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and that the manner of the purifying of the Jews" was from “water pots, holding about three firkins” (at the largest computation about two-thirds of a barrel) "a-piece," from which water might be poured, or run on the hands ; but in which no man could be immersed. “I care not,” says he, “that ten thousand such examples were brought forward;" he insists that the word baptize shall here mean to dip, viz., to dip the whole body; because Greek literature so uses the word baptize. No matter how improbable it may be that the Jews always immersed their whole bodies as often as they came from the market; no matter though no record or trace of such a custom is found anywhere in the world, unless it be in this assumed meaning of the word baptize; no matter though no such custom has been heard of the Jews, wherever they have been dispersed throughout the world for so many ages to this day ; no matter that though the purifying is still kept, it is still performed by pouring water on the hands, or holding them in a stream of water running from a vessel :-Carson maintains still and stoutly that, “We have here the authority of the Holy Spirit for the Jewish custom." “If,” says he, “I have established the acceptation of this word by the consent of use, even an inexplicable difficulty in this case would not affect the certainty of my conclusion.” I humbly beg leave to differ from him; and you may judge whether I have alleged sufficient reason. The Holy Spirit has indeed said that the Jews were baptized as often as they came from the market; but the Holy Spirit has not said that the word baptize here means to immerse. The meaning is the thing in question. And, it seems to me, that a reference to the plain facts in the case authorizes us to consider rather this, that the Holy Spirit regarded that as a baptism of the person, which was performed by pouring water on the hands; as I shall show more particularly hereafter. I am not now to follow arguments in particular, farther than to point out the fallacy in the principle of arguing. If Carson has failed here, he is overthrown, and entirely so. I do think that he is shown to have reasoned from false principles, and to have failed. And I know of few among the more intelligent Baptists, who will not be ready to admit, that if the very basis of Carson's argument be overthrown, the whole fabric of their peculiar system is broken up and falls to the ground.
Carson argues in the same manner with regard to baptism of the tables (couches) in Mark vii. 4. He says (p. 114), “But with respect to Mark vii. 4, though it were proved that the couches could not be immersed, I would not yield an inch of the ground I have occupied." Now how shall we argue with a man who will not admit an absolute impossibility to be any obstacle in the way of his theory; the couches were baptized, and if it “ be proved that “the couches could not be immersed," he will not yield an inch; he will maintain still that they were immersed. “And I may add,” says he (p. 116), " that the couches might have been so constructed, that they might be conveniently taken to pieces.” Indeed! what shall we not allow him to suppose might have been, rather than grant the possibility that the Jews “ might" have used this word “baptize” in a sense different from that of the old heathen Greeks ?*
* To this Mr. Carson replies, “ I will make this supposition, Mr. H., without waiting for your allowance." “ Here, again, I must
Nor would it seem to make any matter to Mr. Carson, how often people had been" baptized" in other modes than immersion ; he would still maintain his ground. “I care not,” says he, “ I care not if there never had been a human being immersed in water since the creation of the world, if the word denotes immersion, and if Christ enjoins it, I will contend for it as confidently as if all nations had been daily in the practice of baptizing" (immersing)“ each other” (p. 155). True, if the word means immerse, and NEVER means anything else. But I humbly suppose that the common practice of a people who called a purifying by sprinkling or pouring, a baptism, would have some little weight upon the question what that people did in fact understand by the words “baptize” and “baptism."*
discipline him on first principles. The greatest part of my
trouble is to teach my opponents the laws of reasoning. Not one of them knows when the proof lies upon him, and when it lies upon me.”
“ No man is entitled to appear in the field of controversy, till he has studied the laws of the combat," "I have not the smallest need for the supposition; nevertheless I will retain it carefully, as a safe last resort."
