Obrazy na stronie

and if not, then after that thou shalt was a faith that could be, and was cut it down." Let it here be recol lost; but this is not the case with lected, that the barren fig-tree in the faith of God's elect: and that this parable, is not threatened be the Gentiles were grafted into the cause it was there; for it is express good olive-tree, by the same kind ly said, that it was planted by the of faith by which the Jews were orders of the owner of the vine once grafted in, and by which they yard. « And a certain man had a stood, but which finally degenerated fig-tree planted in his vineyard:” but into what the apostle styles “unbethreatened because planted and dug

lief." around, and dunged, it did not bring And when we look at the history forth fruit. How opposite is this of that nation, it perfectly comports view of the design of the church, as with what the apostle says in that given by God and his Son, to that chapter. They fell into idolatry at view which Mr. C., and even some various times; but as they still worPædobaptists, give us of it: and how shipped Jehovah in conjunction with opposite the conduct of Baptists their idol gods, and for which they in planting the church, to that of were severely and justly punished, the husbandman, when he is about at different times, they were not to plant an orchard or vineyard. broken off. Hence, then, we find The husbandman looks for


Jehovah calling them his people, and trees or plants of the fruit-bearing a people in covenant with him; kind, that have not yet brought forth when at the same time he charges fruit, and plants, and digs about and them with the basest idolatry. Hodungs them, that they may bring sea iv. 12. They trusted in the proforth fruit: but should they happen

mise of God that he would send to find a tree of the fruit-bearing them a Redeemer; but when that kind, bearing fruit in the wilder

Redeemer came,

“they received ness, they root it up, and then plant him not,” but crucified him as an it in the vineyard, or the church. impostor; in consequence of which, How opposite, also, to what is said with the exception of a small remin the scriptures of Zion, or the nant,“who received him,” they were church, “ And of Zion it shall be broken off from the good olive-tree, said, this and that man was born in and the Gentiles grafted in their her." Psalm 87. And Jerusalem, stead. Their rejecting Jesus as the (another epithet of the church) which promised Messiah, was the unbeis from above, and is free, is said to lief, on account of which they were be " the mother of us all:" but ac broken off; and the Gentiles receivcording to their plan, the church is ing him as such, was the faith on acnot the mother, but only the nurse count of which they were grafted in, of her children. To which I would and by which they stand; and aladd the declaration of the apostle though this general faith is not of a respecting the good olive-tree, or saving kind, yet it is involved in it, the Jewish church, in the 11th chap and a saving faith cannot be, nor exter of his epistle to the Romans, ist without it. already adduced. The Jews whom To this it may be objected—that he styles natural branches, were the Mosaic dispensation being typibroken off, he tells us, by unbelief; cal, and only a shadow of good things and the Gentiles by faith grafted in to come, was therefore comparativetheir stead. Well; because of un ly obscure, and the qualifications of belief, they were broken off, and admittance into the church, more thou standest by faith. Be not general and undefined: but the goshigh-minded, but fear." Now it pel dispensation being the substance follows by fair consequence, that of these shadows, the qualifications the faith by which the Jews stood, are more distinctly defined. Hence,

then, faith and repentance, if not divine impulse, had given the blessalways, yet most frequently, are re ing of the birth-right to his brother quired as prerequisite qualifica Jacob, because Esau had sold it to tions of admittance into the church him for a morsel of meat. Again: by baptism; and it has generally it is used to signify a sorrow for sin, been admitted that this faith, and as exposing to punishment. This, this repentance, mean a living faith, I presume, is its meaning in Mat. and evangelical repentance. I shall xii. 41, when it is said of the men therefore now examine this point. of Nineveh, “that they repented

The first passage which occurs on at the preaching of the prophet Jothis point, is the memorable address nah.” It is also used to signify a of Peter to the Jews, on the day of sorrow for sin, as not only exposing Pentecost, already adduced for ano to deserved punishment; but as of ther purpose. "Repent, says he, fensive to God, and defiling in itand be baptized, every one of you, self, and which issues in a reformain the name of Jesus Christ, for the tion of heart, and of life. In this remission of sins, and ye shall re sense it 'is used, 2 Cor. vii. 10. ceive the gift of the Holy Ghost." “Godly sorrow worketh repentance

I need scarcely observe to those unto salvation, not to be repented who are acquainted with the Greek of ;” and when used in this extenlanguage, that the Greek noun, sive sense, there is often some acmetanoia, and the verb metanoeo, companying word, that fixes its which are uniformly translated in meaning, as in this passage, and in our Bibles “repentance," and “to Acts iii. 19. “ Repent and be como repent,” are used in the New Tes

verted, that

your sins may be blottament in at least three different ted out." senses; or rather, that in some With these remarks in view, let places they are used in a more us now inquire from the design of tended sense than in others. This the speaker, and the character and is the case in all languages, on ac circumstances of the persons adcount of the poverty of words; and dressed, in which of these senses, it is from the drift and design of are to understand the verb the writer or speaker, the character metanoeo, in the passage now unand circumstances of the hearers, der consideration. The Jews, shortand other considerations, that we ly before had crucified Jesus as an are to ascertain in what sense the impostor, because he affirmed that he word is used. For instance, in Heb. was the Son of God, and their

