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has force must be essentially deficient in those powers that qualify for the discussion of critical questions.”
What, then, are the facts? They are these. The Fathers, in commenting on those passages in the Old Testament, in which it is predicted that the Messiah should purify, do regard them as predictions that he should baptize, and state explicitly that the words puntitw and xcapito mean the same thing. Of this, Basil's comment on Is. 4: 4, § 55, is an unanswerable proof. In the Old Testament it is said concerning the Messiah έκπλύνει and εκκαθάριει. In the New', John says βαπτίσει, and Basil says they mean the same thing; and then defines bántiqua as meaning καθαρισμός. .
Nor is this all. Eusebius, of Cesarea, sustains the same view. Commenting on this passage, he says that the preposition év is used in the causative sense, when applied to the Holy Spirit, not only in this passage, but in the New Testament too; for he says that the expressions εν πνεύματι κρισεως και εν πνεύpani xavoèws, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning, in Is. 4: 4, are equivalent to the expressions v AVEÚ= ματι αγιω και πυρί, BY the Holy Spirit and fre in the New Testament. Hence he pointedly excludes the idea of immersion in the Holy Spirit, and gives in its place purification by the Holy Spirit. The whole comment of Eusebius is this: “ Observe whether this passage is not, to a remarkable degree, coincident in sense with the erangelic testimony concerning our Saviour. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire ; for the expression by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, does not at all differ in sense from the expression by the Holy Spirit and fire. In the one case (Is. 4: 4) fiery words reproving them, produced a purification (xétapour) of sins, and in like manner, of our Saviour in the gospel it is said, he shall purify, Banrioci, not with water but by the Holy Spirit and fire."
In regarding Is. 4: 4 as a prophecy of baptism, Origen, Eusebius, Basil, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, and Theodoret, all coincide. And just as clearly do Theodoret and Cyril of Alexandria regard Mal. 3: 3, to which I referred, as a prophecy of baptism ; and the same is true of other passages in the Old Testament, in which it is foretold that the Messiah shall purify.
Inasmuch, then, as it was foretold that the Messiah should purify, and inasmuch as purify and baptize are, by the testimony of the Fathers, synonyinous, it was of course foretold that the Messiah should baptize. And predictions that he should
baptize would of course awaken an expectation that he would baptize. Hence this expectation is accounted for as I stated.
In what manner he should baptize is not foretold, and no doubt all these predictions had primary reference to spiritual purification, and could have been fulfilled had no external rite of purification been ordained. But so soon as a rite of purification was established by the forerunner of the Messiah, it would at once call up to the minds of all the great purifier, so long foretold, so long expected, and raise the inquiry, is John he? If not, why does he purify ?
And when the attention was thus aroused, it would of course lead John to untold to the people the nature of that spiritual purification, of which his purification by waler was but a type.
What struck my mind, was this. The language of the New Testament, as to baptism by the Messiah, is exactly such as is used in the Old Testament with reference to purification by the Messiah. In the Old Testament, a purification by the Spirit and by fire was spoken of, in the New, a baptism by the Holy Spirit and by fire. An immersion in the Holy Spirit and fire was manifestly absurd; hence I could not res.st the conviction that the Old Testament and New Testament modes of expression were equivalent. And it appears that this mode of reasoning led me to the truth, notwithstanding Mr. Carson is pleased to treat it with such utter contempt.
Indeed, I would not fear to risk the whole question on the comments on Is. 4: 4, of the six Fathers named above. In some minor particulars they disagree, some referring the purification by fire to this world, others to the world to come, soine to literal fire, others to spiritual, but all agreeing in one point, that to baptize and to purify mean precisely the same thing. Even, therefore, though Mr. Carson should continue to despise this argument, still the truth will nevertheless continue to be justified of her children.
3. The testiinony of the Fathers on the third point, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is no less abundant. All the evidence produced on the last point applies with equal force to this, for it is to the baptism of the Holy Spirit that they refer these predictions of purification in the days of the Messiah. Moreover they saw types of this baptisın in the fire that came down from heaven and con-umed the sacrifice of Elijah, and in the fire kindled by Nehemiah, according to the 1st book of Esdras, by sprinkling water.
Thus, said they, in the baptism of fire, a divine and heavenly fire descends froiu abore, and enters into the heart, and purges out the dross of sin, and makes us pure.
Nor is this view sustained by the Fathers alone. It originates from the very nature of things. The Holy Spirit is neither figuratively nor literally a river, lake, or pool, but a living, intelligent being, from whom an illuminating and purifying influence goes forth as light and heat from the sun.
Hence we are not spoken of as iınınersed in hiin, but purified by hiin; hence, too, it is proper to speak of his influences as poured out or descending as ihe rain, or going forth as the light or fire.
