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those beds in one room. Each was commonly occupied by three persons, and sometimes by five or even more, *
Three such beds probably accommodated our Lord and his disciples at the last Supper. They must have been of such a size, therefore, as to preclude the idea of their being immersed, especially being frequently immersed, as a religious observance.
There was no doubt a complete observance of the “ baptisms” of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and beds, at the feast of the marriage in Cana of Galilee. We are told how much water was provided for the purpose. John ii. 6. “ And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins a piece.” I am aware that the precise quantity of the measure, rendered a “firkin," is uncertain. But I never heard of any conjecture enlarging it so much, as to admit of the observance of “ the many things which the Jews had received to hold,” in the way of the “ dippings" of the cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and beds, used by so large a company. If it were contended that the quantity was great enough, or the vessels which held it large enough, for such numerous and ample dippings, I should be utterly at a loss to imagine why our Saviour, when intending to supply a deficiency of wine, should have directed the servants to fill those immense stone troughs, or should have allowed them, as is expressly said, to be filled up to the brim. Although a week was commonly
• See Potter's Archæologia Græca, Book III. chap. XX.
spent in feasting on those occasions, the production of such an enormous quantity of wine, during the latter part of it, must surely have proved a great temptation.
The word vogía, rendered “water-pot,"—in this passage, corresponds with the term 7 used in the Old Testament and rendered sometimes “ a pitcher,” and sometimes “a barrel.” The size of it may be judged of from the circumstance that women carried it on their shoulders and used it for drawing water with at a well, let it down upon their hand to give drink to a man, and emptied it into a trough to give drink to cattle, see Gen. xxiv. 14, 20, 43–46.* When four of them were set near the altar of Jehovah, “after the manner of the purifying of the Jews," on mount Carmel, Elijah commanded them to be used, for the purpose of illustrating his foreseen miracle, by POURING, 1 Kings xviii. 33. He “ said, Fill four barrels with water, and POUR ON the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.” The Septuagint uses the very word which John uses in his history of the marriage in Cana. Και είπε, λάβετέ μοι τέσσαρας ΥΔΡΙ' ΑΣ ύδατος, και 'ΕΠΙΧΕ' ΕΤΕ ΕΠΙ το ολοκαύτωμα και επί τας σχίδακας. . It is remarkable that the etymology of the Hebrew word refers to this mode of using the vessel. 73, “ The idea, says Parkhurst, seems to be, to propel, shoot, dart forth, or the like.” And he then explains it to be “a kind of vessel, whence water or liquor is shot out or emptied into another, a pitcher;" which
* Fenjale Slaves were, at Athens, sometimes called ideia pógos, from carrying water-pots.
is from the verb to pitch, to throw headlong, to cast forward. All these considerations unite to prove, that it must have been by pouring, not by immersion, that the Jews observed their “ baptisms of cups,
and pots and brazen vessels, and beds.”
Nothing but the celebrity of Dr. C., and the satisfaction of obtaining a concession from a man supposed to be an opponent, can account for the eulogies pronounced on his Notes on Matth. iii. 11. and Mark vii. 3, 4. After all, what has he done in them, towards ascertaining the meaning of Batti(w? Has he illustrated its various acceptations? Has he given any induction of examples, scriptural or classical, for the translation he has preferred ? He has done nothing of this kind, on this subject, in any one passage of all his works. What then has he done? He has appealed to one of the worst authorities among the fathers of ecclesiastical antiquity, and to one of the worst authorities among commentators since the revival of letters; and to these he has added the amount of his own assertion.
The value of Dr. C.'s assertion I wish not to depreciate. I have long admired his superior abilities and acquirements. Wherever his mind was thoroughly engaged in his subject, his inquiries appear to have been conducted with the greatest possible accuracy. But on several articles of revealed religion, he has evidently written with an indulged negligence. I have always had little confidence in his making a conscientious confession of the whole counsel of God. With regard to Baptism in particular, he seems to have had a vanity in patronizing what he did not practise. The passage on this subject, in his Lectures on Systematic Theology and Pulpit Eloquence, (very naturally quoted by Dr. Ryland in his Candid Statement,) is nothing but a specimen of the easy confidence with which he could impute dogmatism to others, while he was dogmatizing himself with the most glaring license. * Remarks so uniformly partial, and at the same time so erroneous and careless, as those which he every where makes on Baptism, cannot pass without animadversion from some even of his greatest admirers.
Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine, non ego paucis
. That all justice may be done to Dr. C. I insert the passage to which I refer. “ 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 have the smallest weight. I have heard a disputant of this stamp, in defiance of etymology and
maintain that the word rendered in the New Testament Baptize, means inore 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 truth." Lectures on Systematic Theology and Pulpit Eloquence, p. 480.
Sic mihi, qui multum cessat, fit Cherilus ille,
Hor. A. P. 351-359,
But where the beauties more in number shine,
Rom. vi. 4.
The great, and, as it appears to me, the only original reason, why Baptism has been thought to imply Immersion, is the expression which occurs in Rom. vi. 4 and Col, ii. 12 ; in the first of which the apostle Paul says, συνετάφημεν ούν αυτώ διά του βαπτίσματος εις τον θάνατον, , “ therefore we are buried with him by Baptism into death ;” and in the second, OUVTA PÉNTES αυτώ εν τώ βαπτίσματι, «buried with him in Baptism.” In both passages the expression seems to be of the same import, and as I shall have occasion afterwards to refer again to the second, I shall endeavour at present to illustrate the first.