Page images
PDF
EPUB

I would reply, But, Mr. Carson, does not God himself say, “I will pour out my Spirit ?" But, replies he, “ Believers are said to be immersed into the Spirit, not because there is anything like immersion in the manner of the reception of the Spirit, but from the resemblance between an object soaked in a fluid, and the sanctification of all the members of the body and faculties of the soul” (pp. 167, 168)

I say nothing about the resemblance between “ soakingand “sanctifying ;” but he says truly, there is “nothing like immersion" in the manner of receiving the Spirit ; nor, of course, is there in the manner of conferring it; yet a baptism there is, Christ being witness; and the mode of that baptism is represented by a “pouring out,shedding forth,coming down,falling

upon."

But immediately Mr. Carson responds (p. 168), “There was a real baptism (immersion) in the emblems of the Spirit.”

I answer, Christ did not say, ye shall be “ immersed

is, I believe I am the first who pointed it out. On this I rest as on the pillar of Heaven; it is an axiom that can never be questioned by a sound mind. Is there any pouring in the Godhead ? It is blasphemy to suppose it."

Nobody ever did suppose it. Mr. Carson has made no discovery. But surely, when the Lord speaks of Baptizing with the Holy Ghost, and speaks of it uniformly under the figure of pouring, shedding upon, falling upon, it cannot be blasphemy to argue, from this, the idea of baptism which the spirit represents under these figures. There is a baptism of the Holy Ghost; but there is not in the Scripture any figure of the immersion of the Holy Ghost; it there had been, Mr. Carson would not have thought it blasphemy to argue the mode of baptism from such a figure.

into the emblems" of the Spirit; he said, " ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost;" with the Spirit itself, not with its “ emblems."

I would follow Mr. Carson further here, did I deem it necessary. But I think I have gone far enough to show that he has failed, most signally failed, in that which is the very foundation and element of his argument. He will prove everything if we will let him assume everything. But we cannot. His principles of reasoning are unsound; and if you allow him these unsound principles, he still begs the question. You have seen how the Evangelists are put to the torture when they are stretched on this Procrustean bed of the heathen Greeks. Even granting that Carson has rightly settled the question with regard to the heathen Greeks, I think I have shown his argument to be as inconclusive as that which should make the word “ Provisions” in the statute of Edward III. mean victuals ; or as that which would make regeneration consist in being born of water and of wind ;'' or as that which would make the peculiar infidelity of the Sadducees consist in denying that there is any rising up,or “ messenger," or " wind."

We might rest the debate here,—but I think that Carson has even failed to make out his case from the Greek classics. The limits of this work forbid me to enter upon an extended survey of this part of the field ; nor is it necessary, as a failure in a single instance is fatal to Mr. Carson's argument. Take, then, the instance cited by Mr. Carson (p. 61 of his last edition); the Sybilline verse quoted by Plutarch in his life of Theseus; which, says Mr. Carson, “exactly determines the meaning of baptizo." Theseus consulted the Oracle at Delphi concerning his government. The Oracle predicted the safety of the new state, and identifying Theseus with his state, it concluded with the words, “ 'Thou shalt ride a bladder in the surge;" or in the free translation of Langhorne,

“ Safe o'er the surges of the foaming tide." With this, says Plutarch, agrees the Syhil's prophecy concerning Athens,'Ασκός βαπτιζη δύναι δε τοι ου θέμις έστιν. To this verse Mr. Carson gives the following translation,

“Thou mayest be dipped, O bladder, but art not fated to sink !"

I agree with Mr. Carson, that this exactly determines the meaning of the word Baptize in this connection; it is worth a hundred ordinary passages for fixing critically the accurate classical meaning : but unfortunately for Carson's argument, it fixes it against him.

