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hast no part with me. Peter, either from overflowing affection, or from not entering into the spiritual import of the Saviour's declaration, exclaimed, “Not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.' Our Lord then informed him that for the special object which he had in view, it was not necessary to receive a general washing of the body. Just as a person who has recently been bathed* needs only to have his feet washed, which may have contracted defilement by walking in the dust ; so the disciples, having already received a general cleansing, needed only carefully to preserve themselves from the defilements to which they were exposed. To speak without metaphor, the disciples had already experienced the general renewing of their hearts. This they ought not to expect again; but their attention should be directed to the avoiding of sin, and to the cultivating of those dispositions which characterize the disciples of the Messiah. The particular trait, then inculcated, was humility; humility, so unfeigned and pervading, as to induce them to perform for each other, even the lowest and most troublesome services; which would lead them, instead of inquiring among themselves, Who shall be greatest ? rather to inquire, Who shall be the least of all and servant of all ?
Thus our Lord's design was not to give instruction respecting baptism ; nor is there in this passage any thing in the slightest degree at variance with the conclusion to which we arrived by examiuing the import of baptism.
In the third statement of this letter there is certainly much truth: “ If the exact form of baptism were cssential to its validity, the form would have been so clearly defined, that no honest mind could mistake it.” If certain ends are to be answered by an ordinance, and those ends are connected with a certain outward representation, then it is necessary that the outward form be clearly defined ; else such a form may come into use as may entirely obscure the ends which the ordinance was intended to answer. If outward forms are appointed as emblems, they ought to be significant; there ought to be a manifest correspondence between the emblem and the thing signified; and the more spiritual the dispensation, the more simple and the more easily understood the emblem. Some men speak of forms and ceremonies, as being of little account in respect to the manner of performance, and as being subject to modifications, according to the various circumstances and opinions of men. A scrupulous adherence to particular forms, *they also represent as contrary to the spiritual nature of Christianity, and as arguing a grossness of conception in respect to the divine requisitions.
But in such remarks there is more appearance
Though in our translation the same term wash occurs twice in the tenth verse, yet in the original, two very distinct words are used; one of which, rendered he that is washed,' refers appropriately to a bathing of the whole body; while the other, rendered to wash,' refers to a partial washing, as that of the hands, or face, or feet. So that the tenth verse would have been moro correctly translated, "He that has been bathed needeth not save to wash his feet,' &c.
than reality of spiritual elevation. If the Head of the church has appointed certain forms, it does not argue a commendable spirituality of feeling, that a man conceives himself at liberty to slight those forms. If those ceremonies, by the manner of their performance, are adapted and intended to answer certain ends, does elevation above the grossness of sense furnish an adequate excuse for essentially varying the manner and connecting with it some other lesson, or for receiving the intended lesson in some other than the more obvious way, or for refusing to draw any instruction from a matter subjected to the outward man? We show the truest regard for God by implicitly complying with his injunctions, and by impressing our hearts with just such lessons and in just such a manner as he has appointed. After all that may be said about Christianity being a spiritual dispensation, and its raising the mind above mere forms, it becomes us to remember that men are still only men; and God has most wisely consulted for the moral improvement of men by the few simple outward forms, as well as by the pure precepts, and the glorious prospects of Christianity.
Why, then, do honest minds mistake? Plainly, because they are not infallible; and because they may be under a vast variety of influences which hinder the reception of the truth. Are there no other subjects, plain to a mind unbiassed, yet viewed in a mistaken manner by minds honest on every other subject? But suppose any refuse to examine for themselves ; suppose they either fear to examine, or hastily think themselves incompetent to form an opinion; will they receive the knowledge of the truth? Suppose any examine under the influence of prejudice from various quarters; suppose they go not to the proper source of information ; is it surprising that they come not to a true result? We forbear here to press the fact, that almost every person, who in a peculiarly conscientious frame of mind reads what the Scriptures declare concerning baptism, becomes shaken in regard to the sprinkling of infants and of others; and that scruples on this subject are often removed by turning away from the Bible, or by thinking that a person's usefulness at the present day forbids him to be a Baptist. And not a few, there is reason to believe, set their minds at rest by the persuasion that the inconveniencies attending the adoption of Baptist sentiments are so great, that they trust the Lord will pardon them in this one thing.
