Transcriber's Note: A number of typographical errors found in the original text have been corrected in this version. A list of these errors is found at the end of this book.
A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE, BUT NOT CHRISTIAN
PROVEN BY SCRIPTURE AND HISTORY CONFIRMED BY THE LIVES OF SAINTS WHO WERE NEVER BAPTIZED WITH WATER
JAMES H. MOON FALLSINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA Copyrighted, 1902
Press of The Leeds & Biddle Co. 1019-21 Market Street Philadelphia
Did Christ command his disciples to baptize with water?
Let us search the New Testament and see what it says.
We find the four evangelists and Peter each render Christ's command to his apostles in very different language.
Matthew's version is generally adduced to support water baptism.
We cannot assume that in Matthew, our Saviour's words are quoted verbatim, while Mark, Luke, John and Peter are all in error or less reliable, particularly as this part of Matthew claims for itself to have been written a long time after, as appears by the statement that "This saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."
Seven different accounts of the "apostolic commission" are given in the New Testament.
Did not each of these writers express in his own language what he understood to be Christ's command to his disciples and will not these seven different records all agree in substance if genuine?
Let us seek that interpretation which harmonizes them all and not pin our faith to the popular conception of one version alone.
We will turn first to the one only recorded allusion which our Saviour ever made to water baptism.
We here find that he commanded his apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father which, said he, ye have heard of me; for John truly baptised with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.
Ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
These are given as the last words of our Saviour before his ascension. He speaks of John's baptism as the water baptism of the past, and of Holy Spirit baptism as the baptism of the future. By this Holy Spirit baptism his apostles are to receive power to become his witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth. There is nothing whatever which implies a command to baptize with water. This whole context militates against the belief that Christ ever gave such command.
This version of the "apostolic commission" stands prominent and is worthy of double consideration because it is sustained by the testimony of Peter,  who remembered these words of our Lord, and quoted from them as being fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the household of Cornelius as he preached.
According to John's account of the commission, Christ said to his apostles, "As my Father hath sent Me even so send I you," and we read that He was sent to baptize with the Holy Spirit. Again, He commanded them to feed his lambs and feed his sheep.
John never intimates that they were sent to baptize with water.
Had Christ commanded his disciples to baptize all nations with water, John would certainly have known it, and could not have failed to report a command of such world-wide application, John's silence is further evidence that no such command was given.
There can be no baptism in the commission other than the baptism of the Holy Spirit according to John's record as we have it.
According to Luke: Christ commanded his apostles to preach among all nations repentance and remission of sin in his name, after they should be endued with power from on high.
Luke does not mention baptism, only as power from on high. Nothing which even suggests a command to baptize with water.
If such command was given Luke surely knew it. He tells us about Christ's own baptism of the Holy Spirit and his command to preach among all nations; why does he not tell us about this command to baptize these nations with water? Is it not plainly because there was no such command?
According to foot-note in our revised version, and other authorities, the two oldest known copies of Mark's record omit the twelve last verses, and another ancient manuscript, lately found, also omits them and states that they were by Aristion the elder. As the authenticity of the account of the commission in Mark's record is questioned, we omit comment, altho' we see nothing to conflict with the other six versions.
According to Matthew Christ commanded his disciples to go, teach all nations, baptizing them (not in the name, but) into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
No water is mentioned. He commanded them to baptize into the Divinity, not in water.
This harmonizes all the evangelists with both Peter and Paul.
If we reject this view and assume that in Matthew water baptism is intended to be understood, then we are compelled to believe that this interpretation of Matthew, with its formula for baptism, was conceived after the apostles' time; was unknown to them, and is a human conception and not a correct rendering of the teachings of Jesus. Because with water introduced, it stands alone and is out of harmony with the whole of Christ's teachings upon other occasions, and because it conflicts with all our other six versions of the commission; and because (as we read), the apostles and first Christians never did baptize with the formula prescribed in Matthew, which is conclusive evidence that to their understandings Christ never commanded them to do so. And again, because the apostles and first Christians did continue to baptize with water, sometimes without formula but mostly in the name of Jesus Lord or Christ. This they would not have done in defiance of Christ's command to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Upon these and many other grounds we claim that Christ never did command his disciples to baptize with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, nor in any way whatever.
According to Peter's account of the commission, Christ commanded his apostles to preach to the people. He mentions no command to baptize.
Peter did preach to the people and the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had fallen upon others of them in the beginning, at Pentecost. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he said "John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Here Peter  was made instrumental in baptizing with the Holy Spirit through Gospel preaching, and he recognized this to be the same baptism which his Lord  had promised should supercede John's water baptism  and the same as that with which they were filled eight years before, in the beginning at Pentecost, and the Pentecost baptism he said was that which the prophet Joel foretold should be poured out upon all flesh; upon sons and daughters, servants and handmaidens, and that they should prophecy.
Can anything be plainer than that this Pentecost baptism and that the baptism which was poured out upon the household of Cornelius as Peter preached, and the baptism which our Lord promised in the place of John's water baptism and the baptism which Joel foretold should be poured out upon all flesh are all one and the same baptism, and does it not follow that this is the baptism of the commission, the one baptism of the Gospel, and that this is Christian baptism and that there is no water in it?
Because Peter and others continued to baptize with water is no evidence to the contrary. They continued their old Jewish customs generally. They pronounced it necessary to abstain from certain meats. They insisted that Paul should adhere to circumcision. They refused to eat with Gentiles. With such Jewish proclivities how could they at once abandon water baptism?
Some evidently realized that John's water baptism had ended at Pentecost, but they were not prepared to drop it entirely, so sought to perpetuate it by repeating the words, "In the name of Jesus, Lord or Christ." They claimed no divine authority for using this formula and the disciples of water baptism in our day mostly discard it.
Baptism with the formula, "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" is not to be considered in connection with the apostles and first Christians, as they never mention it and evidently never practised it. Such formula was unknown at that time. It came in as an afterthought; a human invention of later date.
The great diversity in the form of expression used by each of the evangelists and Peter in defining Christ's commission to his apostles is positive evidence that they understood him to prescribe no formula for baptism and it is confirmation that no formula was given that they and the first Christians for ages adhered to no one set form of words when baptizing with water.
"In His name," as Christ is quoted by Luke, and in substance by Mark, John and Peter, always implies in, into or with his Spirit or power, and not a common given name which mortals may utter. In this name or power Christ commanded his apostles to preach.
"Into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," as in Matthew alone Christ's command is interpreted, has the same implication and not a mere name or formula which human lips may sound. To repeat these words in connection with baptism is to substitute the voice of man for the power of God.
[Footnote 1: Mat. 28.19]
[Footnote 2: Mat. 28.15]
[Footnote 3: Mat. 28.19; Mark 16.15; Luke 24.47; Jon. 20.21; Acts 1.8; Acts 10.42; 1 Cor. 1.17]
[Footnote 4: Acts 1.4, 5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 5: Acts 1.8]
[Footnote 6: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16; Acts 1.8]
[Footnote 7: Acts 11.15, 16]
[Footnote 8: Acts 10.42, 45]
[Footnote 9: Jon. 20.21; Jon. 1.33; Jon. 21.15, 17]
[Footnote 10: Luke 24.47, 49]
[Footnote 11: Luke 3.16; Luke 24.47, 49]
[Footnote 12: Mark 16.9, 20]
[Footnote 13: Mat. 28.19 R.v.]
[Footnote 14: Mat. 28.19]
[Footnote 15: Mat. 28.19; Acts 8.12, 13; Acts 8.38; Acts 9.18; Acts 16.15, 33; Acts 18.8, 25; Acts 2.38; Acts 8.16; Acts 10.48; Acts 19.5]
[Footnote 16: Acts 10.42]
[Footnote 17: Acts 11.15; Acts 10.44; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 18: Acts 10.44]
[Footnote 19: Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 20: Acts 2.4]
[Footnote 21: Acts 2.16]
[Footnote 22: Joel 2.28]
[Footnote 23: Acts 2.4]
[Footnote 24: Acts 10.44, 45]
[Footnote 25: Acts 1.5; Acts 10.16; Acts 2.16, 18; Joel 2.28]
[Footnote 26: Acts 15.28, 29; Acts 21.21, 24; Acts 11.2, 3; Gal. 2.12, 14]
[Footnote 27: Acts 2.38; Acts 8.16; Acts 10.48; Acts 19.5]
[Footnote 28: Mat. 28.19]
[Footnote 29: Luke 24.47; Mark 16.17; Jon. 16.23; Acts 10.43]
[Footnote 30: Mat. 28.19 R.v.]
Paul said of his own commission: "Christ send me not to baptize but to preach the gospel" and that "the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe."
