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his disciples was subdued, and he refused to belieye' no longer: for to imagine that he first believed, without receiving the spirit of faith, but that this was imparted to him as the consequence of believing, is at variance with all analogy. But the insufficiency of reason and free-will to make the heart good, or to beget a spiritual principle of saving faith, has been already considered.

§ 15. It is very explicitly avowed by his Lordship, that baptism washes away sin, and imparts the Holy Ghost. The rite of baptism,' he observes, was ordained by Christ 'himself; and its two-fold office is here [Acts 'ii. 38.] described by his apostle, namely, that it washes away the guilt of former sin, and imparts the Holy Ghost to those who shall previously have repented and believed. It had 'been foretold by John the Baptist, that Christ 'should baptize with the Holy Ghost. meaning, 'that the baptism instituted by Christ, and 'administered by his apostles and their suc'cessors, should convey the supernatural assist'ance of the Spirit of God. This communica'tion being made at baptism, at the time of 'admission into the gospel covenant, every Christian must possess the invaluable blessing of preventing grace, which, without extin'guishing the evil propensities of our nature,

inspires holy desires, suggests good counsels, ' and excites to just works.'* As to the quo

tation from Dr. BARROW, which asserts that this "hath been the doctrine constantly, and with very general consent, delivered in the Catholic church," it proves one thing at least,-that the Catholic church has never been so pure but it needed reformation; needed it, in proportion as the sentiment here maintained is inconsistent with the genuine sense of the sacred scriptures, and the reasonableness of Christianity. And whether this be not the fact, let us now procced calmly and impartially to examine.

§ 16. That the rite of baptism was ordained by Christ himself is admitted on all sides; but that its two-fold office is to wash away the guilt of sin, and to impart the Holy Ghost, according to Peter, or any other inspired writer, wants proof. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."† Here the first question is, with what remission of sin stands connected? With repentance, with baptism, or with both united? Let Peter himself answer: Repent ye therefore and be con

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verted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come, &c." We know from scripture testimony that the penitent shall be pardoned, though unbaptized; and we know too that every baptized person was not pardoned, as in the case of Simon Magus. Consequently, the union of repentance and baptism was not an indispensable condition for the remission of sin. It is therefore plain, that as baptism was not, either alone or united with repentance, inseparably connected, even in the apostolic age, with the remission of sin, it was not one office of baptism to "wash away the guilt of former sins." Peter's expression must mean, to make it consistent with other scriptures, Repent-for the remission of sins, be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ;" so that baptism is urged as a suitable mode of testifying their repentance, because an instituted rite of entering into a new visible relation to Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.


§ 17. Baptism, being an outward, visible sign, of an inward spiritual grace," represents the washing away of sin; but it is not the sign that effects it, though by a common figure of speech it is put for that which does so in reality.

*Acts ii. 19.

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Thus David figuratively ascribes to the sign what evidently belongs to the thing signified. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean."* What really takes away the guilt of past sins, is the merit of Christ's obedience unto death in our stead, and which, according to the plan of divine mercy in the gospel, we are encouraged to receive by faith for that end. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." "If the blood of bulls, and of goats, and t the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ-purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hence we may see, that to ascribe to baptism the washing away of guilt is to confound the sign with the thing signified.

18. Nor can it be consistently maintained, that the thing signified is, in its application, inseparably associated with baptism. That it may please God, in some instances, to apply the blessing at the ministration of the ordinance is not disputed; because he may do it then as well as at any other time: but that he has laid himself under the obligation of a promise to do so, does not appear from his word,--and plain

*Psa. li. 7.

+ 1 John i. 7.

Heb. ix. 13, 14.


facts recorded there, as before shewn, prove contrary. The same may be said of imparting the Holy Ghost; for this plain reason, that there appears no greater connection between baptism and the giving of the Spirit, than between baptism and the remission of sin. It is allowed, as before concerning the remission of sin, that God may give his spirit to the baptized person at the time of ministration, because he is confined to no time; and it is proper to pray for the blessing on that occasion, not only because we may ask it of our Father in heaven at all times, as children may ask a gift of their earthly parents, but also because the use of the sign is calculated to remind us of our need, and to excite our desires after the blessing represented.

19. The same remark is applicable to the ancient custom of "laying hands" on the head of a person in some peculiarly act of solemn prayer. It is an outward sign whereby the subject is affectionately discriminated from others, and in the use of which blessings have been sought. Hence the employment of it is calculated not only to bring to remembrance God's promised blessing of his Holy Spirit, but also to increase our importunity. The miraculous gifts of the Spirit were bestowed upon many in the Christian church long after their

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