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greater weakness still. The attempt to be as gods turned man out of Eden, and every successive exertion of the mind so attained by disobedience, which first led to the sewing of the fig-leaves together, has been sin, and (little as man thinks it) has plunged him into greater and greater weakness. The question then was, whether circumstances created by God could be blended by man so as to hide from God ? Fallen man thought they could; but Adam soon found when the awful word came, “ Adam where art thou?" that his combination of fig-leaves, and his grove, were a cover formed upon the too narrow calculations of his own mind, and that God was still loose and unmet. His lie had become part of his very mind and being; and from Adam, down through the sad stream of fallen humanity, even unto antichrist and his faction, it may be traced, leavening every thing: and more than this, humbling as it is to man, the progressive increase of the exercise and development of this mind is only tending to shew out man's weakness. Yes, the many inventions, the mighty discoveries, the march of intellect, the progress of science, in which man is boasting, is only the swelling of the stream of his own lie ;-the confirming, ratifying and establishing his trust in circumstances, and the confession too that he is the SUBJECT of necessity-do what he will. Humbling confession of weakness, which not even antichrist can hide! Subject to the necessities of circumstances, mere circumstances, is man always; and though he may meet them, at this moment by the effort of his own wit, and at that by the aid of Satan, the old fretted garment only rends and tears the more it is mended. Surely in all this we have man in weakness grasping after power
in vain. On the other hand, the willingness of God, the living Fountain of power, to communicate out of his own fulness is but another way of expressing the gospel,—the first announcement of which was just this—“ The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head”—Such was the heart of God: and unsought, unsolicited, the free spontaneous thought of his own mind was, that Power, even He who is “the Power of God,” (both in himself and to them that receive him) should stand in the chan. nel of man's weakness and destroy both Him that had the power of death, (that is the devil), and all his works. When in Eden, man had put all out of course, and every thing was shaken, even to disconnection from God. God came in with the glud tidinys that, though all things were changed, he was not changed. His power, just what it was before, had resources able to meet even this necessity; and they were a flowing stream which should pass forth in blessing to them that looked to Him. And here Faith came in-faith in the overshadowing power of an unseen God. –And surely the 11th chap. of Hebrews proves to us that power has been the characteristic of faith, through the whole history of time; while the 2nd of Philippians tells us of the bright display of power which is coming in the day, when the Lordship of Jesus shall be displayed as ushering in the time, when the tabernacle of God shall be with men,--and God himself shall be with them,-every vestige of weakness and impotency done away, for God shall be all in all. In faith there is always real power-true, substantial, unfailing power; for it brings man and his necessities as empty channels into connection with the resources of the God of power; lays him subject indeed, but subject to God, to have his real necessities as apprehended by the Divine mind fully met by Grace. He may not himself know when first he is drawing near to subject his case to the Divine mind even what estimate it will form; but he is dealing with the God of wisdom and the God of power, whose love has undertaken the case, be it what it may, and here he rests.
But if power be the common characteristic of faith, and we believe it is undeviatingly so, how peculiarly and distinctively so is it the characteristic of faith in the present dispensation! The grace of God, finding a way for Himself to take up man in His own power, through a vicarious substitute, has ever been the truth prominent in the Divine mind, and especially and pre-eminently addressed to man's faith; and blessedly is it suited to subject the heart and mind of man, to make him willing to confess his own want of power, and bow in thankfulness to the Holy One who teaches him his unholiness and guilt, by the shew of His own willingness to meet him in it, and deliver him from the consequences of it, without any aid from man, just for His own name's sake. Yet now it is finished, and Jesus is risen from the
grave, the Holy Ghost has come down from heaven. No veil, no cloud obscures the way; the blessing is no longer hidden in mystery. Faith is still the only mean of blessing, but the fulness of power which faith now brings in is unprecedented; its object now is Jesus and the resurrection ; Jesus, that was dead for our sins, alive again for ever
more for our justification ;-the work of atonement is finished; the propitiation has been offered; and the blood is upon the mercy-seat once for all accepted ;-the office of sacrificator, so far as sin-offering and whole burnt-offering are concerned, he has laid aside, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens-an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec-King of Righteousness and Prince of Peace. Faith has now, then to do with the accepted blood upon the Mercy-seat, with the blood before the Mercy-seat, and with the person of Jesus in a new life, as High Priest over the House of God, who took not that place till His blood had been shed and accepted; and the blood is upon the mercy-seat, as God's satisfaction, and the sinner's propitiation for sin, and before the mercy-seat, as the sinner's way to it. Is there no power in this ? Why, it is all power, Divine