Paul's commission was essentially the same as that given to other apostles to preach among all nations repentance and remission of sin in his name with power from on high; for there can be no salvation without repentance and remission of sin.
Had our Saviour ordained water baptism to the end of the world the four evangelists would certainly have all known it and would have testified to it as they and Peter all bear testimony to Christ's own baptism of the Holy Spirit. Paul would have known it and would not have denied it. Peter would not have said "Christ commanded us to preach to the people" without making any allusion to water baptism.
That Peter should say Christ commanded his apostles to preach to the people and never at any time intimated that he commanded them to baptize with water, certainly suggests that no such command was given and that the present popular conception of the apostolic commission has originated since Peter's time and is a human invention and has no divine authority.
Neither the apostles nor first Christians could have understood that Christ commanded them to baptize with water nor that he prescribed any formula therefor, otherwise they would have used this formula and have referred to this command as authority for their subsequent water baptism. But so far as Scripture informs, no one in those early days ever did baptize with water in the name of "The Father, Son and Holy Spirit," nor ever heard of such formula.
Sometimes they baptized in the name Jesus, Lord or Christ, but never one word about the Father nor the Holy Spirit.
Some baptized without formula, or if they did use formula it was not considered of sufficient importance to mention.
They baptized with water before Christ gave them their commission, and continued to baptize in the same way after, which is another proof that their authority for water baptism did not originate in Christ's command. Nearly thirty years after Christ, some believers who were fervent in Spirit and instructed in the ways of the Lord, continued to baptize with John's baptism and we don't know how much longer it continued.
When was Christ's command first quoted as authority for water baptism?
Not in apostolic times, not until long after.
When did man first presume to baptize with water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Some of our oldest writings indicate the use of this formula in some places, probably in the early part or middle of the second century. Yet, Schaff, who was familiar with all these old records, says this formula is not traceable in its present shape earlier than the fourth century.
Evidently the apostles and first Christians continued to baptize with water, because it was a conspicuous feature in the special mission of John the Baptist as well as a Jewish rite in which they and their fathers were educated. They had no thought of Christ's command as authority for water baptism.
Paul said plainly that he had no such authority. Christ sent him not to baptize but to preach the Gospel.
Paul thanked God that he had baptized so few. He could not have spoken thus slightly of Christian baptism. It must have dawned upon him that in the fulness of the Christian dispensation there was no place for water baptism; otherwise how could he thank God that he had baptized so few? What dispenser of water baptism could give such thanks in this day? Paul circumcised Timothy, and perhaps Titus, because of the Jews. Did he not baptize those few with water for the same pacific purpose, or did he not at first receive full light upon this subject?
Some assume that Christ gave others authority to baptize which did not extend to Paul.
We cannot believe that all Christ's ministers to the end of the world were commissioned to baptize with water, Paul only rejected. This reflects unjustly upon Paul, the great apostle to us Gentiles. Is it not a mere evasion of the gospel truth here and elsewhere inculcated, that Christ gave no commission to baptize with water?
John the Baptist was sent or commissioned to baptize with water and the Holy Spirit once descended as John baptized with water.
The apostles were commissioned to go preach the Gospel after they should be endued with power from on high.
We read that the Holy Spirit descended as the apostles preached the Gospel.  Neither the apostles nor disciples were ever commissioned to baptize with water; and so far as we read, the Holy Spirit never descended as they did baptize with water.
[Footnote 31: 1 Cor. 1.17; Acts 13.47; Rom. 1.16]
[Footnote 32: Luke 24.47; Luke 24.49]
[Footnote 33: Mat. 28.19; Mat. 3.11; Mark 1.8; Luke 3.16; Jon. 1.26, 33; Acts 11.16; 1 Cor. 1.17; Acts 10.42]
[Footnote 34: Acts 2.38; Acts 8.16; Acts 10.48; Acts 19.5; Acts 8.12, 13]
[Footnote 35: Acts 8.38; Acts 9.18; Acts 18.8, 25; Acts 16.15, 33]
[Footnote 36: Jon. 4.2]
[Footnote 37: Acts 18.25; Acts 19.3, 5]
[Footnote 38: "The Ante-Nicene Fathers"; "The teachings of the twelve Apostles"; Ecclesiastical History Vol. 1, P. 164]
[Footnote 39: 1 Cor. 1.17]
[Footnote 40: 1 Cor. 1.14]
[Footnote 41: Acts 16.3; Gal. 2.3, 5; 1 Cor. 1.14]
[Footnote 42: 1 Tim. 2.7]
[Footnote 43: 2 Tim. 1.11]
[Footnote 44: 1 Cor. 1.17]
[Footnote 45: Jon. 1.33; Mark 1.10; Luke 3.22]
[Footnote 46: Luke 24.47, 49; Acts 1.4, 8; Acts 10.42, 45; Acts 11.15, 16]
[Footnote 47: 1 Cor. 2.4; 1 Thes. 1.5; 1 Peter 1.12]
WATER BAPTISM IN HISTORY AS A PAGAN AND JEWISH RITE.
From the writings of Grotius we gather that some ancients baptized with water in memory of the world being saved from the waters of the deluge.
Bancroft says: It is related by all the old Spanish historians that when the Spaniards first visited Yucatan they found baptism administered to both sexes between the ages of three and twelve: It was the duty of all to have their children baptized, for by this ablution they believed they received a purer nature and were protected against evil spirits and misfortune. None could marry without it.
Some baptised their children with ceremonies, which in many points resembled those in use among Christians.
Smith in his Bible dictionary says: It is well known that ablution or bathing was common in most ancient nations as a preparation for prayers and sacrifice or as expiatory of sin.
There is a natural connection in the mind between the thought of physical and spiritual pollution. In warm countries this connection is probably closer than in colder climates; hence the frequency of ablution in the religious rites of the East.
The history of Israel and the law of Moses abound with such lustrations. The consecration of the high priest deserves special notice. It was first by baptism then by unction and lastly by sacrifice.
From the gospel history we learn that at that time ceremonial washings had been greatly multiplied by traditions of the doctors and elders. The most important and probably one of the oldest of these traditional customs was the baptism of proselytes.
These usages of the Jews will account for the readiness with which all men flocked to the baptism of John the Baptist.
Schuerer in his history of the Jewish people devotes several pages to giving reasons for believing that the Jews baptized proselytes long before the coming of Christ.
Dean Stanley says baptism is inherited from Judaism.
Many other good authorities might be quoted to support the belief that water baptism and other ordinances were greatly multiplied among many Jews during the last few hundred years before Christ. There are no Scripture writings which cover this period.
Tylor says: The rites of lustration which hold their places within the pale of Christianity are in well marked connection with Jewish and Gentile ritual.
Baptism by water, the symbol of the initiation of the convert, history traces from the Jewish rite to that of John the Baptist and thence to the Christian ordinance.
As we understand, the Christian ordinance here referred to by Tylor, is traceable through many modifications back to those carnal ordinances, those weak and beggarly elements, which Paul says were imposed until the time of reformation. It has no authority from Christ and is therefore not Christian baptism.
As we read: Pagans of old baptized the face. Under the law of Moses the hands were baptized. John the Baptist baptized the whole body. Our Saviour baptized the feet. Now Christians complete the cycle and again as of old baptize the face.
Some early Christians deferred water baptism to middle life or old age and many were never so baptized. Now Christians insist upon infant baptism.
Some early Christian said: If only one finger remains above water the baptism is not valid. Now Christians say: "A few drops of water are as good as a river."
What shall we say? Wisdom answers. Let us hold to what Christ says: "John indeed baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
We learn from the Brahmins on the Ganges, and the dwellers by the Nile and from explorers all around the world that water baptism was administered as an ancient religious rite among many so called heathen nations when first discovered.
Some we read baptized to appease the wrath of the Gods and to expiate sin.
Some Christians now claim that by water baptism a child of wrath becomes a child of Grace and sins are washed away.
The similarity of these two ideas, one Pagan and the other Christian, suggests a common origin far back in the ages before man learned that God is love and that Jesus likened the Kingdom of Heaven to little children without baptism.
Augustine who, in the fifth century, formulated from previously conceived theories the dogma of original sin and baptismal regeneration, was himself educated a Pagan and was well versed in that culture, and it impressed itself upon his writings and the church which adopted them.
The little children which Jesus took in his arms and blessed and to whom he compared the heavenly kingdom were Jews, and Jews did not baptize their children.
That, same loving Jesus, who blessed those children in Judea, we do believe now blesses our little ones and is watching over them for good and that to these also the heavenly kingdom is compared. To His tender care and keeping we reverently commit ourselves and them, and we do feel that for us it would be sinful to distrust this loving Saviour and turn to man for carnal baptism.
