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the mind and the natural course of thought, we shall find that no view can so well explain the usus loquendi of the Fathers and the opinions entertained by them, and by their opponents, of the import and effects of the rite.
This view shows how avayevvaw, to regenerate, and other words of like import, could easily become, with the Fathers, synonymes of Bantisw. That these words did so become, is a notorious fact, as will presently be proved, but a satisfactory reason is not commonly assigned. The true reason appears to be this : 300dpi5w, and of course Bantibw, in its spiritual sense, is in fact a synonyme of avoyevvaw ;- for what is it to purify the spirit, but to regenerate ? In fact this very form of speech is used to denote this thing, Acts 15: 9. He made no difference between them and us, having purified their hearts by faith,” ry niotki xococoloUS TOS xupdias αυτων. So too the pure in heart, καθαροι τη καρδια, shall see God, Matt. 5: 8. Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify, nadupion, unto himself a peculiar people, Tit. 2: 14. So Eph. 5: 26.
Now in a case where analogical senses exist, one external and material and the other spiritual, it is natural that they should run into each other, and terms applied to one be applied to the other. Thus if Banticw means to purify, then there is natural purification and spiritual purification, or regeneration, and there would be a tendency to use avayevvaG to denote the latter idea and also to transfer it to the external rite. And, at first, it would be so done as merely to be the name of the rite, and not to denote its actual efficacy. So in Justin Martyr, Bantısw is rarely, if ever, used at all to describe the rite, but avoyɛvvaw. Eneltd Oyovtai úg' nuwv ενθα υδωρ εστι και τροπον αναγεννεσεως ου και ημεις αναγεννηθηMeV avAyEvvo VT QI :—Then they are brought by us where there is water, and in the manner of regeneration, in which we were regenerated, they are regenerated ; that is, in the manner of baptism, wherein we were baptized, they are baptized. And this use was general and familiar, as may be fully seen in the quotations collected by Wall in his history of infant baptism.
Now the idea to immerse has no such spiritual and analogical sense to denote regeneration, and of course cannot explain such a transfer.
If it is said that this use grew out of the idea of baptismal regeneration, which early prevailed, I ask again, what led to its early prevalence ? To this inquiry no other view can give so satisfactory a reply as the one which I maintain.
§ 20. This view explains not only the early prevalence of the idea of baptismal regeneration, but also of the other extreme, the entire denial of water baptism,
The facts are these. There are two kinds of purification, that of the Spirit, and that of water;--one real and effectual, the other only a symbol, an external rite, and yet both are called by the same name, purification, or baptism. .
Now in the New Testament there is a class of texts, in which the true and spiritual purification alone is spoken of, and a saving energy is ascribed to it; as Eph. 4: 5, Gal. 3: 27, 1 Cor. 12: 13, Rom. 6: 3, 4, Col. 2: 12, Eph. 5: 26, 1 Pet. 3: 21, Titus 3: 5, John 3: 5. That the external form cannot be here spoken of, I propose to show in another place. I refer to these passages here to illustrate fully the idea.
But soon, what was at first said only of the essential spiritual purification, was attached to the form, according to the uniform tendency of the human mind to sink from the spirit to the form, and thus made baptismal regeneration, and all its train of errors. And as one extreme begets another, those who opposed this view as too carnal, relying on those passages where baptism denotes clearly no more than a spiritual purification, would deny that the form was to be used at all. In practice, words are things. Systems grow out of words. And a word of a double analogical sense, like purify, would naturally give rise to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, on the one side, and to an entire denial of water baptism on the other; and that such were the results all know. On the other hand, the word in the sense to immerse, tends to no such result, for the spiritual sense, in this usage, has no relation at all to regeneration or purity in any form, and denotes, as before stated, only to overwhelm, to oppress. And it deserves notice, that the same passages, which, by this process of sinking the spiritual in the natural, gave rise to the gross errors of baptismal regeneration, are still the passages which, in consequence of the general concession of the church that they relate to the external form, fill the hands of the Campbellites, and other errorists of the like kind, with their most powerful weapons.
Had the word been xodaoitw, so that its analogical uses could have been noticed, and its real import felt, the root of the error would have been seen. But by using the word baptize, as a technic, the eye has been entirely blinded to the laws which influenced the mind in its original use. And, until that class of passages, from which the doctrine of baptismal regeneration sprung, is restored to their original, true
and spiritual sense, the occasions of this pernicious error can ll never be thoroughly eradicated from the Christian church.
Hence I do not ascribe the origin of the usage of avoyervaw, as a synonyme of Banriča, to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration as some do,—but rather believe that the natural and early use of this word to denote the rite, and a false application of certain texts to it, gave rise to the doctrine itself, and that, when this doctrine was established, the whole range of language pertaining to regeneration passed over to the rite, as gos, potiguos, nahiyyevveoId, Okoyevveold, avonha015;—that is, light, illumination, regeneration, the divine generation, a new creation. Hence also gotišw, to baptize.
$ 21. Besides this general reasoning from well known facts, there is also philological proof that the word was often used by the Fathers in the sense xa0dpiśw. That the other sense also occurs I need not deny ; for they were originally formed rather in the school of classic, than of Alexandrine Greek. In their case two currents met, and we are not to look so much for universally consistent use, as for evidence that the Alexandrine current did mingle in the stream. Hence I remark,
1. The earlier Christian writers do not so often use the word Bantibw, as some synonyme derived from the sense to purify, as avoyevvow, as before stated. Nor do they fix the mind on the idea immerse, but on purification, and use such paraphrases as denote it. Thus, after the passage of Justin Martyr already quoted, he says, in describing the mode of regeneration or baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 2ovtpov TOLOvVTQı, they wash or purify them.
2. They often use Bantiguos in the legal and sacrificial sense, so as to exclude any idea but nadaplouos. So Chrysostom, Hom. 33, says, “ He calls his cross and death, a cup and baptism,-a cup, because he readily drank it; baptism, (antiopov,) because by it he purified, excôngev, the world;" that is, he calls it purification, because by it he purified the world, in which case the sense is sacrificial, he made atonement for the world,--and the reason assigned depends, for all its force, on giving to βαπτισμος the sacrificial sense καθαρισμος. I do not quote this, nor the following passages, because I believe that he assigns the true reason, but simply to illustrate his use of language.
So Theophylact, on Matt. 20: 22, 23, says, “ He calls his death Bantiguov as xabaptixov Ovta navtov ňuwv; as making a purification, or expiation for all of us," where the whole force, as before, rests on giving to Bantiouov the sacrificial sense xa upiguov. As if he had said, he calls his death a purification, because it was designed to purify all of us. So, on Mark 10: 38, 39, he says, “He calls his cross Buntiguov, as about to make a purification for sins,” καθαρισμού των du optimv. Here the sacrificial sense is still more evident, and undeniable, and requires βαπτισμoν, to mean καθαρισμον, as before. Many other passages of a like kind could be adduced, but it is needless.
3. They sometimes, in describing the rite, use xadurow or xocootw alone. Thus Gregory-Nazianz. says, opel zodigoμενον Ιησουν εν τω Ιορδανη την εμην καθαρσιν μαλλον δε εγνιζοντα τη καθαρσει τα ιδατα- ου γαρ δη αυτος εδειτο καθαρσεως ο αιgov mnv ducotiav Tov xoquov; that is, thou shalt see Jesus puritied, i. e. baptized, in the Jordan, with my purification, i. e. baptism, or rather, sanctifying the waters, by his purification: for he did not need purification who taketh away the sins of the world. Here Bantitw is not used at all in describing the rite, and in its place is used xolalow and its derivatives, both in a moral and sacrificial sense.
Again, “ He who can take away the sins of others," óv καθαρσιων ενεκα επι τα ναματα ερχεται, αλλ ωστε δυναμιν αυτοις ενOεival. XQ0dprixny, does not come to the water for the sake of
being purified himself, but to impart to it a purifying power.
Here, as before, I do not vouch for the truth of the ideas. They are pregnant with superstition. From the notion that Christ, at his baptism, gave to the water a purifying power, came the idea of holy water, and of a mysterious influence or presence in the water of baptism, which is a constituent part of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Still the passages are of no less importance in showing the use of words; and for this alone I quote them.
It would be of no avail, here, to say that the Fathers did in fact immerse; this could not decide that purify was not the sense,--and even if it could be shown that some of them use the word Bantitw to denote the act of immersion in baptism, it would avail nothing. It would only prove inconsistent usage. But in the confluence of classical and Alexandrine Greek, after the days of Christ, and in writers so various and so multifarious, we are not to look for consistent usage. It is enough that we find the usage claimed. We should rather expect a transition from the original ideas of the New Testament writers, through a period of inconsistent usage, till, as the form usurped the place of the spirit, and a superstitious efficacy was attached to immersion, the original sense would disappear, and the name of the form alone remain, as is the case in the Greek Church at the present day.
I do not expect to find in the Fathers a correct philosophical account of the origin or progress of their own errors. They assign different, and often inconsistent reasons for the usages of language already adverted to. It is enough for me that I have the facts before me, and the laws of the mind to explain them. They are just such as I should expect, on the supposition that the original religious sense of Bentisa was xaðapisa.