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REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
An Essay on Baptism: being an word, that must settle the controversy. A Inquiry into the Meaning, Form, and
lexicon is only the repository of opinion. Extent of the Administration of that
The meaning of an author is perfectly in. Ordinance. With an Appendix. By
dependent of a lexicon. It is not uncom. Greville Ewing. Second edition. 4s.
mon for the same word from the same Duncan, and W. Baynes.
pen to denote very different ideas; and
he must be far less skilled than Mr. C. is On Baptism: chiefly in Reply to the in the philosophy of language, who is not above. By Rev. F. A. Cox, M.A. 45. 6d. aware, that to seek for the sense of a Holdsworth.
word in some cases by rummaging a dice The mutual reproach and mutual ven- tionary, would be to obscure the truth. geance with which disputants in the bap- The dust of far-fetched criticism often tismal controversy have been in the habit blinds the eye of judgment, so that the light of provoking each other, could not fail, of simple evidence shines upon it in vain. in the estimation of many, to dishonour. It is easy to conceive how eager inquiry the sacred rite, and sink even religion for knowledge on this subject, fatigued, itself into contempt. No bitterness of with digging for Greek roots, and be wil. spirit, however, is discovered by the au. dered in the thicket of Greek branches, thors before us. We have dipped into may be seen resting npon “ the stump of their productions, and it is pleasing to some cut down word,” only for the sake of say, that we have perceived hardly a tinge rising with greater vigour to propose the of that wormwood and gall which, in tedious question, “ What, after all this former days, were mingled so copiously toil, is to be understood by the scripwith these 66 waters of strife.” * Most tural word Baptizo, in reference to the heartily do we wish this war to come en- ordinance which it is intended to detirely to an end. But we are persuaded scribe ?" By referring such an indi. that until some point of agreement, some vidual to the best critics and lexicoaxiom of interpretation be found, the graphers, you relieve not his anxiety; for quarrel respecting Bantwand Battisw is not when the infiuence of learned opinion is to abate : 'and as Mr. Ewing very affect mutual, in different scales, the balance of ingly observes, “it should humble us all, a regulated mind feels only the restlessness to see the battle continuing to rage, withé of indecision. At the best, it remains out the smallest appearance of termi- only to quiver at equilibrium, being unable nation."
10 determine whether bapto means to This principle of harmony, so very de. plunge, or to paint ; to pour or to sprinkle. sirable, is not, we are convinced, to be He hesitate to conclude which is the best found in the etymology of language. The critic, the scholar who can refer to a pas. extreme earnestness of Mr. Cox on this sage in an ancient author, where bapto is point, is rather amusing. “And now, employed to show the force of a weapon once again," says he, “ I demand of Mr. plunged into the heart of a foe; or he who Ewing to point out the lexicon, which does has marked the page on which bapto reNOT give dipping, plunging, or immersing, presents the application of vermilion to as the unquestionable and universally ad- the cheek of artificial beauty. Really, his mitted PRIMITIVE SIGNIFICATION of the honest mind is perplexed, not knowing contested terms."
which is the most approved writer in the There is a boldness in this challenge Greek language,- ihe man who selects rather trying to a man's patience; but bapto to slow how a drowned man sinks, we will endeavour to meet it with calm and how a ship foundered at sea, may be ness. Wére the best critics and lexico- imagined to “ go down into the water;" graphers all agreed to deny or affirm, or, the writers that use the very same what Mr. Cox calls “ the primitive use" word in speaking of a lake tinged with of the word, the question must still be blood, and of a human body drenched with asked, What is the weight of their autho- the dew of heaven. rity in fixing the import of Bapto in the What then is to be done? We must first New Testament i For, after all, it is not of all think upon the patare of the ordithe philological, but the Scriptural, or, nance itself. Baptism is a sacred institurather, the. SACRAMENTAL sense of the tion, a ceremony of purification. Its obe servance was enjoined upon the apostles, Generic term,” which admits of various without the mention of any specific mode modes of operation. We now allude to the of dispensing it. They were Jews, whose very sensible remark of Mr. Cox, in reassociations of mind would, we judge, ference to Nebuchadnezzar, whose body is naturally remind them of the accustomed said to have been baptized with the dew manner of administering their “ divers of heaven. “ It does not,” says he, “ imply baptisms.” “A clean person,” says the the manner in which the effect was prorecord, “ shall take hyssop, and dip it in duced, but the effect itself; not the mode, the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, by which the body of the king was wetted, and upon all the vessels, and upon all the but its condition, as resulting from expopersons that are there.”
