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for the subsequent structure, and are as much divine as the structure itself. The baptism of John, we confess, was but the rude and imperfect beginning of what was afterwards to reveal itself to the world as “the perfection of beauty :” but rude and imperfect simply as a beginning, and not on account of any inherent deficiency; just as the dim twilight is imperfect, though foreshadowing a bright and glorious day.,

Some attach great importance to what is styled Jewish proselyte baptism, as being the origin of Christian baptism, and thence derive an argument in favor even of infant baptism; a decided non-sequitur, even if the premise were allowed to be legitimate. But of this there is no clear and satisfactory evidence. Mr. Noel seems to admit (p. 48) the existence, in the time of Christ, of such proselyte baptism, arguing, we presume, ex concessu, though he deduces from it just the opposite conclusion of that of our Pædobaptist friends. For, asthe Jews, according to Maimonides and other Rabbins,“ did attach to it the idea of a (formal) regeneration in the case of converts," he infers that under a higher and purer dispensation, baptism in the name of Christ must imply the regeneration of its subject. “ Thus we see,” says he, “just so much analogy and so much difference between the Jewish and Christian baptisms as the nature of the two religions indicated. Jewish baptism was the sign of ceremonial cleansing, Christian baptism the sign of spiritual cleansing; the one signified a change of external condition, the other a change of spiritual condition; the one a renunciation of heathenism, the other a renunciation of sin; the one a Jewish life, the other a new spiritual life; the one a total change of habits, the other a total change of heart; the one admitted to the society of Jews, the other to the society of saints," &c.

Leiden-*11 -. But this matter of proselyte baptism, as every one in the slightest degree acquainted with Jewish ecclesiastical history knows, is one of great uncertainty. There is no direct evidence that such baptism was practised among the Jews before the second or third century of the Christian era. And even then it was always preceded, if possible, by circumcision, and though performed by immersion, was nothing more than one of the numerous baths or ablutions so common in the law, and significant of ceremonial cleansing or regeneration. These formed a part of the temple service, and were a preparation for almost all sacred duties. They were connected with the offering of sacrifice, and more especially of the sin-offering. For the same reason in later times the Jews usually established their oratories (prayer houses, Apodevzai) in the vicinity of running waters, or by the sea. See Kuinoel on Acts xvi. 13; Josephus Antiq. xviii. 1, 5.

The rites by which a heathen convert was initiated into the Jewish faith, are stated by the Rabbins to have been, in the case of a man, three, namely, circumcision, baptism, and a freewill offering ; in the case of a woman, of course, the two last.

If it be maintained that the baptism here named differed essentially from other Jewish immersions or ablutions for ceremonial cleansing, and that it had a character more akin to Christian baptism, we reply that we have no mention made of such baptism in the Old Testament, none in the New, none in Josephus, or in Philo. See Schneckenberger, Ueber das Alter der Jüdeschen Proselytentaufe.

The Talmud states that such a custom existed in the first century, but such statements have no better authority than the traditions of the Gemara, and are not to be implicitly received. Schneckenberger, who has discussed the subject thoroughly, believes that the rite was only a Jewish purifying ceremony; and that after the destruction of the temple, when sacrifices had ceased, and circumcision, in consequence of the imperial edicts, had become difficult of observance, baptism was raised to the dignity of an initiating and indispensable rite. E. G. Bengel (Alter der Jüd. Pros. Tauf.) maintains that it was originally a mere act of initiation of an accidental character, but being adopted by John and Christ, received a higher meaning and sanction. De Wette thinks that the Jews borrowed it from the Christians, because this is the only means he can think of as accounting for its late introduction among the Jews, as a solemn form of initiation, having as much validity as circumcision or sacrifice. This, however, is highly improbable, and therefore we adhere to the opinion of Schneckenberger, and other learned Germans, who have investigated the subject critically, that it was a simple form of sacred or ceremonial ablution, which circumstances conspired to invest with a peculiar and significant character as an act of initiation into Judaism.

On this ground it cannot determine the nature and import of Christian baptism, and is a very different ceremony. At all events, no person of the least critical sagacity or Christian candor can use it as an argument in favor of infant or of family baptism.

Indeed its relation to the baptism either of John or of Christ, except as to the question of form, is a matter of no moment. That the nature and design of the Christian rite must be ascertained from the circumstances of the case, and the usage of

VOL. XV.—NO. LIX.

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for the subsequent structure, and are as much divine as the structure itself. The baptism of John, we confess, was but the rude and imperfect beginning of what was afterwards to reveal itself to the world as “the perfection of beauty:" but rude and imperfect simply as a beginning, and not on account of any inherent deficiency; just as the dim twilight is imperfect, though foreshadowing a bright and glorious day.

Some attach great importance to what is styled Jewish proselyte baptism, as being the origin of Christian baptism, and thence derive an argument in favor even of infant baptism ; a decided non-sequitur, even if the premise were allowed to be legitimate. But of this there is no clear and satisfactory evidence. Mr. Noel seems to admit (p. 48) the existence, in the time of Christ, of such proselyte baptism, arguing, we presume, ex concessu, though he deduces from it just the opposite conclusion of that of our Pædobaptist friends. For, as the Jews, according to Maimonides and other Rabbins, "did attach to it the idea of a (formal) regeneration in the case of converts," he infers that under a higher and purer dispensation, baptism in the name of Christ must imply the regeneration of its subject. “ Thus we see,” says he, "just so much analogy and so much difference between the Jewish and Christian baptisms as the nature of the two religions indicated. Jewish baptism was the sign of ceremonial cleansing, Christian baptism the sign of spiritual cleansing; the one signified a change of external condition, the other a change of spiritual condition ; the one a renunciation of heathenism, the other a renunciation of sin; the one a Jewish life, the other a new spiritual life; the one a total change of habits, the other a total change of heart; the one admitted to the society of Jews, the other to the society of saints,” &c.

