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John has said it in his epistles, we are sure Matthew has it in his gospel, that “there are three who bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one."
(4.) These three are different from one another. They are spoken of in these rela. tive terms of Father and Son, to shew that they cannot be the same person. There are things ascribed to the Father, that are not true of the Son, as there are many of the Son which cannot with any possibility be said of the Father. The Father is neither the Son nor the Spirit: the Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. We read of the most high God, in his own word, under no less a distinction than a Trinity, and under no greater. There are no more than three, and there are no fewer; yet
(5.) It is plain from the language of this form, and the whole design of the ordinance, that these three are one, in nature, in the power they have over us, and the glory they have from us. So that the doctrine of baptism, the thing declared and published by it, is a Trinity of Persons in an Unity of Godhead. He that denies this, breaks the first command in having other Gods. He that conceals it, breaks the third, by taking the name of his God in vain.
I. We are baptized into no other name than that of the most high God. We do not surrender ourselves or children to any creature in distinction from him, or in conjunction with him.
(1.) To suppose that baptism is administered in the name of a creature, is a visible daring insult, upon the first and the great commandment: Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
Indeed some tell us that this is repealed. But it was time enough to have said that, when heaven and earth are passed away. Nay, it will be too soon to do it then, for when those are gone, not one sūra or tittle of the law shall perish; much less, shall the foundation of the whole be rased. Did Christ come to fulfil the minuter parts of the law, and would be strike out the greatest commandment of all ? Was he so zealous, that his Father's house should not be a den of thieves, and has he himself made it to become the habitation of Idols? They that speak against his doctrine, revile his person, and rather than allow his deity, will number him among the Idols, the Gods that have not made the heavens, and who shall perish from under these heavens. Jer. x. 1.
Baptism is not only a part of our homage, but an introduction, an obligation, and a badge to the whole. All our duty is begun by it, and comprehended in it. It is the whole life of God, the entire obedience of the believer and his seed. Whatever we do afterwards, is no more than the ratifying and expanding of our baptism. And shall we confess all this allegiance, to any other besides the living and true God? We are sure that faith cannot make void the law, and shall unbe
lief do it ? Our business in preaching faith as a doctrine, and using it as a principle, is to establish the law; but they who deny this faith are pulling down the law.
It was the glory of the written law, that it gives us no more than one God; and can any thing be said more scandalous of the gospel, than that it has given us two or three? When Joshua circumcised the children of Israel, the case was clear; there was no strange God among them. And when Peter baptized those three thousand in one day, was it more involved? If so, though they might call the place of circumcision Gilgal, because it rolled away the reproach of Egypt, our bap. tism must be Gilgal reversed, by bringing back all the Egyptian darkness and idolatry: Blessed be God, he has written the great things of his law, and there is nothing greater in it than the unity of his nature, and the prerogative of his worship, but some have either counted them, or made them strange things.
(2.) The surrender we make of ourselves is too little for God, if creatures are to share it with him. We do not worship and swear, both by the Lord and by Malcham. Zeph. i. 6. What we profess in baptism is, that we will be the Lord's. It is a virtual disclaiming of any other authority. Other Lords, besides thee, have had dominion over us; and if baptism has joined them with him, then we may say other Lords besides thee shall have dominion over us. But how frightful is such an in
tepretation of an ordinance, to those who have said, by thee only will we make inention of thy name ! If the Father is the only God exclusive of the Son and Holy Ghost, by making mention of them, we recognise other Lords besides him. We give his glory to another, which he will never do himself, nor allow in his people.
(3.) The blessings we expect from that Covenant of which baptism is the seal, are what none but the most high God can bestow. And therefore, if he had made the Son and Holy Ghost only ministering spirits, he would have taught them their distance, as he has the angels. They would never have been spoken of in such a way as to put us, upon giving them adorations, in which they ought not to be shar, ers, if they are not equals:
In baptism we declare our hope of two things that God has always kept in his own hand, though we receive them from the Son and Spirit: the one is pardon, and the other purity. ; Baptism is a pledge of the remission of our sins. And what titular God can do this ? What God is like to him, or has so much as the resemblance of him, who pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgressions of his heritage? Mic. vii. 18. It is he, even he, who blots out our sins for his name's sake ; i. e. in declara, tion to that name, which would be to no manner of purpose, if another could do it as well as he.
To say that Christ does it in a name superi
a matter then
angeln, and not
or to his own, is a matter that ought to be proved, and not delivered at random. If an angel had ever pronounced a pardon, he would have taken the same care that the apostle did, to show us that it was not done in his own name. And in whose would they do it then? Peter did it in the name of Jesus ; faith in his name gave the poor man a perfect sounds ness, Acts iv. 16. How easy then would it have been for our Lord, to have sprinkled a few qualifications, upon some of the numerous cases, in which he said without any reserve, son, daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee?
It is this that we desire and hope for in the ordinance of baptism, and therefore do it in the name of that Jesus, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins. Col. i. 14. . And thus it is as to our sanctification. He that works us for the self-same thing is God, j. e. for heaven. He draws a plan within, of the eternal house which he has prepared above. It is one hand begins and carries on the change. It is God that works in us, both to will, and to do of his own good pleasure, and yet they who are born of God, are born of the Spirit. As we are baptized into one body, so we drink into one Spirit. For the washing of regeneration we are renewed by the Holy Ghost. It is the Spirit that quickens. It is he who draw's out the whole length of conviction; who reproves the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment. These things are as truly the operations of the Spirit, as they are