« AnteriorContinuar »
may be received into the churches of Christ. The water in the deluge, was connected with the destruction of men; the water in baptism, is supposed to be connected with their salvation. At the deluge, those who were immersed, perished; those who were not immersed, were saved; but in baptism, they who are immersed are saved !
The reference to the flood, appears designed to illustrate the spiritual government exercised by Christ,—to show that the mercy of God is the cause of the temporary prosperity of the wicked, -and to prove, that the righteous, though few, are safe eyen amidst the most dreadful and extensive calamities. The relation of the flood to these ends, is most clear; they are exactly in accordance with the general design of the passage, which is to support Christians in suffering and persecution ; and they accord with the objects for which, in other passages, this event is alluded to. On the other hand, the relation of the deluge to baptism with water, is most obscure; the introduction of such a comparison is irrelevant; and there is no single passage in the Old or New Testament, which in the least favours such an interpretation.
That the character of the Christian is to be the antitype of the character of his Lord, needs no proof. That the Christian's purification is the antitype of the death and resurrection of Christ, we have already
Such, moreover, is the view given by St. Peter. ii. 21, “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps.” To the relation which exists between the death of Christ, and the purification of the Christian, the apostle points immediately after the mention of baptism. “Christ then having suffered in the body on your behalf, do you also arm yourselves with the same resolution ; for he who suffers in the body renounces sin, that henceforth, while in the body, he may live, not according to the passions of men, but according to the will of God.” iv. 1. The references made to the sufferings of our Lord, antecedently and subsequently, in both cases with the design of producing in Christians dispositions similar to those which he manifested, make it quite certain that it is to these, and not to the flood, that the baptism is an antitype; and prove, that this baptism is the purification of the soul.
VIII. « Jesus said to them, Ye know not what ye request. drink of the cup of which I drink, and be purified with the purification with which I am purified? They said to him, We can. Then Jesus said to them, Of the cup of which I drink ye will drink ; and with the purification with which I am purified, ye will be purified. But to sit at my right hand, and at my left, I can only grant to those, for whom this is prepared.”-το βάπτισμα και εγώ βαπτίζομαι, βαπτισθήσεσθε. Mark x. 38. "I have a purification with which to be purified, and how am I pressed till it be finished.”--Bántioua dè exw Bantioonva, Luke xii. 50.*
*" He styles his cross and death, a cup and a baptism; a cup, because he received it with delight; a baptism, because hy it he purified the world.” ékábmpev. Chrysostom,
It is enough to observe, that the meaning of purification is as apposite to these passages, as that of dipping or overwhelming. If the latter were the meaning here, it would not follow, because, in accordance with classic usage,
the oppressive influence of afflictions was styled an overwhelming, that therefore, the influence which elevates and blesses, could also be properly styled an overwhelming. Neither the scriptures nor the classics support, but both oppose such an application of the sense of overwhelming. The overwhelming of the mind with sorrow, has no correspondence to, the overwhelming of the mind with the Holy Spirit, or to the dipping of the body in water. If our Lord meant to intimate that his mind would be overwhelmed with sufferings, we cannot therefore infer, that overwhelming is the sense of the baptism with the Spirit, or that dipping is the mode in which the rite of baptism was observed.
As our high priest, Jesus Christ, required an official purification; he was consecrated to his office as the Saviour of men, by the sufferings which he endured on their behalf. He refers to his sufferings as a purification, in the prayer which he offered shortly before his death : " For their sake I purify myself, that they also may be purified by the truth.” John xvii. 17. In this aspect they are presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews. “It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, to make perfect through suffering the leader of their salvation, who conducts many sons to glory.” “ Because he suffered being tempted, he is able to succour the tempted.” ïi. 10, 18. It is neither scriptural nor natural, to refer to afflictions, first under the figure of a cup, and then under the figure of a flood. If we suppose
that our Lord" referred to what awaited himself and his disciples, first as a cup of bitterness to be drunk, and then as a purification, which it was necessary they should receive, every thing is natural and scriptural. The readiness with which the apostles expressed their ability to be baptized with their Lord, favours the conclusion, that here the scriptural, and not the classical, sense of the word is to be retained. It is more likely that they would immediately and boldly avow, that they could and would be purified with Christ, than that they could and would be overwhelmed with him.
Ilom. 33. “ He names his death a baptism, because it is that which purifies us all." βάπτισμα ονομάζει τον θάνατον αυτού ως καθαρτικόν όντα πάντων ημών. Τheophylact in
S . Matt. xx.
In like manner the death of the martyrs is spoken of as a baptism, not because it was regarded as an overwhelming, but because it was considered to be a purification. “Do not be surprised that I style the martyrs' death a baptism, for then the Spirit comes with great abundance, and there is a taking away of sin, and a wonderful and extraordinary purifying, (kalapuós.) For the martyrs are cleaned with their own blood, (TẬ idiq dovortai aluatı,) as the baptized are with water." Chry. sostom, Hom. 75. "His suffering for Christ's sake is to him a truer baptism. (yunoutepov Bártlowa,) because he really dies with the Lord, but others only typically, túmq." Const. Apost. Lib. v. cap. 6.
It may also be observed, that it is more probable that the object for which our Lord expressed earnest desire, was not regarded by him, or expressed to others, simply as suffering, but rather as suffering which would be a purification or consecration for his work.*
* Although after the first century the practice of baptizing by immersion became general, this does not at all show, that the fathers understood dipping or overwhelming, to be the only signification of the word. If they understood the word to denote purification, some mode of purification would, of course, be adopted by them ; but their practice cannot indicate either the meaning of the word, or the mode of baptism used by the apostles. The usage of the fathers often accords with that of the classics, Banti(w being by them used for to overwhelm, to sink, to oppress with evil. Justin Martyr speaks of being overwhelmed by the heaviest sins. ταϊς βαρυτάταις duaprlaus BeBantiomévol. Clem. Alex. speaks of one, sunk into sleep through intemperance. Únd yéons Battichuevos des étvov. Pædag. Lib. ii. cap 2. Chrysostom speaks of being overcome by intemperance: Únd uéons Battio Onvaı: of being oppressed with innumerable cares, μυρίαις βαπτιζόμενος φροντίσιν: of being overwhelmed with many waves of business coming from every quarter, πολλοίς πανταχόθεν βαπτιζόμενος πραγμάτων κύμασι. But that they also used this term with its scriptural meaning of purification is very evident. Besides the passages already quoted, the following may be adduced to show that the fathers used Bantiow and Berthoua in the scriptural as well as in the classical sense. “ It is only the baptism of blood which can make us more pure, than the baptism of water does. I do not assume this; it is intimated in the scriptures, where the Lord said to his disciples, I have a baptism with which to be baptized, which you do not know, and how am I pressed that it may be accomplished. Observe, therefore, that he names the shedding of his blood a baptism, i.e. a purification.” Origen, Hom. 7. “Because the martyr in his suffering receives the remission of sins, it is a baptism, i.e. a purification." Not. in Matt. xx. 22. “Elijah did not himself baptize, i.e. purify, the wood on the altar in the days of Ahab, though it required purifying, that it might be burnt when the Lord was manifested by fire, but he directed the priests to perform this." Not. in John i. 25 Elijah gave a proof of the efficacy of baptism, in respect to the altar of burnt offerings, burning the sacrifice not with fire but with water, though the nature of fire is contrary to that of water. For when the water was mystically poured three times on the altar, it produced a fire, kindling a flame as though it were oil.” Basil Hom. xiii. Basil also speaks of the martyrs as baptized i.e. purified, with their own blood, and therefore not needing baptism, i.e. purification, with water. év TQ idia aluati Batti évtes. De Spiritu Sanctů. cap. 15. Eusebius speaks of a young man who wept bitterly, and was with his tears baptized, i.e. purified, a second time. Tois odkpvol Banticóuevos ek devrépov. Eccl. Hist. Lib. ii. cap. 23. The baptism by fire is often referred to, as a purification by fire. Chrysostom says, the fire of baptism is purifying (ayiqotlKQ). Hom. 39. Gregory Thaumaturgus says, “The water is able to remove the filth of sin, the Spirit can make those who were earthly spiritual, the fire will naturally burn up the briars of sin.” Cyril, of Alexandria, says that this spiritual fire consumes the dregs within us, and melts away the dross of sin. And in another place he says, that by the fire is meant the cleansing (ounatix)) power of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of heretics is styled μόλυσμα, the opposite of βάπτισμα. They who from the impious receive defilement." Const. A post. vi. 15. “Some heretics thought it their duty to finish the holy baptizing, i.e. purifying, in one immersion.” εν μια καταδύσει χρήναι επιτελεϊν την θείαν βάπτισιν. Sozomen, Eccl. Hist. vi. 26. Most of the passages adduced from the fathers may be found in Suicer's Thesaurus.
