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In those days came John the Baptist, preaching.--It will suffice for our present purpose, if by these* words we direct the attention to the origin, or at least first Scriptural record, of Baptism, and to the combinement of preaching therewith; their aspect each to the other, and their concurrence to one excellent end; the word unfolding the sacrament, and the sacrament sealing the word; the word as a light, informing and clearing the sense of the seal; and this again as a seal, confirming and ratifying the truth of the word; as you see some significant seals, or engraven signets, have a word about them expressing their sense.

But truly the word is a light, and the sacraments have in them of the same light illuminating them. This sacrament of Baptism, the ancients do particularly express by light. Yet are they both nothing but darkness to us, till the same light shine in our hearts; for till then we are nothing but darkness ourselves, and therefore the most luminous things are so to us. Noonday is as midnight to a blind man. And we see these ordinances, the word and the sacrament, without profit or comfort for the most part, because we have not that divine light within us. And we have it not, because we ask it not.

*By certain Biblical philologists of the Teutonic school (men distinguished by learning, but still more characteristically by hardihood in conjecture, and who suppose the Gospels to have undergone several successive revisions and enlargements by, or under the authority of, the sacred historians) these words are contended to have been, in the first delivery, the common commencement of all the Gospels

(that is, according to the flesh,) in distinction from St. John's, or the Gospel

(that is, according to the Spirit).

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