A few illustrations of these views from Cyril of Alexandria must suffice. He refers, Mal. 3:1-3, to the baptism of Christ, and thus proceeds: “This divine fire from heaven, that is, gracious influence, through the Holy Spirit, when it enters into the heart, then, then indeed it cleanses away the pollutions of our furiner transgressions, and makes us pure, xezal uquerors. This divine and spiritual fire the inspired John clearly announced, saying, “ I indeed purify (Bunrico) you with water, but he shall purify you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Here the fiery influence is conceived of as coming from the Holy Spirit, and entering and purifying the heart. Moreover Cyril here agrees with Origen, Basil, and others, in considering the language of John as referring to and taken from those passages in the Old Testament which predict of the Messiah, purification, and that alone. And Cyril oft repeats the same ideas in other parts of his works. But his coininent on Is. 4:4, is still more striking. He first refers the passage, as Basil does, to the baptism of Christ, and then explains the spirit of burning thus: “We call it grace which comes into us at the holy baptism, not without the agency of the Holy Spirit. For we are not baptized by mere water, nor by the ashes of a heifer ; indeed we are sprinkled for the purity of the flesh alone, as says the blessed Paul, but by the Holy Spirit, and by divine and spiritual fire, which consumes all the pollutions of wickedness in ns, and melts out the pollution of sin. Such a coming of our Saviour also another of the holy prophets foretold, saying, “Behold he shall come as a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap, and he shall sit and purify as gold and as silver." His reference to baptizing by the ashes of a heifer I have already noticed; and I now remark that through the whole passage he refers to a divine influence proceeding from God, which he calls spiritual fire,
rompór, which enters the heart and consumes and melts out the pollution of sin. He also in this passage unites both Is. 4:4, and Mal. 3:1-3, as predictions of the baptism by the Holy Ghost and by fire, to be introduced by Christ.
But how does Mr. Carson hold his ground against my position, that the sense immerse is never transferred in any language to denote effects like the agency of the Holy Spirit ? By giving me a lesson in Rhetoric. Let us hear it. “ Mr. Beecher has adopted some of my philosophical doctrines. I will give him another lesson which will prevent him from again alleging such an objection. Metaphor is not bound to find examples to justify its particular figures, but may indulge itself wherever it finds resemblance. It gives words a new application but does not invest them with a new meaning. It is not then subjeet to the law of literal language, which for the sense of every word needs the authority of use. This I have established in my treatise on the figures of speech, in opposition to the common doctrine of the rhetoricians. With respect to the point in hand, I would maintain my ground if a single other example of the figurative use of this word could not be adduced.” I do not doubt it. Any thing sooner than to admit that Bantito means to purify. But with
all due deference to my teacher in rhetoric I would say, that this lesson does not exclude my
objection. He says metaphor may indulge itself wherever it finds resemblance. This is well said: it is the truth. But my objection is that there is no resemblance between the operations of the Holy Spirit and immersion. The Holy Spirit illuminates and purifies.
Immersion as such does neither. It signifies mode, and nothing else—and it may pollute as well as purify. For this reason I deny the propriety of its application to the Holy Ghost, and claim the sense to purify, for this is his glorious, grand, peculiar work. Mr. Carson's lesson in rhetoric therefore is of no avail. But does he make no effort to illus. trate the
which he claims? Yes ; his cases are “ steeping the senses in forgetfulness"_" steeping the soul in the milk of human nature"_“ be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” Here I ask, are the verbs to steep, to be drunk, and to fill, verbs denoting the mode of an action, and that alone? or are they words denoting an effect? If the latter, and such is the fact, the cases are not in point. Mr. Carson thus virtually confesses that he can find no case parallel with the use of the word immerse, a word of mere mode. If his cases satisfy
any, it can be only those who have an intense desire to be satisfied that partitw does not mean purify. Hence Mr. Carson's desperate resort to what he considers a new doctrine of figures of speech. Whether it is new or not is of small importance. It is enough, that whether new or old, it is nothing to the purpose.
4. No less clear is the testimony of the Fathers as to the fourth point, namely, that bántiopa denotes sacrificial purification, or the remission of sins. Indeed, I have adduced already so much of their testimony on this point, that to add any thing more is needless. See $$ 25, 26, Jan. 1841, and 99 53, 54, Jan. 1843. Mr. Carson is pleased to treat with great contempt my remarks in § 12, Jan. 1840, designed to illustrate the difference between sacrificial and moral purification. “Mr. Beecher," he says, “ gives us a dissertation on purification which is no more to the purpose than a treatise on logarithms.” That Mr. Carson did not comprehend the nature or importance of the distinction made by me, or its extensive bearings in the discussion of the whole question, 1 freely admit. But ignorance and contempt of what we do not understand are not arguments.
So far is it from being true that my distinction is nothing to the purpose, that on the other hand, without it, it is impossible that much of the language of the Fathers on baptism should be understood at all. Sprinkling with blood is not an immersion, nor is it a washing, nor is it in the common sense of the term a purification, for blood of itself defiles. But the shedding of blood secures the remission of sins, and the sprinkling of blood is an expiation, that is, a sacrificial purification. And if it were not for this view, the language of the Fathers, when they speak of sprinklings of blood as baptisms, could not be understood. But take this view and all is plain. Indeed, it furnishes an argument against the sense immerse, of irresistible power. And although this is not much to Mr. Carson's purpose, it is very much to mine. Let any one trace this usage out, in all its applications to the baptisın of blood, and the Mosaic and heathen expiations, and he will then be able to judge, both of the indispensable necessity and extensive application of the principles laid down in the dissertation, in § 12, of which Mr. Carson speaks so contemptuously.
5. On the fifth point, the divers baptisins spoken of in Heb. 9: 10, the evidence from the Fathers is absolutely overwhelming. As we have seen, they include without hesitation all the