But this matter of proselyte baptism, as every one in the slightest degree acquainted with Jewish ecclesiastical history knows, is one of great uncertainty. There is no direct evidence that such baptism was practised among the Jews before the second or third century of the Christian era. And even then it was always preceded, if possible, by circumcision, and though performed by immersion, was nothing more than one of the numerous baths or ablutions so com| mon in the law, and significant of ceremonial cleansing or re

generation. These formed a part of the temple service, and were a preparation for almost all sacred duties. They were connected with the offering of sacrifice, and more especially of the sin-offering. For the same reason in later times the Jews usually established their oratories (prayer houses, nipogeuzau). in the vicinity of running waters, or by the sea. See Kuinoel on Acts xvi. 13; Josephus Antiq. xviii. 1, 5. - The rites by which a heathen convert was initiated into the Jewish faith, are stated by the Rabbins to have been, in the case of a man, three, namely, circumcision, baptism, and a freewill offering; in the case of a woman, of course, the two last.

If it be maintained that the baptism here named differed essentially from other Jewish immersions or ablutions for ceremonial cleansing, and that it had a character more akin to Christian baptism, we reply that we have no mention made of such baptism in the Old Testament, none in the New, none in Josephus, or in Philo. See Schneckenberger, Ueber das Alter der Jüdeschen Proselytentaufe.

The Talmud states that such a custom existed in the first century, but such statements have no better authority than the traditions of the Gemara, and are not to be implicitly received. Schneckenberger, who has discussed the subject thoroughly, believes that the rite was only a Jewish purifying ceremony; and that after the destruction of the temple, when sacrifices had ceased, and circumcision, in consequence of the imperial edicts, had become difficult of observance, baptism was raised to the dignity of an initiating and indispensable rite. E. G. Bengel (Alter der Jüd. Pros. Tauf.) maintains that it was originally a mere act of initiation of an accidental character, but being adopted by John and Christ, received a higher meaning and sanction. De Wette thinks that the Jews borrowed it from the Christians, because this is the only means he can think of as accounting for its late introduction among the Jews, as a solemn form of initiation, having as much validity as circumcision or sacrifice. This, however, is highly improbable, and therefore we adhere to the opinion of Schneckenberger, and other learned Germans, who have investigated the subject critically, that it was a simple form of sacred or ceremonial ablution, which circumstances conspired to invest with a peculiar and significant character as an act of initiation into Judaism. ro

On this ground it cannot determine the nature and import of Christian baptism, and is a very different ceremony. At all events, no person of the least critical sagacity or Christian candor can use it as an argument in favor of infant or of family baptism.

Indeed its relation to the baptism either of John or of Christ, except as to the question of form, is a matter of no moment. That the nature and design of the Christian rite must be ascertained from the circumstances of the case, and the usage of

VOL. XV.—NO. LIX.

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· Christ and his apostles; and that both in the case of John, and of Christ, and of his apostles, it was a baptism of repentance, of faith in the Messiah, and of consecration to the service of God, we think can admit of no reasonable doubt. This Zwingle and Calvin maintained, decisively, against Luther and Melancthon, and the doctors of the Catholic Church, (Council of Trent, Sess. 7 ;) and this the great body of modern Baptists, particularly in this country, maintain against the advocates of infant baptism.

Before we proceed to the second part of Mr. Noel's work, we beg to say a word respecting the meaning he attaches to the expression, “ baptized for the dead,” 1 Cor. xv. 29. He says, p. 118: “At Samaria, Corinth and other places, the baptized at once formed the church, Acts viii., xviii.; and therefore when disciples died, and the ranks of the Christian army were broken, new converts were baptized for the dead. They became at once disciples and soldiers of Christ instead of the dead.” We cannot here notice the various, and we must add, absurd interpretations which have been given of this passage, but we believe the one suggested by Mr. Noel, and advocated by some popular rather than critical commentators, has no foundation, either in the grammatical construction of the sentence, or in the usage of the early Christians. The apostle is discussing the doctrine of the resurrection, and among other proofs of its reality, he adduces this: “Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all; why are they then baptized for the dead ?On the interpretation of Mr. Noel, the argument of the apostle for the resurrection of the body could have no relevancy or force. All the primitive Christians were baptized: but that any of them were baptized for the purpose of taking the ranks of the dead, we have no proof whatever; and even if the custom existed, it could have no bearing upon the question of the resurrection. The majority of critics, we believe, take the words in their most natural grammatical construction, and thus translate vrèp as Mr. Noel does, by the equivalent term instead; supposing on this ground, that the apostle refers to a substitutionary buptism for the dead ; that is, baptism being regarded by some of the early Christians as absolutely necessary to salvation, persons dying without this ordinance had a substitutionary baptism performed by others, for their benefit. For proof of such a custom reference is made to the Shepherd of Hermas, (Pastor, Lib. i., Visio iž., Patres Apos. p. 253;) but the meaning of this passage is doubtful. It simply indicates the superstitious value attached to baptism even at the

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