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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3
			
268                    CHURCH REVIEW.

(Acts, xv, 38). A  case exactly in point is his circumcision of
Timothy (Acts xvi, 3). The idea of a man causing another to
be circumcised--a man, who only the day before, so to speak,
had written:-"Behold, I, Paul, say unto you, that if yet re-
ceive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing (Gal.v,2).
A ready explanation is found when we remember the man his
character, and his method of propagating the Gospel.  He
believed severely that the "letter killeth, but the spirit giveth
life;" that, "neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircum-
cision, but a new creature."--Gal. vi, 15.)  It is then in the
light of all this that we are to read the declaration: "Christ
sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel."  It is the
exact corollary of what he afterward told them, in his second
Epistle (2 Cor. iii, 6): "* * *  Who also hath made us able
ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the
spirit."
  According to this statement of Paul, the relation, then, which
Baptism sustains to the Gospel, is to the "letter" of it.  It
is not a "sine qua non." A sacrament, to be sure, but not ab-
solutely necessary to salvation. In this view, we have a com-
plete offset to what seems to be the teaching in Romans. That
this is to take precedence of that, is to be assumed; for that
is given in a figure--this in plain categorical statements. The
sunlight always takes precedence of the shadow.
  In the Epistle to the Galatians (iii, 27), we have another ex-
planation by Paul as to the signification of Baptism: "For as
many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ."
The meaning of this statement is so akin to the meaning of the
statement made to the Romans, and to which reference has
already been made, that we can well afford to invite the reader
to the argument there presented. The language employed in
both is figurative; and both present Baptism unto us as the
sign or means of a new life. The ground of much controversy
is: Which?
  The reference to Baptism in the Epistle to the Ephesians
(iv, 5):--"  *  * one Lord, one faith, one Baptism," manifestly
refers to the Baptism which is of the spirit, and not of water,
and therefore comes not logically under purview.
  Paul's last reference to the subject under discussion is found
in the Epistle to the Hebrews (vi, 2), supposing him to have
written that Epistle. The words are:  "Wherefore let us cease
to speak of the first principles of Christ, and press on unto per-
fection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead
works, and of faith toward God, of the teaching of baptisms,
and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead,
and of eternal judgment."  By a word just uttered, the cloud
as to the authorship of this epistle was allowed to appear. It
is impossible, however, to read the above quotation and not
recognize, if not the Pauline doctrine, at least the Pauline spirit;
for what is this but such a protest against resolving religion
into forms and contests, both ritualistic and doctrinal, as a




			
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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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