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had of their unfitness for it, as many, in our day, do the Lord's supper; and others, it may be, might have neglected to baptize their infants, or to be baptized themselves, till they apprehended themselves near to death, as being misled by a false supposition, which was imbibed by several, that baptism washed away sin; therefore, the nearer they were to their end, the more prepared they would be, by this ordinance, for a better world. However, whether it was neglected for this, or any other reason, it does not much affect the argument we are
claimed the slanderous imputation with abhorrence, declaring that he was accused falsely. In the confession of faith, Pelagius then exhibited, which Dr. Wall has recited, he owns, "that baptism ought to be administered to infants, “with the same sacramental words which are used in the case of adult persons.”He vindicates himself in the strongest terms, saying, "that men slander him as "if he denied the sacrament of baptism to infants, and did promise the kingdom of "heaven to any person without the redemption of Christ; and affirms that he never "heard of any, not even the most impious heretic, that would say such a thing of infants." Now these difficulties would have been instantly removed, and the battery, which so greatly annoyed them, been demolished at once, by only denying that infants were to be baptized. But they did not suggest or entertain any doubt at all respecting this doctrine. Pelagius readily avowed, in the most explicit manner, the incontested right, and the established immemorial practice of infantbaptism. Celestius also confessed, " that infants were to be baptized "accord"ing to the rule of the universal church.”
One of these men was born and educated in Britain, and the other in Ireland. They both lived a long time at Rome, the centre of the world and place to which all people resorted. Celestius settled at Jerusalem, and Pelagius travelled over all the principal churches of Europe, Asia and Africa. If there had been any number of churches, or a single church, in any part of the world, not only in that but in the two preceding ages, who denied the baptism of infants, these learned, sagacious persons must have known or heard of it; and certainly they would have mentioned it, in order to check the triumph of their opponents, and to wrest from them that argument, by which, above all others, they were most. grievously pressed. It is evident there was no society of Baptists then in the world, nor had there been any of that denomination, within the memory of man. The confession of Pelagius and Celestius amounts almost to demonstration. It proves, beyond all reasonable doubt, that infant-baptism had universally obtained, and had always been practised among christians, even from the apostolic times.
Dr. Wall, who enjoyed the best advantages for being acquainted with the history of infant-baptism, and who made this the principal subject of his studies and enquiries, briefly sums up the evidence on both sides, in the following words: "Lastly, for the first four hundred years, there appears only one man, "Tertullian, who advised the delay of infant-baptism in some cases, and one "Gregory, who did perhaps practise such delay in the case of his own children; "but no society of men so thinking or so practising; or any one man saying it "was unlawful to baptize infants. So in the next seven hundred years, there is "not so much as one man to be found, who either spoke for or practised any "such delay, but all the contrary. And when about the year 1130, one sect "among the Waldenses or Albigenses declared against the baptizing of infants, "as being incapable of salvation, the main body of that people rejected their opi"nion; and they of them who held that opinion, quickly dwindled away and "disappeared, there being no more persons heard of, holding that tenet, until "the rising of the German anti-pædobaptists in the year 1522.”
maintaining, our design being principally to prove, that it was practised in the early ages of the church; and, in what instances soever it was omitted, it was not because they denied that the infants of believing parents had a right to it. As to several things mentioned by the authors before cited, and others that treat on that subject, whereby they seem to maintain the absolute necessity thereof, to wash away the pollution of sin; or, when they assert, that it is as necessary to salvation as regenerating grace, we have nothing to say as to this method of reasoning: However, whatever they speak in defence of it, is a sufficient evidence that it is not a practice of late invention.
As to what respects Tertullian's advice to defer baptism till persons were capable to engage for themselves; this caution argues, that it was practised by some, which is the principal thing designed to be proved. And the reason assigned by him for the neglect of baptism, being this, because the sureties, who undertook to instruct them in the doctrines of religion, often promised more than they made conscience of performing, and so brought themselves into a snare thereby; therefore, for their sakes, infant-baptism, which could not be administered without sureties, had better be delayed; this only proves that he was against infant-baptism for some prudential reasons, as it was attended with this inconvenience, not that he thought it was in itself unlawful to be practised by them. From hence we may conclude, that the objection taken from infant-baptism, being supposed to be a novelty, does not weaken the cause we are maintaining. Thus concerning the subjects of baptism.
We are now to consider the mode thereof, or what we are to understand by the word baptism. It is said, in the foregoing answer, to be the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. There has been a great dispute in the world, concerning the meaning of the word Blige, by which this ordinance is expressed; from whence arises the different mode of the administration thereof. Some think, that it only signifies the putting a person, or thing, into the water, whereby it is covered, or, as it were, buried in it; which is otherwise expressed by the word dipping. Others (whose opinion I cannot but acquiesce in) conclude that it may as well be performed by the application of water, though it be in a different manner, either by pouring or sprinkling; and accordingly, that it signifies the using the means of cleansing by
They that would see more on this subject may consult G. J. Voss. de baptisme disput. xiv. Forbes, instruct. hist. theol. Lib. x. cap. v. and Wall's history of infant¬ baptism, vol. I
the application of water, whatever be the form or mode thereof. This argument depends very much upon the sense in which the word is applied to the action intended thereby, either in scripture or other writers. And, inasmuch as the sense thereof, as used in scripture, and other writings, is well exa plained by the learned and judicious Dr. Owen, agreeably to the sense we have given of the word; I have no occasion to make any other critical remarks upon it, by referring to those writings in which the word is found *
See Dr. Owen's complete Collection of Sermons, page 580, 581. of dipping; in which he observes, that Bar, when used in these scriptures, Luke xvi. 24. and John xiii. 26. is translated to dip; and in Rev. xix. 13. where we read of a vesture dipped in blood; it is better rendered stained, by sprinkling blood upon it; and all these scriptures denote only a touching one part of the body, and not plunging. In other authors, it signifies, tingo, immergo. lavo, abluo; but in no author it ever signifies to dip, but only in order to washing, or as the means of washing. As for the Hebrew word, it is rendered, by the LXX. in Gen: xxxvii. 31. by ponúvw, to stain by sprinkling, or otherwise mostly by flw: In 2 Kings v. 14. they render it by Barlige, and no where else: In ver. 10. Elisba commands Naaman to wash; and accordingly, ver. 14. pursuant to this order, it is said, he dipped himself seven times; the word is $; which the LXX. render Calioal; and in Exod. xii. 22. where the word is used, which we render dip, speaking concerning the dipping the bunch of hyssop in the blood, the LXX. render it by the word in?w: And, in 1 Sam. xiv. 27, it is said, that Jonathan dipped the end of his rod in an honey-comb; the word here is also aum, and the LXX. render it ; in which place it cannot be understood of his dipping it by plunging: And in Lev. iv. 6. 17. and chap. ix. 9. the priest is said to dip his finger in the blood, which only intends his touching the blood, so as to sprinkle it; and therefore does not signify plunging.
This learned author likewise observes, that a signifies to wash; as in. stances out of all authors may be given; and he particularly mentions Suidas, And he further Hesychius, Julius Pollux, and Phavorinus and Eustachius. adds, that it is first used in the scripture, in Mark i. 8. John i. 33. and to the same purpose, Acts i. 5. in which place it signifies to pour; for the expression is equivocal; I baptize you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost; which is an accomplishment of that promise, that the Holy Ghost should be poured on them. As for other places, in Mark vii. 2. 4. vial, which signifies to wash, and is so translated, is explained in the words immediately following, as signifying to baptize. And, in Luke xi. 58. it is said, that the Pharisee marvelled that our Saviour had not washed before dinner: The word in the Greek is on, to whom he replies in the following verse, Ye Pharisees make clean the outside, &c. so that the word, Banlige signifies there to cleanse, or to use the means of cleansing.
He also observes, that though the original and natural signification of the word imports, to dip, to plunge, to dye; yet it also signifies to wash or cleanse : Nevertheless, he thinks that it is so far from signifying nothing else but to dip or plunge, that when it is to be understood in that sense, the words ought to be Jubala, or subarlı, rather than Burlw, or Bali; and also that it no where signifies to dip, but as denoting a mode of, and in order to washing; and that it signifies to wash, in all good authors. He also refers to Scapula and Stephanus, as translating the word Barlig by lavo, or abluo; and Suidas, as rendering it by madefacio, lavo, cblue, purgo, mundo: And he speaks of some authors, that he had searched in every place wherein they mention baptism, and that he found not one word to the purpose; and therefore concludes, that he was obliged to
But, since the greatest number of christians are not so wel versed in the Greek language, as to be able to judge whether those methods of reasoning that are taken from the use of the word which we render baptize, are sufficiently conclusive : And, when it is asserted, that many who are undoubtedly very good masters of the Greek tongue, have determined that it signifies all manner of washing with water, as well as dipping into it, this will be reckoned, by them, a very fruitless and unprofitable subject; however, we are obliged to mention it, because great stress is usually laid on the sense of this word,
say, and was ready to make it good, that no honest man, who understands the Greek tongue, can deny the word to signify to wash, as well as to dip. (a)
(a) Dr. Wall, in the appendix of his reply to Dr. Gale, mentions a remarkable instance, in which the mode of wetting or of applying water was certainly that of pouring, and not that of dipping. It is as follows:-St. Origen when conimenting on the Baptism of John, enquires thus of the Pharisees; "How could you think that Elias, when he should come, would baptize, who did not in Ahab's time baptize the wood upon the altar, which was to be washed before "it was burnt by the Lord's appearing in fire? But he ordered the priest to do that; not once only. but he says, do it the second time; and they did it the second time. And do it the third time; and they did it the third time. Therefore, how could it be likely that this man, "who did not then baptize, but assigned that work to others, would himself baptize, when he "should, according to the prophecy of Malachi, again appear here on earth?"
We find in the first book of Kings, xviii, 33, that the order given by Elijah was to fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the wood and on the burnt offering. This pouring of water, Origen, that accurate scholar, who lived in the second century, and was well acquainted with the Greek classics, and Greek Testament, calls baptizing. In the very same sentence, he makes use of the Greek word Baptizo four times; twice with express reference to the Baptism of John; and twice with express reference to that Baptism which took place in the days of the Prophet Elijah; which baptism, we are expressly told, was not performed by dipping the wood and sacrifice into water, but by pouring water upon them.
