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Spirit conferred in regeneration, are represented in Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27. by sprinkling clean water; which mode of speaking would never be used, were not sprinkling a means of cleansing. And, some think, that the apostle when he speaks of our drawing near to God, having our bodies washed with pure water, Heb. x. 22, intends the ordinance of baptism; yet it alludes to the ceremonial cleansings that were under the law, which were often done by sprinkling: Therefore we cannot but assert, that sprinkling water in baptism, is as much cleansing as any other mode used therein,
Moreover, sometimes the thing signified in baptism, is represented by a metaphor taken from pouring; which, if our mode of baptizing be just, will not seem disagreeable to it; and, it may be, the explication is taken from it, as the conferring the Holy Ghost, which they who were baptized were given to expect, is often called pouring out the Spirit, Acts ii. 17, 18. chap. viii. 38.
Obj. There is another objection which is concluded by many, to be unanswerable, viz. that when we read of baptism in the New Testament, the person baptized is said to go down into the water. Thus the Eunich did, chap. viii. 38. and immediately after this, he is said to come up out of the water; which can be applied, as is supposed, to no other mode of baptism but that of immersion.
Answ. To this it may be replied, that the whole strength of this objection depends upon the sense that is given of the Greek particles, which we often render into, and out of *. But this will have no weight with any but those who are unacquainted with the Greek language, since it is so well known to all that understand it, that the former of these particles often signifies to, as well as into; and the latter from, as well as out of; as innumerable instances might easily be given, was it needful, from scripture, and other Greek authors, in which the words are applied to those things, that according to the natural signification thereof, cannot be understood as denoting into, or out of. There is one scripture which no one can suppose is to be taken in any other sense but what is agreeable to our present purpose, viz. Mat. xvii. 27. wherein our Saviour bids Peter Go to the seat, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh thence, &c. where, by go to the sea, we can understand nothing else, but go to the sea-shore; and yet the word is the same with that which is, in some other places, rendered into. There are other scriptures in which persons are said to go to the mountain, or some other places, wherein it would be very improper to say, that they went into the place; though
*E; and i † Εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν
the word be the same with that which in other instances we render into. And the word which is sometimes rendered out of, is frequently rendered from, and can be understood in no other sense: As when it is said, in Luke xi. 31. The queen of the south came from the utmost parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of Solomon; which cannot be understood of her coming out of, but from thence. But, this matter being so well known to all that read the New Testament in the original, it is needless for me to give any other instances. †
As to what concerns the Eunuch's going into the water, Į cannot think any thing else is intended by it, but that he descended or lighted down from his chariot, to the water, that is, by a metonymy, to the water-side, in order to his being baptized by Philip. It is no uncommon mode of speaking, to say, that a person goes down to the river-side, to take water, or to the well, to draw it; therefore, this is no strain on the sense of the word; and I am the rather inclined to give into this opinion, because some modern travellers, taking notice of the place where this was done, intimate, that it was only a spring of water; and therefore without sufficient depth to plunge the body in: And some ancient writers, who lived between three and four hundred years after our Saviour's time, as Jerom and Eusebius, intimate the same thing. If it be said, that these may be mistaken as to the place, inasmuch as the particular spot of ground in which this water was, is not mentioned in scripture: I will not lay much stress upon it; however, I cannot but observe, that it is represented by a dimininutive expression, as it is said, they came to a certain water, that is, probably, a brook, which was by the way-side; not a river, or a great collection of water. And it is further observed, that Philip, as well as the Eunuch, went down into the water; though none suppose that he was plunged in the water; there fore it does not certainly appear, from the sense of the word, that the Eunuch was, unless the matter in controversy be taken for granted, that baptism can be performed in no other way, but by plunging.
Moreover, to go down to the water, does not always signify in other scriptures, going down to the bottom of the water; as when the Psalmist, in Psal. cvii. 23. speaks of them that go down to the sea in ships, he does not mean them that go down to the bottom of it; therefore, going down to the water does not always
If any one has a mind to see how these particles is and ix, are used in the New Testament, he may consult Schmid, concord. in voc. us and ex, where there are a great number of places mentioned, in which these words are used; and, it reill' hardly be thought, by any impartial reader, that the greatest part of them can be rendered by, into er out of; but rather to, or from.
signify being plunged in it. As for what is said concerning Philip and the eunuch's coming up out of the water, it may very fairly be understood of their returning from the water-side, and the eunuch's going up again into his chariot. Moreover, I cannot but think, that in this, and all other places, where persons are said to come up out of the water, it denotes an action performed with design, and the perfect exercise of the understanding in him that does it; which seems not agreeable to one who is at the bottom of the water, and cannot well come up from thence, unless by the help of him that baptized him. The sense of the words, coming out of the water, is agreeable to what is said concerning our Saviour at his baptism, in Matt. iii. 16. Jesus went up straightway out of the water; which seems to be a mistake in our translation; where the words aries, have been rendered, from the water; which is of the same import with the sense of the Greek particle, when a person is said to come up out of the water.
Obj. 3. It seems very evident, that John the Baptist used no other mode but that of immersion; because he chose those places to exercise this part of his ministry in, that were well supplied with water, sufficient for this purpose. Accordingly, we first read of his removing from the wilderness of Judea, in which he preached the doctrine of repentance; and told the people, that the kingdom of heaven, that is, the gospel-state, which was to begin with the appearing of the Messiah, was at hand; and then we read of his removing to the banks of the river Jordan, for the conveniency of baptizing those who came to him for that purpose: And, after that, we read of another station in which he resided, viz. Enon, near to Salim; and this reason is assigned; because there was much water there, John iii. 23. Now, if he had baptized by sprinkling, or pouring a little water on the face, he had no need to remove out of the zvilderness of Judea: For, whatever scarcity of water there might be there, it was no difficult matter for him to be supplied with enough to serve his occasion, had this been his mode of baptizing.
Answ. To this it may be replied, that though John removed to Jordan and Anon, that he might be well supplied with water, as he daily wanted large quantities thereof; yet it doth not necessarily follow from hence, that this was done for the sake of immersion therein: And it doth not sufficiently appear to me, that Ænon afforded water deep enough for a person to be baptized in it after this manner; for it seems to be but a small tract of land, in which it is hardly probable, that there were many lakes, or rivers of water contained; which is as much as can be said concerning a well watered country.
Therefore, I think, the words ought to have been rendered many waters; by which we are to understand, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, that it was a place of springs t, or small brooks of water. This place John chose, that he might be supplied with water for his use; but it doth not, I think, necessarily, follow from hence, that he baptized by immersion; Besides, if there had been a great collection of waters there, there would have been some indications thereof at this day; which, I believe, it would be hard to prove that there are.
As to the other part of the objection, that it was a very easy matter for him to have been supplied with water in the wilderness of Judea, to baptize by sprinkling or pouring, by his having it brought to him in vessels for that purpose: It may be replied, that if he had only poured water on the head or face, there is no need to suppose that he was so sparing of it, as not to use above a spoonful, especially when it was so easy a matter for him, by his removing to another station, to be better supplied. If there was but a little water poured on every one that came to be baptized by him, it would require a very great quantity of water to baptize the vast multitudes that came to him; inasmuch as it is said, that Ferusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, were baptized of him: It is one thing for a little water to be brought in a bason to baptize a person or two, and another thing for this to be done in the case under our present consideration. Moreover, it is certain, that in hot countries, and particularly in Judea; and more especially in the wilderness thereof, there was a very great scarcity of water; accordingly we read, sometimes, that water was so valuable a thing, that it was reckoned a very considerable part of a man's estate: Thus Isaac was envied by the Philistines, for all the wells his father's servants had digged; and then we read of their stopping them up, and his digging other wells; and also of the strife between the herdsmen of Gerar, and his herdsmen, for the possession thereof, Gen. xxvi. 14,-20. And we read, in Gen. xxi. 14,-16. that when Abraham sent Hagar away from him with Ishmael, he gave her bread, and a bottle of water; and when the water was spent in the bottle, she cast the child under one of the shrubs, despairing of his life; which she need not have done, if water was so easy to come by as it is supposed in this objection. It is certain, that a person may travel many miles without finding water to quench his thirst, in those desert places. This farther appears from Samson's being ready to die for thirst, after the great victory he had obtained over the Philistines, on which occasion God wrought a miracle to supply him, Judges xv. 18, 19, which can hardly be account
* Sue Lightfoot'a works, Vol. I. Page 500.
ed for, if there had been so great plenty of water in that coun try, as there is in ours; this then, I apprehend to be the reason of John's removal to Jordan and Enon; therefore it doth not necessarily prove that his design was to baptize in that way that is pleaded for by those on the other side of the question.
Moreover, as it doth not sufficiently appear to me, from any thing contained in the objection, that John used immersion in baptism, so it seems most agreeable, to some circumstances that attended it, to conclude that he did not; inasmuch as there was no conveniency for the change of their garments, nor servants appointed to help them therein; which seems necessary to answer this occasion. And some have supposed, that it might endanger the health of those who were infirm among them, and John's much more, who was obliged to stand many days together in the water, or, at least, the greatest part thereof, while he was administering this ordinance. And they who were baptized must immediately retire when the ordinance was over, or it would endanger their health; unless we have recourse to a 'dispensation of providence, that is next to miraculous : Though I am sensible, some say, that none ever suffered hereby in our day; which, if the observation be true, is a kind providence that they ought to be thankful for.
But if, after all that has been said on this matter, it will not be allowed that baptism signifies any thing else but dipping in water: Then I might farther allege, that this might be done by dipping the face, which is the principal part of the body, without plunging the whole body; and this might answer the design of the ordinance as well as the other; since it is not the quantity used in a sacramental sign that is so much to be regarded, as the action performed, together with the matter of it; if the smallest piece of bread, and a spoonful of wine are used in the Lord's supper, this is generally reckoned as well adapted to answer the design of the ordinance, as if a great quantity of each were received by every one that partakes of it. Now, as to what concerns our present argument, the washing a part of the body is deemed sufficient to signify the thing intended, as much as though the whole body had been washed. Thus when our Saviour washed his disciples' feet, and told Peter, If he washed him not, he had no part in him, John xiii. 5. wherein (by the way) we may observe, that he calls washing his feet, washing him, by a synecdoche, for a part of the whole; upon which occasion Peter replies, not my feet only, but also my hands head; and Jesus answered, He that is washed needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit, ver. 10. by which, I think, he intends, that this signifies that cleansing, which is the spiritual meaning thereof, as much as though the whole body had been washed with water; for though one de