Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Internal Baptism Superior to External Baptism (Bishop John Hooper)

"Although baptism be a sacrament to be received and honourably used of all men, yet it sanctifieth no man. And such as do attribute the remission of sins to the external sign, do offend. John (Matt. iii.) preached penitence in the desert and remission of sin in Christ. Such as confessed their faults he marked, and declared them to be of Christ's church. So that external baptism was but an inauguration or external consecration of those that first believed and were cleansed of their sins, as he declareth himself in the same place: 'I (saith he) baptize with water ;' as though he said, 'My baptism maketh no man the better, inwardly it changeth no man: but I call and preach to the outward ear, I exhort unto repentance. And such as say they do repent, I wash with water. He that inwardly cleanseth is stronger than I. His grace it is only that purifieth the soul. I baptize unto repentance, that is to say, into a new life.'

"This new life cometh not, until such time as Christ be known and received. Now to put on Christ is to live a new life. Such as be baptized, must remember that repentance and faith precede this external sign, and in Christ the purgation was inwardly obtained, before the external sign was given. So that there are two kinds of baptism, and both necessary. The one interior, which is the cleansing of the heart, the drawing of the Father, the operation of the Holy Ghost: this baptism is in man when he believeth and trusteth that Christ is the only actor of his salvation. ...

"[B]aptism with the repetition of the words is a very sacrament and sign, that the baptized creature should die from sin all his life, as Paul writeth. (Rom. vi.) Likewise no man should condemn nor neglect this outward sign, for the commandment's sake; though it have no power to purge from sin, yet it confirmeth the purgation of sin, and the act of itself pleaseth God, because the receiver thereof doth obey the will of his commandment."

--Bishop John Hooper, cited in Thomas T. Biddulph, The doctrine of baptismal regeneration, as it has been stated in some recent tracts, weighed in the balance of the sanctuary; in three dialogues (London: R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1837), 99-101.

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