Justin Martyr, a prominent Christian writer of the second century said to Typho (a Jew): "John was a prophet among your nation after which no other appeared among you. He cried as he sat by the River Jordan: I baptize you with water to repentance but he that is stronger than I shall come whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
In all the scriptures from Genesis to Revelations we find no intimation of any other Christian baptism, only this one baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Feet washing was administered by Christ  and impressively commended to his disciples but it is plainly not the one baptism of the gospel.
From time immemorial some Pagans all around the world baptized with water.
By the law given through Moses the Jews baptized with water.
John the Baptist was sent to baptize Jews with water. But no one was sent to Baptize us Gentiles with water. God sent his son to baptize us with the Holy Spirit. All flesh, Jews and Gentiles, are objects of this one baptism.
This is the one baptism of the Gospel and we know of no other.
[Footnote 48: Bancroft's Native Races; Vol. 2, P. 260; Vol. 2, P. 269; Vol. 2, P. 282]
[Footnote 49: Vol. 3, P. 370]
[Footnote 50: Under Baptism]
[Footnote 51: Mat. 15.2, 3; Mark 7.5, 9]
[Footnote 52: Mat. 3.5, 6]
[Footnote 53: The Jewish People in the time of Christ Vol. 2, P. 320]
[Footnote 54: Christian Institutions P. 6]
[Footnote 55: Primitive Culture by Tylor Vol. 2, P. 440; Vol. 2, P. 441]
[Footnote 56: Heb. 9.10; Gal. 4.9]
[Footnote 57: Jon. 13.4, 17]
[Footnote 58: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 59: Epistle of Jon. 4.8, 16; Mat. 18.2, 4; Mark 10.13, 16; Luke 18.16]
[Footnote 60: Britanica]
[Footnote 61: Mark 10.13, 16; Luke 18.16]
[Footnote 62: Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1, P. 219]
[Footnote 63: Jon. 13.1, 15]
[Footnote 64: Exodus 29.4, 40.12]
[Footnote 65: Leviticus 8.4, 6; Jon. 1.31, 33]
[Footnote 66: Jon. 1.33, 34; Acts 2.17, 18; Acts 10.45; Acts 11.15, 16]
[Footnote 67: Joel 2.28]
John the Baptist was sent before Christ to prepare the way before him.
John was a prophet of dispensation previous to Christ. He was in the desert until the time of his showing unto Israel. In the vision he was with Moses on the Mount and they talked with Jesus. He with Moses vanished and left Jesus alone.
John said: That he (Jesus) should be manifest unto Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. John defines his commission as only to Israel (the Jews). His baptism was adapted to Jews only and not to us, who according to Jewish classification are Gentiles. Evidently John baptised Jews only and no Gentiles.
It was unlawful for Jews to keep company or come unto Gentiles and there is no intimation that John ignored this Jewish law.
The woman of Samaria wondered that Jesus (a Jew) asked water of her, a Samaritan, for Jews had no dealings with Samaritans.
Even in apostolic times we have no record that any full Gentile was baptized with water; nor that any one born of Christian parents was so baptized.
Cruden says: Naaman, Cornelius and the Eunuch were all proselytes of the gate and not full Gentiles.
The Samaritans were a mixed race who observed the law of Moses. They also were Jewish proselytes and not full Gentiles. When the Jews numbered the people they did not count the Gentiles. So all Jerusalem and Judea whom John baptized would not include the few Gentiles who lived among the Jews.
The freedom with which the Jews followed John to the Jordan indicates that they were previously familiar with water baptism.
But few of that great multitude whom John baptized appear to have become the disciples of Christ.
John said: "There cometh one after me mightier than I, whose shoe latchets I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water but he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit." And again: "He must increase but I must decrease."
Christ said: "John truly baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Peter quoted this saying of our Lord and recognized this Holy Spirit baptism to be the same as that which the prophet Joel foretold should be poured out upon all flesh, upon sons and daughters, servants and handmaidens.
Two baptisms are here contrasted by John, Christ and Peter. Baptism of water must decrease with John and Judaism. Baptism of Spirit must increase with Christ and Christianity.
To whom can we turn with more confidence for knowledge about all baptisms ordained or intended for us than unto John the Baptist whom we are told was sent to administer one baptism, and unto Christ who was the author of another baptism?
Three times in eight verses John says his baptism is of water, thus distinguishing it from Christ's baptism without water.
They are both quoted as testifying to two dissimilar and distinct baptisms administered at different times, one with water and the other without.
Neither of them intimates that these two baptisms shall ever be united, but they do both plainly intimate that they shall not be united, and that the first shall pass away and the second remain, and no other be introduced.
John says: He (Christ) shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit; but John never says that he nor anyone else shall ever baptize you with water.
Christ says: Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit, but he nowhere even intimates that we shall ever be baptized with water, nor does he ever mention water baptism but once, and this was with his last words when he introduced his own baptism of the Holy Spirit as its immediate successor.
As Peter interprets the Prophet Joel: All flesh, sons and daughters shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit; but Joel never prophesied that they should be baptized with water.
If in these gospel days we were to have been baptized with water, would not Joel have prophesied of water as well as of Spirit?  Would not our Saviour at some time have intimated that water baptism should be continued and have given some instructions about it? And would he not have baptized his apostles in this way? Would John when teaching that great multitude of Jews on the banks of the Jordan have impressed upon them that water baptism was only transient and that they would all need to be baptized again with the Holy Spirit?
John baptized his disciples with water. Christ called to his disciples, "Follow Me." Christ did not baptize with water. He is calling to-day, "Follow Me." The apostle John says: Jesus tarried with his disciples in Judea and baptized; tho' Jesus baptized not but his disciples.
Jesus here sanctioned water baptism by his presence for a short time and then departed, but he never baptized with water himself, nor directed others to do so, nor gave any instructions about it.
He likewise sanctioned circumcision, and the law of Moses generally. It was observed all around him and he did not object. He sent the cleansed leper to the Jewish priest to offer for his cleansing as Moses commanded.
This offering which Moses commanded was two birds and cedar wood and three lambs without blemish, &c.
Shall all cleansed lepers of our day do as this one was commanded? Shall we keep the law of Moses, circumcise our children and baptize with water, because Jesus sanctioned it in Judea?
Jesus, his disciples and the Judeans were all Jews and this was under the law before Christian baptism had superceded water baptism at Pentecost. Of course they baptized with water, circumcised the flesh and kept the law of Moses; but this is no precedent for us whether Jews or Gentiles in these gospel days; since the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all flesh in all the fulness we are able to bear.
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, saying "Suffer it to be so now,"  thus indicating that it should not be so always. He was also circumcised, and in after life confirmed his early circumcision by fulfilling and not destroying the law and the prophets, and by sending the cleansed leper to offer as Moses commanded, and by sending his apostles before Pentecost to preach to Israel (the circumcised) but not to Gentiles (the uncircumcised) until the son of man be come.
He here recognized the covenant of circumcision which God gave to Abraham and that it was not yet fulfilled. He virtually said of circumcision the same that he had previously said of water baptism, "Suffer it to be so now." But we find no manifestation of his will that we should continue to observe the covenants and customs of that dispensation of which water baptism was one; and he never made any distinction whatever in favor of it but with his last words introduced his own baptism of the Holy Spirit as its immediate successor.
Jesus exclaimed upon the cross: "It is finished," and the law and the prophets were fulfilled.
He opened to us a more excellent way under his own glorious gospel dispensation of which that of Moses was a shadow. He took away the first covenant that he might establish the second. He purchased our redemption by his blood shed on Calvary. He died and was buried, he arose and ascended. Angels said to his disciples: Why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem and tarried there as Jesus had previously commanded them. Upon the day of Pentecost he came again as the angels had said and as he had often promised his apostles and disciples.
He came as the comforter, the Holy Spirit to teach us all things and to abide with us forever.
By this one spirit are we now all baptized into one body, Jews and Gentiles, Bond and Free, male and female, all one in Christ Jesus. All flesh, sons and daughters, servants and handmaidens, old and young.
By no other baptism can we all be baptized into one body. Water baptism diverts from this, one baptism into one body.
Farrar says: "That this first Pentecost marked an eternal moment in the history of mankind no reader of history will surely deny. Undoubtedly in every age since then the sons of God have to an extent, unknown before, been taught by the Spirit of God; undoubtedly since then to an extent unrealized before we may know that the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in us. Undoubtedly we may enjoy a nearer sense of union with God in Christ than was accorded to the saints of the old dispensation and a thankful certainty that we see the days which kings and prophets desired to see and did not see them, and hear the truths which they desired to hear and did not hear them, and that this new dispensation began henceforth in all its fulness."
