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his first Epistle to the Corinthians, that « Christ sent him not to baptize (evidently alluding to the baptism by water), but to preach the Gospel.” It is clear, therefore, that St. Paul did not understand his commission to refer to water; and who was better qualified to understand it than himself?
It is also stated by the Quakers, as another argument to the same point, that if the baptism in the commission had been that of water only, the Apostles could have easily administered it of themselves, or without any supernatural assistance; but in order that they might be enabled to execute that baptism which the commission pointed to, they were desired to wait for divine help. Jesus Christ said, “I send the promise of my Father
upon you. But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high ; for John truly baptized with water, but
shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence*.” Now the Quakers ask, If baptism by water had been the baptism contained in the great commissior, why could not the Apostles have
* Luke xxiv. 49.
performed it of themselves ? What should have hindered them more than John from going with people into the rivers, and immersing them? Why were they first to receive themselves the baptism of the Spirit ? But if it be allowed, on the other hand, that when they executed the great commission they were to perform the baptism of Christ, the case is altered. It became them then to wait for the divine help. For it required more than human power to give that baptism, which should change the disposition and affections of men, and should be able to bring them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God. And here the Quakers observe, that the Apostles never attempted to execute the great commission till the time fixed upon by our Saviour in these words, “ But tarry ye in the
, city of Jerusalem, until
be endued with power from on high.” This was the day of Pentecost.
After this “ they preached,” as St. Peter says, “ with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,” and with such efficacy, that “the Holy Ghost fell upon many of them who heard their words.”
Oljection to the foregoing arguments of the Qua
kers ; namely, “ If it be not the baptism of John that is included in the great commission, how came the Apostles to baptize with water?”—Practice and opinion of Peter considered—also of Paul also of Jesus Christ—This practice, as ex. plained ly these opinions, considered by the Quakers to turn out in favour of their own doctrines on this subject.
I have now stated the arguments by which the Quakers have been induced to believe that the baptism by the Spirit, and not the baptism by water, was included by Jesus Christ in the great commission which he gave to his apostles, when he requested them “ to go into all nations, and to teach them, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Against these arguments, the following question has been usually started as an objection: “ If it be not concluded in the great commission, how came the Apostles to bap
tize? or, would they have baptized, if baptism had not been considered by them as a Christian ordinance ?"
The Quakers, in answering this objection, have confined themselves to the considera-, tion of the conduct of the apostles Peter and Paul. For though Philip is said to have baptized also, yet he left no writings behind him, like the former ; nor are so many circumstances recorded of him by which they may be enabled to judge of his character, or to know what his opinions ultimately were upon that subject.
The Quakers consider the Apostles as men of the like passions with ourselves. They find the ambition of James and John, the apostasy and dissimulation of Peter, the incredulity of Thomas, the dissension between Paul and Barnabas, and the jealousies which some of them entertained towards one another, recorded in Holy Writ. They believe them also to have been mostly men of limited information, and to have had their prejudices like other people. Hence it was not to be expected that they should come all at once into the knowledge of Christ's kingdom; that, educated in a religion of 2 B 2
types * Matt. s. 16.
types and ceremonials, they should all at. once abandon these; that, expecting a temporal Messiah, they should at once lay aside temporal views; and that they should come immediately into the full purity of the Gospel-practice.
With respect to the apostle Peter, he gave early signs of the dulness of his comprehension with respect to the nature of the character and kingdom of the Messiah*; for, when Jesus had given forth but a single parable, he was obliged to ask him the meaning of it. This occasioned Jesus to say to him, “ Are ye also yet without understanding?"
In a short time afterwards, when our Saviour told him t, that he himself must go into Jerusalem and suffer many things, and be killed, and be raised again the third day, Peter took him and rebuked him; saying, “ Be it far from thee, Lord! This shall not be unto thee.”
At a subsequent time, namely, just after the transfiguration of Christ, he seems to have known so little about spiritual things,
+ Matt. xvi. 21, 22.