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Rio, 10/5/2008

John Wesley's view on Baptism (em inglês)

ZZ Outros Colaboradores ZZ


John Chongnahm, Cho, Ph. D.
President OMS Theological Seminary, Seoul, Korea

OBS: Texto extraído de http://wesley.nnu.edu/wesleyan_theology/theojrnl/06-10/07-6.htm


"There is no doubt, " as D. M. Baillie points out, "that from very diverse quarters, from high Anglicanism to continental Protestantism, there has in recent years been a new consciousness of the problem surrounding this sacrament ( or baptism) ."1 Such a revival of the interest in Christian baptism in recent years opens the possible Wesleyan contribution to this study. But it is perhaps obvious that this task will not succeed unless one refers to, and clarifies the teaching on the subject in the theology of John Wesley, for various Wesley scholars differ in interpreting the subject. 2

The aim of this paper, therefore, is to analyze and clarify the teaching of baptism in the writings of John Wesley, and review it in the light of Wesleyan theological structure with a hope to find some constructive direction in formulating the Wesleyan doctrine of Christian baptism.


Wesley regarded baptism as a means of grace obligatory upon all Christians, as Jesus himself showed by example. 3 Baptism according to Wesley, is included in the whole design of Christ's great commission, and it must, therefore, remain in Christ's church until the end of the world. 4

Wesley believed that baptism, as an initiatory sacrament, is in the ordinary way "the only means of entering into the Church or into heaven. "5 That is to say, Wesley believed that the free gift and merit of the atonement is applied to men in baptism, 6 through the work of the Holy Spirit. As to the benefits of baptism, he said that through baptism we are engrafted into Christ the Word, that is, into the new covenant of God, being admitted into the Body of Christ. 7 Also, the guilt of original sin is washed away from us, by the application of the merits of Christ's death. 8 He further says that through baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, 9 through whom we begin a new life and grow throughout Christian life to maturity. These benefits, moreover, may be expressed in the words, "baptismal regeneration. " He writes,

By water then as a mean, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again: Whence it is also called by the Apostle; 'the washing of regeneration.'10


Did Wesley then really believe the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, as appears to be required by the Prayer Book of the Church of England? At this point, we face some different interpretations among Wesley scholars. By way of the traditional antiAnglican view, for example, T. G. Williams maintains that Wesley did not, but opposed the doctrine of baptismal regeneration with all his power. 11 Williams argues that Wesley's new emphasis, after his own evangelical experience in 1738, upon living faith and direct encounter with God tended to turn him from a high church view of baptism to a low view, that is, to a denial of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration He says,

In his ministration he (I. e., Wesley) did not tell the sinner that he had received the new birth, and had been regenerated, and made a member of Christ when the baptismal waters, from the sacred hand of the priest. . . had touched his brow; but he did say to such as trusted in his outward ceremony, 'Baptized or unbaptized you must be born again.'12

Did Wesley then, as Williams interprets the matter, come to reject baptismal regeneration?

Here attention may be drawn to the alterations to his father's discourse which Wesley made in is Treatise on Baptism. Wesley's treatise is an abridgment of his father's discourse on baptism published a half century before. In this Wesley omitted terms such as "baptismal regeneration," and words which might refer to the idea of baptismal regeneration.13 He also deleted the words, "sacramental, " or "sacramentally."l4 Are these alterations then sufficient to indicate that Wesley now came to reject baptismal regeneration ? On the contrary, the treatise still maintains that we are made children of God in baptism, inward grace being infused into our souls, and the guilt of original sin being washed away in baptism. In other words, Wesley continued to acknowledge that "the new birth within is recognized as simultaneous with the sacramental washing without."l5 Therefore, it may be safe to affirm with Parris that Wesley was still "in the line with the general Anglican position."16

Some however have sought to minimize this by asserting in the first place that this treatise on baptism was only Samuel Wesley's antiquated discourse, and not Wesley's own teaching,17 and that his own ideas must be seen in his sermons. They presuppose that his sermons present a different point of view on baptism from that of the treatise. 18 Such arguments however, seem to be without ground. For as Tyerman points out,19 we find in his sermons stronger language by which Wesley forcefully confirms his belief on baptismal regeneration. In his sermon on "The New Birth, " he declares,