power, in itself, and to the poor sinner that knows it; even as He was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead (Rom. i. 4); for this was “according to God's mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things under his feet” (Eph. i. 19--22). After speaking of these things (Heb. x.) the Holy Ghost blessedly shews the power they minister to the poor sinner, in the exhortation to draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having the heart sprinkled from an evil conscience. And surely they who rest on these things, can say, “there is power in them for it all.” But, “Jesus and the resurrection,” brings in not only the power (and to a poor sinner even that is a wonderful power-let the poor timid worldling be judge) of the full assurance of faith, it does much more, for it opens and presents the mystery of his person, "ye in me," and so fulfils to us his words, “ In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John xiv. 20). And so it realises to us the power also of “all the riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. ii. 2), that we may acknowledge the mystery of God, even of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, that our hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love: and well they may be so, if we are complete in Him in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, who is the head of all principality and power; every obstacle removed out of our way by Him, and we quickened together with Him; all trespasses forgiven, and made to know ourselves as living members of Him, risen with Him, and, by faith, in the Spirit, living in the region where He is ; ourselves dead and our life hid with Christ in God (Col. ii. and iii). We shall not now say more in detail, as to the various parts of this our fellowship with Him, save that in it, and by it, will be found the power of complete exemption from every thing that was contrary to us, and of complete introduction into, and association with, the life of the Risen Jesus : so complete, as to enable the weakest of us to say, not only “ I understand,” but, “ I have full assurance of understanding."
The former point to which we were referring, the person of Jesus, risen to the house of God, and ministering by the revelation of the two-fold application of the blood he had previously shed, full assurance of faith, seems peculiarly addressed to that which lies between God and ourselves. While looking at it, we learn (and here indeed alone rightly), that we are guilty before God; that sin is a thing God alone can measure; and we learn it where the power of guilt is put away, for the sacrifice is accepted, and where we see a measure, the length and breadth of which passeth understanding. Our hearts love to ponder over our sins, (perhaps we love to do so, because they are our own), but there is no humility in this, but pride : if we would be humble and humbled we must never look at our sins, but instead of looking at them look at the cross and the blood of Jesus, as God's estimate and measure of them. God has weighed them, and the blood of Jesus was their weight; we know the blood, and therefore we know the sum of their weight;—if knowledge in detail is our ambition, we must scrutinise, not them, but the cross and the blood, till we have fully learned and understood their character, for here alone can our sin and guilt be learnt. It tells also not only of what was between God and us, that is, sin and guilt, but of what now is, “the new and living way which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say His flesh" (Heb. x). And here, indeed, we find Him " the way,” containing fullest instructions for our walk with God; yea more, a transforming power in Him, moulding us into His likeness; for “ we all, with open face, beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. iii. 18). Surely in this we have all needful supplies, as to what was and is between us and God.
The mystery of the person of Jesus, on the other hand, as ministering the full assurance of understanding, seems, in some sort, rather to address itself to our weakness, as known from surrounding circumstances, and to minister power over them. Entangled in the world, and by nature of it, hopeless were the contest with it, did not this mystery shew us that we might be of good cheer, because one with Him who has overcome the world (John xvi. 33); one with Him, and, therefore, not of the world, even as He is not of the world (xvii. 16); not of the world by new nature, for we are partakers of His nature; not in the world by faith, because risen out of it where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God (Col. iii. 1). And that world itself to the saints unmasked; the detected and already judged murderer of Him (John xvi. and iii. 17; xii. 30) with whom they are one, and it still lieth in the wicked one. And, as we read 1 John v. 4, faith has the victory over the world. Surely power over the world is greater than any measure of power in it. The strength and weakness too of the flesh, whether in itself, or its mind, is here fully met and shewn out, and power given over it: met by the fellowship of our death and crucifixion with Jesus (Rom. vi. 6 and Col. ii. 11); shewn out in its very mind by its inability to do what it would, by its contrasts with Jesus, by the way he took to meet its evil
, and by its remaining contrariety to the mind of the Spirit (Rom. vii. and viii.); and power given over it, as we see (2 Cor. xii.) by the rivers of living water flowing forth from the inner man, and causing even its anguish to minister joy and glory: for here we have the apostle, as an ensample in the dispensation, under the full though checked power of the deadly flesh; its vile mind would have used the riches of God's grace in having granted a sight of the third heavens as the occasion of puffing up. What a foolish, but what a thoroughly wicked thing the flesh is! God knew this, and prevented the mischief, by sending a thorn in the flesh, the messenger
of Satan, to buffet Paul : this threw him into sensible weakness, and so upon grace ; and then his song of triumph arises, “ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." This triumph, through the knowledge of the riches of redemption, is in remarkable contrast with the sad strain of the same apostle, about his body likewise, in Rom. vii.: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” Though here, instead of having Satan oppressing it, he standing in the light of redemption which ministered
power, it was God presenting to him the law which was holy and just and good, he standing in the regenerating power of the Spirit, but without the knowledge of redemption.