Surely, Mr. Carson must make this supposition if he will. His principles do indeed suggest the expediency of “ retaining it,” however improbable as "a safe last resort.” I am, however, somewhat consoled under the “ignorance," want of perspicacity," and " amazing want of discrimination,” which Mr. Carson charges
“Not one" of Mr. Carson's opponents “knows when the proof lies” upon himself, and when it lies upon Mr. Carson. Mr. Carson's “ greatest trouble is, to teach them the laws of reasoning." And yet Mr. Carson has had such men as Ewing, Wardlaw, Bickersteth, Henderson, Dr. Miller, and the younger Dr. Beecher among his opponents, No man among them appears
have been "entitled to enter into the field controversy,” Mr. Carson being judge.
So when Carson comes to the baptism of the Holy Ghost, it is nothing to him that the Scriptures represent this uniformly under the mode of " pouring," " coming down like rain," "and shedding forth.” He says, “ It is a fixed print, that baptism means immersion ;' « and in the examination of the reference in the baptism of the Spirit, NOTHING CAN BE ADMITTED inconsistent with this ;" and then adds (p. 164), “ The baptism of the Spirit MUST HAVE a reference to immersion, BECAUSE-baptism is immersion !" I would reply, That, Mr. Carson, is
* Mr. Carson complains of this representation. “Do I admit,” says he, “ that people may be baptized in other modes than immersion, while I contend that nothing but immersion is baptism ?" Certainly not; he makes no such admission. We argue that the Jews were in the daily practice of performing baptisms, which we attempt to prove were not immersions. Mr. Carson refuses to admit any arguments from the Jewish customs to prove the meaning of the word; he has already fixed the meaning of the word, and now that word shall determine the Jewish castom; i. l., the thing in question shall be proved by assuming it to be true: In this state of the case, Mr. Carson “ cares not if there never had been a human being immersed in water since the creation of the world;" if the word (with the heathen Greeks) “ denotes immer. sion, and if Christ enjoins it” (viz. by the use of that word), he 56 will contend for as confidently as if all nations had been in the daily practice” of [immersing] " each other.” When I show the fallacy of this mode of reasoning, Mr. Carson cries out,' Is this a want of discernment, or a want of honesty ?" Upon a review of the premises I do not see that it necessarily involves either alternative. It appears to me that Mr. Carson's principle has necessarily led him into this absurdity.
† To this Mr. Carson replies, “ Mr. H. represents me as, in these sentences, taking the very thing for granted, and replies, the very thing to be proved; whether baptism is, exclusively, immersion. But he insists upon it directly in the same page, and puts his words in italics ; “ Pouring cannot be the figurative baptism, because baptism never literally denotes pouring."_"Pouring could not represent the pouring of the Spirit, because the Spirit is not literally poured."*
That is the very thing to be proved. And, Mr. H., is it not on the ground that I have proved it? Why do I call it a fixed point ? Is it not because I had fixed the point ? .: I must charge Mr. H. as having so little perspicacity, for I am convinced it is not a want of integrity, as not to perceive the nature of an assumption without proof."
Mr. Carson had "fixed” his point from the heathen Greeks, and then assumed that the New Testament writers must mean the same thing. When we offer to show the meaning of the word from the Scriptures themselves ; O no, he has fixed that point; they must mean what the heathen Greeks mean! If this is not assuming the point in question, then I must even plead guilty to Mr. Carson's charge, of“ having so little perspicacity."
* To my remarks on this point, Mr. Carson replies, “ He has not the perspicacity to perceive that I rest this assertion on the ground which I had already gained 'with my sword and my bow.'" “ I can give argument, but I cannot give my opponents discernment."
I certainly do suppose that Mr. Carson here again begs the question; and humbly submit, that the mode under which the baptism of the Spirit is figuratively represented by God himself, is not only worthy to be weighed, but entirely decisive of the question. Nor do I suppose that it alters the question, if the Spirit is not literally poured, while the Lord himself uses that lan guage.
Mr. Carson says of his argument (viz. that pouring could not represent the pouring of the Spirit, because the Spirit is not literally poured),: This is a fact which common sense will never question.” “ Yet," says he,“ obvious and self-evident as it