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were baptized into the name of Moses. Not that in fact the Jews called themselves by his name, as the several sects of philosophers did by the names of their several leaders. For the doctrine, which Moses taught, was not his own: and the obedience, which he required, was not to himself; but to God, the Maker of heaven and earth. And therefore, when the Jews were thus baptized into Moses, they were at the same time, in a much higher sense, baptized into the name of God; taking that upon them, as an acknowledgment of their being his: for servants are known by the name of their lord. In Scripture therefore God himself stiles them, My people, which are called by my name*. And they plead with him, We are called by thy name, leave us nott: and elsewhere declare, All people will walk every one in the name of his God: and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever I. As then the Moabites were called by the name of their God, the people of Chemoshg; and the other idolatrous nations in like manner; so were the Israelites called by the name of the true God. And whoever by baptism, amongst other ceremonies, professed himself a convert to Judaism, he was, properly speaking, baptized into the same name.
When therefore the Christian religion was published; as proselytes to the old dispensation had been baptized into Moses, taking him for their lawgiver and instructor: so believers in the new were baptized into Christ, receiving him for their Lord and Master.' And as the former were in effect baptized into the name of the one true God, assuming the denomination of his servants: so the latter, being more fully instructed concerning the object of worship,
* 2 Chr. vii. 14. + Jer. xiv. 9. In the Hebrew it is, Thy name is called over us. I Mic. iv. 5. Ý Numb. xxi. 29. Jer. xlviii. 46.
were professedly and in form baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: taking this name upon them, to believe in and obey for the future, as their badge of distinction from all other
Whence our Saviour, in his prayer for his disciples, saith to the Father, While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me *. And in his exhortation to the angel of the church of Pergamos, he saith, Thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faitht.
It must be acknowledged indeed, that being baptized into the name of these three, is no where expressly mentioned, except in the text. But then the more usual phrase, of being baptized into Christ, or into his name, amounts to just the same thing. For by bearing the name of Christians, we declare ourselves believers not in Christ alone; but in the Father, of whom, to use the Apostle's words, the whole family in heaven and earth is named I; and in the Holy Spirit also ; whose name appears evidently never to have been omitted in baptism, from that remarkable passages, where some professors of the Gospel owning that they were intirely ignorant concerning the Holy Ghost, St. Paul asks them, Unto what then were ye baptized ? And finding it was only into the baptism of John, commands them to be now baptized, into the name of the Lord Jesus l. So it is expressed: but the foregoing question fully proves, that the name of the Holy Ghost was used likewise; from whence it follows, that the expression, baptizing into the name of Christ, wherever we find it in Scripture, is only put for shortness: and that * John xvii. 11, 12. + Rev. ii. 13. Eph. iii, 15. & Acts xix. 1, 2, 3.
|| Acts v, 3, 4, 5.
the original form of baptism was, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: which accordingly was the constant one in the primitive Church.
You see then, upon the whole, that as being baptized into John's Baptism, was taking his name, and being called his disciple: and as being baptized into the name of Paul, (a supposition, which he himself puts*,) would have been setting him up as our chief leader and master: so when the Scripture speaks of being baptized into the name of Christ, the meaning is, that we avow believing and following him; and when more fully, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it signifies, that we are received into the number of those, who profess, and desire to be known by the character of professing faith and duty towards the ever-blessed Trinity.
2. But wherein more particularly this faith, which is the foundation of duty, consists: and what are the great articles of it, is the second point, on which I proposed to speak: and these things not being explicitly taught in the form of baptism singly, must be learned from the rest of Scripture in conjunction with it, and professed in proportion as they are learned. Now the Scripture expressly asserts, in perfect conformity with reason, that there is but one God, the object of our faith and adoration: not one supreme, and other inferior ones, as the Heathens believed, but one alone. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is one Lordt: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serves. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides meg: I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory 1 Cor. i. 13.
+ Deut. vi. 4. Deut. vi. 13. Matth. iv. 4.
Isaiah xlv. 5.
will I not give to another*, saith he himself. Accordingly St. Paul declares, that to us Christians, there is one God the Father, of whom are all things t. But then, besides the several orders of created beings, the same Scripture as expressly mentions his eternal Son and Spirit: the one begotten of him, the other proceeding from him. The distinct and full meaning of these terms we know not: but this, however, they plainly denote, that the Son and Spirit are derived from the Father, in a manner, whatever it be, each different from the other, and both different from creation. Accordingly we find ascribed to both these, not only the names, but the perfections of God, with honours and worship incommunicable to any. creature: and while they are evidently distinguished from the Father, they are as evidently described as being one with him. Wherein precisely this union and this distinction lies, the Scripture hath not said, and therefore we cannot say, any farther than this: that the union appears to be not only a similitude of will, or of other powers and dispositions, but the highest possible sameness of essential attributes and properties; for which reason it hath been called an unity of essence, nature or substance: and the distinction appears to be, not only a difference of names, or of relations to created beings, but of subsistence and action, resembling in some measure, as described in Holy Writ, that of different human agents; on which account it is said to be a distinction of
And from all these things put together, we conclude, that we are to believe and worship three persons, who are one God.
Many other words and terms there are, besides these, which have been used in speaking of this great Isaiah xlii. 8.
t i Cor. viii. 6.
mystery: some of them proper and useful, serving to express only what the Scripture expresses, and to guard it against misrepresentations; which therefore we should ever interpret candidly and favourably: others much better omitted: as indeed all are, that men employ to give any further knowledge of the subject, than God hath given. For in such cases, but in this above any, the true method is, to receive, with the utmost humility and simplicity of mind, what is revealed: neither adding, nor diminishing, nor one way or other attempting to make it, either clearer, or darker, than it is. The former we cannot do: the latter we easily may, but surely should not wish to do. Multiplying therefore phrases and reasonings, either to determine what the divine oracles have not determined, or to explain away what they have determined, is on both hands wrong; and hath often led very great men into unhappy errors, and very good men into fierce contentions: all which might be avoided, would they but be so modest, as neither to doubt of what the All-wise hath taught,
into what he hath concealed; and so charitable, as never without the strongest reason to think ill of others, and never for any reason to do or wish ill to them.
There are certainly, in this wonderful doctrine, many things, concerning which, questions may be asked, which we can only answer by confessing our ignorance: and some things, against which objections may be raised, that we can solve no otherwise, than by reminding those, who make them, that such difficulties must be expected, whenever a finite mind attempts to view an infinite object. But, though, in the Holy Trinity, there is much, that can by no means be comprehended fully; which is what we intend to