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OF BAPTISM. . “Estius; referring to times long before the year 1300, witnesseth that pouring had been much in use.""* .
Bernard, A. D. 1120, speaks of baptism as administered by pouring (corpus perfusum visibili elemento.)t :- :
Otho, Bishop of Bamberg, a cotemporary of Bernard, prescribes that baptism be administered in his diocese,
not by immersing the whole body, but (trina immersione ; capitis).by a trine immersion of the head. I. ..:.....
“In the year 1140, Gratian speaks of bảptism as administered by sprinkling. "The blessed waters with which : men (asperguntur) are sprinkled, avails to their sanctifi-. . .cation.”ll. . Hego, A. D. 1245, says, “ If there cannot be had a . :. şuffiçtency' of water for the infant to be wholly dipped in : it, let the baptizer pour some water upon the infant and say, 1 baptizenthee, &c.
s i About the year 1255, Thomas Aquinas discusses the : · question, whether immersion be of the necessity of baptism,
and answers it in the negative ; for, says he," as a' wash- . ing with water may be made, not only by immersion, but :
also by aspersion or affusion, so a baptism may be made . · by way of sprinkling or pouring on water."I . .
A few years later, Bonaventure discusses the same question, (an immergendus, vel tantummodo aspergendus sit baptizandus) and answers it in the same way. “It is to be presumed, says he, “that the apostleş baptized by sprinkling; which way is still kept in many churches, .but mostly in the Gallican." . .
Durant, A. D. 1280, says," sometimes baptism is given by immersion, so that the whole child is dipped in water;
* In P. Clark's Scrip. Grounds of In: Bap. pp. 128, 129.
and sometimes it is given by aspersion, when the child is sprinkled, or water is poured upon it."*
About the same time, “the Synod of Angiers speaks of dipping or pouring as used indifferently in baptism.”+
Angelus Clavasius says, (A. D. 1480.) “The infant, in what way soever he be touched” (with water)“ is baptized. A sprinkling, how little soever it be, is sufficient in case of necessity."}
Erasmus says, “With us," (the, Dutch) "they have the water poured on them in baptism; in England they are dipped.". .
Martin Bucer, about the year 1520, says, “ God commanded unto men such a rite, as that either by the intinction, ablution, or sprinkling of water, they should receive remission of sins.” §
Sebastian, Arch-bishop of Mentz directs (A. D. 1551,) “that the priest, holding the child over the font in his left hand, shall take water out of the font with his right hand and pour it upon the head of the child three times.”
The form of baptism among the English Exiles in the reign of Queen Mary, was for the minister to “take. water in his hand, lay it on the child's forehead, and say, I baptize thee,” &c. 1
Walæus says, “ It hath always been held indifferent in the Christian church, whether baptism were administered by a single or a trinè immersion, or whether immersion or sprinkling were used."**
Chemnitius says, “Whether the washing be performed by mersion, tinction, perfusion, or sprinkling, it is a baptizing."++ * De Ritu Baptizandi, Cap. 2. + In Wall's Hist. of In. Bap. P. ii. Chap. 9.,
In Walker's Doctrine of Baptisms, Chap. 10. 11 In Wall's Hist. of In. Bap, Part ii. Chap. 9. Com. on Epis. to the Rom. Chap. vi.
Book of Forms. ** Synopsis Theol. Disput. 44. 1 Exam. Concil. Trident. P. ii. p. 122..
Danæus says, "At this day, they who are to be bape tized are mostly sprinkled only with water, and not dip • ped into it."* .
Calvin tells us that, “ The substance of baptism being retained, the church, from the beginning, enjoyed a liberty of using somewhat differant rites.”+
Zelenus says, “ Dipping was formerly more used, especially in the hot countries of Judea ;. but this mode was not universally practised, or essential to the ordinance of baptism.”+ :: Zanchius says, “ As in a matter of liberty and indiffer
ency, the church sometimes followed one ceremony, and . sometimes the other, as she judged most expedient.”
Dr. Wall, who had a partiality for immersion,' says, “On extraordinary occasions, baptism, by affusion of water on the face, was by the ancients counted sufficient baptism. Of this there are many proofs."!! . The author of Letters to Bishop Hoadly, a learned and professed Baptist, admits that, “for thirteen hundred years successively after the apostles, sprinkling was permitted upon extraordinary occasions."$
Mr. Robinson,.also a learned Baptist, admits that, “ before the reformation, sprinkting was held valid, in cases of necessity.”[
In view of the foregoing authorities, the public will be able to form a judgment as to the opinions and practices 'which, in different ages, have prevailed in relation to baptism. That immersion is baptism, I do not doubt; and
* Isagoge Christiana P.iv. Cap. 29, p. 522. + In Reed's Apology pp. 240, 113.
In P. Clark's Scrip. Grounds of In..Bap. p. 128. # Hist. of In. Pap. Part. ii. Chap. 9. Plain Account, &c. p. 16.
Hist. of Baptism, p. 116. This necessity is defined by Lyndwood, who wrote An. 1420, to be “ danger of death; a state of hostility ; an incursion of thieves; an obstruction of the road; a legal disability," &c. Provinciale, Lib. ii. tit. 25.
that this mode of baptizing, at some periods and in some places, has been more common than any other, I see no reason to deny. But until the rise of the Anabaptists (as they were called) in the sixteenth century, I find no account of any church, or sect of Christians, which held that immersion was essential to the ordinance. Some seem to have practised this mode (connected with various idle ceremonies) uniformly, except in cases of necessity ;
others immersed less frequently, but generally; others · still, baptized indifferently, by immersion, pouring, or
sprinkling, according to circumstances; while all agreed that immersion was not essential, but that baptism in other modes was equally valid.
To the arguments adduced in the foregoing pages I know of but one objection of any importance, which has not been noticed. The Greeks, it is said, 'understand their native language better than foreigners, and in their church baptism is uniformly administered by immersion. To this I reply, .. .
1. That while it is likely the modern Greek may understand his native language better, in some respects, than foreigners, it is not likely that he better understands the meaning of Bantigo, as used by ancient Greek authors, and by the writers of the New Testament. But,
2. The Greeks do not consider immersion as essential to baptism. This is evident from the fact that, although they ordinarily baptize in this way, still when sickness or other circumstances occur to prevent, they administer the ordinance in other modes.* Of course they must regard immersion as not essential; and this is all for which Pedobaptists contend.
* Dr. Wall tells us, that the Greeks“ hardly count a child, except in case of sickness, well baptized without immersion;" which implies that, in cases sickness, if not in others, they do count their children well baptized although shey bave not been immersed.
E ON THE SUBJECTS OF CHRISTIAN BAPTISM.
There is a difference of opinion between Baptists and Pedobaptists respecting, not only the mode, but the sub-. jects of Christian baptism; and in entering on the discussion before us, it is important that the precise point of difference should be stated. It is not, whether unbaptized adults, who give no evidence of faith, are proper subjects of the ordinance. We agree with our brethren that they are not. Hence, we agree with them in admitting the full force of those precepts which enjoin repentance and faith on adults in order to baptism. Neither is it the question, whether those unbaptized adults, who give evidence of faith, are proper subjects. We agree with our brethren that they are. The sole point of difference between us and them, in respect to the proper subjects of baptism, is this :- We affirm, and they deny, that children, who are under the care of believing, covenanting parents should be baptized.*
To establish and defend what is here affirmed will be my object in the following Sections. It will be necessary, in some of the first of them, to attend to subjects which have an indirect though important bearing on the point under consideration. '
* It will be said, perhaps, that we differ from Baptists in another important point :- They affirming and we denying that believers who have been baptized in infancy should be re-baptized. But as they affirm this, because they think infant baptism wrong; and we deny it, because we think infant baptism right; the difference obviously respects inFANT BAPTISM ONLY; and the question is left as before stated.