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temple stood) by sacrifice, but also with the ceremony or solemnity of washing, that is, ablution of the whole body, done solemnly in a river, or other such great place or receptacle of water." So he says, Jethro, Moses's father in law, was made a proselyte in this way; and that this ceremony of initiation belonging not only to those, which being of years, came over from heathenism to the Jews religion, but also to their children-infants, if their parents, or the consessus (the sanhedrim) under which they were, did in the behalf of thei, children desire it; and on condition that the children, when they came to age, should not renounce the Jewish religion; nay, he says, the native Jews themselves were thus baptized; for all which he refers to the Talmud, Tr. Repud. by which I suppose he means the tract Gittin, concerning divorces. But I have not met with any thing relating thereunto in that treatise. For the same purposes it is quoted by Dr. Wall, who, I suppose, goes upon the authority of Dr. Hammond, since he acknowledges he was not so well acquainted with the books to be searched for such quotations. Now Dr. Hammond observes, that "having said thus much of the custom among the Jews, it is now most easy to apply it to the practice of John, and after of Christ, who certainly took this ceremony from them;" and further observes, that by this it appears, how little needful it will be to defend the baptism of christian infants from the law of circumcising the infants among the Jews; the foundation being far more fitly laid in that other of Jewish baptism." Yea, in another of his works he suggests that this custom is the true basis of infant-baytism. The very learned Mr Selden is more large in his quotations in divers parts of his works, from both Talmuds and other Jewish writers, concerning this rite 'and custom; which authorities produced by him, and others, will be given and considered hereafter. At the close of which he makes these remarks; that the Jewish baptism was as it were a transition into christianity, or however, a shadow of a transition, not to be passed over in silence; and that it should be adverted to, that the rite or sacrament of baptism, used at the beginning of christianity, and of the gospel by John, and by the apostles, was not introduced as a new action, and as not before heard of, even as a religious action, but as well known to the Hebrews, as a rite of initiation, from the use and discipline of their ancestors, and as joined with circumcision. Dr Lightfoot, who must be allowed to be well versed in Jewish literature, has produced the same authorities Selden has, if not more, in support of the said rite or custom, as in early use with the Jews, and exults and triumphs abundantly over the Antipa dobaptists in favour of infant-baptism, on account thereof: he asserts, that " baptism had been in long and common use among them (the Jews) many generations before John the Baptist came; they using this for admission of proselytes into the church, and baptizing men, women, and children for that end:-hence a ready reason may be given why there is so little mention (no mention at all) of baptizing f Six Queries, p. 191, 195. Dé Success. ad Leg. Ebr. c. 26. de Jure Natur. & Gent. L
2. C. 2.
De Synedriis, l. 1. c. 2. p. 27. 31. .
infants in the New Testament; and that there is neither plain precept nor example for it, as some ordinarily plead; the reason is, because there needed none, baptizing infants having been as ordinarily used in the church of the Jews, as ever it hath been in the christian church:-that baptism was no strange thing when John came baptizing; but the rite was known so well by every one, that nothing was better known what baptism was, and therefore there needed not such punctual and exact rules about the manner and object of it, as there had needed, if it had never been seen before:-that Christ took up baptism as it was in common and known use, and in ordinary and familiar practice among that nation; and therefore gave no rules for the manner of baptizing, nor for the age and sex of persons to be baptized, which was well enough known already, and needed no rule to be prescribed-observing how very known and frequent the use of baptism was among the Jews, the reason appears very easy, why the Sanhedrim, by their messengers, inquired not of John, concerning the reason of baptizm, but concerning the authority of the baptizer; not what baptism meant; but whence he had a licence so to baptize, John i. 25. Hence also the reason appears why the New Testament does not prescribe, by some more accurate rule who the persons are to be baptized:-the whole nation knew well enough that little children used to be baptized; there was no need for a precept for that, which had ever by common use prevailed." Dr Wall, upon these authorities, has thought fit to premise an account of this Jewish baptism, to his history of infant-baptism, as serving greatly the cause of it, and as throwing light upon the words of Christ and his apostles, concerning it, and the primitive practice of it; and, animated by such authorities, every puny. writer, who does not know his right hand from his left in this matter, takes it and with it. And, indeed, scarce any will now venture in the swaggers defence of infant-baptism without it. This is the last refuge and dernier resort of the Pædobaptist; and, indeed, a learned baronet of our nation says, he knows not of any stronger argument in proof of infant-baptism than this is
Now since so great a stress is laid upon it, and it is made a matter of such great importance, as to be a transition into christianity, and to be closely connected with christian-baptism; that from whence it is taken, and is the rule to direct how to proceed, both with respect to the manner and objects of it; yea, is the basis and foundation of infant-baptism, and the strongest argument in g proof of it; and which makes other arguments, heretofore thought of weight, now unnecessary: it is highly proper to inquire what proof can be given of such a rite and custom being in use among the Jews, before the times of John Baptist, Christ, and his apostles; and if so, what force and influence such a custom can and ought to have on the faith and practice of christians. The proof of which will next be considered.
