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Rudolph Gualther on Baptism: An informal Comment

June 17, 2008

Gualther:

Now remains the last part of Ananias’ oration, where he exhorts him [Paul] to be baptize, that he should openly profess the name of Christ, an be grafted into his Church, according to Christ’s commandment. And this he urges with great gravity & weight: “Why lingerest thou,” (says he) not for that Paul meant to defer or shift off the matter, but to prick him forward the more earnestly, being dismayed with fear and trembling in conscience. Where he adds this saying: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away the sins in calling on the name of the Lord.” Here we have to observe his manner of speaking of the Sacrament, which declares the reason and dignity of baptism. For Ananias meaning was not, that he thought sins were washed away by water, which the Scripture every because that washing which is made by the blood of Christ, is outwardly shadowed and expressed by Baptism, it comes to pass, that by reason of such phrase of Scripture sins are said to be washed away by baptism. And because Paul should not think it a strange or hard kind of saying, he adds, thereto, “by calling on the name of the Lord.” For by these words he is ent unto Christ, which being taken hold of, and called upon by faith, bestows such gifts of salvation upon us, as the sacraments us to figure and shadow unto us. And as we must in using of the Sacraments have a respect unto Christ, if we will have them to profit us: so again we are taught, that they must not b e contemned nor thought superfluous by any means. For God has ordained nothing without great consideration, whose intent is not to have his church overcharged or clogged by any means. Therefore Philip baptized the Eunuch also after he had confessed his faith. And Peter thought it good to baptize Cornelius’ household, when they had received the Holy Ghost. Yea Paul, whom the Holy Ghost secretly commends, is here earnestly moved to receive baptism. These examples reprove the despisers of Sacraments, which while they seem too spiritual, do wickedly set light the ordinances of God.

Radulphe Gualthere, An Hundred, threescore and fifteen Sermons, uppon the Acts of the Apostles, trans., by Iohn Bridges, (London: no publ, 1572), 791.

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