[Footnote 68: Mark 1.2; Luke 3.4]
[Footnote 69: Luke 7.27; Jon. 3.28; Mat. 17.1, 8]
[Footnote 70: Mark 9.4, 8; Jon. 1.31]
[Footnote 71: Luke 1.80; Mat. 17.1, 8]
[Footnote 72: Mark 9.2, 8; Luke 9.28, 36]
[Footnote 73: Jon. 1.31]
[Footnote 74: Acts 10.28]
[Footnote 75: Jon. 4.9]
[Footnote 76: Concordance under Proselyte]
[Footnote 77: Britanica]
[Footnote 78: Mat. 3.5]
[Footnote 79: Mat. 3.5, 6]
[Footnote 80: Mark 1.7; Mark 1.8; Jon. 1.26, 33; Jon. 3.30]
[Footnote 81: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16; Acts 11.16; Acts 2.16, 18; Joel 2.8]
[Footnote 82: Jon. 1.6, 34; Mark 1.8; Acts 1.4, 5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 83: Jon. 1.26, 33]
[Footnote 84: Acts 1.4, 5; Acts 11.16; Jon. 3.30]
[Footnote 85: Jon. 1.33]
[Footnote 86: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 87: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 88: Acts 2.16, 18; Joel 2.28, 29]
[Footnote 89: Acts 2.16, 18; Joel 2.28, 29]
[Footnote 90: Mat. 3.11; Mark 1.8; Luke 3.16; Jon. 1.26, 33]
[Footnote 91: Mark 1.4, 5]
[Footnote 92: Mat. 4.19; Mat. 9.9]
[Footnote 93: Jon 4.2]
[Footnote 94: Mark 2.14; Luke 5.27]
[Footnote 95: Jon. 3.22; Jon. 4.2]
[Footnote 96: Jon. 3.22; Jon. 4.2, 3]
[Footnote 97: Jon. 7.22, 23; Luke 2.21, 24]
[Footnote 98: Luke 5.14]
[Footnote 99: Leviticus 14]
[Footnote 100: Mat. 3.15]
[Footnote 101: Luke 2.21]
[Footnote 102: Mat. 5.17; Luke 5.14]
[Footnote 103: Mat. 10.5; Mat. 10.23]
[Footnote 104: Acts 7.8]
[Footnote 105: Mat. 3.15]
[Footnote 106: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 107: Jon. 19.30]
[Footnote 108: 1 Cor. 12.31; Col. 2.14, 17]
[Footnote 109: Heb. 10.1, 9; Heb. 9.13, 28; Heb. 9.12]
[Footnote 110: Acts 1.11]
[Footnote 111: Acts 1.12; Acts 1.4; Acts 24.49; Acts 2.1, 18; Jon. 16.16, 22]
[Footnote 112: Jon. 14.16, 21]
[Footnote 113: 1 Cor. 12.13; Gal. 3.28; Acts 2.16, 18]
[Footnote 114: Life of St. Paul P. 52]
WATER BAPTISM AND CHRISTIAN BAPTISM
Water is not to be understood whenever baptism is named; neither is baptism to be understood whenever water is named. There are many baptisms without water mentioned in Scripture and elsewhere.
The four evangelists and Peter each define two different and distinct baptisms following closely after each other. First John's baptism of water, then Christ's baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our Saviour also testified to these two independent baptisms but to no other baptism as the result or successor of these two. He speaks of one as past and of the other as yet to come.
Many years later, Paul said there was only one baptism; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
One of these two baptisms which Christ and all the evangelists tell us about must have ended before Paul wrote. Which baptism had ended? Which remains? Can any Christian doubt which baptism remains to us? Christ's death, resurrection, ascension and return at Pentecost had all intervened between the time when John told the Jews of two baptisms and the time when Paul claimed there was but one. During this time Christ had blotted out ordinances and nailed them to his cross. He made no reservation 3 of water baptism. It went with the rest.
Christian baptism came in fullness; water baptism ended.
Near the close of Peter's ministry he said: The baptism which now saves is not the putting away the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Putting away the filth of the flesh evidently here refers to Jewish purification by water baptism. Peter says this is not the baptism which now saves. The baptism which now saves is the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This answer of a good conscience toward God can refer to no other baptism than that of the Holy Spirit which Jesus said was the promise of the Father to follow or supercede John's water baptism. It is also called the gift of the Holy Spirit, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. And again it is called the earnest of the Spirit. This is the baptism which Peter recognized as that which was foretold by the prophet Joel: In the last days saith God I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. On my servants and on my handmaidens will I pour out of my Spirit and they shall prophecy.
These are the Gospel days in which we now live. This is the one baptism ordained to remain.
Churchmen say: Burial with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6-2) is figurative, a mortification of our lusts; not a literal burial in water.
We heartily accept this church teaching and suggest that baptism into Christ and crucifixion with Christ are no more literal.
We see no more water about baptism into Christ than we see wood in the cross upon which all Christ's children must be crucified.
Church catechism teaches that "baptism is generally necessary to salvation." As an apology for introducing this extrinsic word "generally," they say the thief upon the cross was evidently saved without baptism.
As we understand this is all contrary to Scripture teaching, one error calls for another and the catechism leads astray. There is no "generally" about Christ's teaching. He said positively, Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit; and again he said, Ye must be born again. Without this new birth and baptism we see no hope of salvation.
The thief was evidently baptized upon the cross with this saving baptism and was born again without water, and was thus prepared for the paradise which Jesus promised him. He experienced repentance, forgiveness and remission of sin.
Simon the Sorcerer was baptized presumably with water; was he born again? We are told that he remained in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity and that his heart was not right in the sight of God.
Altho' apostles baptized Simon with water he was evidently not born again. Altho' admittedly not baptized with water the repentant thief was born again.
Paul said, as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Had Simon put on Christ, his heart would have been right in the sight of God, not in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity.
According to Paul's teaching, Simon was not baptized into Christ; but the repentant thief was baptized into Christ and put on Christ.
The bond of iniquity in which water baptism left Simon bound is a poor recommendation to the rite. Has it improved since that early day, or is the gall of bitterness less pungent, or has the sight of God become dimmed?
The New Testament makes no connection between new birth and water baptism.
Baptism, not of water, but of the Holy Spirit, makes the heart right. By resisting this baptism we fail to be baptized into Christ. By yielding to this baptism we become our Saviour's new born children, baptized into Christ and buried with him in baptism. This baptism is freely offered to every son and daughter of Adam.
Those of every land who never saw the Scriptures nor ever heard of Jesus with outward ear may be baptized with this saving baptism and be born again without instrumentality.
There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God. Our Saviour left us not dependent on book, man or water for salvation. His love is universal and unbounded; he tasted death for every man.
This is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws in their minds, and in their hearts will I write them.
Paul says, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." This does not imply that this grace has appeared to all men in the same way and fulness, but it does imply that it appears to every conscience with sufficient fulness to bring salvation if listened to and obeyed.
He now stands at every door and knocks; if we open the door he will come in and sup with us. If we love him he will abide with us; but we must heed his gentle knocks, his still, small voice, and open the door.
Churchmen say: The visible church, comprising persons good and bad, saints and sinners, is the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Heaven, and that the door of entrance is water baptism duly administered.
Paul tells the Corinthians, the Gallatians and the Ephesians, each in nearly the same language, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Of fornication, wrath, strife, drunkenness, revellings, and such like, Paul says: I tell you plainly, they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, goodness, temperance, etc. Again, he says the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
By Paul's whole teaching those who yield the fruit of the spirit—love, joy, peace, &c., are the inheritors of this heavenly kingdom and the unrighteous are rejected.
Again Paul says: Some of those Corinthians who were once unrighteous were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God. He said they were not inheritors of this kingdom while they were unrighteous.
Membership in the visible church at Corinth did convey this inheritance. They had to be washed, sanctified and justified (not in water, but) in the name or power of the Lord Jesus and in the spirit of our God. They had to be washed in the Spirit of our God before they could enter his kingdom.
In four of Paul's epistles he recognizes the Spirit at the door of entrance to this kingdom. He mentions it seven times in ten verses in this connection, but nothing whatever about water baptism.
Paul knew of no door to this kingdom by way of water baptism or he would have told us of it, for this door and how we may enter is just what Paul was emphasizing.
Our Lord's memorable Sermon on the Mount, which occupies the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of Matthew is mostly about this heavenly kingdom, the blessed who possess it, the unrighteous who cannot enter and how we may all attain it, but not one word about water baptism.
This ancient ordinance was far away from the mind of our Lord amid the dim and receding shadows of Judaism when he taught that multitude on the Mount and gave his kingdom to his saints, the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, the meek and the merciful, and encouraged us all to seek first this kingdom, which he said those only can enter who do the will of our Father in Heaven. The kingdom of God is mentioned more than sixty times and the kingdom of Heaven twenty times in the New Testament but water baptism is never once named nor alluded to in any of those eighty texts.
