Imatges de pÓgina
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clusively, the early preaching and ministrations of the apostles themselves.

But admitting this to have been the more immediate and apparent allusion of the apostle, yet, that it was not confined to that, seems evident from his declaration, that the promise (clearly in part at least, of the gift of the Holy Ghost, mentioned immediately before) was to them, and to their children, and to all that were afar off, however distant in time or place. Now to whatever this promise may allude, that it cannot refer to the extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost, first exhibited on the day of Pentecost, is plain ; unless, which we know to be absurd, it be maintained, that such visible effusion of the Spirit has been the constant attendant upon Baptism ever since.

It is indeed evident from the whole narration, (though a fitter opportunity will presently occur for the discussion of that question,) that the gift of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost was itself but the sign, and the earnest of that outpouring of the Spirit, which was to distinguish the

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kingdom of the Messiah from every preceding dispensation. It being otherwise impossible to apply, even to that first and extraordinary effusion of the Spirit, the words of Joel, in which St. Peter had, in his previous address to the multitude, declared that it was predicted'. For the Spirit there spoken of was to be poured out upon all flesh; whereas the miraculous and visible gifts, were, we know, confined to the very earliest

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of the church. The other objection to our interpretation respects the justice of the inference, by which we connect the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, with Baptism : in opposition to which it is sometimes contended, that both the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, are to be considered as the consequences, not of Baptism, but of the repentance which in the dis

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C“ It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, “ I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your “ sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and

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old men shall 56 dream dreams: and on my servants and on my

hand“ maids I will pour out in those days of my Spirit.” Joel ii. 28, 29. as quoted in Acts ii. 17, 18.

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course of St. Peter is mentioned as accompanying or preceding it. And in support of this interpretation of the passage, so far at least as regards the remission of sins, St. Peter's exhortation to the multitude, in the next chapter, is urged; in which he entreats them to repent, and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out". In this latter passage it is argued, that not only Baptism is not alluded to, but that the remission of sins, apparently attributed to Baptism conjointly with repentance in the former exhortation, is so directly assigned, as the consequence of repentance and conversion only, as to exclude Baptism altogether from any participation in the work.

The principles upon which both these passages, as well as some others of a similar description, are to be explained, being the same, I shall, in endeavouring to give an answer to the objection, consider them together.

In the first place then we may observe, that, while in the words of my text the re

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mission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, are seemingly made to depend upon repentance and baptism jointly, there is no thing in the form of words used by St. Peter at the gate of the temple, though specifically calling for repentance and conversion only, which can justly be deemed exclusive of Baptism. As well might it be contended, that the words of Ananias to St. Paul, Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, were inconsistent with the repentance required in the exhortations of St. Peter before us, as that one of these exhortations, because it omits to notice, is subversive of the claims of Baptism. Both in the words of Ananias to St. Paul, and in the address of St. Peter to the multitude after the cure of the impotent man, certain things are unquestionably called for in reference to a particular effect; but in neither, in such a manner as to preclude the necessity or the utility of any other simultaneous or concurrent agency. In the one, Baptism, in the other, repentance only, is mentioned ;

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but in neither in such a way as to forbid the intervention of the other. And the fair inference from both passages, and allowing to each its due weight, would seem to be, that the two, as stated in St. Peter's first address, Repent, and be baptized, ought to go together; and by their joint operation and efficacy, procure to him, who so unites them, the benefits in other passages indifferently attributed to either. More cannot fairly be deduced, from a comparison of the words used by him with each other in the two cases, than that in his first discourse the apostle has more fully enumerated what is only partially stated in his second: and it is therefore manifestly idle to attempt, from a consideration of the form of expression only, the subversion of the interpretation already put upon the passage.

But if, from the form of expression used by St. Peter, no valid objection can be raised to that interpretation, as little can any objection be deduced from a consideration of the object of the apostle's discourse.

This was undoubtedly to induce his hearers to embrace the faith to which he was

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