It is also evident, even from the frequent use of the word baptizo, by heathen authors, that it does not always signify a total immersion. Mr. Walker tells us, "that Porphyrie mentions
a river in India, into which if an offender enters, or attempts to pass through it, he is imme diately baptized up to his head:" (baptizetai mechri Kephales.) lere a person is said to be baptized, although his head did not go under, but remained above the water. This certainly was not a total immersion.
"He also instances a case from Mr. Sydenham, as delivered by the oracle (viz. askes baptize, dunai de toi ou themis esti.") In which instance, if dunar signifies to plunge wholly under water, as it certainly does, then baptize must signify something less than a total immersien,"Baptize him as a bottle, but it is not lawful to plunge him wholly under the water." The baptism here described, resembles that of a blown bladder or bottle of leather, which when put into the water, will not sink to the bottom, but swim
The same critical author mentions an instance from Schrevelii's and Robertson's Lexicons, 19th chapter, in which case, the primitive word bapto signifies a wetting with water, that was certainly less, and very different from a total dipping or immersion. The sentence is this. (Baptei men askan, udor de ugron dunei pote.) He indeed baptizeth a bladder or bottle, but it never goeth under the liquid water."
To these instances, we inight add a well known case, taken from a poem attributed to Homer, called the battle of the frogs aud the mice, in which the lake is said to be baptized by the blood of a frog. (Ebapteto de aimati limne porphureo.) This lake was not dipped into the blood of a frog; it was only bespattered and tinged therewith.
We could easily multiply authorities if it were necessary. It appears undeniably evident. from the Greek classicks, and from learned writers and commentators, both ancient and mo dern, that the word baptizo has other significations besides that of a total dipping or immer sion
The most celebrated and respectable Lexicographers and criticks have often translated baptizo into the sollowing Latin words, viz. baptizo, mergo, immerpo, tingo, intinge, lavo, ablue. midefacio, purgo, munde. No one, I presume, will pretend that all these words are mentioned as being perfectly synonimons-of the same meaning exactly. And certainly if the word baptizo signify any thing less or different from a total immersion, then persons may be baptized in some other mode
Besides. if it had been the intention of Christ and of his Apostles, to specify the mode, or to have restricted all christians to one and the same mode of baptizing, they might, for this pr pose, have selected from the Greek language words of the most unequivocal and definite signi cation. If it had been their intention to specify the mode of sprinkling, they might have used the word Rantixo; if the mode of pouring, they might have used the word Etches; if that mode of bathing or washing, which is performed by the application of water with friction rubbing, they might have used the word Lous; and if it had been their intention to specify the mode of dipping, they might have used the word Duplo or Duno, &:c.
to establish that mode of baptism which is always used by those who are on the other side of the question.
I shall take leave to add, to what that learned author, but now quoted, refers to, has observed on this subject; that it does not appear to me that the word i always signifies to wash, by dipping into water, but by the application of water some other way; because it is sometimes applied to those things which were too large and cumbersome, and therefore could not well be cleansed that way. Thus it is said, in Mark vii. 4. that the Pharisees not only held the washing, or, as it is in the Greek, the baptism of cups and pots, and brazen vessels, which might, indeed, be washed by immersion, but of tables, or, as it may be rendered, of beds, or those seats on which the Jews, according to the custom of the eastern nations, lay at their ease, when they eat their meals. These, I conceive were washed some other way, different from that of dipping or plunging in water; And if it was possible that they might be washed that way, yet the word may be applied to innumerable things, that cannot be baptized by immersion: Therefore, the general sense that we have given of it, that it signifies to wash, whether by dipping into the water, or by the application of water to the thing washed, may justify our practice, with respect to the mode of baptism, commonly used by us.
Object. 1. It is objected hereunto, that the mode used by us, is not properly baptism, but rantism; or, that to sprinkle, or pour, is not to baptize.
Answ. To this it may be replied, that this method of begging the question in controversy, is never reckoned a fair way of arguing. If baptism be a using the means of cleansing, by the application of water, which is the thing we contend for, then the word baptize may as well be applied to it as to any other mode of washing. That which may be further replied to this objection is, that if the thing signified by the action of baptizing, namely, the blood of Jesus, together with those gifts and graces of the Spirit, which are applied to those to whom God makes this a saving ordinance, be sometimes set forth by sprinkling or pouring clean water upon a person, then it cannot be well concluded, that sprinkling, or pouring, is not baptizing, though it differ very much from that which they who contend with us about this matter generally call baptizing. That sprinkling or pouring, is sometimes used in scripture, to signify the conferring of those spiritual gifts and graces which are signified in baptism, is very evident; inasmuch as it is said in John i. 17. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin; and this is called the blood of sprinkling, in Heb. xii. 24. 1 Pet. i. 2. Therefore, in a spiritual sense, sprinkling is called cleansing from sin; and the graces of the