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A Treatise on Church Order: Baptism- Chapter 1- Section II- To Baptize is to Immerse

CHAPTER I

SECTION II.–MEANING OF BAPTIZE

TO BAPTIZE IS TO IMMERSE.

We have seen that the commission which Christ gave to his apostles, instituted baptism as an ordinance to be observed by his disciples to the end of the world. It becomes important, therefore, to ascertain the meaning of the word “baptizing,” by which this duty is enjoined.

The commission has come down to us in the Greek language; land the word translated ” baptizing” is a participle of the Greek verb baptizo. Our present inquiry is, what does this Greek verb mean?

In the ordinary process of translating the writings of a Greek author, when we wish to ascertain the meaning of some word that he uses, we satisfy ourselves, for the most part, by consulting a Greek lexicon.[13]

The laws of interpretation require us to take the primary signification of words, unless there be something in the context, or nature of the subject, inconsistent with this signification. As there is no such difficulty in the present instance, our first decision, if we follow the lexicons, must be in favor of the sense to immerse.

When, from any cause, the decision of lexicons is unsatisfactory, the ultimate recourse is to Greek authors who have used the word in question. We search out the various examples of its use; and, by an examination of these, we learn in what sense the authors used the word. Since use is the law of language, the sense in which Greek authors used a word is its true meaning. The lexicons themselves yield deference to this law, and cite examples from authors in proof of the significations which they assign to words.

Our search of Greek authors, for the use of baptizo, is greatly facilitated by the labors of learned men who have preceded us in the investigation.

Professor Stuart[14] has collected, from different Greek writers, a number of examples in which baptizo, and its primitive, bapto, occur, with a view to determine the meaning of the words. To his collection, which he considered sufficiently copious for the purpose, I have added many other examples, from a similar collection by Dr. Carson, and a few others, from a smaller collection by Dr. Ryland. All these are included in the following tables, which may, therefore, be regarded as a fair exhibition of the use made of these words in Greek literature. The examples are so classified as to render the examination of them easy. In rendering the words in question, I have not closely followed the learned men of whose labors I have availed myself, but have aimed at a more literal and uniform translation. This is always put in italics; and the reader may consider the spaces, occupied by the italicized words, as so many blanks which he may fill with any other rendering that he may think better fitted to express the author’s meaning. Let it be regarded as a problem to be solved, how these several blanks shall be filled, so that the supply may fit every example, and, at the same time, be consistent, throughout the table, as the meaning of the same word.

In a few of the examples the italicized words are marked with an asterisk. In these cases they are renderings, not of the verbs themselves, which are placed at the head of the tables, but of substantives or adjectives derived from them, and involving the same signification. In the English prepositions which are construed with the verbs, I have sometimes followed Professor Stuart, when, without his authority, I should have been inclined to adopt other renderings. This remark applies especially to the use of “with,” in Class III. of Table II. A different rendering would correspond more exactly with the idea of immersion; but it has been my wish to give immersion no advantage to which it is not clearly entitled.

 

TABLES OF EXAMPLES


TABLE I

EXAMPLES OF BAPTO

CLASS I

TO DIP LITERALLY AND STRICTLY

1. For the purpose of imbuing or covering.–1. He took a thick cloth and dipped it in water.[15] 2. Dipping sponges in warm water.[16] 3. And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the house.[17] 4. Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water.[18] 5. Cakes dipped in sour wine.[19] 6. Dip thy morsel in the vinegar.[20] 7. One of the twelve that dippeth with me in the dish.[21] 8. Who dippeth his hand in the dish.[22] 9. And when he had dipped the sop.[23] 10. Dipping hay into honey, they give it them to eat.[24] 11. Venus dipped the arrows in sweet honey.[25] 12. He put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in a honeycomb.[26] 13. Ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood which is in the basin.[27] 14. The priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood.[28] 15. The priest shall dip his finger in the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it.[29] 16. He dipped his finger into the blood.[30] 17. And shall dip them and the living bird in the blood.[31] 18. And he shall dip it into the blood.[32] 19. The Greeks dipping the sword and the Barbarians the spear-head [in blood.][33] 20. Having dipped a crown into ointment.[34] 21. The priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand.[35] 22. :Dip the probes in some emollient.[36] 23. Dipping the rag in white sweet-smelling Egyptian ointment.[37] 24. :Dipping the rags in ointment.[38] 25. By reason of heat and moisture, the colors enter into the pores of things dipped into them.[39] 26. They dip it [into the dye-stuff.][40]

2. For the purpose of filling, or of drawing out, the verb sometimes taking the sense to dip out.–27. The youth held the capacious urn over the water, halting to dip it.[41] 28. Take a vessel, ancient servant, and having dipped it into the sea, bring it hither.[42] 29. The bucket must be first dipped and then be drawn up again.[43] 30. The lad directed his large pitcher towards the water, hastening to dip it.[44] 31. He dipped his pitcher in the water.[45] 32. Instead of water, let my maid dip her pitcher into honeycombs.[46] 33. Bubbling water dipped up with pitchers.[47] 34. To-day, ye bearers of water, dip not [from the river Inachis].[48] 35. Dip up the sea-water itself.[49]

3. For the purpose of cleansing.–36. The Egyptians consider the swine so polluted a beast, that if any one in passing touch a swine, he will go away and dip himself with his very garments, going into the river.[50] 37. It shall be dipped into water: so shall it be cleansed.[51] 38. First they dip the wool in warm water, according to ancient custom.[52]

4. For the purpose of hardening.–39. The smith dips a hatchet into cold water.[53] 40 Iron dipped.[54]

5. For other purposes.–41. Bring the torch, that I may take and dip it.[55] 42. They cannot endure great changes, such as that, in the summer time; they should dip into cold water.[56] 43. If the crow has dipped his head into the river.[57] 44. The feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water.[58] 45. Of which the remedy is said to be a certain stone which they take from the sepulchre of a king of ancient times, and having dipped it in wine, drink.[59] 46. If any one dips anything into wax, it is moved as far as he dips.[60] 47. Having melted the wax, he took the flea, and dipped its feet into the wax.[61] 48. With his own hand, he shall dip his sword into the viper’s bowels.[62] 49. He dipped his whole chin into the belly of the ram.[63] 50. The one dipped his spear between the other’s ribs, who at the same moment [dipped his] into his belly.[64] 51. Taking his sounding scimitar from the dead, he dipped it into the flesh.[65]

CLASS II

TO DIP IN A LESS STRICT SENSE

1. In appearance.–52. If the sun dip himself cloudless into the western flood.[66] 53. Cepheus dipping his head or upper part :into the sea.[67]

2. In effect.–54. From the dew of heaven, his body was dipped [as wet as if it had been dipped.][68] 55. Having dipped [wetted or filled as if he had dipped] the hollow of his hand, he sprinkles the tribunal.[69] 56. He was clothed with a vesture dipped [colored as if it had been dipped] in blood.[70]

CLASS III

TO COLOR

1. By dipping.–57. The color of things dyed is changed by the aforesaid causes.[71] 58. The dyers,* when they are desirous to dye wool so as to make it purple; . . . and whatever may be dyed in this manner, the thing dyed becomes strongly tinctured. If any one dye other colors. That they may receive the laws in the best manner, as a dye,* that their opinion may be durable. And those streams cannot wash out the dye,* although they are very efficient to wash out.[72] 59. Some dyed with hyacinth, and some with purple.[73] 60. Thou hast well dyed thy sword against [in close conflict with] the Grecian army.[74] 61. For the wife has deprived each husband of life, dyeing the sword by slaughter.[75]

2. Without regard to mode.–62. When it drops upon the garments, they are colored.[76] 63. Nearchus relates that the Indians color their beards.[77] 64. He endeavored to conceal the hoariness of his hair by coloring * it. 65. The old man-with the colored hair.[78] 66. Does a patron affect to be younger than he is? Or does he even color his hair?[79] 67. This garment, colored by the sword of Aegisthus, is a witness to me.[80] 68. He fell, without even looking upward, and the lake was colored with blood.[81] 69. Garments of variegated appearance, colored* at great expense. 70. A colored* bird.[82] 71. Lest I color you with a Sardinian hue.[83] 72. Then perceiving that his beard was colored, and his head.[84] 73. The physiologists, reasoning from these things, show that native warmth has colored the above variety of the growth of the things before mentioned.[85] 74. Using the Lydian music or measure, and making plays, and coloring himself with frog-colored [paints.][86]

