Page images
PDF
EPUB

his own principles._I have said that his practice is against his own principles. “Does he not admit that pénzo means to dye or color when it is applied to the beard and hair ? And is it impossible to dip these? Improbable surely it is, but not half so much so as the immersion of couches."

Hear his reply. “Here I am caught at last. Surely my feet are entangled in my own net.

But let the reader see with what ease I can extricate myself. The assertion of my antagonist arises from his want of discrimination” (of course, as I happen to differ from Mr. Carson). “I admit that Bérto has a secondary signification, because each secondary signification is in proof, and instances may be alleged in which its primary meaning is utterly impossible,” e. g., the immersion of a lake in the blood of a mouse. “Show me anything like this with respect to Banrico, and I will grant a secondary meaning: And as soon as a secondary meaning is ascertained on sufficient grounds, I do not demand in every instance a proof of impossibility of primary meaning before the secondary is alleged. The competition between rival meanings must then be determined on other grounds.” So then all cases of probability are to be set aside as ciphers, till one case can be found to come up to Mr. Carson's canon; and, however numerous they are, to adduce them is only adding ciphers to ciphers, or multiplying ciphers by ciphers. But

as one case of the right kind is found, lo! all these ciphers at once assume a value. Mr. Carson is now willing to admit them on lower evidence. If he had not found the passage as to the lake and the mouse, or some one like it, he must have believed that the Indians dip their beards and bairs, not that they dye them—but now it is easy to see that they do not dip them but dye them. Is this sound philosophy ? If it is, Mr. Carson has dug a mine under all of his reply to me. cases of probability, according to him, are as yet ciphers. But I may find the lucky passage at last—and lo! they spring into life and put in their claims for a new trial. Can Mr. Carson refuse it? If not, then all his labor is in vain. He must do all his work over again, and judge on new principles and with new results. Let us try and see if we cannot find a passage.

§ 52. Cases. Clinic baptism. Purifying agents.

În Routh's Reliquiæ Sacræ, vol. iii., p. 48, occurs a passage from Nicephorus, describing a clinic baptism, ñoi' dno tavęłodal προσδόκιμον όντα το ύδωρ αιτήσαι λαβείν ο δε και εν αυτή τη

SO soon

All my

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

κλίνη ή εκεϊτο περιχύθεντα δήθεν έβαπτιζεν. «So that he, expecting to die, asked to receive the water, i. e., baptism. And he baptized him, even upon his couch upon which he lay.” Did he then take up couch, man and all, and immerse them? Mr. Carson must say yes, if it is possible--and is it not? But stay, there is still another word, nepixúOevra, which expressly defines the mode. It is by affusion! So then we have at length reached the mark, and immersion is pointedly excluded, unless affusion or sprinkling is immersion. And now Mr. Carson's labor is all lost, and it will be doubly and trebly lost on his own principles before I am through, for cases equal or superior to this in strength abound. Will Mr. Carson say, that the phrase, žiye xeñ totoūrov Bántiqua, óvoudoor follows? It does, indeed, and implies a doubt of the propriety of calling such a transaction a baptism ; but could there be any doubt of the utter impropriety of calling it an immersion ? Is it, indeed, doubtful, whether pouring or sprinkling is immersion ? Let Mr. Carson look at his own canon, and can he doubt? What then was the doubt? Whether such a transaction was a real purification, or remission of sins. This was the point on which doubt existed, as the question proposed to Cyprian, and his answer alike imply. The common mode of purifying, i.e., remitting sins, was by immersion. In the case of those who were in danger of death another mode was used-all confessed that it was another mode. Did this, could it raise the question whether two modes, by the confession of all totally unlike, were yet so nearly alike that the name of one could be applied to the other? Or did it raise this question, whether the new mode was in fact effectual to absolve from sin, that is, was it an effectual purification, or remission of sins? It did, and Cyprian decided that it was. So then, no sense but purification is possible in this case. So that this is the true translation of the passage : “He, expecting to die, asked to receive the water, and he purified him by affusion, even upon the bed upon which he lay—if

, indeed, it is proper to call such a transaction a purification." All my so-called ciphers are, therefore, at once restored to their full and true value.

The expression," asked to receive the water," seems singular. Its singularity will cease when we consider another usage of the fathers. They were accustomed to call water itself a baptism. So they called blood a baptism. On what ground ? On the same ground on which Christ is called our sanctification and salvation, because he sanctifies and saves us. On this

ground they called water a purification because it purifies. It is a purifier. On what ground could they call water an immersion? It is not an immerser. It does not immerse us—others immerse us in it, and it purifies us. If the fact that others immerse us in water justifies us in calling it an immersion, there is the same reason for calling it a sprinkling or a pouring—for others sprinkle us with it or pour it on us. But what shall we say

of blood ? Was there a rite of immersion in blood ? Men were purified by blood, but it was by sprinkling, not by immersion. Why then call it an immersion ? Here all possibility of the sense immersion is cut off. The truth is, that by a natural metonymy, means of purification were called baptisms, i. e., purifications, transferring the name of the effect to the cause.

So Tertullian (p. 257. Paris, 163-) says, speaking of the water and the blood, “Hos duo baptismos de vulnere perfossi lateris emisit.” “These two baptisms he poured forth from the wound of his pierced side.” Did he mean to say that Christ poured forth two immersions from his wounded side? or that he sent forth two purifications? So Augustine uses such passages as these, “baptismus, id est aqua :" again,“ baptismus, id est aqua salutis.” Isidore Hispalensis (Monumenta Orthodoxograpba, p. 1774), speaking of the water that flowed from the side of Christ, says, “ baptismus est aqua,” and gives as his reason, “ nullum aliud est elementum quod purgat omnia.” That is, “ water is a purification, because there is no other element that purifies all things.” Once more : air was regarded as a purifying element and a type of the Holy Spirit, and thunder was regarded as a compound of water and air. The philosophy was false. But to what language did it give rise ? Maximus (p. 459, vol. ii. Paris, 1675,) says that sons of thunder means sons of baptism. The reason is, η βροντή συνίσταται εξ ύδατος και nveópatos. Thunder is composed of water and air, and this he calls uvotayoyla toũ Bántiouctos, i. e., a mystic intimation of purification; and sons of thunder means, on this ground, sons of purification. What has immersion to do with all this? Again, Anastasius speaks of baptism as poured into the waterpots; and the water-pots as baptized by pouring baptism into them, Bibliotheca Patrum, vol. v., p. 958. Does he mean that the pots were immersed by pouring immersion into them, or that they were purified by pouring purification, i. e., water, a purifier, into them? This transaction he regards as a type of the baptism of the Gentiles. Did he

Did he suppose that they were to be immersed by pouring immersion upon them?

These passages are in themselves sufficient to settle the case. But as Mr. Carson attaches so much importance to the proof of an impossibility of the sense immersion, I will add a few more passages.

§ 53. Other cases. Expiation by sprinkling called baptism.

The passages now to be adduced are designed to prove this position : that the fathers apply the word Pantića to denote expiation by sprinkling, and, indeed, expiation however made, so that all the sprinklings and other expiations of the Mosaic ritual, and even of the whole heathen world, are spoken of as baptisms.

Before proceeding to adduce the passages, it will add to the clearness of our ideas, to recur to the usages of language on the subject of sacrificial purification, or expiation by atonement. We have seen, then, that ideas of absolution, expiation, forgiveness, are expressed in Greek by xabapiča, to make pure, to purify—also, that the actual removal of moral pollution by the truth and the Spirit are denoted by the same word. Now, in spiritual baptism, these things always co-exist, i. e., those who are forgiven are always made pure in fact, yet there is a logical distinction between the two ideas, and the word xabapítw directs the mind sometimes to one chiefly, and sometimes to the other. We see in English the same idiom in our use of the words clear and purge. They have a legal sense denoting to absolve, as when God says he will not clear the guilty; and sin or guilt are said to be purged away by the blood of Christ. So in law, we read of purging by an oath; and of compurgators, who freed accused persons from charges of guilt by an oath in their favor. In such cases the reference plainly is to acquittal from charges, not to an actual purification of the heart. The same idiom exists in the Latin words lavo, purgo—as lavare, or purgare peccatum--to give or to obtain pardon for sins. Thus,“ venis precibus lautum peccatum"--you come to obtain by prayers the forgiveness of your sins. Literally, you come by prayers to wash, purify or purge, your sin.

For these reasons I shall not hesitate, in translating the sacrifcial sense of καθαρίζω and βαπτίζω, to use as equivalents the words purify, purge, wash, absolve, expiate, atone for, clear, acquit, forgive, &c., as the case may require.

The most striking case of absolution by sprinkling in the word of God is undoubtedly that in which the Israelites were

saved by the sprinkling of the blood of the Paschal Lamb on their door posts. It was established to commemorate the redemption out of Egypt, and was the great type of atonement by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. In Ex. 12: 2128, Moses directs as to the sprinkling of the blood with a branch of hyssop, and says, when the Lord seeth the blood upon the lintel and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance for ever.

This is the only case of sprinkling the blood of a lamb by hyssop in the Old Testament, and in this case there was no bathing, washing or immersion, as some allege in the case of sprinkling the ashes of a heifer by hyssop. I am so particular on this case, because Ambrose speaks of it directly as a baptism under the law. Much controversy has existed as to what the divers baptisms were of which Paul speaks. Of these Ambrose regards the sprinkling of the blood of a lamb with a bunch of hyssop as one,-vol. ii., p. 333. Paris, 1690. Speaking to the baptized, he says, “ye received white garments that they might be an indication that ye have laid aside the garments of sin, and put on the chaste robes of innocence, concerning which the prophet said, thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed. Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Adsperges me hyssopo et mundabor: lavabis me et supra nivem dealbubor. Qui enim baptizatur, et secundum legem, et secundum evangelium videtur esse mundatus. Secundum legem quia hyssopi fasciculo Moyses adspergebat sanguinem agni;secundum evang. etc. "For, he who is baptized, both according to the law and according to the gospel, is made clean. According to the law, because Moses, with a branch of hyssop, sprinkled the blood of a lamb. According to the gospel,” &c. Here his main position is that baptized persons are made clean, both according to the law and according to the gospel. Of course there were baptized persons under the law. Of these baptized persons Ambrose gives one example, to prove his main position. Who were they ? This is the point. Were they persons immersed ? or were they persons purified, i. e., expiated by the sprinkling of blood ? Plainly the latter; for he refers to a case in which there was nothing but purification, i. e. expiation, by sprinkling the blood of a lamb, and he does not even allude to ina mersion at all; and from these facts he proves

« PreviousContinue »