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prefent Controverfy does not at all relate to the Manner or Subjects of Water-Baptifm. For inftance, 'tis none of my prefent bufinefs to inquire, whether dipping be required, or fprinkling be fufficient; whether Infants may be baptized, or adult perfons only. Thefe things are indeed difputed between our felves and fome other Adverfaries: but they are not properly Quaker Controverfies, tho' the Quakers are very apt to digress into them. The Queftion therefore now depending between the Quakers and our felves, is this, whether Water-Baptifm be commanded, or no; whatever the proper Manner of Water-Baptifm be, or whoever be the proper Subjects of it. And this Question I fhall now proceed to determine, by fhewing that we are commanded to be baptized with Water. For,
That God has commanded us to be bapti zed with Water, proved from John 3. 5. and Eph. 4. 5.
First, Irft, Our Savior faies, Except a Man be born of Water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, John 3.5. For the Explication of which words I obferve, 1. that to be born of the Spirit is univerfally allowed to fignify the fame as to be born of God. Now to be born of God fig. nifies to be renewed in the inner Man, to be fanEtified or made holy. This appears from St. John's Words, who faies, Whoever is born of God, doth
not commit Sin, 1 John 3.9. and again, we know that whosoever is born of God, finneth not, 1 John' 5.18. And confequently to be born of the Spirit, fignifies to be renewed in the inner Man, to be fanctified or made holy. This is a regeneration of our Souls, a giving (as it were) a new being to them, by fubduing their vicious Inclinations, implanting good ones, c. 2. that to be born of Water fignifies to be baptized with Water. This Phrafe would perhaps be inexplicable, did not the Jewish Writings afford us fuch light as is fufficient for the right Underftanding of it. Now their Books do inform us, that 'twas ufual with them to baptize with Water all those perfons who from Heathenifm became Profelytes to Judaism, and that they accounted thofe who were fo baptized as perfons born again or new born. For the proof of this I refer the Reader to Mr. (a) Selden, Dr. (b) Lightfoot, and Mr. (c) Wall. Since therefore thofe Per fons who were baptized with Water, were accounted as new born or born again upon the account of their being fo baptized; the being born of Water muft in the Jewish Phrafe denote being baptized with Water.
These things being premifed, our Savior's Difcourfe with Nicodemus is very intelligible. St. John faies, ch. 3.
V. I. There was a Man of the Pharifees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
(a) Selden de jure Nat. & Gent. lib. 2. cap.4. p.158, 159. Argentor. 1665. (b) Lightfoot's Harmony of the Evangelifts, part. 2. Sect. 12. p. 525,526, 527. of the ft Vol. of his Works, Lond. 1684. (c) Wall's Hiftory of Infant-Baptifm, Vol. 1. Introduct. Lond. 17058.
v. 2. The fame came to Jefus by night, and faid unto him, Rabbi; we know that thou art a teacher come from God. For no Man can do thefe Miracles that thou doeft, except God be with him.
v. 3. Jefus answered and faid unto him, your ac knowledging that I am a Teacher come from God, is not fufficient for your feeing or entring into the Kingdom of God. For, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a Man be born again, he cannot fee the Kingdom of God.
v. 4. Now Nicodemus did not apprehend what our Savior meant by being born again; and therefore he faith unto him, How can a Man be born, when he is Old, as I am? if this be a condition, without which I cannot enter into or fee the Kingdom of God, I muft defpair thereof. For can he that is Old, enter the Second time into his Mother's Womb, and be born?
v. 5. Jefus answered, I wonder how you can thus mifunderstand me. Can you think, that I am fo unreasonable, as to make it neceffary for every one that intends to be my Difciple to return into the Womb of his Mother, and be born of her Body a Second time? You might well have believed, that I do not speak of a proper, but of a figurative Birth. However, to prevent your mi ftaking me for the future, I will fpeak more plainly. Wherefore, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a Man be born of Water by being bap tized therewith, and of the Spirit by being fanctified thereby, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of
V. 6. I fay, I require this double regeneration; the regeneration by Water, as the Ceremony of Initiation into my Difcipleship; and the regeneration by the Spirit, as that which makes Men
true, real, fincere, hearty, obedient Followers of me, fuch as I intend to reward. Wherefore 'tis neceffary that a Man be born again both Waies. For that which is born of the Flesh, is Flesh, that is, 'tis the Flesh or outward Man only, that is born again of Water according to your own Notions.. For you believe, that the Gentiles are defiled by being defcended of impure Parents, and you baptize them with Water to purify them from their native Filth, and render them an Holy Seed, even as clean as tho' they had been defcended from your own Race. But this Regeneration by Water regards the Flesh or outward Man only; whereas I require a Regeneration of the inner Man alfo, a Sanctification of the Heart, and therefore I fay that 'tis neceffary for a Man to be born of the Spirit. For that which is born of the Spirit; is Spirit ; that is, 'tis the Spirit or Soul of Man, which is born again by Operation of the Holy Ghost, even as the Flesh or Body of Man is by you fuppofed and faid to be born again of Water, when 'tis, baptized therewith.
V.7. Marvel not therefore, &c.
Now I fhall not difpute what is meant by the Kingdom of God in this place; but fuppofing that, to fee or enter into the Kingdom of God does fignify (as it certainly does) either being made a Member of Chrift's Church, or being glorified in Heaven, 'tis plain, that Water-Baptifm is commanded us. For fince being born of Water, that is, being baptized with Water, is made the condition of our feeing or entring into the Kingdom of Heaven; our Savior has certainly obliged us to perform that Condition, that is, to be baptized with Water.
I confess, Mr. (d) Barclay has objected, that if by Water here were to be understood outward Water, it would infer, that Water-Baptifm is abfolutely necef fary to Salvation. To which I answer, that Water-Baptifm is abfolutely neceffary to the Salvation of those, to whom God has given fufficient means of knowing that 'tis commanded, as I have already faid in the foregoing Chapter.
Secondly, St. Paul faies, there is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptifm, Eph. 4. 5. Now 'tis granted by our Adverfaries themfelves, that we are commanded to be baptized with the Baptifm here mentioned. I fhall therefore prove, that the Baptifm here mentioned is Water-Baptifm. For,
1. The Baptifm here mentioned is not the Baptifm with the Holy Ghoft.For I have largely fhewn, that the Baptifm with the Holy Ghoft fignifies the effufion of the Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Ghoft. Now the Baptifm with the Holy Ghoft, or Effufion of the Extraordinary Gifts of the Holy Ghost, was never beftowed upon all Christians, even in the primitive Times. In the very Beginnings of the Gofpel, tho' it was frequent and common, yet it was not univerfal.
And I am apt to believe, that it was feldom granted to any, but thofe that were called to the Miniftry. For we learn from Acts 8. 17. that the Gift of the Holy Ghoft was beftowed after the Impofition of the Apoftle's Hands. And, Ats 19. 6. 'tis faid, that when Paul had laid his Hands upon them (who had been already baptized with Water) the Holy Ghost came on them, and they Spake with Tongues, and prophecied. Now we know, that Impofition of Hands was the ufual Form of
(d) Truth cleared of Calumnies, p. 32.