CLASS IV

METAPHORICAL USE

1. Allusion to dipping.–75. Let him dip his foot in oil.[87] 76. Thy foot may be dipped in the blood of shine enemies.[88] 77. Thou hast dipped me deeply in filth.[89] 78. They are all dipped in fire.[90] 79. Dipping up pleasure with foreign buckets.[91]

2. Allusion to coloring.–80. Dyer, who dyest all things, and dost change them by thy colors; thou hast dyed poverty also, and now appearest to be rich.[92] 81. For the soul is colored by the thought: color it then by accustoming yourself to such thoughts.[93]

TABLE II

EXAMPLES OF BAPTIZO

CLASS I

TO IMMERSE LITERALLY AND STRICTLY

I. Sinking ships.–1. Shall I not laugh at the man who immerses his ship by overlading it?[94] 2. Such a storm suddenly pervaded all the country, that the ships that were in the Tiber were immersed.[95] 3. When the ship was about to be immersed.[96] 4. For our ship having been immersed in the midst of the Adriatic Sea.[97] 5. The wave high-raised immersed them.[98] 6. They were immersed with the ships themselves. 7. How would not his ship be immersed by the multitude of our rowers.[99] 8. They were either immersed, their ships being bored through.[100] 9. Those from above immersing them [ships] with stones and engines.[101] 10. They immersed many of the vessels of the Romans.[102] 11. The ships being in danger of being immersed.[103] 12. Many of the Jews of distinction left the city, as people swim away from an immersing [sinking] ship.[104] 13. Whose ship being immersed.[105] 14. As you would not wish, sailing in a large ship adorned and abounding with gold, to be immersed.[106]

2. Drowning.–15. He would drive him from the bank, and immerse him headlong, so that he would not be able again to lift up his head above water.[107] 16. He may save one in the voyage that had better be immersed in the sea.[108] 17. The boy was sent to Jericho by night, and there by command, having been immersed in a pond by the Galatians, he perished.[109] 18. Pressing him down always as he was swimming, and immersing him as in sport, they did not give over till they entirely drowned him.[110] 19. The river being borne on with a more violent stream, immersed many.[111] 20. Killing some on the land, and immersing others into the lake with their boats and their little huts.[112] 21. The dolphin, vexed at such a falsehood, immersing him killed him.[113] 22. Many of the land animals immersed in the river perished.[114]

3. For purification.–23. Naaman immersed himself seven times in Jordan.[115] 24. He that immerseth himself because of a dead body.[116] 25. He marveled that he had not first immersed before dinner.[117] 26. Except they immerse, they eat not.[118] 27. Divers immersions.[119]* 28. She went out by night into the valley of Bethulia, and immersed herself in the camp at the fountain of water.[120] 29. He who is immersed from a dead [carcass] and toucheth it again, what does he profit by his washing?[121] 30. The immersion* of cups and pots, &c.[122]

4. Other cases.–31. The person that has been a sinner, having gone a little way in it [the river Styx], is immersed up to the head.[123] 32. He breathed as persons breathe after being immersed.[124] 33. Then immersing himself into the Lake Copais.[125] 34. Immerse yourself into the sea.[126] 35. They marched a whole day through the water, immersed up to the waist.[127] 36. The bitumen floats on the top, because of the nature of the water, which admits of no diving; nor can any one who enters it immerse himself, but is borne up.[128] 37. But the lakes near Agrigentum have indeed the taste of sea water, but a very different nature, for it does not befall the things which cannot swim to be immersed, but they swim on the surface like wood.[129] 38. If an arrow be thrown in, it would scarcely be immersed.[130] 39. As when a net is cast into the sea, the cork swims above, so am I unimmersed.[131]* 40. When a piece of iron is taken red hot out of the fire and immersed in water, the heat is repelled.[132] 41. Thou mayest be immersed, O bladder! but thou art not fated to sink.[133] 42. Having immersed some of the ashes into spring water, they sprinkled.[134] 43. I found Cupid among the roses; taking hold of him by the wings I immersed him into wine.[135] 44. The sword was so immersed in blood that it was even heated by it.[136] 45. He set up a trophy, on which, immersing his hand into blood, he wrote this inscription.[137] 46. They are of themselves immersed and sunk in the marshes.[138] 47. He immersed his sword up to the hilt into his own bowels.[139]

CLASS II.

TO IMMERSE IN A LESS STRICT SENSE

1. In appearance.–48. But when the sun immerses himself in the water of the ocean.[140]

2. In effect.–49. Certain uninhabited lands which at the ebb are used not to be immersed [covered over as if they had been immersed], but when the tide is at the full, the coast is quite inundated.[141] 50. And were all immersed [surrounded on all sides as if they had been immersed] unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.[142]

CLASS III

METAPHORICAL USE

1. For drunkenness.–51. I am one of those who immersed yesterday [who drank wine freely].[143] 52. Having immersed Alexander with much wine.[144] 53. Seeing him in this condition, and immersed by excessive drinking into shamelessness and sleep.[145] 54.. They easily become intoxicated before they are entirely immersed.[146] 55. Immersed with wine.[147] 56. Immersed by drunkenness.[148] 57. He is like one dizzy and immersed.[149]

2. For afflictions.–58. Perceiving that he was altogether abandoned to grief and immersed in calamity.[150] 59. Since the things you have met with have immersed you.[151] 60. Iniquity immerses me.[152] 61. I have an immersion* to be immersed with.[153] 62. immersed by misfortune.[154] 63. Else what shall they do who are immersed for the dead?[155] 64. Are you able to be immersed with the immersion* that I am immersed with?[156]

3. Other uses.–65. The mind is immersed [drowned like plants by excessive watering] by excessive labor.[157] 66. Immersed with business.[158] 67. Immersed with innumerable cares–having the mind immersed on all sides by the many waves of business, immersed in malignity.[159] 68. Immersed into sleep.[160] 69. He [Bacchus] immerses with a sleep near to death.[161] 70. When midnight has immersed the city with sleep.[162] 71. Immersed with sins.[163] 72. But the common people they do not immerse with taxes.[164] 73. They immersed [sunk as a ship] the city.[165] 74. This as the last storm immersed [sunk as a ship] the tempest-tossed young men.[166] 75. Being immersed in debts of fifty millions of drachmae.[167] 76. He shall immerse you in the Holy Spirit.[168] 77. In one spirit have we been immersed into one body.[169]

REMARKS ON TABLE I

The chief difficulty in classifying Table I., respects Class III. Under it I have placed all the examples in which the sense to color is given to the word, either by Professor Stuart, or Dr. Carson. Many of these examples might have been placed in Class I., 1; and others in Class II., 2.

To color.–Some learned men have maintained that the verb never signifies to color, without regard to mode. It is possible to explain the examples in which it appears to have this signification, like Ex. 56. Here the translators of the English Bible supposed the word, though denoting color, to be used with a reference to its primary meaning. :But when we consider how many words from the root BAP were used for things pertaining to the dyer’s art; and how frequently the verb bapto was used to denote to color; it seems most probable, that when employed for this purpose, it suggested to the minds of the Greeks in their familiar use of it, the idea of color directly, without that process of thought which was necessary to deduce this meaning from its primary sense to dip.