proxii. 17, the Greek noun metanoia mised Messiah. Peter, by comwhich is translated repentance, sig- paring his character, with the cha nifies simply “a change of mind,” racter given of the Messiah by the and this is the first and primary prophets, succeeded in convincing meaning of the word. “Lest there them, that he was really the probe any fornicator or profane person, mised Messiah, whom they expectas Esau, who for one morsel of meat ed. The guilt of crucifying as an sold his birth-right. For ye know, impostor, their expected Messiah, that afterwards, when he would “ pricked” them to the heart; and have inherited the blessing, he was they said to Peter and to the rest rejected, for he found no place of of the apostles," men and brethren, repentance, though he sought it care what shall we do." fully with tears." I need scarcely Metanousate, change your minds observe, that the repentance men with respect to this

Jesus of Nazationed in this passage, is not pre

reth, whom


have considered as dicated of Esau, who is styled “a

an impostor, and crucified as such : profane person ;" but a change of and, as

an evidence that

your mind in his father Isaac, who, by a change of mind is real, “ be bap


Peter says,

tized every one of you

in the name

but this surely is only an evidence of Jesus Christ,” or submit to that of their being deeply convinced of ordinance which he hath appointed sin, but not a scriptural evidence as the badge of discipleship to him. of an evangelical repentance ; and And to encourage them so to do, the expressions are no stronger he adds, “ this baptism is for the than those of Cain, when he said, remission of sins," or a mean ap “ my punishment is greater than I pointed by him, that you may rė. can bear;" or than those of Judas, ceive the remission of your sins, and when he said, “ I have sinned in the gift of the Holy Ghost in his that I have betrayed the innocent sanctifying influences : for, as I blood.” have already observed, there is no It may be further objected, that ground to conclude, from what is in verses 41, 42, it is said of those said of those who were baptized on persons " that they gladly received this occasion, that they all receiv the word,” and that after their baped the gift of the Holy Ghost in his tism “they continued steadfastly in extraordinary influences in the gift the apostle's doctrine, and fellow. of tongues. This, I think, is the ship, and in breaking of bread, and plain, obvious and unsophisticated in prayers.” If from this it is armeaning of the passage, and of the gued, that they were true believers, words “ for the remission of sins." (and I will not contest the point) And what now is the meaning it rather strengthens than weakens which those who contend that the my argument, as this is said of them repentance here mentioned means after they were baptized, God, acan evangelical repentance, give to cording to the words of Peter blessthe words “ for the remission of ing his own ordinance for this imsins ?” This : that baptism would portant purpose. And if it is rebe to them a seal or evidence that plied, that it is said of them “ that their sins were remitted, and that they gladly received the word” prethey had received the gift of the vious to their being baptized; this is Holy Ghost. I would ask such to no stronger an expression than what produce any similar phraseology is said of the stony-ground hearfrom the New Testament that con ers, in the parable of the sower; nor veys that idea ; and further-do is it strange that those who had crusuch think there is any person

cified the Lord of life and of glory, whose mind has not been perverted as an impostor, would gladly receive by a system, who would ever dream the news of a mean for removing that the phrase for the remission of the guilt of such an atrocious act. sins, means a seal or evidence of the There is another circumstance “ remission of sins.” When the attending this remarkable event, apostle Paul wished to tell us that which, when duly considered may “Abraham received the sign of cir go far in fixing the meaning of the cumcision, a seal of the righteous word “repent." Peter, we are ness of faith which he had, being yet told, began his sermon at the sixth uncircumcised," he uses the words hour, or at nine o'clock of our reck“sign and seal ;" and if Peter, who oning. How long he preached we was under the influence of the same are not told, as we have only a skespirit of truth, when he addressed leton of his sermon. Although there the Jews, designed to convey that were one hundred and twenty disciidea, he could not possibly use ples present, we are not told that any words more unsuitable than those of them were clothed with the minishe has used on that occasion. terial character, or had a right to

It may be objected, that the Jews baptize except the twelve apostles. are said to be pricked to the heart, Now, as an evidence of an evangeliprevious to their being baptized cal repentance could be only obtain

ed by conversing with those persons, was shortly to appear. They exI would ask, had the apostles time to pected him as a magnificent conconverse with three thousand, so as queror who was to deliver them to obtain a ground of hope that they from the Roman yoke; and were were true penitents, and baptize accordingly scandalized at his poor them the same day in any mode : and mean appearance.

