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the person whom the prophet meant, ignorant even of the great Redeemer typified by the sacrifices of the temple. Though a proselyte of righteousness, he appears to have been destitute of the faith of faithful Abra'ham; and therefore, notwitstanding his circumcision, yet in his sins. The Lord had excited in his mind serious desires after the knowledge of the truth, and constrained him for that purpose to read his word. In this mood and frame of mind the Gospel was preached to him by Philip, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost. He knew, he believed, he loved, and resolved to obey the Lord Jesus.
Observe the confession he makes with the mouth. It is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This title the Jews considered as expressing supreme divinity'. And they were right. The apostles uniformly convey the same idea. As the Son of God, the attributes of Jehovah are ascribed to him ; as the Son of God, he does the works of Jehovah; as the Son of God, he receives the worship due to Jehovah; as the Son of God, therefore, he could not die; and the design of his death
2: John x. VOL. II.
was to redeem sinners. He died as the Son of Man. He was Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary. His human and divine natures were united in the person of the Son of God. As this view is given by the prophet Isaiah, and must have been given by Philip, preaching Christ, so the confession of the eunuch embraced this view. '
Philip required faith ; but in what? What was unfolded as the object of faith? Christ's atonement, in all its parts. This includes in it his divinity, our helplessness, his redemption, our obligations. All that Philip had said was believed by the eunuch ; not speculatively, but experimentally. Christ and him crucified was not merely a doctrine received with confidence by his understanding; but a great essential truth approved, felt, cherished, and obeyed by his heart. He gave such credence to the preaching of Philip, who unfolded the testimony of God concerning Christ, as directly produced corresponding affections of heart, and prevailingly regulated his future deportment. His faith was of the vigorous, efficient kind. He knew in whom he believed, and was convinced that he would keep that which was
committed to him. His whole soul was changed. He found himself in a new world, and moved in a new sphere. Having obtained mercy, he applied for the seal of God's covenant; and on his confession was baptized.
The place where this baptism was administered is not known. Wherever it was, there was a certain water. The expression used is diminutive, and intimates that it was not water of any depth. And Jerome, one of the primitive Fathers, with Sandys, a traveller of modern times, and others, speak of it as a certain spring, or fountain, that rises at the foot of a mountain in the tribe of Judah or Benjamin, whose waters are sucked in by the same ground which produces them. Into this water, says our translation, they went down both, and from out of it they came up. That no argument in favour of immersion in baptism can be drawn from this, will appear from this simple fact, that the prepositions rendered into and out of, frequently signify unto and from, as all who understand the Greek language will allow. But, supposing we
here understand them as signifying into and out of, the pious Mr. Henry says, Philip and the eunuch did not strip off their clothes and go naked into the water; but going barefoot, according to the custom, they went perhaps up to the ancles or midleg into the water, and Philip sprinkled water upon him, according to the prophecy which this eunuch had probably just read; for it was but a few verses before those that Philip found him meditating upon, and was very apposite to his case, “ So shall he sprinkle many na“tions: the kings shall shut their mouths “ at him," i. e. submit to him: “ for that “ which had not been told them shall “ they see; and that which they had not “ heard shall they consideri.”
The rite of baptism being administered, they came up both out of the water, and parted, v. 39. “ The Spirit of the Lord “ caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw “ him no more: and he went on his way “ rejoicing.” The manner in which Philip was taken away was miraculous. The same Spirit who bid him join the eunuch's chariot, now separated them, so that they saw
s Is. lii. 15.
each other no more for ever on this side of the grave. Philip prosecuted his work of preaching the Gospel in different places.
The eunuch returning homewards went on his way rejoicing. His frame of mind was pleasant and cheerful. How could it be otherwise ? · He had now obtained the saving knowledge of God, and his Son Jesus Christ. He was now intimately and inseparably related to the family of the Redeemer. He carried with him the glad tidings of great joy to his benighted countrymen“. He now could worship God acceptably at home as well as in Jerusalem. He now hoped confidently in the glory of God, that everlasting life would be his.
The subject teaches us,
I. The watchfulness of the Great Shepherd of the sheep, as well as his diligence in seeking out his own, and bringing them within the reach of his grace, or bringing his grace to their doors.
He directed the course of the eunuch, and the steps of the evangelist. Is a chosen vessel to be called into the fold? Every ob
a Jortins Rem. Vol. 2. p. 34.