Since the form of this ordinance is thus necessary, we might expect it to be clearly defined. Dr Griffin's fourth reason denies that it is thus defined. To this point, then, we now turn our attention.
There are two inquiries which may embrace all that needs to be said on this point. 1st. Is there any thing in the circumstances in which this ordinance, during the time of Christ and of his apostles, was administered, that requires divers modes of administration? 2nd. Is there any peculiar obscurity in the language which speaks of this ordinance, by which it is prevented from having an equally definite meaning with other language, or by which we are
unable to ascertain that meaning? These questions have so often been lucidly and satisfactorily answered in the negative, that we deem it superfluous on the present occasion to institute a new examination of them. Those who desire to pursue the investigation, are referred to the works on baptism, which have been published during the present year, and especially to the Letters of Dr Chapin, published in the year 1820. These letters, we question whether Dr Griffin has ever read; else he could not expect to change the opinions of Baptists by statements that have long since been anticipated and met in a fair, manly way.
But leaving this topic, it has been to us a matter of surprise, that Dr Griffin should write in so unguarded a manner. He insinuates that the three thousand believers on the day of Pentecost, (See Acts of the Apostles, Chap. ii.) were baptized by eleven men. Observe the unfairness of this insinuation. In the first chapter, containing an account of what was transacted previously to the day of Pentecost, we are informed that the place of Judas was supplied by the election of Matthias, so that Matthias was numbered with the eleven Apostles. During the lifetime, also, of our Lord, seventy disciples were appointed as his public ministers; two important facts, entirely overlooked. Dr Griffin intimates that the local situation of Jerusalem, "on the top of a high hill,” forbids the supposition of there being sufficient water. Really, one would think this letter was written for the benefit of very ignorant people. We take the liberty to refer its author to the statement of a certain Jewish writer, who probably knew more about Jerusalem than any President of a college in the United States. He says, " The mountains are round about Jerusalem. See Psalm cxxv. 2. Jerusalem was indeed built upon hills; but there were other hills around, and especially did Mount Olivet tower above the holy city. Is a hilly country necessarily poorly supplied with water? Who does not know that on elevated spots springs may be found, when equally elevated places are contiguous, and especially in the neighborhood of still higher places ? Dr Griffin adds, " far from any river or brook deep enough for immersion.” But must there necessarily have been a river or a brook? From the insinuations which are sometimes thrown out, one would think Jerusalem must have been utterly unfit to be the metropolis of a flourishing country; a country, too, whose prescribed religion required the constant use of water for purifications and ablutions, and all whose male inhabitants were required to assemble there three times every year. We have been told that not many years since, the Jordan was represented as only an insignificant streamlet, not sufficiently deep for immersing a man. But when knowledge had increased so much that even Baptists could detect the error, this representation fell into disuse. Who has ever proved that Jerusalem was sadly destitute of water? Does the well known fact of its having been a very populous city prove it! Does the fact that the Jews from regard to religion and to cleanliness, made frequent use of bathing prove it? Does the molten sea furnished by Solomon for the service of the temple, and which
could hold about seven hundred barrels; and do the ten other lavers, each of which held between nine and ten barrels, prove it? And what shall we say of the fountain of Siloam which, according to Josephus, had “water in it-in great plenty ?" * and of the pool at the sheep gate, with its five porticos?
Of what avail, then, is the startling supposition respecting the two men brought up in the centre of the earth? Who could wonder if men brought up in the inside of the earth should commit some very gross mistakes on various matters that would be perfectly clear to common men, who had been brought up on the surface ? Instead of making such a supposition, we would rather ask what have been the opinions of men of learning, of confessed impartiality, of ability to investigate the subject, and of sufficient candor to state explicitly the result of their investigations, though that result should contradict their previous opinions, and even their continued practice? To a few testimonies of this kind, exhibiting the candid convictions of their authors, respecting the manner in which the ordinance was originally administered, we will now attend.
