By WILLIAM DELL, Minister of the Gospel, and Master of Gonvil and Caius College, in Cambridge.

ISAIAH lii. 15.

That which hath not been told them, they shall see; and that which they have not heard, they shall consider.


LONDON Printed: PHILADELPHIA, Reprinted, by B. FRANK­LIN, and D. HALL. 1759.

[Page iii]

To the READER.

THE Doctrine of Baptisins hath been dark and obscure in the Church, from the very pri­mitive Times, and hath had more of human No­tion, than of divine Truth in it; and therefore Zuinglius, writing touching this Point, speaks thus, in the Beginning of his Book, intituled, De Bap. Tom. 2. f. 57. Illud mihi ingenuè circa Libri Initium discendum est, ferè omnes eos, quotquot ab ipsi Apostolorum Temporibus, de Baptismo scribere instituerunt, non in Paucis (quod Pace omnium Hominum dictum esse velim) à Scopo aberravisse: That is, In the Beginning of my Book (saith he) I must ingenuously profess, that almost all those that have undertaken to write of Baptism, even from the very Time of the Apo­stles, have (which I desire may be spoken with the Favour of all) not in a few Things erred from the Scope. And as he affirms, that almost all before him had erred in many Things touching Bap­tism, so did he himself also err, as well as they, not in a Few: And it is as free for me, or any Body else, to differ from him, and other late Writers; especially if that be true which godly and learned Chemnitius affirms out of Augustine, that these Things are not Tanquam Articuli Fidei, à quibus diversum sentire Piaculum sit Anathemate dig­num, Chemnit. Examen Concil. Trident. l. de Bapt.

And therefore, Reader, I acquaint thee before­hand, that in this Point, I shall speak much other­wise [Page iv]than all former, or latter Writers whatever, that I have met with; and though I do not, with­out some Fear and Trembling, dissent from so ma­ny worthy and gracious Men, that have been, and are, otherwise minded; yet it is the less grievous to me, because I differ from them (I can say it in Truth before the Lord) not out of any Desire to be singular, or for any worldly or carnal End what­soever, but only that I might cleave to the clear and evident Word of God alone, even there where I see the very Faithful to leave it; seeing I am rather to join to the Word without Men, than to join to Men without the Word; and where I find the ho­liest Men in the World, and the Word parting, I am there to leave them, and to go along with the Word.

And so, in all Love and Meekness, I tender this Discourse to thee; desiring that if thou canst not at the present agree to what is therein contained, yet that thou wouldst not rashly judge and reproach it, seeing, thro' God's Goodness, it may come to pass, that what thou knowest not now, thou mayest know afterwards.

But because I see this present Generation so rooted and built up in the Doctrines of Men, I have the less Hope that this Truth will prevail with them; and therefore I appeal to the next Genera­tion, wich will be farther removed from those E­vils, and will be brought nearer to the Word; but especially that People whom God hath, and shall form by his Spirit for himself; for these only will be able to make just and righteous Judgment in this Matter, seeing they have the Anointing to be their Teacher, and the Lamb to be their Light.

[Page 5]


THE Lord, foreseeing how great an E­vil it would be in the Church, to leave Men either to their own, or other Mens Opinions and Judgment, in the Things of God, did, in the very Beginning of the Gos­pel, command and bind all the Faithful, to hear Christ alone; saying from Heaven (that we might give absolute Credit to his Voice) This is my be­loved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear him; And the more the Faithful have kept to the Word of Christ, the more they have been free from Er­ror, and the more they have left this, and turned aside after the Doctrines of Men (though Men in some Measure faithful and holy) the more have they been perverted and seduced; insomuch that the true Church of God, and the very Faithful themselves, have received, held and maintained, divers Errors, and false Doctrines, and Opinions, even for many Ages and Generations; yea, and have not been altogether free from some, from the very Apostles Time: And because many, or most, godly Men, in former Ages, held such and such Opinions; therefore the following Ages have [Page 6]taken them upon Trust from them, and have en­tertained them as sure and certain, though not at all consulting, in those Points, with the great Doctor and Apostle of the New Testament, Jesus Christ. And thus have the very Elect themselves been drawn into much Error, though they have still had Christ for their Foundation, and were built on him so firmly by Faith, that the Gates of Hell could not prevail against them.

Now, to free the Faithful from the former Mi­stake (and consequently from all Error) there is no other Way than this, wholly to forsake the Doc­trines of Men, and to lay by all those Opinions that we have sucked in from our very Cradles, and which are now become even a natural Religion to us; I say, utterly to lay by, and wholly to forget all these Things, and to come immediately to the pure unerring Word of God, and to the Voice of Jesus Christ himself, by his Spirit, wherein all Things are true, sincere and perfect; and not bring Hearts to the Word, that are prepossessed with Doctrines and Opinions learned of Men, but to come thither with Hearts and Consciences free and unengaged, and in all Meekness, Uprightness and Simplicity of Heart, to hear what Jesus Christ, the faithful and true Witness, will say by his Spi­rit, which also is the Spirit of Truth; and to re­ceive and believe that alone, though never so dif­fering from the Opinions and Doctrines of this present Age, as well as of the former, and tho' perhaps the whole Nation would be offended with it.

[Page 7] And this is the Course that I have observed, to come to some clear and certain Knowledge in the Doctrine of Baptism: For, having read much, and discoursed with many touching this Point, and having seriously considered what they say, as one that searched after the Truth, for itself only, and for the Satisfaction of my own Soul; I do profess I could not find any Thing almost spoken, for my Spirit boldly and safely to lean on, as perceiv­ing most of what they said, to be but the Appre­hensions and Thoughts of Men, and that they spoke very much by Conjecture, and at Uncertainty in this Matter; and thereupon I resolved, wholly to withdraw from such Discourse, and to lay down whatever Opinions I had before entertained, touch­ing this Point, and to come to the plain and ma­nifest Scriptures; and from thence (after much seeking God) to learn whatever the Lord should please to teach me; chusing rather to build on the clear Word, though alone, than on any uncertain Inferences, and blind Conjectures of Men, though embraced and magnified by all the World.

Now, in this Enquiry from the Word, I met with that Place, Heb. vi. 2. where the Apostle, speaking of some of the first and initial Points of Christian Religion, names the Doctrine of Bap­tisms; whence I perceived that, in the primitive Church they had the Doctrine of Baptism in the Plural Number; and therefore did apply myself to search from the Word, what these Baptisms might be, and so met with the Baptist's own Doc­trine, touching Baptisms, mentioned Matthew iii. Mark i. Luke iii. and John i. (for all the Evan­gelists [Page 8]make Mention of this, it being a Matter of so great Concernment) and Luke makes Mention of the Ground of this Doctrine of the Baptist, Chap. iii. 15. As the People were in Expectation (saith he) and all Men mused in their Hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not, John an­swered, saying, &c. The People, it seems, had great and high Thought of John, because he was the Son of the High Priest, conceived after an extraordinary Manner, his Parents being both well stricken in Age, and past Children, by the Course of Nature; and then the Manner of his Life was strange, for he lived in the Wilderness out of the ordinary Converse of the World; and his Apparel and Diet were unusual, being Rai­ment of Camel's Hair, and a leathern Girdle about his Loins, and his Meat Locusts and wild Honey; but especially his Ministry was mighty, being in the Spirit and Power of Elias; and his Baptism new and famous; so that all the People stood in great Expectation of some Work or Event from him, that should manifest him to be the Christ; wherefore John, to take them off from that gross and dangerous Mistake, plainly told them all, and that openly, That he was not the Christ, but that there was a great Deal of Difference between himself and the Messiah, and that both in Regard of his Person and Office.

First for his Office. For he begins to shew the Difference from thence, because the Newness of his Baptism, was the Occasion of the Peoples conceiving, that he was the Messiah; whereupon he vilifies his own Baptism, in respect of Christ's, [Page 9]saying, I indeed baptize you with Water; that is, my Baptism is but Water-Baptism, that washes the Body only with a corporeal Element; but one mightier than I comes, for I am but a Creature, he the Power of God; I but a Servant, he the Lord of all, and one so infinitely excellent above all that I am, that the Latchets of his Shoes I am not wor­thy to unloose; that is, I am unworthy to perform the meanest and lowest Office for him. And hav­ing thus first spoken meanly of his own Baptism, and then magnified Christ's Person above his own, He (saith he) shall baptize you with the Holy Spi­rit, and with Fire; that is, I that am a Servant do baptize with Water; but he, that is, the Son, baptizes with the Spirit; my Baptism washes but the Body from the Filth of the Flesh; but his, the Soul from Filth of Sin; so that how much the Spirit excels Water, and God the Creature, so much his Baptism transcends mine.

Now hence I gather clearly, even from the Baptist's own Mouth, that John's Baptism and Christ's were distinct Baptisms, the one Water-Bap­tism, the other Fire-Baptism; and though our late Writers and Teachers have, and do affirm, that John's Baptism and Christ's make up but one intire Baptism; yet all generally of the antient Christians apprehended them to be distinct; one whereof saith, Illud manifestum est, alium fuisse Johannis Baptismum, alium Christi. August. con­tra Liter. Petil. c. c. 37. And I could produce many more Testimonies besides, but it is not my Meaning to entangle any Body with the Authority of Men, and therefore I shall make it plain by [Page 10] clear Scriptures, and Evidences from them, that John's Baptism and Christ's, are distinct.

1. John's Baptism and Christ's are distinct in their Appellations in Scripture; for John's Bap­tism was still so called, even when the Apostles used it; and it was not called by their Names who administered it, but was still called John's Baptism: Yea, after Christ's Baptism came in, John's still retained its Name, as being distinct from it; and therefore, Acts xviii. 24, 25. it is said, Apollos taught diligently the Things of the Lord, knowing only the Baptism of John.

2. The Scripture saith, that Christ's Baptism was to follow John's, and did not accompany it at the same Time; for Matth. iii. John saith, I do baptize you with Water, but he that come after me, i. e. in Order of Time, he shall baptize you. And in Luke iii. I have baptized you, but he shall baptize you; which Places plainly declare Christ's Baptism did not go along with John's, but was to follow it, and that he was to baptize with the Spi­rit, after John's Water-Baptism had had its full Course, to wit, when he was risen from the Dead, and ascended into Heaven. And therefore Christ, after he was risen from the Dead, and immedi­ately before he was to ascend into Heaven, tho' his Disciples had used Water-Baptism, or John's Baptism, for above three Years, yet affirms that which John had said of him, touching his Bap­tism with the Spirit, was not yet fulfilled, but was shortly to be fulfilled, as appears, Acts i. 4, 5. Christ being assembled with the Apostles, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, [Page 11] but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, saith he, you have heard of me; for John truly baptized with Water, but ye shall be baptized with the Spirit, not many Days hence; and this was ful­filled at the Day of Pentecost, whence it is evi­dent, that Christ's Baptism did not go along with John's, and make that up one entire Baptism with itself, seeing it followed almost four Years after, an therefore John's Baptism and Christ's must needs be distinct.

3. It is evident, that Christ's Baptism and John's were distinct, in as much as the Baptism of Christ was necessary for those very Persons, who had be­fore been baptized with the Baptism of John; whereas, if John's Baptism had been one and the same with Christ, that only had been sufficient; but now, those whom John had baptized with Water, Christ was to baptize again with the Spi­rit, as in that Place before mentioned, I have bap­tized you with Water, but one comes after me, who shall baptize you with the Spirit; even you whom I have before baptized with Water: And this was not a second Baptism, but the first Baptism of the New Testament, John's Baptism being more legal than evangelical; and evangelical only, in so much as it pointed out this Baptism of Christ at Hand.

Again, the Baptist himself saith, I have Need to be baptized of thee; so that the very Author, or chief Minister of Water-Baptism, stood in Need of spiritual Baptism himself: Paul also, Acts xix. when he found certain Disciples baptized only with the Baptism of John, he baptized them a­gain [Page 12]in the Name of Christ, because they had not received the Spirit; and this Baptism into the Name of Christ, was not the repeating of any Water, but meerly the Gift of the Spirit; for Paul preached to them largely the Doctrine of Faith in Christ (for the Text relates but the Ab­stract of the Thing) and laid his Hands on them, and through his Ministry the holy Spirit came up­on them, and this was Christ's Baptism indeed, and no renewing of Water at all, as the Anabap­tist would fain inforce from this Place.

By these Things it is evident, that Christ's Bap­tism and John's are distinct; and therefore as what God hath joined, no Man ought to put asunder, so what God hath put asunder, no Man ought to join; as if the Baptism of Christ was insufficient and incompleat, except we should add to it the Baptism of John; which is exceedingly to eclipse the Brightness of the Son of God, as to draw a Vail over the greatest Glory of the New Testament, which is the Baptism of the Spirit.