Lightfoot's Works, vol. I. Harmony and Chronicle of the New Testament, p. 9, 12, 17. Harmony of the Four Evangelists, part 1. p. 465, 465. part 2. p. 526, 527. and part 3. p. 583, *Sir Richard Ellys, Fortuita Sacra, p. 67. 584. Vol. II. Hor. Heb. in Matt. iii. 6.
THE PROOF OF THE BAPTISM
OF JEWISH PROSELYTES INQUIRED INTO; WHETHER THERE IS ANY PROOF OF IT BEFORE, AT, OR QUICKLY AFTER THE TIMES OF JOHN
THE inquiry to be made is, Whether there are any writings or records before the times of John, Christ, and his apostles, or at or near those times, or in the third and fourth century from the birth of Christ, or before the Talmuds were written; which make any mention of, or refer to any such rite and custom in use among the Jews, as to admit proselytes to their religion by baptism, or dipping, along with other things. Now upon search it will be found,
First, That nothing of this kind appears in the writings of the Old Testament, which chiefly concern the Jewish nation. We read of many who either were, or are supposed and said to be made proselytes, as the Shechemites in Jacob's time, the multitude that came out of Egypt with the Israelites', Jethro, Moses's father in law, Shuah", Tamar, Rahab?, and Ruth, and many in the times of Mordecai and Esther, who became Jews', Esther viii. 17. but not a word of their being admitted proselytes by baptism. Dr. Lightfoot indeed says, that Jacob admitted the proselytes of Schechem and Syria into his religion by baptism, but offers no proof of it; the Jews pretend, that Pharaoh's daughter was a proselytess, and the Babylonian Talmud", quoting the passage in Exod. ii. 5. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself; R. Jochanan says, she came down to wash herself from the idols of her father's house, and the Gloss on the place is, " to dip on account of proselyusin;" but then the Gloss is the work of Jarchi, a writer in the twelfth century; and was it so said in the Talmud itself, it would be no sufficient proof of the fact. Dr. Hammond says, that Jethro was made a proselyte this way; but produces no scripture for it; but refers to the Talmud, Tr. Repud; but there it is not to be found, as before observed: and Schindler asserts the same, as said by the Jews, and seems to refer to the same Tract in general, without directing to any particular place and from him Hammond seems to have taken it upon trust, and some other writers also, without examination; since no such passage is to be found in that Tract. Pfeiffer. in proof of it, refers to a book called
1 Targum Jon, in Numb. xi. 4. m Ibid. in Exod. xvii. 6, 7. T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 10. 1. P Ibid. Megillah, fol. 14. 2. Targum in Esther. Chronicle, p. 18. fol. 23. 1. Sotah, fol. 12. 1. w Lexic. in voce xxiii. 15.
* Antiqu. Ebr. c. 1. 5. 5.
albid. in Gen. xxxviii. 2 Targum in Ruth i. 16. "F. Megillah, col. 686. vid. de Dieu, append, ad. Matt.
Targum in 1 Chron, iv. 18.
Zennorenna, a comentary on the law, written in Hebrew-German, in the last century, by R. Jacob Ben Isaac, a German-Jew. Indeed, in the Talmud, Jethro is said to become a proselyte, but no mention is made in what manner he was made one; and elsewhere explaining these words, and Jethro rejoiced says Rab, he made a sharp sword to pass over his flesh; that is, according to the Gloss, he circumcised himself, and became a proselyte; but not a word of his baptism, or dipping; and so the Targum on Exod. xviii. 6, 7. is," And he said to Moses, I Jethro, thy father-in-law, am come unto thee to be made a proselyte; but if thou wilt not receive me for myself, receive me for the sike of thy wife, and her two children, who are with her; and Moses went out from under the clouds of glory to meet his father-in-law, and bowing himself, kissed him, and he made him a proselyte; but nothing is said of the manner doing it." Mr. Broughton also, as before quoted, says, that the Babylonian Tal mud, and Rambam record, that in the days of David and Solomon, many thous sands of heathens were made proselytes, and admitted by baptism only; but this instance is not to be met with in the Babylonian Talmud; yea, that expressly denies it in two different places; and in which it is asserted, that they did a receive proselytes neither in the days of David, nor in the days of Solomon; Solomon's wife, Pharaoh's daughter, is indeed excepted; because the reason for which they say, proselytes were not then received; namely, because they might be desirous of being made proselytes, that they might be admitted to the king's table, could have no influence on her, since she was the daughter of a mighty king; and yet it is said by some, that though it was Solomon's intention to make her a proselyte, yet he was not able to do it; and she became one of his troublers; and by what is said of her, in 2 Chron. viii. 11. it looks as if she did not become a proselyte; Rambam, or Maimonides, indeed, to reconcile wh later writers have said, with those words of the Talmudists, have contrived a distinction between the Sanhedrim and private persons; as if proselytes, though not received in those times by the former, were by the latter. He says, there were many proselytes in those times who were made so before private persons, but not before the Sanhedrim; he owns the Sanhedrim, did not receive them, and though they were dipped, yet not by their order, and with their consent; but he produces no passage of scripture to support this private dipping; nor do the scriptures any where speak of such numbers of proselytes in those days, and much less of their baptism; and the strangers, who in the Greek version are called proselytes, whom Solomon numbered and employed at the building of the temple, 2 Chron. ii. 17. at most could only be proselytes of the gate, not of righteousness, and so there can be no pretence for their admission by baptism, or dipping; nor is there any thing of this kind with respect to any persons to
y Wolfii Bibliothec. Heb. p. 598. z Zebachim, fol. 16. 1. vid. Shemo: R bba, s. 27. fol. a T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1. b T. Bab. Yebamot, fol 76. 1. Avodah Zarahi Ya kut Chadasha tit. de David, n. 89. Apud. Beckii, not, in farg. 2 Chron. dIssure Biah, c. 13. 5. 15.
80. 2, 3.
fol. 3.2. wii. 11.
be found in the writings of the Old Testament. There is a plain and express law for the admission of proselytes to the Jewish religion, and for what, as a qualification, to partake of the ordinances and privileges of it; particularly to eat of the pass-over; and that is the circumcision of them, with all their males; and on this condition, and on this only, they and theirs were admitted without any other rite annexed unto it, they were obliged unto; nor does it appear that ever any other was used; no, not this of baptism; there was but one law to the stranger or proselyte, and to the home-born Israelite; see Exod. xii. 48, 49. There were proselytes in the times of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. xxx. 25. who came out of the land of Israel, to eat the pass-over at Jerusalem, who therefore must be circumcised, according to the said law; but there is no reason to believe that they were baptized. There was a law concerning the marriage of a captivewoman taken in war, Deut. xxi. 10-14. previous to which she must become a proselytess; and the law enjoins various particular rites to be observed in order to it, as shaving her head, paring her nails, and putting off the raiment of her captivity; but not a word of her baptism; which one would think could never be omitted, had such a custom prevailed as early as the times of Moses and Jacob, as is pretended. There were divers bathings, baptisms, or dippings, incumbent on the Israelites, and so upon such proselytes who were upon an equal foot with them, and equally under obligation to obey the ceremoniallaw; which consisted of divers washings, baptisms, or dippings, yet none of them for proselytism; but for purification from one uncleanness or another, in a ceremonial sense: these seem to be what a learned writer calls Aquilustria, lustrations by water; which he thinks it is clear the captive Jews in Babylon observed, from having their solemn meetings by rivers, Ezek. iii. 15. Ezra viii. 15, 21. but it is not so clear they had their abode in such places, whether for a longer or shorter time, on account of them; and it is still less clear what he further says, that these lustrations had a promise of grace annexed to them, were sacraments of the Old Testament, and a type of our baptism. However, though he supposes the returning Jews and proselytes were circumcised, he does not pretend they were baptized; nor does he attempt to prove proselyte-baptism from hence. Among the ten families said by the Jews to come out of Babylon, the proselytes are one sort; but they say nothing of their baptism; see Ezra vi. 21. As for those scriptures of the Old Testament the Rabbins make use of to justify this custom of theirs, they will be considered hereafter,
Second, Whereas there are several books called Apocrypha, supposed to be written between the writingof the books of the Old Testament and those of the New, and are generally thought to be written by Jews, and to contain things which chiefly have respect to them; and though there is sometimes mention made in them of proselytes to the jewish religion, yet not a syllable of any such rite or custom, as of baptism or dipping at the admission of them; particularly of Achior the Ammonite, in the times of Judith; upon her cutting off the head Erio. Phaletran. de ablatione Sceptr. Jud. c. 9. p. 431. f Misnah, Kiddushin, c. 4 s. 1.