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tures, on the contrary, exhibit mankind as very imperfect in their best estate. St. Paul, when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans, and was about fifty-six years of age, and of course far advanced in the Christian character, says, Oh! wretched man,
that I am ! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Ji can hardly be believed, I think, that in the view of Paul, the additional purification, indicated by washing the feet, would have made him a perfeci man.
If Christ is supposed here to intend a literal bathing; the meaning is obvious enough, and undoubtedly contains a truth; but the application of it to the case in hand, seems difficult, if not impossible, to be conceived; the situation of a person, who had been bathed, not being that of Peter.
The meaning of the passage, in my view, is this. The washing of the Disciple's feet was a symbolical washing. As Christ performed it, it exhibited, on the one hand, his pre-eminent condescension, and on the other, indicated the fact, that He was the Author of their internal purification. This appears to me decisively proved by the declaration of Christ in answer to Peler, who, at first, not understanding the design of the washing, and thinking it very improper, that his Master should perform it for him, said,
Thou shalt never wash my feet. Christ then answered him, if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me: that is, “ Unless thou receivest the sanctification from me, of which this washing is a symbol, thou art not my Disciple.” Peter appears to me, plainly, to have understood it in the same manner: for, being now acquainted with the real design of Christ, her : C', Lord, not my feet only, but also my hunds, and my hear': Christ rejoined, he that is washed, needeth not, save to wash his feet; but is che in every; whil. bolical washing is perfect although applied only to the feet; as perfect, as if it were also applied to the hands and the head. If this construction be admitted, it must also be admitted, that the declaration is general, and extends tx uvery other symbolical washing; and therefore, to Baptism, unless excluded by some plain exception.
7. The same doctrine is taught by God in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Here, speaking of the Israelites, He says, Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean ; and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. Whether this is a direct prediction of the ordinance of Baptism, as well as of the Regeneration symbolically denoted by it, or not, is, to the present purpose, a maiter of indifference. li cannot be denied, that it is symbolical language, in which God thought it proper to denote Regeneration, by the affusion of his Spirit upon the soul. But if the language describing the act of sprinkling, was proper symbolical language to denote the act of Regenerating, then the act itself of sprinkling, is a proper symbolical act, unless God has made it
improper by some plain declaration. The propriety of the act, as a symbol, is evidently the only source of propriety in using the language, descriptive of the act, as a symbolical exhibition of ihat, which it denotes; to wit, Regeneration.
To these observations may be added, the unsuitableness of Inmersion as an ordinance of public worship, to the circumstances of many nations in the world.
In a nation, whose manners are like ours, there is, to say the least, a degree of impropriety in this practice, which is very un happy. This, it will be easily seen, is a subject, cn which I cannoi here expatiate. It will be sufficient to say, that, whatever impressions may be made by this practice in countries, where Bathing is a standing custom; here, they are of a very unfortunate nature, and such as are directly opposed to every religious feeling. I speak from facts, and not from opinions; and from facts, repeated through a century, and therefore operating, not by their nov. elty, but by their nature.
At the same time, the Health, and the Lives, of those, who are baptized, are often injured, and destroyed. Here, also, I speak from facts. Both these considerations form, I acknowledge, only a' presumptive argument in the present case ; for God has an unquestionable right to require us to undergo this exposure, or any other, according to his good pleasure. But the presumption is a very strong once; and to be admitted in its full force, unless the practice, contended for, is expressed with indubitable clearness.
On the texts, alleged by those, with whom I am contending, as proofs of Baptism by Immersion, I shall make but a few observa. Lions : because the discourse has already been long; and, particularly, because they appear to me, lo furnish very little support to the side of the question, in behalf of which they are alleged. It is said of our Saviour, that after He was baptized, he went up straightway from the water, avser ATO 58 udatos, He ascended from the water : the word avafarvw signifying to go, or come up; to ascend; in whatever manner. This passage appears to be descriptive, solely of Christ's ascending the banks of Jordan, after he had received Baptism. That this is not the meaning of the phrase cannot be shown; nor rendered probable. The preposition aro, is erroneously rendered out of in our translation. Its proper meaning, as every Greek scholar knows, is from ; and can be out of, only by accident; as in Matthew vii. 4: Let me pull out the mote out of ihine eye. Even here it would be much better rendered, Let me take the mote from thine eye. If Matthew intended to expressChrist's rising out of the water ; he has certainly used phraseology of a very peculiar nature.
