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these. From the confideration of which Peter Martyr has said; so that, indeed, according to almost all the prophets, especially Isaiah, the happiness of the church will be great: which it has not yet attained to, but it is probable that it will then (on the conversion of the Jews) attain to it.” We have not indeed, the least doubt, that there are many prophecies both in the Old and New Testament to this purpose the full meaning of which we ardently pray the supreme Being may teach his people by the event, the only undoubted interpreter of prophecies. It is however our duty to be modest on the head, and not rafhly intrude into the secrets of providence, nor boldly abuse, what we are neither allowed to know, nor suffered to search into.
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CH A P. XVI.
Of Baptism. 1. THE ordinary facraments of the New Testament are only
| two; baptism and the Lord's Supper. These are signalized by the express institution of our king. These were made use of by our Lord himself, to set us an example, and by this use they were consecrated to the elect. These are recommended to the Corinthians, as excellent privileges of the New Testament church, and two like them, but of an extroardinary nature, were granted to Israel in the wilderness, 1 Cor. x. 1-4. These are held forth by the apostle, i Cor. xii. 13. as sacred seals of the union and communion of believers, both with Christ, and with one another; and if there were any more of the kind, the apostle, according to his usual accuracy and diligence, would not have passed them over in silence. These in short, are sufficient to signify and seal the fulness of grace we have in Christ. For as two things are requisite to complete our happiness : first, our being absolved from our fins, and washed from our polluțion; that we may be regenerated by the communication of the Spirit of Christ to a new life of grace: and then nourished in that life of grace, that is, sustained, strengthened and increased therein, until we be promoted to the life of glory: both these are sufficiently confirmed to us by these two facraments. Our first ingrafting into Christ, and our regeneration by his Spirit, are set forth by baptism; and the nourishment of our spiritual life by the holy supper.
II. Concerning both these facraments of the New Testament We are to observe, that something corresponding to them, but
only only of ecclesiastical use, not of divine institution, was practised by the ancient Ifraelites. And herein the Lord Jesus discovers his exceeding great wisdom and goodness, that he would not difcompose the weak minds of his people, by too much innovation, but retained the ancient rites, established them by his own authority, and rendered them more illustrious, by their signifying the most noble and mystical things which depended wholly on his own inftitution. · III. And with respect to baptism, of which we are first to speak; it appears, that there was a twofold baptism in use among the Jews; the one of which they called the baptism of uncleanness or of Lustration, whereby legal uncleanness was washed away; the other, the baptism of Profelytism or initiation, whereby those of the Gentiles, who were converted to Judaism, were initiated into the church of Israel. Omitting the former, which is not so material to the present subject, we shall mention a few things concerning the latter.
IV. When a Gentile was received into the Israelitish covenant, and, as the Jews speak, became a Profelyte of righteousness, three ceremonies of initiation were used, without which even the Ifraelites themselves, according to their received notion could not enter into that covenant; to wit, circumcifion, baptifin, and sacrifice. And the Jewish masters have fixed it as a law, that this baptism is so necessary, that without it, as much as without circumcision, there can be no proselytism ; but this along with facrifice is all the initiation, that is necessary in the case of a female proselyte.'
V. The manner of baptism among the Israelites was this. ist, They examined the proselyte, who was to be initiated, with respect to the fincerity of his conversion to Judaism : whether he desired to make a profession thereof, from the hopes of riches or honours in a flourishing republic ; or from fear; or from an affection for an Israelitess: or any other such like motive that was not good. And after he declared, that his motive was the alone regard he had for God, and an unfeigned love to the divine law, they instructed him in the several articles thereof; as concerning the unity of God, the abominable nature of idolatry, the reward of obedience, and concerning the future world, and other heads of their divinity. Which after he solemnly professed to receive without the least exception, he was directly circumcised. 2dly, After the wound of circumcision was perfectly healed, he was led to baptism; which was not performed, but in the presence of Triumvirs or three men, who were the disciples of the wise 1995 Divva who could exercise judgments, that is, Ifraclites of the purest blood. It was their
business not only to take care, that every thing was duly performed, and to testify concerning this due performance, according to the practice of their ancestors : but further to instruct the person to be baptized, and already placed in the water, concerning some more, and some less, important precepts of the law. Such Triumvirs are generally in Scripture called Elohim. Christ in like manner declares, that, in the baptism of the New Testament, the Elohim are present, Mat. xxviii. 19. who are called the three witnesses in heaven, 1 John v. 7. 3dly, It was unlawful to administer baptism but in a natural current or collection of waters; as a river, lake, fountain: because according to them, none could be duly baptised in water fetched from any place, and received in artificial receptacles. 4thly, The entire body was to be plunged at once, for if but the tip of a finger was undipt, such a person was accounted to remain still in his uncleanness. Yet it was not necessary, that the person to be baptized should put off all his clothes, provided they were such, as the water could easily penetrate. Sthly, But we are especially to observe, that even little children were baptized, generally at the same time with their parents. For thus it is said in Talmud. Babylon. Tit. Erub. fol. 11. c. 1. « They baptize the little young profelyte in confequence of the mind of the Sanhedrim."
VI. The effect of this initiation was, ist, That the person so baptized, “ being taken out from among the body of the Gentiles," was accounted a son of the covenant, who was permitted “ to come and have a safe retreat, under the wings of the Divine Majesty.” 2dly, He was looked upon as one that was new born. Hence that common saying in the Talmud; “ when ever one becomes a profelyte, he is accounted an infant newly born.” For, they suppose, that fome new soul, instead of his Gentile soul, is sent down, from some palace in heaven, into the body of the profelyte, after he is once come under the wings of the Divine Majesty, and honoured with his kiss. Affertions which either have no meaning, or enigmatically signify regeneration by the Spirit of God. 3dly, The consequence of this regeneration was a new kindred ; so that he was not to look upon his former relatives (as brothers, Gisters, parents, children) as belonging to him; nay, after this regeneration, he was to have no more any heathen kindred, or stand related to those born in the time of Gentilism; just as, by the imperial law, all servile relation ceased upon manumission. Hence Tacitus says, Hift. Lib. 5. “ nor do they entertain any notion more than that of making no account of their parents, children, brethren." With which may be compared Luke xiv. 26,
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· VII. They make the first practice of this baptism to be very ancient. Some ascribe it to the patriarch Jacob, when he received into his family and domestic church the Shechemite young women and other Gentiles, who'resided with him; because it is said, Gen. xxxv. 2. “ then Jacob said unto his house. hold, and to all that were with him, put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments.” Where Aben Ezra explains the words be clean, by the washing of the body. Others derive the first testimony, or practice of this baptifm, from what is said to Mofes, Exod. xix. 10. “ Go unto the people and fanctify them to, day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes.” And again, ver. 14. “ and he sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.” Thus they would have the washing of the persons to be included in, or set forth by, the washing of their clothes. But these things are uncertain. They would have spoken more to the purpose, had they observed with Paul, that the “ Ifraelites were baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2. of which we have formerly spoken at large. It is more probable, what they say elsewhere, that, in the time of David and Solomon, when the republic of Israel was in its most flourishing state, a great number of profelytes were initiated by baptism. Whoever would know more of this baptism, and learn the testimonies of the Jews themselves, may consult Selden, de jure Nat. Ea Gen. Lib. 2. c.2 and 4. as also, de Successionibus ad leges Hebræor. c. 26. And again de Synedriis Lib. 1. c. 2. and Lightfoot on Mat. iii. 6. Also Altingu dissertat. de profelytis, Thef. xxvii. feq.
VIII. But whatever be the case as to the antiquity of that rite, no divine institution can be assigned for it prior to John, the harbinger of Christ, who was sent by God to baptize. For, this was expressly given him in charge, “ the word of the Lord came unto John,” Luke iii. 2. John i. 33. From this, however, it appears, whence it came, that the Scribes and Pharisees are never said to have found fault with John for his baptism, but that they only asked him, by what, and whose authority, he baptized ? John i. 25. hence also it was, that such numbers of people flocked to his baptism : for, he was celebrated both for his piety and doctrine; nor did he use a new rite; he taught, that the kingdom of heaven, which was ardently longed for and expected by all at that time, was at hand; exhorted every one that came to him, to suffer himself to be initiated therein, as it was now at the door, by taking upon him his baptism, and by a profession of repentance. From that time baptism was of divine institution among the Jews.
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IX. But it was not yet a facrament of the New Testament : for, as the whole of John's ministry was, as it were, something intermediate between both Testaments, and tended to prepare the way for the Lord, the author and herald of the New Testament; so, in like manner, his baptism initiated the penitent and believing into the kingdom of heaven : which indeed, was near, but not yet actually come, Mark i. 2-8. Hence Tera tullian, adversus Marcionem, Lib. 4. c. 33. calls « John the boundary set between the Old and New, at which Judaisin should terminate, and from which Christianity should begin.” Nazianzenus also, Orat. 39. quæ efi in Sancta lumina, calls him the “ middle person between the Old and New Testaments.” Yet his ministry belonged rather to the New, than to the Old Testament: as a forerunner is rightly judged to be of, and with that king, whom he precedes. Whence the baptism of John is by the author of Queft ad Orthodoxos, which we have in Justin Martyr's works, Quest. 37. called the proem or introduction to the gospel of grace. To which that baptism came nearest, which John administered unto the faith of the Messiah, now present, and manifesting himself to Israel, John i. 29, 31.
. X. I take the first baptism of the New Testament to have been that, which was administered by Christ's disciples, at the command of their master, for a confession of the presence of the Messiah, John iii. 22. Yet at that time it was confined, for the most part to the Jews. But it was made a sacrament of the universal church, after the New Testament was sealed by Christ's blood, and confirmed by his resurrection, to be preached all over the world by the apostles, who were very soon to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, Mat. xxviii. 19.
XI. John's baptism differed from that administered by Christ's disciples, not in effence, but in circumstances only. For, ift, Both were froin heaven, and grounded on God's command: which we are sure of with respect to Christ's baptism, and as to John's appears from John i. 33. Luke vii. 30. Mat. xxi. 25. 2dly, In both there was a dipping in water, Mat. iii. 11. Acts vii. 36. 3dly, Both administered into the faith and confession of Christ, Acts xix. 4, 5. 4thly, Both were a sign and seal of the remission of fins, Mat. iii. 6. Luke iii. 3. Acts ii. 38. 5thly, In the participation of both, there was an obligation to repeniance on the person : see the last text. Nevertheless they differ. ift, In that John's baptism was indeed from God, but not from Chrift, as the incarnate Mediator, acting as the king of his church. 2dly, In that, as we have faid, it was rather a preparation for, than a facrament of the New Testament. Bafil in his treatise, quoinodo baptizetur aliquis baptifmnati, quod eft in Vol. II.