« 前へ次へ »
verses—that Jesus received more disciples than John; and that those who were received as his disciples were baptized by his disciples. It cannot be inferred that the disciples of Christ did not continue to baptize during his ministry, because no direct assertion is made that they did; for we have only incidental mention of their baptizing at the first, although these passages prove the fact indisputably. If it be replied, that we have no similar allusion to their baptizing subsequently, the answer is obvious. From this omission we may infer that there was no occasion for referring to their baptizing ; but we cannot, with any pretence of reason, thence infer, that they did not continue to baptize. We must believe that what occurred at the commencement of our Lord's ministry continued to occur afterwards ; and that it is not noticed, merely because no occasion was presented for an incidental notice similar to what is here given.
We thus arrive at the conclusion, that all who became the disciples of Christ during his ministry, when he tarried in Jerusalem, or sojourned in the cities of Judah, or visited the towns and villages of Galilee, allo who received his instructions and professed to be his followers, in the streets, in the highways, on the mountain side, or by the sea shore, that they were baptized. We are told that these disciples were reported at the beginning, to be more than the disciples of John. From a subsequent chapter we learn, that of the multitudes who followed Jesus, and who bore for a time the name of his disciples, “many went back and walked no more with him.” vi. 66. At a later period his popularity was such as to give rise to the remark, “Behold the world is gone after him.” xü. 19. Now that these multitudes of persons, in all the various circumstances in which they became attendants on the preaching of Christ, should be purified by the sprinkling of water, is quite in accordance with Jewish customs. A rite so simple and so familiar to all, since everywhere, in many cases of ceremonial impurity, this rite was publicly performed, would not itself call for any notice, nor would it occasion any thing likely to be noticed by the historian. Of the mode of this rite we should expect no mention, and of the rite itself no other but a general and incidental notice. But if it be imagined that all who became the disciples of Christ during his ministry were dipped into a bath, a river, or the sea, not only is the supposition itself most improbable, but the silence of the evangelists respecting such occurrences, and all that must have been connected with them, is utterly unaccountable. Comparatively few of the stations in which our Lord taught afforded water sufficient for dipping; but in all of them, inasmuch as water for drinking must have been attainable, water for sprinkling could easily be procured. We have no account of the disciples of Christ ever going to places convenient for dipping, nor of any preparation being made for such a service. The direction given by our Lord to his disciples not to take two coats with them; and that of John to the people whom he baptized, to give one of their coats, if they had two, to the destitute, prove that the ordinance was not so performed, as to make a change of garments necessary, both for the administrator and the subjects of the rite. The manner in which Christian baptism is mentioned by the evangelists, and their general silence respecting it, show how small comparatively was the importance they attached to the rite ; and evince that it was not performed after any novel, cumbrous, difficult, dangerous, and offensive fashion ; but in a familiar, simple, easy, harmless, unobjectionable method ; that they did not purify the people by dipping them into water, but by sprinkling them with water.
III. “Repent and be baptized each of you, on account of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will obtain the gift of the Holy Spirit.” “Then they gladly receiving this address were baptized, and the same day there were added to the society about three thousand persons." BattiodÝTW @kaotos épôr étè o óvópati 'Ipooù XplotoŮ. ... éBartioingay. Acts ii. 38, 41.
In a subsequent chapter it is said that a much larger multitude, there being five thousand men, became converts to Christianity, and, though it is not mentioned, doubtless they also were baptized, who had not at any period of time been associated with the disciples of Christ. The baptism of these multitudes must have been something that would be performed at Jerusalem, in the summer months, in the space of a few hours, by a little band of persecuted men, on several thousand persons, of both sexes, many of them poor, and many far from their homes; and which, when thus performed, might be mentioned by the historian in the simplest possible manner, as though it took place without delay, or preparation, or removal from the station in which they were assembled. The thousands came to the place in which the apostles were, they heard, they believed, they were baptized. If it does come within the limits of possibility that three thousand men and women should be dipped into some pools or baths at Jerusalem in one afternoon by the apostles and their assistants, this is all that can be said. It is unnecessary to repeat the remarks made on the baptism of John, which would be equally applicable here. All the circumstances of the case, which we have briefly indicated, make it in the highest degree improbable that any persons were dipped in this baptism. There is not one circumstance to give the least support to such a supposition. If they were not all dipped, then to baptize cannot mean to dip. A purification administered by the sprinkling of water, and this only, will agree either with the circumstances of the narrative, or with the style of the historian.
The exhortation of St. Peter agrees with the view before given, that baptism had been, for some time, associated with a profession of Christianity, so that the meaning of the rite was generally known. The connexion of baptism with the gift of the Spirit, agrees with the conclusion which other passages prove to be true, that Christian baptism
was symbolical of the moral purity produced by this sacred influence, rather than of that which was consequent on repentance alone. Now if St. Peter said, “repent and be dipped each of you," he combined ideas and duties in a way which has no parallel in the sacred writings. If he said, “ Repent and be purified each of you,” he spoke a language with which the Jews had been long familiar. The prophet, in a passage already quoted, had said, “wash and purify yourselves ; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil, learn to do well,”—Kadapoi yiverde, Isa. i. 16. If he enjoined them to be dipped "on account of Jesus,” he required obedience to a command, of the object of which they could know nothing. If he required them to be purified, he enjoined what needed no explanation. If they were told to be dipped, “ for the forgiveness of their sins,” it might naturally be supposed that pardon was dependent upon dipping. If they were to be purified “for the forgiveness of their sins," all would understand that it was not through the ceremonial purifying of the sign, but through the spiritual purifying denoted by it, that they were to be saved. The word has not the context which would be required for the sense of to dip. It has the context which in every particular agrees with the sense of to purify.