Obj. If the ordinary Objection shall be offered against this, to wit, that John's Doctrine was the same with Christ's, and therefore his Baptism also was the same with his;

Answ. I answer, it is most true, that John did preach Christ clearly, both in Regard of his Per­son and Offices; but this was not his proper Work, as he was the Baptist, but in so much as he preach­ed Christ in the Spirit, he belongeth to the King­dom of Christ, which is spiritual, as also, Abra­ham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and all the Prophets, did in the same Sense: But so far forth as he [Page 13]preached the Doctrine, and administered the Bap­tism of Repentance, and both these not really and spiritually, but only in the Letter and Sign, so far he belonged to the Old Testament, rather than to the New: Here was John in his proper Office. I say, so far as John preached Christ spiritually, he did not that as John the Baptist, but as John a Believer; and so the same John, in Regard of his Baptist's Office, belonged to the Old Testament; but according to the Revelation which he had from the Father, touching Christ, and his Faith in him, and Confession of him, he belonged to the New. And except we learn thus to distin­guish of John's Doctrine, to wit, what he preach­ed as Baptist, and in his proper Office, and what as a Believer, who had the Revelation of the Fa­ther, we shall never understand his Baptism a­right: For John's Baptism was the Seal of his Old Testament Doctrine, and not of his New, or of his own immediate Ministry, and not of Christ's; at the highest, John's Ministry and Bap­tism pointed out Christ, but neither of them were the same with Christ's.

And thus having cleared from the Word, that John's Baptism is distinct from Christ's, I shall proceed to speak of each of these Baptisms apart by themselves, and to hold forth to others what myself have learned touching them from the same Word.

And first I begin with John's Baptism, as be­ing the first in Order of Time.

Now the Baptism of John was brought in besides the Rite and Manner of the Law, and [Page 14]so was a Sign of a great Change to follow: The Jews indeed had their Baptisms in the Law, for they washed their Members, Garments, Vessels, &c. and by this they were cleansed from legal Pollu­tions, but not from any Sin or Stain that did cleave to their Conscience; but John was the Author, or first Minister of a new and unwonted Baptism, cal­ling all Men to Repentance for Sin, and to flee from the Wrath to come, and awakening them to Confession of Sin, and Amendment of Life, and al­so pointing out one to come, and now at Hand, who should do all these Things for them indeed, which neither he nor his Baptism, could do.

Now touching John's Baptism, I shall shew,

First, The Honourableness of it in itself.

Secondly, The Weakness and Imperfectness of it, in Reference to Christ.

And Thirdly, The Continuance and Duration of it.

1. For the Honourableness of itself, it appears in several Passages.

First, That tho' the Baptism of John, in itself, was more legal than evangelical, yet in this it did excel all the former legal Baptisms, that it point­ed out Christ's Baptism near at Hand; for as John himself was greater than all the former Prophets, because he pointed out, with his Finger, Christ the true and great Prophet of the Church; so his Baptism was more excellent than all the former Baptisms, because it pointed out Christ's great and glorious Baptism now at Hand, as he saith, I bap­tize you with Water, and he that comes after me, shall baptize you with the Spirit.

[Page 15] 2. John's Baptism was from Heaven, and not from Men; it had its Institution from God, and was not an Ordinance he took up of his own Head. Luke iii. 2. it is said, that at the Beginning of John's setting forth to his Baptism and Mini­stry, That the Word of God came to him in the Wilderness; that is, he was inspired, instructed and taught by a Word from God himself touch­ing his Ministry-Baptism, and the Discovery of Christ's his was to make; and John i. 6. There was a Man sent from God, whose Name was John, and Verse 33. He that sent me to baptize with Water, said unto me. He went not of his own Accord, but God sent him to baptize; so that as God was the Author of those inferior Bap­tisms of Moses, so of this more high and excel­lent Baptism of John; and hereupon the Publi­cans, that received John's Baptism, are said to justify God; and the Pharisees and Lawyers that refused it, to reject against themselves; that is, to their own Harm, the Counsel of God, Luke vii. 29.30.

3. Christ himself, who was born under the Law, and subject to the Law, submitted himself also to the Baptism of John, as the last and liveliest Ce­remony, Matt. iii. 13. Then cometh Jesus from Ga­lilee to Jordan, to be baptized of him, and so Christ, who had submitted himself to the Cir­cumcision of Moses, submitted himself also to the Baptism of John; and as he submitted himself to all the Ceremonies of Moses, not for his own Sake, but for ours; so also to the Baptism of John. For seeing Christ was free from Sin, he stood in [Page 16]no Need of Repentance, and so not of that Bap­tism, which was the Baptism of Repentance for the Remission of Sin; but there the Head, who was free from Sin, was baptized for the Body, which was full of Sin, that he might fulfil all Righteousness in his own Person. And this was a great Honour to the Baptism of John, that Christ (though in Reference to our Flesh more than his own) submitted himself to it.

Thus it appears, that the Baptism of John was very Honourable, and of high Account in its Time, so that the very Disciples of Christ took it up, and Christ himself suffered them, because John's Bap­tism was the Sign and Fore-runner of his, and because the Time of his own Baptism was not yet come; but Christ himself used it not, as John witnesses, Chap. iv. 2. saying, Jesus himself bap­tized not, but his Disciples; to wit, with John's Baptism, which was Water-Baptism. For it be­came not the Son of God to baptize with a Crea­ture; nor the Lord of all, to use the Baptism of a Servant.

And thus, having shewed how Honourable John's Baptism was in itself (wherein I conceive I have not done him, though a Servant, the least Prejudice, but have fully attributed to his Office, whatever the Word, or he himself, a Messenger from God, attributes to it) I shall now proceed to shew, That the Baptism of John, how honour­able and excellent soever, is yet far beneath and below Christ's; yea and most weak and imperfect in Comparison of his.

[Page 17] For first, John's Baptism was with a Creature, with the Element of Water, for the Creature could baptize but with the Creature; that is, John with Water; and so this was far beneath the Baptism of Christ, which was the Work of God by God, the Work of the Father by the Son, and of the Son by the Spirit.

2. John's Baptism was tantum exterius Lava­crum, but outward, and reached the outward Man only; the Baptism of Water reached but the Bo­dy, and it could pierce no deeper; and after all the Washing of the Body with Water, the Soul still remained as full of Filth, Sin, and Corruption as ever; and so it was far beneath Christ's, which reaches the Soul: The Baptism of John was the Baptism of Bodies, but the Baptism of Christ the Baptism of Souls; and only the Baptism of the Spirit reaches the Spirit, and attains to the Soul, Conscience and inner Man, to purge and purify them.

3. The Baptism of John was but a Sign and Ceremony, though it had more Life and Light in it than any of the Signs of the Law, as being nearer to Christ, and more newly revived by God; and so thought useful in its Season, yet the Effi­cacy of it (after the Manner of all Signs) was but weak.

For First, It did not give the Spirit one Drop of the Spirit; yea, some who were baptized with John's Baptism, did not know the Way of the Lord perfectly; that is, had no certain Know­ledge of Christ, the only Way to God, as Apol­los, Acts xviii, yea, some of them did not so much [Page 18]as know, whether there were any Holy Ghost, or no, as those twelve Disciples, Acts xix. much less had received the Spirit.

