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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3
			
              BAPTISM--AN EXCURSUS.                    265

  With Baptism settled as one of the sacraments of the Chris-
tian Church, we are led to inquire as to its office or significa-
tion. What was its office or signification among other peoples
who practiced it? * * * * But our chief concern is to learn
the office or signification of Baptism in the Christian system
of religion. What is it? It occurs to us that there is but one
class of men capable of answering so weighty a question-the
class to whom the Spirit revealed the signification of Baptism.
We are not ignorant of the fact that such a decision hems ex-
ceedingly close, especially when it is remembered that this
class numbers scarcely more than one--two at most. But
has not the reader long since heard, that one with God is a
majority; and never was this saying more true than in settling
the significance of Baptism in the Christian system. Verily,
one with God is a majority; for with Him only, is the light
Many torch bearers might confuse; one, never. Our class
of one--one with God--is Paul.  If the facts require its en-
largment, then the class to whom the Spirit revealed the sig-
nification of Baptism will be Paul and Peter. What say these
as to the signification of Baptism? What is the light they throw
upon it, for its more rational, to say nothing of its more in-
telligent reception and practice by the Church? In plain words,
what does Baptism mean? At once we hear a babble of voices,
ready to answer-voices of martyrs and confessors, of doctors
and divines; Greek voices and Latin voices; voices Japhetic,
Semitic and Hamitic;  voices issuing from the  hoary Past;
the midnight Middle; the noonday Present.  The assurance of
one, is the assurance of all: "I can tell you." Be silent, 0, ye
voices! In all the universe, there is but one, possibly two,
equal to the task of infallibly declaring the true signification
of Christian Baptism. That one, as we have said, is Paul,
the inspired theologian, with confirmatory side lights thrown
upon what he says, by the inspired Peter-no theologian, to
be sure, but inspired to the extent of his mental capacity for
so lofty a science as theology.  Cyprian was given to speak
of Paul as, "Magister mei" (My Master). Let us turn to this
recognized master, not only of Cyprian, but of the world, with
the hope of understanding the interpretation he puts upon the
sacrament under review.
 What we might call Paul's first approach to the subject was
his ready submission to it, at the hands of Ananias, as recorded
by Luke (Acts ix, 18). At this eventful moment, we are not
to suppose that either the philosophy or theology of the cere-
mony occurred to him. An humble pleader for forgiveness, he
was ready to accept it without conditions. In the throes of
conviction, the intricacies of theology are forgotten by the soul,
if, indeed, they were ever remembered.  The one cry only, how-
ever, uttered by Paul in substance is: "God be merciful to
me, a sinner." As we have said, Paul at once submitted to the
rite, and "straightway preached Christ in the synagogues that
He is the Son of God;  *  *  *  and confounded the Jews




			
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OHS/National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center Serial Collection

African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3

Volume:  06
Issue Number:  03
Date:  01/1890


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