Mr M. confidently asserts, that I make a little water in baptism equal to God ; by which he attempts to convict me of an absurdity, and blasphemy. But it is shewn, that he has taken unfair means to do it, and that his assertion is a calumny.
That Mr M has charged me with the doctrine of consubstantiation, was unfair, and groundless ; yet, not so horrid, as when he confidently charges me, with making a little water in baptism, equal to God. If the charge were true, there could be no greater absurdity, and blasphemy ; and it would be sufficient to render me the most ridiculous and odious character. Mr. M. has really exhibited this charge, with its blasphemous consequences.
He says, “Mr. H., in section 8, caps the climax, where he makes water baptism equal to God himself; which I never could have believed any man would have done, had I not seen it myself.” page 26. And in his note, page g3, he says, “Thus you may see that Mr. H keeps up the idea that baptism is equal to God; which seems to me to be almost blasphemy to make a little water in baptism equal to the eternal God.” This horrid charge, he attempts to establish by the following passages, which occur in my treatise; and which I shall here transcribe : viz.
‘Holy baptism owes its value, dignity, and majesty, to the Saviour’s command, and the name of the Holy Trinity, in which it is performed.’
‘The command of Christ, and the name of the Holy Trinity, constitute the ground-work of baptism, and water is their vehicle, Now, as valuable, as holy, as saving, and as venerable, as the name or God is, just so valuable, holy, saving and venerable is baptism; because that name is the ground-work thereof.’
‘God’s name in the scriptures is frequently put for himself; as for instance, ”I am the Lord; that is my name. ” Isa. 4, 2, 8 The Lord is his name ; this name is the Lord”
‘Baptism is very holy, because God’s name, which is in it, is holy. &c. The six winged Seraphim, in their reciprocal harmony, cried holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of hosts; the w hole earth is full of his glory. Isa 6. 2, 8. The heavens are glorious, and the angels are holy ; but what are they in comparison to the thrice holy Jehovah! They are created; hence not the authors of their glory and holiness, which they possess only in a limited manner, by the will of their creator. But God is self-original; the origin of himself, is in himself: his holiness, like himself, is uncreated ; a lovely beauty, and excellence, incomprehensible, enshrined in light inaccessible. This holiness is joined to water, and with it constitutes the christian baptism, for God’s name is in it, and this name is the same as himself, the thrice holy God, the mysterious great I AM. Thus baptism is infinitely more holy than all the winged hosts of angels, and more glorious than the heavens; Because God’s name is in it.’ Heavenly flood of regeneration, page 12, 18, 14, 15.
On these passages Mr. M. observes; ‘’ Here you may see that Mr. H makes water baptism equal to God, For 1st, he says: ‘God’s name is God himself,’ therefore includes all the perfections that belong to the eternal Godhead. Now says he ‘as valuable, as holy, as saving and venerable, as the name of God is, (which according to him, is God himself) just so valuable, holy, saving, and venerable is baptism;’ therefore, water baptism is equal to God himself; i. e possesses all those valuable, holy, saving, and venerable properties and qualities, which belong to God!” Again he says, “Thus it is evident, that Mr. H makes baptism equal to God in glory and holiness. This holiness, which as Mr H. says, ”is joined to the water,” is infinite; therefore water baptism is infinite, hence , as he says, “is infinitely more holy than all the winged hosts of angels, and more glorious than the heavens,” Now I might ask, what is infinitely more holy than all the hosts of angels? The answer is, God only. But Mr. H. says, water baptise is; therefore, water baptism is equal to God in holiness.” page 27.
To all this I answer, that none of those passages, which Mr. M, has quoted from my treatise, say the least thing about water being as holy, or in any other respect equal to God. He is challenged to produce a single expression, which say that water in baptism is equal to God.
In order to avert the idea from the reader’s mind, that water was as holy or equal to God, I was particular in subjoining a few passages from Doct. Luther’s writings. The same I shall insert here: viz.
”Thus (so says the passage inserted in my treatise) it is not mere water, but a water connected with and sanctified by the word of God ; not that it is better in itself than other water, but because the word and command of God are added thereunto. It is therefore nothing but the villainy and mockery of the devil, that now our newfangled spirits blaspheme baptism, and exclude God’s word and order, and view it as nothing more than water dipped out of a fountain; and then vaunt, what can a handful of water help the soul? But ah, my friend, who does not know that water is water, when it is separated? But how dare you thus interfere with the order of God, and seperate the best treasure, with which he has connected and incorporated it, and will not have it separated? For this is the essence in the water—God’s word, or command, and name; which is a greater and nobler treasure than heaven and earth.” Heavenly flood, page 20.
Now, if water in baptism is in itself no better than other water, and if water is water; and if the essence in the water is God’s word and name, is it not evident, that I could not possibly mean, that water was equal to God? Although, I have been careful to inform the reader with Luther’s words, that water in baptism was but water; yet, Mr. M. with all this before his eyes, he without shame or remorse tells his readers, that I make a little water equal to God! It seems he could find no better foundation, on which to build his refutation ; therefore he again, takes his refuge to a downright falsehood. Where Mr. Moore! where can you find a single expression, that says: a little water in baptism is equal to God? You have confidently asserted it ; yet positively, it is your own fabrication.
