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the Gospel dispensation; for the type was now to be exchanged for the antitype, thefigure for the thing figured, the shadow for the substance. Such then, and such exclusively, is the true character of Christian worship.
Here it may be proper to remark, that we ought by no means to disparage the forms and ceremonies of the Jewish law, as connected with the covenant to which they appertained. We cannot forget that this ministration of worship was appointed by the Almighty himself; nor can we refuse to acknowledge that it was, in its own time, glorious. For, although these ceremonies could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, yet was the whole system, of which they formed a part, perfectly adapted, by Divine Wisdom, to the condition of the Israelites, and the ritual law served a purpose of high importance to the ultimate promotion of the cause of righteousness. To that purpose we have already alluded: it was to typify, prefigure, and introduce the better, purer, and more glorious, ministration of the Gospel: for, it is precisely in reference to these ceremonial observances, that the apostle describes the Jewish law as being “a figure for the time then present;" and as “having a shadow of good things to come ," Heb. ix, 9; x, 1.
But, important as was the purpose thus answered by the establishment and maintenance of the ceremonial law, it was one of a merely temporary nature. When the Messiah was come_when he had revealed the spiritual character of his own dispensation—when he had died for our sins--when he had risen again for our justification—when he had shed forth on his
1 A similar explanation of our Lord's expressions, respecting Christian worship, will be found in the Commentaries of the following Biblical critics :--Theophylact, Calvin, Jac. Cappellus, Gro. tius, Rosenmüller, Whitby, Gill, Scott, and Doddridge.
disciples the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit—then were all the types fulfilled; then was the law of types abolished. “There is verily," saith the apostle, “a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; for the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh unto God;" Heb. vii, 18, 19. Again, "Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body thou hast prepared me: in burnt offerings and (sacrifices) for sin thou hast had no pleasure: then said I, Lo! I come, (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above, when he said sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings, and offerings for sin, thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by
the law; then said he, Lo! I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second;" Heb. x, 5-9. The system of types and sacrificial ordinances, therefore, being "taken away," and the system of spiritualities being, by the coming of Christ, established, we are no longer to worship the Father through the intervention of a human priesthood, of formal ceremonies, or of typical institutions, but solely through the mediation of the High Priest of our profession, and under the immediate and allsufficient influences of the Holy Ghost. Although the shadows of the old law formed an essential part of the Jewish dispensation, they were no sooner imposed upon Christians than they became unlawful, and assumed the character of an unrighteous bondage and of “beggarly elements;" Gal. iv, 9. “Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ, from the rudiments of the world,” says the apostle Paul to his Colossian converts, “ why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?” Col. ii, 20, comp. 14, Eph. ii, 14–16. Having thus endeavoured to unfold the nature of that spiritual worship of God which the Lord Jesus enjoined on his followers, and to show how clearly it was distinguished from the old ceremonial worship practised among the Jews, I may now take up the more particular consideration of the rites of Baptism, and the Lord's Supper. These rites have both received the name of “sacraments,”—a word which properly signifies oaths, and formerly designated more especially the oaths of allegiance required of Roman soldiers; but which, as applied to these religious ceremonies, may be considered as denoting “sacred and obligatory ordinances."
It is imagined by many persons, that the ordinances, thus held to be of a sacred and binding character in the church, are but little connected with those Jewish institutions, which are, on all hands, allowed to have been abolished by the coming and sacrifice of the Messiah; that they are, on the contrary, (with the single exception of the baptism of John,) of an origin exclusively Christian. On the supposition of the correctness of this opinion, it is, nevertheless, undeniable, that these rites, as they are now observed, are of precisely the same nature as the ceremonies of the ancient Jews. They are actions indifferent in themselves, employed as religious forms, and as a constituent part of a system of divine worship; and, like those Jewish ceremonies, they are mere types or shadows, representing, in a figurative manner, certain great particulars of Christian truth. It is plain, therefore, that the principle on which these practices are founded, appertains to the old covenant; and equally plain (in the opinion of Friends) that such practices are not in accordance with that entirely spiritual worship, which is described as so distinguishing a feature of the dispensation of the Gospel.
Although, however, the rites of Baptism and the Supper have been so generally adopted, as appertaining to their own religious system, by the professors of faith in Jesus, I cannot consider it true, in any accurate sense of the terms, that they are of Christian origin. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe that, before the coming of Christ, these practices actually formed a part of the customary Jewish ritual.
First, with respect to baptism in water. It is notorious, that, according to the ceremonial law of the Jėws, there could be no removal of uncleanness, no purification either of things or persons, without ablution in water. On various occasions the performance of that ceremony was appointed by the divine law; and, on many others, it was observed on the authority of Rabbinical tradition. Now, these "divers carnal washings,” to which the Jews were so much accustomed as a ritual means of purification, are, in the Greek Testament, described as baptisms; Heb. ix, 10; Mark vii, 4; Luke xi, 38; and it is certain that the principal of them were effected by dipping or immersion. Before going into the temple to minister or officiate, the priests of the Jews were accustomed to dip their whole body in water, and the house in which this ceremony was performed was denominated “the house of baptism;" Cod. Joma. c. 3, quoted by Hammond on Matt. iii. Persons of every description, who had contracted any bodily pollution, were strictly enjoined by the law to wash or bathe their flesh; see Levit. XV,
5. 8. 11; and the learned Jews determine that, if the least part of the surface of the body was not wetted by the dipping, the purification was incomplete. In the Greek original of the book of Ecclesiasticus, a person purified, after touching a dead body, is described as one dipped or baptized; ch. xxxiv, 25. Judith, when on the point of performing an action which she erroneously deemed to be of a highly religious nature, “washed (or, as in the Greek, baptized) herself in a fountain of water;" ch. xii, 7. The Jew not only washed, but, on particular occasions, dipped himself before he sat down to meat; Mark vii, 4; Luke xi, 38, Greek text. Now, although the baptism practised by John and by the apostles did not, in all its circumstances, resemble those Jewish washings to which I have now adverted, yet it was precisely similar to them in that main particular of immersion in water; and, in all these instances, this immersion was typical of one and the same thing—that is to say, of a change from a condition of uncleanness to one of comparative purity. But the Jewish dipping, from which the baptism, first, of John, and afterwards, of the apostles, principally took its rise, and of which those baptisms may, indeed, be considered as mere instances, was the dipping on conversion. We read in the book of Exodus, that three days before the delivery of the law, “the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes;" in pursuance of which command, we are afterwards informed that “Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes;" Exod. xix, 10, 14. From the comparison of other similar passages, it appears probable that the washing of clothes here mentioned was a baptism or immersion in water of the whole body, together with the apparel; compare Levit. xi, 25; xiv. 47; xv, 5, &c. Such is the express judgment of the Rabbinical writers; and they further determine that this baptism was commanded and observed, on the principle that the Israelites were then about to be introduced to a new religious covenant or dispensation ;-that, in other words, it was a baptism of conversion, to a purer and