« PoprzedniaDalej »
The Holy Ghost descends upon the waters of baptism, and makes them prolific, apt to produce children unto God: and therefore St. Leo compares the font of baptism to the womb of the blessed Virgin, when it was replenished with the Holy Spirit. And this is the baptism of our dearest Lord: his ministers baptize with water; our Lord at the same time verifies their ministry with giving the Holy Spirit. They are joined together by St. Paul : “ We are, by one Spirit, baptized into one body d;" that is, admitted into the church, by baptism of water and the Spirit. This is that which our blessed Lord calls “ a being born of water and of the Spirite." By water we are sacramentally dead and buried, by the Spirit we are made alive. But because these are mysterious expressions, and, according to the style of Scripture, high and secret in spiritual significations, therefore, that we may understand what these things signify, we must consider it by its real effects, and what it produces upon the soul of a
21. First : It is the suppletory of original righteousness, by which Adam was at first gracious with God, and which he lost by his prevarication. It was in him a principle of wisdom and obedience, a relation between God and himself, a title to the extraordinary mercies of God, and a state of friendship. When he fell, he was discomposed in all; the links of the golden chain and blessed relation were broken; and it so continued in the whole life of man, which was stained with the evils of this folly and the consequent mischiefs. And therefore, when we began the world again, entering into the articles of a new life, God gave us his Spirit, to be an instrument of our becoming gracious persons, and of being in a condition of obtaining that supernatural end which God at first designed to us. And therefore, as our baptism is a separation of us from unbelieving people; so the descent of the Holy Spirit upon us, in our baptism, is a consigning or marking us for God, as the sheep of his pasture, as the soldiers of his army, as the servants of his household. We are so separated from the world, that we are appropriated to God; so that God expects of us duty and obedience; and all sins are acts of rebellion and undutifulness. Of this
1 Cor. xii. 13.
'e John, iii. 5. S. Basil, de Spir. S. C. 15.
nature was the sanctification of Jeremiah, and John the Baptist, from their mothers' womb; that is, God took them to his own service, by an early designation, and his Spirit marked them to a holy ministry. To this also relates that of St. Paul, whom God by a decree separated from his mother's womb, to the ministry of the Gospel : the decree did antedate the act of the Spirit, which did not descend upon him until the day of his baptism. What these persons were, in order to exterior ministries, that all the faithful are, in order to faith and obedience; consigned in baptism, by the Spirit of God, to a perpetual relation to God, in a continual service and title to his promises. And in this sense the Spirit of God is called o payis, a seal', “ In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise 8 :" το μεν ύδωρ καθαίρει, το δε πνεύμα σφραγίζει την ψυχήν: « The water washes the body, and the Spirit seals the soul,” viz. to a participation of those promises which he hath made, and to which we receive a title by our baptism.
22. Secondly: The second effect of the Spirit is light or illumination ; that is, the Holy Spirit becomes unto us the author of holy thoughts and firm persuasions, and “ sets to his seal that the word of God is true,” into the belief of which we are then baptized, and makes faith to be a grace, and the understanding resigned, and the will confident, and the assent stronger than the premises, and the propositions to be believed, because they are beloved; and we are taught the
ways of godliness after a new manner, that is, we are made to perceive the secrets of the kingdom, and to love religion, and to long for heaven and heavenly things, and to despise the world, and to have new resolutions, and new perceptions, and new delicacies, in order to the establishment of faith, and its increments and perseverance. Tñ hom nouon ψυχή από κατακλυσμού ανιδρυθείς ο Θεός, οιονεί θρόνον αυτήν εαυτό κατεργάζει και “ God sits in the soul, when it is illuminated in baptism, as if he sat in his throne;" that is, he rules by a firm persuasion, and entire principles of obedience. And therefore baptism is called in Scripture, Putiomòs, and the baptized OwTioNÉrtes, illuminated : “ Call to mind the former days,