Secondly, Neither did it give Repentance and Remission of Sin (for what was the Plunging of a Man in cold Water towards Repentance and Re­mission of Sin?) but these were the Works of Christ's own Baptism, which is the Baptism of the Spirit; for no Man can repent of Sin, but by the Presence of the Righteousness of God in his Heart, which is the Work of that Spirit, which is given in Christ's Baptism; neither can any re­mit Sin, but God: Our Sins are never forgiven by God, till God dwell in us through Jesus Christ, by the Work of the Spirit; so that Repentance was given, and Sin forgiven, not in Hope only in John's Baptism, but really and truly in Christ's, which was the real Baptism of Repentance and Remission of Sins.

Thirdly, Neither did it give Entrance into the the Kingdom of God; for the Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom, and no earthly or corporeal Thing can give Entrance into it: The Baptism in the Water of Jordan could deliver no Man up into the Kingdom of God, but the Baptism in that River that makes glad the City of God, Psal. xlvi. 4. in that River clear as Chrystal, that proceeds from the Throne of God, and of the Lamb, which is the Spirit, which delivers up all that partake of it, first, into the Kingdom of the Son, and after, through that into the Kingdom of the Father The Baptism of John left Men in that old World, wherein it found them, but the Baptism of [Page 19]Christ delivers them up into the new World, or the Kingdom of God.

Now, in all these Regards, it appears that John's Baptism did not do the Work of the Bap­tism of the New Testament, for then that only had been sufficient, and there had been no Need of Christ's to come.

And thus you see that the Baptism of John, as it is distinct from Christ's, so it is far inferior to his. And therefore great hath been the Mistake of many, for several Ages, who have made John's Baptism equal to Christ's; for what is this, but to make the Servant equal to the Lord, and to set down the Creature in the Throne of the only Be­gotten of the Father? Yea, and it is the quite perverting of John's Office, for John was to be a burning and shining Light, to usher in Christ the true Light; he was to be as the Morning­star, to usher in Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, and was not to be so much Clouds and Darkness to obscure him; he was but to point out Christ, and depart again, and not to sit in equal Glory with him, on his Throne, in the New Testament. John said, he was not worthy to bear his Shoes; and therefore they do not well, who have prepared an equal Crown for him with Christ, who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

Wherefore we must take great Heed that we do not so magnify John's Office, as to intrench on Christ's, and to make the Son, out of the Bosom of the Father, to take up the Baptism of John, a Servant, and to administer one entirely his [Page 20]own; surely this would not have been suitable to the Glory of the only begotten Son of God.

The third Thing I propound to speak to, touching John's Baptism, is the Time of its Dur­ance, or Continuance, and that was but very short; for John's Baptism, as all the Ceremonies of Moses, was but for a Time; yea, this being nearer the Truth and Substance than they, was of less Duration; as the Morning Star, though brighter than the Rest of those heavenly Lights, shines less While than they, because the hasty Appearance of the Sun swallows it up. And so John's Baptism was of great Use a little before Christ's Manifestation to Israel, and continued till the Time of his Ascension; and then when Christ's Baptism began, the Shadow was to give Way to the Substance, and the Sign to the Truth, and the Letter to the Spirit, and the Servant to the Son; so that Christ's Baptism put an End to John's, Free-Baptism to Water-Baptism, and Spi­rit-Baptism to Creature-Baptism: For as all the Prophets were until John, so John was until Christ; and John must no more exceed his Bounds, than Moses and the Prophets theirs; but as the Prophets gave up to John, so John must give up to Christ. John's temporary Ministry had a temporary Bap­tism; but the everlasting Gospel (which is that Word in our Flesh) hath an everlasting Baptism, which is the pouring out of the Spirit. So then, John being a Servant and Forerunner of Christ, Christ was not to take up his Baptism, but John was to resign up his Baptism to Christ; yea, and as a Servant, to deliver up all Things into his [Page 21]Hands, as Heir and Lord: And so John's Water-Baptism was to last but till Christ's Fire-Baptism should come in, and then the Fire should lick up the Water; and as Spirit-Baptism should increase, Water-Baptism should decrease. So that John's Baptism, or Water-Baptism (which is all one) be­longs not to Christ's Kingdom, which is a King­dom not of the Letter, but of the Spirit, not of Signs and Shadows, but of the Truth; and there­fore we leave it where we found it, even without the Bounds and Reach of Christ's Kingdom; for John's Office and Baptism reached unto Christ's Kingdom, but hath no Place in it; and to bring Signs and Ceremonies into the Kingdom of Truth, is (if rightly understood) to act against Christ glorified.

Object. But some will say, this is strange in­deed, that Water-Baptism should have no Place in the Kingdom of Christ: and therefore pray stay a little, for we have many Things to object against it.

Object. 1. Why this should rob us of our Christ­endom.

I answer, No; for it is not Water, but Spi­rit-Baptism that makes us Christians; and Water-Baptism hath been an unlawful blending or mix­ing of the Church and World together; so that hitherto they could not be well differenced from each other, to the great Prejudice of the Congre­gations of Christ.

Object. 2. But have so many Ages erred, who have used Water-Baptism?

[Page 22] Answ. For the Errors of former Ages, and their great Mistakes in many of the Truths of God, I have nothing to say, but that of the Apo­stle, How unsearchable are his Judgments, and his Ways past finding out.

Object. 3. But you are the first Man, for ought we know, that ever opposed it.

Answ. One single mean Man, with the Word, may very justly and lawfully contradict the whole World without it; Truth is not to be judged by Multitudes, or an Unity, but by the Word.

Object. 4. But Christ himself was baptized with Water, and surely that perpetuates it in the Church.

Answ. Christ's being baptized with Water un­der John, no more perpetuates Water-Baptism in the Christian Church, than his being circumcised under Moses, perpetuates Circumcision in the Christian Church; or his submitting to other Mo­saical Ceremonies, perpetuates them; Christ brings no temporal or carnal Thing into his everlasting or spiritual Kingdom, though himself submitted to them under their several Dispensations in the Sea­son of them.

Object. 5. But Christ justifies and commands Water-Baptism in John iii. Except a Man be born of Water, &c. And Mat. xxviii. Teach and bap­tize.

Answ. I confess these are Places that many have mistaken, to justify the Practice of Water-Baptism; but shall shew you, that they do in­deed misunderstand them. For that first Place, John iii. 5. Except a Man be born of Water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; [Page 23]I confess, many of the Ancients have, by Water here, understood material Water, and have inter­preted the Place of external Baptism, which was John's only: And hereupon divers of them have exceedingly magnified Water, and ascribed it to the Washing of Souls, and the Regeneration of Christians in some Measure, they not considering, in the mean time, what Christ saith in the very next Verse, That which is born of the Flesh, is Flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spi­rit; by which they might have learned, that out­ward and corporeal Water can do nothing but outward and corporeal Things, and can con­tribute nothing to the Cleansing of Souls and Con­sciences from Sin.

