Imagens das páginas

Egypt, that is, from the servitude of sin; that our Pharaoh, that is, the devil, is drowned." "In the cloud there was an emblem of ablution; for, as the Lord there covered them with a cloud, affording them refreshment, that they might not faint and be consumed by the overpowering heat of the sun; so, in baptism, we acknowledge ourselves to be covered and protected by the blood of Christ, that the severity of God, which is indeed an intolerable flame, may not fall upon us." "Baptism promises us the submersion of our Pharaoh and the mortification of sin."

The analogy which Paul, in Rom. 6: 3, 4, and Col. 2: 12, has established between baptism and the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, confirms the same view. We observe, here, Christ dead, buried and risen. Here is Christ dead, no longer accessible to temptation, no longer sustained by mortal nourishment, no longer susceptible to bodily pain. Being thus dead, he is buried, not indeed in a graveyard, the abode of corruption and decay, but in a new tomb, wherein never man yet was laid; in a garden redolent with beauty, where each flower is swinging its odorous censer to the Son of God. But shortly the tomb reopens, and he is raised by the glory of God to a new life. He lives, yet he is just as insensible to the world and its temptation?, jnst as little in need of its nourishment, as little affected by its injuries, as when he was dead. He has now a spiritual body, a glorified body, which bears, without injury, the ghastly wounds of the nails and the spear, the same body and the same likeness, in which he afterward entered Heaven, and now sits on the mediatorial throne.

Similarly, in conversion, man dies to the world, to sin, to temptation. The world vainly offers him its allurements or seeks to affright him by its terrors. In vain does the law utter its denunciations. He is dead to that wherein he was held. Being thus dead, he is buried; not indeed in a literal grave, but in the emblem and type of purity. The mystic grave closes upon him; but lo! while we gaze, the grave reopens, and he rises, raised by the glory of the Father, to walk with him in newness of life. He is now no longer of the world, animated by its spirit, sustained by its nourishment, governed by its motives, pleased by its joys, or injured by the pains which it can inflict. He is insensible to all these. He has died to them. The life which he leads now holds the same relation to his former life that the spiritual body of Christ did to his former body. He leads a life of purity, of holiness, a life of which his state in Heaven will be but the continuation and the development, a life of which his baptism marked the initiation.

Nor ought it to be omitted that there is a most marked harmony between this view of the import of baptism and the mode in which, according to the highest authorities, the rite was administered in the apostolic age of the church. In the Article already referred to, allusion is made to the testimony of Neander and Bunsen, that immersion was the apostolic mode of baptism. Calvin says: "The word baptize signifies to immerse, and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church." Conybeare and Howsen, on Rom. 6: 3, 4, say: " This passage cannot be understood, unless it be borne in mind that the primitive baptism was by immersion." We are warranted in expecting an analogy between the "invisible grace" and its "visible sign." Unless there be such a harmony, we cannot but feel that either our conception of the import of the rite, or our view of. its form, is erroneous. But if we find them harmonizing, then the two, the form and the import of the rite, confirm and illustrate each other. There seems no special appropriateness in the apostolic mode of baptism, if consecration was the leading idea of the rite. There seems a beautiful significance, if it be a rite of inauguration.

The above view of baptism might be still further illustrated and confirmed at great length. It is believed that a full examination of the Scriptural allusions to the rite would establish the fact that, while, in no instance, is consecration unmistakably put forward as its leading idea, every passage, when rightly viewed, presents baptism as initiatory. Extended citations might also be made, in support of the view here advanced, from authorities entitled to high regard. But already the Article has exceeded the limits which it was designed to occupy. It may, however, be permitted to cite, in support of this view, a name, than which no higher uninspired authority can be urged, — the name of Calvin. "Baptism is a sign of initiation;" "it is proposed to us by our Lord, first, as a symbol and token of our purification "; second, "it shows us our mortification in Christ and our new life in him;" third, "it affords us the certain testimony, that we are not only engrafted into the life and death of Christ, but are so united as to be partakers of all his benefits."

If the view taken in the above remarks is just, it renders needless any enquiries as to the proper subjects of this rite. The question is already answered. Can we with propriety baptize any save those who are now capable of an intelligent entrance upon the Christian life, those who are believed to have entered upon the new life, of which baptism is the inauguration?




Homer once more!2 Such was the title which Goethe prefixed to a short lucubration on the great poet, implying

1 Ucber die Bedeutung von tyvxh und tltu\ov der Ilias und Odyssie, ah Beitrng zu der Homerischen Psychologic Von Dr. K. H. W. Voelcker, Giessen. 1825.

On the Signification of tyvxh an^ fftaAov in the Iliad and Odyssey. By Dr K. H. W. Voelcker. Giessen, 1825. Translated from the German by C. P. Mason, B. A. (Classical Museum, Vol. II.), 1845.

Die Homcrische Theologie in ihrem Zusammenhan^e dargestellt von Carl Friedrich Nacgelsbach, Professor am K. B. Gymnasium zu Niirnberg. JJiirnberg im Verlage von Johann Adam Hein. 1840.

2 Homer noch einmal, Sammt. Werk. Vol. XXVI. p. 356.

Vol. XV. No. 60. 64

an apology for troubling the world any further on so old a topic. But the world has not done with Homer yet. Like his old hero-rambler, he is iro\vTpoiros, and will turn up in new aspects, so long as past and future are common factors in the problem of history and humanity. Or, to use a little of his own freedom in changing figures, that ocean which washes the shores of" all human knowledges;" out of which were exhaled and into it flowed again, as the old critics affirmed, all the fountains, streams, and rivers of Greek song, eloquence, and art,1 has depths not yet explored, in which slumber undiscovered pearls, which men will be still diving after, so long as intellectual pearls hold a price in the world's market. Homer was the fontal genius of Greece; and the more her later literature is studied, the more earnestly will Homer be explored in search of the prima materies of her language and her marvellously rich and varied intellectual manifestations. He has a profound moral and philosophic interest, too, for those who delight in studying the development of ideas and opinions. This tendency grows stronger daily. Everything is now studied comparatively; — the human mind thus revealing the force of that inward law which impels it to complete, to harmonize, and reduce to unity the multifarious products of its activity. And what would the comparative study of antiquity be without Homer? His myths are the staple of its poets; his ideas, the germs of its philosophical systems; his verses, the metrical norms of its prosodians; his phrases, the ground-work of its syntax; his stories, the starting-point of its history; his beauties, the never-failing theme of its critics. We have not had the last of him yet, therefore. So long as the admirable splendor and variety of his poetry shall stimulate criticism, and the wide range of his genius and knowledge furnish new material for antiquarian and philosophic research and comparison, so long we shall continue to have Homer once more.

The latest German philosophy has given a fresh stimulus to Homeric speculation. And here is an entirely new phase

1 Dion. Hal. dc Comp. Verb. Op. II. p. 28 (Sylb.) Eustathius. Proem.

of the long-waged "controversy." Sceptical criticism has grown tired of debating the personality of Homer, and has now gone to work to blot from his immortal verse the doctrine of the soul's immortality and to prove him a mere materialist, who looked upon the whole conscious existence of man as included within the present life. Of all the Homeric heresies with which Germany has teemed since the days of Wolf, this is the boldest departure from all ancient belief, and the most abhorrent to those feelings of veneration and love with which all true scholars have regarded the father of song for nearly thirty centuries. It is, however, the theory of the works before us. "When a man departs from life," says Dr. Voelcker, " the ■yfrvxVf according to the Homeric belief, leaves the body, and this ifrv^n continues to exist in Hades. The word tyvx>i, however, in Homer, signifies only the breath and the life; never, as in the language of later times, the spirit or soul.1 . . . We arrive at this result, that according to the belief of the Homeric age, it is not the soul or spirit which continues to exist after death. . . . Homer nowhere shows a knowledge of the mind as something separate or separable from the body.3 Nowhere is the idea of spirit conceived more independently than that of life itself. So corporeal indeed is the mind, that the dead in Hades are said to be destitute of mental faculties. . . . The mental faculties appear only as properties and powers of the whole man, which live so long as the body lives, and in death leave it and cease to exist... It is the yfrvxrf therefore, and not the soul, which continues to exist... It alone has gone, and it alone, therefore, can be in Hades; it is the origin of life, it will therefore continue to live and last.8 (Er ist der Grund des Lebens, er wird also auch*fortleben und fortdauern.")

What is this "^tr^, which "continues to exist," which "will continue to live and last?" Dr. Voelcker has abun

1 Das Wort i)wx<i bedeutet bei Homer nur den Athem und das Lebcn, niemals . . . den Geist odcr die Seele.

2 Homer kennt den Geist nirgends als etwas Sclbstandiges und als solches dem Korper entgegengesctztes, das von ihm getrennt oder trennbar fortlebte.

3 Pages 45—47. (Our figures refer to the English translation.)

« AnteriorContinuar »