therefore when Baptism is performed, read of in the Word, or mentioned, the angels who are present do not understand Baptism, but regeneration. Wherefore, by these words of the Lord, "Whosoever believeth and is baptized shall he saved, but whosoever believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi. 16), it is understood by the angels in heaven, that he who acknowledges the Lord and is regenerated is saved. (ib. n. 685.)
As regards the Baptism of John, it represented the the cleansing of the external man; but the Baptism which is at this day among Christians represents the cleansing of the internal man, which is regeneration. We therefore read that John baptized with water, but that the Lord baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire; and for this reason the Baptism of John is called the Baptism of repentance. . . . The Jews that were baptized were merely external men; and the external man cannot become internal without faith in Christ. It may be seen in the Acts of the Apostles (ch. xix. 3-6) that those who were baptized with the Baptism of John became internal men when they received faith in Christ, and were then baptized in the name of Jesus. (ib. n. 690.)
Baptism itself has no Saving Efficacy.
He who believes that baptism contributes anything to the salvation of a man, unless he is at the same time in the truths of the church and in a life according to them, is greatly mistaken. For baptism is an external rite, which does nothing for salvation without its internal; but when the external is conjoined with the internal it does. The internal of baptism is, that by means of truths from the Word and through a life according to them, evils and falsities are removed by the Lord, and man is thus regenerated,—as indeed the Lord teaches in Matthew xxiii. 26, 27. (A. E. n. 475.)
Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
It is said in John, that the Lord "baptized with the Holy Spirit," and in Luke, that He baptized "with the Holy Spirit and with fire." In the internal sense, to baptize signifies to regenerate; to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, is to regenerate by the good of love,—fire, is the good of love. . . . The Holy Spirit signifies, the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; fire, signifies the Divine good proceeding from Him; and baptism signifies regeneration by the Lord, by means of Divine truths from the Word. (A. C. n. 9229; A. E. n. 475.)