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body in water. The diversity of signification, the distinct uses to which they were applied, constitute their only difference, but quite sufficient to render it absurd to consider them as one and the

And surely he is guilty of a similar mistake, who, misled by the exact resemblance of the actions physically considered, confounds the rite intended to announce the future, though speedy appearance of the Messiah, without defining his person, and the ceremony expressive of a firm belief in an identical person, as already manifested under that illustrious character.

3. Christian baptism was invariably administered in the name of Jesus ; while there is sufficient evidence that John's was not performed in that

That it was not during the first stage of his ministry is certain, because we learn from his own declaration, that when he first executed his commission he did not know him, but was previously apprised of a miraculous sign, which should serve to identify him when he appeared. In order to obviate the suspicion of collusion or conspiracy, circumstances were so arranged that John remained ignorant of the person of the Saviour, and possessed, at the commencement of his career, that knowledge only of the Messiah which was common to enlightened Jews. If we suppose him at a subsequent period to have incorporated the name of Jesus with his institute, an alteration so striking would unquestionably have been noticed by the evangelists, as it must have occasioned among the


people much speculation and surprise, of which, however, no traces are perceptible. Besides, it is impossible to peruse the gospels with attention, without remarking the extreme reserve maintained by our Lord, with respect to his claim to the character of Messiah; that he studiously avoided, until his arraignment before the high priest, the public declaration of that fact; that he wrought his principal miracles in the obscure province of Galilee, often accompanied with strict injunctions of secrecy; and that the whole course of his ministry, till its concluding scene, was so conducted as at once to afford sincere inquirers sufficient evidence of his mission, and to elude the malice of his enemies. In descending from the mount of transfiguration, where he had been proclaimed the Son of God from the most excellent glory, he strictly charged the disciples who accompanied him to tell no man of it, till he was raised from the dead. The appellation he constantly assumed was that of the Son of Man, which, whatever be its precise import, could by no construction become the ground of a criminal charge. When at the feast of dedication, “ the Jews came around him in the temple, saying, How long dost thou keep us in suspense ? if thou be the Christ, tell us plainly:" he replied, “I have told you, and ye believe not: the works which I do in my Father's name they bear witness

From this passage it is evident that our Lord had not hitherto publicly and explicitly

* John x. 24, 25,

of me.


affirmed himself to be the Messiah, or there would have been no foundation for the complaint of these Jews; nor does he on this occasion expressly affirm it, but refers them to the testimony of his works, without specifying the precise import of that attestation. In the progress of his discourse, however, he advances nearer to an open declaration of his Messiahship than on any former occasion, affirming his Father and himself to be one, in consequence of which the people attempt to stone him, as guilty of blasphemy, in making himself the Son of God. As his time was not yet come, he still maintains a degree of his wonted caution, and vindicates his assumption of that honour, upon principles far inferior to what he might justly have urged. Yet such was the effect of this discourse, that in order to screen himself from the fury of his enemies, he found it necessary immediately to retire beyond Jordan. In an advanced stage of his ministry, we find him inquiring of his disciples the prevailing opinions entertained respecting himself; on which they reply, “ Some say thou art John the Baptist, others Elias, others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” That he was the Messiah, was not, it is evident, the opinion generally entertained at that time, by such as were most favourably disposed towards his character and pretensions, which it could not fail to have been, had this title been publicly proclaimed: but this was so far from his intention, that when Peter, in the name of the rest of the apostles, uttered that

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glorious confession, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," our Lord immediately enjoins secrecy. What he enjoined his disciples not to publish, he certainly did not publish himself, nor for the same reason suffer it to be indiscriminately proclaimed by his forerunner. But if we suppose John to baptize in his name, we must suppose what is equivalent to an explicit declaration of his being the Messiah; for since he on all occasions predicted the speedy appearance of that great personage, the people could not fail to identify with him, the individual whose name was thus employed, and all the precautions maintained by our Saviour would have been utterly defeated. For what possible purpose could he forbid his disciples to publish, what John is supposed to have promulgated as often as he administered the baptismal rite ? and how shall we account on this hypothesis for the diversity of opinion which prevailed respecting his character, among those who were thoroughly convinced of the divine mission of that great Prophet? From these considerations, in addition to the total silence of scripture, the judicious reader, I presume, will conclude without hesitation

I that John did not baptize in the name of Jesus, which is an essential ingredient in christian baptism; and though it is administered, in fact, in the name of each person of the blessed Godhead, not in that of the Son only, this, instead of impairing, strengthens the argument, by enlarging still farther the difference betwixt the two ordinances in

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question; for none will contend that John immersed his disciples in the name of the Holy Trinity.

4. The baptism instituted by our Lord, is in scripture distinguished from that of the forerunner by the superior effects with which it was accompanied; so that, instead of being confounded, they are contrasted, in the sacred historians.

" I indeed,” said John, “baptize you with water unto repentance, but there cometh one after me who is mightier than I; he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost, and in fire.” The rite administered by John was a mere immersion in water, unaccompanied with that effusion of the Spirit, that redundant supply of supernatural gifts and graces which distinguished the subjects of the christian institute. On the passage just quoted, St. Chrysostom has the following comment :-“ Having agitated their minds with the fear of future judgement, and the expectation of punishment, and the mention of the axe, and the rejection of their ancestors, and the substitution of a new race, together with the double menace of excision and burning, and by all these means softened their obduracy, and disposed them to a desire of deliverance from these evils, he then introduces the mention of Christ, not in a simple manner, but with much elevation; in exhibiting his own disparity, lest he should appear to be using the language of compliment, he commences by stating a comparison betwixt the benefit bestowed by each. For he did not immediately say, I am not worthy

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