Page images

verily baptized with the baptism of repen-, tance, saying to the people that they should be lieve on him, who should come after, that is on Christ Jesus. Acts xix, 3. And now when the ordinance is complete, we have it from Christ himself.

And do you suppose that we can understand him to be a creature? They who deny his deity give an awkward turn to that text, He thought it no robbery to be equal with God Phil. ii. 8. They tell us, it ought to be read, he did not catch at the robbery of making himself equal with God. A wonderful act of humility indeed! But the subject I am upon, gives us an instance, that he did make himself equal with God; and though these people count it a robbery, he thought it none, and that is, in giving us the ordinance of baptism,

Or otherwise, I am sure it is out of my pow. er to defend our cause against a Jere supposing that he should plead to this purpose ; “ by what authority are you baptized, but that “ of Jesus? Yourselves own him to be a “ creature, an inferior dependant being; “ whereas our circumcision was ordered by

the most high God; and why shall one, " thật is not God, bring in a solemnity of his “ own to justle out the ordinance of him that

is? Why must a God, by office, supercede " the appointment of him who is God by na. 66 ture?"

Our Lord acts in the form of God, when he gives rules to his own house. The Jews came to him with a question about the miracles that he wrought, by what authority dost thou these

things, and who gave thee this authority That was a proper time for him to have spoke of a derivative empire, if he had not known that there was but one throne for God, and for the Lamb for ever. But the answer that he gives them is to the purpose of the argument before us: I, says he, will ask you one question, the baptism of John, whence was it, from heaven or of men ? · Had Grotius lived in those days, or had the Jerus known their own practice as well as he pretends to do, they might have answered, that John had his baptism from a custom among themselves; but though they durst not say it was from heaven, they knew it was so; from whencé I argue, that baptism never came by another authority than that of heaven. And if I did not believe, that when Christ appoint. ed it, he had all power in heaven, (and yet none but God has prepared his throne there) I would no more obey a creature by a new ordinance, than I would believe an Angel upon his preaching a new gospel. I would no more take à sacrament from Christ, than I would from Anti-christ, if he was not God; for nothing can be more scandalous to the New Testament, than that all the solemnities under the law should be appointed by God, and those under the gospel by a creature,

2. Baptizing in the name of any one, is giving up ourselves to his command; it is making him the head of our interest. This way the apostle turns his argument, when the Corinthians begun to glory ini men. Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ; was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized into the name of Paul ? 1 Cor. i. 12, 13. The strength of his reasoning lay in this, that the very baptizing into any person's name, is a virtual surrender of ourselves to his authority; and therefore as this was never done to any other than Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we declare ourselves by it, to be the servants of God.

What is there less in this solemnity, than a profession that we will be the Lord's in all the latitude of duty and devotion ; that whatever he commands we will obey? It is entering ourselves under an obligation, to walk in all the statutes of the Lord blameless. · And this is said of Christ. Nothing short of an universal resignation to his will, is what he claims, and what we owe. Christ is a son over his own house, Heb. ji. 6, 7, 12, 14. whose house we are; wherefore as the Holy Ghost says, to day if ye will hear his voice.-And with regard to him, we are exhorted to take heed, lest there be in any of us an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; for, says he, we are made partakers of CHRIST. . We are said to be under the lare to Christ, I Cor. ix. 21. Certainly then he is the great law-giver; for the law is the demand of an authority over us, and our profession of subjection to him. This is the perpetual language of the New Testament; so he that is called being a servant is the Lord's free man ; and he that is called being free is Christ's servant.

- Moses was the servant of the most high God; and does the apostle contemplate any lower character, when he calls himself the servant of JESUS CHRIST > That passage in the Old Testament (other Lords besides thee have had dominion over us, but now we will mention THY name, even thine only] would have made us afraid of saying so if we had not known that the name of Jesus is above every name. When we read that of the LORD, we shall receive the inheritance, Col. jii. 24. it is explained that we serve the Lord CHRIST. Nor should we ever have been baptized into this great name, if he was not that Lord, who bids us give him our hearts, and to whom we say without any limitation, Lord, what wilt Thou have us to do? Acts. ix. 5. For whether we live, we live unto the LORD; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; whether therefore we live or die, we are the Lord's: Rom. xiv. 8.9. Who this Lord is, you learn from the following argument; for to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of dead and living.

3. Being baptized into the name of any one, intimates that we adore his perfections. This is the uttermost act of duty, the farthest that our obedience can go. I believe Paul to have been one of the best Christians, and the most accomplished minister that ever lived ; but the reason why I would not be baptized into the name of Paul is, because he is not my Creator. All the value I have for

follo died and th of dead an the dam

him does not rise into an adoration. His qualifications were not perfections.

The disciples worshipped our Lord, when he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh; but had they not seen his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the father, John i. 14. they would not have done it, nor would he have suffered it any more than he did the young man's falling down before him. Luke xxiv. ult.

They also did it after he was gone from them, which shows they believed his omnipresence, for they would never worship a God afar off; and much less a creature afar off. And when they held him by the feet and worshipped, it was no rebuke of their conduct, to tell them so soon afterwards, that all nations were to be baptized into his name, and by his authority. Matt. xxviii. 9.

Thus would he open the womb of the prophecy, that all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations shall serve him. Ps. lxxii. 11. It is the seizure that he makes of the whole earth, which is to be the Lord's, and he the governor among the nations. Ps. xxii. 28.

Adoring is not making him what he is not, but owning him for what he is. Should we adore and worship a creature, he is no better for the action, and we are the worse. Wor. ship gives nothing to God, but acknowledges that every thing is in him. It is saying with Job, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no counsel can be with-holden from thee. Job. xlii. 2.

For a person to be baptized who does not

ship givery thing is in canst do every from thee.

« EelmineJätka »