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A VINDICATION OF THE EXPLANATIONS, IN THE
AUTHOR's GREEK GRAMMAR, AND GREEK AND ENGLISH SCRIPTURE LEXICON, ON THE SUBJECT OF BAPTISM, IN A LETTER TO THE AUTHOR, FROM A LITERARY CHRISTIAN FRIEND.
MY DEAR SIR,
I HAVE perused with attention, and I am sure I can say without the least dissatisfaction, Dr. R.'s remarks on the Grammar and Lexicon, and intended long ago to have written you in reply ;-constant occupation in matters of a very different nature has hitherto prevented me, but now that I have got a little leisure, I shall send you what occurs.
I am surprised that the worthy Doctor, after putting his observations in writing, should have felt the least hesitation in communicating them. Surely the temper and spirit in which he wrote could excite no displeasure, nor could any one apply to his paper, the sarcasm sometimes thrown out against religious controversy,-'tantæne animis cælestibus iræ ?' —But while I shall ever pay due respect to the spirit in which Dr. R. writes, he must notwithstanding excuse me, if I decline acceding to his sentiments, and feel disposed to maintain, that the explanations upon
which he animadverts are not the offspring of prejudice, but are really well founded and completely sanctioned by the established usage and sound analogy of the language. To go through the different topics and adduce the necessary proofs in vindication of the interpretations objected to, may make a long, and I am afraid a tedious letter, but as you expressed a wish that the subject might be discussed, I shall without hesitation take it in hand.
Dr. R.'s first animadversions are directed to the account given of the prepositions ano and ex, els and ev; -into that field then I have no objection to follow him.
To the observation that ano is frequently used by Greek writers, both sacred and profane, as synony. mous with ex, I do not at all object; on the contrary, this is explicitly stated in the Grammar, (page 79. note) and indeed it must occur to every attentive reader of Greek. I shall readily admit, therefore, that in the instance to which Dr. R. particularly refers, the use of ato before you jdatos will not of itself preclude the idea of having been previously in the water; but on the other hand I hold it no less certain, that the use of ex in the parallel passages, can as little authorize the Doctor and his friends, to infer that such an intusposition must necessarily have been implied. That amo is frequently used where intusposition is unquestionably implied, will be readily granted, but it is no less certain that en is just as often made use of where intusposition could neither be intended nor implied. The truth is, that though ato and sx were
originally distinct, in the progress of the language they came to be used indiscriminately, and while ato encroached on the province of ex, ex in return usurped part of the territories of ano. The following examples, taken indiscriminately from the authors I happened to have nearest at hand, will abundantly prove this, and fully ascertain the fact, that ex may be, and often is, made use of to express removal, distance, or separation merely where previous intusposition neither was nor could be in view.
Thucydides speaking of a promontory, says, o v εκ τε θαλασσης αποκρημνον και εκ της γης ήκιστα επιμαχον, (Thucyd. Lib. IV. cap. 31.) “which was steep from the sea and not easily attacked from the land.”. The historian surely never meant to convey the idea that the steep part of the rock had formerly been within the sea,
-or should it even be contended that this ex refers to a part of the rock being under water, what shall be said of the second en, which can have no possible meaning beyond the mere point of departure ;-would Dr. R. maintain that Thucydides meant that the promontory, if attacked on the land side, must then be understood as having come out of the land ? I think he must allow that ex has in this passage precisely the force of ato and nothing more.
The same historian stating the distance of two places, expresses himself thusòqŠ A Bongwv es Iorgov (Thucyd. Lib. II. c. 97.) “the road from Abdera to Ister," implying no more than that the road commenced at Abdera, not that it run from the inside of it.
Arrian, relating the operations of Alexander at the siege of Tyre, says among other things, xwla syuw χωννύναι εκ της ηπειρου ως επι την πολιν, (Arr. Lib. II.)
resolved to carry up a mound from the continent to the city ;" the rampart never had been within the continent, but merely commenced at it.
In the Sphærics of Theodosius (Lib. I. Prop. 16.) a line is said to be drawn en Tou Thou, " from the pole of a circle,"—not that the line was ever in the pole, it being impossible for a line to be within a point, * but this pole was the point of commencement, and in other propositions of the same book ano is made use of to denote precisely the same idea.
In the poem of Musæus, Hero meeting Leander at the gate of her habitation conducts him to the chama ber;-says the poet
-εκ δε θυραων
(lin. 262.) “ she led him from the gate to the inner apartments.” -Though he came from the gate, he could never be supposed to have come out of it. Lycophron says of a statuary
-ος ζωοπλατων ανδρας Εξ ακρου ποδος αγαλματωσας. .
(lin. 844.) “ who forming men from the extremity of the foot, making a statue ;"—forming out of the extremity of the foot, would convey either no meaning at all, or a very absurd one; ex in this passage is completely synonymous with ano.
Dionysius in the Periegesis (lin. 109.) says of the sea in a particular place,
Εκ δ' ορεων Σικελων Κρητης αναπεπταται οιδμα
Μακρον ες αντολιην.“ from the Sicilian mountains the sea is extended far to the east.” No one I think will contend that ex here implies any thing but the point of departure,-certainly it was not meant to denote, that the sea was ever within the mountains. Euripides, speaking of a princess, mentions her as
-αναστασ' εκ θρονων Med. lin. 1163. rising from her seat ;" not out of it unquestionably.
In the New Testament writers we find a similar application of the word, both as to place and time; ex dežW XOLI EĞ EuwLWV. Matt. xx. 21.“on my right hand and on my left,” without any reference to intusposition ;-the very same phrase occurs chap. xxvii. 38. with a similar meaning, and equally incapable of being applied to denote coming out of ; sX VECTYTOS “ from my youth.” Matt. xix. 20. εξ αρχης,
66 from the beginning," John vi. 64.
If in these, and multitudes of instances more, ex evidently implies no more than the point of departure, the point quitted, I suspect that the Antipædobaptists will find that the phrase ex sou Údatos in the apostolic writings affords little or no support to their doctrine of immersion. In fact, either ato or ex might be used with perfect propriety, whether the person moving away from the water had been actually in the midst of it, or only on the verge of the pool in which the water was contained. So much for the explanation of ex:- let us next