sure to the dew-a body exposed to Now, since the apostles were simply eastern dews would be as wet as if plunged commanded to baptize, having no direc. in water.” tion whatever respecting how the service Very well, then, in our friend's opinion, was to be done, is it credible that they to be drenched with dew, and to be im. should presume to devise a new method of mersed in water, are synonymous. At performing it? How oiir Baptist brethren length the dispute respects not the fact, can still contend for the submersion of the but the mode of the fact; and it remains whole person, as the only legal way of only to be determined whether Mr. Cox's administering this ordinance, is to us plunging or Mr. Ewing's pouring, is the utterly mysterious, as it is in obedience to more proper way of drenching. No matter no command, and since a single example now whether the subject be popped into of their mode of baptizing appears not the water, or the water popped upon the within the sacred annals of at least four subject, provided always that he be wetted thousand years ! In this confidence we sufficiently: a shower-bath or a river; a are glad to be supported by the strong vapour-bath or a well, may be equally authority of Mr. Ewing. “I have not, appropriate, though not quite equally says he, “ been able to meet with an convenient. And probably it is not very instance of immersion-baptism in the Holy material whether the bath be a cold or a Scriptures”!
warm one : but yet, to any thing comfortMr. E. allows that there are many able in "going down into the water," some instances in which baptizo signifies “ to devout persons, even in this month of immerse, that is, to plunge or sink com February, might object, because it would pletely under water;" as in the cases certainly do away all self-denial in the which he cites from Josephus, of a ship ordinance, they could not so literally that (SATTLOBEVTOS) sank in the Adriatic perform it with fear and trembling. sea, and of the boy betrayed by mur But to return. Will our Baptist friends derers, who put him under water (Ganti concede the point, that this Christian GOVTES) and kept him there till he died. ordinance may be administered in various “ These,” says Mr. Ewing, “ I conceive to forms, if care is taken that the subject be genuine instances of immersion-baptism." be thoroughly immersed or drenched ? Is ihis the pattern of baptizers and the We fear they will refuse to do so: baptized ? Shall we illustrate the office of they tell us, `Any mode is not right; the apostles of Christ by the work of pro- for in the Scriptures it is said, “ they vidential destruction, or that of a mur. went down into the water:” John bapderer? It is impossible to apply such ex. tized in Jordan, and we are buried with amples as a rule of Christian baptism. Christ by baptism,” &c. “A person,” ." According to their (the Baptists,) views," says Mr. Cox, “ may indeed be immersed
continues our author, “ baptism is a by means of pouring, but immersion is the twofold symbol, representing two things being plunged into water, or overwhelmed of distinct and equal importance, the first by it”! This is a strange sentence, written : representing the death, the other the re- on page 94 of Mr. Co's book; and com'surrection of Christ.” Now, if this be the pared to his very judicious remark 'just
case, the word baptizo is a name for the noticed at page 41, it appears most marone half of their ordinance of baptism. It vellous! But really system-SYSTEM deentirely fails them in the other half. If, vours good sense and learning, and contherefore, this word pops them down, it sistency, and every thing good. Was certainly cannot give any warrant, or sug. Nebuchadnezzar, then, whom Mr. Cox has gest any literal or figurative meaning for allowed to be in a state of immersion, was their popping up again." . .
he plunged into dew, or overwhelmed by We have been not a little pleased with dew! at least the symptom of an interesting con. In reply to what we would name the cession, which may perhaps lead our Bap- allusive arguments of our Baptist brethren, tist brethren to adopt the rational and we can do nothing more efficiently than
armonizing principle, that baptism is “a request our readers to peruse Mr. Ewing's excellent remarks on the Manner and tist author has unhappily planted the roots Form of the Ordinance,” together with of his arguments on the disputed points 66 Objections Answered. They are in a of infant baptism. neat style of language, and discover that The first mistake into which our friend acuteness of judgment and amiable temper appears to have fallen, arises out of a of mind, which are inseparable from the partial and defective view of " Christian. man, and impart a kindred worth to his ity as a system of religion.” It is, says performance. See 2d edit. p. 49–142. Mr. Cox, * ever to be considered as a
With the highest esteem for Mr. Ewing's spiritual dispensation, whether viewed talents and erudition, we will not conceal in its essential doctrines, precepts, and our regret at finding his odd translation of promises; or, in its implantation as a the word baptism retained in this improved principle and spring of eternal life.” edition of his Essay. We are not prepared No sound divine can object to the above to reject as spurious the rules he follows statement of scriptural truth, so far as it in tracing the elements of words. Though goes ; but certainly it does not mention from Mr. Cox's critical remark on the all the truth that ought to have occurred word soixerov, this favourite scheme of to Mr. Cox in this description of Chrisanalysis appears not supported by “the Stianity. He should have given the chaancient and high authority of Aristotle;" racter of the persons whom he denominates it is nevertheless sustained by mer of great the subjects of “ Christianity as a system literary fame.* The analogical theory itself of religion." Are they also “ ever to be is not yet to be despised, however sorry considered as spiritual men?” It appears we may feel for that excessive use of it, next to impertinent in us to remind our which has made our learned friend in friend Mr. Cox and his brethren, that terpret Santw, overmuch. The crucible “ Christianity, as a system of religion;" that melts bapto. down into pop, is, we or, in terms more scriptural, that the confess, somewhat rather too fine. What Kingdom of Christ-the reign of Messiah, is hot? A little bit of fresh Greek-a extends its sceptre as well over the rebel, specimen of new literary coinage, which, as the loyal heart—that the gospel pro impressed as it is with an image and su claims his authority alike over his foes and perscription taken from Johnson's Dic. his genuine friends. How often have the tionary, looks not in good taste, we fancy. people of his faithful ministry heard Mr. Mr. Cox has written thirty-nine pages in Cox exclaim in the name of his master, octavo to prove it counterfeit, and to “ these mine enemies that would not that prevent its currency. These pages, if they I should reign over them, bring them do not discover all that urbanity, which we hither, and slay them before me!" It know belongs to the temper of their author, really does appear to us, that our friend, they evince that he is a clever man and a intent upon throwing round his cause a scholar. We lament sincerely the occasion stronger shield than ever yet defended for their being written; but they really it, lost his consistency; and, for the mo.' deserve to be read. It shall not, however, ment, overlooked the nature of Chris. greatly.concern us : for, at the worst, it is tianity itself, whose claims on this prinbut a small blemish, a speck upon a mirror, ciple, he has unwittingly relaxed. The otherwise bright and true; and when Mr. truth of the case, in our view, may be Ewing sees it as Mr. Cox does, and, as we stated thus: As all who live under the do, it will be easy for his careful hand to British government, whether young or rub it off.
aged; whether contented with the laws Unwilling furtlier to pursue the etymo- or disaffected toward them; are neverlogical part of the litigated questions, we theless the subjects of the crown : 80 will turn onr eye for a moment upon every human being under the gospel disthose parts of the volumes which refer to pensation, which is called “ the kingdom the proper subjects of the Christian ordi- of heaven," is a subject of that kingdom ; nance. And, aware that it better be- and as such, ENTITLED, of course, to all comes a writer to mark excellencies than its immunities and honours; which, if to find faults, it is with sincere regret not actually enjoyed, is owing to parthat we proceed to notice what we regard sonal disability, or want of essential as the imperfect ground in which our bap. qualifications in the subject himself. Such
- defects, therefore, belong not to the na* Vide Valckenær, Lennep, and Ever- ' ture of the kingdom, whose laws secure ardus Seheidus, de Analogia Linguæ to every subject within the realm of Grecæ. Appendix to Dawes's Miscellanea niercy, all that laws can secure, an equal Critica. Dr. Murray's History of the right to live " to live for ever.” Now European Languages. Disquisitions on then, we are ready to avow, what Mr. Greek Prepositions, by James Bonar, Cox will think quite anomalous, that perF.R.S. Edin.
sons may be baptized into Christ, that is to say, initiated into Christianity-not more thoughtful than first of all to hang as a principle of spiritual vitality-bnt over their heads the cloud of his own “as a system of religion," who not only thoughts, that he may be prepared more cannot then profess Cliristianity, by rea. effectually to immerse them with an inson of their tender age ; but who may cessant rain of words. be, what, alas! many apostate baptists We have again perused the divine comhave become, “its future OPPONENTS and mand relative to baptism ; and it is obsti. DESPISER3.” It is not, tlierefore, we judge, nate rationality that forces is to declare, as Mr. Cox and Mr. Birt have viewed the that baptism in our opinion is not a rite, subject ; namely, that it is the very essence entirely positive. What we mean by a of religion, which is the cause of difference positive institution, the paschal supper, between us and our baptist brethren; bat for example, will explain. There the pecuit is the very nature of the Redeemer's diarities of the custom are exactly arranged kingdom that forms " the ground and determined. The Lamb, the mode of on which they are at issue both with its preparation, the uses of its blood; the themselves and with us. The first guests, their attitude and dress, together section, then, of Mr. Cox's elegantly with the time of the supper and its annual written book' is disposed of thus :-Its recurrence, are all marked with the most rease.nings are admissible; but, proceeding accurate precision. This was entirely a on assumei data, they are necessarily in. positive institution. But is the ordinance efficient. The lever, formed with inge. of Christian baptism distinguished by any nnity and worked with skill to up-turn such speciality of enactment? The Apostle's the system so strongly defended by the were directed to “ make disciples of all ability of Dr. Wardlaw and Mr. Ewing nations,” baptizing them into the name of we have examined; it proves to be weak the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy in its fulcrum, and, in our opinion, pedo- Ghost." The history of the Apostolic age baptism remains unshaken by it, and looks shows that the first preachers administered perfectly secure.
the rite, by water, to persons in Judea and The second mistake which we have been in heathen lands, who believed their testisorry to notice in Mr. Cox's performance, mony, or who made a profession of “ Chrishas less claim to the character of a cer. tianity, as a system of religion," and, “TO tain degree of originality, which belongs THEIR HOUSE." This we will allow to be to the former. It is an adopted error, positive, or nearly so. All else, relating common to all writers on his side of the to the practice of the ceremony does not controversy. In imitation of his brethren “ rest on the simple statutory principle of Mr. C. resolves that baptism is in one the command,” it by this we are to undersense exactly like circumcision, an entirely stand the command in its simple form. If positive institution. He very gravely assures this is not our friend's idea--why then, us that “ both the one and the other rest baptism does not rest ou a simple principle, on the simple statutory principle of the com but on a mixed one; and is seen to be mand.” This is the basis of Mr. Abraham what Dr. Williams has correctly called it, Booth's elaborate pile of words, and it “ an institution partly positive and partly is still adhered to, as the living rock moral." which promises everlasting durability to The regular practice of our Baptist the Baptist system. Here our mistaken brethren themselves concedes this definibrethren still rest, just as if they were tion ; but, in words, they cannot yet be garrisoned with the very omnipotence of prevailed on to acknowledge it. For truth. Hence the infallible confidence example ; a person called a candidate for with which they look out from their sup- baptism, requests to be submersed. He posed security upon their brethren oppo- is not, however, allowed to approach the site; and then returning to this strong sacred stream, till his religious experience hold, they miutter to each other so com- has passed the ordeal of a church-meetplacently this saying of Mr. Cox's, “ The ing;--for, in their mind, even going down popular feeling is their's, the ARGUMENT INTO the water is not baptism, if the
subject is not “ born again.” At length, To be serious :-Does Mr. Cox really however, cæteris paribus, his request is imagine that the able authors whom he complied with is the transparent wave resists, would for a moment argue the covers him.” But after all, they do not point in debate, if they believed with him, know, for a certainty, that the brother is ihat baptism is entirely a positive rite ? indeed baptised.; because, as for them, how Certainly they wonld be the last men in can they tell that his or heart is right the world to offer such an affront to come with God?” They can only guess at it; mon sense. Is it then right for him to and often they guess wrong. But here attack his brethren on a principle of argu-we pause ; for it is not for us now to ment which they deny He should be blame the interference of this “court of conscience,” nor to dispute the force of After this saying, the words of the cohuman eyes to pierce with curious wonder venant are citud at length froin Gen. into the soul of man. O no: All this xvii. 1-14. Now Mr. Cox chooses his process of investigation is quite to the ground, starts at full speed, and runs on purpose of our argument. It goes to just like a chariot on the even sand. The show, that our friends, in ascertaining the celerity of his movement fires the wheels proper subjects of baptism, condescend of his thoughts, and they really seem to to employ a moral scrutiny quite rigid require, not a sprinkling to quench them. enough. Thus, do they, in fact, publish See pages 131-135. all that a pedo-baptist would now con- We too, can discern a difference between tend for; namely, thąt baptism is NOT the covenant, and the token of the coveentirely a positive institution. On the nant-" To be a God unto thee and whole, therefore, we do sincerely con- thy seed after thee,” is the expresclude, that, if our worthy brother would sion, which describes the essence of the only consider this one point, he would in covenant. It is a habit of language ema future edition of his book, mark with ployed as the epitome of religion, through less emphasis, that expressive phrase : all the dispensations of the divine mercy, " the argument is ours!”
