THE
GOSPEL PLAN
OF
SALVATION

BY
T. W. BRENTS

"Men and brethren, what shall we do?" - Acts II:37
"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" - Acts IX:6
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" - Acts XVI:30

EIGHTH EDITION

Gospel Advocate Publishing Company
Nashville, Tenn.
1890

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
T. W. Brents,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.


 

Table of Contents

 

CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER IX
CHAPTER X
CHAPTER XI
CHAPTER XII
CHAPTER XIII
CHAPTER XIV
CHAPTER XV
INDEX OF TOPICS
Predestination
Election and Reprobation
Calvinistic Proofs Examined
The Foreknowledge of God
Hereditary Depravity
The Establishment of the Church
The Identity of the Church
The New Birth
Faith
Repentance
The Confession
Baptism, what is it?
Who should be Baptized?
The Design of Baptism
The Holy Spirit

7- 14
15-49
50-91
92-108
109-145
146-166
167-188
189-208
209-233
234-248
249-263
264-392
393-478
479-570
571-661
663


PREFACE

A wise man has said, "Of making many books there is no end; and much study
is a weariness of the flesh." Why, then, should we add another to the "many books"
already before the public? It has now been all of fifteen years since we conceived the
plan, and, began the preparation of this work, only bestowing upon it, however, such
fragments of time as we could spare from other labors. Sometimes we rested a month,
sometimes a year, feeling by no means sure that we would ever finish the work, but
intending to do so if permitted to live until our head become sufficiently gray. Some
portions were occasionally given to the public as contributions to the Gospel
Advocate and in tracts, in the hope that they might accomplish some good, if the
entire work should never be published. A very general demand for the completion
and publication of the book soon came from those who read the portions published;
but we have deemed it prudent to "hasten leisurely" lest we might prematurely
publish something of which we would be ashamed in maturer years. When we passed
our fiftieth year we engaged the services of the publisher, and now, on our fifty-first
anniversary birthday, we are writing a preface, and yet we are not quite sure that we
are old enough to publish a book on a theme so transcendently important as the
"Gospel Plan of Salvation." Our highest ambition is to honor the name of our Master,
and direct sinners to the way of life; hence we would not, for any earthly
consideration, publish a sentence known to be untrue. We wish our book to live
when we shall be sleeping the years away. Yes, and live it will. This is the frightful
thought. LIVE IT WILL. A mistake from the pulpit may soon be forgotten -- should we
make a mistake in an article furnished a paper or periodical, it may be lost or worn
out, and soon pass away; but a book will live on, when he who wrote it lives only in
the work left behind him. How important it is, then, that every thought penned
concerning THE GOSPEL PLAN OF SALVATION should be tried "as by fire" that not a
single error should escape the refining crucible of Holy Writ, and make its way into
the permanent literature of the age. Had this responsibility been rightly appreciated,
surely many of the books now on the market would never have met the public eye.
But there is another side to the picture. While it is unquestionably true that much
mischief has been done by the publication of error, it is equally true that much good
has been done, and may yet be done, by publishing the
iii



truth. Ceasing to publish truth will never arrest the publication of error. It will
continue to be published as long as man lives in a tenement of clay; hence the best
that may be done is the publication of truth with which, in some degree, to counteract
its influence. But for this the world would have been to-day overwhelmed in the
stygian waters of infidelity and idolatry; hence we would not erase a single
impression made by any truth ever given to man by any one who has written before
us. It is no part of our object to supersede any work that has appeared among us;
rather would we be an humble co-worker with all lovers of truth in pointing sinners
to the "Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world."
Every writer has a taste and a style as peculiarly his own as are his features or his
temperament; hence no two are likely to select exactly the same field of labor, or
adopt the same method of arranging the material used by each respectively. While
others have written upon some, perhaps all, the subjects treated in this work, we are
not aware of any single book filling the place which this is designed to occupy. While
it is directly addressed to the alien, we hope it will aid the young disciple in
obtaining a more extensive knowledge of the "form of doctrine" by which he was
made free from sin: especially will young preachers find it a valuable compend of
argument and critical authority in elucidation of many subjects which they will find
it necessary to examine. They will here find an amount of authority which would cost
them much labor and money were they compelled to get it from the original authors
quoted by us. Many of the works are out of print, so that only second-hand copies
can be had at all, and these only by importation at fabulous cost. We found it
necessary to pay ten, fifteen, and even as high as twenty-Jive dollars for works from
which to obtain the author's definition of a single word, which will be found in this
work. Many of these authors define in Latin which could not be read by the common
English scholar if he had them; here he will find only the English translation of the
author's Latin, which all can read and easily understand.
We have made no effort at elegance of style, seeking rather to clearly and
forcibly express as much truth as possible in the space occupied. We dare not hope
that every thought is expressed in the best possible manner; but he who reads to be
benefited will likely understand us, and for such readers only were our labors
intended. If we have not spoken as the oracles of God speak, then prove all things,
and hold fast that which is good. By the word of God we are ever willing that our
teaching may be tried. It alone can build us up and give us an inheritance among them
who are sanctified; hence to it we commend our readers in the fear of Him who will
judge us all according to our works.
T. W. BRENTS.
RICHMOND, TENN., February 10, 1874.

iv


THE
GOSPEL PLAN OF SALVATION

CHAPTER I
PREDESTINATION

Are you "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope,
and without God in the world?" If so, we propose to assist you in
arriving at a knowledge of your duty, in order that you may become
citizens of God's government on the earth -- children of God's family
-- members of Christ's body, the Church -- that you may escape the
punishment of the damned, and secure for yourselves the favor of
God and the bliss of heaven. But while our primary object is to
benefit the alien, it is hoped that a careful reading of our book will
be interesting and profitable to the babes in Christ. They should not
regard themselves as fully grown at birth, and therefore cease their
investigations; but they should desire and feed upon the sincere milk
of the Word, that they may grow to the stature of men and women
fully grown in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Knowledge
is one of the adjuncts of faith: "Besides this, giving all diligence, add
to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge." 2 Pet. i:5.
"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in
remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be
established in the truth. Yea, I Think it meet, as long as


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The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in
remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my
tabernacle." Ver. 12, 13.
But before we proceed to look for the conditions upon which
aliens may secure the favor of our Heavenly Father, it may be well
to inquire whether or not there is any thing they can do that will be
conducive to this end. There are prominent doctrines taught by
those for whose learning and piety we have the most profound
respect, which; if true, render it wholly unnecessary, it seems to us,
to spend time or labor in instructing the sinner with regard to his
duty either to God or man.
That we may place these doctrines properly before the mind of
the reader, without any reasonable probability of misrepresenting
them, we beg permission to make a few quotations from the fountain
whence they flow.
"God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel
of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes
to pass." Presbyterian Confession of Faith, chap. iii, sec. 1. To the
same import we have the answer to Question 12 (Larger Catechism),
as follows: "God's decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the
counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own
glory, unchangeably fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass,
especially concerning angels and men.
Now, if the doctrine here set forth is true, we think it impossible
for man to err. Whatever he does, is in keeping with and brought
about by God's fore-ordination or decree, and therefore can not be
wrong. If he does any thing -- it matters not what -- whether good or
bad -- if God has ordained every thing, He has ordained that thing.
If it comes to pass that a man lies, God has not only ordained that
he should lie, but He has unchangeably ordained it. If it comes to
pass that a man steals, God has unchangeably


Predestination
9
ordained that, too. If it comes to pass that a man kills his
neighbor, God has unchangeably ordained that, also. It did come to
pass that Cain killed his brother: why, then, did God put a curse
upon him for it? It was not only in accordance with the most wise
and holy counsel of His will, but He had freely and unchangeably
ordained that Cain should do the very thing for which He cursed
him!!! Can any sane man believe it? God has said: "Thou shalt not
kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou
shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Ex. xx:13-16. As
God has thus plainly forbidden things which do come to pass, it can
not be true that He has unchangeably ordained them. That God
should unchangeably ordain that a certain thing should come to
pass, and at the same time positively forbid it, is an inconsistency
entirely incompatible with His divine character, especially when we
add to it the thought that He threatens the guilty with endless
punishment. Surely He, whose laws ever bear the impress of that infinite
justice, goodness, love and mercy which characterize their Author,
would not punish His dependent creature man in the rude flames of
an angry hell forever for doing that which He had unchangeably
ordained that he should do: "The Lord is good to all: and his tender
mercies are over all his works." Ps. cxlv:9. "The Lord is righteous
in all his ways, and holy in all his works." Ver. 17. Therefore when
the murderer stains his hands in the blood of his fellow, he can not
take shelter under the doctrine of the creed by saying that God, in
ordaining every thing that comes to pass, ordained that he should
kill his neighbor, and thereby avoid the responsibility of the act and
the punishment due his crime. It is true that the makers of the creed
disclaim the consequences of the doctrine, saying, "Yet so as
thereby neither is God the author of sin;" but they have failed to
show us


10
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
how His character may be vindicated from such a charge in harmony
with such a doctrine; and we are unable to see how God is not the
author of what He has unchangeably ordained should come to pass.
If He has unchangeably ordained every thing that comes to pass,
then how can man change God's unchangeable ordinance? and if he
can not change it, surely no blame can attach to him for any thing
he does. If God unchangeably ordained that a certain man, on a
certain day, should do a certain thing, then there is no power left to
man not to do the thing; for were he to avoid doing it, he would
have changed God's unchangeable decree, and therefore had more
power to change than God had to enforce. Is any one prepared to
assume such a POSITION as this? The reader will please note the
extent of the doctrine in controversy. It is not that God has from all
eternity ordained, but that he has unchangeably ordained; not some
things, but whatsoever cometh to pass -- every thing. Surely, the
ordinances or decrees of God are broken every day. He has ordained
that men shall not kill, yet they do kill. He has ordained that they
shall not steal, yet they do steal. He has ordained that they shall not
bear false witness, yet they swear falsely every day. God compels no
man to keep His ordinances, but He will visit upon him merited
punishment if he does not keep them. Paul tells us that "the powers
that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the
power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall
receive to themselves damnation." Rom. xiii:1, 2. How can any one
successfully resist that which God has unchangeably ordained? God
said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Jonah iii:
4. Here was a positive decree or ordinance of God that did not come
to pass, for "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil
way; and God repented of the evil, that


Predestination
11
he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." Ver. 10.
Was not this decree changeable? God said to Hezekiah, "Set thy
house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live." 2 Kings xx:1. Here
was another positive ordinance which was changeable, for Hezekiah
turned his face to the wall and prayed, after which God said to him:
"I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; behold, I will heal
thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord,
and I will add unto thy days fifteen years." Vers. 5, 6. Here was a
decree concerning Hezekiah's death, which was changed, and his life
prolonged fifteen years, and the change induced by his prayers and
tears.
When David was at Keilah, he inquired of the Lord, saying:
"Will Saul come down as thy servant hath heard? O Lord God of
Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the Lord said, He will
come down. Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and
my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver
thee up. Then David and his men, which were about six hundred,
arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they
could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah;
and he forbare to go forth." 1 Samuel xxiii:11-13. When David left
Keilah, Saul turned his pursuit in the direction of David's flight, and
did not go to Keilah at all. Had God decreed, from all eternity,
whatsoever comes to pass, it occurs to us that He would have
answered David differently; perhaps something after the following
style: "No, David, Saul will not come to Keilah, nor will the men of
Keilah deliver you into his hands, for I have unchangeably ordained
that you shall leave Keilah, and Saul will turn his pursuit in the
direction to which you go." This was what did come to pass, and
certainly God did not tell David what he had


12
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
foreordained to be untrue. Had David remained at Keilah, Saul
would have gone there; hence circumstances, and not immutable
decrees, controlled this event, even as they do most others. Other
examples might be given, but these are enough to show that God has
issued decrees that never have come to pass, nor never will come to
pass. Now, if it is true that God foreordained every thing that comes
to pass, then it follows that He fore-ordained the reformation of the
Ninevites, the prayers of Hezekiah, and the flight of David from
Keilah; hence when He said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be
overthrown," He had fore-ordained, before time began, that it
should not be overthrown. When He told Hezekiah to set his house
in order, for he should die and not live, He had fore-ordained that
he should live fifteen years longer. And when He told David that
Saul would come to Keilah, and that the men of Keilah would
deliver him and his men to Saul, was it not telling him that events
should happen which He had unchangeably ordained to be
otherwise? How such a theory is to be harmonized with the word of the
Lord, we know not.
By the mouth of his prophet, the Lord said (Jer. xviii:7-10): "At
what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a
kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that
nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will
repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what
instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my
voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would
benefit them." Here we see the same law obtains as to nations that
we have seen applied to cities and individuals. If they, having done
evil, turn from


Predestination
13
the evil, then the Lord proposes to turn from the evil which He
purposes doing to them; on the contrary, if they persist in
disobedience, they will suffer the consequences, even to
extermination. Hence circumstances have ever varied God's dealings
with men.
Again: "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made
man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." Gen. vi:5, 6. Now,
if the Lord fore-ordained every thing that comes to pass, He fore-
ordained every thing the antediluvians did: why, then, should He
grieve over their wickedness, when every act was but the
consummation of His own immutable and eternal decree? Really, it
would seem like God grieving over His own folly.
The Lord said that the children of Judah had "built again the
high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom,
to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I
commanded them not, neither came it into my heart." Jer vii:31.
"They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons
with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor
spake it, neither came it into my mind." Jer xix:5. If God fore-
ordained every thing, He fore-ordained these things, for they came
to pass; yet He says He did not command them, nor speak them,
neither came they into His mind. Will the advocates of the doctrine
please to enlighten the world as to how God fore-ordained things
which never entered His mind? But we will not press the argument
further. If the doctrine be true, the whole theory of sin,
accountability, rewards, and punishments, in harmony with justice
and mercy, is to us utterly incomprehensible. Every act of man is but
carrying out the immutable purposes of Jehovah; and when He gives
a man a law, He


14
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
does it expressly that he may violate it, so as to furnish a pretext for
the punishment previously ordained for him. Take the sin of Adam
as an example: God made him and placed him under law. It came to
pass that he violated this law. He ate of the fruit whereof God
commanded him not to eat. If God fore-ordained whatsoever comes
to pass, then of course He fore-ordained that he should eat. Hence
Adam was in a strait between the law and the unchangeable
ordination or decree. It came to pass that he eat; therefore God
ordained that he should eat. The law said he should not eat. One or
the other must be broken. He must eat and violate the law; or not
eat, and change God's unchangeable decree. This was impossible:
hence to eat and violate the law was a necessity; and yet God would
punish him for it!! Surely, such a theory is at war with the
Bible -- with all reason and common sense -- as well as a reproach
upon the character of our Heavenly Father. But able and learned
men have taught it, good and true men believe it; therefore we must
treat it respectfully, yet examine it fairly, patiently, and thoroughly.


CHAPTER II
ELECTION AND REPROBATION

We come now to examine the subject of unconditional
election and reprobation; and that we may see the
doctrine in its purity, we beg permission to quote again from the
creed: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory,
some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and
others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men thus
predestinated and fore-ordained are particularly and unchangeably
designed, and their number is so certain and definite that it can not
be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are
predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was
laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose and the secret
counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ, unto
everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any
foresight of faith or good works or perseverance in either of them, or
any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him
thereunto." Confession of Faith, chap. 3, sees. 3, 4, 5.
It is quite easy to see that the doctrine of unconditional election
and reprobation is true if the doctrine of unchangeable fore-
ordination obtains as to every thing that comes to pass, unless we
find relief in the more ample folds of Universalism. If God has
unchangeably fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass, then of
course He has fore-ordained
15


16
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
just who shall be saved, and who, if any, shall be lost; and if He has
unchangeably fixed the destiny of every man before time began
without any conditions whatever, then Calvinism or Universalism
must be true. But we think we have seen that God did not so ordain
every thing, and hence this doctrine can not support either of the
others. If either stands at all, it must be proved by other testimony.
For the present, then, we propose to inquire whether or not God has
unconditionally and unchangeably fixed the destiny of a definite
number of two classes -- the elect and the reprobate.
And first, we remark that the words elect, elected, election,
reprobate and reprobates, are Bible terms; hence there must be a
Bible doctrine concerning them. Elect means to choose; hence the
elect of God are God's chosen. God has elected persons, families,
nations, and bodies or organizations in different ages of the world,
for the benefit of his creatures, but the final salvation and happiness
of the elected were by no means secured by their election. On the
contrary, God's elect have to "work out their own salvation with fear
and trembling." Phil. ii:12. Hence in very many instances they have
sinned and fallen far from the favor of God, and often forfeited the
positions to which they were elected. But to comprehend the whole
subject we must inquire who were elected and for what purposes;
then we may be able to see what effect, if any, their election had
upon their final destiny.
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my
soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth
judgment to the Gentiles; he shall not cry nor lift up, nor cause his
voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break,
and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth
judgment unto truth." Isa. xlii:1-3. That the servant


Election And Reprobation
17
of God here called His elect was Jesus the Christ may be seen by
reference to Matt. xii:17-21, where this prophecy is quoted by Jesus
as fulfilled in himself. Surely, it will be admitted that Jesus was not
elected to secure His own salvation, but to be the Saviour of men.
"Wherefore also it is contained in Scripture, Behold I lay in Zion a
chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him
shall not be confounded." 1 Pet. ii:6. Here Jesus is represented as the
elect corner-stone of the church, on whom others believe to their
salvation. But we are more concerned in examining the election of
men, as individuals, collective bodies, and nations.
Abraham was elected of God to be the father of the faithful, in
whose seed all families of the earth were to be blessed in Jesus
Christ. Gal. iii:16. But as Abraham had more sons than one, it was
necessary that an election take place in his family, for Ishmael and
Isaac could not both be the father of the family from which Jesus the
promised seed should come; hence God said, "In Isaac shall thy
seed be called." Gen. xxi:12; Rom ix:7. Isaac had two sons, Esau
and Jacob, both of whom could not be the father of the royal family;
hence God said, "Thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have
chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend." Isa. xli:8. Jacob had twelve
sons; Judah was elected. And so election has been a necessity all the
way from Abraham to Jesus the promised seed -- not to benefit the
elected exclusively, but to benefit the world through them.
When God determined to deliver the children of Israel from
Egyptian bondage, He elected Moses for their leader and lawgiver:
"Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his
chosen stood before him." Ps. cvi:23. But Aaron was elected as
speaker for Moses; hence "He sent Moses his servant and Aaron
whom he


18
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
had chosen." Ps. cv:26. Notwithstanding Moses and Aaron were
elected -- chosen of God to conduct the Hebrews from Egypt to
Canaan, a type of the final home of the righteous; and Moses was
the Jewish lawgiver, in this respect a type of Christ our lawgiver; and
Aaron was anointed high priest, in this respect a type of Christ our
High Priest; and he was permitted to enter the most holy place,
which was typical of heaven, where Jesus our High Priest hath for
us entered -- yet they both sinned, and incurred the displeasure of
God, in consequence of which neither of them were permitted to
enter the land of Canaan, the type of the Christian's home in heaven.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, because ye believed
me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore
ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given
them." Num. xx:12. Concerning this decree, Moses said: "The Lord
was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go
over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which
the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance: but I must die in
this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and
possess that good land." Deut. iv:21, 22. After taking Moses to the
top of Pisgah and showing him the beauties of the land, the Lord
said to him: "This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto
Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed; I have
caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over
thither. So Moses, the servant of the Lord died there in the land of
Moab, according to the word of the Lord." Deut. xxxiv:4, 5.
Aaron and his sons were not only elected, but consecrated and
anointed priests of God, and officiated in that most sacred office for
themselves and the people. In the eighth chapter of Leviticus may be
found an account of


Election And Reprobation
19
the grand and sublime ceremony with which they were inducted into
that holy office. Thus the male portion of a family were elected and
inducted into the priesthood; and what became of them? The Lord
said: "Aaron, shall be gathered unto his people, for he shall not
enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel,
because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah. Take
Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto Mount Hor; and
strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son, and
Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there. And
Moses did as the Lord commanded: and they went up into Mount
Hor in sight of all the congregation. And Moses stripped Aaron of
his garments and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died
there in the top of the mount." Num. xx:24 to 28. "Nadab and
Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put
fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before
the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire
from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord."
Lev. x:1, 2. Now, if the doctrine of eternal unconditional election
and reprobation be true, to which class did Nadab and Abihu
belong? The destiny of all being unalterably fixed before time
began, it follows that these were of the eternally elect, or of the
eternally reprobate. Did God elect them of the non-elect, or
eternally reprobate, and anoint them priests to officiate in the
tabernacle, having previously determined upon their destruction,
and unchangeably fore-ordained the wickedness for which He
intended to kill them? Or were they of the eternally elect, and their
interest in heaven made sure before the foundation of the world,
and God killed them for wickedness which he had unchangeably
fore-ordained they should do, that he might take them home to
glory? Is it not


20
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
more rational to conclude that God elected them, anointed and
consecrated them priests, intending to be with and bless them as
long as they were faithful to Him, and punish them when they
forsook Him; and that their unhappy end was the result of their own
voluntary rebellion against the law of the Lord?
God elected Saul to be the first king over Israel. He told Samuel
how he might know him; and having presented him to the people,
"Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath
chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all
the people shouted and said, God save the king." 1 Sam. x 24. He
not only elected him, but he gave him the spirit of prophecy, and
when "a company of the priests met him, the Spirit of God came
upon him, and he prophesied among them." 1 Sam. x:10. Nor was
this all, but he sacredly anointed him to reign over his people.
"Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and
kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee
to be captain over his inheritance?" 1 Sam. x:1. The Lord was with
and prospered him in battle, as long as he was faithful to Him, but
when he disobeyed him, Samuel said: "hath the Lord as great
delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of
the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken
than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected
the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
1 Sam. xv:22, 23. Will the reader observe the fact that he was
rejected, not because God had eternally reprobated him, or
unchangeably fore-ordained his rejection, but because he rejected
the word of the Lord. From all these examples we learn that when
God elected any one to any position however important, it did not
unconditionally secure for


Election And Reprobation
21
him an entrance into the climes of endless bliss, or even a
continuance in the office to which he was elected; but on the
contrary the general principle is quite apparent that He blessed and
prospered him as long as he continued faithful to His will, and failed
not to punish and reject him when he rebelled against Him.
Thus far we have seen individuals in the age of types and
shadows elected to peculiar privileges, for the benefit of themselves
and others; and we have seen many of the elect perish on account
of their sins, and the time would fail us to record all the cases which
illustrate these principles in the government of God; we come now
to look for the election of nations and bodies to religious
promotion on the same principles.
One of the first promises made to Abraham by the Lord was: "I
will make of thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy
name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; and I will bless them that
bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all
families of the earth be blessed." Gen. xii:2 3. In due time God gave
Abraham a son, Isaac, to whose wife Rebecca the Lord said: "Two
nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be
separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger
than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger." Gen.
xxv:23. As we will have occasion to notice this passage again, it is
sufficient here to remark that this was said to her concerning Jacob
and Esau, as the representatives of two nations which were to
descend from her through them, one of which was to be stronger
than the other and bear rule over it; and this was "that the purpose
of God according to election might stand." Rom. ix:11. Thus we find
that the descendants of Jacob were elected the national family of
God; hence he said: "O Jacob, my servant; and Israel, whom I have


22
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
chosen." Isa. xliv:1. "For Jacob my servant's sake and Israel mine
elect." Isa. xlv:4. God changed the name of Abram to Abraham,
because He made him the father of many nations. Gen. xvii:5. He
also changed the name of Jacob to Israel, saying: "Thy name shall
be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power
with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Gen. xxxii:28.
Henceforth the descendants of Jacob were called the "children of
Israel;" and very often only Israel, the adopted name of their
illustrious progenitor -- an example of which Paul gives, Rom. x:1:
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they
might be saved." These God clearly recognized as His people. When
He appeared to Moses for the purpose of sending him to deliver
them, He said: "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which
are in Egypt." Ex. iii:7. And verse 10, he says: "Come now therefore,
and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my
people the children of Israel out of Egypt." Moses said to them:
"The Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron
furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance,
as ye are this day." Deut. iv:20. Again: "Because he loved thy
fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought them
out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt." Deut. iv:37.
"The Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose
their seed after them, even you above all people." Deut. x:15. "For
thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath
chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the
nations that are upon the earth." Deut. xiv:2. "For thou art an holy
people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God had chosen thee
to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon
the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon


Election And Reprobation
23
you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any
people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord
loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn
unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty
hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the
hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt." Deut. vii:6-8. Though we are here
to prove that those children of Israel were the elect people of God
in that age of the world, yet in passing we may note the additional
fact apparent in the last quotation, that He loved them, not because
they were elected from all eternity as individuals; nor did He elect
them because He loved them personally "before the foundation of
the world was laid," but because He loved their fathers and had
entered into a covenant with them; and He refers their election to a
time when they had, not only an individual and personal, but a
national existence, and were few in number compared with other
nations, associating it with the time of their deliverance from
Egyptian bondage. We need not refer the reader to other
recognitions of the Israelites as the national family of God, but it is
necessary to our purpose that we note one other fact, which is, that
they constituted the church in that dispensation; hence says
Stephen, concerning Moses: "This is he, that was in the church in
the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina,
and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto
us." Acts vii:38 Paul mentions some of the eminent privileges of
these people: "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption,
and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the
service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of
whom as concerning the flesh Christ came." Rom. ix:4, 5. Next we
would call the attention of the reader to the all-important fact that
the


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The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
same general principle characterized God's dealings with this elect
national family, or typical church, that we have seen prominent in
His dealings with elect individuals -- namely, that He blessed and
prospered them when they were faithful to His laws, and that He
punished them, and finally exterminated them as a nation, for their
wickedness.
Soon after God delivered them from Egyptian bondage, He
called Moses to Him and said: "Thus shalt thou say to the house of
Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; ye have seen what I did unto
the Egyptians, and how I bear you on eagles' wings, and brought you
unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and
keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me
above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me
a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which
thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and
called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all
these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people
answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will
do." Ex. xix:3-8. God prefaces this solemn covenant by calling the
attention of the people to the wonderful exhibition of His power put
forth in their salvation, and the destruction of their enemies; and
promises that they should be a peculiar treasure to Him on condition
that they obey His voice, which on their part they solemnly promise
to do. But they very soon forgot their obligations to God; hence
"with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were over-
thrown in the wilderness." 1 Cor. x:5. For their idolatrous worship
of the calf made by Aaron, three thousand fell in one day. (Ex.
xxxii:28.) For their fornication, twenty-four thousand died in the
plague. (Num. xxv:9.) Twenty-three thousand of them


Election And Reprobation
25
died in one day. (1 Cor. x:8.) For their murmuring against God,
many of them were destroyed by serpents. (Num. xxi:6.) And for
their crimes of various kinds, God abandoned them in their conflicts
with the nations around them, until multiplied thousands were slain
in battle, their cities were burned to ashes, and their homes made
desolate, and strangers devoured their land in their presence. (Isa.
i:7.) They were taken captive into Babylon and kept there for
seventy years. Thus did God afflict and scourge them as a father
scourgeth his rebellious son, but they would not reform; until finally
He asks, "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more
and more." Isa. i:5. Nor did He afflict them without warning, for He
said to them: "If ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your
children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes
which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and
worship them: then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have
given them; and this house which I have hallowed for my name, will
I cast out of my sight, and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword
among all people. 1 Kings ix:6, 7. Never was there a more faithful
picture of human wretchedness than is here given of the present
condition of this once elect and highly favored people of God. He
has utterly destroyed them as a nation from the face of the earth.
They are not only cut off from the country which God gave them to
be a permanent inheritance, but they are scattered among the
nations, until there is not a place on the globe where civilization has
gone where straggling Jews may not be found; and the very name
Jew is a name of reproach to him who wears it -- a "proverb and a
byword among all people." And what was the condition set forth in
this most solemn warning to them? Was it, "If you are of the
eternally reprobate?" Nay, verily, they were


26
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
God's own elect. But will it do to assume that, because there was no
hell threatened in the Jewish law, these were merely temporal
punishments inflicted upon God's elect, and hence he has taken, or
will take them to heaven? Were there any others worse than these?
Before any one so assumes, let him remember that almost, perhaps
quite, every known species of crime was practiced by these elect;
and if these whoremongers, idolaters and tempters of God were fit
for heaven, then it must be true indeed that election, and not
character, qualifies for that place. Before any one so assumes, let
him further remember that these Jews, the elect of God, rejected and
murdered the Lord of glory; and he said, "If ye believe not that I am
he, ye shall die in your sins." John viii:24. Notwithstanding the
gospel was first preached to the Jews, and some of them believed on
Christ as the promised Messiah, yet not one of the Jews can be
found who, as a Jew, believes, to-day, that Jesus was or is the Christ,
the Son of God. How then are they to be saved over his declaration
that "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins?" Are
they to die in their sins, and be saved in their unbelief? He says, "He
that believeth not shall be damned " Mark xvi:16.
Now, we would note the fact that the Jewish age was a typical
age: the church in the wilderness was, in a sense, a type of the
church of God; Moses, the Jewish lawgiver, was, in a sense, a type
of Christ our lawgiver; Aaron, the Jewish high priest, was a type of
Christ our High Priest; the Jewish priests were types of Christians in
the gospel age who are priests now. -- Hence says Peter, "Ye also, as
lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to
offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." I
Pet. ii:5. And again, verse 9, he says, "But ye are a chosen
generation, a royal priest-


Election And Reprobation
27
hood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." Then if these elect types,
from the least to the greatest, both as individuals and as a body, had
to be faithful to God or forfeit their election, may we not in the same
way forfeit our election? After telling us that "with many of them
God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the
wilderness," Paul says: "These things were our examples, to the
intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The
people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us
commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day
three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of
them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur
ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the
destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:
and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the
world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take
heed lest he fall." 1 Cor. x:5-12. We know not how the apostle
could have given more conclusive proof that the number of the elect
composing the church of God at Corinth, was liable to be
diminished by apostasy than is here given. He tells them of the
overthrow of many of the Jews, and mentions, specifically, the sins
for which thousands of them fell and tells them that these things
happened to them as examples, and are written for our admonition;
"wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
But why this admonition, if the numbers of the elect and reprobate
are so certain and definite that they can neither be increased nor
diminished? Were this true, Paul's most solemn warning to his
brethren was a mere "rawhead and bloody bones," to alarm them
when there was no danger, for


