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and no reason can be given why, if this were its nature, baptism was not deferrred. The question, Why dost thou delay? would surely then have been unnecessary. A dipping performed in a neighbouring stream, an adjacent bath, or even another room of the same house, could not, with propriety, be thus described—he rising up was dipped. On the other hand, if we suppose the baptism of St. Paul to have been a purifying, either by sprinkling, or by such an application of water as ordinary washing required, then we see that there was no reason why the baptism of a sick man should be delayed till he had taken food; and the historian's language is most appropriate—"he rising up was purified.”
In both of these passages the word stands alone ; a construction more suitable to the signification of to purify, than to the signification of to dip. There is also in both that connexion with terms of religion which favours the supposition that it had a sacred meaning, such as to purify, and not a common meaning, such as to dip. “Dip, and cleanse away thy sins, invoking his name,” and “Purify, and cleanse away thy sins, invoking his name," are phrases of which the latter is obviously more natural. The additional clause, cleanse away thy sins, is to be regarded, as additional in sense, and not as merely explanatory. Baptize is the first injunction; cleanse away thy sins, that is, repent, is the second; become a worshipper of Jesus Christ is the third. This view of the passage is most in accordance with the similar exhortations contained in the New Testament. No explanation of baptism is ever given in such cases, as none was needed; repentance is always enjoined, and sometimes alone; but baptism is never enjoined alone. Purify your person with water, and then let there be henceforth in your heart that purity which, commencing with repentance, is by regeneration perfected in those who trust to the Lord Jesus, and who are renewed by his Spirit, is the sense most consistent with the phraseology and with the doctrine of the New Testament.
VII. “Can any one withhold water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit, even as ourselves? Then he directed that they should be baptized in the name of the Lord.”—Mýri tó idap kwūgai dúvarai tis ;. . .Bartioonvai év Tô óvópati toû Kupiov. Acts x. 47, 48.
The verb here used in connexion with water is, in the New Testament, always construed with the object whose action or movement to any place is hindered or forbidden. Thus, in reference to little children, our Lord said, “do not withhold them from coming to me,” ni kadiere aŭrà endelv após pe. Matt. xix. 14. It is most properly employed, if the water for baptism was brought into the room in which the persons were ; but it is altogether unsuitable, if they were to go to the water and to be dipped into it. The construction then would be, "Can any one withhold these persons from being baptized ?” Mýri toúrous kwhīva dúvarai ris, &c.; as in the former instance, ti kwlúel ue Battiodhra.
The gift of the Holy Spirit would be a reason for administering the initiatory ordinance of Christianity, even if there were no correspondence between them; but on the supposition, which other passages confirm, that the one was the type of the other, the reasoning of the apostle is more evident and forcible. In the 44th verse it is said, “While Peter Fas uttering these words, the Holy Spirit came upon all those who heard his address.” Under what aspect he regarded this divine agency we learn from his speech at Jerusalem afterwards, recorded xv. 8. “The heart-searching God gave testimony to them, bestowing on them the Holy Spirit, even as on us; and he made no difference between them and us, by faith purifying (kadapioas) their hearts.” Regarding the gift of the Spirit as the means of spiritual purity, and Christian baptism as its type, the reasoning is clear and conclusive. If these persons have received the blessing, surely they are worthy of its sign. If their hearts have been really purified, then surely their persons may be symbolically purified. “Can any one withhold water, that these should not be purified ?”
VIII. “When she was baptized, and her family, she entreated us, saying, &c.—'as de Bantioon, kai é oikos autñs. Acts xvi. 15.
