« PreviousContinue »
a translation is wrong. The testimony of Evangelists and Apostles is as good against the mere opinion of all translators, as it is against testimony adduced from the heathen Greeks.
But will Mr. Woolsey admit this translation to be good authority on the subject of baptism? Will Mr. Woolsey after affirming, p. 252, that "not a word is said about Infant Baptism" "till the third century;" will he, after all that he has said about "Mistress Lydia," p. 305, and its being "quite certain that she was a maiden lady," p. 306; will Mr. Woolsey, after this, admit the "venerable Peshito-Syriac version," this " Protoplastic version," "the very best that has ever been made," as good authority on the subject of baptism? This Syriac version reads, that "when she (Lydia) was baptized WITH HER CHILDREN. Will Mr. Woolsey, after affirming that this version was made by the last of the first century, and maintaining that it "cannot be determined" whether it "be the work of an inspired apostle or not," will he now admit that he is wrong in declaring so positively that there is nowhere any mention of Infant Baptism till the third century? Will he admit, that he and all the Baptists are wrong in denying that Infant Baptism existed before the close of the second century, and acknowledge that the practice can be traced clearly and indubitably to the apostles or will he for ever after be silent about the "immersion" of the venerable "Peshito-Syriac version?"
But it is not admitted that the Syriac version renders the word baptize by a word signifying immerse. The best scholars deny it. Professor Stuart shows that while the Syriac has a word, which means to plunge, dip, or
* Kurtz, p. 99. The Coptic version gives the same reading.
immerse, the Syriac version does not employ that word, but another which signifies "to confirm—to establish," so that "Baptism, then, in the language of the Peshito, is the rite of confirmation simply, while the manner of this is apparently left without being at all expressed." An English Baptist, who is, as says a competent judge, “evidently a master in Israel," has recently written against the "Baptist Translation Society. This writer accords with Professor Stuart with regard to the meaning of the Syriac word by which baptize is translated in the version in question." "I confess," says he, "I can derive no countenance to my practice as a Baptist from this version." Concerning the Ethiopic and Coptic versions, he admits that "they must be set aside, if they are not used against us (the Baptists') in the baptismal controversy."+
The ancient Syriac version is the present Bible of the Nestorian Christians. Their modern word for baptize is radically the word employed in the ancient version, and like the German taufen, and the English baptize, it is exclusively appropriated to the ordinance of baptism. They baptize either by immersion or affusion, and make no objection when they see our missionaries baptize by sprinkling, but consider it as good and valid baptism. Mr. Woolsey is, therefore, as much mistaken here, as he is in the case of Martin Luther's version.
DUTCH, DANISH AND SWEDISH VERSIONS.
Our Baptist brethren affirm, that the "Dutch, Danish
*From Judd's Reply to Professor Stuart, p. 164. † See New York Evangelist, Jan. 23, 1841.
DUTCH, DANISH AND SWEDISH VERSIONS. 131
and Swedish versions have the words in dispute translated by words signifying immersion."*
On this subject I will simply quote the words of Dr. Henderson, who has studied the languages of Northern Europe on the ground, and is familiar with their idioms. Dr. Henderson is authority upon this subject, which will not probably be questioned.
Says Dr. Henderson, " As it respects the Gothic dialects, which have been repeatedly appealed to with great confidence, it is a settled point with all who are acquainted with them, that the reference is totally irrelevant. That the Maeso-Gothic daupian, the Anglo-Saxon dyppan, the Dutch doopen, the Swedish dopa, the Danish dobe, and the German taufen, all correspond in sound to our English word dip, does not admit of any dispute, any more than the fact that dab, daub, and dub, have the same correspondence; but nothing would be more erroneous than to conclude, with the exception of the AngloSaxon, that they must have the same signification. No Dutchman, Dane, Swede, or German, would for a moment imagine that the words belonging to their respective languages meant anything else than baptism, by the application of water to the body baptized. The words àre never used in those languages in another sense, or in application to any other subject. Where the Germans would express dip or immerse they employ tauchen and not taufen, which is the word by which baptize is trans. lated. The Danes, in like manner, use dyppe and neddyppe, for dip, and not dobe. And that neither Luther, nor the authors of the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish ver
Report of the American Foreign Bible Society, 1840, p. 38. Woolsey, p. 138.
sions, had any intention of conveying the idea of immersion as implied in baptize, is obvious from the preposition which they have used with the verb. Thus we read in German, mit wasser taufen; in Danish, dobe met vand; in Swedish, dopa med vatn ; in Dutch, doopen met wasser; i. e. with water, and not in wasser-in water, i vand, i vatn; which phraseology is as foreign to these languages as the practice which it would sanction is unknown to the inhabitants of the countries in which they are spoken. Even the Mennonites in Holland, and other parts, though they reject Infant Baptism, administer the ordinance by pouring, and not by immersion."
Our Baptist brethren are equally hostile to the Vulgate as to the English Version for having transferred the word Baptize. Thus, Mr. Woolsey says, p. S2, that "The Roman Catholic Bible, i. e. the Latin Vulgate, was the first to transfer baptize and other words, rather than translate them." Again, p. 83, he calls the Vulgate the "authorized Roman Bible." On p. 89, he classes our English Bible and the Vulgate together as "UNWORTHY Models."
Now it is true that the Vulgate is the "authorized Bible" in the Roman Catholic church. But it is also true that the Vulgate was made before the Papal church had an existence. The Vulgate was declared the standard version of the Roman church by the Council of Trent, in 1545: but it ought not to be forgotten that it was to an old copy of the Vulgate, which providentially fell into the hands of Martin Luther, long before the Council of Trent, that we owe the Reformation. The Bible on
which the Reformation was built, and which was in use by all the ancient Western churches, before the Papal church was born, ought not, surely, thus to be thrown by with a sarcasm, as "The Roman Catholic Bible." In the time of Jerome, who was born about A. D. 330, there were several Latin versions of the Bible and of parts of the Bible. One of them, adopted by ecclesiastical authority, had long been called the Vulgate, or common version. In the process of transcribing many times, many mistakes had crept into the common copies. In A. D. 383, Jerome began a revision of this ancient Vulgata, or Itala version-having before him the original Hebrew of the Old Testament, the original Greek of the New, together with the Hexapla of Origen. With these, and with all other aids before him which the age afforded, Jerome sat down to the revision of the old Itala or Vulgata: a part of which revision is still extant (the book of Job, and the book of Psalms), the remainder is lost. But impressed with the necessity of a new version, and counselled by friends, he began at the same time a new version, which he completed A. D. 405, and which is now the well known Vulgate. This gradually prevailed, and in time entirely supplanted the old Itala.
In this version the Greek, baptize, is adopted into the Latin as a Latin word. It was probably so in the old Itala. Jerome could not have changed the practice of the whole Latin church in administering the ordinance of baptism, and taught them to say "baptizo te," instead of "submergo te," had the latter or any such word been in common use. I see no reason to doubt that, from the very day that baptism was first administered at Rome, or in the Latin tongue, the word baptize was at once adopt