So that this Place cannot be understood of cor­poreal Water; and I could produce the Testimo­nies of many godly Men, of good Note, to this Purpose, but do forbear, because I would not have our Faith built upon the Authorities of Men; but the Thing is evident from the Text itself, for it saith, Except a Man be born of Water, which shews the Water he speaks of, must be such as is able to give a new Birth, and to make a Man a­new, that is, a spiritual, holy, heavenly Creature; and no Water can do this, but the Spirit; and therefore Christ adds to Water the Spirit, by Way of Explication; as if he had said, No Man can enter into the Kingdom of God, except he be born again of Water; but the Water I speak of is no material Water, but the Spirit, which is able to produce in us a heavenly Nature, through which only we can have an Entrance into an heavenly [Page 24]Kingdom, seeing Flesh and Blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; so that the Water Christ means in this Place is the Spirit; and many other Places give Witness to this, John iv. 10. If thou didst know who it is that saith unto thee, give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living Water. And Verses 13, 14, Jesus said unto her, whosoever drinks of this Water (meaning the Water of the Well, called Jacob's Well) shall thirst again; but whosoever shall drink of the Water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the Water that I shall give him, shall be in him a Well of Water, springing up unto ever­lasting Life. and John vii. 37, 38, 39. Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any Man thirst, let him come unto me and drink; he that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his Belly shall flow Rivers of living Water; but this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should re­ceive.

Now by Water, in all these Places, is not meant material Water, but the Spirit, as Christ himself explicates; and sure his Testimony alone is suffi­cient.

But again, if in this Place, except a Man be born of Water and Spirit, you will needs under­stand material Water; why then, upon the same Ground, you must needs understand that Place in Matthew of material Fire, where it is said, Mat. iii. 11. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with Fire; which is absurd to very Reason to think; but Water and Fire, in each Place, added to the Spirit, shew only the Effica­cy [Page 25]of the Spirit; and so you may as well bring in the Use of material Fire in Baptism, from the Text in Matthew, as of material Water, from the Text in John. So that this Place in John proves no Authority of Christ for Water-Baptism in his Kingdom, which is the Church of the New-Testament.

Now the other Place, Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spi­rit, is also of as little Force as the former, to prove Water-Baptism to be an Institution of Christ. Indeed I find, that where ever Men have met with the Word Baptism or baptize in the Scrip­tures, presently their Thoughts have descended to material Water; th [...] not so well considering or understanding that Water, which is the Spirit, which is the only Water that performs all the Bap­tism in the Kingdom of God.

Now for that Place, Go teach all Nations, bap­tizing them, they understand it thus, teach them, and baptize them with material Water, using this Form of Words, I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, &c. But herein they err from the Mind of Christ; for by these Words Christ leads his Disciples from John's Baptism to his own; as if he had said, John indeed baptized with Water, and ye have hitherto used his Baptism, but I shall now shortly baptize you with my own Baptism of the Spirit; and from that Time I would have you go teach all Nations, and by the Ministration of the Spirit, not baptize them, or dip them in cold Water (as John did in his own Baptism, and [Page 26]you in his) but baptize them, or dip them into the Name of God the Father, Son and Spirit; and note, that he saith not here, in the Name, but, in the Name of the Father, &c. and by the Name of God, is meant the Power and Virtue of God, or God himself; as Mark xvi. Christ saith, in my Name they shall cast out Devils; that is, in my Power and Virtue; so that the Sense lies thus, teach the Nations, and baptize them into the Name, &c. that is, by your Ministry, which shall be of the Spirit, and not of the Letter; you shall bap­tize them, or dip them, or interest them into the Name of God, who is the Father, Son and Spi­rit, as he hath discovered himself, in his last and most glorious Discovery of himself in the Gospel; you shall (I say) dip them into his Name, or sprinkle his Name upon them, that they may be holy, just, true, merciful, righteous, good, &c. that is, your Ministry, after you have received the Spirit, shall have such Efficacy, that it shall clothe Men with the Name of God, and transform them into his very Nature.

So that this Place cannot be understood of Wa­ter, but instead of baptizing in material Water, as John, he tells them, they should baptize into the Name of God, in such Sort, that they that were before sinful, corrupt, and evil Men, should now be taken up into the Glory of the Name of God. Neither can this Place be understood of a Form of Words, which the Apostles and their Successors should use in baptizing, as most Men have thought and taught, seeing no Place of Scripture can be named, wherein the Apostles, in [Page 27]baptizing, used this Form of Words, saying, I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, Son and Spirit, which they had undoubtedly done, if Christ had commanded it as an absolute Form. And because many will presently be ready to be enraged at this Assertion, I will a little cool their Heat with what Zuinglius saith of this Place, who was one of the greatest Enemies to the Anabap­tists, that was in his Time; Christus Jesus (saith he) Baptismi Formulam, qua uteremur his Verbis, non instituit, quemadmodum Theologi hactenus falso tradierunt, Zuing. Lib. de Bap. P. 56. Tom. 2. Oper. that is, Jesus Christ did not in these Words institute a Form of Baptism, which we should use, as Divines have hitherto falsly taught; and he af­firms it upon the same Ground I have mentioned before.

Again, if by this Place, go teach and baptize, be meant Water-Baptism, Paul did very ill observe the Command of Christ, who baptized but two or three believing Families at the most, with Wa­ter-Baptism, and yet preached the Word in a Cir­cuit from Jerusalem to Illiricum, Acts xv. 19. through many Kingdoms, Countries, Villages, People; but I say Paul, though he used not Water-Bap­tism, yet did punctually fulfil the Command of Christ, and did teach them, and baptize them into the Name of God. So that, no Question, there were many Churches planted in Paul's Time, who believed in Christ, and received the Spirit, and walked in Fellowship with the Father and the Son, and with one another in the Father and the Son, who never were washed at all with Water-Baptism; [Page 28]but Paul knew well, that no outward Thing is of any Account in the Kingdom of God; and that as Circumcision and Uncircumcision were nothing, so neither Water-Baptism, nor the Want of it, were any Thing, but a new Creature is ALL; and if there be Faith and the Spirit, they are sufficient to the Kingdom of God, with­out any outward Ceremonies whatsoever.

So that neither of these two Places prove any Institution of Water-Baptism of Christ, but that still remains John's Baptism, and not Christ's.

Object. 6 The last, and that which seems the strongest Objection, is, that the Apostles practised Water-Baptism, not only before Christ's Baptism came in, but after; and this is most evident in very many Places in the Acts of the Apostles.

