Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

the gospel, in the joy produced docile state-he became convinced by its message, and in their profes.' by the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was sions of faith in Jesus Christ as the the Messiah-he understood the only Saviour, even though a Jew nature of his kingdom, and the brought the message, and Christ extent of his claims. Doubtless himself was a Jew according to the Philip told him of the initiatory flesh. In addition to this, they rite of Christianity, and that by renounced all confidence in the im baptism believers made an open postures of Simon Magus, and ex- profession of their faith in Christ. pressed their readiness to profess The eunuch would no doubt be themselves the disciples of the Son reminded of this, when he came to of God, by being baptized in his a stream of water; and desiring to name. That Pbilip was correct in be numbered among the disciples the estimate he formed of their of Christ, he said, “ See, here is conversion, appears from what took water, what doth hinder me to be place afterwards, where Peter and baptized ?” John came down from Jerusalem, The answer demolishes the theory and laid their hands on them, that of Mr. B. Not even his reference they might receive the Holy Ghost to the disputes among critics, re-not in his ordinary operations, specting the genuineness of the but in his extraordinary and mira- 371h verse will avail here, for tbe culous influences; the former had passage does not rest on the same been already enjoyed, without the difficult authority, as 1 John v. 7. hands of the apostles—the latter There is no such evidence agaiost were bestowed frequently after the genuineness of the former pasbaptism. This circunstance has sage, that there is against the latter. not been attended to by Mr. B., Even Mills himself, who cavilled as he confounds the ordinary with at the verse, is obliged to admit the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. that he could not prove it to be an This confusion runs throughout the interpolated passage. The reply whole essay.

of Philip. “ If thou believest with The next case is that of the all thine heart, thou mayest,"shows Ethiopian eunuch. There appears what he considered necessary, preno evidence from the narrative, vious to Adult Baptism. There that Philip received any divine in- was more than the mere assertion timation respecting his conversion. of the Eunuch to convince Pbilip, The evidence in this case, that that he was a fit subject for Chris. conversion had taken place, was tian baptism. He saw in all the very strong, and it must have apo circumstances of the case, that the peared in this light to Philip. Eunuch was under the influence Mark the circumstances, and it will of divine teaching, and gave the be seen that no divine intimation strongest evidence which in his cirwas required. The mind of the cumstances could be required, that eunuch was prepared for listening he was a sincere believer in the to the truth-- he was desirous of Son of God. It was a case, in instruction-he invited Philip to wbich no Christian minister could come up, and sit by him. The have refused baptism. scripture he was reading was ex. Were the theory of Mr. B. cor. plained to him at his own request. rect, Philip should have said to Pbilip preached unto him Jesus. the Eunuch, when he joined him He was then a scholar-receiving in the chariot, and found what instruction. His mind was in a scripture he was reading, and heard

[ocr errors]

his request for instruction, “ I am The reason assigned for this supwilling to instruct you in the doc- posed exception of Cornelius is trine of Christ, if you are willing surely insufficient. Thus it is said, to be baptized, and be instructed that “it, doubtless, occurred to in a school, in which you will be silence the inveterate prejudice of grounded in the truth. " I demand Peter.” Now if there be any no repentance now, unless you are truth in the narrative, that prejus willing to repent, neither do I con- dice was removed before the gift of sider that it is an essential qualific the Holy Ghost was granted. In cation, that you should believe in the very introduction to bis adChrist; but I will now baptize dress, Peter said " Of a truth I you, in the bope that at some future perceive that God is no respecter period you will truly repent and of persons,” &c. But more than believe the gospel."

this, the Centurion had previously If in any case such an address been taught by the Spirit of God. would have been justifiable, it The whole narrative shows that he would have been in this. Pbilip was under a divine influence, but had received a divine command to needed further instruction in the go to the place where the Eunuch things of God, and that instrucwas to be found. He was then tion was given before bis baptism. desired to join himself to his chariot, Peter preached the Gospel, and he heard what he read, he knew declared that through the name of the passage, and asked him if be Christ, “ Whosoever believeth in understood it; when invited by the him shall receive remission of sins.” Eunuch to ride with him in his The testimony was believed, and chariot, he could not but conclude, the Holy Ghost descended in his that there was great hope of his miraculous power. The astonishbecoming a convert to Christianity. ment of Peter was not because of If then baptism was, what we are the persons he addressed, but on told it is, he could not have found account of the pouring out of the a more interesting and unexcep- Holy Ghost on then in his mirationable recipient than this indivi- culous power; for it is immediately dual. And yet Philip waited till added, “ For tuey heard them he avowed his faith in Christ, be- speak with tongues and magnify fore he baptized him.

