A Distinction Between the two Baptisms.
By George Fox
Here you may see a distinction between the baptism of John, with his 'element' of water, which “must decrease” (John 3.30), a fore-runner of Christ's baptism, which does increase: (Christ), who came after John; who “baptises with Fire and the Holy Spirit”; who comes with his “fan and thoroughly purges the floor” of the heart from sin and corruption, and burns up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Mt.3:12).
This Fire that is unquenchable, is above the natural fire, that may be quenched. And Christ gathers “his wheat into his garner” (Mt3:12) – into which garner the Devil with his foul spirit, nor none of his vermin, his followers, can come to hurt God's seed or wheat.
All men and women must come to this baptism of Christ, who “baptises with unquenchable Fire and the Holy Spirit”, before ever they know the wheat or seed of God come into God's garner. For John, who said he must decrease his baptism with outward 'elementary water' does not bring the wheat, the seed of God, into God's garner.
And the apostle (Paul) said, he “thanked God that he had baptised none of the Corinthians but Crispus and Gaius, etc., for, he said, Christ sent him “ not to baptise, but preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made none effect” (1 Cor.1:14,17).
John the Baptist (who) was prophesised by Isaiah before his coming (Isa.40:3,4), said, “I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance, but he that comes after me, is mightier than I, whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire, whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner. But he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable Fire” (Mt.3:11-12, Mk. 1:9).
John said, “He that has the bride is the bridegroom”; “He must increase, but I must decrease” , and John further speaks of Christ, and says, “He that is from Above, is above alll (Jn.3:29-31).
So John confesses Christ was great than he, and came after him, (Christ) who must increase, and was mightier than he and preferred before him for he was before him. And indeed Christ is preferred before John in his birth, in his miracles, in his 'offices' (that is his spiritual work) and in his death: (Christ who “by they Grace of God tasted death for every man” (Heb.2:9), and was mightier than John in his birth, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and in his Power, (and) who has “all power in heaven and earth given to him”. So he was preferred before John, for he was before him, for all things were made and created by Jesus Christ, “whose Name is called the Word of God” (Jn.1, Rev.19:13).
When Christ came to be baptised of John, John forbade him, saying, “ I have need to be baptised of thee; and comest thou to me? And Jesus said to him, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness”. Then he suffered him (Mt.3:3-15). So here John knew that (he) himself must be baptised with Christ's baptism -with Fire and with the Holy Spirit, before the seed of God , the wheat, be gathered into Gods garner.
John answered the Pharisees, when they questioned him, and said, “I baptise you with water, but there stands one amongst you, whom you know not; he it is that comes after me, who is preferred before me< whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to unloose”.
And John, seeing Christ come to him, said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, This is he of whom John said “After me comes a man who is preferred before me for he was before me. That he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore came I baptising with water” (Jn.1:30,31).
Here you may see John clearly declares for what end he was sent to baptise with water, namely, that Christ might be manifest to Israel, the Jews that had the “figures” and “shadows” of Christ. John does not say he came he came baptising with water that Christ might be made manifest to the Gentiles or heathens, but to Israel.
The apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, he was not sent to baptise, namely, with the 'element' of water, but to preach the Gospel. For the apostle God that he baptised none of the Corinthians, who were the Gentiles, “By one Spirit are we all baptised into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor.12:13)
So this was the spiritual baptism of Christ that the apostle brought the Jews and Gentiles into. Then surely the apostle Paul must see the “decreasing” of John's baptism with 'elementary' water, (Paul) who brought them to the spiritual baptism
The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians and exhorts them to “Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”, and says, “There is one Body, And one Spirit, etc., and one Lord, and one Faith, and one Baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through you all, and in you all” (Eph.4:3-6) So God was in them all and through them all, by his Spirit . And this was the one Lord, and one Faith, and one Baptism, that the apostle brought the Church of Christ, the Ephesians, to, which was not John's baptism with 'elementary water' but Christ's baptism with the Holy Spirit, which burned up the chaff, (and) by which God's wheat or seed was gathered into Gods garner.
Surely the Ephesians had their wheat or seed gathered into God's garner; for the apostle says, “They sat together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:6). These were not Jews but Gentiles. And if John's decreasing baptism with 'elementary' water had been Christ's baptism, then the apostle would not have thanked God he baptised none but these few, nor have said that Christ did not send him to baptise with water, but preach the Gospel, as in 1 Cor.1:16,17. It is clear, the apostle did bring the Church of Christ to the spiritual baptism of Christ Jesus.
(Summing up) The apostle says in Acts how John first preached before the coming of Christ “the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel”. He does not say to all the Gentiles. And “as John had fulfilled his course' -mark! His course -' of baptism”, he said “Behold, there comes one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to unloose” (Acts 13:24,25).
Now -mark! - as John had fulfilled his course of 'elementary water' baptism, he said of himself that he must decrease. Then Christ's baptism came in, with the Holy Spirit and with Fire, which does increase; by which Holy Spirit and Fire, the sin and corruption, which is chaff, is burned up, and God's wheat and seed is gathered into his garner. Also, Christ is the true and heavenly baptizer with his heavenly unquenchable fire and Holy Spirit.
