can faithfully be rendered 'baptize,'' wash,' drown,'' sprinkle,'' dip,'' plunge,''overwhelm.' The only way that remains to us to determine which meaning of the word baptizo was intended to be used, as instructing the true method of interpretation, is a comparison of all the passages in the Bible which use this word. This, certainly, will be admitted as honesty in sacred hermeneutics.
“We have already seen that the baptism of the Israelites in the cloud and in the sea could not have signified to immerse. This points clearly to a spiritual or internal' baptism, as does also that passage in Rom. 6:3, 4, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism, into death. The apostle also says, • Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death?' That these figures cannot teach in a literal sense or prove a baptism by immersion, is evident from all the doctrine of the context. The buried with him by baptism’ no more points to a literal immersion than does that kindred passage : • Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed,' point to a literal crucifixion of the disciple. If it were literal, and the burial really taught the mode of baptism, the figure should be supported still further by putting on something according to the words: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Or yet, the literal sense equally impresses into its service the words, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh. Here, something should be put off.
“ The unfairness of using these passages as instructive of the mode of baptism is too clear to require much comment. "God is a spirit, and they that worship him should worship him in spirit and in truth. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the spirit.' Every type pertaining to Christ, received by his disciples, should be used in the spiritual sense. We have no right to make any likeness of his burial more than of his death.
“ Again, we find the fulfilment of the promise to the disciples that they should be baptized with the Holy Ghost, signified in the Day of Pentecost by the act of pouring out.
“ The baptism of the cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and tables, alluded to in Mark 7: 4, is more clearly illustrated in Numbers 19: 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon
persons that were there,' etc.” “ But what means that passage in Hebrews 10:22 Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water?” inquired Israel. “Does not the washing here signify something more than the act of aspersion?”
“ As in the cases already mentioned, let us compare the passages where the word wash is used,” said the teacher.
" In the Old Testament, when Moses washed Aaron
and his sons, according to the command of God, before all the congregation, the whole body could not have been intended.
“In John 13: 8, 9, 10, we read, “Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.' By a similar rule of interpretation we understand his words in Matt. 26: 12, • For in that she hath poured the ointment on my body,' when in a previous verse it is distinctly stated, There came unto him a woman with an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head.'”
“Except ye be born of water and of the spirit,” continued another member of the class - 66 does not born of water' foreshow baptism by immersion?”
“No more," answered the teacher, “than do the words " born of the spirit' indicate absolute perfection of regeneration. If you accept one horn of the dilemma in a literal and complete figure, you must equally accept the other and become a Perfectionist, than which nothing is more absurd. Indeed I regard this verse as containing one of the strongest arguments in favor of a partial baptism of the person, as also the kindred one, • He who shall come after me shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.' This baptism of the Holy Ghost in no wise was a complete immersion of the spirits of men into union with the Divine Spirit.”
“But why is it that John is stated to have baptized in the river Jordan, also that, when Jesus was baptized,