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With the exception of the Sclavonic and Russian Sect rendering krestit, and the Latin and English transfer of
VIII. baptizo, instead of translation, all the versions existing have translated the word baptizo by dip; until within a very few years, pædobaptists, in order to be impartial, have rendered the word in the Seneca language to sprinkle! (the first time the word was ever so used ;) in the Chinese, “ to use the wetting ceremony ;' and by way of producing a literary equilibrium with the Seneca translation, have rendered it in the Cherokee immerse ! Leaving modern missionary versions out of the question, there is not a solitary version in either the Eastern or Western languages, which in the slightest degree favours any other meaning to the term baptizo than that of im.
Better collateral evidence could not be desired.
BRIEF REFERENCE TO CHURCH HISTORY.
In another chapter we shall, from the writings of Ecclesiasti
cal Ilistory. the Fathers, prove that immersion, in the earliest ages, was alone practised in baptism--that afterwards pouring or sprinkling was allowed only in case of the dangerous illness of an unbaptized person—that the whole of the Greek church, and all the eastern churches, dip to this day-that sprinkling had its origin amidst the most absurd doctrinal errors and superstitious practices-that, except in cases of danger, throughout the Christian Church for the first thirteen hundred years, no other mode but immersion was authorized hended that such pictures still are a source of authority to many youthful minds, in favour of the practice alluded to.
of Dr. Woods.
CHAP. —that this authority, when it occurred, was from AntiI.
christ—and that all who sprinkle have to trace their practice to that polluted fountain. I mention these points here only for their indirect support to the correctness of the views taken of the meaning of the term. One point is at least of decisive moment—the Greeks in all ages so understood the Greek verb baptizo; and the testimony of the Greek nation and church through all ages, to the meaning of the term, is sufficient alone to overthrow the speculations of the few peedo baptist professors on either side of the Atlantic who endeavour to sustain a
contrary opinion. Admission It gives me pleasure to do justice to the candour of
Dr. Woods, in one point at least - the testimony of church history in favour of immersion; the more so because, in considering the circumstances attending the baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, he has (without notifying his students of the fact) in almost every instance given his opinions directly in opposition to those of the early Fathers, and the great and the candid pedobaptists of the past and present age-Luther, Calvin, Doddridge, Neander, and many others. I would request those who have read Dr. Woods' Lectures, to obtain those of Dr. Doddridge, which will be found in his Miscellaneous Works, that they may have before them a striking specimen of the candour of the past age as contrasted with the sectarian spirit of the present. Dr. Woods is, however, inconceivably more careful of the truth of history than Dr. Miller, as the following admission testifies.
“Our Baptist brethren undertake to prove from ecclesiastical history, that immersion was the prevailing mode of baptism in the ages following the Apostles. I acknowledge that ecclesiastical history clearly proves this. And I am very willing to acknowledge also, that SECT. immersion might be one of the modes of baptism, and
IX. perhaps the prevailing one, used in the time of Christ and the apostles, and that the Christians in the following ages probably derived it from them. This is acknow. ledging quite as much as can be fairly proved.
“ In regard to this argument from ecclesiastical his. tory, I remark, first, that it is the only clear and certain proof in favour of immersion, as the mode of Christian baptism. It must be apparent, that no such proof can be found in the Scriptures. For the Scriptures nowhere declare, as the ecclesiastical writers do, that baptism was performed by immersion. They nowhere describe the mode.”
That is, they 'nowhere say they were immersed by immersion! The learned Dr. forgot that he had a few pages before, admitted that immerse was the common signification of the word; while he maintains, “ there may be sufficient reason why a religious rite, though denoted by a word in common use, should not be performed in a manner exactly conforming” with that meaning. Still if baptizo usually meant immerse, it satisfactorily accounts for the evangelists using no other terms to describe the action; to have done so would have thrown a doubt on the meaning of the word itself, for which there is happily now no ground whatever.
TESTIMONY OF PODOBAPTIST AUTIIORS.
“ The point at issue is,” says Professor Pond, “in a The ques
tion at issue. few words, this:- Is IMMERSION ESSENTIAL TO THE ORDINANCE?
Our Baptist brethren contend that it is.
CHAP. They tell us that the idea of immersion enters into the I.
very nature of baptism; that the terms baptism and immersion are equivalent and interchangeable. The meaning of the word (baptize) is always the same, and it always signifies to dip. It never has
other meaning. All Baptists hold, that there can be no baptism without immersion ; that this is essential to the ordinance. To this point, therefore, all their reasonings ought to tend. Whatever they may offer to show that immersion is a valid mode of baptism; or even the most proper mode; or that it was frequently practised in ancient times, has no direct bearing on the controversy, and no tendency to bring it to a close.
Let them prove, what we deny, that immersion is essential to baptismso essential that there can be no baptism without it, and our differences on the subject are at an end.”—That is, is immersion essential to immersion; or may sprinkling be termed immersion. If the true and proper meaning of baptizo is to immerse, then immersion only is baptism. On this point I will produce podobaptist testimony that Professor Pond will not dispute.
The last class of proofs that baptizo, when used in the New Testament writers, means to immerse, will be from pædobaptist authors themselves. The question is not now—“Is sprinkling admissible as a substitute or modification of immersion ?" But simply, “ When Christ used the word baptizo, did he command immersion ?” Neither is it now the question, whether the church had the right to alter immersion into sprinkling ; but simply, “What did Christ mean to be done when he employed the word baptizo?"
Now I affirm, with the statements of professors Woods, Pond, and Miller before me, that the great majority of learned writers among pædobaptists themselves, assert SECT. that the true meaning of baptizo is to immerse! This
a Treatise on Christian Baptism, p. 14.
IX. is the case with the most learned English authors who Testimony
of pedohave investigated this subject; but especially have almost
baptists. all the German philologists, commentators, and ecclesi. astical historians, expressed themselves most decidedly on this point. Neither Dr. Woods nor Dr. Miller will Authority
of German venture to deny that the Germans stand far above all
critics. other nations, in their authority as to language or history, however we may demur to their claims as philosophers and theologians. On this point it is sufficient to state, that with respect to the Greek language, both classic and sacred, three-fourths of the lexicography and critical notes, used in England and America, are of German origin; and that their researches in ecclesiastical history are so highly esteemed, as to be translated into English, and used as the text-books in our colleges. Surrounded as is the German professor with original documents, trained in the keenest school of criticism, and favoured with leisure for investigation, it were strange indeed were not their authority in a matter of language and history (in a case in which their testi. mony must be deemed impartial) admitted to outweigh a few pædobaptist professors among us, who have a special object to answer in their statements respecting the meaning of this word. So contrary is the testimony of these great scholars to their wishes, that the professors of our pædobaptist colleges are actually in a dilemma respecting the translation of the critical and his. torical works of the German pædobabtists; a specimen of this will occur in a following chapter. The German writers of the era of the Reformation German
Reformers. will be first introduced ; and strange as it may seem to many readers, they will find that Calvin admits the true meaning of baptizo to be immerse, and that Luther