God.” In Peter's defence of his Even in the case of Paul, though conduct to his brethren in Jeruthe information given to Ananias salem, for baptizing Cornelius and was by a divine communication, it his family, he is described as saywas of such a character as to con- ing, “ Forasmhch then as God vince him that Paul was convert: gave them the like gift as he did ed. This conversion was previous Unto US, who believed on the Lord to his baptism, which did not take Jesus Christ; what was I, that I place till Ananias acknowledged could withstand God?” referring him as a Christian brother. He in the last clause evidently to his then laid his bands on him that he own declaration, “ Can any man might be filled with the Holy forbid water, that these should not Ghost in his miraculous influence, be baptized, which have received The case of Cornelius was not, the Holy Ghost as well as we ?" therefore, an exception, as is assert. With regard to Lydia, the obed, but a case in exact accordance servations of J. B. seem equally with the regular practice of the untenable. Luke narrates the cirapostles, with reference to adults. cumstances as he saw them and knew them at the time they oc- count of the apostles' acts into curred. Where is the eviderce confusion. that the evangelist knew any thing On the hypothesis of Mr. B., of the condition of Lydia when he Paul should have baptized all tbe wrote his narrative? What he women who heard him at the river relates respecting her was ali side, as being the likeliest way to known to Paul, when he baptized initiate " them to a school in which her and her household. And what they would be grounded in the did Paul know about her to jus- truth, and might, as a consequence, tify him in baptizing her and her be rooted in the same." If this children? He knew that the Lord was indeed the scriptural plan, the had opened her heart, and that she apostle had most upaccountably attended to the truths which he neglected his duty, and allowed preached ;' that she alone, of all many opportunities of doing good the women then present, received to pass away unimproved. the truth. Paul knew this from The writer appears to contrawbat he saw and heard. The bre- dict himself. In bis zeal to show vity of the parrative furnishes few that the same qualifications are not particulars, but every part of it required of those who are about to is satisfactory as to Paul's per- be baptized, that are demanded suasion that Lydia was a converted of those who come to the Lord's character. After being baptized, table, he refers to the duty of selfshe manifested the influence of examination as required on the true religion in her pressing invi- latter, but not on the former. Now tation to Paul and his companions it is somewhat strange, that the to remain with ber. The reason very persons to whom this exhorshe assigns seems conclusive as to tation was addressed, are referred her conversion :-" If ye have to afterwards as furnisbiog evijudged me to be faithful to the dence in support of his theory reLord, come into my house and specting baptism, as not requiring abide there.” Here she directly conversion previous to its adminisappealed to their own convictions tration to adults, though they were of her being a believer in Christ, all members of the church at Coand, indeed, made this the ground rinth. He writes thus :-" The of hope, that her request would character of the Corinthian disnot be rejected by them. If Paul ciples, as gathered from the Epishad had any doubt about her con- tles of St. Paul, exbibit such a version, would be have accepted mass of what is opposed to the of the invitation on the ground she Gospel, that although all had been assigned ? The conviction on his baptized, we much fear that many mind was not produced after the of them were not converted, a fact baptism ; it existed previously to which is only compatible with wbat that ordinance being administered; has been advanced, that they had being, in fact, the reason why be been baptized for repentance and admitted her into the visible remission of sius. And then, being church. Now all this is what thus introduced to the church, gave took place at the time, and was the apostle an opportunity of known to Paul and Silas, as well expostulating with them in the as to Luke. To suppose the con- strongest terms." - P. 476. trary would be to confound the What is the meaning of such continuous parrative of the his- language? Does the writer mean torian, and throw the whole ac. to say, that those who were bap

tized for repentance and remission the Saviour, well instructed in the of sin were admitted into the church doctrine of atonement, and exat Corintb, though they remained perimentally acquainted with its inimpenitent and unforgiven? If so, Huence on his heart." It is surely then it, after all, appears that no passing strange, that in a few other qualifications are required pages tbese experienced believers for sitting down at the Lord's should be changed into irreligious, table than for baptism ;-that is, unconverted men. The reason he nothing more is demanded than a assigns condemns bis own system; willingness to be instructed in the "they were all baptized," without Cbristian religion. What is this any evidence of conversion, or but opening the church to uncon- might have been, as stated in page verted men ? Does it not ‘at once 476. destroy the marked distinction be Mr. B. has materially injured tween believers and unbelievers, the unity of his Essay, and obwbich it is the great design of scured bis argument throughout, Christ, in his spiritual kingdom, to by confounding the extraordinary accomplish ? Admit such an opi. gifts of the Holy Ghost with his nion, and act upon it in our ordinary operations. By mingling churches, and they would cease these two things, which are so obto be, in a few years, Christian viously distinct, when we read the churches; for all who had been Acts of the Apostles, he has made baptized could claim admission. it necessary for me to write at

