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previous translation, called the Bishops' Bible. They might, too, consult and adopt that which seemed most agreeable to the original text in the versions of Tindal, Mathews, Coverdale, Whitchurch, and the Geneva translation. If baptism was one of the old ecclesiastical words which were to be retained, it certainly could not have been because any partiality for infant sprinkling was detected in that term. It had been, up to the time when king James' version was made, the uniform and invariable understanding, that to baptize signified to dip or plunge into water. It was the common understanding and practice at that time, and after that time. “ Dipping, says Wall, “ must have been pretty ordinary during the former half of king James' reign, if not longer.” The same bistorian mentions a pamphlet written by a Mr. Blake in 1645,—that is, nearly forty years after the publication of king James' Bible, showing clearly what must have been the common opinion and usage at that time. This Mr. Blake was a clergyman of the Church of England. In reply to his opponent, who had objected to the baptism of infants, the fact, that they were pot dipped, but sprinkled, he says, “I have been an eyewitness of many infants dipped, and know it to bave been the constant practice of many ministers in their places for many years together. I have seen several dipped ; I never saw nor heard of any sprinkled.” It would thus appear, that up to 1645, immersion was the prevailing practice in the Enylish Church, and that the custom of sprinkling was introduced subsequent to that period. There can be little doubt, that the famous assembly of Westminster divines were the first to in part countenance and currency to the practice of sprinkling in lieu of baptism. This learned assembly, not being able to remember, that fonts or places of much water had been always used by the primitive Christians, reformed the font into a basin; and in their zeal against popery, subverted one of the institutions of Christ. Wall himself ridicules the sprinklers. “The minister continuing in the desk," he says, “ the child was brought and held before bim. And there was placed for that use a little basin of water, about the bigness of a syllabub-pot, into which the minister dipping his fingers, and then holding his hand over the face of the child, some drops would fall from his fingers on the child's face.” When the Presbyterians and Independents ceased to wield the religious destinies of England, and the restoration of the monarchy enabled the Church of England to resume its functions, that church still did not forego its maxim, that dipping was the primary meaning of baptism. And consequently, in the revision of the liturgy, it was provided, that in every case where it was duly certified, that the child " could well endure it," baptism should be performed by dipping:
It is hence manifest, that although that ancient and venerable word, which it is now proposed to expunge from the New Testament, be a transplanted Græcism, yet at first it took root and grew firmly and vigorously in our language; and though abused by others, ought not to be abandoned by those who style themselves Baptists. In their view, as well as in good truth and sound criticism, the word has sustained itself in its primitive force and fulness. For many centuries, it held in check that spirit of innovation which began, at an early period, to corrupt the simplicity of Christian worship, and spoke with a voice so commanding, as to overawe the adventurous movers of change and sophistication.
We are not ignorant, that many Christians of the present day contend, that sprinkling is baptism,—that pouring on water is baptism,—that any application of water is baptism; and that the word, both in its original, and in its transferred state, means any use of water in the ceremony of initiation, from an ocean to a drop. In like manner,
the asserters of clerical gradation in the church maintain, that the word bishop means a minister of the gospel, vested with superior powers. The defenders of Presbyterianism allege, that the word presbytery means a religious judicatory, having a sort of legal cognizance over the churches with which they are connected. The Universalist cannot discern any thing beyond a limited duration of time in the words eternal and everlasting. And not a few, both in ancient and modern times, are able to discover in the Saviour's requisition for man to be born again, nothing more than water-baptism. From all which, the inference is plain, viz., that human ingenuity will never cease to be inventive in justifying that which may appear to it to be most right and proper. In our opinion, they who make sprinkling to be baptism, abuse the word from its rightful import. They who find ministerial orders and distinctions in the New Testament, and who therefore style one man bishop, and set hiin over bis fellow-servants, are, in our estimation, chargeable with an abuse. To say, that eternal and everlast
ing signify no more than a limited duration is, in our judgment, even a greater abuse of language than to call sprinkling bap
And to affirm, that to be born again is nothing more than water-baptism, is an audacious profanation. But are we, therefore, to abandon the abused words ? Must we go about to invent a new vocabulary, because the old has suffered perversion? Since the old editions are counterfeited and corrupted, are we to frame plates with new impressions, to supersede the old ones, in the vain hope of obviating abuse for the time to come? At such a rate of procedure, we might find employment enough in bringing out annually purified editions of the Bible.
At this stage of our inquiry, we request our readers to advert, for a short time, to the explicit testimony of eminent English critics on the signification of the terms baptize and baptism. The celebrated Richard Bentley, D.D., who flourished towards the close of the seventeenth century, and was one of the most eminent critics that England ever produced, is cited by that powerful opponent of infant baptism, Abraham Booth, as an authority for fixing the sense of the word baptism. In his discourse on Free Thinking, pp. 56, 57, he defines baptisms “ dippings,” and to baptize “to dip.”