2 Cor. i. 22. Eph. iv. 30. John, vi. 27. § Eph. i. 13. S. Cyril. Hieros. Catec. 3. h S. Basil. in Psal. xxviii.
you were illuminated'.” And the same phrase is in the sixth to the Hebrewsk, where the parallel places expound each other. For that which St. Paul calls an až pwtio JÉVTES,
once illuminated,” he calls after, aalóvres TN ÉTiywwoiy tñs aangelas," a receiving the knowledge of the truth ;” and that you may perceive this to be wholly meant of baptism, the apostle expresses it still by synonymas: “ Tasting of the heavenly gift, and made partakers of the Holy Ghost, sprinkled in our hearts from an evil conscience, and washed in our bodies with pure water!;" all which also are a syllabus or collection of the several effects of the graces bestowed in baptism. But we are now instancing in that which relates most properly to the understanding, in which respect the Holy Spirit also is called anointing or unction; and the mystery is explicated by St. John: “ The anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things
23. Thirdly: The Holy Spirit descends upon us in baptism, to become the principle of a new life, to become a holy seed, springing up to holiness; and is called by St. John, onéqua £cü, “ the seed of God":” and the purpose of it we are taught by him : “ Whosoever is born of God,” (that is, he that is regenerated and entered into this new birth,) “ doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." The Spirit of God is the Spirit of life; and now that he, by the Spirit, is born anew, he hath in him that principle, which, if it be cherished, will grow up to life, to life eternal. And this is “ the Spirit of sanctification, the victory over the world,” the deletery of concupiscence, the life of the soul, and the perpetual principle of grace sown in our spirits, in the day of our adoption to be the sons of God, and members of Christ's body. But take this mystery in the words of St. Basilo: “ There are two ends proposed in baptism; to wit, to abolish the body of sin, that we may no more bring forth fruit unto death ; and to live in the Spirit, and to have our fruit to sanctification. The water represents the image of death, receiving the body
i Heb. x. 39.
1 Heb. vi. 4.
in its bosom, as in a sepulchre ; but the quickening Spirit sends upon us a vigorous dúvapiv, power or efficacy, even from the beginning renewing our souls from the death of sin unto life: for as our mortification is perfected in the water, so the Spirit works life in us.” To this purpose is the discourse of St. Paul: having largely discoursed of our being baptized into the death of Christ, he adds this as the corollary of allP; “ He that is dead 9 is freed from sin;" that is, being mortified and buried in the waters of baptism, we have a new life of righteousness put into us, we are quitted from the dominion of sin, and are planted together in the likeness of Christ's resurrection, that henceforth we should not serve sins.
24. Fourthly: But all these intermedial blessings tend to a glorious conclusion, for baptism does also consign us to a holy resurrection. It takes the sting of death from us, by burying us together with Christ; and takes off sin, which is the sting of death : and then we shall be partakers of a blessed resurrection. This we are taught by St. Paul: “ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." That declares the real event in its due season. But because baptism consigns it, and admits us to a title to it, we are said, with St. Paul, to be “ risen with Christ in baptism; buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God, which hath raised him from the deadx.” Which expression I desire to be remembered, that by it we may better understand those other sayings of the apostle, of“ putting on Christ in baptism, putting on the new man,” &c. for these only signify śnižeigmua, or the design on God's part, and the endeavour and duty on man's. We are then consigned to our duty, and to our reward; we undertake one, and have a title to the other. "And though men of ripeness and reason enter instantly into their portion of work, and have present use of the assistances, and something of their reward in hand; yet we cannot conclude, that those
p Rom, vi. 7.
9 Xena TòY TOLEīv, i. e. &TOXTIYVŪVGb, — Plutarch. Ibid. ver. 4.
s Ver. 5. + Ver. 6. Vide Disc. 9, of Repentance, n. 46. u Rom. vi. 3, 5.
* Col. ii, 12.
that cannot do it presently, are not baptized rightly, because they are not in capacity to "put on the new man” in righteousness, that is, in an actual holy life; for they may “put on the new man” in baptism, just as they are risen with Christ :” which, because it may be done by faith before it is done in real event, and it may be done by sacrament and design before it be done by a proper faith ; so also may our putting on the new man be; it is done sacramentally, and that part, which is wholly the work of God, does only antedate the work of man, which is to succeed in its due time, and is after the manner of preventing grace. But this is by the bye. In order to the present article, baptism is by Theodoret called μετουσία της δεσποτικής αναστάσεως, “a participation of the Lord's resurrection.”
25. Fifthly and lastly: “ By baptism we are saved :" that is, we are brought from death to life here, and that is “ the first resurrection;" and we are brought from death to life hereafter, by virtue of the covenant of the state of grace, into which in baptism we enter, and are preserved from the second death, and receive a glorious and an eternal life. “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be savedy," said our blessed Saviour; and, “ according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghostz.”
26. After these great blessings, so plainly testified in Scripture and the doctrine of the primitive church, which are regularly consigned and bestowed in baptism, I shall less need to descend to temporal blessings, or rare contingencies, or miraculous events, or probable notices of things less certain. Of this nature are those stories recorded in the writings of the churcha, that Constantine was cured of a leprosy, in baptism ; Theodosius recovered of his disease, being baptized by the bishop of Thessalonica; and a paralytic Jew was cured as soon as he became a Christian, and was baptized by Atticus of Constantinople; and bishop Arnulph baptizing a leper, also cured him, said Vincentius Bellovacensis. It is more considerable, which is generally and piously believed by very many eminent persons in the church, that, at our baptism, God assigns an angel-guardian, (for then the catechumen, being made a serv and a brother to the Lord of angels, is sure not to want y Mark, xvi. 16.
2 Titus, iii. 5. * Niceph. lib, vii, c. 35. Socr. lib. v. c. 6. Idem, lib. vii. c. 7.