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3. Those who look mainly at the obvious design of the rite, i. e. to indicate purity, and on this ground affirm that to Baptize is to apply water in any way which denotes purity, without attempting to make out a philological proof of the truth of their position from the import of the word Battilu.
4. Those who insist that the word in all its extent of usage has but one meaning-viz. to immerse—and that this excludes all debate as to the word
None of these positions is in my judgment adapted to explain all the facts which occur in the use of the word, and to give satisfaction and rest to an inquiring mind. Any view which shall effectually do this will be found to have the following requisites :
(1.) That it shall be strictly philological
(2.) That out of all the possible meanings of Bartilw, it shall fix on one as the real meaning in the case in question.
(3.) That it shall at all times steadily adhere to this.
(4.) That this shall limit the performance of the rite to no particular mode.
The position which I shall endeavor to prove in accordance with these views is this, that the word Bantilw, as a religious term, means neither dip nor sprinkle, immerse nor pour--nor any other external action in applying a fluid to the body, or the body to a fluid---nor any action which is limited to one mode of performance. But that as a religious term it means at all times, to purify, or cleanse-words of a meaning so general as not to be confined to any mode, or agent, or means, or object, whether material or spiritual, but to leave the widest scope for the question as to the mode---so that in this usage it is in every respect a perfect synonym of the word xadapil w.
Let it then be borne in mind, that the question is not this, Does the word in all its extent of usage denote at any time a definite external act ? nor this, Is this its original, primitive signification ? Even if all this were admitted, it would not touch the question—for, as we all know, nothing is more common than for words to be used in more meanings than one, and to decide in what sense à word is used in a given instance, we are not to follow etymology or fancy, but evidence, derived from the facts of the case.
With regard then to other uses of the word Barrilw, I freely admit that in classic usage it does, as a general fact, clearly denote some external act of a specific kind, yet it is
by no means clear to my mind that it does not in different cases denote different acts. And though I do not regard it as an integral part of the argument which I propose io construct, yet for the sake of completeness, I think it best to state what seems to be the truth on this point.
1. I freely admit that in numerous cases it clearly denotes to immerse-in which case an agent submerges partially or totally some person or thing. Indeed, this is so notoriously true, that I need attempt no proof. Innumerable examples are at hand, and enough may be found, in all the most common discussions of the subject.
2. It is also applied to cases where a fluid is poured copiously over any thing so as to flood it, though not completely or permanently to submerge it. Of this usage I shall adduce but one example :-Origen, referring to the copious pouring of water by Elijah on the wood and on the sacrifice, represents him as baptizing them. For the passage, and remarks on it, see Wall's History of Infant Baptism.
3. It is also applied to cases where a fluid without an agent rolls over or floods, and covers any thing—as in the oft quoted passage in Diodorus Siculus, Vol. VII. p. 191, as translated by Prof. Stuart: " The river, borne along by a more violent current, overwhelmed many” (Battila). So, Vol. I. p. 107, he speaks of land animals intercepted by the Nile, as Baarilouéva, overwhelmed, and perishing. The same mode of speaking is also applied to the sea shore, which is spoken of by Aristotle as baptized or overwhelmed by the tide.
4. It is also applied in cases where some person or thing sinks passively into the flood. Thus Josephus, in narrating his shipwreck on the Adriatic, uses this word to describe the sinking of the ship.
I am aware that by some writers rigorous efforts are made V to reduce all these senses to the original idea to immerse or dip. But it seems to me that they are rather led by their zeal to support a theory, than by a careful induction from facts; and that they wrest facts to suit their principles, rather than derive their principles from facts.
To me it seems plain that in all these cases there is a material difference, as to the external act, nor am I prepared to admit that either, in preference to the other, is the original and primitive meaning of the word. If it were an object of much importance to decide what this is, inasmuch as they
all agree in one common idea of a state or condition, though variously caused, I should incline to give to the word the meaning to cause to come into that state, and this idea is favored by the termination, ifw. The state is, a state of being enveloped or surrounded by a Auid, or any thing else adapted to produce such a result. And a general meaning of Battisw would thus be to cause to come into this state—whether it be done by pouring the fluid copiously over an object, or by the flowing of a fluid over an object, without the intervention of any agent, or by the passive sinking of an object into it. In all these cases the state of the object becomes the same, but the external act, by which it comes into this state, is not the same in either case.
To all this, however, I attach no great importance in the discussion of the present question ; unless it be of use in exposing the fallacy of all efforts to reduce this word to such a perfect simplicity of meaning, even as it regards an external act, as is claimed for it by some.
On the other hand, even if I were to admit that its original and primitive idea was to immerse, and that when it denotes an external act, it never departs from this sense; still the question would arise, is there not another meaning derived from the effects of this act, and in which the mind contemplates the effect alone, entirely irrespective of the mode in which it is produced.
I contend that there is—and that as thorough purification or cleansing is often the result of submersion in water, so the word Sanrifw has come to signify to purify or cleanse thoroughly, without any reference to the mode in which it is done.
§ 4. There is not a priori the least improbability of such a change of meaning, from the laws of the mind, or of language.
It may at first sight seem an improbable position to some, that if a word originally signifies “ to immerse," it can assume a meaning so remote from its primitive sense as “ to purify,” and entirely drop all reference to the mode.
Yet the slightest attention to the laws of the mind, and to well-known facts, will show that not the least improbability of such a result exists,
No principle is more universally admitted by all sound
philologists, than that to establish the original and primitive meaning of a word, is not at all decisive as it regards its subsequent usages. It often aids only as giving a clue by which we can trace the progress of the imagination, or the association of ideas in leading the mind from meaning to meaning, on some ground of relative similitude, or connexion of cause and effect.
So the verb to spring, denotes an act, and gives rise to a noun denoting an act. A perception of similitude transfers the word to the issuing of water from a fountain-to the motion of a watch-spring-and to the springing of plants in the spring of the year. Yet who does not feel that to be able to trace such a process of thought, is far from proving that, when a man in one case says, I made a spring over the ditch, in another, I broke the spring of my watch, in another, I drank from the spring, in another, I prefer spring to win. ter, he means in each case the same thing by the word spring? And who in using these words, always resorts to the original idea of the verb? Indeed, so far is it from being true that this is commonly done, that most persons are pleased when the track of the mind is uncovered, and the path is pointed out by which it passed from meaning to meaning, as if a new idea had been acquired—so conversa. tion, prevent, charity, as now used, have obviously departed widely from the sense in which they were used in the days of the translators of the Bible.
But to multiply words on a point so plain, would be needless, had not so much stress been laid on the supposed ori. ginal meaning of this word. It is therefore too plain to be denied, that words do often so far depart from their primi, tive meaning, as entirely to leave out the original idea - and that the secondary senses of a word are often by far the most numerous and important.
Moreover, to establish such secondary meanings, it is not necessary that we should be able to trace the course of the mind, though it is pleasant to be able to do it. A secondary meaning, however unlike it may seem to the primitive, may yet be established like any other fact in the usage of language, that is by appropriate testimony.
But whilst such transitions are common in all words, they are particularly common in words of the class of Battisw denoting action by, or with reference to a fluid. This is owing
SECOND SERIES, VOL. III. NO, I.
to the fact that the effects produced by the action, depend not on the action alone, but on the action and the fluid combined—and of course may be varied as the fluid or its application varies.
Let us now take the general idea of enveloping or immersing in a fluid, and see how unlike the effects to which it may give rise.
if the envelopment is produced by a flood, a torrent or waves, the effect may be to overwhelm, to oppress, to destroy.
If, by taking up the object and immersing it into a coloring fluid, it is to impart a new color, or to dye.
If by taking up an object and immersing it into a cleansing fluid-or by going into a fluid-or by pouring the fluid copiously over the object, the effect is to purify or cleanse.
And on these natural or material senses, may be founded the same number of spiritual or moral senses, by transferring the ideas to the mind.
Now as a matter of fact such transfers have taken place in cognate and similar words.
I shall out of many select a few cases from Greek, Latin, English, and Hebrew words, fully to illustrate, and clearly to confirm these principles, and to show that they are peculiar to no language, but rest on universal laws of the mind.
In Greek all admit that the most common sense of Bárow is to dip, to immerse. I am willing to admit that it is the primitive sense.
But it is beyond all dispute that the same word has passed to the meaning to dye, without any reference to mode. Great efforts were once made to deny this. But the most intelligent Baptists now entirely abandon this ground, and that with the best reason. And indeed, so far has the word passed from its original sense that it is applied to coloring the surface of an object by gold, i. e. to gilding. A few examples out of many in so plain a case must suffice. In the batile of the frogs and mice, a mouse is represented as dying or coloring the lake with his blood-εξάπτετο αιμασι λιμνή. this there was once a battle royal to prove that it could be proper to speak of dipping a lake into the blood of a mouse ; and all the powers of rhetoric were put in requisition to justify the usage. Hear now Mr. Carson, inferior in learning