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CHAP. which the apostle had previously announced in the III.
closing verse of the passage he had quoted from the proActs ii. 17. phet Joel, “ Whosoever shall call upon the name of the 21. Joel ii.
Lord shall be saved.” There is not therefore the slightest intimation in this portion of the sacred history that
infants were among those baptized. Immersion Relative to the question of immersion, it has been of the 3000.
strongly argued by most of the advocates of pædobaptism, that it is in the highest degree improbable that three thousand persons were immersed in the limited time which this opportunity allowed. To this objection there are several answers, either of which are perfectly adequate to refute it.
1. It is not affirmed that three thousand were baptized pressly affirmed. on this occasion ;~ They that gladly received the word
were baptized.” Three thousand were added to the church indeed; but, entirely irrespective of any bearing on the question before us, I have always considered this number to include those who had been baptized either by John or by the disciples of Christ during his lifetime, who availed themselves on the first public appearance of the church in its organized capacity to
unite with it. The act of 2. The act of baptism was by no means confined to baptizing
the apostles themselves, and sometimes not performed fined to the by them at all. It is not said they were baptized by the apostles.
apostles. Peter “commanded” that Cornelius should be baptized; and Paul, who was the instrument of the conversion of thousands, baptized very few. It certainly appears probable, that, to avoid exciting pride and party spirit in the church, the apostles generally delegated baptizing to the ministering brethren, by whom they were attended. Who were the ministers employed on this occasion is not intimated, certainly not how many.
3. "It is not a fact, as podobaptist ministers, who sel
dom attend the administration of the ordinance by im. SECT. mersion, suppose, that it occupies any considerably
II. greater portion of time to immerse than to sprinkle. Not much
time saved The time required for individuals to take their places, or by sprinkbe brought to their places, as the case may be ; the time ling.
quired to pronounce the solemn words which constitute an important part of the rite, are the same in both cases : and when the individual is placed by the side of the minister in the water, it takes no longer deliberately to immerse him, in token of thc burial of Christ, and to raise him again in token of his resurrection, than for the pædobaptist to solemnly dip his fingers in the basin and deliberately drop the water on the face of the unconscious babe. Unless therefore it is supposed that the apostles placed the multitude in rows, and sprinkled them collectively with a besom, no time worth naming could have been saved by substituting sprinkling for immersion. It is not to be believed that our esteemed friends entertain an idea so ridiculous; yet it is the only one in the least degree serviceable to them.
BAPTISM OF SIMON MAGUS AND OTHERS, AT SAMARIA.
AFTER the death of Stephen, most of the Christians Baptiems at left Jerusalem, except the apostles. Philip, the second of Acts vi. 5. the seven deacons, went to Samaria, and there “ preaching Christ” and performing many miracles, " the people with one accord gave heed to the things which he spake.” This city was the residence of the celebrated Simon Magus, (or the magician, and he also believing" was baptized. The apostles at Jerusalem hearing that Sa.
CHAP. maria had received the word, either at the request of III.
Philip or of their own accord, sent Peter and John to
lay hands on the disciples that they might receive the Acts viii. 17. Holy Ghost, in his miraculous powers. This piece of
history confirms the view we have just taken, that other ministers than the apostles usually baptized ; and this was the more reasonable, because to the apostles alone was delegated the high honour of conferring miraculous gifts by the laying on of hands. It was the desire of possessing, for selfish purposes, this apostolic privilege, which tempted Simon Magus to offer Peter money to procure its bestowment; and which indicated clearly that though his judgment was convinced of the divine origin of christianity, his heart was a stranger to its pure and benevolent spirit. That portion of the history more im. mediately pertaining to our present investigation is con
tained in the twelfth verse. Acts viji.12. “ But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning
the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were bap
tized, both men and women.” “ Men and “ Both men and women !” Were there no children women."
in Samaria ? Were there no infants in the families of the converted? Those who can trace out such probabilities, of their being children in the household of an unmarried lady, travelling extensively on account of her business, can they find no probability that there were children in the families of these “ men and women” who were baptized in Samaria ? Oh, no! Surmise and conjecture are silent here, however reasonably they might be indulged. These families must be rendered childless by the stroke of a blind criticism, since, if admitted to exist, the admission not only affords no presumption even in favour of infant baptism, but proves that children were not baptized.
This presents a suitable opportunity to observe that it sect. is by no means incumbent upon the advocate of immer
III. sion of believers as the only Scripture baptism, to prove Proof of the
negative that infants were not baptized; we might as well be asked to prove that the apostles did not dip the finger in the quired.
cup of blessing” and then put it into the child's mouth; as a large number, possibly a majority, of pædobaptists still do, and call it giving them the Lord's Supper. All admit that believers were immersed, and that immersion was baptism; those who maintain also that children were either immersed or sprinkled, have the solemn responsibility of proving that the apostles did so immerse or sprinkle infants; and, failing in this proof, they are convicted of sin, in “ running” where they are not “sent.” Why this clause, “ both men and women,” but from the foresight and benevolence of the Spirit of truth to make “ assurance doubly sure,” as to the proper subjects of baptism; and cut off all excuse for a practice which is, virtually, an interpolation of a human alteration in those writings which claim to afford a solid basis of our eternal hopes, because they are wholly divine ?
BAPTISM OF THE EUNUCH.
“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, arise, and Acts viii. 26 go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and be- 27 hold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her trea. sure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, 28 and, sitting in his chariot, read Fsaias the prophet. Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scrip- 35
CHAP. ture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their III.
way they came unto a certain water : and the eunuch said, See, Acts viii. 36 here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip
37 said, if thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he
answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down
both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized 39 him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of
the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more : and he went away rejoicing."
This transaction suggests several interesting reflections, both as to the subjects and the mode of the ordi
nance. « Preaching 1. We find that preaching Jesus includes preaching Jesus" includes
baptism. Nothing more is said than that Philip “preachpreaching ed to him Jesus ;" and yet the first stream or pool of baptism.
water that the eunuch can discern, he is perfectly acquainted with the highest of all purposes for which streams flow or pools accumulate, and exclaims with delight, “ See, here is water, what hindereth me to be baptized ?" Clearly the “ whole counsel of God” has not been preached, however fervently repentance and faith may have been urged, if the sinner is left uninformed of his immediate duty so soon as he does truly believe; and it is time that the primitive practice of preaching baptism as constantly and as simply as repentance and faith, was revived amongst all who know the truth : our brethren are less culpable in their error than ourselves if we neglect this duty. I know that many will cry out,“ sectarian spirit !” All that I have to reply is,
Brethren, there are my instructions, here is my model, both are divine; whether it be better to obey, or please God or men judge ye.'
2. The condition of baptism is here exhibited with peculiar force if thou believe with all thy heart.” Pro