Why do you suppose that baptism is put into this prominent position? I think that it is for this reason, Baptism is the outward expression of the inward faith. He who believes in Christ with his heart confesses his faith before God and before the Church of God by being baptized. Now, the faith that speaks thus is not a dumb faith; it is not a cowardly faith; it is not a sneaking faith. Paul puts the matter thus, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889
All parties are agreed, that baptism is the initiatory rite which gives membership in the visible Church of Christ. The great commission was: Go, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the Trinity. Baptism recognizes and constitutes the outward discipleship. Least of all, can any Immersionist dispute this ground. Now, if all other forms of baptism than immersion are not only irregular, but null and void, all unimmersed persons are out of the visible Church. But if each and every member of a pedobaptist visible Church is thus unchurched: of course the whole body is unchurched. All pedobaptist societies, then, are guilty of an intrusive errors when they pretend to the character of a visible Church of Christ. Consequently, they can have no ministry; and this for several reasons. Surely no valid office can exist in an association whose claim to be an ecclesiastical commonwealth is utterly invalid. When the temple is non existent, there can be no actual pillars to that temple. How can an unauthorized herd of unbaptized persons, to whom Christ concedes no church authority, confer any valid office? Again: it is preposterous that a man should receive and hold office in a commonwealth where he himself has no citizenship; but this unimmersed pedobaptist minister so called, is no member of any visible Church. There are no real ministers in the world, except the Immersionist preachers.
The pretensions of all others, therefore, to act as ministers, and to administer the sacraments, are sinful intrusions. It is hard to see how any intelligent and conscientious Immersionist can do any act, which countenances or sanctions this profane intrusion. They should not allow any weak inclinations of fraternity and peace to sway their consciences in this point of high principle. They are bound, then, not only to practice close communion, but to refuse all ministerial recognition and communion to these intruders. The sacraments cannot go beyond the pale of the visible Church. Hence, the same stern denunciations ought to be hurled at the Lord’s Supper in pedobaptist societies, and at all their prayers and preachings in public, as at the iniquity of “baby sprinkling.” The enlightened Immersionist should treat all these societies, just as he does that ’Synagogue of Satan,’ the PapalChurch: there may be many good, misguided believers in them; but no church character, ministry, nor sacraments whatever.” Robert L. Dabney, A Systematic Theology, Chapter 41, “The Dogma unchurches all”
Robert L. Dabney was a famous and well known Pedobaptist Presbyterian minister in the 19th century.
THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS
X-B. The Tenth Persecution, Under Diocletian, AD 303
Maximus, governor of Cilicia, being at Tarsus, three Christians were brought before him; their names were Tarachus, an aged man, Probus, and Andronicus. After repeated tortures and exhortations to recant, they, at length, were ordered for execution.
Being brought to the amphitheater, several beasts were let loose upon them; but none of the animals, though hungry, would touch them. The keeper then brought out a large bear, that had that very day destroyed three men; but this voracious creature and a fierce lioness both refused to touch the prisoners. Finding the design of destroying them by the means of wild beasts ineffectual Maximus ordered them to be slain by the sword, on October 11, AD 303.
Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of Caesarea at the time of the commencement of Diocletian’s persecution. Being condemned for his faith at Antioch, he was scourged, put to the rack, his body torn with hooks, his flesh cut with knives, his face scarified, his teeth beaten from their sockets, and his hair plucked up by the roots. Soon after he was ordered to be strangled, November 17, AD 303.
Susanna, the niece of Caius, bishop of Rome, was pressed by the emperor Diocletian to marry a noble pagan, who was nearly related to him. Refusing the honor intended her, she was beheaded by the emperor’s order.
Dorotheus, the high chamberlain of the household to Diocletian was a Christian, and took great pains to make converts. In his religious labors, he was joined by Gorgonius, another Christian, and one belonging to the palace. They were first tortured and then strangled.