Another passage, often triumphantly alleged for the same purpose, is Acis viii. 38, 39: And they went down both into the water, both Philip, and the Eunuch ; and he baptized him, and when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away
Philip. To the translation, here, no reasonable objection can be made. I will, therefore, not avail myself of what might, however, be justly alleged, to wit, that eis may, with equal propriety, signify to, and ex, from. Still I object to che construction of my antagonists, for these reasons:
First; That we as naturally say that they went into the water, of those who went in to the depth of the knees, or even of the ancles, as of those who have plunged themselves.
Secondly; The declarations, here made, are made concerning the Eunuch and Philip alike. Of both it is said, that they went down into the water; it we render the word es, into. Of both, also, it is said, that when they were come up out of the water; if we lender the word ex, out of. Now let us see what will be the true import of the passage, according to this mode of construing the words in question. And they went down, both, into the water, both Philip und the Eunuch : that is, they were both plunged. And he baptized him ; that is, Philip plunged the Eunuch. And when they were come up out of the water, that is, when they had both been plunged the second time, and risen up from their immersion, the Spirit of the Lord caughl away Philip. In other words, both were plunged twice; and the Eunuch, the third time.
It is, I presume, unnecessary to comment on this version of the text under consideration. The only remark which I shall make upon it is; that the adoption of such a sense for the two words, ava barw ani xarabarw, by some learned critics, in the face of this construction of this text, is not a little surprising.
Thirdly ; I conclude, as I think, with certainty, that these words have no reference to the immersion of either; but are barely descriptive of the fact, that they went down to, or into, the water; in which, perhaps, they waded a little distance.
Another text of the same nature, is Romans vi. 4; Therefore we are buried with him, by Baptism into death. The word buried is here supposed to denote Immersion. In the next verse it is said, , For if we are planted together in the likeness of his death. My Antagonists are bound to show, that this figurative expression, which refers to the same thing, does not as strictly signify the mode, in which Baptism is received, as the word buried; and, if it does, to point out the particular mode of administering Baptism, denoted by ihe word planted.
These are among the texts, most frequently alleged by those, with whom I am contending. I do not suppose, that they are regarded as being of any great importance to the controversy. Their principal strength lies, as I conceive, in their own view, in what they suppose to be the original meaning of the words Banrisw, and Bartw; and these texts are pressed into the service, as auxiliaries. If, then, their principal support fails, as, if I mistake riot, I have shown that it does; these texts will be alleged without success. Vol. IV.
The general conclusion, therefore, appears to me to stand on solid ground; to wit, that Baptism is in the Scriptures instituted as a symbol of the Affusion of the Spirit of God, upon the soul, in regeneration, and the cleansing of its sins by the blood of Christ; and that the Mode, in which it is administered, is not in the Scriptures exhibited as a subject of serious importance, and is no where declared to be Immersion.
THE EXTRAORDINARY MEANS OF GRACE.—THE LORD'S SUPPER.
ITS NATURE AND DESIGN.—THE QUALIFICATIONS OF COMMUNI. CANTS.
MARK XİV. 22–25. And as they did eat, Jesus look bread and blessed, and brake it ; and
gave to them, and said, lake, eat, this is my body. And he look the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gare il to them ; and ihey all drank of it. And he said unto them, this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many. And when they had sung an hymn, they went oul into the Mount of Olives.
HAVING considered at length the Nature, Intention, and Subjects, of Baptism, and the Manner in which it is to be administered; I shall now proceed to examine the other Sacramental ordinance of the Christian Church; the Lord's Supper. In the progress of this examination, I propose to consider,
1. The Nature, and,
attendance ; IV. The Disposition with which it is to be ullended ; and, V. The Motives to this attendance.
1. The Nature of this ordinance may generally be described in the following manner.
It is a symbolical religious service, instituted by Christ as a commemoration of his death. The symbols are Bread broken, and Wine poured out : denoting the breaking of his Body, and the effusion of his Blood upon the cross.
The bread is to be broken, and the wine poured out, by a Minister of the Gospel only; and, by him, both are to be distributed to every member of the Church, who is present. All these are to receive them both : the Romish doctrine, that the Laity are to receive this ordinance in one kind, and only the Clergy in both kinds, being merely a human invention, uncountenanced by the Scriptures. Before the administration of each of these elements, a prayer is to be made : in which the blessing of God is to be implored upon the celebration of the ordinance, and thanks are to be given to him, for bis mercy, and goodness, generally, and, particularly, as displayed in the interesting event which is commemorated. The whole service iş to be concluded with singing a psalm, or hymn, by the communicants.
This solemnity has been commonly styled a Sacrament, from the resemblance between the engagement, made to Christ by the communicanis, and the path of ine Roman soldiery, by which, they