1 What think you my friends of the preaching of John,
Was it from heaven, or was it of men?
We hear him declaring glad tidings of peace,
Proclaiming a jubilee year of release.
2 The Law and the Prophets continu'd till John,
Our Saviour hath told us when gospel began;
And since that God's kingdom is preach'd saith his word,
And all men press in, who have faith in our Lord.
3 The first of the gospel the dawn of the day,
The voice of one crying prepare ye the way;
Bring forth your repentance y viperous breed,
And think not to say ye are Abraham's seed.
4 A new dispensation to them he declares,
And preaches repentance to Abraham's heirs;
The children of Abraham's natural seed,
Found they had no right his baptism to plead.
5 But when he perceived repentance was theirs,
Then gave baptism to Abraham's heirs'
Those who had been sealed to covenant things,
We find him baptising confessing their sins.
6 He tells them their Saviour is already here,
And while he's baptising our Lord doth appear,
For to be baptisied, John shrinks at the thing,
And owns he had need to receive it from him.
7 But when he informed it was his request,
He freely baptis'd him as he did the rest;
And this institution was own'd from above,
The spirit of God was sent down like a dove.
8 And his sweet example is left on record,
Whoever steps in they will find a reward;
They'll find peace of conscience and joy in the same,
When they are baptised in Jesus' name.
9 The Eunuch we find was in haste to receive,
His water baptism when he did believe,
He went on his way then rejoicing in God,
While those that rebel must be tasting his rod.
10 The friends of Cornelius who heard Peter's word,
Believ'd and received the seal of the Lord,
The Holy Ghost fell, then their joys did arise,
And Peter command that they sho'd be baptis'd.
11 Saint Paul's great conversion he found in the way,
The light which shone round him exceeded the day;
Then he was three days, neither drank nor did eat,
Yet he was baptised before he took meat.
12 We read that where thousands believ'd in a day,
That they were baptis'd without a delay;
The house of the Jailor believ'd in the night,
And they were baptis'd before it was light.
13 Forbear then to censure my being in haste,
Or shew me an instance where ti was the case,
That primitive christians deferred the thing,
I answer my conscience to Jesus my king.
14 I'll tell you how gospel appears unto me,
And pray in kind heaven that you may all see'
But the wise and the prudent 'tis hid from their eyes.
While the babes of the kingdom rejoice in the prize.
15 Some call it baptism and think it will stand,
A few drops of water dropt from a man's hand,
In the face of an infant, who's under the curse,
But we find no scripture which proves it to us.
16 There's no being buried with Christ in this case,
Jordon or Enon was John's chosen place;
Our Lord in a fountain John did him baptise,
And Christ's sweet example we honor and prize.