Peter, a eunuch belonging to the emperor, was a Christian of singular modesty and humility. He was laid on a gridiron, and broiled over a slow fire until he expired. Cyprian, known by the title of the magician, to distinguish him from Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, was a native of Antioch. He received a liberal education in his youth, and particularly applied himself to astrology; after which he traveled for improvement through Greece, Egypt, India, etc. In the course of time he became acquainted with Justina, a young lady of Antioch, whose birth, beauty, and accomplishments, rendered her the admiration of all who knew her. A pagan gentleman applied to Cyprian, to promote his suit with the beautiful Justina, this he undertook, but soon himself became converted, burnt his books of astrology and magic, received baptism, and felt animated with a powerful spirit of grace.
The conversion of Cyprian had a great effect on the pagan gentleman who paid his addresses to Justina, and he in a short time embraced Christianity. During the persecutions of Diocletian, Cyprian and Justina were seized upon as Christians, the former was torn with pincers, and the latter chastised; and, after suffering other torments, both were beheaded.
Eulalia, a Spanish lady of a Christian family, was remarkable in her youth for sweetness of temper, and solidity of understanding seldom found in the capriciousness of juvenile years. Being apprehended as a Christian the magistrate attempted by the mildest means to bring her over to paganism, but she ridiculed the pagan deities with such asperity, that the judge, incensed at her behavior, ordered her to be tortured. Her sides were accordingly torn by hooks, and her breasts burnt in the most shocking manner, until she expired by the violence of the flames, December AD 303.
In the year 304, when the persecution reached Spain, Dacian, the governor of Terragona, ordered Valerius the bishop, and Vincent the deacon, to be seized, loaded with irons, and imprisoned. The prisoners being firm in their resolution, Valerius was banished, and Vincent was racked, his limbs dislocated, his flesh torn with hooks, and he was laid on a gridiron, which had not only a fire placed under it, but spikes at the top, which ran into his flesh. These torments neither destroying him, nor changing his resolutions, he was remanded to prison, and confined in a small, loathsome, dark dungeon, strewed with sharp flints, and pieces of broken glass, where he died January 22, 304. His body was thrown into the river.
The persecution of Diocletian began particularly to rage in AD 304, when many Christians were put to cruel tortures and the most painful and ignominious deaths; the most eminent and particular of whom we shall enumerate.
Saturninus, a priest at Albitina a town of Africa, after being tortured, was remanded to prison, an there starved to death. His four children, after being variously tormented, shared the same fate with their father.
Dativas, a noble Roman senator; Thelico, a pious Christian; Victoria, a young lady of considerable family and fortune, with some others of less consideration all auditors of Saturninus, were tortured in a similar manner, and perished by the same means.
Agrape, Chionia, and Irene, three sisters, were seized upon at Thessalonica, when Diocletian’s persecution reached Greece. They were burnt, and received the crown of martyrdom in the flames, March 25, AD 304. The governor, finding that he could make no impression on Irene, ordered her to be exposed naked in the streets, which shameful order having been executed, a fire was kindled near the city wall, amidst whose flames her spirit ascended beyond the reach of man’s cruelty.
Agatho, a man of a pious turn of mind, with Cassice, Phillippa, and Eutychia, were martyred about the same tine: but the particulars have not been transmitted to us.
Marcellinus, bishop of Rome, who succeeded Caius in that see having strongly opposed paying divine honors to Diocletian, suffered martyrdom, by a variety of tortures, in the year 324, comforting his soul until he expired with the prospect of those glorious rewards it would receive by the tortures suffered in the body.
John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
A. The souls of the wicked shall at their death be cast into the torments of hell, (Luke 16:22-24) and their bodies lie in their graves till the resurrection, and judgment of the great day. (Psalm 49:14)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism
The Wednesday Word: The Saviour, not a Helper
Though He was above the law, Christ took His place under the law to save us (Galatians 4: 4). He lived a sinless life, then, on the cross, endured the awful penalties of the law. Not only did He redeem us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), He also fulfilled the law, for righteousness, to every one that believes (Romans 10:4). He took our beating so that we would have His blessings without barter.
