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find him an altered man, as to his knowledge of spiritual things. Being called
upon, at the council at Jerusalem, to deliberate on the propriety of circumcision to Gentile converts, he maintains that God gives his Holy Spirit as well to the Gentiles as to the Jews. He maintains, again, that God purifies by Faith. And he delivers it as his opinion, that circumcision is to be looked upon as a yoke. And here it
may be remarked, that circumcision and baptism uniformly went together, when proselytes of the covenant were made, or when any of the heathens were desirous of conforming to the whole of the Jewish law,
At a time, again, subsequent to this, or when he wrote his Epistles, which were to go to the strangers all over Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he discovers himself to be the same full-grown man in spiritual things on the subject of baptism itself, in those remarkable words which have been quoted, “whose antitype, baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away
of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;" so that the last
opinion opinion of Peter on the subject of water-baptism contradicted his practice when he was but in his noviciate in Christ's kingdom.
With respect to the apostle Paul, whose practice I am to consider next, it is said of him, as of St. Peter, that he baptized.
That Paul baptized is to be collected from his own writings. For it appears' by his own account, that there had been divisions among the Corinthians. Of those who had been converted to Christianity, some called themselves after the name of Cephas, others after the name of Apollos, others after the name of Paul; thus dividing themselves nominally into sects, according to the name of him who had either baptized or converted them. St. Paul mentions these circumstances; by which it comes to light that he used water-baptism : and he regrets that the persons in question should have made such a bad use of this rite, as to call themselves after him who baptized them, instead of calling themselves after Christ, and dwelling on him alone.
“I thank God," says he, " that I baptized none of you
but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I baptized in my own name.
And I baptized
also the house of Stephanas. Besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel *.”
Now this confession of the apostle, which is usually brought against the Quakers, they consider to be entirely in their favour, and indeed decisive of the point in question. For they collect from hence, that St. Paul never considered baptism by water as any Gospel-ordinance, or as any rite indispensably necessary, when men were admitted as members into the Christian Church. For, if he had considered it in this light, he would never have said, that Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach his Gospel. Neither would he have thanked God, on account of the mere abuse of it, that he had baptized so few; for doubtless there were many among the learned Greeks, who abused his preaching, and who called it foolishness : but
yet he no where says, that he was sorry on that account that he ever preached to them; for preaching was a Gospel-ordinance, enjoined him, by which many were
# I Cor. i. 14, 15, 16.
to be converted to the Christian faith. Again, if he had considered water-baptism as a necessary mark of initiation into Christianity, he would have uniformly adopted it, as men became proselytes to his doctrines. But, among the thousands whom in all probability he baptized with the Holy Ghost among the Corinthians, it does not appear that there were more than the members of the three families of Crispus, Gaius, and Stephanas, whom he baptized with wa
But still it is contended, that Paul says of himself that he baptized. The Quakers agree to this ; but they say that he must have done it in these instances, on motives very different from those of an indispensable Christian rite.
In endeavouring to account for these motives, the Quakers consider the apostle Paul, not as in the situation of Peter and others, who were a long time in acquiring their spiritual knowledge, during which they might be in doubt as to the propriety of many customs, but as coming, on the other hand, quickly and powerfully into the knowledge of Christ's kingdom. Hence, when he bap
tized, they impute no ignorance to him. They believe he rejected water-baptism as à Gospel-ordinance, but that he considered it in itself as a harmless ceremony; and that, viewing it in this light, he used it out of condescension to those Ellenistic Jews, whose prejudices, on account of the washings of Moses, and their customs relative to proselytes, were so strong, that they could not separate purification by water from conversion to a new religion. For St. Paul confesses himself, that “ to the weak he became as weak, that he might gain the weak, and was made all things to all men, that he might by all means save some.” Of this his condescension many instances are recorded in the New Testament,—though it may be only necessary to advert to one. council of Jerusalem, where Paul, Barnabas, Peter, James, and others were present, it .
determined that circumcision was not necessary to the Gentiles*. St. Paul himself, with some others, carried the very letter of the council, containing their determination upon this subject, to Antioch, to
At the great