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according to our Saviour,1 denoted by the words, e« To pvofia Tov TlaTpbs Kal Tov Ttov Kal Tov uylov UvevfiaTOs. It is possible that these may, in great measure, cover up and obscure that; and the rite have, as a whole, quite a different character from what one would expect who should make that word alone the key to unlock it.
The historical method can hardly be more conclusive. During the Apostolic and authoritative age of the Church, the narrative of baptisms is too brief and too closely confined to the bare mention of baptismal acts and scenes, to afford any final settlement of the subject; and the voice that comes up from the church, during later and unauthoritative periods, is too various or dubious to furnish any certain evidence of Apostolic usage and belief.
The true method, we believe, is first to determine the Import of the Rite. If this can be clearly ascertained, it will afford a guiding light as we pass to the subordinate questions connected with its details and applications.
I. What, then, does Baptism denote? Passing by all minor distinctions and varieties, it will be sufficiently definite for our purpose to remark, that there are two leading theories on this subject: the one makes Purification its central idea; and the other Consecration. We adopt the latter, believing the rite to be, primarily, and predominantly, a Constcraiory one; the symbol of the devotement of a human being to God — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The evidence of this exists, in the first place, in the very language with which the rite of baptism is spoken of in the New Testament. Where anything more than the baptismal act is mentioned — anything revealing the meaning and contents of the ordinance,— it is usually done by the preposition ek, followed by a noun in the accusative. In the formula as given by Christ," it is e« To oi'ofia Tov UaTpos Kal Tov Ttov Ktu Tov dylov IIvevpMTos. In other places we have e« To ovofui Tov Kvpt'ov 'Irjaov.3 We also find a still more pregnant construction, where fiairTttja is followed immediately by the per
son or object, without the use of Ovo/ul; as, ei? Xpurrov 'Irjaovv1; em Xpiaroir; ei? Toi> Mavarjv1; ei? eV atopa*; and ei? To 'Icodvvov fidTrTicrfjLa.5 Once only6 do we find the phrase ev To ovofxari Too Kvpiov, in connection with this rite; and once only," eVt ra bvofiam 'Ir)<rov Xpiarov.
Now it is generally conceded, among philologists, that the use of "the accusative is to designate the objects upon which any action or quality terminates ; "8 and that ei? denotes "direction towards, motion to, on, or into."9 Kiihner says ei? corresponds almost entirely with the Latin in with the accusative."10 Prof. Stuart remarks that it "plainly relates to the whither; i. e., indicates a meaning appropriate to the accusative case."11 The apparent exception to this use of ei? — when it is found with the accusative after verbs of rest, instead of eV with the dative—is explained by the last writer; Robinson; Liddell and Scott; and Winer, oi^ the ground that a previous coming into that place or state is either actually expressed, or implied, in the context. Thus in Luke, 11: 7, To, iraitla fiov p.er ip.ov ei? Ttjv Koittjv elalv, the mind of the speaker contemplates his children as coming to the bed, as well as being with him in it. Winer maintains that ei? always has, in the New Testament, its distinctive force, — i. e., of denoting a tendency or movement towards an end or object. He says, " it is improbable that the Apostles would use ei? for iv, or vice versa;"12 and again, "the interchange of ei? and eV is only apparent."13
Accordingly, then, the expression ei? To ovofia, in the baptismal formula, points to the Object or End which is implied in the act of baptism; and should be translated by to or unto. Whatever, therefore, be the act covered by fta-mi^co, or whatever its symbolic import, the rile of baptism, taken as a whole, is an ordinance by which one is set apart to a
1 Rom. 6: 3. a Gal. 8: 27. » 1 Cor. 10: 2. 4 Idem 12: 13.
* Acts 19: 3. 8 Idem 10: 18. » Idem 2: 38.
8 Prof. Torrey. Unpublished Lectures on Greek Syntax.
• Robinson, Liddell and Scott; and lexicographers generally.
10 El. Greek Grammar, § 165, 2. "New Testament Grammar. §111.
M Idioms of New Testament, $ 54, 5. 18 Idem § 54, 4.
faith, a service, an end — the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever else it may be, its central idea is that of the consecration of a human being to God. Be the means and the process what they may, the transaction, in its object and scope, is a religious devotement.
As to the import of 6Vo/xft in the formula, we agree with Olshausen that, it is equivalent to ta, and " signifies the very essence of God." We, however, hazard the remark that it is not absolutely periphrastic, but denotes that essence in its objective, rather than subjective, relations; as manifesting itself, rather than remaining in its eternal state.