We must always remember that Christ, when it comes to salvation, is not a helper, He is the Saviour! By this, I mean that He did not come to help us to save ourselves by keeping a more relaxed and toned down law. No! The gospel truth is that faith in Christ is not a means of setting aside the inflexible standard of the law. To the contrary, faith in Christ is, in reality, the only method of successfully meeting the law’s demands. Faith in Christ Jesus is an acknowledgement that we are guilty before the law and incapable of mustering, within ourselves, a sufficient obedience to meet its requirements. At the same time, faith in Christ, also acknowledges that the Lord Jesus has kept the unadulterated law in our place. Faith recognises that the Lord Christ came to fulfil the Law on our behalf! He is the Saviour, not a helper!
The cross was the satisfaction rendered for all the unfulfilled and violated demands of the divine majesty. That which God’s law righteously required, God graciously provided in the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s substitutionary life and death satisfied the just demands of the violated law. This is good news! All who believe and rely on the Christ of God have, by righteous grace, been credited with the entirety of His accomplishments. As a result, all believers are now seen as perfect law keepers in the eyes of the Father.
Consider how the Father dealt with Jesus on the cross. Christ was the eternal Word made flesh. He was the righteousness of God, yet He was, “numbered with the transgressors”(Isaiah 53:12). Justice dealt with Him, not according to what He was in Himself, but treated Him as though He were us.
At the cross, our sins were imputed (legally reckoned) to Him.
At the cross, His righteousness was imputed (legally reckoned) to us.
In Romans 4, the marvellous little word logizomai (impute, reckon, count) appears eleven times. Paul illustrated this powerful word when he wrote to his friend about Onesimus, the runaway slave. He says in verse 18 of the letter to Philemon that if Onesimus owes anything, or if he’s wronged you in any way, put that to my account. This is imputation. Our debts are put into Christ’s account, and Christ’s righteousness is put into ours.
There was a man who was once preaching the gospel to some English fishermen. His subject was justification by free grace and he was trying to make Christ’s work on the cross both clear and plain. He finally asked the men the question, “Now will one of you tell me in your own words what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross?” One old fisherman who had been deeply moved by the message, with some tears in his eyes looked up at the preacher and answered, “He swapped with me.” What a great answer! This man had grasped the truth of the penal, substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our salvation is only in him. He is the Saviour, not a helper.
And that’s the Gospel Truth
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Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
XLV ALSO such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to prophecy [viz., teach] according to the proportion of faith, and to teach publicly the word of God, for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church.
1 Cor.14:3, etc.; Rom.12:6; 1 Pet.4:10,11.; 1 Cor.l2:7 1 Thess.5:19, etc.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46
15. But though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse. We cannot plead ignorance, without being at the same time convicted by our own consciences both of sloth and ingratitude. It were, indeed, a strange defense for man to pretend that he has no ears to hear the truth, while dumb creatures have voices loud enough to declare it; to allege that he is unable to see that which creatures without eyes demonstrate, to excuse himself on the ground of weakness of mind, while all creatures without reason are able to teach. Wherefore, when we wander and go astray, we are justly shut out from every species of excuse, because all things point to the right path. But while man must bear the guilt of corrupting the seed of divine knowledge so wondrously deposited in his mind, and preventing it from bearing good and genuine fruit, it is still most true that we are not sufficiently instructed by that bare and simple, but magnificent testimony which the creatures bear to the glory of their Creator. For no sooner do we, from a survey of the world, obtain some slight knowledge of Deity, than we pass by the true God, and set up in his stead the dream and phantom of our own brain, drawing away the praise of justice, wisdom, and goodness, from the fountain-head, and transferring it to some other quarter. Moreover, by the erroneous estimate we form, we either so obscure or pervert his daily works, as at once to rob them of their glory and the author of them of his just praise.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation