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celebrated the next Lord's day after the commemoration of the Holy Spirit's coming down upon the disciples, and in them, upon all true believers; both because all three persons have now manifested themselves to mankind; the Father in his creation of them, the Son in his conversing with them, and the Holy Ghost by his coming down upon them: and also to show, that it is only by the grace and assistance of God's Spirit that we can rightly believe in this glorious and incomprehensible mystery which our Saviour hath so clearly revealed to us in these words, Go ye and teach all nations,' &c.

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For the opening of which, we must know that our Saviour, in the foregoing verse, acquaints his disciples, that now all power was given him 'in heaven and in earth;' by virtue whereof he here issueth forth his commission to his apostles, and, in them, to all that should succeed them, to supply his room, and be his vicegerents upon earth, he being now to reside in his kingdom of heaven. For saith he, all power is given to me in heaven and earth go ye therefore and teach all nations.' As he also saith elsewhere to them, 'As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you." As if he should have said, My Father having committed to me all power and authority both in heaven and earth, I therefore authorize and commissionate, yea, and command you to go and teach all nations, &c.

This therefore is part of the commission which our Lord and master left with his apostles immediately before he parted from them. Those being the last words which St. Matthew records him to have spoken upon earth; and therefore they must

John xx. 21.

needs contain matter of very great importance to his church; and it must needs highly concern us all to understand the true meaning and purport of them, which that we may the better do, in treating of them, I shall observe the same method and order as he did in speaking them.

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First, therefore, here is the work he sends the apostles about; Go ye therefore and teach,' Hopevθέντες ὧν μαθητέυσατε, which more properly may be rendered,' Go ye therefore and disciple all nations,' or 'make the persons of all nations to be my disciples,' that is, Christians. That this is the true meaning of the words, is plain and clear, from the right notion of the word here used, ua@nrevw, which coming from panrns, a disciple, it always signifieth either to be or to make disciples, wheresoever it occurs in all the Scriptures; as μadηTεveis, ' which is instructed, say we, the Syriac better, damtachlamad, that is, made a disciple, a pb, that is, not only a scholar or learner, but a follower or professor of the gospel, here called the kingdom of heaven. Another place where this word occurs, is ἐμαθήτευσε τῷ Ἰησā, where we rightly translate it, was Jesus' disciple.' Another place is kai paintevoavtes ikavès,3 which we improperly render, having taught many;' the Syrian and Arabic, more properly, 'having made many disciples.' And these are all the places in the New Testament where this word is used, except those I am now considering, where all the eastern languages render it according to its notation, disciple. The Persian paraphrastically expounds it, 'Go ye and reduce all nations to my faith and religion.' So that whosoever pleads for any other meaning of these words, do

1 Matt. xiii. 52. 2 Matt. xxvii. 57. 3 Acts, xiv. 21.

but betray their own ignorance in the original languages, and by consequence, in the true interpretation of Scripture.

I should not have insisted so long upon this, but that the false exposition of these words hath occasioned that no less dangerous than numerous sect of anabaptists in the world; for the old Latin translation having it, Euntes ergo, docete omnes gentes; hence, the German, where anabaptism first began, and all the modern translations, render it as we do, 'Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them.' From whence it was supposed by some that were not able to dive into the true meaning of the words, that our Saviour here commanded that none should be baptized but such as were first taught the principles of the Christian religion; which is the greatest mistake imaginable; for our Saviour doth not speak one word of teaching before baptism, but only after, ver. 20, didáσкoYTES, his meaning being only that his apostles should go about the world and persuade all nations to forsake their former idolatries and superstitions, and to turn Christians, or the disciples of Jesus Christ; and such as were so should be baptized. And therefore infant baptism is so far from being forbidden, that it is expressly commanded in these words; for all disciples are here commanded to be baptized; nay, they are therefore commanded to be baptized, because disciples. And seeing all disciples are to be baptized, so are infants too, the children of believing parents; for they are disciples as well as any other, or as well as their parents themselves; for all that are in covenant with God must needs be disciples: but that children are always esteemed in covenant with God is plain, in that God himself commanded the covenant should be sealed to them,

as it was all along by circumcision. But that children are disciples, as well as others, our Saviour puts it out of all doubt, saying of children, 'of such is the kingdom of God." And therefore they must needs be disciples, unless such as are not disciples can belong to the kingdom of God, which a man must be strangely distempered in his brain before he can so much as fancy.

And besides, that children, so long as children, are looked upon as part of their parents; and therefore as their parents are, so are they: if their parents be heathen, so are the children; if the parents be Jews, so are the children; if the parents be Christian, so are the children too; nay, if either of the parents be a Christian or disciple, the children of both are denominated from the better part, and so looked upon as Christians too, as is plain, 1 Cor. vii. 14. 'But now are they holy,' that is, in a federal or covenant sense, they are in covenant with God; they are believers, Christians, or disciples, because one of their parents is so.

Now seeing children are disciples as well as others, and our Saviour here commands all disciples to be baptized, it necessarily follows that children must be baptized too. So that the opinion that asserts, that children ought not to be baptized, is grounded upon a mere mistake, and upon gross ignorance of the true meaning of the Scripture, and especially of this place, which is most ridiculously mistaken for a prohibition, it being rather a command for infant baptism.

But I must crave the reader's excuse for this digression from the matter principally intended,

' Mark, x. 14.

though I could not tell how to avoid it; nothing being more needful than to rescue the words of our blessed Saviour from those false glosses and horrible abuses which these last ages have put upon them, especially it coming so directly in my way as this did.

Secondly, here is the extent of their commission, which is very large indeed, not being directed to some few particular persons, but to nations; not to some particular nations only, but to all nations; 'Go ye therefore and disciple all nations;' or all the world, as it is, Mark, xvi. 15. This was that which the prophet Isaiah, or rather God by him foretels, Isaiah, xlix. 6, which our Saviour himself seems to have respect unto, Luke, xxiv. 46, 47. The meaning whereof, in brief, is this, that though the Jews hitherto had been the only people of God, and none but they admitted into covenant with him, now the Gentiles also are to be brought in and made confederates or copartners with them in the covenant of grace; that the partition-wall being now broken down, the gospel is to be preached to all other nations, as well as the Jewish; Christ being now come to be a light to lighten the Gentiles as well as the glory of his people Israel.'

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But though the words of the commission be so clear to this purpose, yet the apostles themselves understood it not, till God had interpreted it from heaven to St. Peter, showing him in a vision, that he should call no man common or unclean.'1 From which time forward, he, with the rest of the apostles, observed their commission exactly in

'Acts, x. 28.

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