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96th Q.- Was there not an outward baptism with water that was at one time practised by a commission from heaven?,
97th Q.-Who received the commission to baptize with water?
A.-John, on that account stiled the Baptist, who was the fore-runner of Christ, the Elias that was to come to prepare his way, as foretold by the prophets.
See the Proofs to the following Answer.
98th Q.-In what consisted the difference between the baptism of John and the baptism of Christ?
A.-John baptized the body with water ; his baptism was therefore of an outward, elementary nature : whereas Christ baptizes the soul wiih the Holy Spirit, which, from its purifying and penetrating nature, is compared to the element of fire.
Luke ji. 2. The word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptiem repentance for the remission of sins ; 4. As it is written in the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths strait. 5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Mark i, 5. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
Luke iii. 15. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16. John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water ; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather his wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable:
John i. 33. And I'knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. 34. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God.
John iii. 30. He [Jesus] must increase, but I [John] must decrease.
Luke vii. 24. And when the messengers of John were departed, he [Jesus] began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see ? 26. A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 28. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
· Matt. xi. 13. All the prophets and the law pro. phesied until John. 14. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was for to come.
See also the Proofs to the 87th, 94th, and 95th Answers.
99th Q.-Did Christ enjoin that Water Baptism should be practised as a gospel ordinance in his church ?
A.-It does not appear that he did: Paul who, whether we consider his gifts or his zeal and labours in the gospel, was inferior to none of the apostles, says expressly that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel.
See the Proofs to the next Answer.
100th Q.-Did not the apostles baptize with water, and if so, are we to conclude from their practice that it was an institution of Christ?
A.-Though some of the apostles did baptize with water, that no more proves it to be an institution of Christ, than their adherence to the ceremonial law of Moses proves that his law was not fulfilled and superseded by the coming of Christ: for the apostle Paul acknowledges he had baptized some individuals, though he had not, according to his own confession, received any commission so to do.
John iii. 22. After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Jadea, and there he tarried with them and baptized.
John iv. 1. When therefore the Lord knew how the pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2. (Though Jesus himself bap. tized not, but his disciples) 3. He left Judea.
Acts viii. 36. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized ? 37. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest. 38. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
said unto him [Paul], Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews, there are which believe, and they are all zealous of the Law. 21. And they are informed of thee that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles, to forsake Moses, saying, that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together; for they will
we say to thee: we have four men which have a vow on them; 24. Them take and purify thyself with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing, but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the Law.
1 Cor. i. 14. I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius, 15. Lest any should say, that I had baptized in mine own name. 16. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I. know not whether I baptized any other. 17. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel
101st Q.-Why did the apostles conform to ceremonial rites that were superseded and abolished by the Christian dispensation ?
A.--Not to mention, that as Jews it was
difficult for them at once to break off all observance of the ritual Law, in some instances they were induced from the early state of the church, to be in those respects, as weak to those who were weak.
1 Cor. ix. 19. Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; te them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. 22. To the weak became I as weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..
See also Acts xxi. 20 to 23, among the Proofs to the 100th Answer
. IV. 102d Q.-What was the Supper which Christ ate with his disciples, the night before his crucifixion ?
A.-The Jewish Passover instituted by Moses, and was typical of the spiritual nou. rishment the soul receives from a participation of the body and blood of Christ purchased for us by his death.
Luké xxii. %. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8. And he [Jesus] sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 13. And they made ready the passover. 14. And when the hour was come