Dr Campbell, Principal of the Marischal College, at Aberdeen, in Scotland, a minister of the Presbyterian church, whom few have equalled in the variety and extent, and accuracy of his literary and theological investigations, has expressed himself in the following manner. “ The word tragitopen (peritomé) the Latins have translated circumcisio (circumcision, which exactly corresponds in etymology ; but the word Bertiouc (baptisma) they have retained, changing only the letters from Greek to Roman. Yet the latter was just as susceptible of a literal version into Latin as the former. Immersio, (immersion,) answers as exactly in the one case as circumcisio, (circumcision,) in the other. .. .. We have deserted the Greek names where the Latins have deserted them, and have adopted them where the Latins have adopted them. Hence we say circumcision, and not peritomy; and we do not say immersion, but baptism. Yet when the language furnishes us with materials for a version so exact and analogical, such a version conveys the sense more perspicuously than a foreign name.
For this reason, I should think the word immersion a better English name than baptism, were we now at liberty to make a choice.”+
In the same author's notes upon the Gospel by Matthew, occur the following statements. Chapter iii. verse 11th, “ In waterin the Holy Spirit, ev üdatovégsou tveyatı. English translation, with water with the Holy Ghost.' Vulgate, in aqua-in Spiritu Sancto. Thus also the Syriac and other ancient versions. I am sorry to observe that the Popish translators from the Vulgate, have shown greater veneration for the style of that version, than the generality of Protestant translators have shown for that of the original. For in this the Latin is not more explicit than the Greek. Yet so inconsistent are the interpreters last mentioned, that
* Jewish War; Book v. Chapter iv. § 1.
none of them have scrupled to render a aqui loqdan, in the sixth verse, in Jordan, though nothing can be plainer than that if there be any incongruity in the expression in water, this in Jordan must be equally incongruous. But they have seen that the preposition in, could not be avoided there, without adopting a circumlocution, and saying, with the water of Jordan, which would have made their deviation from the text too glaring. The word BATTI_EU" (rendered to baptize,) both in sacred authors and in classical, signifies, to dip, to plunge, to immerse, and was rendered by Tertullian, the oldest of the Latin fathers, tingere, the term used for dyeing cloth, which was by immersion. It is always construed suitably to this meaning. Thus it is, sv idati, 6 tq logdary. But I should not lay much stress on the preposition sv, which, answering to the Hebrew 2, may denote with as well as in, did not the whole phraseology, in regard to this ceremony, concur in evincing ihe same thing. Accordingly, the baptized are said ava Bavu, to arise, emerge, or ascend, v. 16. ato tou idatos, and Acts viii. 39. ex tou Üdatos, from or out of the water. Let it be observed further, that the verbs gaira and particw, used in scripture for sprinkling, are never construed in this manner. When, therefore, the Greek word Burti (rendered I baptize,) is adopted, I may say, rather than translated into modern languages, the mode of construction ought to be preserved, so far as may conduce to suggest its original import. It is to be regretted that we have so much evidence that even good and learned men allow their judgments to be warped by the sentiments and customs of the sect which they prefer. The true partizan, of whatever denomination, always inclines to correct the diction of the spirit, by that of the party."
The following extract is from another work of the same author. “ Another error in disputation, which is by far too common, is when one will admit nothing in the plea or arguments of an adversary to be of the smallest weight. I have heard a disputant of this stamp, in defiance of etymology and use, maintain that the word rendered in the New Testament baptize, means more properly to sprinkle than to plunge; and, in defiance of all antiquity, that the former method was the earliest, and, for many centuries, the most general practice in baptizing. One who argues in this manner, never fails, with persons of knowledge, to betray the cause he would defend; and though with respect to the vulgar, bold assertions generally succeed, as well as arguments, sometimes better, yet a candid mind will disdain to take the help of a falsehood, even in support of the truth.” *
We now present an extract from Storr's Biblical Theology, published at Andover, 1826; merely premising that Storr was an eminent theologian in the Lutheran church. « The disciples of our Lord could understand his command in no other manner, than as enjoining immersion; for the baptism of John, to which Jesus himself submitted, and also the earlier baptism (John iv. 1.) of
Lectures on Systematic Theology and Pulpit Eloquence, pp. 294, 295. Sept. 1829.