Page images
PDF
EPUB

monizes the facts of the case as no other view does. Indeed I can never read the account of John's baptism, and his various replies without feeling that this passage from Malachi gives color to them all. This idea I shall consider more at large in the following section.

§ 10.

The contrast made by John between his own baptism and that of Christ, illustrates and confirms the same view.

This contrast exists in three particulars—the subject, the agent, and the means.

In the case of John, the subject was the body-in the case of Christ, the mind.

In the case of John, the agent was material, i, e. a manin the case of Christ the agent was the Holy Spirit. In the case of John, the means were water-in the case of Christ the truth and the emotions of God.

Now the idea to purify is perfectly adapted to illustrate and carry out such a contrast, but to immerse is not.

This sense is never transferred to the mind, in any language, so far as I know, to indicate any thing like the effects of the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Where oppressive, crushing, painful or injurious influences are denoted, it is so transferred-as púgraus ogóvtion BECATTIO. MÉVOS TÒv voữ. Chrysostom. Bagúrataus dwagtiais BEGATTIOMÉVOJ Ιdem.-πολλούς κύμασι πράγματων βεβαπτισμένοι Ιdem-and in this sense the overwhelming and crushing of Christ by cares and agony is spoken of as a baptism in the gospels. But this does not denote the peculiar and appropriate effects of the agency of the Holy Spirit.

But the sense to purify, can be with ease applied to body or mind, to human agents or to the Holy Spirit, to water or to the truth and divine influence.

How simple and natural the statement ! “ I indeed purify you with water—but he shall purify you with the Holy Spirit. I perform an external and symbolical rite, by which the body is cleansed with water, but he shall perform a higher cleansing, or that in which the mind itself is purified by the Spirit of God.”

And how harsh, how forced, how unnatural to say, I immerse you in the Holy Spirit—and in fine, such a use of language to denote such a thing is entirely foreign to all the laws of the human mind.

Indeed so much is the force of this felt, that in this part of the antithesis many resort to a new modification of the idea, and maintain that it means to imbue largely, to overwhelm with divine influences.

But this destroys the whole symmetry of the antithesis. John does not mean to say I immerse you largely with water, but either, I immerse you in water, or I cleanse you with it, and whichever sense we adopt in one part of the antithesis, we ought to retain in the other.

But when the agent is spiritual, the object spiritual, and the means spiritual, and the end purity, immersion is out of the question. Nothing but the most violent improbability of the sense to purify, can authorize us to reject it in such a case. But no such improbability exists; the probability is entirely in its favor. Purify, then, in any view of the subject must here be the sense.

This view is still further confirmed by comparing the language of John with the passage from Malachi already quoted. It seems to be at all times his great desire to lead them to apply those words to Christ, and not to himself. As if he had said, “Do not think that I am the great purifier spoken of in those words. After me cometh one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am unworthy to loose. He shall purify you with the Holy Ghost and with fire-whose fan is in his hand, and he shall thoroughly purge (daxadagisi) his floor," etc. But all the force, correspondence and natural illumination of these passages, depends on giving to the word Barriţw the sense which I claim.

§ 11. In 1 Cor. xii. 13, the Holy Spirit is directly said to baptize, and in this case all external acts are of course excluded, and purify is the only appropriate sense.

“For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

If any shall say that joining the church by the external rite is here meant, I reply, that is never performed by the Spirit, but by man. But this baptism is as much a real work of the Holy Spirit, as the causing to drink into one Spirit, which is not external, but internal and real.

But to immerse in water is not the work of the Holy Spirit, nor is it his work to immerse the mind, but to purify the mind is. Moreover, not an external union to the visible Church, but a real union to the true and spiritual body of Christ is here meant, and this is produced by the purification of the mind, not by the immersion of the body. Hence to describe the operations of the Holy Spirit in uniting us to the body of Christ, purify is adopted_immerse is not.

$ 12. βαπτίζω and καθαρίζω are so similarly used in connexion with the forgiveness of sins, as decidedly to favor the idea that they are in a religious use synonymous.

The purification effected by the Holy Spirit is of two kinds, (i.) a purification from spiritual defilement; (2.) a deliverance from the guilt of sin, i. e. liability to be punished, and from a sense of guilt, through the atonement.

It is through the atonement that pardon is given ; and through the Holy Spirit conviction of sin is produced ; and by him also a sense of guilt is taken away in view of the atonement ; and in this sense he is said to cleanse from sin by tbe blood of Christ.

This kind of purification may be called legal, as it relates to guilt, forgiveness and an atonement. The other kind of purification may be called moral, inasmuch as it removes the unholy and impure feelings and habits of the mind and produces in their place those that are holy and pure.

Both kinds of purification are expressed by the same word xabagilw. Its use to denote legal purification or expiation is very extensive. It denotes, (1.) to make atonement. As in Ex. 29 : 37, and 30: 10. ^ Thou shalt make atonement for the altar,” “ Aaron shall make atonement ;" Sept. xadagilw, Heb. .

(2.) To forgive, Ex. 20: 7. “The Lord will not hold him guiltless (xaðagisi) that taketh his name in vain.” Ex. 34: 7. “ That will by no means clear the guilty.” Deut. 5: 11. Idem. In these and similar cases the Greek xadagifw corresponds to the Hebrew 17p to forgive, to absolve from punishment, and is used in a sense strictly legal, and does not refer to moral purity at all. So in 1 John i: 7. “ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;" and v. 9, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In these cases the idea of atonement and forgiveness by it, are involved in xaðapíšw, and in Heb. the blood of Christ is said to purge the conscience from dead works, implying a deliverance from a sense of guilt and a sense of pardoned sin. Kadapíšw is here used; hence an atonement is called Kabapropòs in Heb. 1: 3. When he had by himself purged our sins, (xa0apiouòv toino áuevos,) he sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. In this case the atonement, kalapiojos, was made first, and then applied to cleanse by the Holy Spirit.

Nor is this usage confined to Scriptural Greek; we find that when Cræsus exempted Adrastus from liability to pun. ishment for killing his brother, it is said pšv £xadăps—he purified him-and when Adrastus requested such exemption, xadapoiou ŠSÉETO he requested expiation-or exemption from liability to punishment. Among the Jews this kind of purification was indicated by its appropriate external forms of which the sprinkling of blood was the most common--if not the only one. Besides this, as all know, wadapięw is used abundantly to denote moral purification or its emblem ceremonial purification-of which no examples are needed.

Hence to a Jew the most riatural word to connect with the idea of the forgiveness of sins was xabagiquos, or some synonymous word.

Between immersion, and the forgiveness of sins no such associations had ever been established. For all the remis. sions of sin under the old ritual were by blood and hence Paul, Heb. 9: 19-23, after speaking of the sprinkling of blood upon the people and the book of the tabernacle and the vessels says, και σχεδόν εν αίματι πάντα καθαρίζεται κατά τον νόμον, και χωρίς αιματεκχυσίας ου γίνεται αψεσις.

Here the connexion of καθαρισμός and άφεσις αμαρτιών-« purification,” and “ forgiveness of sins” are presented at once to the eye.

And there was no rite that involved immersion, which, had any connexion with the forgiveness of sins.

Now if any word is found to sustain the same relations as kadapiojòs to the same idea, forgiveness of sins, we have reason to think that it is used in the same sense. But Banrisum and its derivatives do sustain the same relation. Mark 1: 4. “ John preached the Baptism of repentance for the forgive

SECOND SERIES, VOL. III. NO. I.

ness of sins,"— so in Luke 3: 3. Also, Acts 3 : 38. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost."

Here the idea is legal—the forgiveness of sins. The common expression for this is kalapiopòs and baptism has a direct relation to it—and immersion is never used in any such relation. How natural then the conclusion that Bantiquos has the same sense as the word in whose familiar place it stands.

But though Baptism in these places relates chiefly to legal purification, in others it relates as clearly to moral purification, and in this respect also corresponds with kabapíšw which as we have seen includes both kinds of purification, legal and moral.

To sum up all in a few words βαπτίζω as well as καθαρίζω relate to both kinds of purification legal and moral, of the conscience and of the heart; and the language most commonly applied to the first is καθαίρω or καθαρίζω-and this is always in the ritual symbolized by sprinkling and by blood. Hence as Barriţw has the same extent of application with kabapíšw and as it stands in the same relations with it to the forgiveness of sins, it is highly probable that it has the same sense. By giving it a meaning so extensive as purify, it is adapted to fulfil all its relations. By confining it to a meaning so limited as to immerse, it is unfitted for at least one half of the relations in which it stands.

§ 13. The account of Baptism given by Josephus, a cotemporary Jew, is perfectly in coincidence with this view.

[To be continued.] *

* Our limits oblige us to defer the remainder of this article. It will appear in the next No. of the Repository. The author examines several other passages of the New Testament in which Bantišw has the sense of katapíšw, and maintains by numerous quotations from the Fathers, that it was so understood by primitive Christians. The reader will find much that is curious and instructive in this discussion.

EDITOR.

« PreviousContinue »