Answ. I answer, true indeed, the Apostles did practise Water-Baptism, but not from Christ, but from John, whose Baptism they took up; and an outward Ceremony of Honour and Account, is not easily and suddenly laid down; and hence some of the Apostles used Circumcision, and that after the Ascension of Christ; for Circumcision was an honourable Ceremony, used from Abraham's Time, and so they could not (no not in the Time of the New Testament) suddenly and abruptly leave it off, but they did use it for a Time, for their Sakes who were weak, well knowing, that the Circumcision without Hands, would by Degrees put an End to the Circumcision made with Hands. For Ceremonies are best laid down, and old Cu­stoms best laid aside, by the Essicacy of the Spi­rit, and Power of Righteousness. And so in like [Page 29]Manner the Apostles used the Baptism of John, or Water-Baptism, it having been of high Account in the Dawning of the Day of the Gospel, and for the present still continuing so; but they knew that Spirit, or Fire-Baptism, would by Degrees con­sume Water-Baptism, and lick up all the Drops of it; for so John himself intimates, saying, he must increase, but I must decrease; that is, the Truth must eat out the Ceremony, and the Sub­stance the Sign, and the more his Ministry and Baptism come in, mine shall go out; and the Mi­nistry of the Son shall swallow up the Ministry of the Servant, as the Sun-light doth the Moon­light; and the Baptism of Fire shall devour the Baptism of Water, and his Spirit-Baptism, by Degrees, shall put an End to my Water-Baptism; and therefore Paul (as you have heard) after he had used this Baptism twice or thrice, quite for­bore it, and yet planted many Churches of Christ; and probably by Degrees did other Apostles too; for they knew that Christ's Baptism included John's, and was fully sufficient of itself without it; and therefore we find Paul teaching in Christ's King­dom but one Baptism, and this the Baptism of the Spirit, Eph. iv. from which the Church of the New-Testament, both Jews and Gentiles, was to take its Beginning, and not from outward Ele­ments, or Water-washing.

Wherefore, seeing these Things are so, the A­nabaptists have extremely mistaken, who have made their Water-washing so essential a Work of the New-Testament, that they would neither hear the Word, nor have Christian Communion with any [Page 30]one that was not so washed; yea, though they were convinced touching them, that they had re­ceived the Spirit; this, I say, hath been the great Error of very many honest and well meaning People, through misunderstanding the Word, to make washing with material Water so necessary a Thing in spiritual Worship; yea, and more es­sential to the Communion of Saints, than the very Spirit itself, whom I do not therefore judge, but pity.

And thus much for Water-Baptism, which was John's, and belonged only to that middle Mini­stry, betwixt the Prophets and Christ.

Now the other Baptism I am to speak of, is Christs, which is Spirit, or Fire-Baptism; and this is the one and only Baptism of the New-Testament, as we find Paul affirming, Eph. iv. 6. where he saith, that in Christ's Kingdom, where is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one Hope of our Calling, and one Lord, and one Faith, there is also but one Baptism; and this is the Baptism of the Spirit, as the Apostle elsewhere shews, saying, 1 Cor. xii. 13. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body; and have been made all to drink into one Spirit.

Now this Spirit-Baptism did not go along with John's Water-Baptism, but followed it about four Years after (as you have heard) and as appears by the fore-mentioned Place of Christ, Acts i. 5. where he tells his Disciples, saying, John verily baptized with Water, but ye shall be baptized with the holy Spirit, not many Days hence; and this Pro­mise of Christ, and of the Father, was fulfilled [Page 31]at the Day of Pentecost, when the Apostles being all met together, there came a Sound from Hea­ven, as of a mighty rushing Wind, and it filled the House where they were sitting, and there appeared unto them cloven Tongues, like as of Fire, and it sat upon each of them, and they [...] all filled with the Spirit. Here was the first Beginning of Christ's, or Spirit-Baptism, for it began not till after the Ascension of Christ into Heaven, and his sitting down on the Throne of God; and John the A­postle also witnesses to this, Chap. vii. saying, the Spirit was not yet given, because Christ was not yet glorified; but as soon as he was glorified, then did he begin to baptize with the Spirit; not the Apostles only, but also the Jews and Gentiles, and all Sorts of People that did believe in his Name, through the Word of the Gospel: So that then Christ's Baptism began to take Place, and to pre­vail, as you may see, Acts viii. When the Apostles that were at Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, by the Preaching of Philip, they sent unto them Peter and John, who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he was fallen on none of them (only, saith the Text, they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus, i. e. they had only been baptized with John's Baptism, who only baptized with Water, saying, that they should believe on Christ that was to [...]me after; for John's Baptism was yet usual, in as much as Christ's Baptism was but new begun.) Then did the Apostles lay their Hands on them, and they re­ceived the Holy Spirit; so that here now was the [Page 32] Progress of Spirit-Baptism. And after, when Peter preached to Cornelius, and his Family and Friends, the holy Spirit fell upon them, Acts x. And Peter gives this Account to those of the Circumcision at Jerusalem, Acts xi. 15. And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them as on us at the Beginning; then remembered I the Word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed bap­tized with Water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit; so that Peter evidently declares the Gift of the Spirit, by the Ministry of the Gospel, to be the Baptism of Christ, or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire, which Christ promised at his Ascension into Heaven.

And this is the only Baptism wherein all the Church of the New-Testament are to partake with Christ, I say, not the Baptism of Water, but of the Spirit; he and we drinking into one Spirit, and the same Spirit descending on us as it did on him. The pouring out of the Spirit on the Flesh of Christ, was his New-Testament Baptism, and it is ours too; and all our true and sound Comfort and Happiness lies in this, that we are baptised with the same Spirit that he was; for it would be as little spiritual Comfort to be dipped in the same Water with Christ, as to eat with him at the same Table, or to drink with him in the same Cup, or to go along with him in the same Ship, as Judas did, and divers of the unbelieving Jews; but to drink with him in one Spirit, is to partake of one Flesh with him, and to be one Christ with him; and this is a Comfort indeed.

[Page 33] Now the outward Instrument of Christ's, or Spirit-Baptism, is not material Water, but the Word, as Christ shews, Matt. xxviii. where he saith, teach and baptize, shewing that teaching the Word, is the outward Means of baptizing with the Spirit. And again, John xvii. Now are you clean through the Word, not which Moses, but which I have spoken to you (and therefore is the Gospel called the Ministration of the Spirit, be­cause it proceeds from the Spirit, and communi­cates the Spirit, and Christ baptizes with the Spirit, through the Ministration of the Spirit, which is the Preaching of the Gospel) and Eph. v. 26. Christ gave himself for his Church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the Washing of Water by the Word; that is, Christ cleanses his Church by such a Washing of Water, as is brought about by the Word and the Water with which the Word washes in the Spirit; for by the Word the Spirit is given; and the Word cleanses by the Spirit, and the Spirit by the Word; and there­fore it is also said, 1 Cor. vii. 1. Having these Pro­mises, let us cleanse ourselves from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit.