The writer, in supporting his greater length in answer to observaviews, has brought severe charges tions, which in several instances be against the churches of the New would not have made, had this Testament. To admit as true what distinction been attended to. he asserts respecting the Ephesian, The cases that have thus been Corinthian, Galatian, and other investigated, perfectly satisfy my believers, would be to stamp the own mind that no adults should be language of the apostle with mani, baptized, voless they give evidence fest inconsistency. They would of conversion. There may be dif. cease to deserve the name of saints ferent degrees of evidence, and and faithful brethren in Christ various ways of obtaining it, but Jesus; for they would be formed it does appear to me that the lowest of baptized individuals, many of degree of it should be as much as them unconverted, unbelieving to permit us, in the judgment of characters. Are we prepared to charity, to hope that the candidate admit this? The warnings, re- has been taught by the Spirit of proofs, admonitions, and exhorta- God, and believes in Christ. If we tions addressed to the first churches could now procure evidence of concan be understood, without admit. version equal to that furnished by ting for a moment, that any were the cases we have been considerreceived but those who gave evi- ing, in the extraordinary circumdence at the time of conversion to stances of the church in the early God. The writer says so bimself, age, we should be fully warranted “ He that partook of the Lord's in administering the ordinance. Supper was to do it in remem. Let equal evidence be given, (even brance of Christ ;" was to discern though not many days or hours the Lord's body," and to examine should pass away,) that prejudice, himself," and consequently must property, liberty, life, would all have been already intimate with be risked or given up, in making an open profession of faith in Christ, against the Baptists, while they as we find was done in the primi- materially affect Mr. B.'s sentitive age, and I should be better sa- ments respecting infant baptism. tisfied with such a proof of con- On this subject I think very upversion, than by weeks or months scriptural opinions and practices of trial in this land, or in any land prevail amongst us. My next where the profession of Christianity paper will be an examination of exposes no one to such privations the writer's conclusions respecting and dangers.

the extent of Infant Baptism. The views which I have at

Your's, &c. tempted to present, strengthen, in

MATHETES. my apprehension, our arguments

REV, JOHN BOWES ON CHRISTIAN UNION.

(To the Editor.)

should relinquish their peculiar DEAR SIR,-I infer from your sentiments and practices. Perconcluding “ remarks" in your Re- haps the next sentence may throw view of " Christian Union,” this a little light on the preceding quomonth, that while you are favour, tation. It is as follows: “ Past exable to the UNION of all the perience teaches us, that on such a Saints, you see considerable diffi- principle union is impracticable; culties in the way; to remove such it could only be effected by one as 'the review discloses, is the sect swallowing up all the rest." object of the present communica- The Union at which I aim, and tion.

for which I hope to labour while 1st. You think“ There is a want “ life's vital current flows,” is fully of clearness on the point, whether as great as that which existed in Christians are to aim at an entire the first ages, as may be seen by a removal of sectarian distinctions, reference to CHAP. V. ON THE and whether the unity is to be full NATURE OF CHRISTIAN UNION. as great and as evident, as it was It is there evinced, I hope plainly in the first age.” You grant in- and scripturally, that real Chris. deed, that I “ refer to the primi- tians should be united in “ essertive state, as the standard.” But tial articles of faith and practice," you cannot reconcile that with “in affection," " in communion," what I say in page 243. “We in their efforts for the conversion of urge none to give up any opinions the world,” and “ in name.” It is or practice consistent with the, farther maintained that it “ should Spirit of the Gospel. We do in- be visible, too plain to be misundeed say, that all churches should derstood, and too palpable to rereceive into their communion those main a secret to any." I am not Christians whom Christ has ac- aware that this union, comes short cepted, and that they should aban- of that by which the first Christians don all party appellations, and re- were distinguished. Yet at nocognize each other by the family thing less than this, as an ultimate name given to the disciples at object do I aim; but you are aware, Antioch. But we do not purpose that in accomplishing an object so that the Calvinists, Methodists, vast, so glorious, so stupendous, Pædo-baptists and Presbyterians, time will be required, means of

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »