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Objection to the foregoing arguments of the Qua- :
kers ; namely, “ If it be not the baptism of John that is included in the great commission, how came the Apostles to baptize with water?” - Practice and opinion of Peter considered—also of Paul -also of Jesus Christ-This practice, as explained by these opinions, considered by the Quakers to turn oul in favour of their own doctrines on this subject.
I HAVE now stated the arguments by which the Quakers have been induced to believe that the baptism by the Spirit, and not the baptism by water, was included by Jesus Christ in the great commission which he gave to his apostles, when he requested them. into all nations, and to teach them, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Against these arguments, the following: question has been usually started as an objection: “ If it be not concluded in the great commission, how came the Apostles to bap
tize? or, would they have baptized, if baptism had not been considered by them as a Christian ordinance ?"
The Quakers, in answering this objection, have confined themselves to the consideration of the conduct of the apostles Peter and Paul. For though Philip is said to have baptized also, yet he left no writings behind him, like the former ; nor are so many circumstances recorded of him by which they may be enabled to judge of his character, or to know what his opinions ultimately were upon that subject.
The Quakers consider the Apostles as men of the like passions with ourselves. They find the ambition of James and John, the apostasy and dissiinulation of Peter, the incredulity of Thomas, the dissension between Paul and Barnabas, and the jealousies which some of them entertained towards one another, recorded in Holy Writ. They believe them also to have been mostly men of limited information, and to have had their prejudices like other people. Hence it was not to be expected that they should come all at once into the knowledge of Christ's kingdom; that, educated in a religion of types and ceremonials, they should all at once abandon these ; that, expecting a temporal Messiah, they should at once lay aside temporal views; and that they should come immediately into the full purity of the Gospel-practice.
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With respect to the apostle Peter, he gave early signs of the dulness of his comprehension with respect to the nature of the character and kingdom of the Messiah*;for, when Jesus had given forth but a single parable, he was obliged to ask him the meaning of it. This occasioned Jesus to say to him, Are
yet without understanding?"
In a short time afterwards, when our Saviour told him t, that he himself must go into Jerusalem'and suffer many things, and be killed, and be raised again the third day, Peter took him and rebuked him ; saying, “ Be it far from thee, Lord! This shall not be unto thee."
At a subsequent time, namely, just after the transfiguration of Christ, he seems to have known so little about spiritual things,
* Matt. xv. 16. ,
† Matt. xvi. 21, 22.
that he expressed a wish to raise three earthly tabernacles; one to Moses, one to Elias; and a third to. Jesus, for the retention of signs and shadows as a Gospel-labour, at the very time when Jesus Christ was opening the dismission of all but one, namely, “the tabernacle of God, that is with men.
Nor did he seem at a more remote por riod to have gained more large or spiritual ideas. : He did not even know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was to be universal. He considered it as limited to the Jews; though the words in the great commission, which he and the other apostles had heard, ordered them to teach all nations. He was unwilling to go and preach to Cornelius on this very account, merely because he was a Roman centurion; or, in other words, a Gentile ; so that a vision was necessary to remove his scruples in this particular. It was not till after this vision, and his conversation with Cornelius, that his mind began to be opened; and then he exclaimed, « Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
The mind of Peter began now to be opened, and to see things in a clearer light; when a new occurrence, thạt took place nearly at the same time, seems to have removed the film still more from his eyes : for, while he preached to Cornelius and the others present, he perceived that “the Holy Ghost fell upon all of them that heard his words, as on himself and the other apostles at the beginning.” Then remembered Peter the words of the Lord, how that he said, “ John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost:? that is, Peter, finding that Cornelius and his friends had received, by means of his own powerful preaching, the Holy Ghost, perceived then for the first time, to his great surprise, that he had been executing the great commission of Jesus Christ; or that he had taught a Gentiļe, and baptized him with the Holy Spirit. Here it was that he first made the discrimination between the baptism of John and the baptism of Christ.
From this time, there is reason to think that. his eyes became fully open ; for in a few. years afterwards, when we have an opportunity of viewing his conduct again, we