From all this it appears, that Spirit-Baptism is not to be performed by Water, but by the Word; and no Man, under the New-Testament, receives the Spirit through the Baptism of Water, but through the Ministry of the New-Testament, which is the only Ministration of the Spirit.

To conclude; this Baptism of the Spirit, that is performed only by the Word, is that Baptism [Page 34]of which so many excellent Things are spoken in the New-Testament; as,

  • 1. This Baptism of the Spirit gives a new Na­ture, and this Nature is a divine Nature, or the Nature of God; and hence it is said, except a Man be born of Water, and the Spirit; so that the Bap­tism of the Spirit gives a new Birth, and so a new Nature. And again, that which is born of the Spirit, it Spirit; so that the Baptism of the Spi­rit makes us Spirit, and through the Baptism of the Spirit, we become that which the Spirit itself is; and so the true Foundation of Christianity, begins from Faith and a new Creature, and not from Water-washing.
  • 2. This Baptism gives a new Name, not John or Thomas, &c. but as Christ saith, Rev. iii. 12. I will write upon him, my new Name: Our own Name is Sin, and Ignorance, and Pride, and In­justice, and Envy, and Covetousness, and Unclean­ness, and all Evil; and this is the Name which the first Adam wrote upon; but the Name the se­cond Adam writes on us, is Righteousness, and Ho­liness, and Truth, and Love, and Meekness, and Wisdom, and all Good, and this the Name the se­cond Adam writes on us, or his own new Name; for Christ himself was baptized by the Spirit in­to the Name of God; that is, was taken up into God, and the Things of God, which are himself, as into the Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, Pow­er, &c. and all the whole Flesh or Humanity of Christ, even all his Members are baptized into the same Name of God with him, and so are called by his new Name; so that this Name of [Page 35]Christ, this new Name which is given us by God through the Baptism of the Spirit, is infinitely better than that Name which is given us by Pa­rents or God-fathers, in Water-Baptism.
  • 3. Christ's Baptism translates us into a new World: Except a Man be born of that Water which is the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. No Man can possibly enter into the Church of the New-Testament, which is the Kingdom of God, but through the Baptism of the Spirit; the Baptism of the Spirit makes a new Creature, and this new Creature enters into a new World, which is the new Jerusalem, that comes down from God out of Heaven.
  • 4. Spirit-Baptism enables us to the same Work with Christ; that is, to the Ministry of the New-Testament, saith Christ, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he hath anointed me to preach Isa. lxi. 1. And he began his Ministry [...] Spirit-Baptism, which, did immediately [...] his Wa­ter-Baptism, but was in no Sort one Baptism with it; and having, through the Opening the Hea­vens, received the Spirit which taught him the Name of God, he presently began to teach the Name of God to others; and Christ himself was not a Minister of the New-Testament but thro' the Baptism of the Spirit. Now all Believers that are anointed with him in his Unction, or which is all one, are baptized with him in one Baptism of Spirit, are anointed and baptized to the same Mi­nistry; for the Anointing of the Spirit, is the Teaching of God, and they that are taught of God themselves, ought also to teach others; and the [Page 36] Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Prophecy, and they that have received that Spirit must prophe­cy, as it is written, it shall come to pass in the last Days, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all Flesh, and your Sons and Daughters shall prophecy; which very Place Peter, Acts ii. applies to the Baptism of the Spirit; so that this Spirit-Baptism of Christ makes all Prophets, that partake of it.
  • 5. Spirit-Baptism makes all those one with Christ the Head, who partake of it, Gal. iii. 27. As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ; so that by the true Baptism of the New-Testament, we do actually put on Christ, and are made one with Christ; and this is not done by any Water-washing, but by the Spirit; for through the Gift of the Spirit only are we made one Flesh with Christ; yea, through this we ne­cessarily become one Spirit with him too, as it is said, he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit; so that not through Water, but Spirit-Baptism, do we put on Christ, the Spirit carrying us into Christ, and bringing Christ into us, and being one and the same Spirit in both; and this is to be baptized into Christ.

Now this Baptism that makes us one with Christ, makes us to partake both of his Death and Resurrection.

1. Through Baptism of the Spirit, we are dipt into the Death of Christ, Rom. vi. 3, 4. Know ye not that so many of us as are baptized into Jesus Christ, are baptized into his Death? And this is, as the Apostle unfolds it, Verse 6. The crucifying of the old Man with him, that the Body of Sin may [Page 37]be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve Sin. And all this is done, not through any Water-wash, but through the Gift of the Spirit; for it is through the Spirit only, that we are able to mor­tify the Deeds of the Flesh; and nothing but the Presence of the Spirit in us is the Destruction of Sin; so that the Spirit of Christ baptizes us into the Death of Christ.

2. Spirit-Baptism makes us partake of his Re­surrection as well as of his Death, yea, there­fore do we die with him, that we may live a bet­ter Life, Rom. vi. 3, 4. Therefore we are buried with him by Baptism (that is, Spirit-Baptism) in­to Death, that like as Christ was raised up from the Dead by the Glory of the Father, i. e. the Spirit, so should we also live in Newness of Life; for if we have been planted together in the Likeness of his Death, we shall be also in the Likeness of his Re­surrection. Where you see the same Baptism of the Spirit that makes us die with Christ, doth al­so quicken us into his Resurrection, and depriv [...] us of our own Life; not that we remain dead, but that it may communicate to us a better Life than our own, even the Life of Christ himself, that we that are Men may live the very Life of the Son of God in our own Souls and Bodies, and may be quickened with him, and raised up with him, and set in heavenly Places in him.

6. As Spirit-Baptism makes us one with Christ the Head, so with the Church the Body, 1 Cor. xii. 13. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink [Page 38]into one Spirit; so that by drinking into one Spi­rit with the Church, we become one Body with it, and no otherwise; I say, not by being dipt into the same Water, but by receiving the same Spirit do we become one Body with the Church; and it is not being of one Judgment, or Opinion, or Form, or the like, that makes Men one true. Church or Body of Christ, but the being of one Spirit; and there are no more of that Church, which is the Body of Christ, than they that are baptized with that one Spirit of Christ.

7. Spirit-Baptism, it truly washes and cleanses from Sin; what Water-Baptism doth in the Sign, this doth in the Truth, even cleanses from all carnal and spiritual Filthiness; and no Man is cleansed from Sin, but by the Washing of the Spirit; the pouring forth of the Spirit on all Flesh, is the killing of Sin in all Flesh, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11. Neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adul­terers, nor Effeminate, nor Abusers of themselves with Mankind, nor Thieves, nor Covetous, nor Drunk­ards, nor Revilers, nor Extortioners shall inherit the Kingdom of God; and such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God: So that Spirit-Baptism cleanses from all Sin whatever it is, and there is no Man clean­sed from Sin, but through this Baptism.