This silence impressively suggests that water baptism is entirely foreign to this kingdom and must belong to another dispensation.
Plainly no door of entrance to this kingdom by way of water baptism had been discovered at the time the New Testament was written. Jesus said that he himself was the door to this sheepfold and that he is a thief and a robber who climbs up some other way.
We read that John baptized with water but Jesus should baptize with the Holy Spirit, and with fire; and again: Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God; and again: Except a man be born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.
This birth from above; this birth by water and the Spirit; and this baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire are all three plainly one and the same divine operation and there is no water baptism either mentioned or implied: Yet man who is prone to substitute the letter which killeth for the spirit which giveth life, long ago perverted this testimony of Christ to Nicodemus by construing "born" to mean "baptized" and thus by changing one Scripture word he would close the kingdom of God against his fellow man who would not come to him and be baptized with water.
But we trace through history from the beginning a seed or remnant who constantly protested against such sacramentalism and by legions sealed their testimonies with martyr's blood.
With the Bible, which was long forbidden, now open to all, how can we of this enlightened day still adhere to such idle dogma or ever quote these words of Christ to Nicodemus as authority for any water baptism? By this whole context and by all of Christ's relevant sayings upon the Mount and elsewhere he had no allusion to water baptism. Had he meant baptized he would have said baptized and not born.
Just as Christ said: We must surely be born of water and the Spirit and we must just as surely be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, but we shall no more be born of material water than we shall be baptized with material fire.
Neither is Christ's fan material nor his axe at the root of the tree, nor are the waters which he said should flow from the bodies of believers, nor the waters which he promised should be in them a well of living water springing up unto everlasting life; nor the living fountains of water, where God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Neither shall we be tried and refined literally as gold and silver; nor purged literally as a fuller purges with material soap.
These fires, fountains, births, baptisms, waters, &c., are all spiritual. The purifications are symbols of our spiritual regeneration and preparation for the kingdom of God which the unrighteous shall neither inherit nor enter.
Like those Corinthians we must be washed, sanctified and justified in the name or power of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God; be saved by the washing of regeneration and the renewings of the Holy Spirit shed upon us abundantly by Jesus Christ our Saviour.
We must be circumcised and crucified as well as washed and baptized.
We must be crucified upon a cross which we may often carry but with outward eyes can never see. We must be circumcised in Christ and buried with him in baptism. We must be baptized into Christ. Put on Christ. We must be circumcised of heart in the Spirit by the circumcision of Christ.
As instructed by Scripture we accept this circumcision without hands, and this baptism and washing without water, and do most firmly believe that our Saviour never commanded nor intended any other.
[Footnote 115: Mat. 3.11; Mark 1.8; Luke 3.16; Jon. 1.26, 33; Acts 11.15, 16; Acts 1.4, 5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 116: Eph. 4.5]
[Footnote 117: Col. 2.14; Acts 1.4, 5; Acts 2.1, 3; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 118: 1 Peter 3.21]
[Footnote 119: 1 Peter 3.21]
[Footnote 120: Acts 1.4, 5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 121: Acts 10.45; Acts 4.31; Eph. 5.18; 2 Cor. 1.22; Acts 2.17, 18; Joel 2.28]
[Footnote 122: Nelson R. Boss on the Prayer Book P. 102]
[Footnote 123: Rom. 6.3; Rom. 6.6; Gal. 3.27]
[Footnote 124: Gal. 5.24; Gal. 6.14]
[Footnote 125: What is Christ's Church? Hammond P. 177, P. 278]
[Footnote 126: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16; Jon. 3.3, 7]
[Footnote 127: Luke 23.39, 43]
[Footnote 128: Acts 8.13; Acts 8.23; Acts 8.21]
[Footnote 129: Acts 8.13]
[Footnote 130: Gal. 3.27]
[Footnote 131: Acts 8.21, 23]
[Footnote 132: Gal. 3.26, 27]
[Footnote 133: Rom. 6.4]
[Footnote 134: Acts 2.16, 21; Acts 10.34, 35; Joel 2.28, 29]
[Footnote 135: 1 Cor. 12.6]
[Footnote 136: Heb. 2.9]
[Footnote 137: Heb. 8.10, 13]
[Footnote 138: Titus 2.11]
[Footnote 139: Rev. 3.20]
[Footnote 140: Jon. 14.23]
[Footnote 141: What is Christ's Church? Hammond P. 31, 71, 86]
[Footnote 142: 1 Cor. 6.9, 11; Gal. 5.21; Eph. 5.5; Gal. 5.21; R.v. Margin; Gal. 5.22; Rom. 14.17]
[Footnote 143: 1 Cor. 6.10, 11; R.v.; 1 Cor. 6.9]
[Footnote 144: 1 Cor. 6.11]
[Footnote 145: 1 Cor. 6.11; R.v.]
[Footnote 146: Rom. 14.17; 1 Cor. 6.11; Eph. 5.9, 18; Gal. 5.16, 25]
[Footnote 147: Mat. 5.3, 12; Mat. 5.20]
[Footnote 148: Mat. 7.21, 23]
[Footnote 149: Jon. 10.1, 7]
[Footnote 150: Mat. 3.11; Luke 3.16; Jon. 3.5]
[Footnote 151: Jon. 3.3; Margin R.v.]
[Footnote 152: Jon. 3.3 R.v.; Mat. 3.11; Luke 3.16]
[Footnote 153: See in this Article P. 39 to 44]
[Footnote 154: Jon. 3.3, 5]
[Footnote 155: Jon. 3.5; Luke 3.16; Mat. 3.11; Jon. 7.38, 39]
[Footnote 156: Mat. 3.10, 12; Luke 3.9, 17; Jon. 4.10, 14]
[Footnote 157: Rev. 7.17; Zech. 13.9; Mat. 3.2]
[Footnote 158: Mat. 7.21; Gal. 5.21]
[Footnote 159: 1 Cor. 6.10, 11 R.v.; Titus 3.5, 6]
[Footnote 160: Philippians 3.3; Rom. 6.6; Mat. 16.24; Gal. 2.20; Col. 2.11, 12; Gal. 3.27; Rom. 2.29; Col. 2.11]
[Footnote 161: Col. 2.11, 16; 1 Cor. 6.11 R.v.]
Some maintain that water baptism is a means of Grace. Others define it as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual Grace.
We have no record that our Saviour ever taught any such doctrines.
Grace is mentioned in the New Testament more than one hundred times but water baptism is never once alluded to in connection with Grace in any way whatever.
We cannot believe that our Saviour ordained water baptism as a means or sign of Grace to his children forever, when neither He nor his disciples ever mentioned it or even remotely alluded to it—so far as Scripture informs—in all of those one hundred texts wherein Grace is so variously and impressively commended to us.
We are forced to believe that this whole theory of baptismal grace was conceived by man; was modified by the reformation and now might be entirely abandoned as adverse to the teachings of Christ and repugnant to sound reason.
WATER BAPTISM AND CIRCUMCISION
Some assume that Christ, by his apostles and disciples, instituted water baptism as the Christian successor of Jewish circumcision. Scripture testimony conflicts with this assumption. "The Acts of the Apostles" indicate that these apostles were mostly tenacious of Jewish customs and only gradually comprehended the universal and spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom in its noon-day brightness.
They looked for a Jewish kingdom with Christ as earthly king, and of course to retain in some way their existing customs. They called all who were not Jews, uncircumcised Gentiles. But few of the apostles would sit at table with Gentiles or eat in their houses.
Peter required a vision before preaching the Gospel to Gentiles, and gave as his reason for hesitation that it was unlawful for Jews to keep company or come unto those of another nation.
Other apostles censured Peter for making the freedom with Gentiles which he sometimes did. Some insisted that Gentile converts to Christianity be circumcised.
Some taught: Except ye be circumcised ye cannot be saved.
Gentile converts at Antioch resisted circumcision.
Paul pleaded the Gentile cause before the elders and apostles at Jerusalem.
After much questioning Gentile converts to Christianity were excused from circumcision but no others were excused. Jews were reminded that Moses was preached and read to them in the Jewish Synagogue every Sabbath day.
This reminder in connection with the subject before them indicates that Jews were expected to continue as heretofore to circumcise their children according to the law of Moses which was preached and read to them in the Jewish Synagogue every Sabbath day.
These elders and apostles know nothing about water baptism, being the Christian successor of Jewish circumcision or they would surely have instructed the Gentiles to this effect when they excused them from circumcision. Their silence upon this opportune occasion and at all other times is decided evidence that there was no such succession.
Eight years later, the same old controversy about circumcision brought Paul again before the elders and apostles at Jerusalem.
