Select Commentary| Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible| Mat| Chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 |
Total 20 verses in Chapter 28: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 |

19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
19 Verse 19. Go ye therefore] Because I have the authority

aforesaid, and can send whomsoever I will to do whatsoever I

please:-teach, μαθητευσατε, make disciples of all nations, bring

them to an acquaintance with God who bought them, and then baptize

them in the name of the Father. It is natural to suppose that

adults were the first subjects of baptism; for as the Gospel was,

in a peculiar manner, sent to the Gentiles, they must hear and

receive it, before they could be expected to renounce their old

prejudices and idolatries, and come into the bonds of the

Christian covenant. But, certainly, no argument can be drawn from

this concession against the baptism of children. When the

Gentiles and Jews had received the faith and blessings of the

Gospel, it is natural enough to suppose they should wish to get

their children incorporated with the visible Church of Christ;

especially if, as many pious and learned men have believed,

baptism succeeded to circumcision, which I think has never yet

been disproved. The apostles knew well that the Jews not only

circumcised the children of proselytes, but also baptized them;

and as they now received a commission to teach and proselyte all

the nations, and baptize them in the name of the holy Trinity,

they must necessarily understand that infants were included: nor

could they, the custom of their country being considered, have

understood our Lord differently, unless he had, in the most

express terms, said that they were not to baptize children, which

neither he nor his apostles ever did. And as to the objection,

that the baptized were obliged to profess their faith, and that,

therefore, only adults should be baptized, there is no weight at

all in it; because what is spoken of such refers to those who,

only at that period of life, heard the Gospel, and were not born

of parents who had been Christians; therefore they could not have

been baptized into the Christian faith, forasmuch as no such faith

was at their infancy preached in the world. That the children and

even infants, of proselytes, were baptized among the Jews, and

reputed, in consequence, clean, and partakers of the blessings of

the covenant, see proved at large by Wetstein, in his note on



and particularly .

In the name of the Father, &c.] Baptism, properly speaking,

whether administered by dipping or sprinkling, signifies a full

and eternal consecration of the person to the service and honour

of that Being in whose name it is administered; but this

consecration can never be made to a creature; therefore the

Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are not creatures.

Again, baptism is not made in the name of a quality or attribute

of the Divine nature; therefore the Father, and the Son, and the

Holy Spirit, are not qualities or attributes of the Divine

nature. The orthodox, as they are termed, have generally

considered this text as a decisive proof of the doctrine of the

holy Trinity: and what else can they draw from it? Is it possible

for words to convey a plainer sense than these do? And do they

not direct every reader to consider the Father, the Son, and the

Holy Spirit, as three distinct persons? "But this I can never

believe." I cannot help that-you shall not be persecuted by me

for differing from my opinion. I cannot go over to you; I must

abide by what I believe to be the meaning of the Scriptures. Dr.

Lightfoot has some good thoughts on this commission given to the


"I. Christ commands them to go and baptize the nations: but how

much time was past before such a journey was taken! And when the

time was now come that this work should be begun, Peter doth not

enter upon it without a previous admonition given him from heaven.

And this was occasioned hereby, that, according to the command of

Christ, the Gospel was first to be preached to Judea, Samaria, and


"II. He commands them to baptize in the name of the Father, and

of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; but among the Jews, they

baptized only in the name of Jesus. See .

For this reason, that thus the baptizers might assert, and the

baptized confess, Jesus to be the true Messias; which was chiefly

controverted by the Jews. Of the same nature is that apostolic

blessing, Grace and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord

Jesus Christ. Where then is the Holy Ghost? He is not excluded,

however he be not named. The Jews did more easily consent to the

Spirit of the Messias, which they very much celebrate, than to the

person of the Messias. Above all others they deny and abjure

Jesus of Nazareth. It belonged to the apostles, therefore, the

more earnestly to assert Jesus (to be the Messias) by how much the

more vehemently they opposed him: which being once cleared, the

acknowledging of the Spirit of Christ would be introduced without

delay or scruple. Moses, (in ,) going about to reckon up

all the tribes of Israel, goes no farther than the tribe of Levi;

and takes up with that to which his business and story at that

present related. In like manner, the apostles, for the present,

baptize in the name of Jesus, and bless in the name of the Father

and of Jesus, that thereby they might more firmly establish the

doctrine of Jesus, which met with such sharp and virulent

opposition; which doctrine being established among them, they

would soon agree about the Holy Ghost.

"III. Among the Jews, the controversy was about the true

Messias; among the Gentiles, about the true God. It was therefore

proper among the Jews to baptize in the name of Jesus, that he

might be vindicated to be the true Messias. Among the Gentiles,

in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,

that they might be hereby instructed in the doctrine of the true

God.-Let this be particularly noted.

"IV. The Jews baptized proselytes into the name of the Father,

that is, into the profession of God, whom they called by the name

of Father. The apostles baptize the Jews into the name of Jesus

the Son, and the Gentiles, into the name of the Father, and of the

Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

"V. The Father hath revealed himself in the old covenant; the

Son in the new; in human flesh by his miracles, doctrine,

resurrection and ascension; the Holy Ghost in his gifts and

miracles. Thus the doctrine of the ever blessed Trinity grew by

degrees to full maturity. For the arriving to the acknowledgment

of which, it was incumbent upon all who professed the true God to

be three in one to be baptized into his name." LIGHTFOOT'S Works,

vol. ii. p. 274.