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protestant world did in separating from the church of Rome. And the parallel is preserved, not only in the causes of separation, but in the singular fact that, just as the church of Rome disallowed the existence of any errors which could justify a separation from her communion, so the church of England, at present, disallows the existence of any errors which can justify a separation from her communion. The conscientious inquirer, however, will take the assertions of neither upon trust; and in exercising his right of free investigation and individual judgment, in this, and in this alone, will he act up to the standard of a true protestant.
For my own part, distinct from the charge of particular errors, I believe the principle of national church establishments so opposed to the right reception and the free course of the pure and unadulterated Gospel, and I find them, one and all, so corrupted by their secular contamination, so incurably infected with pride, worldly ambition, intolerance, and exclusiveness, that while I lament the necessity, I cannot but feel thankful for my emancipation, nor think I have discharged one of the first duties imposed on me, if I fail to protest against them in principle.
a poor man, withond noble. If he wand mean, with
A CRITICAL INQUIRY INTO THE MODE OF
CHRISTIAN BAPTISM. In the condescension of Jesus Christ there was nothing unnecessary; he performed no action that was low and mean, without having in view an object high and noble. If he was always seen in the condition of a poor man, without any of the distinctions of rank and honour, it was to redeem poverty from contempt, and to prove that no station of life is in itself dishonourable. If he descended to the offices of a servant, and at one time ministered to his disciples as slaves were wont to do, it was to ennoble servitude, and to convince us that no action is disgraceful, if performed from a right motive, and directed to a worthy end. Now it deserves consideration, that while our Lord was willing to do every thing, and to endure every thing, that would conduce to the spiritual welfare of mankind, he did not perform the inferior duties connected with the establishment of his kingdom, but left them to be discharged by his servants. He came, by his words, his actions, and his sufferings, to “bear witness to the truth.” The promulgation and maintenance of TRUTH was the peculiar feature of his religion; and to this his life was devoted. Being born under the law, he observed all the institutions of that economy, not to teach us to practise them likewise, but to lead us to copy the principle on which he acted, and in our various circumstances “to do all that is right.” But when he adopted one of the ceremonies of that dispensation, and ordained that his disciples should be purified with water, as were the proselytes of old, he devolved this work upon his attendants. He did not, by performing the rite himself, invest it with the importance it might have received from his hands; nor did he give to his followers any reason for supposing that he set them an example to be ever copied, in the mode of its observance. His ministers are therefore left to imitate him, by living as he lived, and by teaching as he taught, and not by baptizing as he baptized. Though he was willing to wash his disciples' feet, he would not himself baptize his followers with water; for it was not his design to put honour on any external religious observance, but it was his wish to confer dignity on the humblest acts of Christian kindness.
The statement that “ Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples," is very instructive. The most eminent of the apostles appears to have deemed it an advantage, that he could leave to others the mere bodily function of baptizing, and apply himself, after the example of his Lord, exclusively to the spiritual functions of the ministry. “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” Do not these things show how comparatively low is the place assigned to this ordinance in the Christian dispensation, and how little importance belongs to the manner of its observance. So far was our Lord from enforcing, or even recommending, any one mode of administration, by his own practice, that he seems altogether to have withheld the sanction of his example from a ceremony, to which he knew the common tendency of men to attach undue importance. And so little did St. Paul value the good to be effected by baptism with water, and so indifferent was he to the supposed authority of primitive fashions in this matter, that he merely expresses his thankfulness to God, that he had baptized but few, and that he was not required to baptize any more. We may surely learn hence his judgment, that the mode of baptism is of small moment; and that it is not by purifying the bodies of persons with water, but by presenting the truth to their minds—that it is by this means they are to be regenerated and saved ; “ being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Having examined all the passages in the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, and the New Testament, in which the baptisms of the Jews are mentioned, and the chief places in the latter which refer to the baptism of John, we proceed to investigate all the references there made to Christian baptism. We may justly infer, that the sense, which We have found to belong to Bantitw and its derivatives in so many passages of Hebraistic Greek, belongs also to those which we have not examined in the same books. Still, as it was before observed, that the sense of overwhelming or sinking, which these words have in classic Greek, should be doubted in the sacred Scriptures, if destitute there of proof similar to that by which they are established in heathen N. S. VOL. v.
themed ; and ought his meaning of them all.
laptism is Toposed nosistent wilt of the
writers, and should be rejected if there be sufficient evidence for another signification ; so we admit, though the probability of change is in this case very much less, that the sense of purification for Christian baptism will be questionable, unless it receive some support from the subject, context, and scope, of the various passages in which it is named ; and ought to be given up, if anything in these passages is inconsistent with this meaning of the word, and another meaning can be adduced more consistent with them all.
It is proposed now to review all the passages in which Christian baptism is mentioned in connexion with particular facts; these being obviously the more simple cases: afterwards those will be noticed, where Christian baptism in general is mentioned, whether corporeal or spiritual. There are but two references to the administration of Christian baptism during the life of Christ; these occur in the Gospel of St. John. In the Acts of the Apostles, nine instances of Christian baptism are mentioned ; viz. that of three thousand persons at the day of pentecost of the Samaritans,----of the Ethiopian, -of St. Paul,of Cornelius and his friends, -of Lydia and her family,—of the Philippian jailor and his family,—of the Corinthians,—and of the Ephesians. The baptism of the Corinthians is alluded to by St. Paul in his first epistle to that church.
I. “ Then there was a dispute between the disciples of John and the Jews in regard to purifying; and they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he who was with thee on the other side the Jordan, and to whom thou gavest testimony, this person is baptizing, and all are going to him ;”—Tepi kaðaplouoü, .... oŮtos Barricel. John iii. 25, 26.