They re-affirmed their former decision that Gentiles be excused from circumcision but reminded Paul that he (a Jew) was expected to walk orderly and keep the law of Moses. They prevailed upon him to take a vow, shave his head, and enter into the Jewish temple until an offering should be offered for him, because he taught Jews of the dispersion, that they should not circumcise their children nor walk after the customs of Moses. Paul was induced to suppress or conceal his indifference to circumcision but not his pronounced indifference to water baptism.
Thus closes our last recorded meeting of the elders and apostles at Jerusalem with no apparent abatement of zeal for circumcision. To the last they evinced much more zeal for circumcision than they had ever shown for water baptism; and they never in any way recognized water baptism as the successor of circumcision.
Plainly it was not by the apostles but after the apostles' time that circumcision was discarded and water baptism exalted.
Altho' Paul ostensibly yielded to the elders and apostles at Jerusalem, yet his subsequent epistles indicate that he remained firmly indifferent or opposed to circumcision, water baptism, and other ordinances, all of which he called carnal, weak and beggarly elements when applied to Gentiles. Paul said he was made all things to all men that he might win some.
To the Jews, he became a Jew, to the Gentiles a Gentile.
[Footnote 162: Acts 1.6; Luke 24.21]
[Footnote 163: Acts 11.1, 3; Gal. 2.11, 12]
[Footnote 164: Acts 11.1, 16; Acts 10.28]
[Footnote 165: Acts 11.1, 3]
[Footnote 166: Acts 15.5, 6]
[Footnote 167: Acts 15.1]
[Footnote 168: Acts 15.2]
[Footnote 169: Acts 15.2, 6]
[Footnote 170: Acts 15.6, 20 R.v.]
[Footnote 171: Acts 15.21]
[Footnote 172: Acts 15.21]
[Footnote 173: Acts 15.23, 29]
[Footnote 174: Acts 21.21, 24]
[Footnote 175: Acts 21.21, 25; Acts 21.21, 26]
[Footnote 176: Acts 21.21, 26]
[Footnote 177: Acts 21.21, 26; Col. 2.10, 23; Heb. 9.1, 10; Gal. 6.12, 16; 1 Cor. 1.14, 17; Gal. 4.4, 11; 1 Cor. 9.20, 22]
WATER BAPTISM AFTER CHRIST IN APOSTOLIC TIMES
Dean Stanley says: "It has been the misfortune of churches that they have imagined a primitive condition which never existed. The reluctance to look the facts of history in the face has favored the growth of a vast superstructure of fable."
Let us avoid this "misfortune of the churches," this "vast superstructure of fable," and be willing to look the facts of Scripture and history squarely in the face.
It appears by Scripture that our Saviour did not baptize with water and that none of his apostles were so baptized in his time.
After Christ, Ananias directed Paul to be baptized.
We read that Ananias was devout according to the law of Moses, as were also many of the apostles.
They looked for Christ to restore again the kingdom of Israel.
With such hopeful prospects for Judaism we cannot wonder that Ananias and many apostles devoutly believed it to be in order and necessary that water baptism, circumcision, &c., be continued and that Paul and other converts be so baptized.
That they should so believe is no more remarkable than that upon two occasions eight years apart they should pronounce it necessary that Gentile believers abstain from meat offered to idols and from things strangled and from blood as Jews did.
Paul was sent a special apostle to the Gentiles. Peter and others more to the Jews. To Paul therefore we turn for light upon the duty of Gentiles.
Paul taught Gentile believers: Unless ye be told that meat is offered to idols, eat whatever is set before you or is sold on the shambles, asking no questions for conscience sake. Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in regard to an holy day, or the new moon, or the sabbath days which are shadows of things to come.
Without claiming perfection for Paul, should we not all as believing Gentiles accept his teaching about meat, eating, water, baptism, etc., that Christ did not send his apostles to baptize with water, but preach the Gospel, and that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe.
After Pentecost, believers were baptized presumably with water. They sold their possessions and gave to apostles and had all things in common and continued daily in the Jewish temple, and in breaking bread from house to house.
Shall we sell our lands, live in common, frequent Jewish temples and break bread daily from house to house? We see as much authority for doing so as for baptizing with water.
If the example of apostles and believers is Scripture authority for water baptism, it is also Scripture authority to sell our lands, live in common, frequent Jewish temples, etc.
We cannot believe that we are required by Scripture or otherwise to do all things which the apostles and believers did, however good and proper it may have been for them at that time. Much less should we gratify our own predilections by electing to follow their example in water baptism and to reject it in other particulars.
By Peter's preaching the household of Cornelius was baptized with the Holy Spirit. Peter then asked his Jewish brethren if any could forbid water that these Gentiles should not be baptized as well as we Jews. Peter hesitated about baptizing Gentiles as Jews baptized, yet he commanded it to be done.
Peter claimed authority from Christ for the Holy Spirit baptism, but no authority for the water baptism only the silence of the six Jewish brethren who were with him from Jerusalem.
Upon another occasion Peter, with others, pronounced it necessary that Gentile believers abstain from certain meats as Jews did.
We recognize no distinction in Peter's authority, whether he restrained Gentile believers from the use of certain meats or had them baptized with water. In both cases Peter's Jewish education was his impulse and not Christ.
As the Eunuch rode in his chariot he read from Esaias the prophet. Philip went up into the chariot and preached unto him Jesus. The Eunuch was baptized by the wayside. The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip. The Eunuch went on his way rejoicing.
This appears to have been John's decreasing water baptism without formula, but nevertheless to have been blessed to the Eunuch's dawning condition of belief. Had the Eunuch been reading Christ's Sermon on the Mount with the veil which was rent on Calvary clear lifted from his eyes, he might not have stopped that chariot to baptize with water. But he did not so read. The New Testament was not written at that time. He read from the Old Testament, from Esaias the prophet.
Many years after Paul said, until that day the veil remained upon the hearts of some when the Old Testament was read.
Divine condescension to the dawning belief of this Jewish proselyte in those transition times established no precedent which should induce us to linger in the border land of Judaism.
We hear some wonder why many apostles and believers adhered so tenaciously to circumcision, abstinence from certain meats, etc.
Future generations may still more wonder why many believers in our day hold so persistently to water baptism, etc.
The day is surely dawning, the ranks are filling with those who realize that these shadows are all foreign to the Christian dispensation.
There is less excuse for now baptizing with water than there was for those Jewish believers continuing to observe the law of Moses generally. The law was given to Moses amid the thunders of Sinai. When Israel obeyed that law they triumphed over their enemies. When they disobeyed they fell before them.
How could they abandon that time-honored law of Moses and their fathers and at once embrace Christianity in its fulness?
John the Baptist foretold that this transition would be gradual when he said, "He must increase, but I must decrease."
Our Saviour was very tender of his disciples in their transition state and is yet equally mindful of his sincere children who are still in the same condition. He said, I have many things to say unto you but you cannot bear them now. Some things which he did say few can bear even yet; still, we long to know what were those suppressed and holy things which he did not say because his disciples could not bear them.
By the teaching of the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, we have access ever-more to this sacred knowledge. But only as we are able to bear it will he teach us all things. Not to the wise and prudent of this world, but to babes in Christ.
[Footnote 178: "Christian Institutions" P. 208]
[Footnote 179: Jon 4.2]
[Footnote 180: Acts 22.16]
[Footnote 181: Acts 22.12; Acts 21.18, 26]
[Footnote 182: Acts 1.6]
[Footnote 183: Acts 15.28, 29; Acts 21.25]
[Footnote 184: Acts 22.21; Gal. 2.7, 9; Acts 13.47]
[Footnote 185: 1 Cor. 10.25, 29]
[Footnote 186: Col. 2.16, 18]
[Footnote 187: 1 Cor. 1.17; Rom. 1.16]
[Footnote 188: Acts 2.38, 41; Acts 4.33, 37; Acts 2.44, 46]
[Footnote 189: Acts 10.44; Acts 11.15; Acts 10.47]
[Footnote 190: Acts 10.42, 44; Acts 11.15, 16; Acts 10.47]
[Footnote 191: Acts 15.28, 29]
[Footnote 192: Acts 8.27, 39 R.v.]
[Footnote 193: 2 Cor. 3.15]
[Footnote 194: Exodus 20.18]
[Footnote 195: Jon. 3.30]
[Footnote 196: Jon. 16.12]
[Footnote 197: Jon. 14.23, 26]
[Footnote 198: Jon. 16.12]
[Footnote 199: Mat. 11.25]
WATER BAPTISM AFTER THE APOSTLES' TIME
By collateral evidence we are led to suppose that several of the apostles were martyred under the Roman Emperor, Nero, about A.D. 64.