To smear.–Professor Stuart has assigned smear, as a secondary sense of the verb, and cites in proof from the Greek classic writers, Ex. 60, 61, 74. To the first two of these the rendering to smear is quite inappropriate. The warrior in battle does not redden his sword by smearing over it the blood of his enemies, but by plunging it into their bodies. In the other example, the rendering is less objectionable; but even here caution is necessary lest it mislead us. The verbs dip, plunge, immerse, wash, wet, pour, sprinkle, and smear, are construed with reference to two substances: one a solid, and the other a liquid. The first five have the solid for their direct object: to pour has the liquid for its direct object. We say to dip the hand in water, and to pour water on the hand; but not to dip water on the hand, or to pour the hand with water. The last two verbs, to sprinkle and to smear, admit both constructions. We say, to sprinkle the floor with water, and to sprinkle water on the floor; to smear the body with paint, and to smear paint over the body. In both these constructions, they always denote an application of the liquid to the solid, agreeing in this particular with the verb to pour. The verb bapto is always construed with the solid as its direct object. Throughout the table of examples, there can be found but one exception, which will be noticed hereafter. Even when it signifies to color, the verb takes for its object the solid, and does not signify that the color is produced by applying the coloring matter, as is done in the process of smearing. Hence, the rendering to smear is liable to mislead us into the belief that bapto like to smear, may signify an application of the liquid to the solid. The verb never signifies this process. It may signify the effect of it, but never the process itself.

To dip out.–The exception above referred to, is Ex. 35. In this, which is Nicander’s comment on the preceding example, the verb takes the liquid for its direct object, and assumes the sense to dip out. In the metaphoric use of the word, Ex. 79 conforms to this construction. It is worthy of remark that the English verb to dip is used in the same way, taking the liquid for its direct object, contrary to its usual construction; thus: He dips water from the pool. We never say, He plunges, or immerses water from the pool. In this sense of abstracting a part of the liquid from the rest, the verb bapto when it takes the solid for its direct object, may be construed with the genitive of the liquid, either with, or without the preposition apo This remark will explain Ex. 13,15, 21; to which Professor Stuart has given the sense to smear, because the verb is construed with APO They do not signify to smear with blood or oil by applying it; but to dip into it so as to bring away a part of it from the rest.

RELATION BETWEEN Bapto AND Baptizo

Our search is for the meaning of baptizo. This is a derivative from bapto; and because some aid in ascertaining its meaning, has been expected from the primitive word, examples in which this occurs, have been introduced in the preceding collection.

Some lexicographers have regarded baptizo as a frequentative, and have rendered it to immerse repeatedly. Robinson says it “is frequentative in form, but not in fact.” Professor Stuart has examined this question at length, and decides “that the opposite opinion, which makes baptizo a frequentative (if by this it is designed to imply that it is necessarily so by the laws of formation, or even by actual usage), is destitute of a solid foundation, I feel constrained, on the whole, to believe. The lexicographers who have assigned this meaning to it, appear to have done it on the ground of theoretical principles as to the mode of formation. They have produced no examples in point. And until these are produced, I must abide by the position that a frequentative sense is not necessarily attached to baptizo; and that, if it ever have this sense, it is by a specialty of usage of which I have been able to find no example.” The termination izo, is, with greater probability, supposed by others to add to the primitive word the signification of to cause, or to make, like the termination ize in legalize, to make legal; fertilize, to make fertile. According to this hypothesis, if bapto signifies to immerse, baptizo signifies to cause to be immersed. This makes the two words nearly or quite synonymous. But, however nearly two words may agree with each other in their original import, it seldom happens that they continue to be used in practice as equally fitted for every place which either of them may occupy. We must, therefore, examine the usus loquendi, to ascertain the peculiar shades of meaning which they acquire. In studying the preceding table of examples, the following things may be observed:–

1. bapto more frequently denotes slight or temporary immersion, than baptizo. Hence, the English word dip, which properly denotes slight or temporary immersion, is more frequently its appropriate rendering. In nearly one-half of the examples in which baptizo occurs in the literal sense, it signifies the immersion which attends drowning, or the sinking of ships.

2. bapto appears, in some cases, to be used in the secondary sense to color, without including its primary signification to immerse. No example occurs in which baptizo has lost the primary meaning. A similar fact may be observed in the use of the English words older and elder. The words have the same primary meaning; or, rather, they are different forms of the same word: yet, while older has inflexibly retained its primary meaning, elder has adopted a secondary signification, in which it denotes an officer without regard to age.

3. Bapto sometimes signifies to dip up: baptizo never takes this sense.

DEDUCTION FROM TABLE II

Though lexicographers frequently assign numerous significations to a word, they regard one as the primary or radical meaning from which all the rest are derived. If meanings have no relation to each other, they do not belong to the same word: hence to lie, signifying to be recumbent; and to lie, signifying to speak falsehood, though agreeing in orthography and pronunciation, are accounted different words, because their significations are independent of each other. No one imagines that there are two Greek verbs, baptizo. We must, therefore, seek for one primary or radical meaning, and endeavor to account by it for all the uses to which the word is applied.

An important distinction needs to be made between the proper meaning of a word, and the accidental signification which it may obtain from the connection in which it is used. This distinction may be illustrated by the following passage:–“If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet thou shalt plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.”[170] In this sentence the word plunge, besides its proper meaning, obtains the signification to defile, from the connection in which it is used. This accidental signification is the most prominent and important idea conveyed by the word; yet it is not, strictly speaking, any part of its meaning. We may substitute defile for it, and the general sense of the passage will be conveyed; yet to plunge and to defile are different things. We must not conclude that we have ascertained the meaning of a word, when we have found another word which may be substituted for it in a particular sentence.

Since the lexicons give immerse for the primary meaning of baptizo, let us try the meaning in the examples in which the word occurs, that we may ascertain whether this signification will suffice to account for all the uses to which the word is applied.

In the several examples, in which the word is applied to sinking ships, it obtains the accidental signification to cause to sink to the bottom. On this account it has been explained, in such connections, by the word buthizo, to throw into the deep. But the fact that immersed ships sink to the bottom is not affirmed by the word baptizo. It is a natural consequence of their immersion. There is no necessity for supposing it to be included in the meaning of the word. The same distinction must be made in the examples which relate to drowning. The drowning is a consequence of the immersion, and is not included in the meaning of the word baptizo. In several of the examples the immersion denoted by the word is clearly distinguished from the effect produced by it. So in 3, we must distinguish between the immersion and the purification resulting from it. The immersion only is properly denoted by the word. All the other examples in Class I. perfectly agree with the sense to immerse; and some of them clearly require it. From Ex. 36, 37, 38, 39, it appears that substances which float on water are not baptized. This proves conclusively that the mere application of water to a part of the surface does not satisfy the meaning of the word. Ex. 41 proves that sinking to the bottom is not necessary to its meaning; but the other examples just referred to, prove that descent below the surface is indispensable.

The examples in Class II. require the meaning to immerse. The same is true of the examples in Class III. The propriety and force of the metaphorical allusions cannot be understood, if the word does not signify to immerse.

After thoroughly examining the collection of examples, we find that they fully establish the meaning to immerse. Christ, in giving the commission, must have employed the word in its usual sense. The commission is given in the language of plain command, and every other word in it is used in its ordinary signification. We are not at liberty to seek for extraordinary meanings, but are bound to take the words according to their ordinary import, where no reason to the contrary exists. What they mean, according to the ordinary rules of interpretation, is the meaning of Christ’s command; and, if we do not receive and observe it in this sense, we are disobedient to his authority.

Let us now re-examine the collection of examples, trying any of the other significations which have been proposed, as, to wash, to purify, to wet, to sprinkle, to pour. The experiment will soon convince us that none of these is the proper meaning of the word. Immersion, and nothing but immersion, will always satisfy its demands.

CONFIRMATION OF THE RESULT

The correctness of our deduction is confirmed by the circumstances which attended some of the baptisms recorded in the Bible. The forerunner of Christ is called “the Baptist,” because he administered this rite. He was sent to baptize, and it must be supposed that he understood the meaning of the word. Now, if a small quantity of water will suffice, why did John resort to the Jordan for the administration? The reason must have been that which the inspired historian has expressly assigned for his baptizing in Enon, near to Salim; namely, “because there was much water there.” The people were baptized by John in the Jordan. In this river our Lord was baptized, and his own example explains the meaning of his command.

The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch is very circumstantially described. The style in which he travelled forbids the supposition that he had no drinking vessel, in which a sufficient quantity of water might have been brought into the chariot to wet the hand of the administrator. But, if they chose not to perform the rite in the chariot, there was certainly no need for both of them to go into the water, if the mere wetting of Philip’s hand was sufficient. Why did they both go into the water? and why did the sacred historian so particularly state this fact? “They both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and they both came up out of the water.” These circumstantial facts are described in language which no one ought to misunderstand, and which no one ought to overlook, who desires to know his duty.

The Greek language continued to be spoken for many years after the times of the apostles. During all this period they, to whom the word baptizo was vernacular, understood it to signify immerse; and immersion has always been the practice of the Greek church to the present day. The Greeks must have understood the meaning of their own word. The Latin fathers also understood the word in the same way; and immersion prevailed in the western as well as in the eastern churches, until near the time of the reformation. Affusion was allowed instead of immersion, in case of sickness; but it was accounted an imperfect baptism. The testimony to these several facts I prefer to give in the words of Professor Stuart:

“In the writings of the apostolic fathers, so called, i. e., the writers of the first century, or, at least, those who lived in part during this century, scarcely anything of a definite nature occurs respecting baptism, either in a doctrinal or ritual respect. It is, indeed, frequently alluded to; but this is usually in a general way only. We can easily gather from these allusions that the rite was practiced in the church; but we are not able to determine, with precision, either the manner of the rite or the stress that was laid upon it.

“In the Pastor of Hermas, however, occurs one passage (Coteler. Patr. Apostol. I., p. 119, sq.), which runs as follows: “But this seal [of the sons of God] is water, in quam descendunt homines morti obligati, into which men descend who are bound to death, but those ascend who are destined to life. To them that seal is disclosed, and they make use of it that they may enter the kingdom of God.

“I do not see how any doubt can well remain, that in Tertullian’s time the practice of the African church, to say the least, as to the mode of baptism, must have been that of trine immersion.

“Subsequent ages make the general practice of the church still plainer, if, indeed, this can be done. The Greek words kataduo and katadusis were employed as expressive of baptizing and baptism, and these words mean going down into the water, or immerging.

“The passages which refer to immersion are so numerous in the fathers, that it would take a little volume merely to recite them.

“But enough. ‘It is,’ says Augusti (Denkw. VII., p. 216), ‘a thing made out,’ viz., the ancient practice of immersion. So, indeed, all the writers who have thoroughly investigated this subject conclude. I know of no one usage of ancient times which seems to be more clearly made out. I cannot see how it is possible for any candid man who examines the subject to deny this.

That there were cases of exception allowed, now and then, is, no doubt, true. Persons in extreme sickness or danger were allowed baptism by effusion, &c. But all such cases were manifestly regarded as exceptions to the common usage of the church.”

BURIAL IN BAPTISM

The significancy of baptism requires immersion. Paul explains it: “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”[171] And again: “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”[172] Peter alludes to the same import of the rite, when he says: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”[173]

The faith which we profess in baptism is faith in Christ; and the ceremony significantly represents the great work of Christ, on which our faith relies for salvation. We confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in the heart that God has raised him from the dead.[174] His burial and resurrection are exhibited in baptism, as his broken body and shed blood are exhibited in the supper. In both ordinances our faith is directed to the sacrifice of Christ. Under the name of sacraments they have been considered outward signs of inward grace; and, in this view of them, they signify the work of the Holy Spirit within us. But faith relies, for acceptance with God, on the work of Christ. It is a perverted gospel which substitutes the work of the Spirit for the work of Christ as the object of our faith; and it is a perverted baptism which represents the faith that we profess, as directed, not to the work of Christ, the proper object of faith, but to the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Objection 1.–There is an antithesis between the burial and resurrection which are here mentioned. The resurrection is moral, being to newness of life; and the same appears in the parallel passage in Colossians, where it is said to be “by the faith of the operation of God.” If the resurrection is moral, the antithetic burial cannot be physical.

If consistency of interpretation requires the burial to be moral the baptism must also be moral. The Quakers suppose that the baptism first mentioned in the passage is moral: “So many of us as were baptized into Christ.” But Pedobaptists admit that physical baptism is intended in this clause. Now, in passing from physical baptism at the beginning of the passage, to moral resurrection at its close, there must be a point in the progress where we pass from what is physical to what is moral. Where is that point? Some have imagined that it stands between the clause last quoted, and that which immediately follows, “were baptized into his death;” they suppose that “to be baptized into Christ,” is physical; but that to be baptized into his death is moral. The passage in Galatians has been quoted as parallel: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” The first clause in this verse, they say refers to physical baptism; and the last to moral. But this is an erroneous interpretation. To put on Christ, is to put on his religion by outward profession, the profession which is made in baptism. The baptism and the profession are alike, in implying a moral change in the subject, only so far as he is sincere. Some are physically baptized, who do not morally put on Christ; but this, though unquestionably true, is directly contradicted by the passage, if the proposed interpretation of it is correct. So in the passage under consideration, it is affirmed that the same persons, and the same number of persons that are baptized into Christ, are baptized into his death. This could not be true, if the first baptism is physical, and the second moral. Between these two clauses, therefore, there is no place for a division between what is physical and what is moral.

We extend our examination further to find a place for the division, and we find it plainly marked by the word “should;” even so we also should walk in newness of life. Here the obligation to suitable morals is deduced from what goes before. This obligation is deduced from the physical baptism with which the passage begins, and everything in the passage, until we arrive at the word “should,” is closely connected with this physical baptism, and explanatory of it. These intermediate links of explanation are necessary to connect the moral obligation at the close, with the physical baptism at the outset of the passage. If these intermediate links were moral, the proper position for the word “should,” would be in the first sentence–thus, so many of us as are baptized into Christ, should be baptized into his death

In the parallel passage referred to in Colossians, the expression is “Buried with him in baptism.” The word baptism stands without adjuncts. It is not baptism into death; but simply baptism. If the word baptism, thus standing alone, can signify something wholly moral, it will be difficult to reject the Quaker interpretation of these passages, and of “baptizing” in the commission. In the preceding verse, circumcision is mentioned; but that we may know physical circumcision not to be intended, it is expressly called “the circumcision made without hands;” and “the circumcision of Christ.” No such guard against misinterpretation attends the mention of baptism; and when it is recollected that Christians are not bound to receive physical circumcision, but are bound to receive physical baptism, we must conclude that physical baptism is here intended. The completeness of Christians requires the moral change denoted by circumcision, and also the obedience rendered in physical baptism. In all who are thus complete, this physical act is performed “in faith of the operation of God.” This passage does not, like that in Romans, deduce moral obligation from baptism; and, therefore, the word should is not introduced: but it affirms the completeness of true believers in their internal moral change, and in their very significant outward profession of it.

0bjection 2.–Everywhere else in Scripture, water is an emblem of purification; and it violates all analogy to suppose that in baptism it is an emblem of the grave, which is the place of putridity and loathsomeness.

That water in baptism is an emblem of purification, is clear from the words “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.” But that water is an emblem of nothing but purification, cannot be affirmed. In numerous passages it is an emblem of afflictions, of deep afflictions, without any reference to purification. When the Saviour said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with;” an immersion is intended, not into a means of purification, but into sufferings and death.

The grave is a place of putridity and loathsomeness, but not until the corruptible body is deposited in it; and when it leaves the grave the corruptible will put on incorruption. Even the- grave, therefore, is a place of regeneration and purification; and, instead of bearing no analogy to the purifying water of baptism, the analogy is striking.

Some of the Scripture allusions to baptism, are made to it as a purifying rite, but this is not true of all. An exception is found in 1 Cor. x. 2. On this Professor Stuart remarks: “Here, then, was the cloud which first stood before them, and then behind them; and here were the waters of the Red Sea, like a wall on their right hand and on their left. Yet neither the cloud nor the waters touched them. ‘They went through the midst of the sea upon dry ground.’ Yet they were baptized in the cloud and in the sea. The reason and ground of such an expression must be, so far as I can discern, a surrounding of the Israelites on different sides by the cloud and by the sea, although neither the cloud nor the sea touched them. It is, therefore, a kind of figurative mode of expression, derived from the idea that baptizing is surrounding with a fluid. But whether this be by immersion, effusion, suffusion, or washing, would not seem to be decided. The suggestion has sometimes been made, that the Israelites were sprinkled by the cloud and by the sea, and this was the baptism which Paul meant to designate. But the cloud on this occasion was not a cloud of rain; nor do we find any intimation that the waters of the Red Sea sprinkled the children of Israel at this time. So much is true, viz., that they were not immersed. Yet, as the language must evidently be figurative in some good degree, and not literal, I do not see how, on the whole, we can make less of it, than to suppose that it has a tacit reference to the idea of surrounding in some way or other.” This author urges the objection which we are considering, as his “principal difficulty in respect to the usual exegesis;” yet we have here, according to his own exposition, an allusion to baptism, without any reference to purification. Another such reference is found in 1 Peter iii. 21, and again in the words of Christ before quoted, “I have a baptism to be baptized with.”

Objection 3.–Very little resemblance can be found, between a man’s being dipped in water, and Christ’s being laid in a sepulchre hewn out of a rock. The supposed allusion requires resemblance.

Positive proof of allusion must be attended with difficulty; because, if it be mere allusion, it is always made without express affirmation,. The proof of allusion must therefore be circumstantial; yet there may be circumstances which exclude all rational doubt of its existence.

If there is no resemblance between immersion and Christ’s burial, the passage before us contains no allusion. If the resemblance is so slight, that but few persons are able to perceive it, the probability is, that the supposed allusion exists only in the fancy of those who imagine they see it. But if men have generally believed that allusion exists in the passage, the fact goes far to prove, that there is resemblance.

Have men generally believed in the existence of the supposed allusion? It is not necessary to examine the writings of authors attached to every different creed, and differing from each other in their views of baptism. Professor Stuart tells us their opinion in few words: “Most commentators have maintained, that sunetaphemen has here a necessary reference to the mode of literal baptism, which they say, was by immersion; and this, they think, affords ground for the employment of the image used by the apostle, because immersion (under water) may be compared to burial (under the earth). It is difficult, perhaps, to procure a patient rehearing for this subject, so long regarded by some as being out of fair dispute.” Now this general agreement of commentators, answers the objection which we are considering, far more successfully than any efforts of ours to point out the resemblance, which these commentators have perceived. The fact that it is seen is the best proof that it exists. The Scripture nowhere affirms that Paul, in this passage, alluded to a resemblance between immersion and Christ’s burial; and, therefore, “the common exegesis” cannot be sustained by positive proof from Scripture; but it finds proof, the best proof that the nature of the case admits, in the fact that men generally have seen and felt the allusion.

Although positive proof of the common exegesis cannot be found in Scripture, a circumstantial proof may be drawn from the passage itself, amounting to little less than full demonstration. After making mention of baptism into Christ’s death, Paul, before he refers to Christ’s resurrection, goes out of the usual course to speak of Christ’s burial. This was not necessary for the moral instruction which he designed to convey, if nothing but moral conformity to Christ’s death was intended. It was not necessary for the purpose of finding an antithesis to the resurrection of Christ. The Scriptures usually speak of Christ’s rising from the dead, not from the grave: and his death is the common antithesis to his resurrection. An example occurs in the present chapter, “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” In Colossians, after the passage “Buried with him in baptism,” the antithesis is again made, between the death (not the burial) of Christ, and his resurrection: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ, from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, &c.”[175] “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,” &c. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”[176] Why did the apostle step out of the usual course, in two different passages to mention the burial of Christ? and to mention it in connection with baptism? It cannot be accounted for if the common exegesis be rejected.

The objection states that little resemblance can be found between immersion and Christ’s burial: and the same might be said with respect to the resemblance between a loaf of bread, and the body of Christ. A well executed picture of the crucifixion, such as may be seen in Catholic chapels, has much more resemblance to the body of Christ, than is furnished by a piece of bread; yet, considering all the ends to be answered by the Eucharist, the divine wisdom has determined that we should keep Christ’s death in memory, not by looking at a crucifix, but by the eating of bread. In like manner, some means might have been devised for representing the burial and resurrection of Christ, supplying a nearer resemblance than is furnished by immersion in water. But when we consider that baptism not only represents the burial and resurrection of Christ, but also our fellowship with him in both, and the consequent removal or washing away of our guilt, nothing could more conveniently, aptly, and instructively accomplish all these ends at once.

[13] The Lexicons of Donnegan, and of Liddell and Scott, are in common use and high repute. They give the meaning of the word as follows:–

Donnegan.–“To immerse repeatedly into a liquid; to submerge, to soak thoroughly, to saturate; hence to drench with wine Met., to confound totally; to dip in a vessel and draw.–Pass. Perf.. bebaptismai, to be immersed, &c.”

Liddell and Scott.–“To dip repeatedly, to dip under. Mid. to bathe; hence to steep, wet; metaph. oi bebaptismenoi, soaked in wine; to pour upon, drench, eisphorais ophlemasi beb. over head and ears in debt. Plut. meirakion Baptizomenon, a boy overwhelmed with questions, Heind. Plat. Euthyd.–to dip a vessel, draw water–to baptize. N. T.”

[14] Dissertation on the question, “Is the mode of Christian Baptism prescribed in the New Testament?”

[15] 2 Kings viii. 15.

[16] Hippocrates.

[17] Num. xix. 18.

[18] Luke xvi. 24.

[19] Hippocrates.

[20] Ruth ii. 14.

[21] Mark xiv. 20.

[22] Matt. xxvi. 23.

[23] John xiii. 26.

[24] Aristotle.

[25] Anacreon.

[26] 1 Sam. xiv. 27.

[27] Ex. xii. 22.

[28] Lev. iv. 6.

[29] Lev. iv. 17.

[30] Lev. ix. 9.

[31] Lev. xiv. 6.

[32] Lev. xiv. 51.

[33] Xenophon.

[34] Aelian.

[35] Lev. xiv. 16.

[36] Hippocrates.

[37] Hippocrates.

[38] Hippocrates.

[39] Aristotle.

[40] Plato.

[41] Theocritus.

[42] Euripides.

[43] Aristotle.

[44] Theocritus.

[45] Hermolaus.

[46] Theocritus.

[47] Euripides.

[48] Callimachus.

[49] Nicander.

[50] Herodotus.

[51] Lev. xi. 32.

[52] Aristophanes.

[53] Homer.

[54] Plutarch.

[55] Aristophanes.

[56] Aristotle.

[57] Aratus.

[58] Josh. iii. 15.

[59] Aristotle.

[60] Aristotle.

[61] Aristophanes.

[62] Lycophron.

[63] Philippus.

[64] Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

[65] Euripides.

[66] Aratus.

[67] Aratus.

[68] Dan. iv. 33, v. 21.

[69] Suidas.

[70] Rev. xix. 13.

[71] Aristotle.

[72] Plato.

[73] Josephus.

[74] Sophocles.

[75] Aeschylus.

[76] Hippocrates.

[77] Arrian.

[78] Aelian.

[79] Nicolas of Damascus.

[80] Aeschylus.

[81] Homer.

[82] Aristophanes.

[83] Aristophanes.

[84] Plutarch.

[85] Diodorus Siculus.

[86] Aristophanes.

[87] Deut. xxxiii. 24.

[88] Psalms lxviii. 23.

[89] Job ix. 31.

[90] Moschus.

[91] Lycophron.

[92] Helladius.

[93] Marcus Antoninus.

[94] Hippocrates.

[95] Dion Cassuis.

[96] Josephus.

[97] Josephus.

[98] Josephus.

[99] Dion Cassius.

[100] Dion Cassius.

[101] Dion Cassius.

[102] Polybius.

[103] Aesop.

[104] Josephus.

[105] Diod. Siculus.

[106] Epictetus.

[107] Lucian.

[108] Themistius.

[109] Josephus.

[110] Josephus.

[111] Diodorus Siculus.

[112] Heliodorus.

[113] Aesop.

[114] Diodorus Siculus.

[115] 2 Kings v. 14.

[116] Ecclus. xxxiv. 30.

[117] Luke xi. 38.

[118] Mark vii. 4.

[119] Heb. ix. 10.

[120] Judith xii. 7.

[121] Ecclus. xxxiv. 25.

[122] Mark vii. 8.

[123] Porphyry.

[124] Hippocrates.

[125] Plutarch.

[126] Plutarch.

[127] Strabo.

[128] Strabo.

[129] Strabo.

[130] Strabo.

[131] Pindar.

[132] Heraclides Ponticus.

[133] Plutarch.

[134] Josephus.

[135] Anacreon.

[136] Dionysius.

[137] Plutarch.

[138] Polybius.

[139] Josephus.

[140] Orpheus.

[141] Aristotle.

[142] 1 Cor. x. 2.

[143] Aristophanes.

[144] Plato.

[145] Josephus.

[146] Philo Judaeus.

[147] Chrysostom.

[148] Justin Martyr.

[149] Lucian.

[150] Heliodorus.

[151] Heliodorus.

[152] Isa. xxi. 4.

[153] Luke xii. 50.

[154] Heliodorus.

[155] 1 Cor. xv. 29.

[156] Mark x. 38.

[157] Plutarch.

[158] Plutarch.

[159] Chrysostom.

[160] Clemens Alexandrinus.

[161] Plutarch.

[162] Heliodorus.

[163] Justin Martyr.

[164] Diod. Siculus.

[165] Josephus.

[166] Josephus.

[167] Plutarch.

[168] Matt. iii. 11; Acts i. 5.

[169] 1 Cor. xii. 13.

[170] Job ix. 30,31.

[171] Rom. vi. 3,4.

[172] Col. ii. 12.

[173] 1 Peter iii. 21.

[174] Rom. x. 9.

[175] Col. ii. 20.

[176] Col. iii. 1-3.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology- Volume 2

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A Treatise on Church Order: Baptism- Chapter 1- Section I- Perpetuity of Baptism

CHAPTER I

BAPTISM

SECTION I.–PERPETUITY OF BAPTISM

WATER BAPTISM IS A CHRISTIAN ORDINANCE OF PERPETUAL OBLIGATION.

The commission of Christ to his apostles reads thus: “Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”[1] It is not expressly stated in these words that water must be used in the baptizing which is enjoined; but so common is the use of water, that a command to immerse, wash, or sprinkle, naturally implies the use of it, unless something in the circumstances of the case, or connection of the word, suggests the use of some other liquid. The word baptize is often used in Scripture where water is implied without being expressly mentioned. The apostles had been accustomed to the administration of water baptism. They had been chosen to be Christ’s attendants and witnesses, from the baptism of John;[2] and, in all probability, many of them saw their Master baptized in the Jordan. They had witnessed John’s baptism in other cases; and some, if not all of them, had been baptized by him. After Jesus entered on his ministry, it was said that he “made and baptized more disciples than John.”[3] Water baptism must be intended here; and we are expressly informed that the disciples, and not Jesus himself, administered it. This they did while they were under the immediate direction of their Master, and were his personal attendants. His ministry, and their baptisms, were confined to the nation of Israel. The commission quoted above enlarged the field of their operation. The presence of their Master was promised, though his body was about to be removed from them; and the command to teach or make disciples, and to baptize, would naturally be interpreted by them according to the use of terms to which they had been accustomed. In their subsequent ministry, they preached and baptized; and the record, called the Acts of the Apostles, contains frequent mention of baptisms. In these, no reasonable doubt can exist that water was used: and sometimes it is expressly mentioned.

The commission was given, just before Christ ascended to heaven, and was designed for the dispensation which was to follow. The apostles, before proceeding to execute it, were commanded to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endued with power from on high. This promised power was given when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them on the day of Pentecost. It is clear, therefore, that, in the view of the Lord Jesus, water baptism was not inconsistent with the spiritual dispensation which the day of Pentecost introduced.

Besides its literal use, the word baptize is sometimes employed figuratively, when spiritual influence, or overwhelming sufferings, are intended. In such instances there is always something in the context, or circumstances of the case, directing to the proper interpretation. When there is nothing that directs to a figurative interpretation, we are required, by a well known law of criticism, to take the word in its literal sense. According to this law, we are bound to interpret literally the language of plain command used in the commission; and, if “baptizing” must be taken literally, no doubt can exist that the use of water was intended in the command.

Since the ascension of Christ, no change of dispensation has occurred by which the commission could be revoked. The promise which it contains, of Christ’s presence until the end of the world, implies its perpetuity. Under this commission the ministers of Christ now act, and by it they are bound, according to the manifest intention of his words, to administer water baptism.

In different ages of Christianity some persons have denied the obligation of water baptism. The modern sect, called Quakers, are of this number. The objections which they urge deserve our attention.

Objection 1.–The proper rendering of the commission, is, “baptizing into the name of,” &c. The name of God signifies his power, or some influence proceeding from him. The baptism into spiritual influence cannot be water baptism.

We admit the correction of the translation, but not the inference drawn from it. The same Greek preposition is used in other passages which forbid the inference now drawn. John said, “I baptize you unto [into] repentance.” Repentance is a spiritual duty: but baptism into repentance is not, therefore, a spiritual baptism; for the words of John fully quoted, are: “I baptize you with water into repentance.” In another passage it is said, “John preached the baptism of repentance for [into] the remission of sins:” and Peter, on the day of Pentecost, commanded, “Repent and be baptized for [into] the remission of sins.” The remission of sins is a spiritual blessing, but it does not follow that baptism into the remission of sins must be a spiritual baptism. John’s we know was water baptism; and when those who received Peter’s command are said to have been baptized, the sacred historian employs the simple language of plain history: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.[4] These examples prove that the use of the preposition into, is not inconsistent with the literal interpretation of the commission.

Objection 2.–The baptism of John is, in the Scriptures, carefully distinguished from the baptism of Christ; the former being with water, the latter with the Spirit. The apostles were to act for Christ, and the commission authorized them to administer his baptism. Parallel texts may be found, in which the apostles are said to impart spiritual gifts.

Although John had predicted, that Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit; yet the disciples made by Christ during his personal ministry, were baptized with water. This was administered by his disciples, and doubtless with his sanction. The careful mention by the evangelist that Jesus did not himself baptize, shows that baptism with the Holy Spirit is not in this case intended. John’s words, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost,” describe spiritual baptism as Christ’s peculiar personal work, and we do not find any passage of Scripture which speaks of the apostles, or any other ministers of Christ, baptizing with the Holy Spirit. Such baptism as they had been accustomed to administer, in the presence and by the authority of Christ, the commission required them to administer.

It is true that Paul was sent to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; but these things are mentioned as the effects of his mission, and not as things directly commanded. The duty commanded, was to preach the gospel. The blessing of God on his ministry rendered his mission effectual to open the eyes of the Gentiles, and to confer the spiritual benefits mentioned in the special commission which he received. But the baptizing mentioned in the commission given to the other apostles, is a commanded duty, and the command must be understood according to the literal import of the words.

Objection 3.–Paul teaches that there is one baptism. Now, there is a baptism of the Spirit; and if water baptism is a perpetual ordinance of Christianity, there are two baptisms, instead of one.

Paul says, “One Lord, one faith, and one baptism.” As he uses the words Lord and faith in their literal senses, so he uses the word baptism in its literal sense. In this sense there is but one baptism. John the Baptist foretold that Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit: and Jesus said to his disciples,” Ye shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.” Both these baptisms were known to Paul. These figurative baptisms were two in number; while the literal baptism was but one. He must, therefore, have intended the latter.

Objection 4.–Peter has defined the true Christian baptism, both negatively and positively. It is (“not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.[5] The first clause denies that it is water baptism; and the second affirms that it is spiritual baptism. This is confirmed by the fact that it is said to save, which water baptism cannot do. Moreover, the words “the like figure,” should be rendered the antitype. When spiritual things are compared to literal, the literal are the type, and the spiritual the antitype. Hence, as baptism is called the antitype, spiritual baptism must be intended.

Water baptism, as a Christian rite, is not administered to cleanse the flesh, either literally or ceremonially. It figuratively represents the burial and resurrection of Christ, on which the believer relies for salvation. The answer of a good conscience is obtained by faith in the finished work of Christ, represented in the rite. In the language of Scripture, a thing is said to be that which it represents: thus, “The field is the world.” “This is my body.” “This cup is the new testament.” So Paul was said to wash away his sins in baptism, because it represented their being washed away: and so in this passage, baptism is said to save, because it represents our salvation, which is effected by the burial and resurrection of Christ; not by the removing of any corporeal defilement.

The criticism on the word antitype is inaccurate. The antitype is that which corresponds to the type; but it is not necessarily spiritual. The earthly sanctuary is, in one place, called the antitype of the heavenly, “which are the figures [antitypes] of the true. [6] In this passage “the holy places made with hands” are the antitype; and heaven is the type to which the antitype corresponds. This relation between the type and antitype, reverses the order which the objection assumes to be universal.

Objection 5.–The Jews had divers baptisms, which Paul calls “carnal ordinances imposed on them till the time of reformation.[7] An ordinance is not rendered carnal by the time when it is observed; but by its own nature. The Jewish baptisms were commanded by God, and were significant of spiritual things. Water baptism cannot have higher authority, or be more significant; and is, therefore, a carnal ordinance in its own nature, and not suited to Christ’s spiritual dispensation. It belonged properly to John’s dispensation, and was designed to be superseded by Christ’s spiritual baptism, according to the words of John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.[8]

In speaking of the Jewish ceremonies, Paul says, “Which stood in meats and drinks, and divers baptisms, and carnal ordinances.” This passage does not confound baptisms, with carnal ordinances, but seems rather to distinguish between them. Nevertheless, as the Jewish baptisms sanctified to the purifying of the flesh, there may be a propriety in denominating them carnal. Christian baptism is not administered for this purpose; and, therefore, is not carnal in the same sense. But, whatever it may be called, if Christ instituted it for the observance of his followers, we dare not account it unsuitable to his dispensation. The Jewish dispensation abounded with ceremonies; but amidst them all, a spiritual service was required; for even then the sacrifices of God were a broken spirit. The ceremonies were wisely adapted to promote spirituality, rather than to hinder it. Our more spiritual dispensation needs fewer helps of this kind: but we are yet in the body, and God has judged it fit to assist our faith by visible representations. To reject their use, is to be wiser than God.

Water baptism was not superseded by the baptism of the Spirit. While Peter was preaching to Cornelius, and those who were in his house, the Holy Ghost fell on them. The apostle did not consider this a reason for omitting water baptism; but, on the contrary, argued the propriety of administering it, from this very fact: “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we?[9] Contrary to all his previous views, the Holy Spirit had guided the apostle to preach the gospel to these uncircumcised gentiles, and to admit them to Christian baptism. If this rite had been designed for Jews only, or to be superseded by the baptism of the Spirit, Peter committed a mistake in commanding these first Gentile converts to be baptized with water. It is true that he had been mistaken before, in confining his ministry to the circumcised; and it may be argued, that he may have been again mistaken in commanding water baptism to the uncircumcised. But the Holy Ghost was now correcting the first error, and it is wholly improbable that in doing this, he should have led him into a second. The propriety of admitting gentile converts had not been determined, as it afterwards was, by a council of the apostles; but Peter followed the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and the subsequent council justified his act. Now, if he had again mistaken the mind of the Spirit in commanding the use of water baptism, it is unaccountable, and inconsistent with the perfection of the Scriptures that neither he nor the council, in reviewing the transaction under the influence of the Holy Spirit, discovered the mistake; and that no correction, such as was made of the former error, is anywhere to be found in the inspired writings.

When John spoke the words, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” the Jews had said to him, “Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, behold the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.” The baptism which they reported must have been water baptism, and so far as John’s words applied to it, they must denote that water baptism, instead of ceasing under Christ’s dispensation, would be greatly extended.

Objection 6.–Paul states in 1st. epistle to the Corinthians, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel;” and he thanked God that he had baptized so few of them. Now, as he was not a whit behind the chief of the apostles, water baptism would not have been omitted in his commission, if it had been designed to be a perpetual ordinance; and if it was as much his duty to baptize as to preach, he would not have thanked God that he had baptized so few. He would as soon have thanked God that he had preached so little. He baptized some, as he circumcised Timothy, accommodating himself to the weakness of men; but he was thankful that such acts of accommodation had been seldom needed. As he was the chief opponent of the prevailing judaizing tendency, he was thankful that, in the matter of baptizing, he had yielded to it in so few instances.

In this quotation from Paul, the word baptize stands alone, without the mention of water. The objection very properly assumes that water baptism is meant; but, in so doing, it confirms our rule, that the word baptize, when alone, implies the use of water. If the word, when standing alone in such a sentence, could mean the baptism of the Spirit, and if Paul and the other apostles had been commissioned to administer this baptism, he could not have declared with truth, “Christ sent me not to baptize.”

Paul claimed to be an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ. An apostle is one sent, and Paul was sent by Jesus, who said “to whom I now send thee.” He claimed to be an apostle in the highest sense, because he had received his commission directly from Christ: “Am I not an apostle? have I not seen Jesus Christ?[10] Now, in the commission which he received directly from Christ, he was not commanded, either to be baptized himself or to baptize others. He received the gospel which he preached without human instrumentality; but he did not so receive baptism. He submitted to it, at the command of Ananias, who was not himself one of those originally commissioned to administer it. In this act, Paul acknowledged the obligation to perpetuate the ordinance, and the right of Ananias to administer it by authority derived from the other apostles. At Antioch he was set apart with fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands, for ministerial labor; and, whether this was done with reference to the missionary service on which he immediately entered, or whether it was his first ceremonial investiture with the ministerial office, we learn, from what was done, that his direct commission from Christ, was not designed to set aside the Church order which had been previously established by the other apostles. Both in receiving his own baptism, and in being set apart to the work to which the Holy Ghost had called him, Paul acted as an ordinary Christian. His apostleship for preaching the gospel was directly from Christ, and not by man; but his baptism, and his authority to baptize, were received by man, and in a way which respected and honored the established order of things among the disciples of Christ. While he said with truth, “Christ sent me not to baptize,” it was nevertheless true, that the baptisms which he did administer were not unauthorized. He considered the administration of the ordinance not his proper apostolic work; and since the Corinthians had divided themselves into parties, claiming Paul, Apollos, and Cephas, for their leaders, he was thankful that so few of them could claim him as their leader on the ground of having received baptism from him.

Paul did not baptize out of mere accommodation to the weakness of others. Because of the Jews who were in that quarter, he circumcised Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess; but when the judaizers desired to have Titus also circumcised, who was a Greek, he steadfastly and successfully opposed them. As a minister of the uncircumcision, he watchfully and zealously defended the gentile converts in the enjoyment of liberty from the Jewish yoke of bondage. But not a word can be found in all that he said or wrote, claiming for them freedom from the obligation of Christian baptism. On the contrary, he uses considerations derived from their baptism, to urge them to walk in newness of life. The rule of interpretation, confirmed by the very objection which we are considering, requires us to understand literal baptism to be meant, when it is said, “So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death;”[11] and again, when it is said, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.[12] A public profession of Christ was, in the view of Paul, the design of this ceremony, involving an acknowledged obligation to be his, and to walk in newness of life. All that Paul taught, like his own example, tends to establish the perpetuity of Christian baptism.

[1] Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.

[2] 2 Acts i. 22. 3.

[3] John iv. 1.

[4] Acts ii. 41.

[5] 1 Peter iii. 21.

[6] Heb. ix. 24.

[7] Heb. ix. 10.

[8] John iii. 30.

[9] Ps. li. 17.

[10] 1 Cor. ix. 1.

[11] Rom. vi. 3.

[12] Gal. iii. 27.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology- Volume 2

An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 18

18. As the preaching of the Gospel, both for the conversion of sinners, and the edifying of those that are converted; so also the right use of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, ought to be till the end of the world, Matt. 28:19,20; I Cor. 11:26.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

Free Ebook- Baptism Discovered Plainly and Faithfully, According to the Word of God

By John Norcott

“Baptism Discovered Plainly and Faithfully, According to the Word of God“, Third Edition, corrected by William Kiffin, and Richard Claridge, with an Appendix by Another Hand. Re-printed by the Assigns of Widow Norcott

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An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 16

16. Although a true believer, whether baptized, or unbaptized, be in the state of salvation, and shall certainly be saved: yet in obedience to the Command of Christ every believer ought to desire Baptism, and to yield himself to be baptized according to the rule of Christ in His Word: And where this obedience is in faith performed, there Christ makes this His Ordinance a means of unspeakable benefit to the believing soul, Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; I Pet. 3:21. And a true believer that here sees the command of Christ lying upon him, cannot allow himself in disobedience thereunto, Acts 24:16.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

The Case for Credobaptism

by Sam Renihan

The practice of baptizing professing believers is grounded upon two complementary foundations. The first is an argument from the covenants of Scripture. The second is an argument from the commands of Scripture related to those covenants. Credobaptists and paedobaptists often assume, or argue, that the people of a given covenant receive the covenant sign. Thus, in the case of the subjects of baptism one must simply identify the covenant people. This is insufficient. The administration of covenantal ordinances is governed by specific laws, which must be obeyed strictly. For example, women were members of Abraham’s covenant but they were not recipients of its sign, circumcision. Likewise, infant males were circumcised, but only on the eighth day. As a result, to determine the subjects of baptism one must first identify and distinguish the covenants involved and then examine the accompanying laws.

1. A positive credobaptist argument asserts that the relevant covenant involved is the new covenant, and that this covenant is distinct from the biblical covenants that preceded it in history, particularly the Abrahamic covenant. Simply put, the Abrahamic covenant promised earthly blessings to an earthly people (Abraham and his offspring) in an earthly land. This covenantal relationship was expanded and developed in the Mosaic covenant….

 

 

 

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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3-Chapter 29-The Baptism that Saves

CHAPTER 29-THE BAPTISM THAT SAVES #Mt 3:13-15

At a banquet honoring some athletic celebrities, Helen Wills Moody was called on for a speech. She said something like this: “To be seen one has to stand; to be understood one has to speak distinctly; and to be appreciated one has to sit down.”

In this message I want to affirm something and then support that affirmation. I affirm that there is a baptism that saves. In this message we shall discover that baptism. What is baptism?

NEGATIVELY:

1. The baptism that saves is not the baptism of the sinner in water. It is not denied that water baptism saves figuratively and symbolically. Saul was already saved when he was told by Ananias to arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins. He was converted and called into the ministry when he met Jesus on the Damascus road. Water has cleansing properties and is a fit emblem of the blood of Christ that actually cleanses from all sin. It is also an emblem of the Holy Spirit and of the word of God.

ARGUMENT:

1. The contention that water baptism saves is unreasonable as well as unscriptural. If water baptism is essential to salvation, then all who are unbaptized are in their sins and lost, regardless of how much evidence they may give of a birth from above. This theory shuts out all Quakers who do not believe in water baptism at all, but among whom can be found many people of evident spirituality. It also shuts out of heaven all unimmersed Presbyterians and Methodists. This view limits the number of the saved to a small denomination of professing Christians. The implication is narrow, carnal, and cruel.

2. Passages that may seem to teach baptismal remission can be fairly, honestly, and intelligently interpreted in the figurative sense. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (#Joh 3:5). Water is here made by some to mean baptism. But it is a false and dangerous scheme of interpretation to make water and baptism interchangeable terms. Water is often used where there can be no possible allusion to baptism. “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again” (#Joh 4:13); “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (#Joh 7:38); “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (#Joh 13:8); Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (#Joh 15:3). All through the gospel of John water is used in a figurative and spiritual sense to make John 3:5 refer to literal water of baptism is to use the word water in a different sense in which it is used in all the other places. And besides, the word baptism is not in #Joh 3:5 and to introduce baptism here is to violate the meaning of water in the gospel of John.

3. Water baptism cannot save because of the subject to be baptized. Baptism is for believers only and the believer is a saved person. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (#Joh 3:16); “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (#Joh 3:36); “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (#Joh 20:31); “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (#Ac 16:31). The pastor is looking for people to baptize; where will he find them among the saved or lost? The answer is obvious.

4. Water baptism cannot save because baptism is no part of the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (#1Co 15:3,4). Paul thanked God that he had not baptized many of the Corinthians. “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;” (#1Co 1:14). “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (#1Co 4:15).

5. Water baptism cannot save because of the design of baptism. Baptism is not a saving sacrament but a symbol of what does save; namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Baptism speaks of the legal union between Christ and the believer. The believer is dead to the guilt of sin and alive unto God and to this, baptism testifies. Baptism is a burial and a burial testifies to the death of a person. Our old man was crucified with Christ. Old man does not mean our old nature, our old nature is still very much alive. The old man is the man of old the person I once was under law and cursed by it and awaiting the day of execution. As a believer in Christ I can look back at the cross and see the sentence of death against me executed in the death of Christ. Christ had my guilt upon Himself and died under it, then rose again, and as my Surety and substitute, I died and rose again in His death and resurrection. Now the purpose of baptism is to symbolize all this, to put it before our eyes in visible symbol.

This death and resurrection is not something to be felt, but something to be reckoned as so because God says so. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (#Ro 6:11). Reason may argue, but I do not feel dead to sin. But feeling has nothing to do with it. What God says is the important thing. And God says that what Christ did on the cross and in coming out of the tomb is what saves us. The believer is declared to be dead to the guilt of sin and alive unto God on the ground of the death and resurrection of Christ.

2. The baptism that saves is not the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

ARGUMENT:

1. Because of the design of Spiritual baptism. Spiritual baptism was not for salvation but for power. Holy Spirit baptism was associated with the miraculous. The disciples (who were already saved) were told to tarry in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit who would empower them for witnessing. Holy Spirit baptism at Pentecost enabled the disciples to speak in tongues or languages they did not know. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (#Ac 2:16). In Acts 8 the Samaritans who had been converted under Philip’s preaching and had been baptized in water received the Spiritual baptism through the laying on of the hands of Peter and John. “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (#Ac 8:17). In Acts 10, Cornelius and others heard Peter say that whoever believed in Christ should receive remission of sins. And as Peter spake they believed and the Spirit fell on them and they spake in tongues. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (#Ac 10:43-46). I do not believe we have Holy Spirit Baptism today; else we would have people speaking in languages unknown to them as well as performing other miracles as they did in the early church. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (#Eph 5:18).

And so the baptism that saves is neither water baptism nor Spiritual baptism. It is not the baptism of the sinner in anything. The baptism that saves is the baptism of the Savior at Calvary. The Bible speaks of baptism in water, in the Holy Spirit, in fire, and in suffering. And the way to be saved is to trust in what Christ suffered on the cross.

John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River. He was baptizing people who came to him confessing their sins. He refused to baptize anyone else. He turned down the Jews who wanted to be baptized as descendants of Abraham. Jesus walked from Galilee to the Jordan and asked John to baptize Him. John demurred, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee and comest thou to me?” (#Mt 3:14). John was baptizing self confessed sinners and he could not think of Jesus as a sinner. But Jesus prevailed by saying. “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (#Mt 3:15). John then baptized Him. Jesus was not a sinner but He was in the sinner’s place and to save sinners He must work out a perfect righteousness for them. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (#Php 2:8). And so John’s baptism of Jesus fulfilled all righteousness only typically and figuratively. It pointed to another baptism of Jesus when He would be baptized in suffering and thus provide righteousness for sinners. The baptism of Jesus was a prophecy and pledge of the cross.

And so the baptism that saves was the baptism of Christ at Calvary. We find Christ speaking of another baptism after His water baptism. On His last trip to Jerusalem He told His disciples of His approaching death under the figure of a baptism. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able” (#Mt 20:20-22); “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (#Lu 12:50).

On the cross our dear Savior was immersed in suffering. Hear Him in the prophetic word: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me” (#Ps 18:4,5).

The cross is the place to look for salvation. The way of the cross leads home. The water baptism of Christ typified His baptism of suffering; and our baptism in water symbolizes what He did in his death and resurrection. His water baptism looked forward to the cross and our water baptism looks back to the cross. The baptismal pool that actually washes away sin was filled at Calvary, filled with the blood of Christ.

“There is a fountain filled with blood,

Drawn from Emanuel’s veins;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.

“The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in his day;

And there may I,

though vile as he,

Wash all my sins away.

“Ere since by faith,

I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme,

And shall be till I die.”

—Cowper.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3