It is here said that there was a controversy concerning purifying, and the mention of this is connected with the preceding mention of John's baptism, as though the one in some way depended on the other. The dispute is brought to John for his decision, and when the case is stated to him, the subject of controversy is described by another word ; what is called a purifying in the 25th verse, is called a baptizing in the 26th verse. If the statement that Christ was baptizing, and that all were going to him, does not exhibit the occasion and subject of controversy, then no reason can be assigned why the controversy, in regard to purifying, should be at all mentioned; still less, why it should be connected as closely as possible with the statement, that the parties who differed came to John, and said that Jesus was baptizing. The controversy is the occasion of an appeal to John ; and what is first styled a purifying is afterwards styled a baptizing. It is therefore certain, that the act of baptizing was a purifying. It does not, however, follow, that the word baptizing means purifying. Many terms of different significations may be applied to the same objects. As one person may be described as a European, an Englishman, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a master, a subject, &c.; so one rite may
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be described as an ordinance, a ceremony, a dipping, or a purifying. The applicability of several words to one subject indicates some connexion, but not necessarily an identity of meaning. It should, however, be observed, that while from the context we know that there was in this case a purifying, there is nothing in the least to favour the notion that there was a dipping. Neither in this passage, nor in any one of all the passages which mention Christian baptism, is the word construed with the preposition eis, or with any other word that accords with the sense of dipping. In no single instance are we told that persons were baptized into the water, which would be the proper phrase if to baptize meant to dip. The word is here used alone, and in many other passages both the noun and verb are similarly situated. From this it is probable, that the object signified by them was commonly and properly regarded alone, and was in some measure complete in itself. The term to purify exhibits a particular end, on which the mind naturally rests, and from which accessory ideas are fitly removed. The term to dip exhibits a general mode of acting, and could not so well be used alone. The phrase, “ This person is dipping, and all are going to him," is obviously defective; while the phrase, “ This person is purifying and all are going to him,” is complete and most appropriate. Again, the simple style of the historian hardly admits the possibility of the sense of dipping, but perfectly agrees with that of purifying. Could the immersing of the Jewish nation be thus referred to ? If baptizing had not been often spoken of as purifying, it is unlikely it would have been so designated here. And if the term Battisw had not so far corresponded in sense with kadaplouos, as to make the connexion evident, it would have been more fully expressed. In the translation, “There was a dispute in regard to purifying,” and they said, “This person is dipping,” the abruptness and harshness of the transition cannot but be felt as objectionable. But in the translation, “ There was a dispute concerning purifying,” and they said, “ This person is purifying," the transition is most natural and clear. We have proof that there was a purifying; we have none that there was a dipping. The use of the word by itself agrees with the conclusion that it denotes to purify; it opposes the supposition that it means to dip. The simple style of the narrative is in favour of the former interpretation ; it is adverse to the latter. The connexion of the two statements tend to show, that the words kabapiomós and Bantísw have not such diverse meanings as purifying and dipping; but that they both agree in the sense of purifying.
It may be asked, Why was Barrico ever used, if xalapítw would express the same meaning? We reply, that though they both convey the sense of purifying, they do not exactly agree in signification. We have no English words corresponding to the various Greek words ayıátw, áyricw, Bantitw, kadapifw, pavrita, &c., because we have not rites of puri
fying corresponding to the various rites to which these words were applied; and they may all, in some cases, be translated by the one word, purify. While from the passages examined it appears that Bantiw does mean to purify, it also appears, that when used in reference to the body, it is applied especially to the more solemn purifications effected by means of water; and we shall find, that, in its application to mind, it has a corresponding intensity of meaning. In these respects it differs from kadapićw, which is applied to all purifyings.
II. “When the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard, that Jesus received and baptized more disciples than John, (although in fact, Jesus did not baptize, but his disciples,) he left Judea,” &c.—avròs oủk BárTIČEvo John iv. 1, 2.
Remarks, similar to those already made, may be repeated here. The verb has not the context appropriate to the sense of dipping. It is used in the first of these verses without a remote object; in the second without any object at all. It is applied without any adjunct to a religious rite. These circumstances are adverse to the supposition that it has the modal and common signification of to dip; they accord with the sense of to purify. “Jesus received and dipped more disciples than John ;” and “Jesus himself did not dip, but his disciples ;” are therefore less likely to be correct than, “ Jesus received and purified more disciples than John ;” and, “Jesus himself did not purify, but his disciples."
These two passages contain the proof of facts, frequently disregarded, that Christian baptism was instituted by our Lord at the commencement of his ministry; and that multitudes received it while he was in the world. Assuredly that is Christian baptism, which was administered under the direction of Christ himself. There is no reason for supposing that, either in the authority on which it rested, or in the manner and circumstances of its performance, or in its spiritual signification, the baptism performed by the apostles of Christ before his death, differed from that which they performed afterwards. The baptism of John was symbolical of the purity connected with repentance, but the baptism of Christ had always the same signification, and indicated the higher and more perfect purity which he by his Spirit would produce in the minds of his disciples. The commission which the apostles received prior to their Lord's ascension, directed them to go forth as his ministers to all nations ; but neither there, nor in any other passage, is aught found to favour the supposition, that the persons baptized by the apostles during the life of Christ, were subsequently rebaptized by them. They who had received John's baptism, received also the baptism of Christ ; but there is nothing to support the conjecture, that they who had received one Christian baptism were commanded also to receive another. The silence of the sacred historians in other places, can be no objection to the truth of the statements contained in these