Monday, June 18, 2007

Spilsbury and Se-baptism

The writings of English Baptist John Spilsbury illustrate one who rejected self-baptism, but also believed the example of John the Baptist supported being baptized by an unbaptized person (in cases of necessity). Thus Spilsbury did not believe succession a necessity.

"No Place For Schism Or Self-Baptism
"I think by the same rule, I must disclaim them, and so separate away from them, if they do not repent, and not to leave a true Church, and true ordinances, and go apart and erect another Church, ordinances and worship of ourselves apart from it, in opposition to it, this in my judgment is as far from any Rule in the Gospel of Christ, as for a MAN TO BAPTIZE HIMSELF. Neither of which do I approve of.

"John The Baptist Baptized Without Being Himself Baptized
"Yet a word by the way, because of such an error that some make, and how far off from any rule or example, for a man to baptize others, and himself unbaptized, and so thinking hereby to shut up the ordinance of God in such a strait, that none can come by it, but through the authority of the Popedome of Rome. But for the opening of this cloud that seems so to darken the sky, let the reader consider who baptized John the Baptist, before he baptized others, and no man did, then whether he did not baptize others, he himself being unbaptized, and if he was baptized, whether it were not by an unbaptized person; and all Scriptures being written for our learning, and this being one, we are taught by this what to do upon the like occasion.

"Understanding Matthew 16:18
"And for the continuation of the Church from Christ's words, The gates of hell shall not prevail against it, ect. I confess the same with this distinction: which Church is to be considered either with respect to her instituted state, as it lies in the Scripture, in the rules of the foundation, or in her constitution, or constituted form in her visible order.

"Against the first hell's gates shall never prevail, the foundation stands sure, but against the last it has often prevailed, for the Church in her outward visible order, has been often scattered through persecution, and the like, in which sense she is said to be prevailed against, as Dan. 7, Rev. 12; and Acts 8:1. Otherwise, where there was a Church, before it came under the defection.
"Again, That which once was in such a way of being, and ceases for a time, and then comes to the same estate again, is, and may truly be said, to have ever a continuance, as Matt. 22:31, 32 with Luke 20:38. In which sense the Church may truly be said ever to continue, for though she be cast down at one time, yet God will raise her up at another, so that she shall never be so prevailed against, as to be utterly destroyed. And this way, I suppose, Christ may have and enjoy as good a wife as any can be preserved for Him under the defection of Antichrist. Though some have so wide mouths open against such as ever wished them well, but I leave them to God, to Whom they shall give account of all their hard words against the Lord, and those that fear His name, and out of conscience obey Him in that way, as some please to call error, in a reproachful manner.

"But men do in these days somewhat like to be like the Tyrants in the ten persecutions, whose cruelty was such, that they exposed the Christians to be devoured of wild beasts, and God so overpowered the creatures cruelly, that at length they ceased to hurt them; and when those bloody Tyrants saw that, they put Bear's skins upon them, thereby to incense and to stir up the nature of those beasts to fall upon them; thus I have heard reported. But whether this be true or not, sure I am that such men can be little better minded that labor so to cover the godly with such filth, as they vomit out of their own-self-sick-stomachs; but I desire the Lord to pass by all, and to give men more love and patience to bear one with another." --
John Spilsbury, copied from R. E. Pound's web site

No comments: