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16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

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Party-Spirit Reproved. (a. d. 57.)

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;   15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.   16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

Here the apostle gives an account of his ministry among them. He thanks God he had baptized but a few among them, Crispus, who had been a ruler of a synagogue at Corinth (Acts xviii. 8), Gaius, and the household of Stephanas, besides whom, he says, he did not remember that he had baptized any. But how was this a proper matter for thankfulness? Was it not a part of the apostolical commission to baptize all nations? And could Paul give thanks to God for his own neglect of duty? He is not to be understood in such a sense as if he were thankful for not having baptized at all, but for not having done it in present circumstances, lest it should have had this very bad construction put upon it—that he had baptized in his own name, made disciples for himself, or set himself up as the head of a sect. He left it to other ministers to baptize, while he set himself to more useful work, and filled up his time with preaching the gospel. This, he thought, was more his business, because the more important business of the two. He had assistants that could baptize, when none could discharge the other part of his office so well as himself. In this sense he says, Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not so much to baptize as to preach. Note, Ministers should consider themselves sent and set apart more especially to that service in which Christ will be most honoured and the salvation of souls promoted, and for which they are best fitted, though no part of their duty is to be neglected. The principal business Paul did among them was to preach the gospel (v. 17), the cross (v. 18), Christ crucified, v. 23. Ministers are the soldiers of Christ, and are to erect and display the banner of the cross. He did not preach his own fancy, but the gospel—the glad tidings of peace, and reconciliation to God, through the mediation of a crucified Redeemer. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our joys. By his death we live. This is what Paul preached, what all ministers should preach, and what all the saints live upon.