We have now completed the examination of all those passages of the New Testament, which can serve to illustrate the meaning of Barrica, or the manner in which Christian baptism was observed. By this investigation we are led to the conclusion, that the subject referred to by the sacred writers, when they mention something which is the effect of faith and the condition of salvation ;-which has for its object the spiritual worship and service of God ;-in which the Christian, by the exercise of confidence in his Saviour, experiences a divine power freeing him from sin, and raising him to a holy life ;-which leads to an imitation of Christ in this life, and to complete salvation in that which is to come ; —that the baptism, of which all this, and more of a similar nature is said, cannot be a ceremonial purification of the body, but must be a real purification of the soul.
If so, then the sense of dipping or overwhelming, either in a literal or a figurative acceptation, will be utterly inadmissible. The sense of purifying is the only one that will accord with such a subject, and it also agrees with the context and scope of every passage.
In conclusion, we have merely to request, that the reader would put together all the various arguments adduced in this series of papers, and judge of the question examined in them, by their collective worth. It should be borne in mind, that the interpretation of one passage has not been made to depend on the interpretation of another. If, therefore, many passages have been misapprehended, and probably some have been, this will not lessen the force of the evidence derived from others. Not one passage has been found, where there is any thing in the context or scope, to favour the notion that Barriţw means to dip, or to overwhelm. In many passages these senses are utterly inadmissible. There may be some which apparently favour the practice, but none even seem to favour the interpretation of dipping. The opinion that this is the scriptural signification of the word, rests wholly on the conjecture, that its primary meaning is to dip; and on the fact that its classical meaning is to immerse or sink, and to overwhelm. The presumption drawn from classic usage, is overthrown by the opposite presumption drawn from the probable effect of Jewish customs, and the known signification of corresponding words in languages used by the Jews. However, were it not so, the direct evidence furnished by the sacred scriptures is that which should determine the meaning of the word, and the mode of the rite. From a consideration of the usage of the word in regard to the baptism of the Jews,--the baptism of John,--the baptisms administered by the apostles,--the baptism of the Holy Spirit,--and Christian baptism in general, -we find, that the subject, the context, and the scope of every passage, agree with the sense of to purify, and with this only; and completely establish this as the scriptural signification of the word.
We have found also that the supposition that the early Christians were dipped, rests (apart from the assumed signification of the word)
on the dippings enjoined and practised by the Rabbins, on the use of two ambiguous prepositions, on the many waters of Enon and Jordan, and on the notion that the burial of a Christian with Christ, is the placing him under water. The force of these arguments has been seen to be exceeding small. In not one passage, is it even pretended, that the statement is made, that the baptized were put under water. In only one passage, is it pretended, that the statement is made, that a person went into the water to be baptized. The circumstances of various cases make it highly probable, that the persons baptized did not go into the water. In many instances, it is quite certain, that they were not dipped. And inasmuch as public sprinklings were enjoined by the Jewish laws, while no dippings of the person, either public or private, were enjoined ; and as even among the later Jews, dippings were private, and sprinklings only public; we conclude, that the purifications with water performed by John, and by the apostles of Christ—in public—upon men and women-were performed only by sprinkling them with water, and never by dipping them into water. The facts mentioned, and those not mentioned, -the figures used, and those not used, -all lead to the same conclusion,—that the rite of Christian baptism was administered by sprinkling water on the persons to be purified.
THE REV. JOHN BERRIDGE AND HIS CORRESPONDENTS,
ILLUSTRATED BY ORIGINAL LETTERS.
(Continued from page 602.) The vicar of Everton was a devoted itinerant preacher, and delighted to encourage any of his clerical brethren who were inclined to attempt that method of doing good. He often recited in the social circle, and in his epistolary correspondence, the difficulties he had surmounted, and the following passage from a letter he addressed to the excellent David Simpson, of Macclesfield, contains an animated summary of his own experience respecting it :
“When I began to itinerate, a multitude of dangers surrounded me, and seemed ready to engulph me. My relations and friends were up in arms; my college was provoked ; my bishop incensed ; the clergy on fire ; and the church canons pointing their ghastly mouths at me. As you are now doing, so did I send letters to my friends, begging advice, but received unsatisfactory or discouraging answers. Then I saw, if I meant to itinerate, I must not confer with flesh and blood, but cast myself wholly upon the Lord. By his help, I did so, and made a surrender of myself to Jesus, expecting to be deprived not only of my fellowship and vicarage, but also of my liberty. At various times complaints or presentments were carried to my college, to successive archdeacons and bishops ; and my first diocesan frankly told me I should either be in Bedlam or Huntingdon gaol by and hy.*
* For a very graphic account of his interview with the Bishop when this was said, the reader is referred to the Evangelical Magazine, vol. ü. pp. 74, 75.