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the being baptized at all would be absurd; the other, that, without which no ultimate benefit is held out to a participation in the ordinance.
I will add, that as in other passages we are said by Baptism to be made partakers of the benefits accruing from the death of Christ, so here we seem to have the more especial assurance of those, which spring from his resurrection. The one indeed follow from the other in the natural order insisted upon by St. Paul, where he
that Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification"; he died, i. e. to pay the penalty, he rose to plead the payment for the remission of our sins. The expression may have a twofold meaning, either that Baptism saves us, through the application of the benefit of Christ's resurrection, without which, we are taught, our faith is vaino; or more precisely perhaps, in reference to the context and the doctrine of Baptism already set forth, it saves us, as it is itself figuratively a resur
n Rom. iv. 25.
o 1 Cor. xv. 14.
rection to a new life. And while the
general tendency of the passage, as of the entire Epistle of which it forms a part, is to enforce on Christians the necessity of a life corresponding to the great privileges and benefits to which they have been admitted; it plainly falls in, not only with the more particular declarations with respect to Baptism, to which we have already adverted, but with the whole system of mercy revealed to us in the Gospel ; of which it is one conspicuous feature, that in it the goodness of God appears, as providing beforehand, and admitting us at once to many benefits of the covenant of grace; and calling upon us to qualify ourselves afterwards for the full enjoyment of its ulterior blessings, by our conduct subsequent to our admission to those early privileges.
The extent to which this discourse has already reached, forbids my insisting on any additional corroboration of our views, which might be obtained from the prosecution of our examination, in reference to some texts, indirectly bearing upon our inquiry, which I have hitherto omitted to notice. Nor is it perhaps necessary. If those views appear, from what has been said, to be in themselves correct, and supported by a sufficient evidence, both direct and collateral; it cannot be required of us, as it would be manifestly impossible, to adduce every circumstance of confirmation, by which their propriety might be illustrated.
And having so long trespassed on your time, in the examination of the Apostolical Epistles, I will defer to our next meeting the consideration of such passages in the Gospels, as may appear calculated to throw light upon the subject under investigation ; in full confidence that the result of an inquiry into the tendency of the anticipative allusions of our Lord and his forerunner to Baptism, will be found in agreement with the conclusions drawn from the sources of information already referred to.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repent
ance : but he that cometh after me is mightier than he shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost, and with fire. FROM the consideration of the words and circumstances of institution, and from our review of those passages in the Acts and apostolical Epistles, in which the benefits of the instituted rite of Baptism are directly spoken of, or plainly alluded to, I now pass to the examination of some passages in the Gospels, in which the rite itself, or the benefits accruing from it, are referred to by our Lord himself, or his precursor, in the way of anticipation. And with the help of the results derived from our previous inquiry, I trust that any uncertainty, which might otherwise attach to the interpretation of such anticipative references, will be obviated, and that we shall thus be enabled to derive from the Word of Life himself, some
further confirmation of the views already taken of his institution. The first
passage in the Gospels, in which the Baptism of our Lord is spoken of, is that of my text; in which John the Baptist contrasts the Baptism of the Messiah with his own, in one very essential point; and a point bearing very directly upon
the subject of inquiry in these Lectures. I, says
he to the Pharisees and Sadducees who had come to his baptism, baptize you with water, unto repentance; but he who cometh after me is mightier than I; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
A distinction between the Baptism of John the Baptist and that of Jesus Christ is here plainly intimated. The words are not merely a general expression on the part of John, of his own inferiority to him, who should come after him, but a specific declaration of one point of marked inferiority; namely, in the intention and efficacy of their respective baptisms. The one, that
a Matthew iii. 11.