28
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
none of them could fall! And the creed is consistent with itself, if
not with the Bible at this point; for it says: "They whom God hath
accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his
Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of
grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be saved.
This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free
will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing
from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the
efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of
the Spirit and the seed of God within them; and the nature of the
covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and
infallibility thereof." Chap. xvii, sees. 1, 2.
The doctrine here set out is a necessary outgrowth of the
doctrine of unconditional election and reprobation. If God has
unchangeably fixed the destiny of every man before time began, then
it follows that such destiny can not be changed by any act of the
creature -- nay, not even by the Creator; for that which is
unchangeable can not be changed even by God himself. Therefore
none of the eternally elect can fall if that doctrine obtains; and
whenever it is clearly shown that a Christian may apostatize, and be
lost, the whole theory of unconditional election and reprobation is
exploded. We will therefore be somewhat careful to see how this is.
And if there was not another sentence in the Bible touching the
subject, Paul's most solemn warning to the Corinthians would be
quite sufficient to settle the question forever. He tells them of the
falls of the Jews as examples to his brethren, and that their
deplorable end was recorded as a solemn admonition to others, lest
they, feeling secure, might fall. What could be more conclusive? In
the last verse of the preceding chapter, the apostle says, "I keep
under my body, and


Election And Reprobation
29
bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have
preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. ix:27. If
Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles, had to keep such constant
watch-care over himself, lest, after all his labor, he should be lost,
is it not possible that others may fall? It is not necessary to show
that Paul was one of the elect, for this will surely be admitted: yet
he was in danger of falling; and had he fallen, would not the number
of the elect have been diminished thereby, and the number of the
reprobate correspondingly increased?
Jesus said: "I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth
in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without
me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as
a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into
the fire, and they are burned." John xv:5, 6. Why charge them to
abide in him, if they could not do otherwise than abide in him? and
why liken them to withered and dried branches which men gather
and cast into the fire to be burned, if by reason of the immutability
of the decree of election they could not do otherwise than persevere
to the end and be eternally saved?
Paul tells Timothy of "Hymeneus and Philetus; who concerning
the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is passed already;
and overthrow the faith of some." 2 Tim. ii:18. Here were persons
who had faith, and that faith was overthrown by false teaching.
Surely, these persons were of the elect, for the creed tells us that
"The grace of faith whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the


30
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts."
Chap. xiv, sec. 1. Without stopping for the present to inquire how
the elect, whose souls never could have been lost, can believe to the
saving of their souls, we remark that faith is the work of the Spirit
in the heart of the elect, according to the creed; hence Hymeneus
and Philetus diminished the number of the elect just as many as
there were persons whose faith they overthrew.
But we will hear what Paul has to say to the Hebrews, chap. xi:
verses 4-6: "For it is impossible for those who were once en-
lightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made
partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to
renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves
the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Here it is
most clearly taught that even those who had been blessed with those
extraordinary spiritual manifestations peculiar to the age of the
apostles, might fall away; else why the language, "if they do fall
away," when they could not so fall? But again he says: "If we sin
willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour
the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy
under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment,
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under
foot the Son of God, and have counted the blood of the covenant
wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite
unto the Spirit of grace?" Heb. x:26-29. Here was a sorer
punishment than death awaiting, under certain conditions, persons
who had been sanctified by the blood of the covenant. Surely, these
sanctified persons were of the elect, even according to the creed, for
it says: "Sanctification is a work of God's grace, whereby they,
whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be
holy, are, in time, through the powerful


Election And Reprobation
31
operation of his Spirit, applying the death and resurrection of Christ
unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God."
Larger Catechism, answer to Question 75. Then Paul intended to
teach that God's elect, after sanctification by the blood of the new
covenant, might sin willfully and be worthy of sorer punishment
than those who died without mercy under the law of Moses. But we
will hear Peter on the same subject. He says: "If after they have
escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and
overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For
it had been better for them not to have known the way of
righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy
commandment delivered unto them; but it is happened unto them
according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit
again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
2 Pet. ii:20-22. Here we find that persons who have escaped the
pollutions of the world may again be entangled in and overcome by
them; and we are clearly told that if they are so overcome, then the
latter end with them is worse than the beginning. Better for them not
to have obeyed the gospel at all than to turn back into wickedness.
As the sow that was washed may go back to wallowing in the mire,
so may he who was cleansed from sin become worse than before.
Paul testified to such of his Galatian brethren as were
circumcised, that "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever
of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Gal. v:4.
Here, it seems to us, all controversy on the possibility of "falling
from grace" should cease. We see no place for further argument on
the subject; indeed, we know not how to make an argument on a
passage like this. We have learned how to reason from


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The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
premises to conclusions, but here there is no room for reason. When
Paul most solemnly testifies that such as had turned back to the law
and been circumcised had "fallen from grace," it must simply be
accepted as true, or the truth of the statement denied. Surely, these
were once in grace -- in favor with God -- in Christ -- for it would be
the merest twaddle to talk about persons falling from positions
which they never occupied. This being true, it follows that every
person who thus falls diminishes the number of the elect and
increases the number of the reprobate; hence the whole theory of
unconditional election and reprobation is untrue.
But it is not only true that Christians, God's elect, may fall as
individuals, but it is also true that congregations composing the
"church of God" at certain places may fall. In proof of this position
we would refer the reader to the several messages to the Asiatic
churches, only a few extracts from which we have here room to
make. After approving many good traits of character in the church
at Ephesus, God said to them: "Nevertheless I have somewhat
against thee; because thou hast left thy first love. Remember
therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first
works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy
candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Rev. ii:4, 5. Here
was a church which had many elegant traits of character, yet it had
left its first love, so that it had to repent and do its first works or
have its candlestick quickly removed. Certainly, this had reference
to the removal of the church as a body.
To the church of the Laodiceans he said: "I know thy works,
that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would that thou wert cold or
hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spew thee out of my


Election And Reprobation
33
mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods,
and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched,
and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to
buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white
raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy
nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that
thou mayest see. Rev. iii:15-18. Here was a church which God said
he would spew out of his mouth, and after many epithets of
reproach upon it he gives it such counsel as would enable it to
reinstate itself in his favor by reformation and obedience. God said,
"If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and
keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall
surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath
committed, they shall not be mentioned: in his righteousness that he
hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked
should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from
his ways and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his
righteousness and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all
the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his
righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his
trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned,
in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal.
Hear now, 0 house of Israel; is not my way equal? are not your ways
unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteous-
ness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity
that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth
away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that
which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he
considereth and turneth away from all his transgressions


34
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die." Ezek.
xviii:21-28. This general principle characterizes all God's dealings
with man in every age of the world.
We come now to consider the doctrine of eternal unconditional
election and reprobation in its bearing on the subject of the
atonement. If God, before the foundation of the world,
unconditionally ordained just who and how many should be saved,
and who and how many lost, then of course the atonement made by
Christ could not reach those who were fore-ordained to dishonor
and wrath, and therefore they could not have any interest in his
death. Indeed it is difficult, according to the theory, to see the
benefits of Christ's death at all; for the atonement could not make
the salvation of the elect any more secure, nor could it possibly
change the condition or chances of the reprobate. Here again the
creed is consistent with itself, as far as the reprobate are concerned,
for it does not assume that the benefits of the atonement can in any
way reach them; not because of any fault in them, but because
Christ did not die for them. It says: "Neither are any other redeemed
by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and
saved, but the elect only." Chap. 3, sec. 6. Then, when it is shown
that Christ died for all men, the doctrine of unconditional election
and reprobation will have been again exploded.
Paul says, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the
angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that
he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Heb. ii:9.
What can this mean? It can mean nothing less than that Christ died
for every man. Surely, it would require elastic rules of interpretation
to supply the word elect here, so as to make it read that "Jesus
tasted death for every elect man." Before making this addition to the
word of the Lord, let the reader consider


Election And Reprobation
35
well the following quotation: "For I Testify unto every man
that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall
add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are
written in this book." Rev. xxii:18.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life; for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn
the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John
iii:16, 17. Here we find that the love of God extended to the world,
and the object of sending His Son into the world was the salvation
of the world. But here again we are asked to supply the word elect,
so as to restrict the love of God to the elect. But the same apostle,
in another place, supplies a word better calculated to give his use of
the word world as connected with the atonement. He says, "He is
the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the
sins of the whole world." 1 John ii:2. Could language be more
ample or comprehensive? and would any one ever have thought of
restricting its meaning to the whole elect world, had not the
salvation of a theory required it? We know that the word world is
sometimes used in a limited sense -- that is, when it is intended to
apply to a part, and not all of the human race; but it applies in such
cases to the wicked, as distinguished from the elect.


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A single example will abundantly show this. Jesus said to his
disciples: "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it
hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own;
but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of
the world, therefore the world hateth you." John xv:18, 19. In this
quotation the word world occurs several times in a limited sense,
but every time it refers to the wicked as distinguished from the elect.
But the context itself utterly forbids any such restricted use of the
term in John iii:16, 17. Let us examine it a little. The passage not
only teaches that God loved the world, but also that the object of
sending His Son into the world was that the world might not perish,
but have everlasting life. Then if the love of God, and the world to
whom He sent His Son, be confined to the elect world, it follows
that whosoever of this elect world believes on Him may not perish;
but others of the elect world may not believe on Him, and
therefore perish. This view is quite prominent in the verse
immediately following: "He that believeth on him is not condemned:
but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not
believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." John iii:18.
That is, he, of this elect world that God loved, and to whom He
sent His Son, that believeth not, is condemned already. This
doctrine the advocates of the theory will not allow. And it will do
no better to confine the word world to the Jews, reading it thus:
"God so loved the Jewish world that he sent his only begotten Son
' etc.: for that would exclude all others but Jews from the benefits
of the atonement, even the makers of the creed themselves. Nor will
it do to apply the word world here to the Roman Empire, for this
would exclude the other nations, and thus come in direct conflict
with the commission sending the apostles to disciple all nations,
and into all the world to preach to every creature. Then it must
mean just what it says: "He is the propitiation for the sins of the
whole world." "Because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then
were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should
not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for
them, and rose again." 2 Cor. v:14, 15. Here the apostle clearly
teaches that Christ died for all affected by the sin of Adam; hence
the language: "If one died for all,


Election And Reprobation
37
then were all dead." Then as "death passed upon all men" (Rom.
v:12), even so Christ died for all men. "Therefore, as by the offense
of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by
the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto
justification of life." Rom. v:18. Without turning aside to offer an
exegesis of this verse, it is sufficient for our present purpose to call
attention to the very obvious fact that, as Adam's sin affects all men,
even so the benefits of Christ's death are offered to all men. To the
same effect spake Jesus when He said: "I, if I be lifted up from the
earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death
he should die." John xii:32, 33. Surely, He did not expect all men
to be drawn unto Him by His death unless all were interested in
His death. What attraction could His death have for a reprobate,
when he knew He died not for him, or any but the elect?
Again: Paul says, "There is one God, and one mediator between
God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for
all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. ii:5, 6. Here, as usual, Paul
is in contact with the theory which says substantially that Christ
gave himself a ransom for the elect only. It is evident, from this
connection, that the ransom was co-extensive with the mediatorial
office -- yea, with the reign of God himself -- "For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who
gave himself a ransom for all." Wherefore he is able also to save
them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever
liveth to make intercession for those he is able to save; and he is
able to save to the uttermost; yet he can save none, only those for
whom he died; therefore he died for the uttermost that come to God
by him. Surely, we can not be mistaken in this.


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The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
When the angel of the Lord announced the birth of Christ to the
shepherds who watched their flocks in the plains of Judea, he said,
"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which
shall be to all people." Luke ii:10. It occurs to us that the angel
would have spoken more like the creed had he said, "Behold, I bring
you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to the elect." Surely,
the announcement of a Saviour born could not have been glad
tidings of great joy to those who were eternally reprobate, and
therefore could not hope for an interest in His mission and death, or
the atonement made by Him. Nor is it very easy to see how the news
of His birth could have been glad tidings of great joy even to the
elect, for He could not make their salvation any more secure than
it was made by the immutable decree of election. Peter did not so
understand the subject, for he said, "Wherefore the rather, brethren,
give diligence to make your calling and election sure." Then it was
not already sure. But why strive to make it sure? "For if ye do these
things, ye shall never fall." 2 Pet. i:10. Then if they did not do these
things they would fall, and make void their election; at least they
would be liable to do so. Hence, as the announcement of His birth
was glad tidings of great joy to all people, it is certain that Christ
died for all people; and therefore all people may be saved through
the atonement made by Him. It is certain that all will not be saved;
but it will not be because the provisions of the atonement did not
embrace them, but because they would not accept salvation as
offered to them.
It is conceded by all parties that Christ died for the elect or
saved; hence we propose next to show that He also died for such as
have been or may be lost. Paul says: "But if thy brother be grieved
with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him
with thy meat, for


Election And Reprobation
39
whom Christ died." Rom. xiv:15 "And through thy knowledge shall
the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died." 1 Cor. viii:11.
These passages teach as clearly as language can teach anything that
there were members of the church of God, both at Rome and at
Corinth, for whom Christ died, who were liable to perish -- be
destroyed; hence Christ died as well for those who perish -- are
destroyed -- as for those who are saved. These passages show, too,
that the disciples at Rome and Corinth were liable to fall
away -- perish -- be destroyed; hence his admonition to those in
charge of the weaker members to guard against such result. How can
it be, then, that the destiny of every one was immutably fixed by the
decree of election? But we will hear another apostle on the same
subject. Peter says: "But there were false prophets among the
people, even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily
shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought
them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." 2 Peter ii:1.
Here were false teachers that denied the Lord that bought them, and
thereby brought upon themselves swift destruction. How did the
Lord buy them? Paul admonished certain persons "to feed the
church of God, which he purchased with his own blood." Acts
xx:28. Then it was with the blood of Christ that He bought or
purchased these false teachers who denied Him, and destroyed
themselves. Before leaving this passage, we may note another fact
which appears in it. These false teachers brought destruction upon
themselves and this they could not have done if they were eternally
and unchangeably ordained to dishonor and wrath by God's decree.
The decree destroyed them, and no act of theirs -- if such decree was
made concerning them.
We next propose to show that salvation is attainable


40
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
by all men, because the gospel of salvation is to be preached to all
men. Jesus charged the apostles to "teach all nations, baptizing
them." Matt. xxviii:19. And again: "Go ye into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature.'' Mark xvi:15. Why preach the
gospel to every creature when the larger portion were not embraced
in its provisions? It occurs to us that something like the following
would have been more appropriate: "Go ye into all the world and
preach the gospel to the elect, that they may know the ample
provisions made for them before the foundation of the world; but to
the reprobate say nothing, for as they can not by any possibility
avert the awful doom that surely awaits them, it is better to let them
remain ignorant of their fate as long as possible." If this be true, we
can see no use of all the labor and expense of printing Bibles,
building meeting-houses, and preaching the gospel to either saint or
sinner. If we are of the definite number elected and fore-ordained
to eternal life, there is no chance for us to be lost; and if not, we can
not be saved. We have often heard this doctrine preached from the
pulpit, when the sermon closed with an exhortation to sinners to
come to the anxious-seat to seek salvation or pray for pardon of sin.
What a mockery! Why tell a man that God has unalterably fixed his
destiny before time began, and then exhort him to "flee from the
wrath to come" and "lay hold on eternal life" -- as though he could
either change or confirm God's eternal and immutable decree!!
Surely, his efforts could do no good, nor could his negligence do
any harm, for "Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life,
God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his
eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good
pleasure of his will, has chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out
of his mere free grace and love, without


Election And Reprobation
41
any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of
them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes
moving him thereunto." Conf., chap. iii, sec. 5: Thus we see that
faith, good works, nor any other thing, can avail, for the whole
matter was unalterably fixed before time began. Salvation, upon
certain conditions, was the great object of preaching the gospel to
every creature; and among these conditions faith occupies a
conspicuous place: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the
word of God." Rom. x:17. Hence the necessity of preaching the
gospel -- teaching the word of God to every creature, that he might
have the privilege of believing and obeying it; therefore the promise:
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned." Mark xvi:16. The fact that Jesus
required the gospel to be preached among all nations, to every
creature, promising salvation to those who would believe and obey
it, is evidence high as heaven that all may have salvation who will
accept it upon the conditions specified. Surely, God would not
mock His creatures by preaching the gospel, and offering salvation
to them on certain conditions, when He had eternally and
unchangeably ordained that they should not be saved, and put it out
of their power to comply with the terms offered. Nor is this all: He
follows the promise of conditional salvation with the awful threat
that "He that believeth not shall be damned." We can not see why
any one should be required to believe and trust in a Saviour who did
nothing for them, and believe and obey a gospel the provisions of
which did not embrace them. Men are required to believe upon and
trust in Jesus, in order to salvation: "Many other signs truly did
Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this
book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God."


42
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
And why believe this? "That believing ye might have life through his
name." John xx:30, 31. Jesus said, "He that believeth on the Son
hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see
life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John iii:36. Thus we see
that man is denied eternal life, and subjected to the abiding wrath of
God, not because of any eternal decree against him personally, but
because of his unbelief; hence "He that believeth on him is not
condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already." And
why is he condemned already? Is it because of God's eternal decree
against him? No; but "because he hath not believed in the name of
the only begotten Son of God." John iii:18.
Thus the justice of God is vindicated in the punishment of man.
If he is not saved, it will not be because God eternally and
unchangeably ordained his destruction; nor will it be because God
willed not his salvation. Hear Him most solemnly deny such an
imputation: "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath
committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful
and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions
that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him. In
his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure
at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that
he should return from his ways and live." Ezek. xviii:21-23. "For I
have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God;
wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Ver. 32. And again: "As I
live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live." Ezek.
xxxiii:11. This is either true or it is untrue. If God, from all eternity,
fixed the destiny of all men, and ordained a definite number to life
and a definite number to dishonor and wrath, and that


Election And Reprobation
43
"according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will whereby
He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth" (Conf., chap. iii,
sec. 7), then we see not how God has not pleasure in and wills not
that which is according to the secret counsel and good pleasure of
His own will. It requires greater skill than we possess to harmonize
the Bible and the creed here "The Lord is not slack concerning his
promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-
ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance." 2 Pet. iii:9. How can this be true, if God fixed the
destiny of each one in accordance with the unsearchable counsel of
His will before time began? He who can, may explain.
Paul says: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for
kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and
peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and
acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men
to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim.
ii:14. Here we learn that all men are the objects of prayer. And why?
Because God wills the salvation of all men. Then if all are not
saved, it will be because "ye will not come to me that ye might have
life." John v:40. Their own obdurate will is the great barrier to the
salvation of men. When Jesus beheld the wickedness of the people
of Jerusalem, and the consequent destruction that awaited them, he
said: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and
stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens
under her wings, and ye would not!" Matt. xxiii:37. Mark well the
reason: "Ye would not." Yes, the Son of God would gladly have
saved them from the danger which threatened them, even as He
would


44
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
now save all who would come to God by Him; yet they would
not -- neither will ye. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let
him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And
whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely " Rev. xxii:17.
Not whosoever was elected from all eternity, but whosoever will, let
him take the water of life freely. Then whosoever perishes is lost
because he will not partake of that which is freely offered to him.
His unending wail may be, "God is just, though I am lost."
Jesus said, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that
which was lost." Luke xix:10. Was there ever a time when the elect
were lost? If so, when? The creed tells us that they were
predestinated unto life before the foundation of the world was laid,
hence, if they were ever lost, it must have been before that: therefore
they could not have been the objects of Christ's mission, for these
were lost when He came. Again He says: "They that are whole have
no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I Came not to call
the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Mark ii:17; Luke v:31, 32.
Were the eternally elect the sinners which Jesus came to call to
repentance? Surely, they were not sick enough to invoke the aid of
Jesus, the great Physician, for they were eternally and immutably
ordained to eternal life; hence they were not sick -- at all events they
could not have been sick unto death.
The Scriptures abound with testimony showing that men are not
elect before conversion. A few passages of this class are all for
which we have room in this work. In speaking of himself and his
Ephesian brethren, Paul tells us that they were "by nature the
children of wrath, even as others." Eph. ii:3. If they had been
elected to salvation before time began, we see not how, at any time,


Election And Reprobation
45
they could have been children of wrath, even as others not of the
elect. Again: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that
the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit
of Christ he is none of his." Rom. viii:9. All persons know that, prior
to conversion, the Spirit of Christ was not in them, and hence, at
that time, they were none of His; yet according to the theory, they
were always His. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are
the sons of God." Rom. viii:14. Then of course the converse is true,
that as many as are not led by the Spirit of God are not the sons of
God. All unconverted persons are led by the spirit of the wicked
one, and not by the Spirit of God; therefore no unconverted man is
a son of God. It will be conceded that the elect are sons of God;
hence when not sons of God, none are elect. "Know ye not your
own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be
reprobates." 2 Cor. xiii:5. Prior to conversion, Christ is in no one.
Paul says, "I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."
Gal. iv:19. As Christ has to be formed in men, it follows that He
was not always in them; and when He is not in them, they are
reprobates: therefore none are elect until converted. "If any man be
in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new." 2 Cor. v:17. If all the elect were in
Christ from before the foundation of the world, then conversion
makes no man a new creature in Him; for if in Him at all, they were
always in Him. Paul says, "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my
kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners' who are of note among the
apostles, who also were in Christ before me." Rom. xvi:7. If Paul
and his kinsmen were in Christ from before the foundation of the
world, then he made a most egregious blunder here. When was it,
and how is it that they were in Christ before him? Once more: "They
that


46
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
Gal. v:24. Then those who have not crucified the flesh with the
affections and lusts are not Christ's. There was a time in the history
of every man when he had not crucified the flesh with the affections
and lusts, and therefore a time when he was not Christ's. All the
elect are Christ's; therefore there was a time in the life of every man
when he was not of the elect: hence none are personally and
unconditionally elected to eternal life from before the foundation of
the world.
Speaking of his brethren in the Lord, Peter said: "Ye are a
chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath
called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time
past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had
not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." 1 Pet. ii:9, 10.
Here, again, we know not how to make an argument. This passage
is so manifestly opposed to the whole theory of eternal and
unconditional election and reprobation that there is no room to
reason about it. These were a chosen generation, a royal priesthood;
a holy nation, a peculiar people; hence they were God's elect
beyond controversy: yet in time past they were not a people, but
then were the people of God. Do you say these were Gentiles?
Suppose they were: what relief does this bring to the theory? It only
shows the more clearly that once they were not God's people; yet
when the apostle wrote, they were God's people -- yes, verily, they
were His peculiar people. Were they elected in Christ before the
foundation of the world! Then we would gladly know what time in
the past it was at which they were not the people of God. Once they
had not obtained mercy. When was this? Elected to


Election And Reprobation
47
eternal life before the foundation of the world, out of God's mere
free grace and love, and yet had not obtained mercy!!!
But if the doctrine already quoted from the Confession is
true -- that before the foundation of the world was laid, according to
an immutable and eternal purpose of His own, without any foresight
of faith, good works, or any thing else in man, God unconditionally
elected some men and angels to eternal life, and at the same time
fore-ordained the residue to dishonor and eternal wrath -- then we
know not how to avoid the conclusion that He is a respecter of
persons. Against this imputation upon the character of our Heavenly
Father, at least two inspired pens have given testimony. Paul said,
"There is no respect of persons with God." Rom ii:11. Again: "He
that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done:
and there is no respect of persons." Col. iii:25. Once more: "And, ye
masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening:
knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect
of persons with him." Eph. vi:9. It is probable that Peter once had
similar thoughts upon this subject to those of Calvinists now.
Certain it is that he thought the privileges and blessings of the gospel
were confined to the Jews, and it required nothing less than a
miracle to convince him of his error; but when convinced, he at
once replied: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of
persons." Acts x:34. From that time he gladly taught the gospel to those
previously regarded unworthy of its privileges. Finally, let us
examine the subject of a general judgment through Calvinistic
glasses.
"The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath
appointed a day in the which he will judge the world


48
The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained." Acts xvii:30,
31.
But why appoint a day of judgment in which to judge the world,
if the numbers of the elect and reprobate were made certain and
definite beyond increase or diminution before time began? Surely,
the line of separation was drawn deep and wide between them by
the immutable decree which assigned each one his position long in
advance of his being. But God will judge the world in
righteousness; therefore His judgment will be in accordance with
principles of justice: "For we must all appear before the judgment
seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Cor. v:10. John says: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand
before God; and the books were opened: and another book was
opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of
those things which were written in the books, according to their
works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death
and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were
judged every man according to their works." Rev. xx:12, 13. Why
judge a man according to his works, when every thing he did was
specifically ordained and put out of his control before time began?
Why not judge him, if at all, according to the eternal decree which
immutably fixed his destiny? From such a standpoint as Calvinism
the whole theory of a future judgment seems to us a most sublimely
ridiculous farce.
That the decree of election, and not the things done in the body,
is the rule or law by which Calvinism proposes to judge the world,
is further shown by the fact that reprobate infants that die in infancy
are consigned to eternal misery for no other reason than that they
were not of the elect. On page 64, chap. x, sec. 3, the creed says:
"Elect infants


Election And Reprobation
49
dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the
Spirit, who worketh when and where and how he pleaseth. So also
are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly
called by the ministry of the Word." Yes, elect infants are saved by
Christ, but what of the non-elect? "Others not elected, though they
may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some
common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come to
Christ, and therefore can not be saved." The words "elect infants"
clearly imply non-elect infants. Elect means to choose. There can be
no choice where there is but one person or class of persons. The
above quotation tells us that elect infants dying in infancy are saved;
and of course the non-elect infants dying in infancy, or in living to
adult age, can not be saved, as Christ never died for them, or any but
the elect. Though you may consign your infant to the tomb while so
young that it never could have had a wicked thought or done a
wicked act, yet you have no assurance of its ever being raised in the
image of Christ, for the reason that you can not tell whether it is or
is not one of the elect No, you can not tell whether its little tongue
will be employed in praising God, or in fruitless cries and bitter
wailings in the eternal pit of despair, for no fault of its own, or any
one else but simply because God unchangeably decreed it that
horrible fate. Calvinism has no escape from this difficulty. The
numbers of the elect and reprobate having been made certain and
definite before time began, it follows that he who is reprobate -- at
all, was so at birth; hence those who die in that condition are
hopelessly lost. There is no remedy that can reach such cases.
Therefore, Calvinists who are not prepared for such results should
abandon a theory which necessarily produces them.


CHAPTER III
CALVINISTIC PROOFS EXAMINED

As the Bereans "were more noble than those in Thessalonica,
in that they received the word with all readiness of mind,
and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so"
(Acts xvii:11), even so we should search the Scriptures and receive
the truth revealed in God's word with that readiness of mind that has
ever characterized His true and devoted followers. Let us, therefore,
very carefully consider the Scriptures relied on to prove the doctrine
in question.
Ananias said to Saul "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee."
Acts xxii:14. This shows that Paul was elected or chosen; but for
what was he chosen? Perhaps we may learn what Ananias meant
here by reference to what the Lord said to him when He sent him to
Paul: "The Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel
unto me." Chosen for what? "To bear my name before the Gentiles,
and kings, and the children of Israel." Acts ix:15. Before giving this
instruction to Ananias, the Lord said to Paul: "I have appeared unto
thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of
these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which
I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from
the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to
turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto
God, that they


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
51
may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them
which are sanctified by faith that is in me." Acts xxvi:16-18. Taking
these Scriptures together, we see very clearly what the object of
Paul's election was; and his own salvation is not even mentioned in
any one of the explanations given. He was elected to be a minister
and a witness for Jesus, and to bear the gospel to the Gentiles; hence
says he, "I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of
the Gentiles, I magnify mine office." Rom. xi:13. Here, then, was the
office to which he was elected; but even his election to the
apostleship did not secure his final salvation, for he says, "I keep
under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
1 Cor. ix:27. That Paul was not elected in Christ to salvation before
the foundation of the world, is clearly shown by the fact that
Andronicus and Junia were in Christ before him. Rom. xvi:7.
"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified
the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life
believed." Acts xiii:48. This is relied on to show that men are
ordained to eternal life from before the foundation of the world, and
that this ordination is an indispensable antecedent to faith. First we
beg permission to suggest that the translation of this verse, in the
common version, is manifestly defective; but even in it there is not
a word said about how long they were ordained to eternal life before
they believed. That the ordination was from before the foundation
of the world is assumption; nothing more. If men are ordained to
eternal life before they believe, then they are in a state of
condemnation, their ordination to the contrary notwithstanding; for
the Lord said: "He that believeth not is condemned already, because
he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten


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The Gospel Plan Of Salvation
Son of God." John iii:18. It is difficult to see how a man who
is ordained to eternal life can, at the same time, be a condemned
unbeliever. Not only are they in a state of condemnation, but this
theory teaches that they do not believe, in order to their
justification; for they were ordained to eternal life before they
believed in the eternal life to which they were ordained. This is not
only sustained by the common rendering of this verse, but it is made
doubly obvious by the fact that the theory places the ordination
before the beginning of time. On the contrary, there is not a truth in
the Bible better established than that men are required to believe,
that they may have eternal life: "For God so loved the world, that
he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life." John iii:16. When Jesus
said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark
xvi:16), did He intend to teach that he that would believe and be
baptized had always been saved? or when Paul said to the jailer,
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts
xvi:31), did he mean to teach that he had always been saved, having
been ordained to eternal life from before the foundation of the
world? Absurd as this may appear, it must be true, or Calvinism
must be false.
But there are other difficulties hanging about the common
rendering of this verse. McGarvey, in his Commentary, has the
following very pertinent remarks:
"If it be true that 'as many as were fore-ordained to eternal life
believed,' then there were none of the fore-ordained left in that
community who did not believe. Hence all those who did not then
believe, whether adults or infants, were among the reprobate, who
were predestinated to everlasting punishment. Now, it is certainly
most singular that so complete a separation of the two parties should


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
53
take place throughout a whole community at one time." Truly, this
would have been a most singular circumstance -- such a one, indeed,
as no sane man can believe ever occurred; hence that the translation
is defective is obvious, even to those who know nothing of the
original; for a faithful translation of God's word is always not only
true, but perfectly consistent with itself. We have several
translations of this verse, most of which substantially agree with the
following version: "And the Gentiles hearing this rejoiced, and
glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were disposed for
eternal life believed." (Compilation from George Campbell,
Macknight, and Doddridge, by A. Campbell.) This rendering is
perfectly consistent with the facts and the general teaching of the
Scriptures; and, better still, is faithful to the original, and at once
removes all ambiguity from the passage.
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them
he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and
whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom. viii:29, 30.
[The argumention that follows relative to this passage is not conclusive. This foreknowledge refers to a class of persons
(those who would believe). God undertook beforehand to provide all that would be required for them to be justified
and glorified through Christ. ~ Roy Davison]

First it will be observed that all these verbs are in the past tense,
and express actions perfected at the time the apostle wrote. Persons
seem to understand the passage to mean that God foreknew and
predestinated the elect before time began, perhaps from eternity, and
calls and justifies them now in his good time, and will glorify them
in heaven finally. This can not be, for those of whom the apostle
spake were glorified at the time he wrote, and for the same reason
it can not apply to any who have lived since that time. The creed
says: "God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect; and
Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again
for their justification;


