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thofe tolio only sprinkle muft fall materially short, and have fcarcely the fhadow of the ordinance. To fuppofe that fprinkling, pouring, or immerfion, are all indifferent, is in fact to suppose that nothing is commanded ; or at least no more than sprinkling.* When perfons believe this, there is an end to immersion : for men are not generally fond of doing more than is required. This, Sir, your practice demonstrates. You believe either way answers the inftitution ; but you, with other Pædobaptifts in general, choose sprinkling ; I think it probable that I thould do the same, could I be convinced that your views were right. It is also probable, that John the Baptist, Christ and his apoftles, Philip, and the ancient Christians, had they viewed the matter in the fame light which you do, would have invariably administered it by fprinkling : for there could have been no posfible occafion which would have required immersion, in case the other way would equally well 'express the defign.
From a careful retrospection of the arguments made *ufe of'in the course of this tengthy Section, the candid will be able to judge, whether we are unreasonable, in saying that immersion is essential to the right adminiftra'tion of the ordinance. That I have not exaggerated
Tober fact, will be made evident by a quotation which I 'fhall now subjoin. Dr. Wall, who has before been 'mentioned, was fo highly esteemed by the English cleregy for his learning and zeal in defending infant baptism, 'that in a general convocation, Feb. 9, 1706, they passed the following vote ; « Ordered, that the thanks of this house be given to Mr. Wall, Vicar of Shoreham in Kent, for the learned and excellent book he hath lately
: The three terms in difpute are all vised in Lèv. ix. 6, 7, in the fol. lowing manner : “And the priest Thall (bapsei) dip his finger in the 'blood, and (prostranei) sprinkle of the blood leven times before the Lord ;, and shall (ekchecit ; pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar.”
That these ritès were not the same and to be used indifferently, the following familiar transposition will abundantly show :* And the priort shall pour his finger in the blood, and shall dip of the blood seven times before the Lord, and shall sprinkle all the blood at the bottom of the
† Septuaginta in loc,
written concerning infant baptism." Yet notwithstanding this gentleman's profound learning, and all the advantages he had derived from his painful researches into the remotest depths of antiquity, to procure materials of defence, he was obliged to acknowledge, that Dr. Gale had drawn him into a dispute upon the mode of baptism, “ wherein (faith he) he knew, that the examples of fcripture and other antiquity, and the full persuasion of that people, and of all the Eastern church to this day, is on his side ; and I had the disadvantage to plead for a way of baptism, of which the best I could say, was, that it was sufficient for the essence of baptism ; but could not deny the other (except in the case of danger of health) to be the fittest."* It must be acknowledged, that Dr. Wall was under most painful disadvantages in vindicating his cause : for he had not only to oppose the learned Dr. Gale, but the full conviction of his own mind, that scripture example, and the whole current of antiquity, were against him.
Upon the whole, this much is certain, that there is neither express command, nor example, either in the law of Mofes, or in the gospel of Jesus Christ, to sprinkle water upon new-born infants as an initiating seal of any covenant whatever. Therefore, we may fay with Dr. Whitby, whose words shall close this Section-or The argument is always good : We read of no such doctrine in the scripture ; therefore it neither is, nor can be, any article of faith, because we have no other rule of faith besides the holy scriptures.”I
* Defence of the history of infant haptism, p. 404, + The male children of the Jews were to be circumcised on the eighth day, by, divine appointment; but past the middle of the third century, the honest Bishop Fidus wrote to Cyprian of Carthage, to know whether children might be baptized befor: they were eight days old; for by his Bible he could not tell. Nor could Cyprian teil, without first consulting a Council upon the subject. A prefumptive evidence that the business was new. Primit. Chrift. p. 193. and Robinson's history, p. 284.
Annot. on Matt. vi. 9.
The Mode of Baptilin farther illustrated, froin the Praftice
of the primitive Christians ; and the manner in which it was reduced from Immersion to Spriikling, briefly pointed out.
e of the enceirears necena coinPon the
Much has been already faid upon the mode of baptism ; but as it is evidently a constituent part in the present dispute, it appears necessary to set it in the clear. est light. Hence we shall proceed to consider the practice of the ancient Christians.
The primitive Christians not only understood the word in the sense for which we plead, but they practised accordingly. This has been touched upon already, but will be more fully illustrated in what follows.
Dr. Cave, who wrote about a hundred and twenty years ago, (not particularly as a disputant, but as a historian) in describing the religich of the fathers, after mentioning several things which they connected with baptism, he saith ; « The action having proceeded thus far, the party to be baptized was wholly immobiles put under water, which was the almost universal custom of those times, whereby they did more notably and fignificantly express the three great ends and effects of baptism ; for as in immersion there are in a manner three several acts, the putting the person into the water, his abiding there for a little time, and his rising again ; so by these were represented Christ's death, burial, and resurrection to a new course of life. By the person's being put into the water, was lively represented the putting off the body of the fins of the flesh ; by his abode under it, which was a kind of burial in the water, his entering upon a state of death or mortification ; like a: Christ remained for some time under the state or power of death ; therefore as many as are baptized into Christ, are said to be baptized into his death, and to be buried with him by baptisın into death, that the old man being crucified with him, the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth he might not serve
baptizeda!! the mich hie)
fin; for he that is dead is freed from sin, as the apostle clearly explains the meaning of this rite. And then, by his emersion, or rising up out of the water, was signified his entering upon a new course of life.”*
The words of Mr. Locke are very similar to the above ; “We Christians (faith he) who by baptism were admitted into all the kingdom and church of Christ, were baptized into a fimilitude of his death; we did own some kind of death by being BURIED UNDER WATER ; which being buried with him, i. e. in conformity to his burial, as a confession of our being dead, was to fignify, that as Christ was raised up froin the dead into a glorious life with his Father, even so we, being raised from our typical death and burial in baptisin, should lead a new fort of life, wholly different from our former, in some approaches towards that heavenly life that Christ is risen to.”+
Mr. Burkit also, fully acknowledges this to be the practice of the ancient church, when he says, “ The apostle no doubt alludes to the ancient manner and way of baptizing persons in those hot countries, which was by immersion, or putting them under water for a time, and then railing them up again out of the water ; which rite had also a mystical signification, representing the burial of our old man fin in us, and our resurrection to newness of life." I Mr. Poole's words are ncarly verbatim.
But, Sir, you are sensible that very few expositors have written concerning the practice of the first Chriltian church, who have not acknowledged, that it was the almost universal custom of those times to baptize by immersion. This fact will manifest itfelf as we proceed.
You will undoubtedly recollect, that the first instances to be met with in ancient history, wherein they pretended to baptize otherwise than by immersion, werè in cases of supposed necesity; and considered
* Primitive Christianity, Part I. chap. x. p. 203, 204. Edit. 7.
+ Paraphrase on Rom. vi. 3, 4.
Expository Notes on Ron. vi. 4.
even in those cases as not fully answering the institution,
The baptizing of fick or dying perfons by affusion, originated in the third century* (a period fruitful of religious inventions) and had its foundation in error.
Several things united in bringing it into existence : 25, 1. Misconstruing that passage of the apostle where it is said, If they who have once been enlightened, (which at this time, by many, was understood of baptism) shall fall away, it is imposible to renew them again to repentance. This led Constantine, and many other serious persons, to delay their baptism until near the close of life. 2. Another sentiment equally erroneous arose, from a milapplication of the words of Christm-Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Thus on the one hand, they fearing a fatal relapfe after baptism, and on the other, (as Dr. Cave observes) “ Not daring to pass into another world without this badge of their initiation into Christ, they presently signified their earnest desire to be baptized, which was accordingly done, as well as the circumstances of a fick bed would permit. These were called Clinici, (of whom there is frequent mention in the ancient writers of the church) because baptized as they lay along in their beds.” “ This (continues the Doctor) was accounted a less folemn and perfect kind of baptism ; partly because it was done not by immersion, but by sprinkling, partly because persons were supposed at such a time to desire it chiefly out of fear of death.”+ This kind of baptism was confidered fo imperfect, that if the persons recovered, they were by the Neocæfarean Council, rendered ordinarily incapable of being adrnitted to the degree of prefbylers in the church. .
We have à fair specimen of this in the instance of Novatus, the Greek philofopher According to Eufebius, “ he fell into a grievous ditten per, and it being supposed that he would die immediately, he received baptism (being besprinkled with water) on the bed where
* Robinfon's history, p. 449. + Primitive Christianity, Part I. c. 10. p. 196.
Sometimes called Novatianus,