The Jews rebelled against the Romans, A.D. 66. At the approach of war, Christians of Jerusalem and Judea removed to Pela, beyond the Jordan. Eusebius says they fled in obedience to a Divine revelation. These were all Jews, and in their new homes were called Nazarenes or Ebonites.
Jerusalem and the temple were utterly destroyed and the Jews massacred by the Romans, A.D. 70.
Dean Stanley says: "The fall of Jerusalem was the fall of the Jewish world; it was a reason for the close of the apostolic age; a death-blow of the influence of Jewish nationality for a long time to come."
After the destruction of Jewish Jerusalem, Gentile Antioch appears to have become the seat of church authority.
John was probably the only apostle then living and he, it is thought, was in a distant country.
At Antioch and other places Gentile Christians evidently soon gained the ascendency and discouraged, even Jews from circumcision and other offensive Jewish customs, while water baptism and other usages not repulsive to Gentiles were generally continued and in time modified to suit taste and convenience.
The early Christians were not united in making these changes; they caused continued discord and division among them as is manifest throughout the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers and Eusebius.
The Nazarenes, Ebonites and some others adhered to circumcision and the customs of Moses as the elders at Jerusalem had insisted that Paul should do and as in the "Hermit Church" of Abyssinia they still continue to do.
We find these Nazarenes and Ebonites soon classified as heretics after the Gentiles preponderated.
Water baptism seems not to have been insisted upon at first but in the second century greater importance appears to have been attached to it. Many, however, claimed that only baptism of the Holy Spirit and purity of the heart were necessary because none of the apostles but Paul were baptized with water, and Christ said: "John indeed baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit;" and again, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
Justin Martyr said: "What is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and the body alone. Baptize the soul from wrath, envy, &c., and lo! the whole body is clean." And again: "What need have I of that other baptism who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit."
While many such expressions occur in the writings of the "Fathers," there are many more which support sacramentalism. Their testimonies are conflicting.
About the beginning of the third century we find water baptism first called a sacrament by Tertulian and about the same time he complains that many tried to destroy it. Plainly, as water baptism was exalted, opposition increased.
The sect called Ascoondrutes rejected all symbols and sacraments on the principle that incorporeal things cannot be communicated by things corporeal nor divine mysteries by things visible.
Schaff says: Many Jews and Gentiles were baptized only with water; not with Holy Spirit and fire of the Gospel, and smuggled their old religious notions and practices into the church.
The Roman Emperor, Constantine, professedly became a Christian, while he virtually remained a heathen; A.D. 312.
Christians were few in number before Constantine, but now pagans flocked to the church and sat in its councils.
"Constantine married the Christian church to the heathen world." He virtually united church and state. He convened the council of Nice and they formed a creed A.D. 325.
Many protested against this council and its decisions but the mass supported the Emperor and the creed.
Among obscure dissenters whom the ruling church called heretics may we expect thereafter to find the nearest approach to Christianity as Jesus taught it upon the Mount and elsewhere.
Mosheim says: No sooner had Constantine abolished the superstition of his ancestors than magnificent churches were erected for the Christians, which were richly adorned with pictures and images and bore striking resemblances to the Pagan temples both within and without.
The simplicity of the Gospel was clouded by the prodigious number of rites and ceremonies which the bishops invented to embellish it.
They imagined the Pagans would receive Christianity with more facility when they saw the rites and ceremonies to which they were accustomed adopted in the church. So the religion of the Christians was made to conform very nearly to that of the Pagans in external appearance.
The vice and insolent tyranny of many of the priesthood soon became notorious.
Neander says: Such individuals of the laity as were distinguished by their piety from the great mass of nominal Christians and from the worldly minded of the clergy often suffered persecution from the latter.
The name of Andeus stand prominent among the many dissenters who protested against the corruptions of the ruling church at this time.
Isolated companies of devout Christians under various names rejected the Sacraments. They were called Lampetians, Adelphians, Estatians, Marcionites, Euchites, Massalians and Enthusiasts.
Mosheim says: Enthusiasts who discarded the Sacraments and were rather wrong headed than vicious lived among the Greeks and Assyrians for many ages. They were known by the general and invidious name of Massalians or Euchites. A foot-note says: This sect arose under the Emperor Constantius about the year 361.
We have numerous accounts of Christians who were prominent in the dominant church of the fourth century who deferred water baptism to middle life or old age and many were never so baptized altho' born of Christian parents.
About A.D. 660 another Constantine came forward as a reform preacher under inspiration said to have been received in reading the New Testament, particularly the writings of St. Paul.
His followers were sometimes called Macedonians but were generally known as Paulicians altho' they preferred to be called Christians.
It appears that these Paulicians existed centuries before under the other names given them by their enemies and that the drooping sect was revived by the powerful preaching of Constantine.
Neander says the Paulicians wholy rejected the outward observance of the Sacraments and maintained that by multiplication of external rites and ceremonies in the dominant church the true life of religion had declined. That it was not Christ's intention to institute water baptism as a perpetual ordinance and that by baptism he meant only baptism of the Holy Spirit and that he communicates himself by the living waters for the thorough cleansing of the whole human nature; that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ consists in coming into vital union with him.
In the ninth century one hundred thousand Paulicians were martyred at once in Armenia, accused of heresy and denying the Sacraments.
For the same offence untold numbers were put to death during previous and subsequent centuries and in widely distant countries.
Their enemies represent that these Paulicians were loving, spiritual and peaceful, and diligent in reading and circulating the Scriptures, but they were heretics and not worthy to live.
Were not these dissenting martyrs a remnant or seed of the living church and their baptized enemies the real heretics?
The history of these inhuman persecutions reveals a sad condition of the dominant church and its ruling clergy of the ninth century.
Some Ecclesiastics who presided over a flourishing theological institution at Orleans, claimed to have been awakened by the writings of St. Augustine and St. Paul, particularly the later. Many of the nobility and others of eminent piety and benevolence became their adherents.
They rejected external worship, rites and ceremonies and placed religion in the internal contemplation of God and the elevation of the soul.
They rejected water baptism and held to a baptism of the Spirit, also to a Spiritual Eucharist by which all who had received spiritual baptism would be refreshed and find their spiritual needs completely satisfied.
Thirteen leaders of this sect were burned A.D. 1022. When urged to recant they replied, "We have a higher law, one written by the Holy Spirit in the inner man."
Mosheim says they soared above the comprehension of the age in which they lived.
A few years later a similar sect was discovered in the districts of Arras and Liege. They held individual holiness and practical piety to be necessary and that outward baptism and outward Sacrament were nothing. This they affirmed was the doctrine of Christ and his apostles.
About A.D. 1046 a sect was suppressed at Turin which was favored by the nobility and widely diffused among the clergy and laity. They claimed to have one priest without the tonsure. He daily visited their brethren scattered throughout the world and when God bestowed him on them they received from him with great devotion forgiveness of sin. They acknowledged no other priest and no other sacrament but his absolution.
Who—we ask—is this priest without the tonsure, who daily visits the world-wide brethern?
Is it not Jesus who was made a priest, "not after the law of a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life?"
A sect called Bogomiles, who rejected outward baptism and acknowledged only spiritual communion, was discovered in Constantinople, many of them in the families connected with the court. Their leader was burned A.D. 1119, others were imprisoned, yet they spread secretly over the Greek empire.
Mosheim says: The Eastern churches continued to be infested with such fanatics in the twelfth century, and the Latin sects were still more numerous than the Greeks.
The Catherists were a numerous faction in Bulgaria and spread almost all over Europe under various names who all agreed in rejecting baptism and the Lord's Supper.
"Brethern and sisters of the free Spirit" took their denomination from the words of St. Paul (Rom. 8, 2-14). They were called Begards, Beghines, Turpines, etc. They rejected baptism and the Supper as no longer useful to them and held to inward and spiritual worship. They spread rapidly in Italy, France and Germany. They were mostly poor people and lived upon alms while upon their missionary journeys. Great numbers of plain, pious people, rich and poor, embraced their teaching and forsook the dominant church.
The Inquisition checked their career with its usual record of cruelty and blood, yet they continued to feed the fires of persecution for more than two centuries, until near the time of the reformation.
In the south of France dissenters called Albigenses became more numerous than the dominant church. They were condemned by four councils, but still continued to increase until about A.D. 1215, when they were exterminated by a long and horrible war and the Inquisition.
These Albigenses were distinguished generally by their strict and blameless lives, by their abhorrence of oaths, war and punishment by death, and for their hospitality and beneficence. They accepted baptism spiritually and rejected the sacraments.
Can we believe that the church which led to the extermination of these Albigenses, the Paulicians, and many others, was ever established by that loving Saviour who spent his life in doing good to the souls and bodies of men?
