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S E R M O N I.

Matth. xxviii. 19, 20,

Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing

them in the Name of the Father, and of the

Son, and of the Holy Ghost : Teaching them to observe all Things, whatsoever

I have commanded you : and lo, I am with youl alway, even unto the End of the World. Amen.

T

HESE Words contain that great
Commission and Charter, granted by

our Saviour to his Apostles and their Successors, by Virtue of which we and all Mankind have been called to the Knowledge and Practice of true Religion, inforced by the Motives of eternal Felicity or Misery. As it had been chiefly in Galilee, that he instructed his Disciples before his Death: so he appointed them to retire thither after his Resurrection, Vol. V. A

that

that he might add to his Instructions whatever then became proper ; and more fully acquaint them with such Things, as pertained to the Kingdom of God'. There, our Evangelist informs 'us, he appeared to them on a Mountain : perhaps the fame, on which he had begun to open the Doctrine of Christianity, , in that noble Discourse, which we have in the Fifth and following Chapters of this Gofpel; and given them a Specimen of his and their future Glory, at his Transfiguration bu When they saw him, the Generality immediately worshipped him : but fome, we are told with the usual Fairness of the facred Writers, doubted. Whether these were only Persons, who accompanied the Apostles, and had not yet seen him fince he rose again : or whether some of the Apostles themselves, who might not with Certainty know him at a Distance, is not clear. But the Doubts of either could not but vanish, when Jefus came up to them, as St. Matthew assures us he did, for so the original Word signifies d, and conversed familiarly with them. Many such Conversations he held with these his Followers : for St.

o Grot. in Loc. faith, There is ancient Tradition for the last. See Reland. Palæsti po 334) &c. Πeρσελθων, ν. 18.

Luke

• Acts i. 3.

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Luke in their Acts informs us, that they continued Forty Day's e. But the Substance of them all must be, what the Text expresses : where, in Consequence of that Fulness of Power, which he tells them, in the foregoing Words, was given him over all Things in Heaven and in Earth; as the Father had fent Him, He fends Them', to make Disciples, for that is the more accurate Rendering 5, not of the Jews alone, but of all Nations. And that they may do it rightly and effectually, he distinctly sets forth,

I. The Doctrines, they were to teach.
II. The Duties, they were to enjoin.
III. The Protection and Happiness, of

which they might assure, both them-
selves, and all those, who faithfully
preached his Gospel, and who fina

cerely embraced it. 1. The Doctrines, they were to teach. These are briefly, but sufficiently, comprehended in the Direction of baptizing Men in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: for the better understanding of which Phrase, it will be proper to explain,

f John xx. 21. 8 Mafnteuw is not used in the Septuagint: nor Ma-IHTAS. In the New Testament it is found thrice, befides the Text: and fignifies to make Disciples, Acts xiv. 21. to be a Disciple, Matth. xxvii. 57. and in the paflive Voice may fignify, to be made a Disciple, Matth. xiii. 52. It fignifies also in Plutarch, to be a Difçiple. See Steph. in Voc.

• Aats i. 3.

1. What is meant by being baptized in the Name of any one, and particularly of these three.

2. What is the Faith in these three, which our Baptism requires us to profess.

1. For the completer Apprehension of the former of these Points, it will be useful to observe, that in our Saviour's Days, it had been an ancient Custom amongst the Jews, when any Gentile forsook Idolatry, and believed the Law of Moses, to receive him into their Religion, amongst other Ceremonies, by Baptism : as indeed they had themselves been prepared for the Reception of that Law, by a folemn and religious Washing, as we read Exod. xix. Nay even the Heathens made use of Purifications by Water, when they initiated, ; or entered, any one into the Mysteries of their Deities. And this Rite being not only thus universally used, but also naturally expressive of those two Things, which, on professing Christianity, chiefly wanted to be expressed : a Promise, on our Part, carefully to preserve from the Defilement of Sin,

through

ourselves pure,

through the Assistance of the Holy Spirit ; and a Promise, on God's Part, graciously to consider us, as pure from the Guilt. of it, through the Merits of his Son : therefore our blessed Lord condescended to make this the Form of entering into his Religion also. But at the same Time, he throughly distinguished the Christian Baptism, both from that of the Heathens, who were baptized into Superstitions and idolatrous Follies; and from that of the Jewish Profelytes, who were baptized, as the Apostle expresses it, into Mofes ", by directing, that His Followers should be baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

In the Language of Scripture, Doing any Thing in the Name of God, signifies Doing it by Virtue of his Authority. Thus our Saviour faith to the Jews, I am come in my Father's Name, and

ye

receive me not : If another shall come in his own Name, Him ye

will receive i. In this Sense Baptism is administered in the Name of the Holy Trinity, being a divine Appointment, with a distinct Reference to each of the three Persons. And in this Sense the Phrase appears to have been used by I Cor. x. 2.

St.

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i John v. 43

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