The Jews at Philippi had a proseuche, or place for prayer, by the river side; the spot being chosen, probably for its seclusion and the convenience it afforded for the purifyings practised by the Jews before prayer. For such purifyings though but little water was used, a running stream was preferred. Here many Jewish women were assembled on the Sabbath-day, and Paul visiting the place, spoke to those who were present of the Gospel of Christ. Lydia, a dealer in purple, a woman of piety and property, heard him, and the Lord opened her heart to attend to what was spoken. She was baptized with her family, and invited the preachers of the Gospel to come to her house and abide there. The narrative of the historian seems to imply that she was then and there baptized, and that from the proseuche where she first met St. Paul and his companions, she invited them to return with her to her house. If she was not baptized on this occasion, nothing can be deduced from the narrative in respect to the manner of baptism ; and we have only to observe that here, as in other places the construction of the word and the simple style of the narrative best agree with the sense of to purify. But if she was baptized at this time, which is most probable, then we must infer that baptism was something that could be administered with propriety by men to women, when the former had gone out to preach, and the latter to pray, when no change of raiment had been provided, and when there were only such conveniences as might be found away from home, in a place set apart for prayer.
It cannot be inferred from the mention of the river, that a large quantity of water was necessary for Christian baptism, and that the historian wished to intimate that there was sufficient. If he deemed it needless to advert to the supply of water, when relating the baptism of thousands at Jerusalem and in Samaria, he could not think it needful when mentioning the baptism of one lady and her family. The situation of the place is mentioned as being without the city, and by the river's side. These were probably the reasons why the Jews selected it for their devotions ; but it was because they were in that place, and not because it was without the city and near the river, that the apostle went there, preached, and baptized.
IX. “And he took them in the same hour of the night, and made them clean from their wounds; and he was baptized himself and all his family immediately. Then conducting them into his house, he spread a table for them, and rejoiced, with all his family, confiding in God,”—Bartioon aŭtos kai oi aŭtoll Trávtes Trapaxpñua. Acts xvi. 33.
An earthquake had shaken the walls, and thrown open the doors of the prison at Philippi, where the Christian teachers were confined. The jailor, alarmed by an event so awful, and won by the self-possession and kindness of Paul and Silas, asked of them what he must do to be saved: the fears of temporal destruction being combined probably with apprehensions of a still more solemn nature. All his family were aroused by the noise and by the commotion, and they ran together to the prisoners' quarter. There they heard the Gospel of Christ, they accepted it, and professed themselves willing to become his followers. The wounds of the prisoners requiring prompt relief, their stripes were washed, and there, immediately, in apparent connexion with this washing, the jailor and his family were baptized. Before he went back to his own house, whither he conducted Paul and Silas, and before he supplied them with the food they needed, in the same hour of the night, he washed their stripes, and with his family was baptized.-évékeiv tñ ápa TS WIKTÒs, &c.
That the rite of purification by sprinkling, so simple, and so readily performed, should have been administered under these circumstances to a family who wished as Christians to receive with kind hospitality the preachers of the Gospel, is not in the least unnatural or improbable. But it is most unnatural and improbable, it is alien from all that human reason and feelings would dictate, and unlike all that is recorded of the apostles of our Lord, that they should have immersed into a tub, or tank of the prison-yard, a family just roused by an earthquake from their midnight slumbers, agitated with the most powerful emotions, the fear of ruin being followed by the joy of salvation. That men and women, young probably as well as old, thus aroused, and thus excited, should have been plunged at midnight into cold water, and then have gone dripping and shivering back to the house from which a few minutes before they had rushed so hastily—this is incredible. That the historian, referring to all this, should say, he was baptized himself, and all his family immediately; and conducting them into his house he spread a table for them and rejoiced ; is equally incredible. Nothing
but inattention to the circumstances of the narrative, or the assumption of the axiom that Banticw must mean to dip, seems sufficient to account for the strange belief that these things really were so. But if this was not Christian duty and practice—then Barítw does not mean to dip.
X. “And many of the Corinthians, hearing these things, believed and were baptized,”-éLOTEVOV kal (Banticorro. Acts xvii. 8. “Was Paul crucified on your behalf? or were you baptized for Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius, lest any one should say, that I baptized for myself. I baptized also the family of Stephanas; I know not that I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel.”— ñ eis tò ovoua Tlaúhov ébantioOnte ; 1 Cor. i. 13-17.