It is certain our church supposes that all who are baptized in their infancy are at the same time born again; and it is allowed that the whole Office for the Baptism of Infants proceeds upon this supposition. Nor is it an objection of any weight against this, that we cannot comprehend how this work can be wrought in infants. For neither can we comprehend how it is wrought in a person of riper years 20

He described his own baptism as one in which he received the "washing of the Holy Ghost."21

Thus we may not regard his Treatise on Baptism merely as are production of "old Samuel's discourse" abridged.22 We must not over look the fact that this treatise was published quite a number of years after his evangelical experience at Aldersgate Street, and when his sermons had become informed by an evangelical tone. Moreover this treatise was published for circulation among the Methodists. By these facts, this treatise seems to be intended publicly to announce Wesley's view of the subject. Therefore, we must also regard the changes from his father's discourse which he made in the treatise as having significance in his theological development.

Such alterations in the treatise reflect his concern lest his high church view on baptism should imply an ex opere operato view of the sacrament. 23 His strong protest is shown again in his Popery Calmly Considered. 24 He writes:

The grace does not spring merely ex opere operato: It does not proceed from the mere elements, or the words spoken; but from the blessing of God, in consequence of his promise to such as are qualified for it.25

Wesley, by thus separating the sign of baptism from the thing signifiedthe inward grace of regeneration, is carefully guarding against any interpretation of ex opere operato, which savors of magic, whereas he still holds the sacrament of baptism as a means of grace.26 To put this in another way, he means that though on a superficial view we are saved by the water, in truth we are saved not by water, but by the inward grace wrought by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the water. For the operation of the Holy Spirit is to be understood rather in terms of interpersonal relationship than of automatic mechanism. Baptismal grace is not something mechanically mediated by the water, but operated by God through His chosen means.27

Such understanding of the sacrament of baptism accords with Wesley's view of the means of grace, in which he makes clear that the means of grace do not have any power apart from the operation of God. He reminds us that we must always "retain a lively sense that God is above all means."28 "Remember also, " continued Wesley, "to use all means as means; as ordained, not for their own sake, but "in order to the renewal of your soul in righteousness and true holiness."29 For they are sacramental instruments, yet they are not ends in themselves.

How then can we reconcile his belief of baptismal regeneration with his careful distinction between the outward sign from the inward grace itself? Cannon thought that by distinguishing between baptism, the outward sign, and regeneration, an inward grace wrought by the Holy Spirit, Wesley "denies that the Church of England teaches baptismal regeneration."30 It, however, seems to this writer that Wesley, on the contrary, intended to defend her position, by thus qualifying the definition of her doctrine of baptismal regeneration: "though baptism and regeneration are distinguishable perhaps, and water is not the same as the Spirit, yet, both are united in one act and stand together."31 That is to say, baptismal regeneration is to be understood in the sense that regeneration is a simultaneous occurrence with baptism, and worked through the baptism. It is not to be taken as though the water itself mystically washes away the sins of the recipient. In this way only does Wesley accept the doctrine of baptismal regeneration of infants, and he does not question Anglican doctrine at this point. He believes that "all who are baptized in their infancy are at the same time born again."32 At this point, "Wesley is less uncertain."33

Because of Wesley's great emphasis to his people (who had already been baptized in their infancy) on faith and the necessity of "being born again, " some scholars suspect that Wesley came to reject the doctrine of baptismal regeneration in his later years. Such suspicion also inclines us to think that his revision of the Offices and Articles on baptism in the 1784 Sunday Service, and the subsequent editions, indicates the change of his view with regard to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. However, if we observe carefully, we would learn that what Wesley intended in his sermons (in which the necessity of conversion was emphasized),34 and in his revision of the baptismal Offices and Articles in the 1784 Sunday Service, was not to reject the value of infant baptism.35 Rather, it was his pastoral safeguard against a wrong implication of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

He warned against the idle notion that since one was born again in baptism, he does not need to be converted, although "he is now manifestly a child of the devil."36 What he pointed out here about regeneration at baptism was that baptism (that is to say, the new birth at baptism) is the beginning of a new life, and that its maintenance and growth depend, after baptism, on there sponsible life of the baptized person in his living relation with God. Therefore, if the baptized person by living in sin now follows the devil, he comes virtually to deny his own baptism. Baptism then becomes "the broken staff of that ye were born again in baptism."37 Thus, the grace of God (baptismal grace) is not understood in impersonal terms as though it were a quasimaterial substance which is given at baptism and remains forever within man's soul. But it is understood in terms of an interpersonal relationship between God and man through the work of the Holy Spirit.38