We know nothing which more completely shews power as the saints' portion, through faith, over the flesh, even in the detection of its worst evil, and under its greatest sufferings, than this. The completeness of our power over Satan, also, is plainly evident, if only from such passages as these : “Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you." Innumerable as are his devices and ways, indefatigable and mighty as is his power, still, greater is he that is in us, than he that is against us—and the meanwhile every one of His wiles and snares are laid bare in the Scriptures; and to us, in Jesus, Satan is a conquered foe; his worst power of all is in the heavenlies
, as the accuser of the brethren, accusing them before our God day and night; but even there his strength is weakness, and his wickedness falls back upon his own head; for, to God's mind, accusation against the saints is accusation against God himself, for He has written, “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect ? It is GOD THAT JUSTIFIETH.” And as to condemnation, as the result of these accusations, that cannot be, for it would be condemnation of Jesus himself, as it is written, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us?” (Rom. viii.). And more than this, there is power given into the saints' hands over Satan, if they do but stand in “ grace and truth :" as it is written (Rev. xii
. 11), they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony ; and they loved not their lives unto the death.'
Here we have power over the prince and god of this world, more power than had
Adam, for he was overcome by him ; we overcome him. These things were the free spontaneous flowings forth of the gracious power of our God through our infirmity and sinfulness, to the praise of His own grace; and yet, wonderful as they are, they are not the proofs of power most proper to our standing-the blessed ways to, and results of, that which is ours, rather than the thing itself. For this surely is “ the divine nature,” born of the Spirit, spirit; receiving out of the fulness of Him in whom are hid all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God; something, of which it can be said, that in itself (in whatever feeble measure yet developed, yet in itself) it hath grace for every grace in Him (John i.), and is changed into the same image from glory to glory (it begins with glory, for such before God is the character of the nature He has given us, though ever changing its aspect for a yet fuller glory): and thus we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. ii.) and consequent power to look at things, not as in connection with ourselves, but with Him and His interests, plans, and purposes. Already sons, kings, and priests unto God, and receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, we get also the power of the joy of the world to come, and of our association with Him who is the Lord of it, in the tender, blissful relationship of the bride, the Lamb's wife,—of the glory of God, then our's to make it known to others, and thereafter for ever ours, fully ours, for enjoyment; and we get, too, now, the power of present association with the works and objects of God,
labourers together with God” (1 Cor. iii. 9), “workers together with him' (2 Cor. vi. 1). And this, and this alone, is our proper position. For this the saints were chosen, as it is written (John xv.), “ Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained
go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (16.); and“ Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;
ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you ; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love ; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (8–11). This is the proper position, and present action, of a saint, - to be doing well. For the Spirit developes in him the fruits of that mind of Christ which is in him, whereby he knows the things freely given him of God; yea, searches all things, even the deep things of God, so ministering to him; as it is written (John xvi. 15), “ All things that the Father hath, are mine : therefore said I that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you,” and thus leads him in practice to exhibit and develope, according to the circumstances around him, that same mind “ which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man : and being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. ii. 5—8). The ensample of the Son leaving the Father's glory for redemption, presented to the saint as the only adequate expression of the mind he should exhibit! Amazing grace! what stupendous power does it plainly shew there must be in that consolation in Christ, that comfort of love, that fellowship of the Spirit, those bowels and mercies wherein the Church of God is set.
Alas! if after thus musing a little upon the portion our God has given to His church, the bride of Jesus, we turn our eyes to the scattered saints, to see their blessed enjoyment of it, how are they straitened in themselves ! how few of them have learnt, in these things, to walk with God; to let God be true to his honour and their own joy in his service. But we will not say more. May our God grant unto us all more and more to realize the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, however we may have to confess that the treasure is in earthen vessels; and may we stand in the power of the finished and accepted sacrifice of Jesus and his present intercession, our new nature fully taught and led by the Spirit of God, able to discern and judge the true character of all that surrounds us, ever having the mastery over it, buoyed up by the glories of the heavens now opened to us, and the hopes of that world to come, whose future glories we can trace-doers of his will, and not hearers only, until He for whom we wait is come.
