THE PROFESSION OF THE FAITH OF
BAPTISM IS THE PROFESSION, ON THE PART OF THE SUBJECT,
OF "THE FAITH" OF THE GOSPEL.
TEXT.—"Into [eis] what then were ye baptized?" (Acts 29:3).
That baptism was instituted by Christ for some definite purpose all denominations admit. That it is for the profession of something on the part of the subject is not only set forth by all Catholic and Protestant creeds, but must be the conviction of every reader of the Scriptures. The question of Paul to the twelve disciples, at Ephesus, which I have chosen to discuss, clearly supposes this.
1. The proper authority. No one but John was authorized to administer his baptism; and he certainly authorized none of his disciples to baptize.
2. They were evidently unregenerate, and therefore disqualified to receive Christian baptism.
We learn from this Scripture:
1. That persons may be immersed, and yet not have received the Christian immersion.
2. That they may be immersed by an administrator who had himself been immersed, and yet not obey Christ in the act.
3. That persons may have been immersed, and satisfied with their baptism, and yet not have received Christian immersion or baptism.
4. That unless professing the proper qualifications, and professing the proper faith, an immersion by even a proper authority is null and void.
This example is positive instruction to the churches in all subsequent ages to re-administer the act, where there has been an irregularity, which is nothing less than a violation of the law governing the ordinance. The church at Corinth conscientiously believed they were correctly administering the Lord’s Supper, while they were shamefully perverting it, and making themselves "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus" (1 Cor. 11:17).
Even when those post apostolic churches that perverted the rite of baptism to a "sacrament" and "seal" of salvation, and administered it to unconscious infants to secure their salvation, sponsors and godfathers and mothers were invented to answer for the speechless babe.
The Episcopalians retain this custom, and of every infant sprinkled by them this question is asked:
"Dost thou believe all the articles of the Christian faith as contained in the Apostles’ Creed?" The sponsor answers (for the infant), "I do." "Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?" Sponsor (for infant), "That is my desire."
The subject of baptism does not then profess any private faith he may entertain, but always the faith of the denomination baptizing him. Let us here briefly notice the design of baptism held and taught by the leading ones around us, as we find in their published Articles of Faith and Confessions:
The Faith of the Campbellites.
Mr. Campbell, the originator of this sect, is certainly qualified to explain this. He says:
This sect, therefore, unite with the teachers of an apostate Christianity in placing the water before the blood, thus bringing an unpardoned, unregenerate sinner to water baptism as the sacrament of salvation. Surely no church of Christ can indorse this pernicious doctrine, by receiving those immersed by Catholics or Campbellites as Scripturally baptized without rejecting the faith of the gospel.
That the Protestant Episcopal branch baptizes into the same faith as its parent body—the Catholic—her own standards attest and her scholars freely admit.
Every one ever yet confirmed as a member of that body at his confirmation was and still is required to give this answer to the question:
Ques. —"Who gave you this name?"
Ans. —"My sponsors in baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven."
All adults as well as infants who receive the baptism of this church are properly baptized into that state of pardon, regeneration and salvation. Mellville, the distinguished preacher of that church, says: "I do not see how I can be commonly honest and yet deny that every baptized person is on that account regenerate."
"If infants are guilty of original sin they can not be saved in the ordinary way, unless this be washed away by baptism."
By referring to the "Shorter Catechism" we have a concise statement of the faith into which the Presbyterian church baptizes
Ques. —"What is a sacrament?"
Ans.—"The Sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s Supper."
Ques.—"What is baptism?"
Ans.—"Baptism is a Sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of the engrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit, of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life."
If any one doubts that the design held and taught by Presbyterians differs from that held and taught by the Catholics, let him hear how the most distinguished expounders of Presbyterianism, Professors in their Theological Seminaries, explain it
Dr. Hodge, of Princeton, says: "We are baptized in order that we may be united to Christ, and be made partakers of his benefits. This baptism unto repentance is a baptism that the remission of sins may be obtained."
Dr. Nevin, the scarcely less distinguished Professor of Theology in the Mercersburg Seminary, understood this to be the teaching of the Catechism and Confession of Faith:
We now inquire, Into what do Baptist churches baptize?
Can it be that there is a Baptist church in this age that will condemn the decision of the martyr Baptists of the twelfth century, and approve and indorse the baptismal acts of those sects that hold and teach baptism for regeneration by receiving them as valid?
From the fourteenth Article of Faith put forth by them, I copy the seventh:
We know Christ was not baptized "in order to the remission" of his sins—"to wash away" his sins—for he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners;" nor are we to come to the water for any such purpose, for we are not warranted to come until we have been washed in his blood, which cleanseth from all sin. Therefore we have no sins for water to cleanse, if it had cleansing power. We come not to the water for pardon, but with pardon—with the sweet consciousness of pardon in our hearts. Nor did Christ receive the "seal" of any covenant; for "him God the Father," not John the Baptist, "sealed." No more is it a seal of the covenant of grace to us, for the Holy Spirit distinctly teaches that we are "sealed by the Holy Spirit" the moment we believe, and never before. "In whom, after that ye believed, ye were sealed by the Holy Spirit," etc. (Eph. 1:13).