It is true, I have said baptism is very holy; that as valuable, as holy, as saving, and venerable, as the name of God is; just so valuable, holy, &c. is baptism ; and that the uncreated holiness of God was joined to the water in baptism: but where is there a word here, that says, water is as valuable, as holy, &e. as God? When I say, baptism, I do not allude to water as the essence of this institution : but only in so far as it is a vehicle thereof. For that reason I defined it thus ; the command of Christ and the name of the Holy Trinity, constitute the ground-work of baptism, and water is their vehicle; If the command of Christ, and the name of the Holy Trinity constitute the ground-work of, it is evident, that water as such does not constitute baptism; but as already defined is the vehicle of this blessed essence. But it seems when Mr. M. speaks of baptism, he has nothing in view but simple water; otherwise he would not have concluded, that I make a little water equal to God. It is to be recollected, that I never said: as valuable, holy, saving, &c. as the name of God is; so valuable holy, saving, &c. is water ; but baptism, according to the definition I gave of it. According to this description, baptism and simple water are not synonymous. The word baptise originally signifies to immerse, or to wash; but when it is applied to the Christian institution, it does not signify a simple washing; but a washing in the name of the Holy Trinity. Hence my Argument is: the Christian baptism is a divine performance because it is God’s own institution, its foundation is his glorious name, and water its medium ; therefore baptism thus described, is as holy, as venerable and saving as the name of God is. Who would deny, that the name of God is as holy as it is itself? Now, when this name is used in baptism, it is just as holy and saving there, as when it is used otherwise. But all this is far from saying, water is equal to God; because that is the mere vehicle; and therefore infinitely far from the essence in the Christian baptism. The only question to be defined, to decide this, is whether the name of God is as holy, or whether it is himself? Mr. M. answers this in the negative. I shall make my reply to this in another section. Whenever he proves, that neither the command nor name of God constitutes the essence of baptism, and that the name of God is not God himself; then only shall I surrender as desperate, the cause I have hitherto maintained.
It is in vain for Mr. M to conclude, that because the holy name of God is joined to; therefore the water must become equally infinitely holy. This is already elucidated in the preceding section; but I will yet add, that Mr. M himself insists on the necessity of being baptised with the Holy Ghost; if so, would he conclude, that the man who receives this spiritual baptism, would thereby become as holy, yea equal to the Holy Ghost? By no means. Now, what is the difference as it respects the point in question : whether I believe the Holy Ghost is joined to a man, or to water, for if that would make the water as holy, yea equal to God. it would make the man the very same. Mr, M. says, page 28, “And, also, when this holy and glorious baptism is poured on us, no marvel that as he says, ‘God’s name (which is God himself,) is poured on us, and we thereby become God!’ And if it does not make us supreme Gods, yet as, it is infinitely more holy than the angels, and more glorious than the heavens,’ it must of coarse, make us higher and more glorious than all the angelic hosts!” Answer. Mr. M. speaks of a spiritual baptism, separate and distinct from water, and insists on it as necessary, p. 41 Now I wonder, whether when a man is baptised with the Holy Spirit, without any water, it does not make him as much a God, and higher and more glorious than all the angelic hosts ; as when God’s name (which is God himself,) is poured on us in the baptism I have described. If it be nonsense to believe, that the name of God can be poured on us in baptism with water; because it would make us super-angelic Gods; it must equally be nonsense, to believe with Mr. M that we must receive the baptism of the spirit without water ; for the same spirit would nevertheless, be poured on us; and that according to Mr. M’s logick would make us super-cherubic Gods! Mr. M. arguing that if God’s name was poured on us in baptism with water, that it would make us super-angelic, which he of course pronounces nonsense ; is all the while, producing all the premises that are necessary, for denying the blessed effusion of the Holy Ghost, with or without water, or in any other way: for if the spirit poured on us, in one way, would make us super-angelic Gods, it would do the very same in any other. Why does he as a consistent logician, not at once tell us, that he does not believe the Holy Ghost is at all poured out upon any man: for no matter in what way, with or without water, it would make the man a super-angelic God. He has no just reason for his sarcasm, in consequence of my calling Christians Gods. Does he not know that the expression is scriptural? “I have said ye are Gods, and all of you are children of the most high.” Ps 82, 6. John 10. 34, 35
In page 16, 17, he ridicules the idea of water in baptism, being a vehicle. He says, “But certainly it must be very absurd to suppose, that all that fullness of grace, all that power and energy of the almighty spirit, which are necessary to regenerate and renew the soul in the image of God, and thereby free it from sin, and prepare it for heavenly bliss, are contained in, and conveyed to it by water baptism. Yes just as absurd as to say, that when the husbandman ploughs, plants, and cultivates, that the sun-beams and showers of rain are contained in, and conveyed along the means of ploughing, planting, cultivating, &c Answer. By what has he proved, that it is absurd, to believe that God operates through mediums? He merely saying so, is no evidence. What he assigns as a proof is insufficient. Does he not know that when the ground is ploughed, the rain is contained in the furrows, and the sun beams operate through the ploughed ground on the seeds, and with the moisture contained therein, promote their growth to perfection?