The implication here may thus be that in the understanding of Wesley, baptism has an inclusive nature which covers both that which happens at the moment of baptism (regeneration) and the whole of the baptized person's life (sanctification). And baptism also has an eschatological dimension in the sense that the inward grace given at the moment of baptism is to be expected to grow through a constant and living relationship of man with God towards its fulfillment. His central concern and emphasis was, in consequence, on this dimension of progress, and on the responsible life of the baptized person here and now, no matter at what point in his life he was baptized. 39 Therefore, it is to be recommended that the thought of Wesley on the meaning of baptism needs to be approached through his concluding sentence of his Treatise of Baptism.

Baptism doth save us, if we live answerable there to; if we repent, believe, and obey the gospel: Supposing this, as it admits us into the Church here, so into glory hereafter. 40

Wesley, however, takes a somewhat different view with regard to the case of adult baptism. In his writings, especially his sermons, he is found drawing a distinction between the case of infant and adult baptism. 41 That is to say, in the case of adult baptism, Wesley maintains that regeneration does not always simultaneously occur with the baptism as it does in infant baptism; namely, "they do not constantly go together."42 He clearly states, Whatever be the case with infants, it is sure all of riper years who are baptized are not at the same time born again.... A man may possibly be 'born of the water, ' and yet not be 'born of the spirit. '43

In his tract entitled, "A Farther Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, " he states that infants are justified in baptism "although they cannot then either believe or repent, "44 as far as adults are concerned they must, in baptism, repent and believe if the new birth is to be given to them. 45

From these observations it seems to be clear that there are two different ways of understanding of baptism in Wesley' s thought, namely, one for infants and another for adults. Infant baptism, for Wesley, is "a justifying and regenerating sacrament. ~46 Yet, not all adults who are baptized are regenerated. If the new birth is simultaneously to be given, they must repent and believe. 47

Therefore, it seems not to do justice to Wesley's own under standing when one simply claims that Wesley was a High Church man on the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Nor is it fair to him when one merely says that Wesley opposed the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. For, so far as Wesley's writings show, his baptismal doctrine never went higher than acknowledging baptismal regeneration in infant baptism. Perhaps then, if may be said that Wesley held both a Catholic element (baptismal regeneration in infants) and an evangelical apprehension (emphasis on "living faith" for evangelical conversion in adults). To disregard either of them seems to do injustice to his own standing on the matter .


Faith and baptism are thus inseparably joined in Wesley's understanding of baptismal regeneration. Faith is the sine qua non of the promise of inward grace on the one hand, and on the other hand grace is associated with baptism. Therefore, faith is demanded from a man who is capable of it both before and after baptism. 48

However, we observed that the case is somewhat different in the baptism of infants, although afterwards they are capable of it. Wesley's emphasis on faith (on the part of the recipient) is therefore applied only to faith after baptism, for which alone baptized infants can be responsible. Thus faith in baptism is, in the case of infant baptism, more explicitly interpreted primarily as a response to baptism.49 Baptism demands faith, rather than faith does baptism. In this sense, baptism is the very starting point of faith. He emphasized the necessity of faith whenever the baptized are capable and responsible. For he understands faith in terms of a living relation of man with God, without which a man cannot continue in baptismal grace

The precondition of faith which Wesley required for an infant to be baptized was instead sought in the faith of the parents who present the infant to the Church through baptism. 50 Here the stress was on the corporate faith of the believing community which was represented in such a particular way by the faith of parents, although this faith cannot be presented as vicarious faith on be half of the infant.

Despite such a difference, Wesley appears to be convinced of the validity of baptizing (the) infants in the Church. Part of his certainty that infants are capable of baptism was drawn from the significant parallel between circumcision and baptism. For Wesley believed that baptism came in the place of circumcision. 51 He also believed that the baptism of infants was commanded by the Lord. 52 And, he believed it's practice was demonstrated by Jesus, in that He suffered children to come to Him who were brought by others. "Therefore, " he said, "his disciples or ministers are still to suffer infants to come, that is, to be brought, unto Christ, " by baptism. 53 Thus it appears that Wesley believed that the baptism of infants is possible because it is not only commanded by the Lord, but also because the initiative in it is with the Lord himself. 54 This would imply that baptism is an ordinance of divine, not human, inception. It is a movement from God toward man. Therefore, in the thought of Wesley, the baptism of infants cannot be interpreted in terms alone of dedication by men.