Does it not answer more nearly the description given of Mystery Babylon who was drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus? Who would not gladly forget a succession which claims to run back through such a church as this?
In some parts of France dissenters similar to the Albigenses were called Bulgarians, in Italy they were called Paterens and in Germany were called Catherists, and in derision were called "Good Men." How is it that these dissenters, by the testimony of their enemies, appear to have lived better and holier lives without the sacraments than their persecutors did with them?
What is the testimony of observation in our day? Are those beatitudes which Jesus pronounced upon the Mount better observed by those who have seven sacraments than they are by Protestants who have only two? And, are they better observed under two sacraments than they are by the Quakers, and some other Christians who have none? If this is the case, it is strong support to the belief that Christ ordained the sacraments. But if the reverse is found to be the existing condition, then a suspicion may arise that these sacraments are not divine, but are human impositions and that they divert from the Divine. Therefore, may it be that some of our best Christians get along quite as well or better without them.
Neither the word sacrament nor any synonym thereof occurs in the New Testament, nor in the writings of the "Fathers," until the third century. There were no sacraments then as there are now, therefore no necessity for such a name.
Sacrament was a Pagan name for a military oath and was ruled into its present position by apostate Christians.
The apostles and first Christians evidently continued to eat the Passover Supper, because their fathers had done so for ages in memory of Israel passing over the Red Sea out of Egypt, and not from any command of Christ. Otherwise they would with still more persistence have continued to wash each other's feet, which Jesus commanded with language and actions far more solemn, impressive and imperative.
The Ante-Nicene Fathers and Eusebius inform us that water baptism was a prolific cause of bitter discord and division among the early Christians. It still sorrowfully distracts the loving children of our one Father and impedes the spread of his kingdom in the earth.
These lamentable conditions must inevitably continue until such shadows are dissolved by divine brightness in that day which we rejoice to believe is now dawning.
[Footnote 200: Josephus Vol. 3, P. 324; Vol. 4, P. 99]
[Footnote 201: Eusebius P. 75]
[Footnote 202: Gibbon's Rome Vol. 1, P. 399]
[Footnote 203: Josephus Vol. 4, P. 337]
[Footnote 204: Christian Institutions P. 202]
[Footnote 205: Acts 21.21, 24]
[Footnote 206: Cyclopedia American and Britanica]
[Footnote 207: Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1, P. 209; Vol. 5, P. 667; Vol. 5, P. 678]
[Footnote 208: Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 6, P. 217]
[Footnote 209: Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, P. 669]
[Footnote 210: Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, P. 669]
[Footnote 211: Bucks Dictionary]
[Footnote 212: Ecclesiastical History Vol. 2, P. 228]
[Footnote 213: Cyclopedia American and Britanica]
[Footnote 214: Ecclesiastical History Vol. 1, P. 383]
[Footnote 215: Ecclesiastical History Vol. 1, P. 381]
[Footnote 216: Ecclesiastical History Vol. 1, P. 382]
[Footnote 217: Ecclesiastical History Vol. 3, P. 105]
[Footnote 218: Ecclesiastical History Vol. 2, P. 226; Vol. 2, P. 705]
[Footnote 219: Britanica]
[Footnote 220: Neander Vol. 2, P. 240; Vol. 2, P. 241; Vol. 2, P. 242]
[Footnote 221: Mosheim Vol. 3, P. 104; Vol. 3, P. 105; Vol. 3, P. 105; Vol. 1, P. 419]
[Footnote 222: Mosheim Vol. 1, P. 314; Cyclopedia under Constantine Ambrose Chrysostom Jerome etc.]
[Footnote 223: Cyclopedia American and Britanica; Mosheim Vol. 2, P. 181]
[Footnote 224: Neander Vol. 3, P. 263]
[Footnote 225: Cyclopedia American and Britanica]
[Footnote 226: Mosheim Vol. 2, P. 355; Neander Vol. 3, P. 578]
[Footnote 227: Mosheim Vol. 2, P. 565; Neander Vol. 3, P. 593]
[Footnote 228: Mosheim Vol. 2, P. 567; Neander Vol. 3, P. 597]
[Footnote 229: Neander Vol. 3, P. 600]
[Footnote 230: Heb. 7.10]
[Footnote 231: Neander Vol. 4, P. 556]
[Footnote 232: Mosheim Vol. 3, P. 104; Vol. 3, P. 107; Vol. 1, P. 108]
[Footnote 233: Mosheim Vol. 3, P. 270; Vol. 3, P. 276; Vol. 3, P. 365; Vol. 3, P. 449; Vol. 3, P. 455]
[Footnote 234: Neander Vol. 4, P. 642; Cyclopedia American and Britanica]
[Footnote 235: Rev. 17.5, 6]
[Footnote 236: Mat. 5.3, 12]
[Footnote 237: Jon. 13.12, 17]
That water baptism, circumcision and many other ceremonies were ordained of God for Israel is evident from Scripture. That these ordinances were fulfilled in Christ is to us likewise evident. He took them out of the way and nailed them to his cross; still they were permitted for a time unto Israel and we do not presume to deny their permission to some even until now, for "a thousand years with the Lord is as but one day."
As children of the light, we ever respect and regard every manifestation of that light to mankind in all ages of the world, whether to Jew or Gentile or to people unknown.
We realize that there has been an increased revelation of this divine light, and believe, as our Saviour taught, that it will continue to increase as we are able to bear it, and in proportion to this increase will symbols and sacraments pass away.
How can we doubt that our Saviour, with his last words here upon earth, had in view his own glorious baptism of the Holy Spirit when he commanded his apostles to preach among all nations repentance and remission of sin, in his name with power from on high?
This power from on high was the baptism of the Holy Spirit which he promised his apostles and disciples when he said, "John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
They had to be baptized with this baptism themselves before they could go teach all nations baptizing them. Power from on high was the one requisite to administer this baptism. They had baptized with water before this power was fully given at Pentecost and continued to baptize in the same way after Pentecost but this power is never mentioned in connection with water baptism. It is, however, frequently mentioned in connection with preaching the Gospel.
These same conditions have continued until now. Power from on high is not yet necessary to administer water baptism but it is indispensable to preaching the Gospel.
Altho' this power came in fulness at Pentecost, yet Paul and legions more have received this power since Pentecost.
Farrar says: This miracle is not transient but is continuously renewed. Not to a narrow apostilate in an upper chamber at Jerusalem. It is a vivifying wind that breathes henceforth in all ages. It revived a world. It is the power of an endless life. A tide of light which is rolling and shall roll from shore to shore until the Earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea: in this aspect the outward symbol sinks into subordinate importance.
We think: In this aspect the outward symbol sinks entirely.
There are many Scripture testimonies that the apostles were instrumental in baptizing with the Holy Spirit.
To strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Asia, Cappadocea, and Bythima the Gospel was preached "with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven."
Were not these scattered strangers of many lands baptized with the Holy Spirit through Gospel preaching as Christ intended when he commissioned his disciples to go teach all nations, baptizing?
By Paul's ministry the Thessalonians received the Gospel with power and with the Holy Spirit.
Paul preached to the Corinthians; not with the enticing words of man's wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
As Christ commissioned his apostles so Paul preached with power from on high.
As Peter preached to the household of Cornelius the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard.
This household of Cornelius to whom Peter preached, the Thessalonians and Corinthians to whom Paul preached and the scattered strangers who received the Gospel with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven and hosts more not mentioned were all baptized with the Holy Spirit through Gospel preaching as Christ intended when he commanded his apostles.
Go teach all nations, baptizing.
Go preach the Gospel to every creature.
Preach among all nations.
As my Father hath sent me even so I send you.
Ye shall be witnesses unto me to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Preach unto the people.
Preach the Gospel.
But tarry ye at Jerusalem until endued with power from on high.
Wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father which said he ye have heard of me.
How very weak it seems and how entirely foreign to even think of water in connection with these last words of our Saviour.
He is indeed with his dependent children in this our day. While he baptizes them with the Holy Spirit immediately he also uses many and varied means and instruments.
Upon servants and handmaidens the Holy Spirit is now poured out as foretold by the prophet Joel and by John the Baptist and promised by Christ.
Sons and daughters do now prophecy with power from on high.
We admire and wonder as did Peter at this baptizing power.
We remember the word of the Lord how he said John indeed baptized with water.
But ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
[Footnote 238: Col. 2.14; Acts 15.1, 21; Acts 21.18, 26; 1 Cor. 1.14, 17; 2 Peter 3.8]
[Footnote 239: Jon. 16.12]
[Footnote 240: Luke 24.47, 49]
[Footnote 241: Acts 1.5; Acts 11.16]
[Footnote 242: Luke 24.47, 49]
[Footnote 243: Jon. 4.2]