AMEN AND AMEN.
NOTES ON BAPTISM.
TRINE IMMERSION, A TRADITION OF THE APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS AND THE
CANON LAW-CONFIRMATION, ITS ORIGIN-THE EVILS OF CONFIRMATION IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND-THE IMAGES OF THE SAINTS MADE SPONSORS IN BAPTISM-INFANT BAPTISM THE RESULT OF THE JUADAISING TENDENCY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS-INFANT BAPTISM AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE THE MOSAIC DISPENSATION—THE CHURCH OF ROME AND LUTHER ASSERT THAT INFANTS HAVE FAITH IN BAPTISM-THE DOGMAS OF AUGUSTIN-BAPTISM REDUCED TO A MERE CEREMONY BY MODERN PÆDOBAPTISTS- NO AUTHORITY FOR INFANT BAPTISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
In our last Number, “ The Baptism of Hermann the Jew" introduced the subject of trine immersion—we proceed now to offer some further notes on the baptismal traditions.
Trine immersion, with its accompanying ceremonies of unction and imposition of hands, is first mentioned by Tertullian ; but as he speaks of it as an established custom, we may reasonably suppose that it was not a novelty just then invented. It probably was first adopted twenty or thirty years before he wrote; and hence we should have the date of the commencement of this tradition about the year 160. In the apostolical constitutions and canons, composed in the early part of the fourth century, trine immersion is settled as a law of the church not to be evaded. The 42d canon thus makes the decree :-“ If any bishop or presbyter shall not perform baptism with three immersions of one initiation, but only with one immersion, to commemorate the death of the Lord, let him be deposed : for the Lord did not say,
Baptise into my death,' but ‘Go ye and teach all nations, baptising them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' Do ye, therefore, O ye bishops, immerse three times into one Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, according to the will of the Lord, and our institution, which is in the spirit.” From this time onwards, allusions to the trine immersion frequently occur in the Patristic writings. Athanasius
says, " To dip the child three times in the bath, and then to bring it up again, sets forth the death of our Lord, and his resurrection on the third day.” † Cyril of Jerusalem, Theodoret, Basil, and others, make similar allusions to the established practice of their day; and indeed Sozomen writes in his history, that Eunomius was the first person who asserted, that one immersion was sufficient in baptism, and † so adulterated" the tradition which had been carefully preserved from the apostles amongst all Christians, up to those times.” Eunomius flourished about the middle of the fourth century. Theodoret gives a similar account of Eunomius, who, he says, opposed the trine immersion of baptism, and the invocation of the Trinity ; § one immersion, and that for the death of Christ, he considered sufficient. But it should be observed, that in the fourth century the Arian controversy had suggested to the orthodox new reasons of attachment to the trine immersion, and that for exactly opposite reasons, the Arians were disposed to reject it. The Scriptures were here in favour of the Arians, but the orthodox could prove nearly two centuries of tradition ; and in those days tradition had at least as much authority as the word of God.
In the Canon law, trine immersion is spoken of as a notorious custom of the
ει τις επισκοπος, η πρεσβευτερος, μη τρια βαπτισματα μιας μυησεως επιτελεση, αλλα εν βαπτισμα το εις τον θανατον του κυριου διδομενον, καθαιρεσθω.....
υμείς ουν, ω επισκοποι, εις ενα πατερα και υιον και άγιον πνευμα βαπτισατε, κατα την του κυριου γνωμην, και την ημετεραν εν πνευματι διαταξιν, Canon. Apost. xiii.
+ το γαρ κατα δυσαι το παιδιων εν τη κολυμβηθρα, και αναδυσαι, τουτο δηλοι τον Davutov kai tņv Tpinjepov avaotaOLV Tov Xplotov. Athanas. Quæst. 94, de Parabolis.
1 παραχαράξαι την απο των αποστολων εισετι νυν εν πασι φυλαττομενην παραδοσιν. Sozomen. Eccl. Hist. vi. 26.
και μη χρηναι λεγων τρις καταδυειν τον βαπτιζομενον, μηδε ποιεισθαι την της τριαδος επικλησιν, αλλ' απαξ βαπτιζειν εις τον θανατον το χοιστου.