The view we have taken follows from the exegesis of the sacred narrative, wherever the rite is spoken of with any fulness. The e« To oi>o/j,a, K. T. X. must refer to the object or end to which one is committed by the baptismal act.
In relation to the two exceptional instances, which have been referred to, and which are all that exist, it may be remarked, that the latter,1 in which eirl TM Ovo/mitl is used, is not directly inconsistent in meaning with the prevailing usage, though not directing the attention so forcibly to the Object of the baptismal consecration; while the ev r<p Ovo/miti of the former8 — in the passage, irpocreTa^e re avTovs jBairria^^vai hi Tu> ovofuni Tov Kvptov— is altogether so anomalous, if made to qualify ftcnrTHr'^rjvat, as to suggest that it really qualifies Trpoaira^e: "He commanded them to be baptized, in the name of the Lord."
But whether this be the true interpretation or not, neither of these instances can be regarded as reversing the obvious meaning of the baptismal formula, and of the general Apostolic usage; and they must be explained under that meaning.
The force which we give to eiV, as pointing to the scope and end of the rite, is no novel interpretation. We have already quoted Olshausen's remark — which is the more valuable, because, though inconsistent with what he says elsewhere, it is wrung out of him by the inexorable force of
this preposition —" that/SaTrrxfaj eh Two. signifies baptism as devolving a thorough obligation; a rite whereby one is pledged; and the sublime object to which baptism binds, consists of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Dr. Robinson! says, that j3airTit,a> with ek and the accusative of the person means "to baptize or to be baptized into any one; i. e., into a profession of faith in any one and sincere obedience to him." Calvin, after speaking of the Divine side of the covenant made in baptism, adds, passing to the human side: Sacrarnentum est spiritualis militice, quo perpetuum illi obsequium pollicemur . . . Per Baptismum consccramvr Deo.* Bengel remarks, Crux et Baptismus nos Christo asserit. Relata: redimere, se addieere:-"
Again, there is further evidence of the consecratory nature of this rite, in the word by which baptism is designated in the Peschito version of the New Testament, and by the Syrian Christians from the time that version was made to the present.
The Peschito version dates back almost to the age of the Apostles; and, as it is in a tongue nearly identical with that used by Christ, and as it was probably made by those who had been taught by his immediate disciples, and who had been thus all but directly imbued with his spirit and views, the estimate which it puts on the rite of baptism cannot be considered unimportant. This estimate is shown in the word by which it designates it. It has been shown by Prof. Stuart,4 Augustus and Prof. Murdock,6 that this word corresponds, in primitive meaning, with the kindred Hebrew word ;and means to stand, to stand up, stand firm, etc. Prof. Murdock, from whose Article we gather most of the facts on which we base this argument, remarks that the Peschito, though there is no poverty of terms in the Syriac language denoting to immerse, to wash, to pour, or to sprinkle, never uses any of them in connection with baptism, and
never retains the Greek word fta-mlty). In all the 73 places in which this word occurs in the Greek Testament, it is uniformly translated by the Syriac verb (amad.) And there has been no departure from this usage, either by the Syriac Fathers, or their descendants, using any dialect derived from the Syriac. Even the Nestorian Version, made by the American Missionaries, and printed in 1846, everywhere adopts the Peschito usage in the translation of /3tnrri£cD, when it relates to the rite of baptism.1
Now, to explain this remarkable usage, Prof. Murdock supposes, that, to the early Syrian Christians, the act of Baptism represented " the idea of coming to a stand, or of taking a public and decisive stand, on the side of Christianity."2 The explanation of Augusti is,3 that baptism was designated by the Syriac amad, because it was intimately associated with confirmation; and took its name from lhat, rather than from anything in its own nature; and hence that it could very well, according to its intent and effect, be called the " Act of Initiation and Establishment in Christian
But neither of these explanations satisfies us. There is no evidence, that, at this early age, confirmation so overshadowed baptism as to give it its coloring and a name. This could have occurred only in a later age. It is not till the time of Tertullian that we find baptism complicated and covered with other symbolical customs; and we infer that it. was not so burdened till about that time, because Justin Martyr,4 who was born near the close of the first century, describes it as very simple. Besides, both of these writers seem to have detached the word denoting the act of baptism from the rest of the formula, and contemplated it