from the moment in which the promise But Mr. Cox elucidates the subject. His was given to Abraham, to the day in which words are these: ?
the last of his spiritual sons shall cry in " Baptism is a branch of the tree of ecstasy," this is OUR GOD, we have waited Scripturål knowledge; or, if you please, a for. him.” To this promise of spiritual leaf”
and eternal blessedness, the grant of We could now fancy ourselves hearing worldly advantages is united, that "god. a Baptist brother, expressing himself in liness might ever be profitable unto all some such words as these : " Since a things, having promise of the life that branch; or, if you please, a leaf par- now is and of that which is to come." To takes the verdure of the stem on which it this covenant in the days of Abraham, hangs; and as baptism is a leaf of the the divine Being appended the rite of cirs tree of Scriptural kuowledge, THERE- cumcision as a sign, a token, a seal. With FORE one naturally agrees with our friend this plain idea on the above interesting Mr. Birt, that baptism is The ESSENCE of subject, we may well lift up our head in religion !" Very pretty! How extremely astonishment, to hear so sensible a man natural it is, for a sharp-sighted fancy to as Mr. Cox exclaim so vehemently :, “I fix, at once, on the very image of the demand of Dr. Wardlaw, whether the mind's notion. A pedo-baptist, with an covenant made with Abraliam, many imagination even as lively as Mr. Cox's, years before the covenant of circumcision, would never have seen this figure. He namely, that of which the apostle speaks, might, perhaps, call Christianity, by way as confirmed of God in Christ four hunof rhetoric, a Temple, and in his “ mind's dred and thirty years before the law, and eye,” baptism might look like a ceremony; which expressly secured spiritual blessings, but a branch would be quite out of sight; was the same with the covenant of cire except, indeed, the branch of hyssop cumcision.” We cannot say how Dr. dipped for the purpose of casting “ the Wardlaw would meet this demand: but sprinkled shower,” in which the bow of we should answer it by simply saying, yes. mercy greets his eye, with all its lovely Because, we cannot see, with Mr. Cox, variety of grace, while it stretches itself that the covenant of circumcision, só to tell that, “ the promise is to us, and termed by him, has “ expressly limited
to our children.” Mr. Cox, we are sure, its stipulations to temporal blessings." · will not despise this play of fancy, since Indeed, we are sincere in affirming, that
it is indulged simply to evince, that we see' no such limitation in Gen. xvii. al though illustration may be taken for de- There we discern the original grant of finition, yet, that it is not the same thing. Divine favour, or covenant of Grace, reFor the former excellence of a writer, his published and enlarged—and Abraham imaginative genius and ready flow of elo- presented with a new edition of it; which quence have admirably prepared him he received as a warrant that bore the
There is yet a third pillar, which appears signs of Divine authority ; that declared to sustain the reasonings of Mr. Cox, in him justified, and published again his replying to Dr. Wardlaw, which, in our adoption, as the friend of God. Abraham opinion, is sadly defective. We refer to believed the testimony. Hence, the bless. the distinction which Mr. C. makes be- ing is called 'the righteousness of faith. tween, what he calls the “ Abrahamic To this righteousness declared in the proCovenant and the ancient law of circum. mise, was affixed the confirmatory rite; cision." ; He affirms, very positively, which, to speak by a figure, sealed the " that truth requires them to be considered . document containing the aforesaid proas altogether distinct."
mise of righteousness to Abraham and his