Also Christ commanded, “that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father”; and further said, “For John truly baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days hence”- -mark! “not many days hence”- and you shall receive Power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me'- namely, Christ who baptises with Fire and the Holy Spirit – 'both in Jerusalem and Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uppermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8).
In Acts 2, the apostles being met together at Jerusalem, “they were filled with the Holy Spirit”. Here Christ's words were fulfilled in them and upon them, (Christ) who said that John baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days hence; and they were witnesses of Christ, both in Judea and Samaria, and to the Gentiles, etc.
And then the apostle came “to Ephesus, and finding certain disciples, he said to them, 'Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? They said to him, We have not so much as heard as whether there be any Holy Spirit. And he said to them,Unto what were you baptised? And they said Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptised with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, Christ Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them” (Acts 19).
Here you may see the baptism of John, with his 'elementary' water, was not the baptism of Christ with the Holy Spirit. For they that were baptised with John's baptism said, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. Then they were not like(ly) to know the baptism of Christ with the Holy Spirit; but when the apostle Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came upon them: then they were baptised with the Holy Spirit.
And while Peter spoke to Cornelius's family, the Holy Spirit fell upon them who heard the Word that he preached (Acts 10:44). So the Holy Spirit was given through the preaching of the Word, Christ and the Holy Spirit does baptise them – through which baptism the wheat or seed of God is gathered into God's garner.
And Saul, who had been a persecutor of God's people, was struck blind; and Ananias went to him, and laid his hand upon him, and said, the Lord Jesus sent me to him that he might receive his sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:11-18 – which came to pass to Saul, who did receive Was he not baptised by the Holy Spirit, who was 'filled' by it? And then after(wards), did he not bring others to the same spiritual baptism, and call Jesus, Lord by the same Spirit, and bear witness to Christ, both among Jews and Gentiles?
And the apostles laid their hands upon the Samaritans that believed in Christ; and through the laying on of the apostles' hands, the Holy Spirit was given to the Samaritans, when they had prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit. And Simon Magus proffered the apostles money to buy their gift; but they sharply rebuked him and said, “Thy money perish with thee”, because he thought the gift of God might be purchased with money; and told him that he was in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity, and bid him repent, etc., (Acts 10:15-24).
Now were not these Samaritans, that received the Holy Spirit by the apostles laying hands on them, baptised with the Holy Spirit? And the Holy Spirit said “Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). So they being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed and preached the Word of God (Acts 13:2,4). Here you may see it was the Holy Spirit that fitted Paul and Barnabas for the work whereto they were called, and sent them forth to preach Christ Jesus.
(Paragraph of 17th century polemic omitted.)
Some came to John and said, “he to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptises, and all men come to him” (Jn 3:26. And the Pharisees heard that Jesus made and baptised more disciples than John, “though Christ himself baptised not” with water (Jn 4:1,2)- for Christ baptised with the Holy Spirit and with unquenchable fire, as John bore witness of his baptism (Jn 1:33).
And from the time John was cast into prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent you, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:14, Mt 4:12,17). So, here you may see, Christ preaches a higher doctrine than John, and comes with greater baptism after John.
And the apostle (Paul) says to the Romans, “That so many as were baptised into Jesus Christ , were baptised into his death”. Mark! - they were baptised “into Christ Jesus and his death”- then that must be by the Holy Spirit. And “Therefore,' the apostle says, 'we are buried with him by baptism into death like as Jesus was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of Life” (Rom.6).
So they that came out of this death, by baptism, walk in newness of Life; and this baptism into Christ and his death is not the baptism of John, with his outward 'elementary water' The apostle says, “If we have been planted together in the likeness of Christ's death, we shall also be planted in the likeness of his resurrection” (Rom. 6:3-5).
And the apostle says, “That all our fathers were under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and were baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” Mark!- “unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea they were all baptised” (1 Cor. 10:1,2). “The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land” (Exod. 14:2); “And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry land; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left” (Exod. 14:29). Here you may see, though it is said they were “baptised in the cloud and in the sea unto Moses” yet they went upon dry land or ground, and the waters did not touch them.
The apostle (Paul) brings the same Corinthians to the baptism of the Spirit, and say, “We are all baptised into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles whether bond or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit”. This is Christ's spiritual baptism, which is beyond John's with the 'elementary' water, which must decrease”. And the apostle says, he “was not sent to baptise, but to preach the Gospel”; and the apostle says, “For as many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ: There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:27,28).
Mark!- they that have been “baptised into Christ, have put on Christ”, are “all one” in him and “put on Christ”. This baptism is not outward 'elementary' water; for the spiritual baptism brings to put on Christ, “the heavenly man” and makes all one in him (Heb.1). So it is clear the apostle brought the people off the doctrine of many baptisms to the “one faith” and “one spiritual baptism” as in Ephesians 4:5. And by this Spirit were all to be “baptised into one Body” and so to “drink all into one Spirit”, and in that they have unity and Fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and one with another (1 Cor.12:13, 1 Jn.1:3).
The Lord bring all into this spiritual baptism, and into this Fellowship.