In both of these passages the verb is used alone, and that the special and sacred sense of purify is more suitable to such a usage than the general common sense of dip is immediately obvious. On the one supposition we have these strange sentences : They believed and were dipped. Were you dipped for Paul ? or as some would render, Were you dipped into the name of Paul ? I thank God that I dipped none of you. Lest any one should say I dipped for myself, or I dipped into my own name. I dipped also the family of Stephanas ; I know not that I dipped any other. For Christ did not send me to dip, but to preach the Gospel. On the other supposition we have these simple, appropriate, and scriptural phrases : They believed and were purified. Were you purified for Paul? I purified none of you. That I purified for myself. I purified the family of Stephanas ; I know not that I purified any other. Christ did not send me to purify, but to preach the Gospel.”
That baptizing was regarded by St. Paul as a purifying or consecrating to the service of him for whom the rite was administered, agrees exactly with the train of thought exhibited in the latter passage, and gives a peculiar propriety to the questions proposed. Was Paul crucified on your behalf ? Did he thus acquire a right to you? Were you baptized for him? Were you purified for him ? Were you consecrated to his service? There is nothing in either passage to favour the notion that baptism was dipping, ; or that the word Battitw means to dip. All the evidence they afford is in favour of the conclusion that the word denotes to purify, and that the rite of purifying was one very simple in its nature, and neither in its mode or effects of much consequence.
XI. “For what then were you baptized? They said, For the baptism of John. Paul replied, John baptized the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should confide in his successor ; that is, in Christ Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized for the Lord Jesus.” eis ti ov člantioOnte.. Báttie Bártio ua petavolas . . éßantionTau cis rò ốpota Toũ Kopiou'Incoỡ, Acts xix. 4–7.
If Bantitw must mean to dip, and eis must mean into, then the first
in they were baptis successor ; tha
question of the apostle in this very peculiar one, Into what were you dipped ? The question, For what were you purified ? is most natural and appropriate.
In these verses an account is given of the instruction, baptism, and supernatural endowments, conferred upon twelve men at Ephesus, who were disciples of John the Baptist. Owing to the concise style of the historian, we cannot be certain that what is here recorded all took place at one interview. Every thing favours this conclusion, but it is not necessary. St. Paul met with some disciples ; he asked them if they had received the Spirit ; they answered that they knew not the existence of this divinegift; he inquired for what they had been purified; they replied, for the baptism of John ; he reminded them that John had taught them to trust to the approaching Saviour, who was Jesus; they heard, they received baptism and the imposition of hands, and they obtained and exercised miraculous powers. All this is so closely connected together, each part so depends on the preceding, that it is highly probable it all transpired on one occasion. If so, then baptism is an ordinance which could be administered to persons who expected nothing of the kind when they came together, and it could be received by all without requiring the immediate departure of any. Immediately after their baptism, they spoke in foreign languages and prophesied. All this is quite consistent with an ordinary purifying, performed by sprinkling with water ; but it is all inconsistent with such an extraordinary purifying as that of dipping the whole body into water.
From this examination we deduce the following result. In not one passage, in which the facts of Christian baptism are narrated or referred to, is the context such as is found with words denoting to dip; but in every passage, the context is such as is found with words denoting to purify. In no one passage is there anything even to suggest the signification of dipping, as proper to the word; still less is there anything to require it, and in many it is most unsuitable. But the signification of purifying is required in several passages, and is most appropriate to all. In only one passage is there anything in the least to favour the notion that the baptized went into the water ; and in not one is there anything to lead us to imagine that they were dipped into the water. The consideration both of the circumstances which are mentioned, and of those which are not mentioned, confirms the conclusion that they were not dipped, but that they were purified according to the public ceremonial purifyings of the Jews, by being sprinkled with water. The notion that baptism with water is the means of regenerating the soul, or that in performing the rite the bodies of men and women were put under the water, or that it was symbolical of death and burial, are without the smallest support from New Testament history. The expressive silence of Scripture is conclusive alike against baptismal regeneration and baptismal immersion. The usage of the word, in respect to Christian baptism, agrees exactly