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nevertheless they are not justified until the Holy Spirit doth in due
time actually apply Christ unto them." Conf., chap. 11, sec. 4. Thus
we see that Calvinists themselves have justification to take place in
the life-time of the party justified. Hence, as those of whom Paul
wrote were justified before that time, it can not apply to any who
have lived since, even according to the creed, but must apply to
persons who had lived before the time he wrote. Hence the passage
can not come to the support of Calvinism at all. Here we could well
afford to rest our examination of the passage, seeing it proves not the
doctrine in question; but we will endeavor to find persons to whom
the language of the apostle will correctly apply. It is not important
to inquire when God knew the persons here mentioned -- we grant
that He knew them when He predestinated them to be conformed to
the image of His Son; and this was done before they were called and
justified: this is all that can be claimed -- the question which
concerns us more directly is, Who were these of whom Paul spake
as having been foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, and
glorified prior to the time he wrote? While we look for an answer to
this question, it may be well for us to bear in mind that God
predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His Son, that
He might be the first-born among many brethren. The word conform
means "to shape in accordance with; to make like; to reduce to a
likeness or correspondence in character, form, manners, etc."
(Webster.) Then, to be conformed to the image of His Son is to be
made like Christ, or in His image or likeness. Thus far all is plain.
Let us try again. Paul says: "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the
second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they
also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that
are heavenly. And as


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
55
we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image
of the heavenly." 1 Cor. xv:47-49. Paul is here speaking of the
resurrection of the body, and after directing the mind to the time of
that event, he says: "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we
shall also bear the image of the heavenly" -- thus teaching clearly
that the children of our heavenly Father wear the image of Adam
through life, but will wear the image of Christ when raised from the
dead and furnished with immortal bodies like His: "And it doth not
yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John iii:2.
Though the image of Christ, in a certain sense, may have been begun
in us when we put Him on by a birth of water and Spirit, yet it will
never be complete until we are glorified with Him; and He was not
glorified until after His death, resurrection, and ascension. John
says, "The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet
glorified." John vii:29. This clearly implies that the Holy Ghost was
given as soon as Jesus was glorified; and as the Holy Spirit was not
given until the day of Pentecost, it follows that his glorification did
not long precede that event. Therefore, those of whom Paul spake
were not only predestinated, called, and justified, but had also been
raised from the dead, conformed to the image of Christ, and glorified
prior to the time he wrote. This not only shows that the passage
does not embrace all the elect, but it also shows that it did not refer
to the apostles, as some suppose, for they were not all dead at that
time, and hence could not have been then glorified. Then, when and
where had any persons been raised from the dead to die no more
prior to this writing by Paul? It could not have referred to Lazarus,
Jairus' daughter, and the widow's son which were raised by Christ,
for he was not the first-born among them,


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nor were they raised to glorification, but simply restored to life to
live and die again. Let us look further, then, for we have not yet
found persons to whom the passage can apply. "And the graves were
opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came
out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city,
and appeared unto many." Matt. xxvii:52, 53. These persons were
raised from the dead to die no more, but to be glorified with their
risen Lord. We have seen that those of whom Paul wrote were
predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, which
image, if we are correct, was perfected when they were glorified.
Then, for what were they thus to be conformed to the image of His
Son? "That he might be the firstborn among many brethren." When
was He the first-born among many brethren? Certainly, it was not
when He was born in the flesh, for many were thus born before
Him; nor was He the first-born of water, for many were baptized by
John before Him. Paul says He is "the firstborn from the dead." Col.
i:18. Then He was the first-born from the dead of the many brethren
who came from their graves after His resurrection; and hence these
were they who were predestinated to be conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the first-born from the dead among them.
Of these it may be correctly said that they had been foreknown,
predestinated, called, justified, and glorified, at the time Paul wrote;
but we know of no others of whom this may be truly said. Are we
asked who these were? we answer that, as no inspired writer has
given their names in this connection, of course we do not know their
names; but we do know that He was the first-born from the dead
among those who came from their graves after His resurrection:
hence our argument is complete with or without their names. We
think it likely, however, that they were Abraham,


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
57
Isaac, Jacob, and the patriarchs and prophets of former times. That
these were foreknown, called, and predestinated to the work
assigned them, may be seen in the language of God to one of them.
Jeremiah said: "The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before
I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth
out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto
the nations." Jer. i:4, 5. Those of whom Paul spake were fore-
known -- Jeremiah was foreknown; those were predestinated --
Jeremiah was ordained; those were called -- Jeremiah was called. "The
Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that
I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith
the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth.
And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy
mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations, and over the
kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to
throw down, to build and to plant." Ver. 7-10. Then he was not
only foreknown, predestinated, and called, but sanctified, too, and
qualified for the work assigned him; hence he needed only to be
justified in his obedience (which doubtless he was), raised from the
dead, and glorified with Christ, to fill to repletion the character of
those of whom Paul spake. Does any one doubt that he was one of
them? then let him show to whom the language in question will
more fitly apply, and we will acknowledge the favor.
We come next to examine the ninth chapter of Paul's letter to
the church at Rome, in which he discusses the abrogation of the
Jewish polity, and the election of a new people upon the principle
of faith in Christ and obedience to His laws. The Jews, as we have
seen, had been the


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only acknowledged family or people of God for many ages past; but
in the fullness of time God broke down the middle wall of partition
between Jew and Gentile and offered salvation to every creature,
among all nations, who would accept it on the terms proposed;
hence when the parents of Jesus brought Him into the temple, good
old Simeon took him up in his arms and said, "A light to lighten the
Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." Luke ii:32. Paul says
this: "In other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it
is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body, and
partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel." Eph. iii:5, 6. This
extension of gospel privileges to persons so long regarded unworthy,
very naturally excited the pride and envy of those accustomed to the
exclusive enjoyment of such distinguished honors and privileges;
hence they declined to enjoy salvation for no other reason than that
the Gentiles were made fellow heirs with them. They refused to
recognize the fact that "there is no difference between the Jew and
the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon
him." Rom. x:12.
They failed to see that the salvation of the Gentiles did not
lessen the chances of the Jews; hence Paul quotes the language of
Moses as applicable to them: "I will provoke you to jealousy by
them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you."
Rom. x:19. The election contemplated in the gospel was offered to
the Jews first, and some embraced it and were content to become the
elect of God; not as Jews by natural birth, but as Christians by a
birth of water and Spirit. These Paul calls "The election," in
opposition to those who made themselves reprobate by refusing the
"election of grace," and adhering to their former election as the


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
59
descendants of Abraham; hence "the election hath obtained it, and the
rest were blinded." Rom. xi:7. "Not as though the word of God had
taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel."
Rom. ix:6. The election of a new church composed of Jews and
Gentiles was not contrary to the promises of God to Abraham,
saying, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy
seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; to
be a God unto thee, and thy seed after thee." Gen. xvii:7. God gave
them very clearly to understand that the perpetuity of their covenant
relation to Him depended on their obedience; hence said He, "If ye
will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be
a peculiar treasure unto me above all people." Ex. xix:5. Hence
when they ceased to obey Him, His promises to them were at an
end; hence Paul asks, "hath God cast away his people? God
forbid." Rom. xi:1. If they were lost at all, it was their own fault.
But even so, "For they were not all Israel, which are of Israel."
Many of the descendants of Jacob had already fallen. The greater
part of the ten tribes that were carried into captivity never returned
to be again united to the Israel of God.
Hence this passage not only shows the rejection of the unbelieving
Jews to be no infraction of God's promises to Abraham, but
it shows the doctrine of eternal unconditional election to be false,
for we have seen that all the children of Israel were once the elect
of God; but when Paul wrote, many who were of Israel were not
Israel, because they had fallen on account of their own wickedness.
But the apostle vindicates the justice of God in rejecting the
unbelieving Jews by showing that many of the children of Abraham
were not embraced in the promise of God to him at first. Said he:
"Neither, because they are the


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seed of Abraham, are they all children" -- for then the descendants
of Abraham by Hagar and Keturah would have been
included -- "but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They
which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of
God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For
this is the word of promise, At this time will I Come, and Sarah shall
have a son." Rom. ix:7-9. The children of Abraham by Hagar and
Keturah were children of the flesh, but God saw fit to promise him
a son by him wife Sarah, when she was past age, through whom all
the families of the earth were to be blessed in Jesus Christ; hence,
in due time, Isaac, the child of promise, was born, in whom Jesus,
the promised seed of Abraham, was called. But the calling of Jesus
through the line of Isaac did not consign the descendants of
Abraham by Hagar and Keturah to endless punishment; nor were
their chances for heaven diminished by this election of Isaac. Jacob
had twelve sons, which became the heads of twelve tribes; but God
saw fit to call Jesus the promised seed of Abraham, through the tribe
of Judah, Jacob's fourth son by Leah. Now, will any one assume that
calling the Messiah through the line of Judah consigned all the
others to endless punishment? If not, why should the descendants
of Abraham be regarded as eternally lost because they did not come
through the family of Isaac? God never promised Abraham that He
would unconditionally save or damn any one. He promised him a
son by Sarah, and He gave him Isaac. He promised to multiply his
seed until they should become numerous as the stars of heaven or
the sand upon the sea-shore, and He did it. He promised to give his
seed the land of Canaan for a possession, and He did this also; but
they forfeited it by their rebellion against Him. He promised that
through his seed all the families of the earth should be


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
61
blessed in Jesus Christ; but when Jesus came, according to the
promise, they wanted to appropriate the blessing to themselves, to
the exclusion of the Gentiles: hence they were seeking to thwart the
very promise of God to Abraham which they thought was made void
by carrying it into effect.
"And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by
one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born,
neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God
according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that
calleth;) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As
it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Rom. ix:
10-13.
That we may understand this passage, it may be well to call the
reader's attention to the fact that there are two quotations in it which
should not be blended. One quotation is from Genesis, and was
spoken before Jacob and Esau were born; the other is from Malachi,
and was spoken long after they were both dead. Before the children
were born, it was said to their mother, "the elder shall serve the
younger;" but in the next verse is a quotation from Malachi, where
it is written, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." By
blending these quotations, God is made to say that He loved Jacob
and hated Esau before they were born; or had, either of them, done
good or evil. This is doing great injustice to the record. Let us see
what was said of them before they were born: "And Isaac entreated
the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was
entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived; and the children
struggled together within her, and she said, If it be so, why am I
thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto
her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people


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shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be
stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the
younger." Gen. xxv:21-23. Here is what was said before Jacob and
Esau were born, and we find not a word about hating Esau and
loving Jacob in the whole narrative. But as Paul said it was so
written, we may expect to find it somewhere; hence let us try again:
"The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi: I have
loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us?
Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and
I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the
dragons of the wilderness." Mal. i:1-3. This was said about fourteen
hundred years after Jacob and Esau were both dead; hence it can
not prove that God loved or hated either of them before they were
born. But both passages refer to Jacob and Esau as the
representatives of the two nations which descended from them;
hence the language of God to Rebekah: "Two nations are in thy
womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy
bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;
and the elder shall serve the younger." Please note the fact that it is
not said "the one man shall be stronger than the other man," but
"one people shall be stronger than the other people." Nor was it
said the elder man shall serve the younger man; on the contrary,
the inference is clear that the people who should descend from the
elder were to be subject to the descendants of the younger. This
passage was never fulfilled in the person of these two brothers. Esau
never did, as an individual, serve Jacob; on the contrary, Jacob
feared Esau, and came much nearer serving him. When Jacob, at the
suggestion of his mother, fraudulently obtained his father's blessing,
which was intended for Esau, the anger of the latter was


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
63
kindled against his brother: "And Esau hated Jacob because of the
blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his
heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I
slay my brother Jacob. And these words of Esau, her elder son, were
told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob, her younger son,
and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth
comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey
my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; and
tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; until
thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which
thou hast done to him." Gen. xxvii:41-45. Jacob fled to Padan-aram,
and there remained twenty years in the service of Laban, at the end
of which he returned with two wives, two concubines, eleven sons,
and great wealth. "And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau
his brother, unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he
commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau;
Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and
stayed there until now; and I have oxen, and asses, and flocks, and
menservants and womenservants, and I have sent to tell my lord,
that I may find grace in thy sight. And the messengers returned to
Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to
meet thee, and four hundred men with him Then Jacob was greatly
afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him,
and the flocks, and herds, and the camels in two bands; and said, If
Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other
company which is left shall escape." Gen. xxxii:3-8. Here we find
that, in place of Esau serving Jacob personally, Jacob feared Esau
greatly -- called him his lord, and himself the servant. In his distress,
he prayed God thus: "Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my
brother,


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from the hand of Esau: for I fear him lest he come and smite me, and
the mother with the children." Ver. II. He also sent messengers with
presents to give Esau, that he might buy his favor if possible. Then
it is evident that neither Jacob nor Esau was mentioned under any
personal consideration, but only as the representatives of the nations
which should descend from them respectively; nor was there any
thing in the love of God for one, or in His hatred of the other, which
could affect the eternal destiny of either. It is quite certain that all
of Jacob's posterity were not saved, and it is equally certain that all
of Esau's posterity were not lost. Indeed, it can not be shown that
even Esau himself was eternally lost. He was wicked when he sold
his birthright, and is called a "profane person" for so doing. It is also
certain, that he was wicked about the time of his father's death, for
we have seen that he would have killed Jacob had he not fled to the
land of Padan-aram; but that he remained wicked as long as he lived
is by no means certain. True, Paul says that, "When he would have
inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of
repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Heb. xii:17. It
was in his father that he found no place of repentance, and not in
himself. He could not induce his father to revoke the blessing
conferred upon Jacob, although fraudulently obtained. When Esau
met Jacob returning from Padan-aram, "Esau ran to meet him, and
embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept."
Gen. xxxiii:4. Here we find that all his anger toward his brother had
disappeared; and they lived in friendship ever afterward, as far as we
know. "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to
come." Heb. xi:20. If the reader will examine these blessings, he will
find that there was not a word about eternal life


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
65
or eternal death in either of them. They pertained to national and
temporal affairs entirely. To Jacob, Isaac said, "See, the smell of my
son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed: therefore
God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and
plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow
down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons
bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and
blessed be every one that blesseth thee." Gen. xxvii:27-29. To Esau,
Isaac said: "Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth,
and of the dew of heaven from above; and by thy sword shalt thou
live, and shalt serve thy brother: and it shall come to pass when thou
shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy
neck." Gen. xxvii:39, 40. Now we find no allusion to the final
salvation or condemnation of either, in these blessings; but it is easy
to see that they are connected with the purpose of God as expressed
to their mother: "The one people shall be stronger than the other
people; and the elder shall serve the younger." See the same thought
in Jacob's blessing. "Let people serve thee, and nations bow down
to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow
down to thee." In Esau's blessing we have still the same: "By thy
sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother." Thus we see, in
these blessings, the servitude spoken of before the birth of the
children, which was never fulfilled in them, but was fulfilled in their
posterity.
That the language, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,"
was intended to apply to the two nations, Israel and Edom,
represented by Jacob and Esau, is evident from the language of the
context from which Paul made the quotation: "Was not Esau Jacob's
brother? yet I loved Jacob, and hated Esau, and laid his mountains
and


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his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom
saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the
desolate places." Mal. i:24. Here the prophet uses the term Edom,
the name of the nation which descended from Esau, and the plural
pronoun we, agreeing with it, to designate the same people hated
and punished by the Lord. Hence when the Lord, by his prophet,
said, long after both men were dead, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau
have I hated," He was speaking of Israel and Edom as nations, but
not of Jacob and Esau as individuals.
It may not be out of place here to remark that the term hate, is
sometimes used in the sense of loved less -- to regard with less
favor; e.g.: "And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he
opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and
bore a son; and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the
Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband
will love me. And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said,
Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, He hath therefore
given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon." Gen.
xxix:31-33. Here it is said that Jacob hated Leah; but by an
examination of the preceding verse, it will be seen that nothing more
is meant by it than that she was loved less than Rachel. "He loved
also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other
years." Ver. 30.
Another example may be found in the language of the Saviour:
"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and
wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life
also, he can not be my disciple." Luke xiv:26. This is a pretty hard
sentence -- that, to be a disciple of the Lord, a man must not only
hate all his kindred, but he must also hate his own life; but when
we


Calvinistic Proofs Examined
67
have the same thought in different language, it is quite plain: "He
that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and
he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
Matt. x:37. Then, when God said, "I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau,"
if we interpret the passage in the light of this definition, the thought
is that He loved the children of Israel more than Edom, the
descendants of Esau. "What shall we say then? Is there
unrighteousness with God" in rejecting the unbelieving Jews? "God
forbid for; for he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will
have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion." Vers. 14, 15. There was no injustice on the part of
God in rejecting the unbelieving and rebellious Jews. As a
Sovereign, He had a right to dictate terms of mercy to those who
would become subjects of His kingdom. These terms were first
offered to and rejected by the Jews; hence the apostle appealed to
the declarations of God to Moses, their own lawgiver, to show them
that God had always shown mercy to whom He would, and upon
just such terms as pleased Him. At a very early period in Jewish
history God gave them to know the terms upon which they might
remain the recipients of His mercy. Said He: "I the Lord thy God am
a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and
showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my
commandments." Ex. xx:5, 6. Then God will visit iniquity upon
those who hate Him, because they hate Him; and He will show
mercy to those who love Him, because they love Him. "He that
covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and
forsaketh them shall have mercy." Prov. xxviii:13. Hence we find
that God's mercy is not dispensed according to eternal and
immutable decrees, but he


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that will confess and forsake his sins shall have mercy. Peter tells
us of a people "which had not obtained mercy, but now have
obtained mercy." 1 Pet. ii:10. Then they did not obtain mercy in a
decree made before time began. Jesus said, "Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Matt. v:7. And James says, "He
shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy." Jas.
ii:13. Hence the Calvinist, who imagines himself one of the chosen
few to whom God hath shown mercy from before the foundation of
the world, and is unwilling that the mercies of God extend to all
men, may thus bring upon himself judgment without mercy.
"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,
but of God that showeth mercy." Rom. ix:16. It is possible that this
verse alludes to the blessing conferred by Isaac upon Jacob. Isaac
willed that Esau, the first-born, should have the blessing; Esau ran
for the venison with which to secure it; nevertheless Jacob obtained
it. The blessing, as we have seen, was not a personal one, but
pertained to Jacob's descendants, and had no reference to eternal
salvation, but conferred temporal blessings only. Hence it can yield
no support to the theory in question. It is true, as shown in another
part of the argument, that Jacob was elected to be the seed of Isaac,
through whom Christ should come -- but this was before Jacob and
Esau were born -- that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth. Neither the
purchase of his brother's birthright, nor the blessing conferred by his
father, had any thing to do with this election.
"For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same
purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee,
and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." Rom.
ix:17. Now, are we to


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understand by this that Pharaoh was one of the eternally reprobate,
and that God foreordained the wickedness of his nature and the
hardness of his heart? Is this the thought? Let us go back to the
Scriptures from which Paul quoted, and see how this is: "For this
cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power, and that
my name may be declared throughout all the earth." Ex. ix:16.
Now, is there one word in the context about eternal unconditional
election and reprobation? or is there any thing about election at all?
It is said that God raised up Pharaoh that He might show His power
in him; but who did He not raise up for this purpose? The same
might have been truly said of Moses, in whom His mighty power was
exhibited in the destruction of the Egyptians and the salvation of the
children of Israel, yet I suppose no one will insist that he was raised
up eternally reprobate. God commanded Pharaoh to let his people
go, but he persistently refused to obey God; hence God overruled
his rebellion to His own glory. Even so God offered salvation to the
Jews, upon condition that they would believe and obey the gospel.
Like Pharaoh, they rebelled against Him; hence He exhibited his
power in their destruction as a nation, that his name might be
glorified in all the earth. But surely this can not prove that they were
eternally reprobate, for they had been God's elect or chosen people
up to that time. Not only so, but salvation upon the terms of the
gospel was first offered to them; and surely God did not offer them
a salvation which was never intended for them, and which He had
unchangeably ordained that they should reject.
But we are told that God hardened Pharaoh's heart: "Therefore
hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he
hardeneth." Rom. ix:18. Are we to understand by this that God
created Pharaoh with a


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stubborn and rebellious heart, and promoted a spirit of wickedness
in him by the plagues inflicted upon him? If so, all the threatenings
of God were but temptation to evil; yet James says, "Let no man say
when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God can not be
tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is
tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." Jas.
i:13,14. The mercies and blessings of God tend always to harden or
soften the hearts of those who receive them. If rightly appreciated,
they tend to awaken a sense of gratitude in the heart; but if abused,
they tend to harden the heart. When the hand of affliction falls
heavily upon us, we are either wilted into submission to God's will,
or, as in time of war, we become hardened until some care no more
for the life of a man than for the life of a beast. Thus it was with
Pharaoh: when the hand of affliction was upon him, he would
promise to let the people go; but as soon as the affliction was
withdrawn, the spirit of rebellion revived: "When Pharaoh saw that
there was respite, he hardened his heart and hearkened not unto
them, as the Lord had said." Ex. viii:15. "And Pharaoh hardened his
heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go." Ver. 32.
"And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders
were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his
servants." Ex. ix:34. Then it can only be said that God hardened
Pharaoh's heart because He sent afflictions upon him which he
abused to the hardening of his own heart. In the same way it may
be said that the gospel hardens men now. It is preached to them as
the power of God to salvation, if they will accept it; but, rejecting
it, they become hardened, until they can resist the most stirring
appeals to which mortals can be subjected in this life. Hence said
the apostle: "To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and
to the other the savor of life unto


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life. And who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Cor. ii:16. We think
it possible for men to continue in rebellion against God until they
pass entirely beyond the reach of all the agencies of the gospel by
which God proposes to save them. Such were some of the Jews in
Paul's day: "Because that when they knew God, they glorified him
not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing
themselves to be wise, they became fools; and changed the glory of
the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,
and to birds and to four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lust
of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between
themselves; who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped
and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed
forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile
affections." Rom. i:21-26.
Thus we see that God gave them up to uncleanness and vile
affections, not because they were eternally reprobate, and He had
predestinated them to be wicked, and created vile affections within
them, but because of their own willful and persistent rebellion
against Him. Paul speaks of him whose "coming is after the working
of Satan, with all power and signs, and lying wonders, and with all
deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they
received not the love of the truth, that they


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might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong
delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be
damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness." 2 Thess. ii:9-12. God sends men strong delusions,
not because they were eternally reprobate, and predestinated to
wickedness and destruction, but because they receive not the love
of the truth, that they might be saved. And though many are thus
deluded and hardened in falsehood, infidelity, and crime, it is the
result of their own wickedness, and not because of any eternal and
immutable decree against them. They "walk in the vanity of their
mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the
life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the
blindness of their heart: who, being past feeling, have given
themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with
greediness." Eph. iv:17-19. Here were persons whose hearts were
harder than that of Pharaoh, for he could feel even to the last
chastisement laid upon him; but these were past feeling, and
completely given over -- not by any eternal decree, but they had
given themselves over to the service of Satan.
"Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall
the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me
thus? hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to
make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if
God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known,
endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to
destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on
the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even
us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the
Gentiles." Rom. ix:20-23. Here the apostle has reference to the
language of God to the prophet concerning the potter, and the clay
that was marred in his hand while attempting to make a vessel of it.
Let us go back and see what was originally taught by it, and then we
may be better prepared to understand Paul's use of it: "The word
which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down
to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a
work on the


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wheels; and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand
of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to
the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
O house of Israel, can not I do with you as this potter? saith the
Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in my
hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a
nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to pull down,
and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced,
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto
them. And at what instant I will speak concerning a nation, and
concerning a kingdom, to build up and to plant it, if it do evil in my
sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good
wherewith I said I would benefit them." Jer. xviii:1-10.
Here we find that this parable was used concerning the nation
or kingdom of Israel: "As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye
in my hand, O house of Israel." But are we taught that nations and
kingdoms are eternally and unconditionally ordained to prosperity
or destruction? Surely, no language could have been employed
which would teach more clearly the opposite. Though God may
have spoken against a nation or kingdom to destroy it, yet if it turn
from its wickedness for which it was condemned, He will turn from
the evil which He said He would bring upon it. And though He may
have spoken in favor of a kingdom or a nation to build and to
prosper it, yet if it do evil, then He will turn from the good
wherewith He said He would benefit it. True, the figure shows that
God had the power to bless and prosper a nation, or to pluck up and
destroy it -- and who doubts this? -- but the figure also shows that He
will exercise His power in the salvation or destruction of nations, as
they obey or rebel against Him, and not according to eternal
decrees. The house of Israel


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as a nation and kingdom failed to accomplish the object designed in
its creation, and hence was marred in the hand of the Potter. He
therefore gave it a less honorable form, but did not cast it away
entirely. They were captured, carried into Babylon, and there
remained as slaves and captives in a strange land for seventy years.
This they might have averted by turning from their wickedness; for
God said, as we have already quoted, that "if that nation against
whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the
evil that I thought to do unto them." They did not turn away; hence
the threatened punishment came upon them. But it did not amount
to their destruction. It was corrective as well as punitive, and
brought them to repentance in Babylon; hence the Potter took the
vessel that had been seventy years in dishonor, and made it again a
vessel unto honor by restoring the Jews to their nationality.
The reader would do well to bear in mind that a vessel in
dishonor is not necessarily a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction;
for it may yet turn from its wickedness and be made a vessel unto
honor. But at the time the apostle wrote, the Jewish kingdom had
not only been marred in the hand of the Potter, but it was fast
approaching the condition of a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction.
The prophet gave a most appalling picture of the punishment which
threatened them and very soon came upon them: "Thus saith the
Lord, Go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the ancients
of the people, and of the ancients of the priests, and go forth unto
the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east
gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee." Jer. xix:1,
2. After recounting the wickedness of which they had been guilty,
he pronounces their doom as follows: "Therefore, behold, the days
come, saith the Lord, that this place shall


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no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but
The valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah
and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the
sword before their enemies, and by the hand of them that seek their
lives: and their carcasses will I give to be meat for the fowls of the
heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. And I will make this city
desolate, and a hissing: every one that passeth thereby shall be
astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. And I will
cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their
daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the
siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek
their lives, shall straiten them. Then shalt thou break the bottle in
the sight of the men that go with thee, and shalt say unto them, Thus
saith the Lord of hosts, Even so will I break this people and this
city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that can not be made whole
again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to
bury." Jer. xix:6-11.
While God was bearing with these vessels of wrath fitted to
destruction, Christ came, as the promised seed of Abraham, their
father, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed but
the Jews were unwilling that all families of the earth should enjoy
salvation with them: hence the apostle alludes to the potter and the
clay to teach them that when their government was marred in his
hand, it was his prerogative to make of it just such government as
pleased him. As the stubbornness and rebellion of the Jews caused
them to be carried into Babylon, so their remaining stubbornness
and rebellion prevented them from uniting with the Gentiles in
forming one grand spiritual family most honorable of all others;
hence, at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and his army, their
nationality was literally destroyed, as predicted by the Lord through


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Jeremiah, and enforced by breaking the potter's earthen bottle into
fragments, which could never be united again. While the material
was clay it could be given another form when marred in the hand of
the potter, but after it became an "earthen bottle" and was broken,
the wreck was complete: "Even so will I break this people and this
city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that can not be made whole
again."
But not withstanding this was said of the people and the city, it
took individuals, collectively considered, to make up the people;
hence said the apostle: "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and
to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the
vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that he might make known
the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore
prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews
only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call
them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which
was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where
it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be
called the children of the living God." Rom. ix:22-26.
Thus the apostle most clearly proves to the Jews, by quotation
from their own prophets, that the Gentiles, who had not been God's
people, were to become the children of the living God. Hence the
argument can not apply to individuals only as making up the
classes of which the apostle spake. Surely, we can not be mistaken
here. But suppose we are, and the apostle intended to make a
personal application of the argument, what then? Will the parable
of the potter and the clay, thus applied, prove the Calvinistic theory
of unconditional election and reprobation? Let us see. If the clay
marred in the hand of the


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potter, it was not because he designed it to be so, for he intended
to make a good vessel of it. Even so God wills not the death of any,
but that all come to repentance and live. Calvinists teach, that the
non-elect were vessels of wrath from before the beginning of time;
were never designed for any thing else -- nay, were unchangeably
ordained to dishonor and wrath.
Again: The potter did not make a vessel that he might destroy it
himself. If the clay so marred in his hand that it was not fit for the
more honorable vessel at first designed, he worked it over and made
of the same lump another vessel of less value; but it was
nevertheless made for use or sale, not that he might himself destroy
it. But, according to the theory in question, God, the great Potter,
made the non-elect to be vessels of wrath, and fitted them for
destruction, that He might exhibit His power in their
destruction -- this being the object of their creation.
Once more: When the lump of clay marred in the hand of the
potter, so that it would not make a vessel unto honor, as first
contemplated, he worked it over and made of the same lump an-
other vessel as it pleased him. The theory will not allow the
purposes of God to fail; on the contrary, they insist that his vessels
always come out just as He designed them. If so, the clay never mars
in His hand, and hence there is no fitness in the parable. Indeed,
they seem to have two lumps -- one elect, and the other reprobate;
and if the clay came from the elect lump, it can not make a
reprobate vessel, for not an atom of that elect material can be lost:
on the contrary, if the clay came from the reprobate lump, no
mechanical skill can work it over and make an elect vessel of it. The
theory makes every man elect or reprobate from before time began,
and he must so remain while eternity endures. Therefore the parable
will not fit Calvinism anywhere.


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After mentioning many vices to be avoided, Paul says: "In a
great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also
of wood and of earth; and some to honor and some to dishonor. If
a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto
honor sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto
every good work." 2 Tim. ii:20, 21. He speaks of "the house of God"
as the "church of the living God." 1 Tim. iii:15. Then in the church
or house of God there are vessels comparable to gold and silver,
wood and earth; some more and some less honorable, while others
are a disgrace to the cause they profess to love. And Paul here
clearly shows that this difference is made, not by an immutable
decree of God, but by the parties themselves: "If a man therefore
purge himself from these" -- not if God purge him, but if he purge
himself -- "he shall be a vessel unto honor."
But let us pursue the apostle's argument. He says, "Even so then
at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of
grace." Rom. xi:5. As there had been seven thousand men, in the
days of Elias, who had not bowed the knee to the image of Baal,
even so there was still a remnant when Paul wrote who had
accepted salvation upon the terms of the gospel of the grace of God,
and these are they of whom he spake, saying, "Israel hath not
obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained
it, and the rest were blinded." Ver. 7. This remnant of Israel who
accepted salvation upon gospel terms are denominated the election,
and the rest were blinded; that is, all Israel except this remnant
elected to salvation. Now, are we to conclude that those who were
blinded were eternally reprobate? Before any one so affirms, let
him remember that Israel was once God's elect people, and he must
be prepared to show how they became reprobate after having been
eternally, immutably, and


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unconditionally elect, according to his theory. Leaving Calvinism to
grope its way out of this difficulty as best it can, let us go on to see
whether or not it is possible for these reprobates to become elect
again.
In the 8th verse we learn that God gave these reprobates "the
spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they
should not hear." In the 9th verse, Paul quotes David thus "Let their
table be made a snare and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a
recompense unto them; let their eyes be darkened, that they may
not see, and bow down their back always." Please remember that this
was all said of those who were not of the election of grace, but were
reprobates. Now let us read on "I say then, Have they [these
reprobates] stumbled that the should fall? God forbid: but rather
through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke
them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them [Then they were not
eternally reprobate, else they could not have fallen] be the riches of
the world, and the diminishing of them [The creed says they can
neither be increased nor diminished] the riches of the Gentiles; how
much more their fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I
am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: if by am means
I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save
some of them [the reprobates]. For if the casting away of them be
the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them
[reprobates] be, but life from the dead?" Ver 11-15. Then comes the
figure of the olive-tree, showing that the Jews, or natural branches,
were broken off because of their unbelief, and the Gentiles were
grafted in. But even they must be faithful; for said he: "If God spared
not the natural branches. take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which
fell, severity;


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but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness:
otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. [Ah, how can they be cut off if
the number of the elect can neither be increased nor diminished?]
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief shall be grafted in;
for God is able to graft them in again." Ver. 21-23. Thus reprobate
Israel may again be elect if they will: "For I would not, brethren,
that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in
your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel
[those not elect], until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And
so all Israel shall be saved." Vers. 25, 26. Is it possible that these
blinded reprobates may yet be saved? They may be saved, if Paul is
good authority: "For as ye [Gentiles] in times past have not believed
God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Jews] unbelief;
even so have these also not believed, that through your mercy they
[reprobate Jews] also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded
them all in unbelief [What for? That he might damn them all? No,
but] that he might have mercy upon all." Ver. 30-32. Where, then,
is the eternal decree of unconditional election and reprobation?
Well may the apostle exclaim, "O the depth of the riches both of the
wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his
judgments, and his ways past finding out" only as He has revealed
them.
We come next to examine the same subject as taught in Paul's
letter to the Ephesians. Will the reader open the divine volume and
very carefully read the letter from its beginning to the 6th verse of
the fourth chapter, inclusive? We have not room to transcribe it all,
but every word deserves to be indelibly written upon every human
heart.
We will begin with that portion of it supposed to give support
to the theory of unconditional election. The


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apostle says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame
before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of
children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure
of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath
made us accepted in the beloved: in whom we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of
his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and
prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will,
according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself;
that in the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things
in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in
him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being
predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all
things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the
praise of his own glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also
trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation." Eph. i:3-13.
Without stopping to inquire after the meaning of the word world
in the 4th verse, let us proceed to analyze the passage and see
whether or not there is any thing like unconditional election in it:
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world." Here we learn that certain persons were chosen in Christ
before a certain time, but there is not yet a word as to whether they
were chosen conditionally or unconditionally. This must be learned
somewhere else. For what were they chosen? "That we should be
holy and without blame before him in love." This is the character to
be worn by the


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persons chosen, and it clearly shows that the apostle was speaking
of a class, and not of individuals as such. What more? "Having
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
himself." And how is it predestinated that children shall be adopted
into God's family by Jesus Christ? "According to the good pleasure
of his will." Then what is the good pleasure of his will in this
matter? That the gospel shall be preached "among all nations, to
every creature." "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned.'' Mark xvi:16. Then it is
the good pleasure of His will that every creature who will believe
the gospel and be baptized shall be saved, and all who are thus
saved are His children by Jesus Christ, through whom He gave the
conditions of adoption. This is all plain; let us go on: "Having made
known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good
pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself." And what is the
mystery of His will thus made known? "That in the dispensation of
the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in
Christ, both which are in heaven and on earth; even in him: in whom
also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according
to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his
own will." Now, if these persons were unconditionally and
personally predestinated to this inheritance, then it follows that
Universalism and not Calvinism gets the benefit of the quotation, for
we have seen that He purposed to gather together all things in
Christ -- not the elect few, but all things. To whom was this made
known, and what is the meaning of it? "By revelation he made
known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words" -- back
yonder in the first chapter -- "whereby, when ye read, ye may
understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other
ages was not made


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known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy
apostles and prophets by the Spirit." Eph. iii:3-5. To whom was this
long-concealed mystery made known by the Spirit? His holy
apostles and prophets. Then they were the persons referred to by the
pronouns we and us, from the 3d to the 12th verse (inclusive) of the
first chapter, to whom this mystery was made known, as Paul wrote
afore in few words in the 10th verse of that chapter. And what was
this long-concealed mystery? "That the Gentiles should be fellow
heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ
by the gospel." Eph. iii:6. Then these holy apostles and prophets
were the persons chosen in Christ before the foundation of the
world, that they as a class should be holy and without blame before
Him in love; and though as a class they were of this character, yet
as an individual, one of them betrayed the Lord for money. Does
this prove the doctrine of unconditional election?
That we may see, if possible, more clearly that the pronouns we
and us in this context do refer to a particular class of persons of
which Paul was one, and that the calling of these did not embrace
all the elect as taught by Calvinists, we will pursue the connection
a little further. The apostle says, "That we should be to the praise of
his glory, who first trusted in Christ." Here is the same pronoun we,
including Paul and others, to whom he referred as the called and
predestinated, "who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted,
after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation."
Vers. 12, 13. Now, if we who first trusted in Christ included all the
elect, who were the ye who also trusted in him after they heard


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the gospel of their salvation? The apostles and prophets were of the
Jews who first trusted in Christ, and the Ephesians were Gentiles.
who also trusted in Him after they heard the gospel: "Wherefore
remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are
called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in
the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ,
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from
the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the
world; but now, in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometime were far off are
made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is Our peace, who hath
made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition
between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law
of commandments contained in ordinances for to make in himself of
twain one new man [or church], so making peace; and that he might
reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the
enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were
afar off, and to them that were nigh; for through him we both have
access by one Spirit unto the Father." Eph. ii:11-18. Therefore,
"keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body
[composed of Jews and Gentiles], and one Spirit, even as ye are
called in one hope of your calling; one Lord [who died for both Jew
and Gentile], one faith [common to Jew and Gentile], one baptism
[enjoined upon all, for there is] one God and Father of all, who is
above all, and through all, and in you all," if Christians, whether
Jew or Gentile. Eph. iv:3-6.
The next passage to which we are referred as proving eternal
unconditional election is found, 2 Thess. ii:13, 14: "But we are
bound to give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord,
because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,
through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto
he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our
Lord Jesus Christ."


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In examining this passage, it is important to inquire what beginning
it was from which these persons were elected or chosen.
Was it the beginning of eternity? Eternity had no beginning. Was it
the beginning of time? Then the theory of eternal election is false,
for time had a beginning, and is not eternal. As the election was
through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, it is
impossible that the election could have antedated the belief of the
truth through which it was effected. John says: "I write no new
commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had
from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye
have heard from the beginning." 1 John ii:7. And again: "Let that
therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning."
Ver. 24. Now, what beginning was this? Surely, not the beginning
of time, the beginning of the world, or any other time or thing which
began before their birth, for this they "heard from the beginning."
Nor was it the beginning of the Christian dispensation, for it is most
likely that none of them heard the gospel until long after that
beginning. Then it was the beginning of their spiritual life -- the time
of their conversion. From that beginning they had heard the
gospel -- had the old commandment, and knew God; hence to this
beginning the apostle undoubtedly refers; and we suppose Paul
refers to the same beginning from which the Thessalonians were
chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of
the truth. Were we to say that the sheriff was elected through the
votes of the people, no one would understand that he was elected
before he received the votes of the people. When Paul said persons
were "saved through faith" (Eph. ii:8), he certainly did not mean to
teach that they were saved through faith before they had faith. Then,
when the same apostle said that the Thessalonians were


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chosen through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, he
surely did not mean that they had been chosen from before time
began, or at any time before they believed the truth and had their
hearts purified by it.
But we are referred to 1 Pet. i:2, where the apostle addresses his
brethren as "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the
Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and
sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." This election is according
to the divine foreknowledge, not contrary to it. The whole scheme
of redemption was in the mind of God before it was revealed to man.
Therefore, when the conditions of salvation were embodied in the
gospel and proclaimed to the world, they were presented just as they
had existed in His mind before; hence, when any one complies with
the conditions of salvation, he is elected according to the
foreknowledge of God, because elected according to a plan
previously known to Him. When we say of the governor that he was
elected according to the constitution of the State, we do not mean
that the constitution elected him, but that he was elected by a
majority of the votes of the people, according to the provisions of
the constitution, and not against its provisions. So when any one
obeys the gospel, he is elected according to the foreknowledge of
God, because God foreknew the provisions of the gospel; but the
foreknowledge of God did not elect him.
Finally, we come to examine the last passage in the Bible which
we have ever known brought to the support of unconditional
election and reprobation: "The beast which thou sawest was, and is
not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into
perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, (whose
names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of
the world,) when they behold the beast that was, and is not,


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and yet is." Rev. xvii:8. It is the parenthetical portion of the
quotation which is believed by some to give support to the doctrine
in question. As there are persons here spoken of whose names were
not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, it
is inferred that there are persons whose names were so written. This,
we admit, is a legitimate inference, but inferences rarely ever stop
within proper bounds. It is further inferred that when a person's
name is written in the book of life, his interest in heaven is secure to
him; hence there are those whose names were written in the book of
life and made sure of heaven from the foundation of the world,
without regard to any thing done by them, whether good or evil.
This is not deducible from the language of the text, and is at war
with the spirit of the whole Bible, which rewards or punishes man
according to his works, and is most plainly contradicted in the same
book from which the quotation is made. "He that overcometh, the
same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his
name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my
Father, and before his angels." Rev. iii:5. Now, let us apply the same
rules of inference here that were admitted applicable to the other
passage. As it is said of certain persons that their names were not
written in the book of life, it is inferred that the names of others
were so written: then when the Lord said of a certain character, "I
will not blot out his name out of the book of life," the inference is
equally clear that the names of others would be blotted out of the
book of life. From this conclusion there is no escape; hence the fact
that the name of a person is written in the book of life is not
conclusive proof that he will finally be saved in heaven. "For I
testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this
book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto
him the


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plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away
his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from
the things which are written in this book." Rev xxii:18, 19. Then,
a man may have a part in the book of life and yet so conduct himself
that it may be taken away from him. Nor was this a new thought first
revealed to John in the isle of Patmos; for when Aaron made the
golden calf, and the children of Israel were threatened with
destruction for worshiping it, Moses prayed the Lord to forgive their
sin, and said: "If not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which
thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath
sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." Ex. xxxii:32, 33.
As sin or disobedience causes God to erase or blot out the names of
persons from the book of life, and obedience causes their names to
be retained or not blotted out (Rev. iii:5), is it not probable that
obedience caused their names to be enrolled when first written in
the book? "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another,
and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance
was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that
thought upon his name." Mal. iii:16. This book seems to have been
written before the Lord for those who feared Him and thought upon
His name. It will be observed that the names were written from, not
before, the foundation of the world. Then, as persons have lived and
feared the Lord, their names were inserted in God's book. We do not
suppose that God had a literal book in which the names of His
people were written before or after the foundation of the world; but
in the mind of God they are recognized as His from the time they
bear His name and become obedient to His will. If God had a literal
book in which the literal name of every person


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was written before time began, it follows that all parents and others
concerned in giving children their names must have been inspired in
order that they might give the child the name designed for it, other-
wise they might miss the name occasionally. One thing is certain,
however, whether the book be literal or figurative, viz: that names,
though written in the book of life, are still liable to be blotted out
of it; and surely, while the names of any persons remain written in
the book of life, they are elect. Jesus said to his disciples, "Rejoice,
because your names are written in heaven." Luke x:20. Paul told his
brethren that they had come "to the general assembly and church of
the first-born, which are written in heaven." Heb. xii:23. To another
he said: "I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women
which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with
other of my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life."
Phil. iv:3. After John described the heavenly Jerusalem, he said:
"There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth; neither
whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which
are written in the Lamb's book of life." Rev. xxi:27.
From all these quotations it is evident that, while the names of
persons are written in the book of life, in heaven they are elect; but
when their names have been so written and blotted out of the book
of life, they become reprobates, and, unless reinstated, must be lost.
Therefore the number of the elect can be diminished, and hence the
doctrine of eternal unconditional election and reprobation can not
be true.
Now, we believe we have examined every passage of Holy Writ
supposed to favor the doctrine of personal unconditional election
and reprobation, and we feel sure that many readers will rejoice
with us in the conviction that no


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such monstrous absurdity is taught in God's holy word. We
conscientiously believe it not only antagonistic to the teaching of
the Bible, but contrary to the spirit and genius of the Christian
religion, and at war with the love, mercy, and justice of God. He had
the entire control of man's creation, and certainly would not have
created him, having unalterably consigned the greater portion of his
posterity to eternal misery, dishonor, and wrath, for no fault of their
own, or any thing in their power to prevent. How God could be
glorified by the eternal punishment of man, in order to carry out a
decree made by Himself before the creation of man, is a matter
utterly incomprehensible to us. The doctrine makes God an
embodiment of cruelty, tyranny, and oppression too horrible to
contemplate; and we see not how any one who believes it can
acceptably obey God. "He that cometh to God must believe that he
is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Heb.
xi:6. Do Calvinists believe that God will reward the reprobates,
however diligently they may seek Him?
How can he who believes himself either one of the elect or one
of the reprobate, and that therefore there is nothing he can do that
will in any way affect his salvation, ask such a question as. "What
must I do to be saved?" (Acts xvi:30) or in faith obey any command
as a condition of salvation? We speak with all due respect when
we say we think such a thing impossible until such persons can
correct their faith on this subject. If we believed it, we would never
make another effort to persuade any person to make his calling and
election sure; because, if the doctrine is true, no effort which man
can make in the way of obedience to God can in the least increase
his chances for future bliss, or in any way change the final destiny
of any one of Adam's race.


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Let us turn our backs upon the theory, and our eyes to the word
of the Lord, and with hearts lifted in gratitude to God, seek to
realize the grand truth perceived by Peter at the house of
Cornelius -- "that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation
he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with
him." Acts x:34, 35.


CHAPTER IV
THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Finally, we come to examine the last strong fortress of
Calvinism, which it holds in alliance with Universalism by the
common consent of those who oppose them. It is based upon the
assumption that God, from all eternity, foreknew every thing that
ever has or ever will come to pass; therefore, He foreknew just who
and how many would be saved, and who, if any, would be lost. And
as the final destiny of every person must be exactly as foreseen by
God, it follows that such foreknowledge amounted to an immutable
decree. If God knew, ere time began, that Cain would kill his
brother, then there was no possibility left to Cain to avoid the deed.
Had there been such possibility, Cain might have availed himself of
it, and failed to do that which God foreknew he would do, thereby
falsifying the foreknowledge of God. If God foreknew that Cain, or
any one else, would act wickedly and be lost, then there was no
possibility left him to have acted righteously and to have been
saved; for had he availed himself of such a possibility and been
saved, it would have been in despite of God's foreknowledge to the
contrary. Ergo, as God foreknew every thing, He must have decreed
every thing; and as He foreknew the destiny of every man, it follows
that He decreed the destiny which man had no power to avert.
We believe this is a fair exhibit of the Calvinistic side of the
argument; but Universalism applies the same principle


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to all men that Calvinism applies to the elect. It assumes that
God will not punish man for that which he had no power to avoid
(and yet we see that he is so punished every day); and as all must
pursue the course marked out for them in the foreknowledge of God,
none will be punished for carrying out the immutable purposes of
Jehovah. Forgetting that God has such attributes as justice and
vengeance, it draws largely upon His love, goodness, and mercy:
"God is infinite love, and must have desired the salvation of all
men. As He foreknew the destiny of every man, and had power to
create only such as seemed good to Him, He would, of course,
create only such as He foresaw would be saved. Hence all men were
created for salvation, and will finally be saved."
Thus we have presented the arguments respectively drawn by
Calvinists and Universalists from what they are pleased to call the
unlimited foreknowledge of God; and it is but the part of candor to
admit that they are not without some degree of plausibility. There
are, however, at least three sides to this argument, viz: the Calvinist's
side, the Universalist's side, and the Lord's side, and of the three we
prefer the last. Many have been the efforts to harmonize the free-
agency of man and the unlimited foreknowledge of God, and
though we have read every thing written on the subject that has
fallen under our notice, we have never yet read a plausible theory
concerning it. From our stand-point, therefore, the premises are
doubtful, to say the least of them: may we not, then, with becoming
reverence, inquire whether or not God eternally foreknew every
thing that ever has or ever will come to pass?
In approaching the examination of the subject we wish to state
most plainly that we pretend not to comprehend the mind and
purposes of God, only as He has revealed


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them to us. We pretend not to have fathomed the depths of the
wisdom and knowledge of the infinite Jehovah. With Paul, we are
ready to exclaim: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his
ways past finding out! for who hath known the mind of the Lord? or
who hath been his counselor?" Rom. xi:33, 34. Oh, the
insignificance of man in the presence of God! Indeed, it seems to us
unsafe to build a theological system upon an incomprehensible
foundation; hence those who base their theory upon the supposed
attributes of God, to say the least of them, are liable to build upon
the sand. Do they not thereby say that they have sounded the depths
of the wisdom and knowledge of God, and have found them
extending to a perfect knowledge of every thing that ever has or will
come to pass? Do they not, in theory, say that they have searched
His judgments, and have found that a definite number were
approved, and the reprobates condemned, before time began, or that
all were unconditionally approved? Do they not say that they have
searched His ways and known His mind to perfection, and can therefore
safely build a theological system, involving the destiny of the human race,
upon their knowledge of the attributes of God? We may know God's will, and
the extent of His knowledge where He has revealed them to us, but
beyond this we dare not go. When God speaks, it is the province of
man to hear and believe, whether he can or can not see to the end.
When God commanded Abraham to go, he went, not knowing
whither he went (Heb. xi:8); hence, when God says He purposed to
do any thing, we must accept it as true, whether He did it or not;
and when He says He did not know a thing, it is unsafe to say that
He did know it, His word to the contrary notwithstanding. But has
God spoken to man on the subject? Let us see: "And God saw that


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the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every
imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it
grieved him at heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I
have created from the face of the earth." Gen. vi:5-7. Now, if God
knew before He created man just how wicked he would be, and
what he would do, what can this mean? "God saw that the
wickedness of man was great." Did He not always see? And why did
God grieve over a result which was as plain to Him before He
created man as when He saw the overt acts of wickedness
performed? And if the wickedness of man was such as to cause God
to destroy him, why would not this wickedness foreseen have
prevented his creation at first? If seeing the wickedness of man
caused God to repent making him, and to determine to destroy him,
does not it follow that He did not know, prior to his creation, how
wicked he would be? Surely, He would not have created man for the
purpose of bringing grief to His own heart, and destruction to His
creature. But why did God not know the wickedness of the
antediluvians, from eternity? Certainly, it was not because He was
not capable of knowing future events, for we know He did foretell
many things long before they came to pass. The Psalmist says,
"Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is
infinite." Ps. cxlvii:5. "Could there be any thing unknown to him
whose understanding is infinite?" Let us see. God is as infinite in
power as He is in understanding. No one, we suppose, will deny
that He is omnipotent as well as omniscient, yet there are some
things He can not do; e.g., God can not lie. Titus i:2; Heb. vi:18.
God could not have made two hills without a low place between
them. Then if there are some things which God can not


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do, though omnipotent, may there not be some things which He
DID not know, though omniscient? But it may be said that God can
not lie, because it is incompatible with His nature, and not because
He has not power to lie. Very well; then He did not know, before
making man, just how wicked he would be, simply because such
foreknowledge would have been incompatible with the free-agency
and responsibility of man. To be responsible, man must be free. If
God knew before He gave Adam the law in the garden that he would
violate it when given, then he was not free; for he could not have
falsified God's foreknowledge if he would: hence to violate the law
was a necessity. The great scheme of salvation conceived by Infinite
Wisdom contemplated human responsibility based upon freedom of
will, and God had power to avoid the foreknowledge of every thing
incompatible with His attributes and the scheme of salvation devised
by Him. He who says God could not avoid knowing every thing,
limits the power of Him who is omnipotent. God can limit the
exercise of His own attributes, but it is dangerous for man to assume
such power. We dare not limit the knowledge of God; but if He saw
fit to limit the exercise of His own knowledge, we fear to say He had
not the power and the right to do so. Infinite power does not
require God to do every thing, but it implies the ability to do
whatever is in harmony with His attributes and purposes. He
could instantly kill every man who violates His law, but, in great
mercy, He has seen fit to limit the exercise of His power, and permits
us to live: so, in the morning of the first day, God could have looked
down the stream of time and have seen the secret intentions of every
heart that would ever be subjected to His law, but, in infinite mercy,
He saw fit to avoid a knowledge of every thing incompatible with
the freedom of the human will and the system of government


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devised by Him for man. Does any one say God had not power to
do this? then let him explain how it was that God grieved over the
wickedness of man when He saw that it was great in the earth; yea,
let him explain why it was that the wickedness of man caused God
to repent that He had made him, if He as clearly saw it before He
made him as afterward; and let him further explain why it was that
the wickedness of man, which caused God to determine to destroy
him from the earth after He had made him, if clearly foreseen by
Him, did not prevent God from creating man at first.
God exercises His attributes through means, or without them, as
may best serve His purposes. When He would exert His power in the
creation of any thing, He said, Let it be, and it was. When He
would bear witness to the divine character of His Son, a voice came
from the eternal throne, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased." Matt. iii:17; xvii:5. When He would rebuke the
madness of Balaam, He enabled the beast on which the ungrateful
wretch rode, to speak in the language of man. Num. xxii:28. When
He would rebuke Belshazzar for the unholy use to which he applied
the sacred vessels of His house, He caused the fingers of a man's
hand, where there was no man, to write the king's doom on the
plastered walls of his own palace. Dan. v:5. When He gave His law to
the Jews at Sinai, He inscribed it on tables of stone with His own
finger; but when He established the new covenant, He wrote His
laws upon the hearts of His people with the tongues and pens of
men. Even so He could know or not know whatever He desired to
know, with or without means. When He would test the complaints
that had reached Him concerning the wickedness of the cities of the
plains, He said: "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great,
and because their sin is


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very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done
altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me; and if
not, I will know." Gen. xviii:20, 21. Certainly, God could have
known what was going on in these cities without going down there
to see about it, but He declined to know until He employed His
angels, in the likeness of men, as means for the purpose of obtaining
the information. But this was not a case of foreknowledge, but
simply a case where God made use of means to acquire a knowledge
of what had already occurred. This is certainly true, but does it
remove the difficulty? Did God know, before time began, all about
the wickedness of these cities, and forget it, so as to make it
necessary to send His angels to acquire a knowledge of that which
He had previously known? Surely, no one is prepared to take a
position like this. Do words mean any thing? If so, when God said,
"I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether
according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will
know," what did He mean? Had He always known?
"But this language was used in an accommodated sense." Was
it, indeed? Then let us seek for its meaning in this sense. To whom
was it accommodated? Not to God, certainly, for He needed no
accommodation. He could have made the communication in any set
of words which contained it, either through a medium or without
one. Then, if the language was accommodated at all, it must have
been to Abraham, to whom it was spoken, and to us for whose
benefit it was recorded; but if it conveyed some other idea than is
usually conveyed by the same set of words, then we see not how it
was accommodated to any one. The only way by which language
can be accommodated to any one consists in its adaptation to the
comprehension of the party addressed and the thought to be conveyed


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by it; e.g.: If a German would communicate any thing to me,
he must speak to me in English, as I would not be likely to
understand him were he to address me in the German language.
Hence, by speaking English, he would accommodate his language
to me. But this is not all: he must use such English words as would
embody the thought, otherwise I might still fail to understand him.
If he wanted to buy a horse of me, and he should say, "I want to sell
you some goods to-day," I would fail to understand him, because
the idea of buying a horse is not in the words, "I want to sell goods."
Nor is this all: he would deceive me by using words calculated to
convey one thought when he designed to convey another. Then
when God substantially said to Abraham, "I will go down and see
whether or not things are as reported to me; and if not, I will
know" -- if He meant that He had always seen and always known the
things spoken of, we insist that the language used not only failed to
be accommodated to the thought, but was calculated to make a false
impression upon all before whom it might come. Let us try a few
other passages of like construction by the same accommodated rules
of interpretation. In the same chapter from which we have quoted
the language in question, God twice said to Abraham, by the mouths
of the same angelic messengers, "I will return unto thee, according
to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." Vers. 10,14. Did
God mean that He had already returned, and that Sarah had
already been blessed with the promised son? Again: The Lord said
to Abraham, "I will make thee exceeding fruitful." Did He mean that
Abraham had always been fruitful? "I will make nations of thee."
Did He mean that nations had always been made of Abraham? "I
will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou
art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession."


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Did He mean that He had, from eternity, given the land of
Canaan to Abraham? Once more: When Jesus said, "On this rock I
will build my church" (Matt. xvi:18), did He mean that His church
had always been built? If not, how can we accommodate the
language "I will know" to the thought "I have always known?"
When Abraham, in obedience to the command of God, had
placed his beloved son upon the sacrificial altar, and had stretched
forth his hand, and taken the knife to slay his son, "the angel of the
Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham.
And he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the
lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou
fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son,
from me." Gen. xxii:11, 12. What can this mean? "Now I know that
thou fearest God." Did He always know it? Nay, how did He then
know it? "Seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son,
from me." Does not this language imply that God saw in Abraham
a degree of faithfulness unseen before? Paul says God tried Abraham
here. Heb. xi:17. Why did God try him, if He knew perfectly well
what Abraham would do before He tried him? But it is said that this
trial of Abraham was to show him the strength of his own faith.
Then God should have said, "Now you know you fear God, because
you see you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."
It occurs to us that an accommodation of language to thought
would require a change like this.
Respecting the idolatry of the Jews, God, by the mouth of His
prophet, said: "They have built the high places of Tophet which is
in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their
daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came
it into my heart." Jer. vii:3l. Here were things done by men which
the


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Lord said came not into His heart. Did He know from eternity that
which never came into His heart? But we are told that this only
means that it never entered into God's heart to command the
wickedness which they did. He plainly says He did not command it
before using the words "neither came it into my heart." Surely,
something additional was implied by these words; if not, why use
them at all? Let us examine the construction of the quotation. What
did they do? They burnt their children. What was it which God
commanded them not? That which they did. What was it that came
not into the mind of the Lord? That which they did, the burning of
their children. In the sentence, "Neither came it into my heart," if
the pronoun it does not refer to burning their sons and daughters in
the fire, then we confess our inability to construe it at all. In another
place the Lord said: "They have built also the high places of Baal,
to burn their sons with fire, for burnt-offerings unto Baal, which I
commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind." Jer.
xix:5. Let us examine the pronouns in this quotation. "Which I
commanded them not." To what does the relative which refer? To
the act of burning their sons with fire. "Nor spake it." To what does
the pronoun it refer? That which they did, and were commanded
not. "Neither came it into my mind." Now, to what does this it
refer? Certainly, to that which they did, which God commanded
them not, nor spake it. Unless we take the liberty of adding to the
word of the Lord, we see not how to construe the language
otherwise.
But we are told that these passages are explained by another:
"They built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the
son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass
through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not,
neither came it into my


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mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin."
Jer. xxxii:35. And how does this passage explain the other two?
Perhaps this is explained by the other two. If we understand the
auxiliary should in the sense of would, then we have most perfect
harmony in all of them. But it matters not which rendering is
adopted here, for when the passages are all considered they
abundantly show that it never entered into the mind of God that
they either would or should do the things they did. Let it be
remembered that Calvinism assumes that God eternally and
immutably fore-ordained every thing that comes to pass. It did come
to pass that the Jews did these things; therefore it follows that God
fore-ordained that they should do them; and yet He says it never
came into His mind that they should do them. In another part of the
argument we invoked the aid of Calvinists to explain how God fore-
ordained that which never came into His mind. All must see that this
is impossible, and hence God did not fore-ordain these things.
Calvinism further assumes that whatever was foreknown was fore-
ordained: then, as these abominations were not fore-ordained, it
follows that they were not foreknown; hence, even from this stand-
point, they never entered the mind of the Lord. Universalism is also
entangled in the meshes of this net, for it and Calvinism agree that
all things foreknown were fore-ordained, and must come to pass
accordingly. Let Universalists, therefore, join with Calvinists in
showing how God fore-ordained that which never came into His
mind; for whenever they admit that the foreknowledge of God does
not amount to an immutable decree, and that things may turn out
otherwise than as foreseen by God, then their argument drawn from
the unlimited foreknowledge of God will have been exploded, and
the strongest


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prop which ever gave support to Universalism will have been
withdrawn.
When the children of Israel worshiped the golden calf made by
Aaron at the foot of Sinai, the anger of the Lord was kindled against
them, and He said to Moses, "Let me alone, that my wrath may wax
hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of
thee a great nation." Ex. xxxii:10. Moses interceded for the people
with arguments too powerful to be resisted. Said he, "Wherefore
should the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he bring them
out to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the
face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil
against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy
servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and saidst unto
them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this
land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall
inherit it forever." Vers. 12, 13. Was there ever a more powerful
speech, of the same length uttered by mortal lips? He reminds the
Lord of His deliverance of this people, and what His enemies would
say of His motives in doing so -- of His devoted servants whose
children these were, and His oath of promise to them. This speech
prevailed, "And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to
do unto his people." Ver. 14. Was the Lord deceptive in His
pretensions of anger to Moses against the people? Were His threats
of destruction all hypocrisy? The earnest appeals of Moses show
that he did not so understand them; yet they were mere sound if He
knew, when making them, that He would not execute them. But He
repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people, and
did not do that which He thought He would do. But if He eternally
foreknew every thing that comes to pass, it follows that He foreknew
He would


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not do this evil to His people; hence He knew He would not do that
which He thought He would do. Can this be true? Is it possible to
think we will do that which we know we will not do? Men
sometimes say they think they will do that which they know, at the
time, they will not do; but they do that which it is impossible for
God to do when they so speak. Surely, we should be slow to cast
such an imputation upon the God we adore. The inspired Word is
the measure of our faith; hence, when it says God thought He
would do a thing, we accept it as true, feeling sure that no valid
objection can be brought against it. The Book of God, to be worthy
of its Author, must be harmonious in all its teaching.
But the disciples of the Saviour once said to Him, "Now are we
sure that thou knowest all things." John xvi:30. And Peter once said,
"Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." John
xxi:17. Will the reader bear in mind that it is one thing to know all
things, and quite another to foreknow all things -- one thing to know
a thing, and quite another thing to know a thing before it is a thing,
or when it has no existence. If we make these texts prove that Jesus
had unlimited foreknowledge of every thing that has or will take
place, we come in conflict with His own word, when he said, "Of
that day and of that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which
are in heaven, neither the SON, but the Father." Mark xiii:32. Now,
here is one thing which it is certain he did not know; hence the fact
that Jesus knew all things did not imply that He foreknew every
thing. But John said, "God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all
things." 1 John iii:20. Yes, and in just as strong terms he said to his
brethren, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all
things." 1 John ii:20. Then, if the fact that God knows all things
proves that He foreknew


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all things, the same language proves that the disciples to whom
John wrote also had unlimited foreknowledge! Does any one believe
this? Then the language has no application to foreknowledge what-
ever. Further: There is no fact more clearly established than that the
word all is often used in the Bible to indicate a great amount or a
great number, when it must not be understood without limit; e.g.:
It is said that all the people in a certain region were baptized by
John, and yet many rejected the counsel of God against themselves
by not being so baptized. And even the very words all things are
used in a limited sense. Paul says charity "beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 1 Cor.
xiii:7. Are we to believe all things, whether true or false? Surely not.
Then the sum of John's teaching was that his brethren, having an
unction from the Holy One, know all things about which he was
writing to them. Then we shall continue to believe that our
Heavenly Father had power to limit the exercise of His knowledge
to an extent compatible with the free-agency and accountability of
man and the scheme of salvation devised for him, until we are
shown a more excellent way. This being so, neither Calvinism nor
Universalism can be sustained by their long cherished hobby,
unlimited "foreknowledge;" but how they will be successfully met
by those who admit it, is more than we can foreknow. We must see
it done, then we will, perhaps, know how it has been done.
When we wrote the foregoing we were not aware of a single
authority, save the Bible, from which we might derive the slightest
encouragement; since we sent it to press, however, we have found
an article from the pen of Dr. Adam Clarke, from which we make
the following very significant extract; not because there is any thing


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additional in it, but that our readers may see that we are, at least,
in good company:
"As God's omnipotence implies his power to do all things, so
God's omniscience implies his power to know all things; but we
must take heed that we meddle not with the infinite free-agency of
this Eternal Being. Though God can do all things, he does not all
things. Infinite judgment directs the operations of his power, so that
though he can, yet he does not do all things, but only such things
as are proper to be done. In what is called illimitable space, he can
make millions of millions of systems, but he does not see proper to
do this. He can destroy the solar system, but he does not do it: he
can fashion and order, in endless variety, all the different beings
which now exist, whether material, animal, or intellectual; but he
does not do this, because He does not see it proper to be done.
Therefore it does not follow that, because God can do all things,
therefore he muse do all things. God is omniscient, and can know
all things, but does it follow from this that he must know all things?
Is he not as free in the volitions of his wisdom as he is in the
volitions of his power? The contingent as absolute, or the absolute
as contingent? God has ordained some things as absolutely certain:
these he knows as absolutely certain. He has ordained other things
as contingent: these he knows as contingent. It would be absurd to
say that he foreknows a thing as only contingent which he has made
absolutely certain. And it would be as absurd to say that he
foreknows a thing to be absolutely certain which, in his own eternal
counsel, he has made contingent. By "absolutely certain" I mean
a thing which must be in that order, time, place, and form, in which
Divine wisdom has ordained it to be; and that it can be not
otherwise than this infinite counsel has ordained. By "contingent,"
I mean such


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things as the infinite wisdom of God has thought proper to poise on
the possibility of being or not being, leaving it to the will of
intelligent beings to turn the scale. Or contingencies are such
possibilities, amid the succession of events, as the infinite wisdom
of God has left to the will of intelligent beings to determine,
whether any such event shall take place or not. To deny this would
involve the most palpable contradictions, and the most monstrous
absurdities. If there be no such things as contingencies in the world,
then every thing is fixed and determined by an unalterable decree
and purpose of God, and not only all free-agency is destroyed, but
all agency of every kind, except that of the Creator himself, for on
this ground God is the only operator, either in time or eternity: all
created beings are only instruments, and do nothing but as impelled
and acted upon by this almighty and sole Agent. Consequently,
every act is his own, for if he have purposed them all as absolutely
certain, having nothing contingent in them, then he has ordained
them to be so; and if no contingency, then no free-agency, and God
alone is the sole actor. Hence the blasphemous, though, from the
premises, fair conclusion, that God is the author of all the evil and
sin that are in the world, and hence follows that absurdity -- that, as
God can do nothing that is wrong, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT. Sin
is no more sin, a vicious human action is no crime, if God have
decreed it, and by his foreknowledge and will impelled the creature
to act it. On this ground there can be no punishment for
delinquencies, for if every thing be done as God has predetermined --
and his determinations must necessarily be all right -- then neither
the instrument nor the agent has done wrong.
Thus all vice and virtue, praise and blame, merit and demerit, guilt
and innocence, are at once confounded, and all distinctions of this
kind confounded with them. Now, allowing the


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doctrine of the contingency of human actions (and it must be
allowed in order to shun the above absurdities and blasphemies),
then we see every intelligent creature accountable for its own works,
and for the use it makes of the power with which God has endued
it; and, to grant all this consistently, we must also grant that God
foresees nothing as absolutely and inevitably certain which he has
made contingent; and because he has designed it to be contingent,
therefore he can not know it as absolutely and inevitably certain.
I conclude that God, although omniscient, is not obliged, in con-
sequence of this, to know all that he can know, no more than he is
obliged, because he is omnipotent, to do all that he can do."
Commentary on Acts ii:47.
Although Dr. Clarke offers not a single scriptural quotation or
reference in proof of the positions taken, yet we regard his reasoning
upon the attributes of God, and the bearing of foreknowledge upon
the free-agency and accountability of man, as simply irresistible. We
have long entertained these views, but have never preached them
from the pulpit, nor until now given them to the press. We were
forced to them while preparing for a debate with a Universalist,
some twenty years ago, since which we have studied the subject,
until a position then cautiously taken has become a settled
conviction. We feel strengthened by finding ourself in company
with a man of such power as Dr. Clarke.


CHAPTER V
HEREDITARY DEPRAVITY

Having previously disposed of unconditional election and
reprobation as taught by the Presbyterian Confession, we come
now to notice another doctrine taught by the same authority, as well
as by most of the denominations, which obtains much more general
acceptance than the Calvinistic view of election and reprobation,
but which is equally fatal to the obedience of faith required in the
gospel, to which we deem it proper to call attention before we set
out to learn the duty of man in order to his adoption into the family
of God. This is what is called by its advocates "Hereditary Total
Depravity."
We will make a few quotations from the Presbyterian
Confession of Faith, as the highest authority known to us that contains
this doctrine, which will correctly set it before the reader. And we
do not make these quotations for the purpose of following this
doctrine into all its legitimate results in detail, but for the purpose
of showing its bearing upon the subject of obedience to God:
"By this sin (eating the forbidden fruit) they (our first parents)
fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and
so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and
parts of soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt
of this sin was imputed and the same death in sin and corrupted
nature conveyed to all their posterity descending from


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them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby
we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,
and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions."
Now, it seems to us that if this picture correctly represents the
disposition of the human heart at birth, the devil can be no worse.
His Satanic Majesty can not be more than utterly indisposed,
disabled, and opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.
Nor can we very well see how man can get any worse in the scale of
moral turpitude. He can not get worse than wholly defiled in all the
faculties of soul and body -- and this is his condition at birth, if the
doctrine be true -- yet Paul tells Timothy that "evil men and seducers
shall wax worse and worse." 2 Tim. iii:13. How can they get worse?
Wholly defiled in all the faculties of soul and body! Opposite to all
good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and still wax worse and worse!
Does not the common observation of every man contradict this
doctrine? The theory is, as we shall see directly, that this corrupt
nature remains until the man is converted to Christianity, as some
teach, while others insist that it remains through life even in those
truly regenerated. Then we can not be wholly defiled, opposite to
all good by nature, for we see many men who make no pretension
to Christianity at all, quite as ready to visit the sick and administer
to the wants of the poor as many who claim to have had their hearts
cleansed by the Spirit of God. These persons are surely not opposed
to all good while thus doing good; if they are, then their feelings and
actions are strangely inconsistent.
But we are told that from this original corruption do proceed all
actual transgressions. If this be true, how came Adam to sin? This
corruption of nature is the cause of all actual transgression, and it
was the consequence


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111
of Adams's sin, but not the cause of it, according to the theory, and
hence he was not under its influence until after he sinned. As this
inherited corruption of nature is the source of all actual
transgression now, what caused his transgression then? His
transgression must have been caused by some other influence than
the corruption of nature supposed to be the consequence of his sin;
and if so, why may not the same or similar causes influence others
now? We are now subject to many temptations from which he was
then free. He could not have been tempted to steal from his
neighbor, for there was no one then living to be his neighbor, and no
one owned any thing but himself. He could not have been tempted
to kill, for there was no person to kill but his wife. He could not
have had a temptation to adultery, for the only woman on earth was
his wife. Notwithstanding he was free from many sources of
temptation that beset our pathway, he failed in the first trial he had of
which we have a record. Then, surely, other causes than corruption
inherited from him on account of his sin may cause transgression
now.
But we are told that "this their sin God was pleased, according
to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it
to his own glory." Chap. vi, sec. 1. It does not seem to us that
"permit" is exactly the word here. We have already been told that
"God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of
his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to
pass." It did come to pass that they ate of the fruit whereof God
commanded them not to eat. Then does it not follow that God not
only permitted them to eat, but unchangeably ordained that they
should eat the fruit and violate the law He had given, having
"purposed to order it to his own glory?"
But how God could be glorified by this violation of His


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law, especially if we contemplate its results in the light of this
theory, we are not very well prepared to see. We have been
accustomed to think that the best way to glorify God is to honor His
authority by obedience to His commands. How could God be
glorified by the direct violation of His positive command, when it
made man wholly defiled in all the faculties of soul and body? Did
He glory in man becoming opposite to all good and wholly inclined
to all evil, that He might punish him in hell forever? Could there be
any justice in placing man under a law which God had
unchangeably ordained he should break? Was it not downright
mockery for God to command him to obey when He had previously
decreed that he should disobey?
But was God glorified by the corruption of His creature man?
Let us see: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in
the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made
man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." Gen. vi:5, 6. Did
God grieve on account of His own glorification? If God was glorified
by Adam's sin, the consequence of which was the entire corruption
of the nature of his offspring, from whence flow all actual
transgressions, the wickedness of the antediluvians was as much the
result of it as the wickedness of any other people; hence we can not
see how He would grieve over the result of an act which He had
previously determined to order to His own glory, and which He had
unchangeably ordained should come to pass.
Again: Would God have given man a command that He had
unchangeably fore-ordained to be broken, that He might subject him
to "death, with all miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal," then
tell us that He "so loved the


Hereditary Depravity
113
world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John iii:16), and
at the same time restrict the benefits of His death to a few elect ones,
and allow the devil to have the many, and thus be glorified by their
destruction -- it being no fault of theirs? But if all actual transgressions
proceed from this supposed corruption of nature, it is difficult
to account for the difference of inclination to sin which we see
manifested by different persons. We are accustomed to expect the
same cause, when surrounded by the same circumstances, to
produce the same effect on all occasions; yet we see persons, even
in the same family, surrounded by as nearly the same circumstances
as human beings can be in this life, somewhat differently inclined to
sin; and, as circumstances differ, these differences increase, until one
is a moral, upright man, another a drunkard, another a thief, and
another a murderer. Can any one tell, in keeping with this theory,
why Cain killed his brother? They were both possessed of the same
corrupt nature, and precisely to the same extent. Why, then, was
one more vicious than the other? We can not increase or intensify
the meaning of such words as wholly, all, total, etc. We can not say
more wholly defiled, more all the faculties, more all evil, more all
good. If all Adam's progeny are wholly defiled in all the faculties of
soul and body, opposed to all good and wholly inclined to all evil,
Cain could not have been more corrupt than Abel. And if this
corrupt nature is the source of all actual transgressions, it was the
cause of Cain's sin; and Abel being possessed of this corruption of
nature to the same extent, would have been just as much inclined to
kill Cain as Cain would have been to kill Abel. Men differ as widely
in their inclinations to sin as it is possible for them to differ in any
thing, and they could not thus differ if the same corrupt


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nature influenced all and was possessed by all to the same extent.
But worse still, from our stand-point the theory necessarily
damns every infant that dies in infancy. If all infants come into the
world with natures inherited from our first parents, wholly defiled
in all the faculties of soul and body, then those who die in infancy
must go to hell on account of this defilement, or go to heaven in this
defilement, or they must have it removed in some way unknown to
the Bible. The makers of the creed plainly saw this difficulty, and
attempted to provide for it. Chap. x, sec. 3, they tell us that "elect
infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ
through the Spirit, who worketh when and where and how he
pleaseth." Thus they provide for elect infants dying in infancy, but
they make no effort to save any but the elect, telling us plainly that
Christ died for none others.
But the Calvinists are but a very small part of those who adopt
this theory -- how will the others escape? The Cumberland
Presbyterian Confession of Faith substitutes the word all for elect,
thus: "All infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by
Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how
he pleaseth." Chap. x, sec. 3. And how did the authors know this?
Where is the proof that Christ, by the Spirit, removes this depravity
from those dying in infancy and allows it to remain in the living
ones? The creed refers us to Luke xviii:15, 16: "And they brought
unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his
disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him,
and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them
not: for of such is the kingdom of God." We have two objections to
this proof: "First, these were living and not dead or dying children:
how can it, therefore, prove any thing about what


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the Spirit does for those dying in infancy? Second, It proves just the
opposite of infantile depravity. If Jesus had said, "Suffer little
children to come, and forbid them not, that the total depravity and
corruption of their little defiled hearts may be removed by the Spirit,
for of such as they will then be is the kingdom of God," then the
text would have been appropriate. But as it is, it would fill the
kingdom of God with subjects wholly defiled in all the faculties of
soul and body, opposed to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.
"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of
such [not as they will be, but are now] is the kingdom of
God" -- that is, of such total depravity, and subjects wholly defiled
in all the faculties of soul and body, is the kingdom of God!!!
Mr. Jeter, the great Baptist luminary of Virginia, says: "Infants
dying in infancy, must, by some process known or unknown, be
freed from depravity -- morally renewed or regenerated, or they can
never be saved -- never participate in the joys of heaven." Jeter's
Campbellism Reexamined, pages 51, 52. And on page 49 he says:
"I shall now proceed to show that, in the case of dying infants and
idiots, regeneration takes place by the agency of the Spirit, without
the Word." Thus we see that one error assumed and adopted creates
the necessity for perhaps many others. The false assumption that
infants are wholly depraved has forced upon these authors and their
ilk the doctrine of infant regeneration and abstract spiritual
influences. Nor is this all: the doctrine of infant baptism
originated here. Does any one demand proof? He shall have it. Dr.
Wall, the most voluminous and authoritative writer that has ever
wielded a pen in defense of infant baptism, says:
"And you will see in the following quotations that they often
conclude the necessity of baptism for the forgiveness of sins, even
of a child that is but a day old." Wall's


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History, vol. 1, page 48. After making a quotation from Justin
Martyr, who wrote about forty years after the apostles, and about
A.D. 140, our author says: "I recite this only to show that in these
times, so very near the apostles, they spoke of original sin affecting
all mankind descended of Adam; and understood that, besides the
actual sins of each particular person, there is in our nature itself,
since the fall, something that needs redemption and forgiveness by
the merits of Christ. And that is ordinarily applied to every
particular person by baptism." Ibid, 64.
On pages 104, '05, Dr. Wall quotes Origen, one of the most
learned of the Greek fathers, as follows:
"Besides all this, let it be considered, what is the reason that,
whereas the baptism of the Church is given for forgiveness of sins,
infants also are, by the usage of the Church, baptized; when, if there
were nothing in infants that wanted forgiveness and mercy, the grace
of baptism would be needless to them.... Infants are baptized for the
forgiveness of sins. Of what sins? Or when have they sinned? Or
how can any reason of the laver in their case hold good, but
according to that sense that we mentioned even now: none is free
from pollution, though his life be but of the length of one day upon
the earth? And it is for that reason, because by the sacrament of
baptism the pollution of our birth is taken away, that infants are
baptized."
In the writings of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, is a letter written
by a council of sixty-six bishops to one Fidus, about the close of the
second century. Dr. Wall gives that part of this letter which pertains
to the subject in hand, and says of it: "These bishops held that to
suffer the infant to die unbaptized was to endanger its salvation."
Wall's History, vol. 1, page 139.


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In support of infant baptism, Mr. Wesley says: "If infants are
guilty of original sin, then they are proper subjects of baptism,
seeing, in the ordinary way, they can not be saved unless this be
washed away by baptism. It has been already proved that this
original stain cleaves to every child of man, and that hereby they are
children of wrath, and liable to eternal damnation." This comes to
us not only as written by Mr. Wesley, but it was "Published by
order of the General Conference" in New York, in 1850. Doctrinal
Tracts, page 251. Many other quotations might be given from
various authors held in high esteem by the various parties of these
days; but surely these are sufficient to show that infant baptism grew
out of the false assumption that infants are totally depraved in all
the faculties and parts of soul and body -- children of wrath, and
liable to eternal damnation for Adam's sin, unless baptized. We
know that modern defenders of the practice are unwilling to admit
this, but Dr. Wall, as a historian, gives authority for what he says;
and historical facts, though ignored, can not be wiped out. They are
events of the past, and must so remain, though erased from the pages
of every book on earth. If, therefore, we have succeeded, or do
succeed, in showing that the dogma of hereditary total depravity is
untrue, we will have shown not only that man has the power to
believe and obey God, but also that the doctrine of abstract
spiritual influences, infant regeneration, and infant baptism, as
dependencies upon it, are necessarily untrue. Then, seeing the
importance of our subject, let us continue our examination of it. If
Adam's posterity inherited the corrupt nature described after the fall,
then why do not children of Christians inherit their parents' purified
natures after their conversion? Surely, if God directly controlled the
matter, He would have had as much pleasure in the transmission of
purity


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of nature to the children of the faithful, as He would have had in
entailing corruption of nature on the children of the disobedient.
And if He had not specially controlled it, but left it to the laws of
nature, we can see no reason why purity of heart would not have
been as readily transmitted to the children of the Christians as
defilement of nature would have been to the children of the wicked.
But the creed tells us that "this corruption of nature, during this life,
doth remain in those that are regenerated." Presbyterian Confession,
chap. vi, sec. 5, page 41. Here, as usual, the creed and the Bible are
in direct antagonism. When Peter addressed his fellow-apostles and
elders, on one occasion, he said: "Men and brethren, ye know how
that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles
by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And
God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the
Holy Ghost, even as unto us; and put no difference between us and
them purifying their hearts by faith." Acts xv:7-9. In writing to his
brethren, he says, "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying
the truth." 1 Pet. i:22. Now, if this corruption remains in those who
are truly converted, how is it possible for persons to be wholly
defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body, utterly
indisposed, disabled, opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to
all evil, as described by the creed, and yet their hearts purified by
faith, and their souls by obedience, as described by Peter. Surely,
the converts to the creed are not the brethren of Peter; nor are they
the blest of the Lord, for he says, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for
they shall see God." Matt. v:8.
Jesus, in his explanation of the parable of the sower, (Luke
viii:15), says, "But that on the good ground are they, which in an
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word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." If there was not
another passage of scripture in the Bible bearing on the subject, this
one would be quite sufficient to spoil the whole theory. Had Jesus
been educated in the theological schools of our day, He would not
have spoken of honest and good hearts receiving the Word, for He
would have been therein taught that there are none such; but, on
the contrary, all Adam's race are wholly defiled in all the faculties
of soul and body, opposed to all good, and wholly inclined to all
evil. It seems to us that all speculative theorizing about doubtful
interpretations of Scripture, to sustain our favorite dogma, should
bend before such direct, plain, and positive statements of the
Saviour as the above quoted.
But we are told in the creed that our natures are not only made
totally corrupt by Adam's sin, but that the GUILT of it was imputed
to all his descendants. This we regard as a fatal mistake growing out
of a failure to discriminate between guilt and consequences. It is
certainly true that we suffer in consequence of Adam's sin, but that
we are in any sense guilty of it, or morally accountable for it, is not
exactly clear to us. To suffer the consequences of an act is one
thing, but to be held guilty of it, by imputation or otherwise, is quite
a different thing. A man, for illustration, may own an estate
sufficient to abundantly supply the wants of his family for life, but,
by gambling, he may have it all swept away in a single day; his wife
and children may be reduced to poverty and want by his
wickedness, and thus made to keenly feel the consequences of his
act, but surely no one would regard them guilty in consequence of
their misfortune. So we suffer death as a consequence of Adam's sin,
as we will more clearly see directly; but this is not quite sufficient
to show that we are guilty of or responsible for it. If we


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are guilty of or responsible for his first sin, why are we not
accountable for all other sins committed by him? As he was
childless when driven from the garden, and was an hundred and
thirty years old when Seth, his third son, of which we have an
account, was born, and was nine hundred and thirty years old when
he died, it follows that he lived more than eight hundred years after
eating the interdicted fruit. It is next to certain, therefore, that he did
many things wrong during this long period. Is there any good reason
why we are guilty of his first sin, and guilty of no other sin
committed by him? And if we are responsible for and guilty of
Adam's sin, are we not equally guilty of all the sins committed by
our own father? He is much nearer us than Adam, and we can
plainly see in ourselves some things inherited from him. If, then, we
are guilty of the sins of Adam, we see no escape from the guilt of
our father's sin. And as these are but two extremes in the long chain
of parentage from us to Adam, we can see no reason why we may
not be held guilty, according to the same rule, of all the sins of every
parent between them. If so, well may we ask, "Lord, who then can
be saved?" When we do the best we can, we have quite enough in
our own record to answer for; and if we are thus charged with the
sins of those who have lived before us, then the last lingering ray of
hope for the salvation of man is forever extinguished. We are
encouraged, however, by the fact that God has contradicted the
whole theory, saying: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son
shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear
the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be
upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
Ezek. xviii:20. It seems to us that the prophet intended to describe
the false reasoners of our day, when he said: "The Gentiles shall


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come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our
fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no
profit." Jer. xvi:19.
But is it possible, in the nature of things, that sin can be
transmitted from parent to child? In order to arrive at a satisfactory
solution of this question, it may be well to ascertain what sin is; and
this we can do with great certainty, for we have a definition of it
given by inspiration. John says "sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John iii:4. In the light of this definition, how is it possible that a
transgression by one man may be transmitted to another, or from
parent to child? God has said, "Thou shalt not kill." In violation of
this law, a man thrusts a dagger to the heart of his neighbor. This is
sin. Now this act, being the act of a father, can not possibly become
the act of his child; nor can the child be made responsible for it. He
may approve the act, and for this approval may receive merited
punishment; but it was the wicked approval that brought guilt to
him, and not the act of the father. Without such approval, he may
suffer in consequence of his father's act -- may be made an orphan by
it -- but surely the act itself can not become his act. Sin is nowhere
in God's word defined to be a weakness, or hereditament, but a
transgression or act of the guilty himself. "God is love," and can not
punish man for that which he has no power to prevent.
But we have said that we die as a consequence of Adam's sin.
This is true, and yet we are not guilty of it. When Adam fell from the
plastic hand of God, he was as mortal as he was after he ate of the
interdicted fruits: how, then, is death a consequence of that act? He
was placed in a garden or orchard, in which grew, among others,
two trees, respectively called The tree of life, and the tree of the
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garden, God gave him a law, saying: "Of every tree of the garden thou
mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof dying thou
shalt die." Gen. ii:16, 17. We have adopted the marginal reading of
the Polyglot Bible, because it is agreed, by scholars, to be an
improvement upon the King's translation. It will be seen, by an
examination of this law, that Adam had access to the tree of life
before he ate of the interdicted fruit, and the properties of the fruit
of this tree were such as to counteract the mortal tendencies of his
nature, and keep him alive as long as he had access to it. But when
he violated God's law, it was only necessary that he should be
driven from the garden, so that he might no longer have access to
this life-giving fruit, that, under the laws of mortality to which his
nature subjected him, he might suffer the penalty of the law which
said, "dying thou shalt die." Hence, God said: "Behold, the man has
become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put
forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live
forever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of
Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out
the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim,
and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the
tree of life." Gen. iii:22-24. Thus we see how Adam died in
consequence of his sin, and that he would not have died had he not
sinned; hence says Paul, "By one man sin entered into the world,
and death by sin." Rom. v:12. Not that he possessed physical
immortally before he sinned, for he did not, but he had a remedy for
his mortality of which he was deprived after he sinned. We are
sometimes asked whether or not the lower animals die as a
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not, but they die as a result of the common laws of mortality to
which the whole animal creation are subject. They have been
subject to these laws from the time they were created, not having
had access to the fruit of the tree of life, as Adam did before he
sinned. From this stand-point it is easy to see how Adam's posterity
died as a consequence of his sin. His children inherit from him just
such an organization as he had both before and after he sinned and
as they are born out of the garden of Eden, and away from the tree
of life, they can not have its fruit to counteract the mortal tendencies
of their nature, and hence, like him, dying they die. Shall we hence
conclude that Adams offspring are guilty of his sin? As well may we
conclude that the African child that falls a victim to cannibalism
sinned by being born in Africa. It was its misfortune to be born in a
locality where men eat each other: so it is our misfortune to be born
out of the garden of Eden, where, for a time we can not get fruit
from the tree of life; but if we do our Father's commandments, there
is coming a period when we will have a right to the tree of life, and
may enter through the gates into the city. There is much speculation
in the world with reference to the kind of death Adam and his
posterity died as a consequence of his sin. Mr. Ewing, in his
Lectures (page 63), tells us that, "By reason of our union with our
federal head and representative, we sinned in him, and fell with him,
and death is the consequence -- death spiritual, temporal, and
eternal." If the death which Adam and the human race died was not
only spiritual and temporal, but eternal, then we see no remedy that
can reach such a case. Eternal must mean without end -- of endless
duration. Then, if this death be eternal, there can be no more life
and hence all our efforts to save those who are eternally dead can
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hopelessly lost. If a single son of Adam be saved, it follows that he
was not eternally lost; for -- it matters not in what sense he be dead
-- if ever made alive, that is an end to his death, and, consequently,
his death could not have been eternal.
But Mr. Ewing further tells us (page 62): "The whole soul of
man is entirely depraved, corrupt, and alienated from God -- a child
of wrath, an heir of hell, going astray from the womb, conceived in
sin, an enemy to God, having a heart deceitful above all things and
desperately wicked; the understanding darkened, the affections
earthly, and the whole man sensual and devilish." Truly, this is an
appalling picture of our nature at birth, entailed upon us for no
other reason than that we descended from Adam, with whom, by a
single act of his, we fell into this deplorable condition six thousand
years before we were born. And when we add to this thought the
language of the Presbyterian Confession -- that "this corruption of
nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are
regenerated" -- we have a most ridiculous description of Christian
character manufactured by this theory. Behold a Christian with a
heart not only entirely depraved, sensual and devilish, but hating
God, and an heir of hell!!! We do not suppose the authors of these
books believed this monstrous absurdity themselves, or intended to
teach it to others, but they were involved in it by the blinding
influences of a false theory. Be this as it may, however, we can not
admit that this is a correct picture of that "holiness without which
no man shall see the Lord."
The mind of man is composed of numerous faculties, which may
be divided into two grand divisions, called, respectively, Animal and
Intellectual. By "animal faculties," we mean such as are possessed
by man and beast; or we might simply say by animals, for man is
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animal. As examples of this class of faculties we may
mention Alimentiveness, Combativeness, Detructiveness,
Amativeness, Philoprogenitiveness, etc., etc. In man they are usually
called propensities, but in lower animals they are called instincts.
Paul calls them "the carnal mind," and tells us "it is not subject to
the law of God, neither indeed can be." Rom. viii:7. It would do but
little good to read the Ten Commandments to a horse, as he would
not be subject to them -- neither, indeed, could he be; and it would
do about as little good to read them to the purely carnal mind of
man (if it were possible to do so), composed of similar constituents,
which knows no law but animal gratification. But God has given to
man an intellectuality capable of appreciating law, and has given
him a law adapted to his organization, by which his carnal
propensities are to be exercised, and by which the whole man is to
be governed. And while the whole man is governed by laws received
from God, and applied by the intellectual man, all is harmony and
order, and without sin; but when these laws are superseded by
animal propensities, such as appetite, passion, and lust, then come
confusion, violence, and crime. And thus originated sin in the
garden of Eden. God gave Adam a law for the government of his
appetite, and while he obeyed it he had life and peace; but when
law was supplanted by appetite, sin came, and death by sin. From
the description of man's nature found in the creeds, it would seem
that the authors regard these animal propensities as filling the entire
measure of the human mind. But the duality of mind is well
established by experience, observation, metaphysics, reason, and the
Bible. The carnal mind we have seen already: the perceptive and
reflective faculties, of which there are many, and the moral
sentiments, such as Benevolence, Veneration, Conscientiousness,
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and moral nature of man, to which God's law is addressed, and Paul
tells us, "they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be
carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and
peace." Rom. viii:5, 6. The antagonism of these two departments of
man's nature is well shown in Paul's description of himself. "I find
then," says he, "a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present
with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But
I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my
members." Rom. vii:21-23. Had this dual nature been dispensed
with in the creation of man, he must have been all animal, and
therefore nothing more than a brute; or he must have been all
intellectual and moral, without any counter-tendencies in his
nature, and therefore would have been a mere machine, acting as
compelled to act, under one set of principles, and hence there
would have been neither merit nor demerit in any thing he did; nor
could he have had the slightest freedom of will, and, therefore,
could not have been in the slightest degree accountable to his
Creator, Who, in that event, would have been operating him as a
mechanic does his machine.
But if we can arrive at the meaning of the language, "dying thou
shalt die," as connected with the law given to and violated by Adam,
then we think we may arrive at a knowledge of the kind of death he
died. This we certainly can do with great clearness, as we have an
exegesis of the language by God Himself. After Adam violated the
law, God adjudicated his case, and pronounced the sentence upon
him. Both as the Giver of the Law and as God, He certainly knew
what He meant by the language of the law, and He certainly
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the sentence in accordance therewith. What, then, was the sentence?
"Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Gen. iii:19. Surely,
this must mean literal, physical death, nothing more, nothing less.
Moses wrote the history of this affair about two thousand five
hundred years after it occurred, when the word die, in all its forms,
was of no doubtful import, but had a well-settled meaning in the
current usage of that day. A few examples may not be out of place
here. In the fifth chapter of Genesis we have the word employed by
the same writer no less than eight times, as follows: "And all the
days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he
died." Ver. 5. "And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and
twelve years: and he died." Ver. 8. "And all the days of Enos were
nine hundred and five years: and he died." Ver. 11. "And all the
days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died." Ver.
14. "And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and
five years: and he died." Ver. 17. "And all the days of Jared were
nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died." Ver. 20. "And all
the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and
he died." Ver. 27. "And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred
seventy and seven years: and he died." Ver. 31. These cases clearly
show what Moses understood by the word die, and as he is the same
writer that recorded the law violated by Adam, he must have meant
the same by "die," in the law, that he meant in the other cases
referred to. Again, the word die must certainly mean just the
opposite of the word live. This word in its various forms occurs in
the same chapter to indicate physical life. Had God afflicted Adam
with greater punishment than the terms employed indicated to him,
then would He not have deceived him? And He determined upon
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him, after he committed the act, than that threatened in the law
violated, then we insist that it was ex post facto in its character, and
therefore unjust. The circumstances under which Adam violated
God's law would have rather invoked a commutation of punishment
than an increase of it. He did not know good and evil until he
acquired a knowledge of it by eating the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. This is evident from the language of
God after he ate of it: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to
know good and evil." Gen. iii:22. He could only appreciate the law
as a positive prohibition, but his moral obligation to obey God, as
his Creator, he could not appreciate. He did not so much as know
that he was naked, for God said: "Who told thee that thou wast
naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that
thou shouldest not eat?" Ibid, 11. Certainly, then, if ignorance be
a mitigating circumstance, Adam was entitled to the full benefit of
it.
From our stand-point such a thought as spiritual corruption by
inheritance is utterly impossible. Paul says, "We have had fathers of
our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we
not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and
live?" Heb. xii:9. Does not this passage plainly prove that the fathers
of our flesh are not the fathers of our spirits? To our mind it shows
that while our bodies are inherited from our parents, the Spirit is not
so inherited, but comes directly from God. Hence the style:
"Fathers of our flesh," "The Father of spirits." Our bodies we
inherit from our parents, and, consequently, physical impurities may
be transmitted from parent to child, but we suppose all will agree
that the mind, the spiritual or inner man, is the seat of moral
depravity. If, then, we do not get our spirits by inheritance, it is
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spiritual depravity from Adam. May we further examine the
Scriptures on this subject? "The burden of the word of the Lord for
Israel saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth
the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within
him." Zech. xii:1. If God forms the spirit within man, it seems
improbable that he gets it by inheritance. Again: Solomon says,
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall
return to God who gave it." Eccl. xii:7. By this we learn not only
that the spirit returns to God at death, but that God originally gave
it. The words "returns to God" clearly imply that it had been there
before. We can not say we returned to a place to which we had
never been. In returning, it did not go in or with the body, as the
body returned to the ground as dust. As, therefore, the spirit returns
independent of the body, is it not likely that God gave it to man, not
by or through the body, but for the body? The words "God who
gave it" have somewhat the same ring, too; nevertheless, they alone
would not be quite conclusive, for He gives us food, raiment, and
many other things through means prepared to produce them. The
question for us, then, is: does he give the spirit through means or
without means -- does He give it directly or indirectly -- does He give
it as we have seen that He takes it -- or does He give it by
procreation, organization, or some other means? Let us see. When
Jesus restored the ruler's dead daughter to life, Luke says "her spirit
came again, and she arose straightway." Luke viii:55. The spirit of
the damsel came again. From whence did it come? Solomon says
the spirit returns to God, who gave it. Then it is clear that her spirit
went to God when she died, and came directly from Him when she
was made alive. The words "came again" imply that it had done the
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have no account of her being miraculously made alive before, it
follows that it was at the beginning of her existence that her spirit
came directly from God the previous time.
But we are told that the spiritual man did not come directly
from God, but is the creature of the organization. We have not room
for a thorough examination of this objection here, but we must
notice it briefly -- not by way of respect for materialistic infidelity,
of which it is the cornerstone, but in respect to our own argument,
against which it may be presented. First, then, if the spirit came not
from God, how are the scriptures above quoted and the reasonings
therefrom to be met? And how can a material organization create
an immaterial soul capable of existence separate from the
organization after the latter has ceased to be? Or if the soul, created
by materiality, is itself material, why is it not subject to chemical
analysis? The material organization is not only subject to chemical
analysis, but has been analyzed repeatedly. The ultimate elements
of it have been found, and if the soul is also material, why has it not
been subjected to the same process? Surely, the advocates of
materialism have the ability to do it if it were possible -- and the
defense of their theory would invoke the disposition to do it -- if
they, then, have not done it, it is clear that, because of the soul's
immateriality, they can not do it. That the soul is capable of
existence after the separation of soul and body, is clear from what we
have already quoted from Solomon -- that the body returns to the
ground and the spirit returns to God, who gave it; not only so, but
it is also clear from numerous other passages. Paul says: "Therefore
we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the
body, we are absent from the Lord.... We are confident, and willing
rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
2 Cor. v:6, 8. John "saw under the altar