The aoxos (askos) is the ancient bottle, of the whole skin of an animal; which, blown up like a bladder, rides the waves without sinking or even suffering an immersion. The Oracle says, “ Thou mayest be baptized, O bottle, but it is not allowed thee to-šūai (dunai). Determine the meaning of dunai here, and you fix the meaning of baptize in the same connection. Mr. Carson assumes that it means to sink, in distinction from a simple dipping into, or under. But such is not its meaning, Whoever will consult the numerous instances cited by Donnegan, will perceive that the primary meaning of the word is as he states it,“ to go into, or under," " to penetrate." This primary idea is the one which he clearly traces in all the examples of its secondary signification. Not an example can be found in which it signifies to sink, in distinction from a simple dipping.

16 to enter,"

The idea is that of entering, penetrating: (by passing from one medium into another) e.g. Belos els eyxepalov do, the arrow penetrated the brain. Hom. II. xviii. 376.

So Crusius, in his Homeric Lexicon (translated by Prof. Henry Smith), gives, as the primary signification of the word,“ to go into, to enter, to penetrate into, to plunge into;" which primary senses he traces in all the instances of its secondary significations throughout the Homeric writings. Nowhere does it signify a sinking, in distinction from a simple immersion, as Mr. Carson erroneously supposes.

It is used for entering into a house, into a city, into a cave, and for plunging into the sea, where it certainly signifies no sinking, in opposition toa simple immersing.

The meaning is so certain that the derivative dumns signifies a diver ; certainly not one who sinks, rath. than one who simply plunges in and rises again. So the other derivative dutixos signifies one expert in diving : surely not one expert in sinking to his destruction, and that in direct opposition to simply plunging in and coming up again. The meaning of duvar is further corroborated, and rendered absolutely certain, by the consideration that when a sinking is to be signified, or any thorough going down, rata duw (the intensive compound of Sūw) is employed.

The Oracular line then reads thus :

“ Thou mayest be baptized, O bottle, but it is not allowed to thee to go under.Thou mayest be dashed, wet, washed, but it is not possible for thee to penetrate, go under. Here is a classic baptism in which it is impossible for the subject to go under water. *

* My good friend, Transmontanus (p. 40), gives on this passage an amusing specimen of what he calls “ plain grammatical

Take another of Mr. Carson's examples, p. 58. “Plutarch, speaking of a Roman general dying of uis wounds, says, that having dipped (baptized) his hand in blood, he wrote the inscription for a trophy.” “Here," says Carson, “ the mode of the action cannot be questioned. The instrument of writing is dipped in the coloring fluid.” Suppose we grant it. My pen is the instrument of writing, and I dip it in the ink when I write; surely I never immerse it in ink when I write. When will our Baptist brethren cease this play upon the word dipping, when they are to prove a total immersion !

Another instance is cited by Carson (p. 21) from Aristotle ; of “ a land uninhabited, whose coast was full of sea-weeds,” which at ebb tide, un Bantiteobar, was not baptized: but at full tide, xataxĀvgeodat, was dashed over by the waves. The opposite of not being baptized here, is, not the dipping of the land in the waves, but dashing the waves over the land, or, if you please, washing over it, overflowing it. Mr. Carson, even, is compelled to admit that “the water comes over the land,” and that “ there is no actual exemplification of the mode expressed by this word” (viz. in his sense of immersion). Yet very preposterously, as it seems to me, he still contends that the word here “ still expresses

criticism.” “Batriów," says he, “is an active verb; douw (duno] the verb rendered " to sink,” is neuter. Bantis) [baptize], therefore, in the passive voice, means, thou mayest be immersed by the action of some external agent; Avvai (dunai], to sink, in a neuter sense, i. l., of its own accord. Thou mayest be immersed (viz. by the agency of another); it is not permitted thee to sink (of thyself).” Wonderful security to the city this! Not to be able to sink of its own accord, but to be fated to be liable to be sunk" by the agency of another." The criticism of “ Transmontanus" bears with iteelf its own refutation in its absurdity.

« PreviousContinue »