Now we turn to review Wesley's doctrine of baptism in the light of his theological structure. We pointed out that for Wes ley, baptism is understood both as event (in which regeneration occurs 55) and as process (in which the growth of a new life is emphasized: sanctification). Thus baptism covers the whole of the Christian life: justification, regeneration, and sanctification. Yet, his keen concern was in the dimension of process in baptism, and for Wesley, baptism is only completed when the believer is wholly conformed to the image of Christ. 56

In conceiving of baptism in this way, it seems that on the one hand his main interest in sanctification was rightly reflected in his understanding of baptism, and on the other hand, he was able to keep the teaching of baptism in close parallel with his theological structure of "evangelical synergism " That is to say, he preserved both God's continuing work of grace and man's standing responsibility.

God's operation of grace in man, for Wesley, is understood in terms of what Starkey has called "evangelical synergism. "57 In truth, it is characteristic of every phase of salvation in Wes ley's theological structure Wesley was able to maintain this by his doctrine of grace, especially of prevenient grace.

However, when his teaching of baptism is reviewed in light of this structure of theology, it seems that his teaching of baptism faces the problem. First of all, a problem is raised as to how his understanding of baptism is to be related to the doctrine of prevenient grace. For his teaching of the baptismal cleansing of the guilt of original sin can hardly be understood, if one asserts that by prevenient grace the guilt of original sin "is cancelled by the righteousness of Christ as soon as they (I. e., the people) are sent into the world."58 It seems that Wesley himself did not see through the implication of this theological position for his teaching of baptism, and failed to bring the doctrine of baptism into a logical consistency with this part of his theological structure. In his sermon on "The Means of Grace, " he defined the sacraments as "the ordinary channels whereby He might convey to men, preventing, justifying, or sanctifying grace.59 However, it appears that nowhere has he considered the relationship of baptism to prevenient grace.

Secondly, Wesley has not considered the relation of his teaching of baptism to the doctrine of assurance, which is associated with his understanding of Christian life. The doctrine of assurance is a distinctive element in his teaching concerning Christian life. "Wesley affirms that what the Spirit hath wrought, the Spirit will confirm. ~60 But instead of relating the doctrine of assurance, "with Luther, to the 'I am baptized, ' as well as to the present witness of the Holy Spirit, Wesley related it only to the latter. ~61 In this matter, it would seem that Wesley did not relate the objective significance of baptism to every phase of Christian life, although he maintained that baptism covered the whole of Christian life. 62

Third, a problem is raised as to the way the baptismal grace of regeneration can be conveyed to infants irresistibly, when they cannot either repent or believe. Is this not inconsistent with his theological structure, namely, "evangelical synergism" ?

For Wesley firmly maintained that "it (I.e., faith) was necessary in order to receive forgiveness or salvation."63 As we already pointed out, in safe guarding the Church's doctrine against a magical view of the sacrament, Wesley maintained that baptism can be effectual means for salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that administers them, but only by the blessing of CHRIST, and the work in go of his SPIRIT in them that by faith receive them.64

In view of such a situation, it would seem that Wesley is not wholly consistent at every point. What he has to say about the meaning of baptism as incorporation into the Body of Christ is more consistent with his general theological structure, but he did not go on to develop this train of argument. That is to say, his teaching of baptismal regeneration would be chiefly of a change of relation by which infants (or adults) are translated into the kingdom of grace, the Church, 65 meaning adoption (baptism into Christ or into the name of Christ) rather than "being born again" in baptism. In one place, Wesley indicated that regeneration which is ascribed to baptism is that "being 'grafted into the body of Christ's Church, we are made the children of God by adoption and grace'."66 This writer feels that this idea in Wesley, when fully amplified, may furnish a clue to the direction in which the main meaning of baptism might have been explained in a more consistent way. 67

Wesley was an evangelist, yet he was always a Churchman. He never underestimated the importance of the Church. For Wesley, the Church is regarded as the Body of Christ, and he had a high regard for the Body of believers, in the covenant of grace. In view of such a high view of the Church, the incorporation into the Church through baptism is very significant and meaningful. For where baptism is under taken there is an anticipation that the baptized person will grow, in the environment of faith where the Holy Spirit is promised to work, to the appropriation of the free gift of God's grace, and in consequence, to the final salvation of the soul.