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the souls of them that were slain for the word of God." Rev. vi:9.
We might further quote Luke xvi:24, 27, concerning the rich man
and Lazarus, and many other scriptures on this subject; but enough
has been quoted to satisfy those who read and believe the Bible, and
others will not likely read what we write about it. The body may be
likened to a machine controlled by the mind or spiritual man. No
machinery has ever been known capable of generating its own
motive power; hence the "Perpetual Motion" has not been invented.
If the human organism creates the soul, its own motive power, then
it is an exception to all known law on the subject. If, then, our
argument holds good, and the spirit came, not by inheritance, but
directly from God, it follows that when it is given, it is not only
good, but very good, and the whole theory of hereditary depravity
is most certainly false. The child comes into the world with its
infantile mind composed of numerous faculties susceptible of being
cultivated and developed by impressions made upon it through the
senses, and when all its faculties are properly balanced, educated,
and governed, they are calculated to make the man useful and
happy, but if neglected may make him vicious and miserable -- and
his inclinations to virtue or vice depend much upon the
circumstances and influences surrounding him; hence inclinations
to sin are as different in different persons as the circumstances have
been different by which they have been influenced from infancy to
manhood. We most firmly believe that many men who were raised
under improper influences and became desperately wicked -- perhaps
terminated their lives upon a scaffold -- if they had been raised
under wholesome influences, would have been useful members of
society and finally saved in heaven, and vice versa. Thus we see the
importance of observing Solomon's admonition: "Train up a child in
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he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it;" with
which Paul agrees, saying, "Bring up your children in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord." But there are differences of mental
power manifested by different persons, growing out of a difference
in the physical machinery inherited from our parents. This we not
only admit, but firmly believe; but these do not affect our position
in the least. An engine may run a vast amount of well-made and
properly applied machinery, and thus exhibit great power, but were
we to apply the same engine to heavy, cumbersome, unwieldy,
unbalanced machinery, it could do but little, though the same man
operated it. So a man who has inherited a fine organization, large
and well balanced brain, of fine material, will exhibit much more
mental power than one who had inherited an imperfect organization
of coarse material. But inherited weakness, whether physical or
mental, is not sin -- no guilt can attach to it -- and therefore the
differences in mental power spoken of can not prove the doctrine of
total depravity; on the contrary, if they prove any thing concerning
it, they contradict it, for these differences can not be the result of
total depravity, because all who are totally depraved are, in this
respect, exactly alike. There is no comparative degree in total
depravity.
But we must briefly notice some of the proofs relied on to
sustain the doctrine. First, we are told that the infant gets angry as
soon as born, and thus gives evidence of total depravity. If this be
proof conclusive, then God is totally depraved, too, for He said to
Moses, when the people worshiped the calf made by Aaron, "Let me
alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them." Ex. xxxii:10. And
again: "God is angry with the wicked every day." Ps. vii:11. Does the
infant smile as well as cry? And does it not very soon divide its toys
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associate, thus exhibiting feelings of kindness as well as anger?
But we are referred to some scriptures which we must notice:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none
that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God; they are all
gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there
is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open
sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of
asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and
bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery
are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known. There
is no fear of God before their eyes." Rom. iii:10-18. Now, we only
need to carefully read this quotation in order to see that it can not
apply to any inherited corruption of nature existing at birth, but to
such as had corrupted themselves by wicked works. Infants are not
expected to be righteous, for righteousness consists in doing right.
Nor are they expected to understand -- to seek God -- to have gone
out of the way, or in the way -- to have done good or evil. Their
tongues have not used deceit, nor are their mouths full of cursing
and bitterness, for they can not talk at all. Their feet are not swift to
shed blood, for they can not hurt any one. And it will be borne in
mind that the passage is relied upon to prove an inherited corruption
of nature that comes into the world with us by ordinary generation.
Paul makes this quotation from David -- Ps. xiv -- where he tells how
they became corrupt: "They have done abominable works." Hence
their corruption came not by Adam's sin, but by their own
wickedness.
Next we examine the language of David -- Ps. li:5: "Behold I was
shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Whatever may be the meaning of this passage,


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it can not be the imputation of sin to the child. "In sin did my
mother conceive me;" that is, she acted wickedly when I was
conceived. Were the wife to say, "In drunkenness my husband beat
me," or the child that "in anger my father whipped me," surely no
one would attribute drunkenness to the wife or anger to the child;
neither can they impute the sin of the mother to the child. We come
now to notice the language of the prophet with regard to "Judah and
Jerusalem" -- Isa. i:5, 6: "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye
will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole
heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no
soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores." This
was not spoken with regard to any inherited defilement attaching to
any one, but with regard to the Jews as a nation. As a nation they
had become corrupt -- not by inheritance, but by actual
transgressions of their own. And God had scourged them, and
afflicted them for their own wickedness (not Adam's sin), unfit as a
nation, they were comparable to a man full of wounds and bruises
and putrefying sores, and still they would not reform; hence, by His
prophet, He asks, 'Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will
revolt more and more?" -- as much as to say: "I have sent fiery
serpents to bite you, by which thousands have died; I have allowed
you to go to war with the nations around you until multiplied
thousands have been slain in battle; and in various ways I have
chastened you as a father chasteneth his children; but all to no
purpose. Why should I afflict you further? it will only make you
worse and worse." "Your country is desolate; your cities are burned
with fire; your land strangers devour it in your presence, and it is
desolate as overthrown by strangers" -- thus clearly speaking of
national calamities that had befallen them as a nation. Not


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a word of allusion to Adam's sin or its consequences in the whole
connection.
We are next referred to the language of David -- Ps. lviii:1-8:
"Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge
uprightly, O ye sons of men? Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye
weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are
estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born,
speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are
like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear: which will not hearken to
the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely." Here, again, we
need only read the passage carefully to see that it can not apply to
infants at birth. In heart these work wickedness: children at birth do
not work wickedness.
The wicked are estranged from the womb: the theory says all
are wicked and estranged. They go astray as soon as they are
born -- speaking lies: the theory says they are born astray. These
persons spake lies: infants can not speak at all. Shall we hear David's
prayer for them? "Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth." Do
infants have teeth in their mouth at birth? He continues: "Break out
the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord. Let them melt away as
waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his
arrows, let them be as cut in pieces." Surely, this was a singular
prayer coming from David for the punishment and destruction of
infants!!! This was simply strong language used to describe the
wickedness of the congregation and judges mentioned in the first
verse!
We are next referred to the language of Paul to the Ephesians --
chap. ii:1-3: "And you hath be quickened who were dead in
trespasses and sins." This does not fit the theory, for then it should
read "dead in a trespass or


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sin." But how came their death? "Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the
power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of
disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in
times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh
and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as
others." This shows us clearly how their nature became corrupt,
which was by wicked works, or, as Paul expresses it, fulfilling the
desires of the flesh. Not a word about Adam's sin: they were dead in
their own sins.
But we are referred to Rom. v:12: ''Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon
all men, for that all have sinned." This passage does have reference
to Adam's sin and its consequences, but it falls very far short of
proving that all men, or even Adam, became totally depraved. David
sinned very grievously; yet his heart was perfect with the Lord his
God (1 Ks. xv:3), insomuch that he was a man after God's own
heart. (1 Sam. xiii:14; Acts xiii:22.) If his sin left his heart perfect
with God, how did a single sin of Adam totally deprave him and all
his posterity? If a man were to commit a crime worthy of death, and
were to have the sentence of death passed upon him, still all this
could not prove him totally depraved, opposed to all good, and
wholly inclined to all evil; he may have some good emotions yet.
Here we might safely dismiss the passage, having shown that it does
not prove that for which it is introduced; but can we learn the
meaning of it? The fact that almost every exponent of it has a theory
of his own, derived from it, is quite enough to prove the import of
it to be doubtful. A doubtful interpretation of an obscure passage
must not come in contact with a plain passage about the
meaning of which there can be no mistake.


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When the phrase "all have sinned" is interpreted to mean that the
whole race of man sinned in Adam, it seems to us a plain
contradiction of God's law, which says: "The soul that sinneth, it
shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither
shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the
righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall
be upon him." The theory says the children of Adam do bear his
iniquity, and his wickedness is not only on him, but also on them.
It is also antagonistic to John's definition of sin -- that "sin is the
transgression of the law;" and also with the fact seen already -- that
a transgression or act (for sin is an act) of one man can not be
transmitted to or become the act of another. We regard the passage
as clearly metonymical. The consequences of Adam's sin being
suffered by all, the sin is said to have been committed by all; the
consequences being put for the act. The apostle alludes to the sin of
Adam, as a consequence of which all suffer death in accordance
with the laws of their mortal nature inherited from Adam, they not
having fruit from the tree of life with which to counteract mortality
as Adam had before he sinned; and thus "death reigned from Adam
to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of
Adam's transgression." Ver. 14.
It is somewhat strange to us that those who profess to disbelieve
Universalism can believe that the death here spoken of is spiritual
death. If spiritual death passed upon all men because they all sinned
in Adam, then Universalism must be true; for the apostle goes on to
say: "If through the offense of one many be dead, much more the
grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus
Christ, hath abounded unto many." The grace of God and the gift by
grace has abounded to just as


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many through Christ, the last Adam, as are dead by the offense of
the first Adam; "therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came
upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one,
the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Ver. 18.
The same all who suffer by the offense of one, are made alive by the
righteousness of another. This is not only the teaching of Paul here,
but he communicates the same thought to his brethren at Corinth.
The fifteenth chapter of his first letter to them is devoted to the
resurrection of the dead, and in the 22d verse he has the following
very significant language: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive." As in Adam all die -- not died back yonder
in the garden, but die now in Adam. And who dies in Adam? All
men, most certainly. Even so in Christ shall the same all be made
alive: the infant and the aged, the wicked and the just, all die, and
their "dust returns to the earth as it was;" but when the trump of
God shall sound, they will be raised from the dead through
Christ -- "but every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." Ver. 23.
But we are sometimes told that if man is not guilty of Adam's
sin, then Christ's mission and death were useless. Surely, such
persons have very narrow views of the subject. How shall we escape
the punishment due us on account of our own sins? And how shall
we be raised from the dead only through Christ? It is nowhere said
in the word of the Lord that Christ died to save man from Adam's
sin; but we have abundant testimony proving that He came to save
man from his own sins. Joseph was told by the Lord to call the
infant Saviour Jesus, because He should save His people from their
sins, not Adam's sin. Peter commanded his hearers, when preaching
from Solomon's


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porch: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins
may be blotted out." It was their sins which were to be blotted out,
and not Adam's sin. God's promise, in the new covenant, to His
people was: "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
The new covenant made no provision for Adam's sin; therefore, if
God ever remembered it against His people under this covenant, He
is remembering it yet. Paul said to the Colossians, "You being dead
in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh." They were not
dead in Adam's sin, nor in the uncircumcision of his flesh. Under
the Jewish law, God made provisions for pardon of sins committed
against it, and He mentions many sins for which offerings were to be
made in a prescribed form; but He provided no remedy for Adam's
sin, nor did He ever speak of it as chargeable to the Jews. Surely, if
God has Adam's sin in remembrance against Adam's posterity, He
would have mentioned it somewhere, or in some dispensation made
provision for the pardon of it. Christ came, then, "who his own self
bare our sins in his own body on the tree;" but He came not only
that we might have pardon of our sins, but, as we have already seen,
that we may have a resurrection of the dead; hence, the language of
Paul: "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your
sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."
Surely, these are objects sufficiently important to invoke the mission
and sufferings of the Christ the Son of God -- salvation from sin, a
resurrection from the grave, and eternal life.
We come now to notice the practical bearing of the doctrine of
total depravity, as an effect of Adam's sin, upon the reception of the
gospel as the power of God unto salvation. The Presbyterian
Confession of Faith tells us that "Man, by his fall into sin, hath
wholly lost


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all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation ...
is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself or to prepare
himself thereunto." Chap. ix, sec. 3. Now, if the alien has lost all
ability of will to any spiritual good, it follows that he can not even
will or desire his own salvation. What can he do, then? Just nothing
at all! He is as passive as a block of marble in the hands of the
sculptor. But "when God converts a sinner, and translates him into
the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin,
and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that
which is spiritually good." Ibid, sec. 4. Thus we see that this theory
brings man into the world wholly defiled in all the faculties of soul
and body, opposed to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, not
even able to will any spiritual good accompanying salvation, until
God converts and translates him into the state of grace, so as to free
him from his natural bondage, and enable him freely to will and to
do that which is spiritually good. Then, if God never converts him
and he is finally lost, who is to blame for it? Surely, not man, for he
could not even will or desire his own salvation, or prepare himself
thereunto. Why did Christ command that the Gospel be preached
among all nations, and to every creature, promising salvation to
those who would believe and obey?", when He must have known,
if this theory be true, that they could neither believe nor obey
it? -- nay, they could not even so much as will or desire their
salvation, or any thing good connected therewith, to say nothing of
doing any thing to secure it. And why did He threaten them with
damnation if they did not believe it, when, according to the theory,
they have no more power to believe it than they have to make a
world?
We insist that the doctrine is too monstrously absurd to be
entertained by any one for a moment -- antagonistic to


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the whole tenor of God's word and the spirit of the Christian
religion -- alike dishonoring to God and destructive to man. And
when we remember that the world has been taught this doctrine for
centuries by the large majority of those who have spoken and writ-
ten concerning it, we are made to wonder, not that infidelity is
abroad in the land, but that there are not an hundred infidels where
there is one. God never, at any time, commanded man to do that
which he was unable to do; and the very fact that He commands
man to believe and obey Him, is evidence, high as heaven, that he
has the ability to do the things required of him. All things necessary
for man's salvation and happiness which he is unable to do for
himself, God has done or will do for him; but what he is able to do
for himself, God requires of him, and will not do for him. These
fundamental truths, however, we must leave the reader to amplify
for himself: we can not pursue this branch of our subject further at
present; though we have not exhausted it, we fear we may exhaust
his patience ere we get before him some remaining thoughts deemed
important to our investigation.
If God charged Adam's posterity with the guilt of his sin, we
wish to know when it was or will be, forgiven. Was it forgiven when
Jesus made the atonement? If so, the whole theory of man's present
guilt of that sin is destroyed, for he can not be guilty of a sin already
pardoned. Is it pardoned when man is pardoned for his own sins?
No, for the creed tells us that it remains through life in those who
are regenerated; and it also tells us that it is appointed unto all men
once to die, for that all have sinned. Surely, he would not yet have
to die for a sin that had been pardoned. Is it forgiven at death?
Where is the proof of it? And what are the conditions, if any, upon
which it is to be done? Or, if unconditionally pardoned,


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what are the means to accomplish it? Is it forgiven in the
intermediate state between death and the judgment? If so, why can
not all other sins be pardoned in that state? And if they can, why the
necessity of having them pardoned in this life? Is it pardoned at the
final judgment? If so, then we will be judged according to the deeds
done in Adam's body, and not every one according to the deeds
done in his own body. Is it not pardoned at all? Then, will the
Christian be damned for the guilt of Adam's sin after having been
pardoned for his own sins? If so, the sentence will not be, "Depart
from me, ye workers of iniquity," but, "Depart from me, all ye that
have washed your robes, and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb." Though your sins have all been canceled from the book of
God's remembrance, in accordance with the provisions of the new
covenant, and though your righteousness is as robes of linen clean
and white, there is one sin which, though not committed by you, is
imputed to, or charged against you, for which you must go with the
devil, that deceived you in Adam, into the lake of fire and
brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, where you
shall be tormented day and night forever and ever. Or, if he does not
go to hell on account of it, will he go to heaven with it still charged
against him with a nature totally depraved, wholly opposed to all
good, and inclined to all evil? We most confidently deny that any
one of Adam's posterity ever has been or will be sent to hell for
Adam's sin. As we have stated more than once, all die as a
consequence of it, and through Christ will be raised from the dead.
Those who are intelligent, and therefore responsible, and who have
heartily accepted and complied with the terms of pardon for their
own sins, as offered them in the Gospel through Christ, will be
raised to the enjoyment of life


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eternal. Here they will gain even more in Christ than they lost in
Adam. As saith the poet:
"In him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost."
They exchange not only temporal for eternal life, but they ex-
change mortal for immortal bodies, and for the first time will they
have put on immortality. Having done the commandments, they will
have a right to the tree of life, and will enter through the gates into
the city. In these immortal and spiritual bodies they will not again
be subject to temptation and sin. The devil, who seduced Adam, will
not be there; but they will have the society of God their Father,
Jesus their elder brother, and, as saints of the Most High, they will
join the angelic host in praising God and the Lamb forever and ever
"There pain and sickness never come,
And grief no place obtains;
Health triumphs in immortal bloom,
And endless pleasure reigns!
No cloud these blissful regions know,
For ever bright and fair!
For sin, the source of every woe,
Can never enter there.
There no alternate night is known,
Nor sun's faint sickly ray;
But glory from the sacred throne
Spreads everlasting day."
But what of the wicked? "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive." The wicked die as a consequence of Adam's
sin, without their volition or agency; so, without their volition or
agency, they will be raised from death through the merits of the
resurrection of Jesus the Christ; but not to life eternal: "These shall
go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into


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life eternal." They will be judged, every man according to his works,
not Adam's works. They will be judged, not for his sin, because
they are not, never have been, nor can they ever be, guilty of it, but
for their own sins of which they are guilty. And having refused the
terms of pardon offered them in the gospel, by which they might
have been pardoned, they will be condemned: "The fearful, and
unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have
their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." And
how long will this awful inheritance be theirs? "They shall be
tormented day and night forever and ever." O! friendly sinner, is this
to be thy final doom?
"What could your redeemer do
More than he has done for you?
To procure your peace with God,
Could he more than shed his blood?
After all this flow of love,
All his drawings from above,
Why will you your Lord deny?
Why will you resolve to die?"
But there is yet another class. Infants, idiots, and other
irresponsible persons, die as a consequence of Adam's transgression,
and will be raised from the dead by the same power and through the
same means employed in the resurrection of others. We have seen
that sin is the violation of law; and as they have never been subject
to any law requiring any obedience of them, it follows that they
have violated no law, and are hence without sins of their own. And
as Adam's sin was not committed by, and therefore never charged to
them, there is no sin for which they need forgiveness, and, therefore,
for which they may be condemned to endless punishment. Jesus
said, "Of


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such is the kingdom of God," and required others to be converted
and become as they are, in order to enter it; therefore if their purity
of heart and innocence of character were such as to constitute the
standard of purity for those who would enter the kingdom of God
on earth, we think they will scarcely be refused admittance into
heaven by the same adorable Son of God, who pronounced
blessings on them here. In coming from the dead however, they will
exchange their natural, mortal bodies for spiritual, immortal bodies,
and will be thus prepared to enter
"Where the saints of all ages in harmony meet,
Their Saviour and brethren transported to greet;
While the anthems of rapture unceasingly roll
And the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul."


CHAPTER VI
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH

It will be admitted by all that God has an organized government
on the earth. This government is variously called in the
New Testament "the kingdom of God," "the kingdom of heaven,"
"the kingdom of God's dear Son," "church of God," "the body of
Christ," etc. We do not mean to say that the phrases "kingdom of
God" and "the kingdom of heaven" always mean the same
thing -- namely, the church in all its parts; on the contrary, they
frequently occur, especially in the parables of the Saviour, when
only a particular feature or constituent part of the kingdom is
indicated. A few examples illustrative of this position may be
examined with profit. Jesus said:
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matt. xix:24.
"Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the
children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. viii:11, 12.
These passages with others which we might give, have manifest
reference to the kingdom of ultimate glory. On another occasion,
Jesus said: "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
neither shall they say, Lo here!


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or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is among you." Luke
xvii:20, 21. This, with other passages which we might give, had
reference to Jesus as King, who had come not with pride,
ostentation, and show, but was then among them.
In the parable of the sower and the seed, a record of which we
have in Matt. xiii, the gospel, as the law of induction into and
government for those in the kingdom, is the feature represented. The
parable of the tares and the parable of the fisher's net, found in the
same chapter, have reference to the character of those in the
kingdom, some of whom were good and others bad.
The parable of the mustard-seed and the parable of the leaven
hid in three measures of meal, refer to the growth or extension of
the kingdom.
With one example from Paul, we close these illustrations. He
says: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Rom. xiv:17. Here the words
"kingdom of God" refer to the characteristics of those in the
kingdom. Other examples might be given, but these are quite
sufficient to show that, while the phrases "kingdom of God" and
"kingdom of heaven" are sometimes synonymous with church, they
must not always be so understood.
As respects law, the church is truly a kingdom -- an absolute
monarchy. All its laws emanate from the King, and its subjects have
no part in making them. There is no representative democracy
connected with it. No council, convention, or legislative assembly
has power or authority to abolish, alter, or amend them. It is a
kingdom, not a republic. As respects organization, it is called a
body, of which Christ is the head, all its subjects are members, and
in which dwells the Spirit, by which it is vitalized or kept alive, and
without which it would become a dead body.


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As respects relationship to the world, it is fitly called the
church -- "ecclesia," or called out of the world, and is, therefore, not
of the world. It was set up, established, organized, begun on earth,
in the city of Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost, by the authority of
the Lord Jesus Christ, under the immediate agency of the apostles,
guided by the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit. A brief
examination of the teaching of the Scriptures on this subject is
important to the development of "the gospel as the power of God
unto salvation," and will repay the attentive reader.
That we may properly appreciate the importance of arriving at
truth on this subject, it may not be amiss to state that there are
several theories differing from each other with regard to the time
when this kingdom was set up, each one of which has its own
doctrines growing out of its own theory. And if we are correct in the
proposition stated as to time and place, it follows that all theories
setting up the kingdom, organizing the body, or beginning the
proclamation of the gospel, and laying, first, the foundation of the
church at any other time or place, are not only wrong, but all
doctrines growing out of such theories are false. And if we succeed
in uprooting the trunk, all the branches drawing support from the
parent trunk fall with it. To be more specific: One theory begins the
church in an eternal covenant, as its advocates call it, which is
supposed to have been entered into between God and His Son
before the foundation of the world was laid. It is assumed that in
this covenant the salvation of the elect was unconditionally secured,
and the balance of the human race consigned to eternal misery. If
God and His Son were the contracting parties to the covenant, and
the final destiny of man, the consideration about which the covenant
was made, is it not passingly strange that the devil should be the
largest beneficiary? He was not represented in


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the covenant at all, unless God represented him, or acted as his
proxy. We are told that few go in at the strait gate, while many go
the broad road and enter in at the wide gate that leadeth to
destruction. If this be the result of such a covenant, why was God so
liberal to the devil and so illiberal to His Son? But we do not
propose to discuss these theories here: we call the attention of the
reader to them, at the threshold of our investigation, for the purpose
of awakening attention to the importance of arriving at the truth in
the premises. Passing from this theory, then, there is another which
establishes the kingdom or church of God in the family of Abraham.
The advocates of this theory insist that, as infants were included in
the provisions of the covenant made by God with Abraham, they are
in the church now, and hence comes the doctrine of infant church
membership. They further assume that baptism came in the room
of circumcision, and, as infants were then circumcised, they must
now be baptized; and thus some of them think they have Divine
authority for infant baptism -- which will be considered in due time.
Others set up the kingdom in the days of John the Baptist; hence
the name "Baptist Church," etc. Thus we see that the time when the
kingdom of God was set up on the earth is a most important
matter -- one that, rightly understood, would tend much to heal the
wounds in the body caused by the many unfortunate divisions
among those professing to be the people of God.
It is said: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of
Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
in the day when 1 took them by the hand to lead them out of the
land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I
regarded them not, saith the Lord." Heb. viii:8, 9. Then we need not


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look to the covenant made at the time of the deliverance of God's
people from Egyptian bondage for the beginning of the covenant
under which the church of our day was established. It was to be a
new covenant, and not according to that one. It was to be "a more
excellent ministry" -- "a covenant which was established upon better
promises." Ver. 6. And wherein was it a better covenant? The old
was "a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both
gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service
perfect as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats
and drinks, and divers washings and carnal ordinances, imposed on
them until the time of reformation." Chap. ix:9, 10. "But in those
sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year; for
it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take
away sins." Chap. x:3, 4. But "in that he saith, A new covenant, he
hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is
ready to vanish away." This old covenant was ready to vanish away
and give place to the new one. And what were to be its provisions?
"This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after
those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws in their mind, and
write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they
shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his
neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all
shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful
to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I
remember no more." Heb. viii:10-12. Under the old covenant, sins
were only pardoned a year at a time, and thus were remembered
again; but, under the new and better covenant, God has promised to
be merciful to their unrighteousness, and sins and iniquities once
pardoned are to be remembered no more.


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But we did not come here to follow out the superior advantages
of one and the disadvantages of the other, but to learn -- as we think
we have -- that we live, not under the same covenant that was made
with the Jews, under which they offered sacrifices according to the
law, but under a new covenant, superior in its provisions to the old.
We have now arrived at the proper point to look for the beginning
of this new and better order of things.
During the time the Jews were held captive by Nebuchadnezzar,
king of Babylon, God made known to him, in a dream -- which was
interpreted by Daniel, one of the Jewish captives -- certain great
national changes that were to take place, in which were foretold the
destruction of his own government and three others which were to
consecutively arise after it; and finally the establishment of the
kingdom of God, which was never to be destroyed, but was to fill
the whole earth and stand forever. As these kingdoms were to
succeed each other in regular chronological order, we have only to
follow them up and see the rise and fall of each, noting carefully the
dates as we proceed, in order to see when God established His
kingdom.
For a full account of this remarkable revelation from God, the
reader is referred to the whole of the second chapter of Daniel. We
have only room to transcribe the dream, and the interpretation of it,
contained in the 31st to the 45th verse, inclusive:
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold, a great image whose
brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof
was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his
arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his
feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was
cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet, that
were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces. Then


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was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to
pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing
floors, and the wind carried them away; that no place was found for
them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain,
and filled the whole earth. This is the dream, and we will tell the
interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of
kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and
strength, and glory; and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the
beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into
thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this
head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to
thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over
all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron;
forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as
iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And
whereas thou sawest the feet and toes part of potter's clay and part
of iron: the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the
strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with
the miry clay: and as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part
of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken.
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with the miry clay, they shall
mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave
one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days
of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall
never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms,
and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone
was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in
pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver and the gold; the


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great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass
hereafter: and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof
sure."
Now, it will be observed that the Lord here tells Nebuchadnezzar
that he was the head of gold. This kingdom embraced the
countries of Chaldea, Assyria, Syria, Arabia, and Palestine, and
ended with the death of Belshazzar, B.C. 538 years, when it was
overthrown by Cyrus, king of Persia, and Darius, king of Media.
These two kings were kinsmen; and after they had thus broken up
the Chaldean or Babylonian empire, the government assumed the
name of the Medo-Persian kingdom, that was represented by the
breast and arms of the image, and was the second government in
numerical or chronological order. It began, as we have seen, 538
years B.C., and was overthrown by Alexander (son of Philip), king
of Macedon, B.C. 331 years. But he died B.C. 323 years, having
reigned only a little more than seven years. But as the Macedonian
empire is represented by the belly and thighs of the image, we must
look for a division in it. Hence, after the death of Alexander, his
government became divided among his generals. Cassander had
Macedon and Greece; Lysimachus had Thrace and those parts of
Asia which lay on the Hellespont and Bosphorus; Ptolemy had
Egypt, Lybia, Arabia, Palestine, and Syria; Seleucus had Babylon,
Media, Persia, Susiana, Assyria, Bactria, Hyrcania, and all other
provinces, even to the Ganges. Thus this empire founded on the
ruins of the Medo-Persian "had rule over all the earth." But as the
thighs of brass in the image represent the divided state of the empire,
the above four divisions are soon merged into two, viz: those of the
Lagidae and Seleucidae, reigning in Egypt and Syria. A distinguished
historian says: "Their kingdom was no more a different
kingdom than the parts differ from the whole. It


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was the same government still continued. They who governed were
still Macedonians."
When did these thighs end? In the year B.C. 30, Octavius
Caesar overturned the Lagidae, and Egypt, one of the thighs,
became a Roman province. Not many years after this (we have
forgotten the date; our pencil notes here have become dim, and we
have not the history by us just now to which to refer), Pompey
overthrew the Seleucidae, dethroned Antiochus, and thus Syria, the
other thigh, became a Roman province. Thus we find the Roman
government succeeded the Macedonian, and is evidently the fourth
kingdom represented by the feet and toes of the image that stood
before Nebuchadnezzar, composed of iron and clay.
Without going into a minute application of the Scriptures to
each of these governments, it is sufficient for our present purpose to
show, as we think we have done, that these governments did, in their
order, overthrow and succeed each other. Then, as they are
numbered first, second, third, and fourth in the interpretation given
by Daniel, it is certain that they, following in that numerical order,
and each one consuming its predecessor, are the kingdoms indicated.
And as they all merged into the Roman government thirty years
before the coming of Christ, it follows that some time after that
period, and during the existence of the Roman government, we
may look for the God of heaven to set up a kingdom.
We can not go back behind the date of this dream to look for
the kingdom, for it was to smite the image on its feet -- that is, it was
to be set up during the existence of and come in contact with the
government represented by the feet. And Daniel tells
Nebuchadnezzar that the whole affair was designed to make "known to
the king what shall come to pass hereafter" -- not before the
foundation of the world, or in the days of Abraham, but hereafter.


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As this prophecy brings us down to within thirty years of the
coming of Christ to establish the government -- in the time of which
the kingdom of heaven was set up -- we may expect the harbinger of
the Saviour soon to commence preaching about it Accordingly,
Matthew says: "In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the
wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand." Matt. iii:1, 2. Here we find John announcing the
near approach of the kingdom for the origin of which we have been
looking. But we are sometimes told that John set up the kingdom
himself. Let us hear the Saviour on this point. After John was cast
into prison, and his labors were at an end, Jesus taught his disciples
to pray as follows: "Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy
name. Thy kingdom come," etc. Matt. vi:10. Would Jesus have
instructed his disciples to pray for the kingdom to come if it had
already come? It is true, many repeat this petition now who believe
that the kingdom has long since come; but surely such persons think
little about what they are saying. Like the schoolboy, they find it in
their lesson and must repeat it. We may pray for the kingdom to be
advanced in the earth, but we can not pray for it to come after it has
come, any more than we may pray for God to send down the Spirit,
since it was sent from heaven to the earth on the day of Pentecost,
and has been here ever since. Once more: When John heard of Jesus,
he sent to Him to know if He were the Christ, or whether he should
look for another. After Jesus had answered and sent the messengers
away, He said to those around Him: "verily I say unto you, Among
them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than
John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of
heaven is greater than he." Matt. xi:11. Then, as he that was least in
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John, it follows that He was not in it; and surely He did not set up
the kingdom and fail to enter it himself. Nor were the disciples of
Jesus, though they had left all and followed Him, in the kingdom,
for He once rebuked them, saying: "Verily I say unto you, Except ye
be converted and become as a little child, ye shall not enter into the
kingdom of heaven." Matt. xviii:3. He did not say, "Except ye be
converted, etc., you shall be turned out of the kingdom," but, "ye
shall not enter" it -- clearly showing that they were not then in it,
which surely they would have been had it then existed. They were
to seek the kingdom (Luke xii:31), for it was the Father's good
pleasure to give it to them (ver. 32). Persons do not seek for that
which they already have, but may seek for that which is to be given
or has been promised to them. As the kingdom had been promised
to them, and they were still to seek it, we conclude that it did not
then exist.
But we are not done with the Saviour's teaching on this point
yet. When He sent forth the twelve apostles, under their restricted
commission, He told them what to preach; and it is worthy of
remark that the language is, verbatim, the same as that used by
John -- "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. x:7. When He
sent out the seventy, He gave them, in substance, the same
message -- "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Luke x:9.
Now, it is very apparent that the object of all this teaching was to let
the people know that the kingdom was approaching, that they might
be prepared for it when it came. But when He came into the coasts
of Caesarea Philippi, and learned, by inquiry, what was said of Him,
and Peter confessed Him as "the Christ, the Son of the living God,"
He said to Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my church." Matt.
xvi:18. This language is too plain to admit of doubt. There would be
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my house in a certain place" if it had been built long years before;
and there would have been just as little sense in the language used
by the Saviour if He had intended to teach that His church or
kingdom had been built prior to that time. Thus we must press our
investigations still further -- its erection is still later than the time He
used this language.
Six days before His transfiguration He said: "Verily I say unto
you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not
taste of death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with
power." Mark ix:1. Here we not only find Him teaching that the
coming of the kingdom was yet future, but that it would come in the
life-time of those then living. But later -- when Jesus instituted the
Supper -- He said: "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of
the vine until the kingdom of God shall come." Luke xxii:18. Thus
we see that near the end of the Saviour's sojourn on the earth He
still taught the people to look ahead for the coming of the kingdom;
and we next propose to show that those to whom He spake so
understood His teaching: "And as they heard these things, He added
and spake a parable, because He was nigh unto Jerusalem, and
because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately
appear." Luke xix:11. Thus we see they understood it was yet future,
but thought its approach nearer than it really was. Coming down,
now, to the time of His death, "Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable
counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came and
went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus." Mark
xv:43; Luke xxiii:51. Here was a man of capacity to understand the
Saviour's teaching, who waited for the kingdom to come even after
the Saviour was dead. Surely, he was not waiting for that which had
already come.


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Let us next examine a prediction made by the prophets: "And
it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's
house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be
exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many
people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain
of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us
of his ways, and we will walk in his path: for out of Zion shall go
forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Isa. ii:2, 3.
This very interesting prophecy was uttered by Micah (chap. iv:1, 2),
in very nearly the same words: "But in the last days it shall come to
pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established
in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills;
and the people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come and
say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the
house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we
will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the
word of the Lord from Jerusalem." This prophecy gives us to know
that the establishment of the mountain of the Lord's house was to
take place in the last days; and we can see no other last days that
could have been intended, only the last days of the Jewish
dispensation -- the last days of that covenant which Paul tells us had
waxed old and was ready to vanish away.
But we get another important item of information from this
prophecy; and for the sake of it, we have delayed the introduction
of the whole, until the mind of the reader was prepared for it. The
word of the Lord was to go forth from Jerusalem. Hence, when
Jesus was instructing and preparing His apostles for the
establishment of His kingdom, "He said unto them, Thus it is
written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the
dead the


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third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be
preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Luke xxiv:46, 47. Jerusalem is the place from which the word of the
Lord was to go forth, and it consisted in preaching repentance and
remission of sins among all nations, and this was to begin there.
Jerusalem is the place, beyond the possibility of a doubt.
But to establish a kingdom, there must be persons duly
qualified for the work; hence Jesus, at the beginning of His personal
ministry, selected twelve men and took them under His immediate
care, and for three years and a half instructed them in the work they
were to perform -- not only so, but He selected one of them to lead
off as foreman, in the opening of His kingdom, and said to him:
"Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give thee the keys
of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth
shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth,
shall be loosed in heaven." To Peter, then, was given the exalted
privilege of first opening the kingdom, with power to bind and to
loose on the earth, with the assurance that his act would be
recognized in heaven. Notwithstanding Peter had been a constant
attendant upon the teaching of the Saviour, this work was too
important to be entrusted to unaided human frailty -- man is
imperfect and forgetful: an important item of instruction given by the
Lord might be forgotten by Peter when the final destiny of the
human race trembled in awful suspense upon his decision -- hence
says the Saviour: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all
things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have
said unto you." John xiv:26. Thus he is secured against the frailties
and imperfections


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of human recollection. But operations are to begin at
Jerusalem; therefore he must go there and wait the time appointed
of the Father; hence Jesus says to him, with the other apostles:
"Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in
the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
Luke xxiv:49. "Jerusalem is the place you are to begin, Peter;
therefore go there, and wait for the coronation of Jesus Christ as
King of the kingdom to be set up; then He will send you the
promised aid from on high." Shall we go with him to the appointed
place and wait the developments of the time when Jesus is crowned
King of kings and Lord of lords? Without a king there can not be a
kingdom. "He led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his
hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, that while he blessed
them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." Luke
xxiv:50, 51. Angelic hosts escort Him to the throne appointed of His
Father. On nearing the portals of the skies, His attendants demand
admittance, saying: "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted
up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."
Before the porters of heaven admit the parties demanding entrance,
they ask, "Who is the King of glory?" The attendants answer, "The
Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." And again the
demand is repeated: "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them
up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Then
the question again comes from within, "Who is the King of glory?"
and the same announcement is made: "The Lord of hosts, he is the
King of glory." Ps. xxiv. He is admitted, crowned King -- angels,
principalities, and powers are made subject to Him. The Holy Spirit
is dispatched with the joyful tidings from heaven to Jerusalem --
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filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance." Acts ii:4. And what did they say?
Here is Peter, the proper person, at Jerusalem, the proper place; and
Jesus, as King, is on His throne -- surely, all things are ready now.
Among other things, Peter said: "Therefore being by the right hand
of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the
Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For
David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The
Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy
foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know
assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have
crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts ii:33-36. Here, for the first
time, is the grand fact announced to the denizens of earth -- that
Jesus reigns in the kingdom of heaven. Persons ask admittance: Peter
uses the keys of the kingdom; they enter and are added to them.
Them! who? The disciples -- the hundred and twenty. After this, the
church being organized, the "Lord was adding daily those that were
being saved."* If, prior to this time, the kingdom had been in
existence, it would have been a kingdom without a king, for Jesus
was not then crowned King -- "the Holy Ghost was not yet given
(John vii:39); because that Jesus was not yet glorified." Then, if the
"body, which is the church" (Col. i:24), had existed prior to the
glorification of Jesus, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, it would
have been a body without a spirit, and therefore a dead body, as
"the body without the spirit is dead." Jas. ii:26. Again: "He is the
head of the body, the church." Col. i:18. When did he become the
head of the body? "The eyes of your understanding
_____________
*Twofold New Testament, by T. S. Green -- Acts ii:47.


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being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of your
calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the
saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward
who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which
he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him
at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality,
and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named,
not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath
put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things
to the church." Eph. i:18-22. Then, as He was never given to be the
head of the church until He was set at His Father's right hand, and
obtained His exalted name, it follows that, if the church or body
existed prior to that time, it was a body without a head. And for the
very same reason, if the kingdom, church, or body was not then set
up, Jesus was a king without a kingdom, and a head without a body,
and the Spirit was upon the earth without a habitation or dwelling-
place.
One more point, and we are done on this branch of the subject.
When Peter was making his defense before his brethren, for going
down to the house of Cornelius -- in speaking of the events that
occurred there, he says: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost
fell on them, as on us at the beginning." Acts xi:15. Here we have
the very word beginning, referring to the time when the Holy Ghost
fell on the disciples on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost fell on
them on that day, and Peter refers to it as at the beginning.
Beginning of what? Let him who thinks the kingdom or church
began some time prior to the day of Pentecost, tell us what
beginning is here referred to.
Prior to the day of Pentecost the church was always spoken of
as a thing of the future; subsequently it was


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spoken of as having a real existence. John, Jesus, and the disciples
preached that it was at hand. We have seen that Jesus taught His
disciples to pray for it to come -- said He would build it -- that it
would come in the life-time of those present. After that day, Luke
says "great fear came upon all the church" Acts v:11. "There was a
great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem." Acts
viii:1. "Tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church
which was in Jerusalem." Acts xi:22. "A whole year they assembled
themselves with the church and taught much people." Ver. 26. Paul
addressed his letters to "the church of God at Corinth." 1 Cor. i:2;
2 Cor. i:1. And he said: "God is not the author of confusion, but of
peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Let your women keep
silence in the churches." 1 Cor. xiv:33, 34. He admonished them to
"give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to
the church of God." 1 Cor. x:32. "If any man seem to be
contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God."
1 Cor. xi:16. "I persecuted the church of God." 1 Cor. xv:9; Gal.
i:13. These passages, with others which we might present, show that
after Pentecost the church was spoken of as a thing of real
existence. Why this difference in the phraseology of the New
Testament before and after that day? If the church existed before
Pentecost, why was it not spoken of in the same way it was
afterward? Before that day, Jesus charged Peter to feed His
lambs -- feed His sheep (John xxi:15, 16); after that time, Paul
exhorted the elders "to feed the church of God." Acts xx:28. Before
the day of Pentecost, Jesus said, "On this rock I will build my
church;" after that day, Paul told the church at Corinth that it was
"God's building" (1 Cor. iii:9) -- "the temple of God." Ver. 16.
Before Pentecost, Jesus said to the disciples that, unless they were
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they should not enter into the kingdom (Matt. xviii:3); but
after that, Paul told the disciples that they had been translated into
the kingdom. (Col. i:12). Why were the disciples spoken of as
having to enter the kingdom before Pentecost, but as in it
afterward? These distinctions might be greatly multiplied, but
enough has been presented to show a difference in style inexplicable
upon any other hypothesis than that the church began on the day of
Pentecost, and was therefore spoken of as a thing future before that
day, but as an existing organization afterward.
We are not unaware that there are scriptures which seem to
indicate the existence of the kingdom at the time Jesus was
personally on the earth; but we take it to be an inflexible rule of
biblical interpretation that no obscure passage must be so construed
as to come in contact with a principle, doctrine, or fact clearly
taught elsewhere. The Bible must be harmonious in all its teaching,
otherwise it can not be of God. Hence we need not seek a theory
contradicting any thing so clearly taught as is the fact that the
church of God began on the earth, in Jerusalem, on the first
Pentecost after the crucifixion of Jesus. Such efforts are much more
likely to make skeptics than Christians of the untaught.
Before the temple was built by Solomon, all the material was so
prepared that when every piece was placed in its position the
building was complete without the sound of a hammer in its
construction. All parties agree that this was typical of the church of
God. If so, we may expect to find materiel prepared for the Christian
temple before its erection. John began the preparation of this
material, Jesus completed it. John preached the baptism of
repentance for the remission of sins (Mark i:4), and the sins of those
who complied with the terms imposed were remitted, in accordance
with the gospel preached by him.


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When he was cast into prison and his ministry ceased, that of Jesus
began (Matt. iv:12-17); hence, in this respect, the ministry of Jesus
was but a continuance of the preparatory ministry begun by John.
While Jesus did many things which John could not do, their
preaching, in this respect, was the same. Jesus established His claims
to be King -- gave laws for the establishment and government of His
church -- qualified men to organize it -- entered heaven with His
blood, where He made the atonement for the world -- was crowned
King, and sent the Holy Spirit with the news of His coronation --
thus perfecting the preparations for the building of His
temple. The builders, guided by the Holy Spirit, put the material in
position and the spiritual temple stood forth. As the material which
composed the temple of Solomon was prepared before it was placed
together, so the material which first constituted the temple of God
was made ready by John and Jesus for position in it. Hence it existed
in its materials before the day of Pentecost; but, as an organic
structure before that time, it had no existence.
We could give much testimony from learned men who differ
from us on other matters, yet agree with us here. In Smith's
Dictionary of the Bible, article CHURCH, we find the following
paragraph:
"From the gospels we learn little in the way of detail as to the
kingdom which was to be established. It was in the great forty days
which intervened between the resurrection and the ascension that
our Lord explained specifically to his apostles the things pertaining
to the kingdom of God (Acts i:3); that is, His future church. Its
origin: -- The removal of Christ from the earth had left His followers
a shattered company, with no bond of external or internal cohesion,
except the memory of the Master whom they had lost, and the
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to unity and love, together with the occasional glimpses of His
presence which were vouchsafed them. They continued together,
meeting for prayer and supplication, and waiting for Christ's promise
of the gift of the Holy Ghost. They numbered in all some 140
persons -- namely, the eleven, the faithful women, the Lord's mother,
his brethren, and 120 disciples. They had faith to believe that there
was a work before them which they were about to be called to
perform, and, that they might be ready to do it, they filled up the
number of the twelve by the appointment of Matthias 'to be a true
witness,' with the eleven, 'of the resurrection.' The day of Pentecost
is the birthday of the Christian church. The Spirit, who was then
sent by the Son from the Father, and rested on each of the disciples,
combined them once more into a whole -- combined them as they
never had been before combined, by an internal and spiritual bond
of cohesion. Before, they had been individual followers of Jesus;
now they became his mystical body, animated by his Spirit."


CHAPTER VII
THE IDENTITY OF THE CHURCH

We have found that the Church of God was organized in the
city of Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost; and it is worthy
of note that all the forms of speech used to indicate it are in the
singular number; thus: "kingdom of heaven," "kingdom of God;"
"kingdom of his dear Son," "church of God," "household of faith,"
"house of God," "the pillar and ground of the truth," "the body,"
"temple of God," etc., etc. Where the word churches occurs in the
plural number, it has reference to the congregations worshiping at
particular places, and not to the kingdom, body, or church, which
has been the object of our search. Paul tells his Ephesian brethren
that "there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one
hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and
Father of all." Eph. iv:4-6. The connection in which we here have
the phrase "one body" as clearly shows that there is but one body
as does the phrase "one God" show that there is but one God. But,
in Rom. xii:4, 5, we are told that, "as we have many members in one
body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many,
are one body in Christ." And again: "But now are they many
members, yet but one body." 1 Cor. xii:20. Thus we see that
language can not more clearly indicate any thing than that Christ has
but one organized body on the earth. What constitutes


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this one body? What is this one body? With reference to
Christ, Paul says "he is the head of the body, the church." Col. i:18.
And again, verse 24, he says: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for
you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in
my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." Here we are
expressly told that the body is the church. Once more: "And hath put
all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things
to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in
all." Eph. i:22, 23. Here the order is reversed -- the church is His
body. Then the church and body are the same, and are used inter-
changeably; but the unity of thought is quite apparent. "The body,"
"the church" -- not a church, some church, or any church, but THE
CHURCH. There being but one body, and that being the church, it
follows that there is but one church. Then if, in kindness, we may
be plain and candid, without being offensive, we would like to
inquire how it comes to pass that there is a Catholic Church, an
Episcopalian Church, several kinds of Presbyterian Churches,
several kinds of Methodist Churches, several kinds of Baptist
Churches, etc., etc., each claiming Divine authority for its existence,
and yet all acknowledging the Bible to be true, and an infallible
rule of faith and practice. Is there not something wrong here? We
hear Paul addressing "the church of God at Corinth," but he never
speaks to or instructs the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist
Church, the Baptist Church; nor does he ever address any class of
persons as a church at all, only those who compose the one body,
or kingdom, of which Christ is the Head and King.
But we are told that these sectarian organizations are branches
of the one church, or body, of which Paul speaks. This makes the
matter no better, but rather worse.


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Paul nowhere addresses the Presbyterian branch of the church, the
Methodist branch of the church, or the Baptist branch of the
church. In order to sensibly speak of branches of the church, one of
three figures must be before the mind, viz.: a tree with trunk and
branches, a vine with its stem and branches, or a stream with its
tributaries. A tree and its branches and a vine and its branches are
so nearly alike in their illustrative character, that we may consider
them together, while we see if either or both of them will symbolize
the church. When did these branch organizations shoot forth? We
do not know that we can correctly date the origin of all of them; nor
is it necessary that we should go back to the beginning of the Roman
Catholic and Greek Churches; for those who advocate the branch
church doctrine do not admit these to be sister branches with them
at all. According to history, the
Episcopal Church began about the year 1521.
Presbyterianism began about the year 1537.
Scotch Presbyterianism about the year 1558.
English Presbyterianism about the year 1572.
Baptistism began about the year 1611.
Quakerism began about the year 1655.
Methodism began about the year 1729.
Secederism began about the year 1733.
Cumberland Presbyterianism, according to Burder, began on
Cumberland River about the year 1810.
The church of God began in Jerusalem about the year 33.
We believe these embrace the most prominent organizations of
this country, and we see that we can not get a single one, except the
church of God, further back than the sixteenth century. Was the
church without branches for the first fifteen hundred years of its
existence? and did she bring no fruit during that time? Neither tree
nor


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vine can maintain its life and bring forth fruit without branches; yet
if these organizations are the branches, then it follows that the
church was a branchless, fruitless, lifeless thing until they came into
being. Since then, in one-third of that time, it has put forth a host of
branches, and branches of branches, and branches of branches of
branches, until they have become so thick that we are inclined to
think that the pruning-hook is necessary. Each of the branches
differs in constitution, character, and fruit from all the others. Such
a tree! such a tree!! What a monstrosity!!! A tree bearing apples,
pears, peaches, apricots, quinces, plums, cherries, berries, nuts of all
kinds, "hard-shell" and soft, melons, pumpkins, squashes, etc., etc.,
and yet all come from the same "incorruptible seed" -- the word of
God! Strange as such a sight would appear, it would take a tree with
more different kinds of branches and fruits than we have mentioned
to represent the church of God, if it has as many branch churches
growing out of it as there are denominations claiming to be branches
of it at present. But we may be told that this variety was produced
by grafting. If so, the grafting was not done by Paul, nor in
accordance with his formula; for he speaks of branches which were
"cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted
contrary to nature into a good olive tree." Rom. xi:24. Naturally,
branches bear fruit like that of the tree from which they were taken,
but Paul's grafts bore fruit contrary to nature, like the natural
branches of the tree into which his grafts were inserted, they were
taken from the world, and were ingrafted into Christ, the true
Vine -- made members of his body, or church; and, whether they
were Jews or Gentiles, Christianity, or pure and undefiled religion,
was the fruit. Therefore, if these sectarian parties were grafted
branches of the one church of God, they would all partake of its


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"root and fatness," and there would be no difference in them or their
fruit. One could not bear sprinkling as baptism, another pouring,
another immersion, another all three, and another none at all;
another, vicarious atonement, total hereditary depravity, abstract
spiritual operations, unconditional election and reprobation, and
many other doctrines differing as widely as these do.
Once more: Men usually take branches for grafting from other
trees than the one into which they are to be inserted. It is true, Paul
tells us that these natural branches that were broken off because of
unbelief, might be grafted in again if they abode not in unbelief; but
when they were broken off they were as foreign as the unnatural
branches. Then, as the one church of God is supposed to be made
up of these branch churches, where is the trunk into which they
were grafted? and where is the tree from which they were taken
before grafting? Is this great church tree all branches? and from what
church were these branch churches taken before grafting? These
branches are churches, according to the theory, and not
individuals. Then whence came they? They were not taken from the
church of God, for there would be no use in taking a branch from a
tree and grafting it back into the same tree. Then from what tree or
vine were they taken? or, to speak without a figure, from what
church did these branches come, before they became part and parcel
of the church made up of them? It will not do to say they were taken
from the world, for they came from there as individuals, not as
organizations.
And if we look at it under the figure of a great stream and its
branches or tributaries, the same difficulties are in the way. As these
organizations are branches, where is the main stream into which
they flow? and where are the fountains whence they come? They
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the Fountain of living water; for all the branches making up a great
stream come not from the same spring, for then they would be a unit
from the first, and there could be no branches at all. Then, if they
come not from the inexhaustible fountain of the human
imagination, we know not their source. Let us go to Christ, whence
flows the pure, limpid stream of living water, of which he who
drinks shall thirst no more, but have a well of water springing up in
him unto eternal life.
But we do read of branches, and we will now try to find what
a branch is. Jesus says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." John
xv:5. Here, Jesus speaks of his disciples as branches of Him, and in
Him. "Abide in me," says He, verse 4. Paul speaks of himself and
brethren as having been "baptized into Christ." Rom. vi:3. His
baptism did not give him a literal entrance into Christ, but it gave
him entrance into His body, or the body organized by His authority,
by which a relationship was created like that of a vine and its
branches, or a body and its members. The same writer tells us that
"by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." 1 Cor. xii:13. By
the authority and according to the teaching of one Spirit we are all
baptized in water into one body, or church, and become members
of it; and when speaking to the Romans, with regard to the same
relationship, he says, by baptism we enter into Christ; and thus
individuals, as such, become branches of Him, the true Vine; but an
organized body of persons or an organized church can not, as such,
be termed a branch of the one body, or church, of God. If any one
insists that it can, then we would gladly see the scriptural process by
which such a relationship is created. We are profoundly ignorant of
any such instructions, as well as any precedent or authority of any
kind authorizing it; hence when asked, as we frequently are, to


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what branch of the church we belong, we answer, that we claim to
be an humble branch ourself, but know nothing about belonging to
branches.
Jesus, as King, has but one kingdom; as Head, has but one body;
as Bridegroom, has but one bride, and is the Author of but one
church, and His people should be one people, and no divisions
among them. But we have heard persons -- yes, indeed, preachers
too -- thank God for divisions, so as to furnish an organization suited
to the taste of every one, that the people may be without excuse for
disobedience to the gospel. "Thank God," say they, "that there are
so many different denominations, each holding a different doctrine,
that all can be suited. If our church don't suit you, in the multitude
of others you can find one suited to your fancy; so you can not fail
to be suited." Such persons, to say the least of it, have a different
view of this subject from that entertained by the Saviour, for He
considered unity among His people as of the utmost importance,
and prayed for it in His most solemn prayer to His Father: "Neither
pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me
through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in
me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world
may believe that thou hast sent me." John xvii:20, 21. Thus we see
that Jesus considered divisions among those claiming to be His
people as a most fruitful source of infidelity; and He was not
mistaken. We verily believe that divisions among those claiming to
be the people of God have made more infidels than all the writings
of Voltaire, Paine, Gibbon, Hume, Owen, and every other avowed
infidel that has ever wielded a pen on the earth. A celebrated Indian
chief, when asked by a missionary what he thought of the religion
of the Bible, said: "Go home, and agree among yourselves, and then
come to me, and I will consider the


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matter." Hence Paul, unlike those who love and create divisions,
said: "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among
you." 1 Cor. 1:10.
But we have been asked why the Lord's people are not one, if
such be the import of His prayer? It is said that his Father always
heard Him when He prayed, and not only heard Him, but granted
His petitions, or that for which He prayed: why, then, are His people
divided? Is it not possible that the class of persons for whom he
prayed are all one? He prayed for unity among those who should
believe on Him through the words of His apostles. He did not pray
for such as might believe on Him through the traditions of their
fathers, or the teachings of men, as set forth in Disciplines,
Confessions of Faith, Catechisms, etc., which might be taught them
from childhood. These are the sources of much of the faith that is in
the world, and persons whose faith comes in this way come not
within the range of the prayer made by the Saviour.
It is sometimes said that these different organizations are only
as many different roads leading to heaven, and when we get there,
we will not be asked which road we came, or what kind of
conveyance brought us there. We are willing to grant that no such
questions will be asked those who get there. But will we get there?
This is the important inquiry. We would be glad to see proof of the
fact that there are as many ways to heaven as there are
denominations in the world, before we accept the doctrine as safe.
The greatest Teacher that has ever condescended to instruct man on
this subject said: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matt. vii:14. Again
He said, "I am the way." John xiv:6. The Pharisees, recognizing this
fact, said: "Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way
of


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God in truth." Matt. xxii:16; Mark xii:14; Luke xx:21. Even wicked
spirits gave testimony to the same fact, for through a damsel one
said, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which show
unto us the way of salvation." Acts xvi:17. Peter says "the way of
truth shall be evil spoken of." 2 Pet. ii:2. Verse 15, he says certain
persons had "forsaken the right way." And again, verse 21, he says
"it had been better for them not to have known the way of
righteousness." Apollos "was instructed in the way of the Lord," but
when Aquilla and Priscilla found that he knew only the baptism of
John, they "expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
Acts xviii:25, 26. The Holy Spirit signified that the way into the
holiest of all was "not made manifest while the first tabernacle was
standing." Heb. ix:8. Thus we find Jesus, the Holy Spirit, evil spirits,
opposing Pharisees, apostles, and other disciples, all speaking of the
way to heaven, but none of them speak of the ways, or in any way
imply that there are more ways than one from earth to heaven;
hence we conclude that there is one way, and only one way. We
read of "wicked ways," "pernicious ways," "the ways of death," etc.,
but the way to heaven is so straight and narrow that it is found by
few. Indeed, there can be but one straight line between any two
points; hence those who do not travel the straight and narrow way,
must necessarily travel crooked ways, which are marked out by men,
and not by the Lord. "It is not in man that walketh to direct his
steps." Jer. x:23. Surely, then, we had better walk as God directs.
Guided by Him, we are safe, but there is safety nowhere else.
But there is another thought connected with these organizations
which demands our attention just here. Quite a number of them
recognize each other as orthodox, yet they differ very widely in their
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vital to the interest of Christianity. As an intended compliment to
the society of his town, a distinguished clergyman once said: "There
is great unanimity among the orthodox denominations of our
town -- that is, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Cumberland
Presbyterians." As the Christian Church was the only church, in the
town alluded to by the gentleman, not mentioned in his list of
orthodox denominations, of course it was regarded by him as
heterodox -- so much so, indeed, that it was important to specify the
orthodox denominations, lest their "good name" be injured by an
association with what he was pleased to call "Campbellism" under
the general name of orthodoxy. We have no complaint to make as
to the motives which prompted the statement, for we doubt not that
it was made, as Saul persecuted Christians, in all good conscience,
but we mentioned it because it gives us a pretty fair idea of the
general use, or rather abuse, of this term; and we propose to
examine briefly the claim of these denominations to it.
We have the word orthodoxy from orthos, right, true, and doxa,
opinion, from dokeo, to think; hence its import, to think
right -- soundness of faith -- a belief in the genuine doctrines taught
in the Scriptures. Modern divines, however, define the term about
thus: "Orthodoxy is my doxy, and heterodoxy is your doxy, to the
full extent of your difference from me. Then, as orthodoxy means to
think right -- a belief in the genuine doctrine taught in the
Scriptures -- soundness of faith, etc., it will be expected that these
so-called orthodox denominations will agree among themselves; for
it can not be maintained that they are all sound in faith, and believe
the genuine doctrine taught in the Scriptures, while they believe and
teach doctrines contradictory to each other. Things which are equal
to the same thing, are equal to each other; hence


