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young as well as old, male and female, of every nation,' were to be baptized into the name of the Tri-une God. A Disciple is a Scholar, and the Church is a School. Into this School of Christ we are from the first admitted that we may be taught; admitted not because we already know, but in order that we may learn. So He adds (what must always follow, though it cannot in every case precede, Baptism) this charge of actual instruction in all those things commanded of Christ, as afterwards made known by His Apostles. And that it might not be supposed that this was to be confined to that first age of the Church, He adds the ever-enduring promise of His perpetual presence with them and their successors. The great I am * is with us, as He was with our fathers, as He will be with our children. He is with His Church all the days, till the end of the world, till the end or accomplishment of the age or dispensation which was then begun, till time shall be no longer, and He need be no more with us, for we shall be with Him.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. Mark xvi. 15-18.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe ; In my name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues ; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
St. Mark seems to add further particulars to St. Matthew's report of our Lord's charge to His Disciples on the mountain 1 Gal. iii, 27, 28.
Eph. iii. 2-11.
Ex. iii. 14.
in Galilee. We learn from his account that our Lord bade those first Missionaries of the faith proclaim like heralds in all the world, to the whole creation, the good tidings of His Church and Kingdom. It must be proclaimed not just generally to all, but individually to every soul. As St. Matthew has recorded the charge to baptize, so St. Mark here records the effect of Baptism. It is not enough to believe.3 To be admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, the convert must also be baptized. “What must I do to be saved ?”— asked the awakened jailer at Philippi. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thine house,” the Apostle answers. And soon it is added, “ he was baptized, he and all his straightway." So when in the case of the map of Ethiopia, Philip preached unto him Jesus, he soon proceeds to ask, “What doth hinder me to be baptized ?” From which it is evident that the preaching of Jesus includes instruction on the subject of Baptism. They did not make light of a Divine ordinance in those days. To be careless or contemptuous about Baptism was a sign of unbelief, and he that believeth not shall be condemned. In those infant days of the Church certain miraculous gifts accompanied or followed Baptism,which, when the Church was able, if we may so say, to walk alone, were gradually withdrawn. These things were done in Christ's name, by His authority and power. Two in particular of those here specified seem to have had a local or temporary reference. Serpents infested those parts, and the art of poisoning was cultivated in those times to a dreadful degree. In an inner and spiritual sense these promises still pertain to the Church, and are in perpetuity the privilege of the faithful.
See the original word. 2 Rom. viii. 22. 3 Rom. x. 9, 10.
* “Dr. Whitby here observes, that they who hence infer. that the infant seed of believers are not capable of Baptisın, becauso they cannot believe, must lence also infer that they cannot
be saved ; faith being here more ex. pressly required to salvation than to Baptism ; and that in the latter clause Baptism is omitted because it is not simply the want of Baptism, but the contemptuous neglect of it, which makes man guilty.”—Henry.
5 Acts viii. 13 ; xix, 5, 6.
HE APPEARETH AT THE SEA OF TIBERIAS.
St. John xxi. 1-6.
After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat ? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
Of the seven Apostles to whom the Lord here “showed Himself,” ? we may note this mention of Thomas again by both names, known thus to the Jew and to the Greek, and of whom never more shall it be said that he "
was not with them when Jesus came;" Nathanael also, of whom we hear at the close of this Gospel as we heard of him at its opening, reserved to see those "greater things” of which the Lord had spoken ; and the mention of whose native town “ Cana in Galilee” is another link, connecting the Lord's last miracle with the first, the end with the beginning of
1 Acts i. 3. • Doubtless there is a significance in the words shewed himself ... His body after the resurrection was only visible by a distinct act of His will. From that time the disciples did not, as before, see Jesus, but Jesus appeared unto, or was seen by them. It is not for nothing that the language is changed, or that in
language of this kind all His appearances after the resurrection are related.”—Abp. Trench (Mirr.) who refers to St. John ii. 11. With reference to ch. xx. 30, 31, which has the air of a conclusion, he styles this a post-script, or the epilogue, as ch. i. 1-5, is the prologue of His Gospel.
2 St. John i. 50.
miracles. These then are again in Galilee, waiting for further visions and revelations of the Lord. Meanwhile it was needful by honest labour to provide for themselves and for their households. So, simply moved thereto by their own necessities, they return, at the proposal of Peter, to their old occupation, to the craft with which they were familiar. All night they toil. Those who are acquainted with such pursuits know that night is the likeliest time for taking the fish. But that night they catch nothing. Yet is there joy in store for these disappointed ones. “Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” For after their toilsome night, at the dawn of day, they discern by the rising light a stranger, as they suppose, upon the shore. They “knew not that it was Jesus.”2 Only when and how He would, might they from henceforth discern Him. Not even by His voice when he speaks to them can they at once recognize Him. Thus often does the Saviour, even in His words and dealings, still seem strange unto us. And now He addresses His Disciples by a friendly and familiar title. He calls them “Sons." And though He knew all things, yet He puts this question 3 to lead them to that confession of want which shall lead to a supply. Then the Lord still in the character of a stranger, interested and experienced in their work, gives them, as of old, with an air that inspires confidence, that direction which they promptly follow; so revealing Himself unto them. Their want of success “ was to convince them, and through them to instruct us, that without Christ we can do nothing.” Yet we must note that He met those who were labouring, as He afterwards required them to labour together with Him. Christ does not bless the indolent any more than the presumptuous. These in the way of His commandments i St. John ii. 11.
ing close beside her: for the same ? “ Not because they were a long reason that the two who walked with way off from where He stood, for they Him from Emmaus knew not that it were not far off from land; nor yet was He.”-A Plain Commentary. because the morning was grey and
3 Acts xxvi. 27. misty. The Disciples knew not that * A Plain Commentary. St. John it was Jesus for the same reason that
xv. 5. Mary Magdalene knew not that it 5 V. 10 below, was Jesus, when she saw Him stand
waited for Him. The desire of their souls was to His name, and to the remembrance of Him. With their soul doubtless had they desired Him in the night. Now He meets and gives them this blessing in the morning. Here they might see mirrored their future work. Here too we may recognize the harmony between that former miracle 2 which first called them from their nets and from their fishing-boats to that work of which this their craft was a figure, and this final one which called them again from their old occupation to labour with a new spirit in their life-long work. Both together shadow forth the future history of the Church; the first, the Church militant here on earth; the last, the Church hereafter, triumphant in Heaven ;3 each meanwhile encouraging the ministers of Christ, the fishers of men, to be “instant in season, out of season.”
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xxi. 7, 8.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
Here we have another instance of the close companionship between St. Peter and St. John. We remember how they two went together to the High-priest's palace, they two went together to the forsaken supulchre of the Lord. Now again, as on this last occasion, we see the faith of the one 6 1 Is. xxvi. 8, 9.
those given by the Archbishop, are 2 St. Luke v. 1-11.
subjoined. Aug. Ser. ccxlix. 2; cclii. * The parallel is drawn, with his 3; cclxx. 7. usual skill and accuracy, by Abp. * St. John xviii. 15, 16. Trench, chiefly after Augustine. These 5 St. John xx. 2-10. few references, not to be found among
6 St. John xx. 18.