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who should be readiest to adopt every new clerical and monkish device, the Greeks speedily embraced the method of baptism by immersion, and retain it to this day, is matter of undoubted notoriety. But that they either practised this method from the beginning, or, even when they embraced it, alleged, as their reason, the meaning of the word Baptism, * there is no evidence, which I have been able to discover. I have looked in vain for it into all the earliest Greek fathers, to which I have had access ; and, so far as my acquaintance with the antipædobaptist writers extends, I must say, that they are, on this point, remarkably barren. Mr Robinson satisfies himself with making the bare assertion, without giving a single reference in support of it. Dr. Ryland, who has given so many quotations from Jewish and Heathen writers, confines himself to three from the Greek fathers. Two of these are brought to prove what we have admitted, and confirmed, that Bantilw signifies to sink and be drowned, but they have no reference to the ordinance of Baptism, and they are so vaguely quoted, that it is impossible to find the passages. They are as follow:
“ Basil, the christian father, speaks of suffering with those that were immersed or plunged in the sea,' (βαπτιζομενοις."
“ Gregory Nazianzen.- That we may not be immersed or sunk with the ship and the crew. (Bare Fiodojev.") Candid Statement, Notes, IX.
• See pages 84–86.
His third quotation is from Chrysostom, whose age was subsequent to the introduction of Immersion and Baptisteries. He introduces it by saying, “ References to immersion in the Fathers might be produced without end.” I dare say they might, in the Fathers, of the third, and fourth, and following centuries. It is, however, remarkable, that out of the eight folio volumes of Chrysostom's works, in which the subject of Baptism often occurs, he should have confined himself to a single passage, in which there is an allusion, indeed, to the erroneous notion of the manner in which believers are buried with Christ by Baptism; but not a syllable on the meaning of the word Baptism, as if it always signified dipping.--" I will only
_ mention one, says the Dr., in Chrysostom, on Col. ii. 12. επαφη ημων ο πρωτος ανθρωπος, says he, εταφη ουκ εν yn arx' xv üdati. Our first (or former) man is buried, he is buried, not in earth, but in water."
The language of the earliest Greek fathers respecting the ordinance of baptism has already been mentioned.*
HYPOTHESIS OF IMMERSION.
My worthy Christian friends of the Antipædobaptist persuasion must not suppose that I charge them
* See page 59.
with any want of a sense of propriety, or delicacy, in the animadversions which I feel it my duty to make on their method of baptizing. I give them full credit for acting according to conscience, in that matter; and I am well aware, that when a man is brought - to think that he is serving God, it is impossible he should, for a moment, admit the thought that the service is not every thing that is solemn and lovely, Had I the most distant suspicion, that the subject I am treating of, received any countenance from the word of God, I should deem it my bounden duty to view it with respect; and, if I did not feel confident in recommending it, I would, at any rate, acknowledge the prudence of abstaining from giving it an avowed opposition. But having stated reasons, which convince me, that it is not taught in scripture, and that the contrary opinion is productive of much evil; I feel it incumbent on me to enforce my conviction on others, by every consideration, which the examination of the scriptures on the subject, has suggested to my own mind. And I beg leave to say, that I know not, how I could otherwise cherish love to the Lord Jesus Christ, or to my brethren in him of all persuasions.
The immersion of one person by another, except in cases of necessity or mercy, seems to be contrary to decency, and to the respect which we owe to one another. It has already been noticed that in the xv, xvi, and xvii chapters of Leviticus, and in the six chapter of Numbers, we meet with several cases, in which the flesh was to be bathed in water. But, in all these, the person was not only to bathe himself, but to retire for the purpose. In like manner, in the Eleusinian Festival in Greece, the second day was named Aia di nuotai, To the sea you that are initiated, because they were commanded to PURIFY THEMSELVES by washing in the sea. * We are assured that the service of the law consisted, among other things, in diapogors Bantiquois, diverse baptisms, Heb. ix. 10. This expression is, in v. 13, where he mentions “ the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean,” explained by the Apostle to refer to the water of separation, the preparation, and the use of which, was, according to the xix chapter of Numbers, literally attended with “ diverse,” that is, numerous, and DIFFERENTLY PERFORMED, “baptisms.” There was, first, the sprinkling of the heifer's blood, verse-4th. “ And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and SPRINKLE of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times.” Secondly, the priest's washing his clothes and bathing his flesh, verse 7th. “ Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall BathE his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.” Thirdly, similar operations by him that burnt the heifer, verse 8th. “And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and BATHE his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the evening." Fourthly, one of these operations by him that collected the ashes, verse 10th. “ And
he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall Wash his clothes, and be unclean until the evening.” Fifthly, the pouring of running water on the ashes, which were to be kept according to verse 9th, “ for a water of separation : a purification for sin.” verse 17. " And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto (1054 priui, kai šXXEOãow &a airnu PUT or POURED OUT UPON it) into a vessel.” Sixthly, the repeated sprinklings of the water of separation, after it was prepared, and when it was necessary to use it, verses 18, 19. “ And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in water, and SPRINKLE it upon the tent, and upon
all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon
him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: And the clean PERSON shall SPRINKLE upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day." Seventhly, the purification of him who had applied the water of separation to another, verse 19th last clause —" And on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and WASH HIS CLOTHES, and BATHE HIMSELF in water, and shall be clean at even.” In these diverse baptisms, there are ablutions of the whole body, to be performed in secret. But
administration by one to another of these diverse baptisms, was sprinkling. In this respect they are diverse, not only from the secret ablutions of the Law, but from the administered effusion of the Gospel. But there is no instance, in all the law of Moses, and in all the ordinances of Christianity, of one person being directed,