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16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

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16. I remembered the word of the Lord. We have sufficiently declared in the first chapter, that when Christ uttered that sentence, he did not make a comparison between two baptisms; but that he intended to declare what difference there was between him and John, (Acts 1:5.) For, as we distinguish the sign from his [its] truth, so it is good to distinguish the minister from the author, lest mortal man challenge 730730     “Ad se trahat,” arrogate to himself. that which is proper to God. Man hath the sign in his hand; it is Christ alone which watereth and regenerateth. For it skilleth much whither men’s minds be directed in seeking the graces of God, because they shall not receive one drop without Christ. Therefore, there is this general difference between Christ and all the ministers of the Church, because they give the external sign of water, but he fulfilleth and performeth the effect of the sign by the power of his Spirit. The readers were to be admonished of this thing again in this place, because many do falsely infer that John’s baptism and ours are not all one, whilst that Christ, challenging to himself the Spirit, doth leave nothing for John save water alone.

But if any man trusting to this testimony do make baptism a cold spectacle, and void of all grace of the Spirit, he shall be also greatly deceived. For the Holy Scripture useth to speak two manner of ways of the sacraments. For because Christ is not unfaithful in his promises, he doth not suffer that to be vain which he doth institute; but when as the Scripture doth attribute to baptism strength to wash and regenerate, it ascribeth all this to Christ, and doth only teach what he worketh by his Spirit by the hand of man and the visible sign. Where Christ is thus joined with the minister, and the efficacy of the Spirit with the sign, there is so much attributed to the sacraments as is needful, (Titus 3:5;) but that conjunction must not be so confused, but that men’s minds, being drawn from mortal and frail things, and things like to themselves, and from the elements of the world, they must learn to seek for salvation at Christ’s hand, and to look unto the power of his Spirit alone; because he misseth the mark of faith, whosoever turneth aside even but a little from the Spirit unto the signs; and he is a sacrilegious person who taketh even but an inch of Christ’s praise, that be may deck man therewith. And we must also remember that Christ did comprehend under the word Spirit, not only the gift of tongues, and such like things, but all the whole grace of our renewing; but because these gifts were an excellent argument of Christ’s power, this sentence may well be applied unto them. I will make this more plain; seeing that Christ did bestow upon the apostles the visible graces of the Spirit, he did plainly declare that the Spirit was in his hand; so that by this means he did testify, that he is the alone author of cleanness, righteousness, and of the whole regeneration. And Peter applieth it unto his purpose thus, that forasmuch as Christ did go before, carrying with him the force of baptism, it became him to follow with the addition, 731731     “Cum accessione,” with the accessary. that is, the outward sign of water.