In understanding the meaning of baptism in this way, it comes to be regarded chiefly as a corporate act of the Church, action pro Deo to witness the objective givingness of the gospel of redemption (prevenient grace given already, and justifying, sanctifying grace, promised to faith), by setting the one to be baptized apart within the kingdom of grace, the Body of Christ. In this sense, baptism may be said as "kerygma in action"68 or "a Sacrament of the Gospel."69 And also the role of faith in baptism is significantly understood as man's response to baptism (God's action), whereby the baptized persons appropriate and grow in the grace which is proclaimed and promised in baptism. 70 If, as Wesley himself understood, in baptism some were "born again in the higher sense of the word, " and some, "in a lower sense, " and also some "neither in one sense nor the other, 71 this would be related to the degree of faith (understood as response to God's grace in its nature) on the part of the baptized persons. Thus, by this reinterpretation of the meaning of baptism by Wesley, it may be possible that the doctrine of baptism will be found to be in harmony with the scheme of his theology of salvation. For the scheme of salvation which Wesley explains maybe found in his own words as follows:

Salvation begins with what is usually termed (and very properly) Preventing grace; including the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning His will, and the first slight transient conviction of having sinned against Him. All these imply some tendency toward life; some degree of salvation; . . .

Salvation is carried on by convincing grace, usually in Scripture termed repentance;. . . Afterwards we experience the proper Christian salvation; whereby, 'through grace, we are saved by faith;' consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification. By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the favour of God; by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God.73


1. Donald M. Baillie, The Theology of the Sacraments (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957), p. 72.

2. J. E. Rattenbury says, "the Methodist beliefs about baptism have always been varied. They certainly are today. " He illustrates this: "I once heard baptism discusse data gathering of eight or nine Wesleyan ministers, and there were eight of nine different doctrines pronounced at that meeting!" (Wesley's Legacy to the World (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1928), p. 193.

3. See Notes on Matt. 3:15, 16, Works x, 188.

4. Works, x, 193.

5. Works, x, 19Z.

6. Ibid., 191.

7. Works, x, 191. 8. Works, x, 190.

9. Notes on I Cor. 12:13; cf. Works, x, 19Z.

10. Works, x, 192.

11. T. G. Williams, Methodist and Anglicanism in the Light of Scripture and History, (Toronto, 1888), p. 42.

12. Ibid., p. 50.

13. See Works, x, 192 in comparison with Samuel Wesley, Williams, op. cit., p. 207.

14. cf. Samuel Wesley, The Pious Communicant Rightly Prepared p. 203, 191; Works, x, 191.

15. Lycurgus M. Starkey, The Work of the Holy Spirit: A Study in Wesleyan Theology (New York & Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962), p. 9 1.

16. John R. Parris, John Wesley's Doctrine of the Sacraments (London: The Epworth Press, 1963), p. 40.

17. James H. Rigg, The Churchmanship of John Wesley and the Relation of Wesleyan Methodism to the Church of England (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1878), p. 42.

18. Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, xxxii, p. 121; Sermons I, p. 281.

19. Luke Tyerman, The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1872), Vol. II, p. 265.

20. Sermons, I, p. 238 (The New Birth). T.G. Williams argues that this passage does not indicate that Wesley held this view, but that he only mentioned the supposition of the Church of England which he did not approve. (Williams, op. cit., p. 45). The context of his whole sermon on the contrary implies that Wesley accepted the doctrine. Paul Sanders concurs with the latter view (Sanders, An Appraisal of John Wesley's Sacramentalism in the Evolution of Early American Methodism, Unpublished dissertation at Union Theological Seminary. New York, 1954, p. 95).

21. Journal I, p. 465 (for May 24, 1738).

22. Cf. Rigg, op. cit., p. 42. 23. See Parris, op. cit., p. 39.

24. Published in 1779, see Works x, 149ff.

25. Works, x, p. 149.

26. Sermons, II, p. 238, Letters, iv, p. 38. See also Notes on I Peter 3:21.

27. See Sermons, I, p. 300.

28. Sermons, I, p. 259 (The Means of Grace). 29. Ibid., 260.

30. William R. Cannon, Theology of John Wesley (New York: Abingdon Press, 1946), p. 126.

31. Ibid. 32. Sermons, II, 238 (The New Birth).

33. Starkey, op. cit., p. 92; see Parris, op. cit., p. 42. Philip Watson, "Wesley and Luther on Christian Perfection, " Ecumenical Review, xv (April, 1963), p. 291.

34. See Chongnahm Cho, "A Study in John Wesley's Doctrine of Baptism. ., " (Unpublished dissertation at Emory University, 1966), pp. 136 156.

35. It appears that Wesley did not raise any serious question at the effect of infant baptism. He still thought that baptism, instead of confirmation, is a sufficient qualification for the admission to the Lord's Supper.

36. Works, viii, 48. cf. Sermons II, p. 241 (The New Birth).

37. Sermons, I, p. 296 (The Marks of the New Birth).

38. See Sermons, I, pp. 310312. Cf. Starkey, op. cit., p. 56.

39. It maybe worth mentioning here that this inclusive and eschatological dimension of baptism parallels the nature of the baptism of Jesus, which is the foundation of our baptism (Notes on I John 5:6, Rom. 6:3, 4) and the intention of Christ's institution of baptism (Notes on Col. 2:12).

40. Works, x, 192.

41. His distinction between the case of infant and adult baptism is less unclear in his sermons and other writings, but it seems to be somewhat obscure in his Treatise on Baptism.

42. Sermons, II, 238. 43. Ibid. see also Works, viii, 52, 48. Journal II, 135 (for Jan. 25, 1739).

44. Works, viii 52. 45. Ibid. 47.

46. Watson, op. cit., p. 29 1.

47. Notes on Acts 22:16. See also Works, viii, p. 52.

48. Notes on Acts 2:38, I Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:27. See Cho, op. Cit., pp. 161163.

49. See the prayers in the baptismal offices in the Sunday Service

50. Thoughts upon Infant Baptism, p. 5.

51. Works, x, 195, 188, 194 195. See also, Thoughts upon Infant Baptism, p. 5. Notes on Col. 2:1113. As they were not circumcised on the basis of their own faith but on the ground of birth into the covenant communitythe 'visible church, ' so, the condition which Wesley required for an infant to be baptized seems to have been that the infant was within the community of believers, and under the care of the community. Wesley believed that "infants were and still are under the evangelical covenant" (Works, x, 193) God made with Abraham .

52. Works, x, 193, 195f.

53. Works, x, 195. Wesley also believed that the Apostles and the Church in all ages practiced infant baptism. (See Works, x, 196ff, 201, Thoughts upon Infant Baptism, 12ff.

54. Works, x, 195f.

55. Wesley held that in the moment of baptism, the guilt of original sin is washed away from the baptized person, he being grafted into the Body of Christ. He also received the Holy Spirit in baptism.

56. Notes on Col. 2:12.

57. Starkey, op. cit., p. 116. See also Sermon "On Working out our own salvation" (Works, vi, 506ff).

58. Letters, vi, p. 240. 59. Sermons, I, p. 242 (The Means of Grace).

60. Starkey, op. cit., p. 60. cf. Sermons, I, p. 209.

61. Colin W. Williams, John Wesley's Theology Today (NewYork: Abingdon Press, 1960), p. 120.

62. Some would perhaps wish that Wesley had related baptism with his doctrine of assurance so as to provide for the baptized person the assurance of the fact that God had promised saving grace for him, declared in baptism, on which he could rely.

63. Works, x, 279.

64. A Christian Library, xiv, 409, Sermons, I, 259.

65. See Notes on Matt. 4:17. Wesley observes that the business of Christ was not only to establish the kingdom of grace in individuals, but also in the church, the whole body of believers.

66. Works, x, 191192, See also Notes in Rom. 6:3.

67. We observe that by way of evangelical safeguarding of the doctrine of baptism, in his revision of the Sunday Service, the idea of incorporation into the Church in baptism appeared in some sense to the fare in his teaching of baptism. Never-theless, he never thoroughly worked it out.

68. W. F. Flemington, The New Testament Doctrine of Baptism (London: S. P. C. K., 1964), p. 123.

69. Ibid., p. 124.

70. Such understanding could be applied to the case of both infant and adult baptism. Therefore, baptism cannot be regarded as a mere token of men's faith; in consequence, this view would not concur with the position of the advocacy of the believer's baptism only.

71. Journal, II, p. 135.

72. For Wesley's understanding of the degree of faith, see Journal, II, p. 328. For some different effects occurred in baptism, see Journal, III, p. 180, 189. Ibid., IV, p. 189. Ibid., VII, p. 132. 73. Works, vi, p. 509.



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