Church of God, Carmichael, CA
D. O. Teasley, May 15, 1903
[Original Page Numbers]
PA R T I.THE HOLY SPIRIT
Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Matt. 3:11. This passage of Holy Writ has been the object of much speculation and around it have been erected many fabricated structures foreign to the truth. Some have thought that it teaches a baptism of fire subsequent to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Others have thought it an excellent foundation upon which to base the theories of effusion and sprinkling. All of these theories are alike false, and were far from the mind of the prophet when he spoke these sacred words, so full of esteem for Christ and His mission, and so non assuming on the part of himself. The prophet has no reference here to either the mode of water baptism or the mode of Holy Spirit baptism. He only means to compare the mission of Christ with that of his own; hence he says, "I baptize with water: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." The real object of speaking is summed up in these words: "He that cometh after me is mightier than I."
In another place John says, "He must increase, but I must decrease." The Old Testament is comparatively silent on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and we hear but little of it till this sublime statement falls from the lips of John the Baptist. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire," was entirely a new statement, and doubtless fell with surprise on the ears of the eager listeners to "the voice of one crying in the wilderness." It was not the mission of John to set forth doctrine, but to prepare the way of the Lord; neither was he assuming to do so, and to suppose that he was setting forth the mode of baptism is utter folly. While John gave the preeminence to the baptism of the Holy Spirit he did not mean to speak lightly of his own baptism. It was ordained for a specific purpose and accomplished that for which it was intended. Neither should we overlook water baptism, as it has a special place in the gospel system. However, water baptism is only the outward form of inwrought work, the ceremonial death and burial; while  the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the crowning grace of the redemption plan.
The baptism of John was unto repentance. It had no significance farther than this. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not directly connected with repentance; it reaches much farther and accomplishes purification and the bestowment of power. This is proved by the use of the word fire. It is a process that acts upon its subject like fire on the precious metals. This beautifully agrees with the words of the prophet Malachi. "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver." Mall 3:2, 3. It is said that in purifying precious metals the purifier heats the metal in a crucible, over a fire, till the dross is skimmed off and thrown away. This process is continued till the refiner can look into the heated metal and see his image. How beautifully this illustrates the purging we receive in sanctification, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit till all our dross is purged away, and then the purifier, the Son of God, can look into our purified hearts and see reflected there His own dear image, which is righteousness and true holiness. Eph. 4:24.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit, and of fire, are not, as some suppose, two different baptisms, one of the Spirit and the other of fire; but they are different phases of the same baptism. That this is true needs but little proof. After Jesus had been resurrected from the dead He appeared unto His disciples, "and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Acts 1:4, 5. "Ye have heard of me"; that is, you have heard of me that I shall baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire, which shall take place not many days hence. Where had they heard this but from the prophet John? In exact fulfillment of this, we read that on the day of Pentecost "there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of FIRE . . . And they were all filled with the HOLY GHOST." Acts 2:3, 4.
What could be plainer? All that John prophesied of was here fulfilled, both Holy Ghost and fire, all in one glorious outpouring of divine power. Dr. Clarke speaking on this  subject says, " 'WITH THE HOLY GHOST AND WITH FIRE.' That the influences of the Spirit of God, are here designed, needs but little proof. Christ's religion was to be a spiritual religion, and was to have its seat in the heart. Outward precepts, however well they might describe, could not produce inward spirituality. This was the province of the Spirit of God, and of it alone; therefore He is represented here under the similitude of fire, because He was to illuminate and invigorate the soul, penetrate every part, and assimilate the whole to the image of the God of glory." 
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