If the three thousand persons were baptized by the sprinkling of water, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, both the fact, and the style of the historian are most natural and reasonable. No preparation would be required. All might be purified without leaving the place in which they had met. But to suppose that these three thousand returned to their homes, or to their lodgings, and obtained a change of apparel, and that then they went to the baths and pools of Jerusalem or to the neighbouring stream, and that the twelve disciples alone, or aided by some men of the one hundred and twenty disciples before mentioned, going into the water, continued there till they had dipped three thousand persons, that this was done to men and women in public, and finished in the latter part of one day; all this, it may be, is not impossible, but it is a series of improbabilities seldom surpassed. Most certainly this should not be believed without strong evidence. But the passage does not contain anything that affords the smallest support either to the notion that the converts were dipped, or that to dip is the meaning of the word employed. The circumstances of the narrative almost prove the impossibility of such a dipping taking place. But these circumstances, and all that stands connected with the terms used, confirm the conclusion that Bantitw means to purify; and that the baptism this multitude received was a sprinkling with water, symbolical of the purity of mind which they were henceforth to possess, as the disciples of Jesus Christ.
IV. “When they believed Philip, who published to them the good message concerning the reign of God, and concerning Jesus Christ, they
were baptized, both men and women. Simon also believed, and being baptized, he continued with Philip.” “Only they were baptized for the Lord Jesus,” cis rò ổwoua roo Kunio Ingo. Acts viii. 12, 13, 16.
Here, also, the context is not that which is suitable to the sense of dipping; it is that which agrees with the sense of purifying. The circumstances render it in the highest degree improbable that the baptized were dipped; and very probable that they were sprinkled. It is said that the people with one accord gave heed to the preaching of Philip ; very many therefore were baptized. How unlikely is it that multitudes of men and women should be dipped into the water of baths or streams; and that, on the introduction of such a rite among the Gentiles, nothing should be said of all the circumstances connected with it, or of the questions to which it would necessarily give rise! If, as some say, Bantiów must mean to dip, and eis, into, then this passage must be read, “They were dipped into the name of the Lord Jesus." That this cannot be its meaning is evident. “They were purified for the Lord Jesus,” is the true meaning. They were by this sign separated from the world, and consecrated to him.
V. “As they went on their road they came to some water, and the chamberlain said, See, there is water; what should withhold me from being baptized? And he ordered the carriage to stop, and they both went down to the water, Philip and the chamberlain, and he baptized him. And when they came up from the water, the spirit of the Lord carried away Philip.” Ti kwlúet Me Bantio onvaı ; kaì BártloeV autóv. Acts viii. 36, 38.*
That the prepositions els and én have the significations here assigned them, has been fully shown. It is admitted that eis does often mean into, but it also often means to ; ex generally means out of, but it sometimes means from. The truth of these senses for this passage must be determined, not by the frequency of their occurrence elsewhere, but by their appropriateness here. If it were stated, that both these persons went into the water, this would be very different from the statement that one dipped the other into the water. The former statement is not made, and if it were, the latter could not be inferred from it. The washing of the naked feet is an object for going into the water, very far more probable than the dipping of the body, clothed or unclothed. If the chamberlain was required to walk into the water for
* The 37th verse is, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." This verse is wanting in the best MSS. and in some of the oldest versions. It is rejected from the text by nearly all critics. It is remarkable that the only passage in the New Testament, where any condition of baptism is required, or where there is anything like an examination of the candidate, should be an interpolation.
this purpose, Philip might naturally have walked in first, in order to guide him, and then have stood by his side in the water, while sprinkling a little on his person.
From the whole narrative we learn the following particulars. Baptism was something which a man of rank might properly receive on a public road, without any other aid than what he had in his carriage when on a journey. It was something which a minister of religion might administer to one he casually met on the highway when himself a pedestrian traveller. It was something so simple in its nature, that if there were but water, nothing need hinder the observance of the rite. All this accords exactly with a purification effected by sprinkling with water, or with one performed by pouring a little water on the head, while a person stood with unsandled feet at the margin of a pool or stream. But every thing is adverse to the supposition that there was a dipping of the whole body. If under similar circumstances the question were now put by any to a minister of religion, What should prevent my being dipped ? the sanity of the person would be at least suspected. If the chamberlain were provided with change of raiment, and did not mind exposing his person to the view of his attendants ; had he no regard to Philip's comfort and sense of propriety ? Was it improbable that men and women might pass before the operations connected with dipping were finished? And could the historian mention such an occurrence, as a thing of course ? The supposition that the chamberlain was dipped into the water, and then undressed in public by the way-side, and clothed again, and that Philip was carried off with his dripping garments, or that, after undressing, he received some of the chamberlain's in exchange for his own—surely this is, as an event, most improbable; and it is as unlike a Christian service as any thing that can well be conceived.
VI. “And immediately the scales fell from his eyes, his sight was restored, and rising up he was baptized,”—ávaoràs ébantioon. Acts ix. 18.
"And now, why dost thou delay? rise up, baptize, and cleanse away thy sins, invoking his name,”-ávaotas Bártioai kaì åródovoa. Acts xxii. 16.
From the first of these passages, taken in connexion with the narrative of St. Paul's conversion, it may be inferred, that baptism was something which could be done to a sick man, enfeebled by abstinence from food during three days, and by much distressing excitement of mind. It was something so easy and harmless, that it was not necessary to wait till the sick man had taken food and was stronger, before its administration. It was either performed while the person stood up, or it so quickly followed his rising from a couch, that it might be said — he rising up was baptized. Dipping under such circumstances is highly improbable, even if there were a bath in the house, and much more, if there were not. It could not but be dangerous to health, if not to life; N. S. VOL. V.