And again, Eph. v. 26, 27. Christ gave him­self for the Church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the Washing of Water by the Word, that he might present it to himself, a glorious Church, not having Spot or Wrinkle, or any such Thing, but [Page 39]that it should be holy, and without Blemish; and nothing doth thus purify the Church, till it be without Spot, Wrinkle or Blemish, and till it be perfectly holy, but the Baptism of the Spirit. And therefore, though the Baptism of John was administred but once, yet the Baptism of Christ is a continued Baptism; for as long as Corruption is in the Flesh, the Baptism of the Spirit is in Use; so that the Nature and Life of a Christian are un­der a constant and continual Baptism, God every Day pouring forth his Spirit upon a Believer, for the purifying and sanctifying of him, and mak­ing him meet for the immediate Presence of God, whither no unclean Thing comes, nor the least Uncleanness in any Thing.

8. Spirit-Baptism saves: Whatever in us is washed with the Spirit, is saved as well as sancti­fied; and how much any one hath received of the Spirit, so much is he already saved, Tit. iii. 5. According to his Mercy he hath saved us by the Washing of Regeneration, and renewing of the ho­ly Spirit, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour: Where the Apostle teaches us how God saves, and that is not by John's Batpism, or Water-washing, but by the Laver of Regeneration; which is the renewing of the holy Spirit, poured on us abundantly thro' Christ; so that he calls the Baptism of the Spirit, the Laver of Regeneration; such a Laver that re­news the old Nature; yea, and begets a new one; so that a Man through this Baptism is wholly changed, not in a few good Works, but in his whole Nature; and from his Newness of Na­ture [Page 40]flows Newness of Life; so that he is no more as he was, but is, and lives, and loves, and thinks, and speaks, and acts otherwise than he was wont, and this cannot be the Work of Water in any Measure, but wholly of the Spirit, for where Men are destitute of the Spirit, though washed with Water a thousand Times, there is no Change of Nature in them; but the Change of Nature, wrought by Spirit-Baptism, is so much present Salvation, even in this present World. There is another Scripture witnesses the same Thing, and it is 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21. A Few (that is, eight Souls) were saved by Water, to which Figure Bap­tism answering, doth now also save us, not that whereby the Filth of the Flesh is cast away, but whereby a good Conscience answers well to God, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter having said, that Baptism answers to the Flood, and saves the Church now, as the Flood did the Church then; yea, saith he, but I mean not the outward Bap­tism, or the Washing away of the Filth of the Body, but the Answer of a good Conscience towards God, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Which Place is difficult; but I thus conceive it, the Ef­ficacy of Christ's Resurrection is the Gift of the Spirit; and the Spirit of Christ, in a Believer, rectifies his Conscience, and makes it good, so that it can return a sweet Answer to God upon every Word of his; for the Work of the Spirit in the Heart answers every Word of Faith spoken from God; particularly it can say to God, I was indeed filthy and unclean throughout, but I am now washed, and justified, and sanctified in the [Page 41]Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of my God; and this Spirit-Baptism is that that saves, and not the Water, which puts away the Filth of the Flesh only, but leaves the Filth of the Spirit as much as ever.

So that, in this Place, Peter puts an End to Baptism in the Flesh, as Paul, Rom. ii. 28. puts an End to Circumcision in the Flesh, saying, He is not a Jew that is one outwardly, neither is that Circumcision which is outward in the Flesh; but he is a Jew that is one inwardly, and Circumcision is that of the Heart in the Spirit, and not in the Letter, whose Praise is not of Men, but of God; that is, saith Paul, in the Kingdom of Christ, where all Things are spiritual; Circumcision in the Spirit puts an End to Circumcision in the Flesh; and in the same Kingdom of Christ, saith Peter, Baptism in the Spirit puts an End to Bap­tism in the Flesh; for he is not a Christian, who is one outwardly, neither is that Baptism which is outward in the Flesh; but he is a Christian who is one inwardly, and Baptism is that of the Heart in the Spirit, and not in the Letter, whose Praise also is not of Men, but of God. For under the Gospel, which is the Ministration of the Spirit (as ye have been often minded) we can find nothing among all outward Things, through the Use and Exercise whereof we may attain the Cleanness and Purity of Righteousness in our Natures; and therefore Christ hath put an End to all outward, carnal and earthly Things of the first Testament, by the inward, and spiritual, and heavenly Things of a second, and better, Testament; and by his [Page 42]own Death and Resurrection only, not without us, but within us, through the Power and Effi­cacy of his Spirit, all the Baptism of the New-Testament is fully and perfectly performed.

And thus, in all these Particulars, you see the infinite Excellency and Glory of the Spirit-Bap­tism above Water-Baptism, and this only is suffi­cient in the Days of the Gospel, as being the true and proper Baptism of the New-Testament; for as Christ himself only is sufficient to the Faithful without John, though John were of Use in this Sea­son, to point out Christ, so the Baptism of Christ, only is sufficient to the Faithful, without the Bap­tism of John, though the Baptism of John were of Use in its Season, to point out the Baptism of Christ; and the Baptist himself was of this Judg­ment, who said to Christ, I have Need to be bap­tized of thee; which he means not of Water-Baptism (for so Christ himself, as you have heard, did not baptize) but with the Baptism of the Spi­rit, and so the Baptist himself, who was never baptized with Water, neither by Christ nor the A­postles, nor any Body else, yet was baptized with the Spirit; and the Baptism of the Spirit was suf­ficient for the Baptist, without any Water-Bap­tism; and so Christ's Spirit-Baptism, by the Word, is sufficient for all the Faithful now, with­out John's Water-Baptism; for he that is truly washed from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, and hath the Holy Ghost in him, to renew his Nature, and to conform him exactly to Christ's own Image, and to work him in this present World into the true Similitude of Heaven, and [Page 43]to be in him a Fountain of Water springing up unto everlasting Life; what Need hath he of cold material Water to be poured on his Body, under the Pretence of any Sign whatever, either of Moses or John, when as he hath the Truth, Sub­stance, and heavenly Thing itself?

Now this, it may be, may seem strange and dangerous to some of low, and fleshly, and cus­tomary Religion, but let all such (if it be possible) consider, that where the Substance comes the Shadow is at an End, and the Ceremony where the Truth comes, and the Creature where God comes: And if they understand not this for the present, I hope they may understand it afterwards, for we speak not at Uncertainties in this Point, but what we have in some Measure seen, and felt, and handled of the Word of Life, that we deliver to you, that ye may have Fellowship with us; and truly our Fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, through the Spirit.


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