Imatges de pàgina
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second might be the result of the spiritual influence, operating on the heart, by which we were enabled to lay hold of the benefit; and in that sense, we might not improperly be said to be justified by the Spirit of our God. And these two senses of justification, might, as we before observed of sanctification, without contradiction meet in the same person.

Now the first and most obvious sense of washing, as applied to Christian converts, being the material washing of Baptism, the question is, whether there is any thing in the two notions of sanctification and justification, here found in close connection with washing, or in the circumstances predicated of them, collectively or severally, namely, of their being effected in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, that should prevent our referring the passage which they thus stand connected to Christian Baptism ; whether such an union of the three would be hostile to our former conclusions with respect to that sacrament, or in agreement with them.

I think the latter; and for the following

in

reasons. First, because we have already deduced from the words of institution, the fact of a spiritual purification taking place in it; which spiritual purification, so far as it respects the cleansing operation of the Spirit on the heart of the believer, corresponds with one of the notions of sanctification. In like manner, we have found salvation attached to the rite by our Lord himself in its original appointment, and so much of this as consists in the remission of sin, the pardon of the sinner, or the being put in the situation of pardoned sinners, corresponds with one of the notions of justification

Again, that the washing of Baptism has a discriminating effect, that by it the believers in Christ are distinguished and separated from the rest of the world, and more immediately dedicated to God, can only be questioned by denying, either the peculiarity of that society which is in the New Testament so constantly opposed to the world, or the fact, that Baptism is the rite of admission into that society. But considered in this point of view, it clearly

sanctifies in the other sense of sanctification.

Further, if the Holy Ghost be the agent, by whom such an effect is produced in our minds, as enables us to lay hold upon and secure the pardon freely offered us in the Gospel; and if the Holy Ghost be, as we trust has been already satisfactorily shewn, given in or with Baptism by water, then have we every reason to consider the justification mentioned by St. Paul in the passage before us, to be, when taken in its second sense no less than in its first, the concomitant of Baptism.

It seems idle, therefore, to separate what, as the words stand, are naturally joined to gether: and the whole passage may fairly be taken, as affording a very valuable confirmation of the chief inferences already deduced, in favour of the annexation of specific and important benefits to Christian Baptism. Indeed the language of St. Paul, in this his first marked allusion to that sacrament, corresponds in a very observable manner with that of St. Peter, in his first exhortation to the assembled multitude on the day of Pentecost: Repent and be baptized, says St. Peter', (i. e. in the language of St. Paul, be washed,) every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, (in the language of St. Paul, that you may be justified,) and

ye

shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, (or in the words of St. Paul, be sanctified.)

And this interpretation of the washing here spoken of, it must be again observed, exactly adapts itself to the argument of the Apostle. For Baptism, being the introduction into the Christian society, does, in that sense, give a claim to the inheritance of the kingdom of God; and hence he

may

well forewarn those, who have been washed, sanctified, and justified, not to forfeit, as they may do, their inheritance.

With so much of the inference drawn from the preceding passage, as relates to the connection between the gift of the holy Spirit and the washing of Baptism, the language of St. Paul in the next passage to be considered very exactly harmonizes. In the

f Acts ii. 38.

thirteenth verse of the twelfth chapter of this Epistle, he asserts, that by one Spirit, we have been baptized into one bodys. An attempt has indeed been made, to infer from this text a Baptism of the Spirit, distinct from and independent of Baptism by water. But a Baptism by water being admitted at all, the supposition of a Baptism by the Spirit independent of this, would be inconsistent with the stress laid by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians", on the oneness of Baptism in the Christian church, as a motive to unity between Jew and Gentile in it. For his argument in that Epistle would be destitute of all force, if the external and the internal Baptism were not identical in time, or concomitant in operation ; if the Jew might have received the former, the Gentile the latter Baptism; the one, a Baptism of water only, the other, a Baptism of the Spirit.

The truth is, that St. Paul's position in the passage more immediately before us, is not exactly what it may appear to be, when the words are taken as above, alone, and 81 Cor. xii. 13.

h Ephes. iv. 5.

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