It was upon our divine Redeemer, who alone was able to bear them, that all our sins were laid, and thus "he was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." It was for this cause the Father hid his face from his Divine Son. It was the second Adam—the Lord from heaven, not the mere fleshly tabernacle in which his divinity was veiled—that suffered this infinite penalty. It was none other than the second Person in the Godhead, who, before the foundations of the earth were laid, covenanted with his Divine Fellows to satisfy by suffering all the demands of the divine government, to be a Mediator, that he might be the Redeemer of his people. It was therefore the Fellow, a coequal Person in the Godhead, whom the Father commanded the sword of justice to smite. It was that fiery two-edged sword, bathed in the wrath of an incensed God, due to our sins, and the averted face of his Father, which extorted that fearful cry: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"—a cry that struck the banners of heaven at half-mast, rent the solid rocks of Calvary; a cry whose echo still reverberates over a lost world today, arresting the attention, and drawing, by its wondrous power, all men unto the Cross. It was he who made the worlds who yielded up his spirit and sank in death to save us from death.
"He suffered!" Was it, Lord, indeed
The Just One for the unjust, Thou didst bear
The weight of sorrow that I hardly dare
To gaze upon, in dark Gethsemane?
"He suffered!" Thou, my near and gracious Friend,
And yet my Lord, my God! Thou didst not shrink,
For me that full and fearful cup to drink,
Because Thou lovedst even to the end!
"He suffered!" Savior, was Thy love so vast,
That mysteries of unknown agony,
Even unto death, its only gauge could be,
Unmeasured as the fiery depths it passed?
Lord, by Thy sufferings on Calvary,
Seal Thou my quivering love forever unto Thee!
"I would not live always; no! welcome the
Since Jesus hath lain there, I dread not its gloom;
There sweet be my rest till he bids me arise,
To hail him in triumph descending the skies."
"Thus did the glorious Prince of Life
All righteousness fulfill
In emblem of that fearful strife,
When by his Father’s will,
He sank beneath death’s darker flood,
And angels saw him bathed in blood."
I can not have mistaken His meaning, for He himself called his crucifixion a baptism—"I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished?" (Luke 12:50).
Paul also declares that three acts constitute the whole gospel by which we are saved, if we rightly apprehend and believe:
1. "How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
2. That he was buried;
3. That he rose again the third day." (1 Cor. 15:1-5.)
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand."
Conclusions From These Positions
If Christian baptism was designed to commemorate the "all righteousness "of Christ, and in which we are to profess before the world our personal faith and conscious participation in it, then—
Faith, and faith alone, independent of ail overt acts, unites to Christ, and secures our justification before God. "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without deeds of law. To faith, as the medium of salvation, nothing can be added without destroying the whole scheme of salvation.
"Christ has become of none effect unto you, whosoever of you are [or seek to be] justified by law [the law of pardon or any other law], ye are fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4).
The blood of Christ alone does this. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
It is Blood before Water.
All the types of the Old Testament, referring to remission of sin, teach this. All the teachings of Christ assert this. The teachings of the apostles establish this: "Having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed in pure water, let us hold fast the profession of our faith" (Heb. 10:22).
The unbroken practice of the apostles confirm this as the divine order. This is the grand and distinguishing test of genuine Christianity. It teaches the sinner to come to the water through blood—to the church through Christ; and not through water to blood, or through the church to Christ.
To those who have never been baptized into the faith of the gospel—have never professed a correct faith, or professed no faith—let me, in all affection and earnestness, beg and entreat you to seriously and prayerfully think on these things. Will you not, as you love your own souls, and as you hope you love Christ, carefully examine the New Testament, and learn for yourselves what Christ requires of you as the act and the profession of baptism? Do not fail to do it; do not refuse to do it, and still hope to be saved. Not because there is any saving merit in the act of baptism; not that it is "a sacrament of grace and salvation," for it is not; but because an aversion to know and do the will of Christ should be an all-convincing proof to you that your heart is not right in the sight of God. Can you hope to be saved while you openly contemn the authority of Christ, and reject the counsel of God against your own soul? Your neglect of Christian baptism will not, on its own account, condemn you; but it certainly will be indicative of the state of your heart. Your persistent disobedience is certainly evidence against you.
"Ashamed of Jesus, that dear friend
On whom my hopes of heaven depend!
No, when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere his name."
 See Liddell and Scott’s Greek and English Lexicon, 6th edition. “Baptizo means to dip, to immerse. Sprinkling and pouring are out of the question.”—Chas. Anthor.
 Dr. L. Lange, a celebrated German Pedobaptist, says: “All attempts to make out infant baptism from the New Testament fail. It is utterly opposed to the spirit of the Apostolical Age, and to the fundamental principles of the New Testament.” —Infant Baptism, p. 101. Dr. J. P. Lange, the renowned commentator, says: “Would the Protestant church fulfill and attain to its final destiny, the baptism of new‑born children must be abolished. It can not, on any point of view, be justified by the Holy Scriptures.”—History Baptism, pp. 34, 35.
 My space does net permit me to discuss this statement here, but by no rules governing the Greek language can the original text be wrested to teach otherwise than that Paul laid his hands upon those who are said to have been baptized in this passage. This was ever the stronghold of our historical ancestors, when charged with re‑baptizing, until the time of Calvin.
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