Besides, for let it be recollected, that the they supposed that their relation to Jewish day began and ended at the Abraham was all that was necessary setting of the sun. But as their for salvation. Hence said John to saying to Peter and to the rest of the Pharisees and Sadducees who the apostles, “Men and brethren, came to his baptism, “O! generawhat shall we do ?" and their readi tion of vipers, who hath warned ness to submit to an ordinance ap you to flee from the wrath to come? pointed by the despised Nazarene, bring forth therefore fruits meet was an evidence of their change of for repentance,” (or evidential of a mind respecting Jesus of Nazareth, change of mind in the important and that they were convinced sin point that concerns your salvation) ners ; the way was clear for bap and think not to say

within yourtizing them immediately, according selves, we have Abraham to our to my view of the subject; and father: for I say unto you, that there was time enough for the God is able of these stones to raise twelve to do so by affusion, but up children to Abraham.” But surely not by immersion.

should it be contended, that the reIf to this it is objected, that a pentance preached by John, as conprofession of the religion of Jesus, nected with his baptism was an was, in those troublous days, a evangelical repentance: this, howstrong evidence of an evangelical ever, must be granted, that it was repentance; and that the apostles a baptism“ unto repentance," or were more competent to decide on designed to produce that grace in the character of men than their the heart-understand the word as successors; I reply—that there was you may, it affects not my arguno persecution of the Christians at ment. that time, nor until after the mar Having thus ascertained the natyrdom of Stephen ; and the apos ture of the repentance required in ties in such cases were not discern order to baptism, I shall now in. ers of the spirits of others. Peter quire into the nature of that faith, himself had it not in the case of that is required for the same purSimon Magus; and only came to the pose. The first place we read of knowledge, that he was in the gall faith as a prerequisite for baptism of bitterness, and in the bond of is in the 8th chapter. We are told iniquity, by his offering the apos in verses 12 and 13, that when the tles money for the purchase of the Samaritans believed Philip preachspirit's extraordinary influences. ing the things concerning the king

Although it belongs not imme dom of God and the name of Jesus, diately to the subject in hand, nor they were baptized, both men and affects my present argument; I women. “ Then Simon himself bewould observe, before I dismiss the lieved also, and was baptized." point, that the observations I have It may be sufficient for my purmade on the foregoing passage may pose, here just to observe, that there help to fix the meaning of the re is nothing said of the faith on acpentance connected with the bap count of which these persons were tism of John. It was a baptism baptized that fixes it down to a liv“unto repentance,” or designed to ing faith. The reverse is strongly produce a change of mind in the implied; for the expression is, that Jews respecting the Messiah who “when they believed Philip preach

ing the things concerning the king-shipping the true God according to dom of God and the name of Jesus his own appointments. How was he Christ,” or when they professed employed in his chariot on his rean assent to the general doctrine, turn ?-Reading the prophecy of that Jesus of Nazareth was the only Isaiah, one of the greatest of the Saviour of sinners, “ they were bap- Jewish prophets. What was his tized both men and women.” And conduct, when Philip, a poor man, indeed the character and conduct and probably in mean apparel, joinof Simon affords a strong presump;

ed the chariot, and said, one would tion, that Philip had not required think rather abruptly, “understandof him an evidence of a living faith ; est thou what thou readest?" Did he for can it be supposed, that a per frown upon, and repulse him as an son possessed of this faith could impertinent inquisitor? No: he suppose that the spirit's extraordi candidly acknowledged his ignonary influences could be purchased rance, and manifested the teachable by money.

disposition of a child of God, by But those who differ from me on desiring Philip to come up, and sit this subject, no doubt, are now ready with him in the chariot, for the to say, there is a baptism recorded purpose of instructing him in the in this very chapter—that of the meaning of what he read. I have eunuch of the queen of Ethiopia indeed frequently heard from the wherein the faith required is fixed pulpit, of the conversion of this in its meaning to a living faith, for eunuch: but for my own part, I can Philip's words are "If thou be see the features of an humble and lievest with all thine heart, thou zealous worshipper of the true Gord, mayest.”

in the short history given of him: Before I would make any re And if we must have the word, his marks on this memorable transac CONVERSION" was of the secondtion, it is necessary to observe, that ary

kind: from the Jewish to the the question is not, have true be Christian dispensations of the grace lievers a right to baptism? for they of God. Whilst at Jerusalem, he have a right to all the ordinances of had heard, no doubt, from the chief the dispensation of grace under priest, that Jesus was a vile impostor, which they live: and the ordinances and was returning to his own counwhich were appointed and designed try with that pernicious impression. for the conviction and conversion of God, in his good providence, sent sinners, were designed for building Philip his way in a miraculous man them up in holiness. I have as ner, to undeceive him,and preach Jesigned my reasons why I consider sus to him as the Messiah that was the Jews who were baptized on the

It is implied, in what day of Pentecost, were sinners pre follows, that Philip unfolded to him vious to their baptism. It is cer

the nature and design of the orditain this was the character of Si nance of baptism, and the obligamon Magus; and more than proba tions on all who acknowledge Christ ble, the character of the Samari as Lord and Master, to be baptized tans; for it is said of them, “ that into his name. “ And as they went they all gave heed to his sorceries, on their way, they came to a cerand said this man is the great tain water, and the eunuch said, see, power of God.” But what now is here is, water-what doth hinder the character which is given in this me to be baptized? And Philip chapter to the eunuch of the queen said, if thou believest with all thine of Ethiopia. If not a Jew, he was heart, thou mayest. And he ana proselyte to the Jewish religion, swered, and said, I believe that and he travelled from Ethiopia to Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Jerusalem, for the purpose of wor And now, what is there in this

now come.

« PoprzedniaDalej »