Bishop Reynolds, probably a descendant of John Reynolds, D. D., one of the translators of the Bible under the authority of king James, expresses the import of the word to baptize : “The Spirit under the gospel," says he, “is compared to water; and that, not a little measure to sprinkle or bedew, but to baptize the faithful in ; and that not in a font or vessel which grows less and less, but in a spring or living river.”— Works, pp. 226, 407.
The observation of the learned Selden,-see his works, vol. 6, fol. ed. col. 2008,—is both pungent in application and conprehensive in sense. “In England, of late years,” remarks that justly renowned scholar, “I ever thought the person baptized his own fingers rather than the child.” Selden was a member of the Westminster Assembly.
Dr. Owen concedes, " that the original and natural signification of the word baptize is to dip, to plunge, to dye.” And Dr. Hammond, speaking of the word to baptize, says, “ It signifies not only the washing of the whole body, as when it is said of Eupolis, that, being taken and thrown into the sea, tşunuçero, he was immersed all over, and so the baptisms of VOL. IJ.NO. y.
cups is putting them into the water all over; but washing any part, as the hands, by way of immersion in water.” Mathew Poole's Continuators declare, that “to be baptized is to be dipped in water ;” and Doddridge also makes baptism and immersion the same. See on Luke 12: 50.
Parkhurst renders the Greek word Banilo), immerse, dip or plunge. And Dr. George Campbell maintains, that immerse is very nearly equivalent to baptize in the language of the Gospels.
We must refer those who would see a more copious induction of particular authorities, to Booth's Pedobaptism Eramined,
,—a work wbich, if candidly studied, is sufficient to correct the error of all Pedobaptists in the world. All who read the multitudinous citations in Booth will ask this question : How could the learned and pious men, whose names are there brought together, justify their deviation from an admitted rule, an acknowledged precedent,—a clearly expressed com
Was their defection from ancient order owing to the fact, that the word in which that order was dictated bad not been translated ? This is an impossible supposition, since it is evident, that the true and proper translation was all the time before their eyes. They could only see immersion in the primary signification of the word. Whether they viewed that word in the sacred writers, in ecclesiastical historians, or in the classic pages of Grecian antiquity, immersion,-immersion, reiterated with obvious import, sounded in their ears. On all the monuments commemorative of baptism in the ancient church, immersion stared them in the face. They knew, therefore, that baptism was immersion ; neither was it possible for them to dissemble the conviction of their minds, as must be seen in the long list of concessions and admissions which the venerable Booth has brought to light.
They had, however, a way to escape being convicted of downright inconsistency. It was, that to pour or sprinkle might be found in the word TO BAPTIZE; that this was one of its secondary significations. In the same way, they could have found a secondary sense in the word to dip, by which only a partial application of water would have been intended. “It is plain,” they would have said, “ that the word is often used in cases where a total immersion cannot be designed.” So we read, that Jonatban put forth the end of the rod which was in his hand, and “ dipped it in a honey-comb." "Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water.” It is also common, to speak of dipping the pen in the ink. Sometimes, when the word is used in connexion with a liquid, it means no more than to moisten, to wet; which sense is established by Milton:
And though not mortal, yet a cold, shuddering dew
Speaks thunder.” According to the same convenient dexterity in stifling the import of words, immerse could have been made significant of something other than burial in water. We should have heard it said, to be immersed in cares, to be immersed in the world, and to be immersed in pleasures, are common forms of speech, which do not mean to be wholly buried. And from this allusive application of the word, it would have been inferred, that all the demands of immersion may be answered by a partial application of water.
If, therefore, with the consent of all parties, we could now have a change from baptize to immerse, in process of time, we might find ourselves in want of a new version. The inventive talents of our affusion brethren would discover something in immerse less than immersion, as they have found out that something is baptism, which is less than baptism. We should tbus be driven from one position to another, like a retreating and vanquished army, unable to maintain any ground against an encroaching adversary. To such, the very first retreat proves fatal, because it evinces distrust of the occupied fortress, and a desire to reach some other one, supposed to be more capable of sustaining any assault. In the passage from one to the other, discomfiture and ruin are encountered.
We are thus conducted to the second view, in which we proposed to exhibit the subject before us. The creation of a new version, with no change of the authorized one, other than the substitution of different words in lieu of baptize and baptism, would be on our part, an expedient weak and pernicious.
To demonstrate the utter imbecility of such a contrivance, we have only to suppose a case.—A Baptist, with an altered copy of the New Testament in his hand, meets his Pedobaptist neighbor, who adheres to the old translation. They enter into an amicable discussion of the only topic on which they are known to disagree touching the serious matter of religion. In order to refute at once every argument which his opponent may adduce, the Baptist brother brings forth bis amended