Page images
PDF
EPUB

nor hath entered into the heart of man""), that figurative language is the only language by which any notion can be conveyed to us of those things which pass man's understanding.

Viewing the commencement of the Bible as the first dawning of the revelation of the Christian scheme, we are prepared to meet, in the first opening of that volume, with a highly veiled and obscure notification of it; and we are not surprised at finding, that what passed" in the beginning," is wrapt in language at once brief, mystical, and figurative. Nor shall we be surprised, when we consider the Bible but as the record of Christianity, that Moses has not departed from the subject of that record, to give a detailed account of the creation. He was not employed as the historian of the economy of the universe; his writings, as well as his life and actions, were dedicated to Christianity; it was his office to record the first obscure tidings of the institution of this scheme, and to prepare the world for the more full developement of it, by recording acts and events illustrative of it; and by instituting ceremonies typical of its nature, and of the means by which it was ratified. The commencement of the Bible, therefore, is not designed, nor calculated, to satisfy the speculations of the geologist or the astronomer; but it

n 1 Cor. ii. 9.

affords a study for the believing disciple of Christ, who finds in it the rudiments and the groundwork of his faith, and who views the several parts of the Holy Book, as constituting one connected whole.

By tracing the gradual developement of Christianity, we bring together several passages dispersed throughout the sacred writings, and, by thus placing them under one point of view, we are enabled to illustrate and to explain a variety of passages, which, if examined alone, and without a reference to the rest, appear obscure and unintelligible. We are commanded to "search the Scriptures";" and we are told, that no prophecy of the Scripture interprets or explains itself; it is only by bringing the several parts of Scripture together in such a way that they may illustrate and explain each other, that we obtain a full insight into their scope and meaning; but, by so doing, we make them interpret themselves; so that, "whatsoever things were written aforetime," and " were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort, might have hope," "are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus"."

• John, v. 39.

2 Peter, i. 20.

Rom. xv. 4.

2 Tim. iii. 15.

PART VI.

GENERAL SUMMARY OF THE TERMS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN COVENANT.

OUR Saviour has appointed the ordinance of Baptism as the means whereby we are to be admitted into His church: "Go ye-and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This baptism is a figure of the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost "," which we receive when we undergo this ordinance: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of GOD." We find, then, that regeneration by the Holy Ghost accompanies the washing with water, in the sacred ordinance of Baptism, which is to be performed in the Tri-une name of the GODHEAD. By undergoing this ordinance, we are said to be "baptized into Christ;" to be "baptized into His death;" to be "buried with Him by baptism into death;" to be "born again";" to "put

a Matt. xxviii. 19.

b Titus, iii. 5.

c John, iii. 5.

d Gal. iii. 27. Rom. vi. 3.

• Rom. vi. 3.

f Rom. vi. 4.

8 John, iii. 3, 7.

off the old man";" to "put on the new man';" to become "dead to sink;" to be made "a new creature1." The passage of the Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea, was a figure of baptism: they entered those waters as bondmen, they came out free; their enemies, Pharaoh and his host (the figures of the spiritual enemies of man"), being destroyed in those waters. Thus man enters the waters of baptism a bondman, he comes out of those waters free. Christ put on flesh, thereby becoming the representative of all mankind; the body which he assumed represented "the body of sin," "the old man ;" this body was slain, the body of sin was crucified, and became dead; thus was our old man crucified, that henceforth we should not serve sin, but be made free from the bondage of sin. When Christ, on his ascent from Hades, reassumed the human form, He afforded a figure of the regeneration of man, the putting on the new man. Thus did His death and resurrection afford the same figure as that which was presented by the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea, and as that which is also presented by the ordinance of baptism. The passion of Christ is our baptism, whereby we put off the old man, and are made free from the body of sin; His resurrec

h Eph. iv. 22.

Eph. iv. 24. Coloss. iii. 10.

2 Cor. v. 17.

m 1 Cor. x. 2.

"born

66

tion is also our baptism, whereby we are
again," and, by putting on the new man, become
new creatures; by baptism we are "planted to-
gether in the likeness of His death,” and also “ in
the likeness of His resurrection;" for baptism
doth save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ".
We are, therefore, said to be "baptized into
Christ," to be "buried with Him by baptism," to
be" baptized into His death." By being "born
of water and of the Spirit," through the ordi-
nance of baptism, we become "dead indeed
unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ
our Lord P."

Before we are admitted to the rite of baptism, we must (unless we be "children" which "have no knowledge of good and evil 1”), show, in the first place, our faith and our repentance. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned"." The eunuch said unto Philip, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD. And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »