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zein is, to immerse, plunge, or overwhelm. The noun ought never to be rendered baptism, nor the verb to baptize, but when employed to a religious ceremony. The verb baptizein sometimes, and baptein, which is synonimous, often occur in the Septuagint and Apochryphal writings, and is always rendered by one or other of these words, to dip, to wash, or to plunge. When the original expression, therefore, is rendered in familiar language, there appears nothing harsh or extraordinary in the metaphor; phrases like these—to be overwhelmed with grief, to be immersed in affliction, will be sound common in most languages.” This testimony is still more explicitly given in his “Dissertations,” page 23, vol. 2d. He censures translators for translating certain names of rites and festivals, and for merely adopting the original names of others: his words are—Thus the word peritome they have translated circumcisio, (circumcision); but the word baptisma they have retained, changing only the letters : from Greek to Roman. Yet the latter was just as susceptible of a literal version into Latin, as the former. Inwnersio, tinctio, (immersion or dipping) answers as exactly in the one case as circumcisio in the other. And if it be said of these words, that they do not rest on classical authority, the same is true also of this. Etymology, and the usage of ecclesiastical authors, are all that can be pleaded. Now the use with respect to the names adopted in the ‘Vulgate, has commonly been imitated, or rather implicitly followed, through the western parts of Europe. W. have deserted the Greek names where the Latins have deserted them, and have adopted them where the Latins have adopted them. Hence we say circumcision, and not peritomy 3, and we do not say immersion but baptism. Yet when the language furnishes us with materials for a version, so exact and analogical, such a version conveys the sense more perspicuously than a foreign name. For this reason, I should think the word immersion (which, though of Latin origin, is an English noun regularly formed from the verb to immerse) a better English name than baptism, were we now at liberty to make a choice.” Mr. W., then, is sufficiently refuted by one of the ablest critics of the Presbyterian church, and therefore I am exempted from the trouble of doing it. That the whole task may not devolve on the labors of Mr. G. Campbell to
refute the Paido-baptists, I choose rather to state some facts, and to adduce some other evidences, that may confirm what I have already quoted, from the learned “Distertations” and “Critical Notes.” It is a fact well known in some parts of Europe, and also to some persons in the United States, that king James, by whose authority the present common version of the scriptures was made, prohibited the translators from translating into English baptisma and baptizo where these words respected the rite; but ordered them to adopt these words, as they were adopted in the vulgate.” These were not the only words concerning which the king gave instructions. His object was to prevent any of the contending parties in the church, from having any superior advantage from the new version, choosing rather to adopt than translate such words as were a subject of dispute amongst controversialists, leaving each arty to affix what meanings it chose to these words.-ad the translators been at liberty to have rendered these terms by appropriate words, the controversy would have been at an end long ere now. Instead of the command. “Be baptised every one of you,” it would have read, be dipped every one of you, or be immersed every one of you. Instead of “baptise all nations,” it would have read, immerse all nations. Instead of “he baptised him,” it would have read, he immersed him—and instead of “he baptised at Enon because there was much water there,” it would have been, he immersed at Enon because the was much water there. No controversy concerning the “mode” of baptism would have now existed. Every person would have read in plain English, that immersion was performed by immersing. Another fact worthy to be remarked in this place is. that the Westminster Divines were much perplexed and divided on the “action” of baptism... Although they were convoked and authorised by the parliament, and their moderator appointed by the parliament, when forming the creed of millions of protestants, yet they retained so much regard for the meaning of the terms baptisma and baptizo, that they could not at once consent to establishing sprinkling as baptism. After long debating, the question, was
* See Lewis's copy of the instructions given by king Jame to the translators of the authorised translation of the Bible.
put to vote. There was an equal number on both .#
* The reader will pardon me for calling the moderator of the Westminster assembly the creature of the parliament, when he considers that he was created moderator by the parliament, and that, when the first moderator died, the parliament would not allow them to elect one from among themselves, but appointed a successor according to their own will. See the minutes of the assembly, met at Westminster, A. D. 1643. See also the life of Dr. Lightfoot, in his folio works. -
when the votes were taken thus, 26 for sprink
A third fact that I shall mention, on this part of the subject, is, that the Greek Church, which must be supposed to understand their own language best; always intnerse all subjects of the ordinance of Baptism—cold as their climate is, and numerous as their defects may be, they never, as the Roman Church, departed from the true action of baptism, but at all times practised immersion. A fourth fact, corroborative of the above, is, that the ancient Latin fathers considered sprinkling, even when applied to those whose debility and impending dissolution ohibited immersion, not worthy to be called baptism.§. has these words recorded, page 118, spoken in the reign of Decius, against a certain person aspiring to the office of a bishop, viz. “He fell into a grievous distemper, and it being supposed that he would die immediately, he received baptism (being besprinkled with water) on the bed whereon we lay : (if that can be called bap. tism.”) Walesius hath the foilawing note on this occurrence. “People that were sick could not be dipped in water by the priest, but were sprinkled with water by him. This baptism was thought imperfect, and not solemn (lawful) for several reasons. Also they who were thus baptised, were called ever afterwards Clinici, and by the 12th canon of the council of Neocaesarea, these Clinici were prohibited priesthood.” 1 come now to add, to the authority of Campbell's Notes and Dissertations, the testimony of eminent lexicographers. I begin first with the renowned Scapula, the father of modern lexicons: Bapto, he defines mergo, immergo, item lingo, (quod sit immer gendo)-in English, to plunge, immerse or dye, because coloring is done by immersing. He quotes Luke 16, 24, ina “bapse to akron tou daktulou autau tou udatos”—“that he may dip the tip of his finger in water. Baptizo, which, some pedo-baptists say, differs in signification, he defines, mergo, seu immergo, vel submergo, to plunge, immerse, overwhelm, or plunge wnder; also, abluo, to wash, as ting, to color, being both the effects of dipping—he quotes Mark 7th as an instance of its being rendered to wash. How this washing was performed we shall shortly see. We shall next cite the venerable Stockius: “ Baptizo generatin advivocis intinctionis ac immersionis notionem obtinct—Speciatin proprie est immergere ac intin. gere in aquan. Tropice, *. metalepsin est lava e a!,łł. * - - - - - - - - - wo ere, quia aliquid intingi ac immergi solet in aquam ut lavatur vel abluatur”—The English of which is, “Generally, it obtains by the natural import of the word, the idea of dipping in, or immersing. Specially, and properly, it signifies to immerse or to dip—figuratively, it signifies to wash, because any thing that is washed is usually dipped or immersed in water.” Such is the meaning given by Stockius—he says, moreover, with a view to the pedo-baptist system, on Mark 7th, that washing may be performed by sprinkling water on the thing to be washed —but this is not given as a meaning of the word, but as an accommodation of the term washing, to the views of bis practice as a pedo-baptist. Under the term baptising, which he explains immersion, or dipping in water, he observes, “ this word is used to designate the first sacrament, which they call the sacrament of initiation, namely baptism, in which the baptised were, in former times, immersed in water.”—“Even as now they are sprinkled with water.” Under the word baptismos, he uses these words: “Hinc transfertur ad baptismum sacramentalem. ubi baptizandus olim in aqua immergebatur, ut a peccati sordibus ablueretur, ac in foedus gratiae reciperetur.”— Hence this word is applied to the sacrament of baptism, because, in ancient times, the baptised was immersed in water, that the filth of sin might be washed away, and that he might be received into the Covenant of Grace. After these authorities, it will be of no great consequence to cite Parkhurst, who is but a follower of them and G. Campbell. Under the word baptizo, from bapto, to dip, he, however, accords with them in the six meanings he gives to it—1. To dip, in merse, or plunge in water—2. “Mid and pass, to wash oneself, be washed, wash, i.e. the hands, by immersion or dipping in water— 3. “To baptise, to immerse in, or wash with, water, in token of purification from sin.” Under the first meaning he adds, that the meaning there placed under it, does not strictly occur in the New Testament, but only so far as it is included in the second and third meanings above quoted. His 4th, 5th and 6th meanings are the figurative uses of the term in scripture, and are analogical to what he says is the 6th acceptation of it, in the New Testament—“To be immersed or plunged in a flood or sea, as it were of grievous afflictions and sufferings.” Baptisma, he explains “an immersion or washing with water,” in*: *