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if each of these is equal to the genuine doctrine of the Bible, they
will be found equal to or exactly like each other. Are they thus
united, speaking the same thing? We will see.
The Presbyterians say, "God, from all eternity, did, by the most
wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably
ordain whatsoever comes to pass." Confession of Faith, chap. iii,
sec. 1. The Methodist, Baptists, and Cumberlands say: Not so: it
comes to pass that men kill, steal, and do many other things which
God has positively forbidden; hence He could not have ordained
that they should thus act, and then threaten the guilty with endless
punishment for carrying out His own ordination. The Presbyterians
say: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some
men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life and others
fore-ordained to everlasting death. These angels and men thus
predestinated and fore-ordained are particularly and unchangeably
designed, and their number is so certain and definite that it can not
be either increased or diminished." Conf. Faith, chap. iii, sec. 3, 4.
The others say: Not so: every man may make his election or
condemnation sure, as he chooses; hence they seek with commendable
zeal, to increase the number of the elect, and thus diminish the number
of the reprobates. Presbyterians say: "Elect infants, dying in infancy,
are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh
when, where, and how he pleaseth; so, also, are all other elect
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outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. Others not elected,
although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may
have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly
come to Christ, and therefore never can be saved." Conf. Faith,
chap. x, sees. 3, 4. The others say: Not so: all infants, dying in
infancy, are saved; and all other persons, who are incapable of being
outwardly called by the ministry of the Word, are saved, if they die
in that condition. The Presbyterians, Baptists, and Cumberlands say:
"Once in grace, always in grace" -- that is, after a man is truly
converted, he can not fall away and be lost. The Methodists say: Not
so: let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall; for
though he be a child of God, an heir of heaven, still there is great
danger that he may fall away and be lost forever. The Presbyterians,
Methodists, and Cumberlands say that infants of believing parents
are proper subjects of baptism, and are entitled to membership in the
church. Baptists say: Not so: faith is a prerequisite to baptism, and
as infants can not believe, they should not be baptized. They are not
capable of appreciating law, and hence are not subjects of
government, and therefore are not fit subjects for the Lord's
kingdom. Presbyterians, Methodists, and Cumberlands say that
baptism is rightly administered by sprinkling or pouring water on the
head of the candidate. Baptists say: Not so: there is as much
authority for putting water on the feet as on the head for baptism.
The Presbyterians, Methodists, and Cumberlands say all Christians
should eat at the Lord's table together when convenient. Baptists
say: Not so: Presbyterians, Methodists, and Cumberlands are good
Christians, and therefore fit to surround the throne of God in
heaven, but they can not eat at a Baptist table. When they come to
our house, they may preach, pray, sing, exhort, and labor for us, but
they shall not eat with us. Presbyterians say, "Neither are any others
redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified,
and saved, but the elect only." Conf. Faith, chap. iii, sec. 6. The
others say Christ tasted death for every man. And thus we might
multiply differences almost ad infinitum. Now is it possible that
these contradictory doctrines are all the "genuine


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doctrine taught in the Scriptures?" They are the doctrines of
these so-called orthodox denominations. Orthodoxy means "to
believe the genuine doctrine taught in the Scriptures." One of two
things is, therefore, certain: the Scriptures teach these contradictory
doctrines held by these denominations, or the word orthodoxy is a
misnomer when applied to them, and they have no right to
appropriate it to themselves.
But say they: "We all believe in one great God, the Author of
the Bible, the efficacy of the blood of Jesus, the operation of the
Spirit in conversion, the importance of a hearty faith in Christ as the
Saviour of sinners, a thorough change of heart, and repentance for
sins committed, and a turning from sin to holiness: and as we are
agreed in these great leading features of the genuine doctrine of the
Bible, we claim to be orthodox, though we may and do differ in
these minor matters of which you have been speaking." But stop! Do
we not believe in these great leading features of doctrine, and insist
upon them as strongly as you do, and do you not still regard us as
heterodox? What, then, is the matter? It must be something else that
constitutes you orthodox and us heterodox. What is it? It is this:
these denominations all unite in telling penitent sinners to come to
the altar, anxious seat, or mourner's bench, to pray and be prayed
for in order to remission of sins, and we tell the same persons to
repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission.
This is the true secret of the whole matter. Here is the line between
so-called orthodoxy and heterodoxy. Can they find authority for
their instructions in the Bible? Not if the salvation of the world
depended on it. Can we find authority for our teaching in the Bible?
Most assuredly we can find it, both in precept and example. We
have the precise


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words: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of
Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." Acts ii:38. "Arise, and be
baptized, and wash away thy sins." Acts xxii:16. "He that believeth
and is baptized shall be saved." Mark xvi:16. Then, if to believe and
teach the genuine doctrine taught in the Scriptures constitutes
orthodoxy, we are orthodox according to the true import of that
term. There is no escape from this position. From our very heart
have we been grieved at efforts made to make Christianity look as
much like sectarianism as possible, in order to court the popular
cant of orthodoxy. While we continue to believe and practice the
genuine doctrine taught in the Bible, we are orthodox; but when we
forsake these truths, in order to get the world to call us orthodox,
we give evidence that we love the praise of men more than the
approbation of God. 'Tis better to show that we have a valid claim
to the title, by believing the truth, than seek to make our faith look
like error to induce the world to call us orthodox.
But we often hear persons say, when called on to obey the
gospel, that "there are so many denominations differing so widely
from each other in their teaching of what is in the Bible, that we
know not which is the right church. They all teach different
doctrines, and hence may all be wrong, but can not all be right, for
the Bible must be harmonious in all its parts, if it be a revelation
from God. There is the most perfect harmony in all His laws
governing the material universe; hence we are not prepared to
receive contradictory theories as law from Him for the government
of His creature man, for whom all other things were made. We see
not why His laws for the government of the noblest of His work,
made in His own image, should be less harmonious and perfect than
laws given by Him in the great book of nature. We therefore
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some of these organizations, if not all, are spurious; and "if the
trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to
battle?" Truly, this is a difficulty, but we beg such persons to
remember that there never was a spurious coin yet that was not an
imitation of something pure; hence, as there are spurious churches,
we may be sure that there is one of pure origin somewhere; and we
propose to assist the reader in recognizing the one body, or church
of God, of which all others are counterfeits; and many of them but
poorly executed, at that. We think that if we subject the church to
the same criteria by which we test the identity of persons and things,
it will be found with such marks, features and other means of
recognition as will enable us to identify it with great certainty.
Were you hunting for a man who was personally a stranger to
you, whose name was Martin Luther, and you were to find a man
whose name was John Wesley, you would know at once that he was
not the man for whom you were hunting, unless he had changed his
name. If you knew him to bear the character of an honest man, you
would continue your search until you found a man wearing the
name of the man you desired to see. Then, if you wish to find "the
church of God" (1 Cor. i:2; 2 Cor. i:1), and you find a church
calling herself the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopalian
Church, the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist
Church, or any other unscriptural name, is it not enough to cause
you to suspect that you have not found the true church, and
continue your search a little further? There are doubtless many good
persons in each of these sectarian organizations, but this proves not
that any one of them, or all of them together, is the church of God.
God had a people in Babylon, but He admonished them to come out


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of her, that they partake not of her sins, and receive not of her
plagues (Rev. xviii:4).
But we are told that there is nothing in names. Then why not as
well expect salvation through one name as another? Speaking of
Christ's name, Peter says: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for
there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby
we must be saved." Acts iv:12. But if there is nothing in names, we
may as well expect salvation through the name of Beelzebub as
through the name of the Lord. If there is nothing in these
denominational names, why think so much of them as to prefer to
wear them rather than the name that honors Christ our head? Do
they not tend to keep up divisions and gender strife among good
people? and if there is nothing in them, why not give them up? Let
us not strive about words or names, to no profit; for if there is
nothing in them, we may give them up and lose nothing; but by
exchanging them for the name authorized of God we may gain
much.
The church is said to be "the bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev.
xxi:9), and, as such, should wear the name of her Bridegroom. "The
head of the woman is the man" (l Cor. xi:3), and hence she honors
her head by wearing his name; and she dishonors her head when she
refuses to wear his name and assumes another. Suppose a citizen of
your neighborhood were to marry a wife, and when she is called by
his name, she objects to it, saying, "There are so many branches of
my husband's family that, for the sake of distinction, I prefer to be
called by some other name," and thereupon assumes
another -- perhaps the name of some other man of her
acquaintance -- what would you think of her? and how would you
treat her if she were your wife? Would she not have dishonored you,
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assume? and dishonored and disgraced herself? and would you not
regard her as unworthy to be your wife or enjoy the privileges of
your house? Would she not have placed a foul blot upon her
character, that would render her unworthy the confidence and
respect of the virtuous and good of every age and clime? and would
you not feel a little like telling her to go and live with him whose
name she preferred to wear? What say you? Then if the wife of a
citizen would so far dishonor her husband, and degrade and debase
herself by refusing to wear the name of her husband, will it be less
dishonoring to Christ for His bride to refuse to wear and be called
by His name? and will it be less a blight upon the character of His
bride for her to assume and wear other names than His? Will He
own that organization as His bride, before His Father in the great
day of the marriage, that has, owns, and willingly wears some other
name than His? Will He say: "My wife hath made herself ready, and
to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean
and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Rev.
xix:7, 8. Is the assumption of other names than that of the husband,
the righteousness of saints that is comparable to fine linen, clean and
white, with which the church is to be clad as a bride adorned for her
husband when he comes to receive her?
By the way, what will our Baptist friends do for a name now?
They adopted the official name of John the Baptist as their
denominational name, preferring to honor the servant of the
Bridegroom rather than the Bridegroom himself; but the Bible
Union, to which, as a church, they are fully committed, wiped the
word Baptist from the revised edition of the New Testament, giving
us "Immerser" instead thereof; thus, "John the Immerser." (See
revised New Testament, Matt. 3:1.) Will they keep pace with the


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translation and adopt the name "Immerser Church?" This would be
rather wanting in euphony, to say the least of it; but the word
Baptist is not in the revised Scriptures put forth by the Bible Union
at all. They have very correctly and faithfully translated the original
into lmmerser, and every scholar, if honest, will approve the
translation. Then, will they give up the name Baptist? The late John
Waller, of Kentucky, saw this in prospect, while president of the
Bible Union, and said: "If a faithful and pure version of God's holy
word takes from me my denominational name, then I say let it go!
LET IT GO!! LET IT GO!!!" Are his surviving brethren capable of
rising with him above every earthly consideration to a reception of
the name given in a pure version of God's word, to the exclusion of
every thing else? To this question time will furnish an answer.
Another means of knowing persons and things is by their age.
If you wish to find a man known to be forty years old, and you meet
a lad of ten or twenty years old; or a man whose whitened locks,
furrowed cheeks, and bowed frame betoken that the weight of many
years is upon him: in either case you will know that this is not the
man you wish to see; and this assurance will be made doubly sure
if he wears not the proper name. The church of God, like every thing
not eternal, has its age; and as the age of a man is reckoned from the
time of his birth, so the age of the church is computed from the time
of its organization. We have seen that this took place on the first
Pentecost after the crucifixion of the Messiah; any organization,
therefore, which began at any other time, either before or since, is
not the church of God. Every theory teaching that the church began
at any other time, before or since, is wrong -- surely wrong. Were 1,
or an angel from heaven, to teach that the church of Jesus Christ
began in eternity --


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in the days of Abraham -- in the days of John the Baptist -- it would
be error, and unworthy of reception.
Again: The record says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of
Judea; and had any one appeared at the time He came, claiming to
be the Messiah, who had been born anywhere else, he would have
been known to be an impostor. Even so we have seen that the
church of God was organized in Jerusalem; any organization,
therefore, that began at any other place, is not the church of God.
Should we find a church which began in eternity -- in the garden of
Eden -- in Mesopotamia -- at Sinai -- in the Wilderness of Judea -- at
Augsburg -- at Westminster -- at Geneva -- at Philadelphia -- on
Cumberland River -- or at Bethany -- we would know it could not be
the church of God.
Again: The church of God was "built upon the foundation of the
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-
stone." Eph. ii:20. Should we find a church claiming to be built
upon the experience of uninspired men, however wise and good they
may have been, it can not be the church of God.
Again: The organic law of the United States is the constitution
thereof. A government having any other organic law can not be the
government of the United States of America. The organic law of the
church of God is the New Covenant dedicated with the blood of
Jesus; hence any church having any other organic law than this
covenant can not be the church of God. The church that has the
Mormon Bible as its organic law can not be the church of God. Why
not? Because its organic law is the production of men, and not the
covenant dedicated with the blood of Jesus. Then, can a church be
the church of God, the organic law of which is the Westminster
Confession of Faith, the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of
Faith, the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, the Methodist


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Discipline, or any other human production? Will the reader ponder
well this question?
The church of God is entered by a birth of water and Spirit; any
church which admits to membership in any other way can not be the
church of God. Hence a church that receives infants to membership
can not be the church of God, because born of water they may be,
but born of water and of the Spirit they can not be.
All the subjects of the church of God know the Lord, from the
least to the greatest of them: this being so, a church whose members
are, in part, infants, can not be the church of God, because such can
not know the Lord.
This line of thought might be pursued much further; but we
have seen that the church of God was organized in Jerusalem,
nowhere else -- on the day of Pentecost, at no other time -- wears a
name honoring the Bridegroom, and no other -- is built upon the
foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief
corner-stone, and other foundation can no man lay -- has for its
organic law the covenant dedicated with the blood of Jesus, nothing
else, more or less -- has only such members as have been born of
water and of the Spirit, and know the Lord, from least to greatest.
An organization, therefore, which bears all these marks of identity,
may be the church of God; none other can be. If such an
organization can not be found, then the church of God has no
existence on the earth.
Suppose a man were to come into a community with the
constitution and by-laws of the Good Templars, and by teaching its
doctrines he were to make a number of proselytes to its principles,
and were to initiate them according to its forms, and organize them,
at a particular place, as a body built thereon, what would we call
the organization? A society of Good Templars. Very well. Another
man


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comes with the Mormon Bible, and by preaching its doctrines makes
proselytes to Mormonism, and organizes them upon the Mormon
Bible, according to its provisions: what shall we call this
organization? A Mormon Church, most certainly. Very well. But
suppose another man comes with the Presbyterian Confession of
Faith and preaches its doctrines, makes proselytes, and organizes
them according to its provisions, what shall we call this
organization? A Presbyterian Church. Very well. It would not be a
Mormon Church, certainly; and why not? Because it is not
organized upon the Mormon Bible or indoctrinated with its
teaching. Well, another man comes, and having the Methodist
Discipline, he teaches its doctrines, makes proselytes and organizes
them upon it as a basis of future action: what shall we call the
organization? A Presbyterian Church? No. Why not? Because it has
not been taught the doctrines of or organized upon the Presbyterian
Confession of Faith. But it must be called a Methodist Church
because it has been taught the doctrines of that Discipline and
organized upon it.
Then suppose another man comes with the Word of God, and
by preaching its doctrines he makes proselytes and organizes them
according to its provisions, to keep the ordinances therein
inculcated, what shall we call this organization? Shall we call it a
Presbyterian Church? No; the word of God, by which it has been
created, says nothing about a church called by that name. Shall we
call it a Methodist Church? The word of God says nothing about a
Methodist Church. Shall we call it a Baptist Church? The word of
God says not a word about a Baptist Church. Then, of what church
does the word of God speak? It speaks of the church of God. Then,
as the word of God is what was taught the proselytes, in accordance
with which the organization was effected, and it speaks of the
church


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of God, is not this organization likely to adopt a name found in its
organic law? If so, we feel sure that we have given such marks as
will enable us to find the church which has been the object of our
search. Surely, it is worthy of all acceptation, and we will not seek
another, but seek an entrance into this one.


CHAPTER VIII
THE NEW BIRTH

We have said that persons enter the church of God in one
way, and in only one way. In this we are sustained by the
positive statement of Jesus himself. In a conversation with
Nicodemus on this subject, He said: "Except a man be born again,
he can not see the kingdom of God." John iii:3. And in the 5th verse
He said: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can
not enter into the kingdom of God." By the phrase "kingdom of
God," here, He meant the church of God, or system of government
established by God's authority on the earth. To this, we suppose, all
agree. When we speak of entering the kingdom of God, then, we do
not mean heaven, the holiest of all into which Jesus, our adorable
High Priest, hath for us entered, but the kingdom established on the
earth, on the day of Pentecost. Into this kingdom or church he that
is not born again can not enter. This kingdom is a system of
government, and those who enter it must be subjects of government,
capable of understanding and obeying its laws. Infants, idiots, and
irresponsible persons are not such; it was not, therefore, established
for them, and their salvation is not suspended upon an entrance into
it. Jesus says: "Of such is the kingdom of heaven" -- that is, of such
as they are now, without being born again.
Having seen that a man must be born again, in order to


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enter the kingdom, and that it is the office of the new birth to
introduce the party born into the kingdom, it follows that a more
important subject never engaged the attention of man; we will
therefore, examine it carefully, and somewhat in detail in the hope
that the class of persons for whose benefit we write may ponder well
what may be said, and that some good may be done in the name of
Jesus.
The first thing necessary to a birth is parentage. There must be
a father and a mother, or there can be nothing born. Who, then, can
be our spiritual parents? Paul salutes the brethren to whom he
wrote, thus: "Grace, to you and peace, from God our Father, and the
Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. i:7; 1 Cor. i:3; 2 Cor. i:2; 1 Thess. i:1; 2
Thess. i:2; 1 Tim. i:2; Philem. 3. In all these places, Paul, in the
same words, recognizes God as our Father; and Jesus taught His
disciples to address God, in prayer, as "Our Father who art in
heaven." Matt. vi:9. John says: "Behold what manner of love the
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of
God." And again: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." 1 John
iii:1, 2. Other scripture might be quoted, but these are sufficient to
identify our Father with great clearness. Paul, in his allegory with
reference to the two covenants, tells us that "Jerusalem which is
above is free, which is the mother of us all." Gal. iv:26. This
heavenly Jerusalem, answering in the allegory to the free woman, is
our spiritual mother; hence, in the 31st verse, he says: "So, then,
brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."
But, before there can be a spiritual birth, the subject must have been
begotten. Man is begotten of his father and born of his mother,
both physically and spiritually. He is not born of his father, at all,
either at the same time when born of the mother or at any other
time. The father may have been in his grave


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long ere the child is born, and how he is born of his father when
born of his mother, is not very clear to us. John says: "Whosoever
believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and every one
that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."
1 John v:1. Also, verse 18th, it is said: "We know that whosoever is
begotten of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth
himself." In keeping with the Bible Union and Anderson's
translations, we have exchanged the word born for begotten, in each
of the verses quoted, and we venture to state further that there is not
a place in the New Testament where the words "born of God"
occurs, that a faithful translation would not render "begotten of
God." In no place will the Spirit's teaching, faithfully translated,
represent us as born of God -- born of our Father. Such a thought
is absurd in the very nature of things; and no one who understands
the new birth, or the natural birth, from which the figure was drawn,
will entertain such a thought or use such language.
But to proceed. Peter speaks of his brethren as "being born
[begotten] again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the
word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." 1 Pet. i:23. Here we
learn that the word of God is the spiritual seed with which persons
are spiritually begotten. And in order that we may be begotten of
this incorruptible seed, our Father has ordained that human agents
shall preach it to the world. Hence, in this sense, Paul calls Timothy
and Titus his sons in the common faith; and also to the Corinthians,
he said: "In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." 1
Cor. iv:15. Then, when Paul preached the word of God, gospel, or
incorruptible seed, to the Corinthians, and they believed and
received it, they were begotten of God, and Paul speaks of them as
having been begotten of him


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through the gospel, because he was the person through whom God
made known the gospel to them. Hence says James: "Of his own will
begat he us with the word of truth." Jas. i:18. The gospel is the
power of God unto salvation only to those who believe it; but "how
shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how
shall they hear without a preacher?" Rom. x:14. So, then, "it
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that
believe." 1 Cor. i:21. Then, when a man believes the gospel, is he
not born again? "Devils believe and tremble." Jas. ii:19. They also
acknowledge Jesus the Son of God. Mark iii:11. Were they born
again? "Among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but
because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should
be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more
than the praise of God." John xii:42, 43. There are now many such
as these chief rulers were then; are they born again? If a man be
born again when he first believes the gospel, when is he begotten,
and where are the elements of birth -- water and Spirit -- of which
Jesus said he should be born? John says Jesus "came unto his own,
and his own received him not: but to as many as received him, to
them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name." John i:11, 12. Jesus came to His own prepared
people, and many of them did not receive Him, or believe on Him;
but to as many of them as did receive Him by believing on his name,
He gave the power or privilege of becoming sons of God. Believing
on His name, then, did not make them sons, but prepared them to
become sons.
When a man believes the gospel, and with meekness receives it
into a good and honest heart, he is then begotten of God, and is
prepared to be born. The vital principle is


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then implanted in the heart; but he is no more born again at that
time than he was physically born the moment he was conceived. As
it is not the office of a birth to give life, but to BRING the subject to
the enjoyment of life previously possessed in a different state, so
without being begotten by the Father through the gospel, and thus
having the principle of life implanted in the heart, the subject born
would be dead when born, if it were possible for him to be born at
all. When he is spiritually begotten, he may avail himself of the
means of God's appointment for a birth, and be born into the
kingdom, or he may refuse them, as he may elect. In this particular
there is no analogy between a physical and a spiritual birth. In the
former we have no agency in being begotten or born, nor is either in
the least under our control, in the latter both are to a considerable
extent, under the control of the subject. He may (as many do) refuse
to hear the gospel at all, or he may refuse to believe it after he has
heard it. If he believes it not, his doom was pronounced by Jesus
when He said, "He that believeth not shall be damned." He may also
refuse to obey it after he has believed it; if so, he "believes in vain,"
and his faith is dead, not having been made perfect by obedience.
Faith causes us to love and fear God, and desire to do His will;
it also causes us to hate sin because it is contrary to His will; hence
Peter, in speaking of the conversion of the Gentiles, said that God
"put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by
faith." Acts xv:9. This, the effect of faith, is what is called a change
of heart, and must precede the new birth. But a change of heart is
one thing -- the new birth a different thing. The conversion of Saul
of Tarsus will make apparent the truth of this position. While he was
"yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of
the Lord, he


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went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus,
to the synagogues, that if be found any of this way, whether they
were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there
shined round about him a light from heaven, and he fell to the earth,
and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am
Jesus whom thou persecutest." Acts ix:1-5. It will be seen that Saul
set out on his journey with his heart filled with bitterness against the
disciples, and thought he was doing right to persecute and punish
them. Jesus convinced him by a miracle that He was what He
professed to be. Saul's faith was changed from believing that Jesus
was an impostor to the belief of the truth that He was the Son of
God. This change in his faith produced a corresponding change in
his heart, and he abandoned his errand of persecution, and was
willing to become a disciple himself. He was then begotten of God;
but was he born again? If this was the birth, when and where were
the elements of birth with which he then came in contact? Three
days hence he was born of water and of the Spirit, in obedience to
a divine command given him by Ananias: "Arise and be baptized,
and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord." Acts
xxii:16. His heart was changed by the way, but he was born again
three days afterward.
Faith produces repentance, and repentance changes the
practices of the subject -- causes him to cease doing evil and
commence doing right -- but he is not yet born again. His heart may
be as submissive to God's will as it can ever get to be; yes, he may
be a worshiper of God to the best of his knowledge, and still not be
born again. The new birth does not consist in a reformation of life.
An examination


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of the character of Cornelius will give proof of this: "There was a
certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band
called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with
all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to
God always. He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of
the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him,
Cornelius. And when he looked on him he was afraid, and said,
What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms
are come up for a memorial before God." Acts x:1-4. Here was a
devoted, charitable, praying, and God-fearing man, quite as good as
the best of our day, as far as reformation of life can make them good,
and yet he was not born again. But says an objector, "He was born
again, for he saw an angel that told him so." Not exactly: he did see
and converse with an angel that told him his prayers and his alms
were coming up for a memorial before God, and he told him more
than this -- "Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname
is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and thy house
shall be saved." Acts xi:13, 14. Was he born again and still unsaved?
The promise "shall be saved" clearly shows that he was unsaved;
and not only so, but he was to hear words of Peter by which he was
to be saved. Was he saved by the words before he heard them? If so,
why did not the angel shape the language thus: "who shall tell thee
words by which you are or have been saved." If he was at that time
born again, it follows that there is no salvation in being born again,
for it is as clear as language can make any thing, that he was not
then saved, in the gospel sense of that word. If he was born again
when the angel appeared to him, he was born again without ever
having heard the gospel, and therefore without gospel faith.


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Peter, in alluding to this matter, said that "God made choice
among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of
the gospel, and believe." Acts xv:7. Then Cornelius had neither
heard the gospel nor believed it until Peter preached it to him, and
surely a cause must be desperate that could assume that he was born
again prior to that time. Then as his conduct was as good before
birth as after it, it follows that the birth did not consist in a
reformation of life in this case.
A birth contemplates a change of state -- a transition or passing
from one state to another. A change of state, then, and the beginning
of a new life, is the thought conveyed by the expression "born
again," and we have the same thought presented by Paul, in his
epistles, in other figures, varied to suit the circumstances under
which he wrote. He expresses it by the figure of marriage, Rom.
vii:4; by the figure of grafting, Rom. xi:24; by the figure of adoption,
Rom. viii:15, Gal. iv:5; and by the figure of translation from one
government to another, Col. i:13. If an individual be married to
Christ, his state is changed -- he is born again. If he be taken from
the wild olive-tree and grafted into the tame olive-tree, or from the
world and grafted into Christ, the true Vine, his state is
changed -- he is born again. If he be taken -- as a child -- from one
family and adopted into another, the family of God, his state is
changed -- he is born again. If he renounce his allegiance to one
government, the devil's, and be legally translated into another, the
kingdom of God's dear Son, his state is changed -- he is born again.
We might amplify each of these figures of speech, and show the
correctness of the position assumed; but our space will only allow
us to use a single one of the illustrations given:
A gentleman visits and seeks the hand of a lady under
unfavorable circumstances, and is rejected. There may be


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a single cause or many causes co-operating to produce his rejection.
She may be unfavorably impressed with his character, or she may
worship at the shrine of another, whose heart she hopes to win, or
both causes may cooperate in producing his rejection.
Circumstances change, however, and she finds her first suitor an
unworthy man, and she becomes disgusted by him. Meanwhile, she
learns more of the character of the man she rejected, and finds him
chaste in his conversation, courteous, polite, and accomplished in
manners -- that a social, warm, and undissembling heart controls
him -- that he has a mind well stored with valuable information
-- that he has descended from a good family -- and, above
all, that he is possessed of inexhaustible wealth. A knowledge
of these facts changes her heart, and she now admires and loves the
man she once rejected. She receives him gladly, and is willing to
become the sharer of his prosperity or adversity through life, but she
is not yet his wife. Though her heart is changed, her state is not; she
was in the single or unmarried state, at first, and is so yet. The
parents may consent, the license be secured, the proper officer be
present for the solemnization of the nuptials, the supper prepared
and the wedding furnished with guests, and still she is not married;
and were the process here arrested, she would not be entitled to the
privileges of his house, to wear his name, or to inherit his estate.
When she is married and her state legally changed, then, and not till
then, is she entitled to all these privileges growing out of the new
relation. Now for the application. The gospel is preached to the
sinner -- he is in love with the transient pleasures afforded in the
service of the devil. The carpenter's Son, born in Bethlehem and
cradled in a manger, has no charms for him. By-and-by he finds that
the pleasures of sin are deceptive, and the devil, in whose service he
delighted, has


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nothing with which to reward him but misery and woe. Meanwhile
he learns more of Him who proposes to save all who will come to
God by Him. He finds Him so chaste in conversation, that guile is
not found in His mouth; so amiable in disposition, that when He is
reviled He reviles not again, and yet so powerful, that the furious
winds and boisterous waves are calm at His bidding, the grave yields
up the dead to live again, and devils tremble at His word; the waters
are firm as a pavement beneath His majestic tread, God is His Father,
and He the only Son and Heir to all things -- He is chief among ten
thousand and altogether lovely. With faith like this, he can not fail
to feel grieved that he ever loved the devil or his service, because he
is the enemy of Him whom he now loves supremely. Surely, his
heart is now changed -- is he born again? If so, there is no fitness in
the figure, for he is not married yet. Though his heart is changed,
his state is not; and if he stops at this point, he can no more claim
the Christian name and character than can the unmarried woman
claim the name and patrimony of him to whom she is espoused. But
it is insisted that this change of heart is the new birth, and (strange
enough, too) the same persons insist that we have no change of
heart, and deny the importance of it, when, in reality, we have their
change of heart and new birth, in our change of heart.
We insist that we must not only love our betrothed, but we must
be married to the Bridegroom according to law, before we can claim
the privileges of His bride. He will not permit us to live with Him in
adultery if we were so disposed. A change of heart, then, is not a
change of state; it must precede the new birth, but it is not the new
birth.
The language "born again," was unique when used by Christ to
Nicodemus. No inspired man had used such


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language before: is there any reason for its use then? The Jews
believed that Jesus had come to re-establish the kingdom of David
and literally sit on his throne on the earth; hence when he entered
Jerusalem, on one occasion, "They that went before, and they that
followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the
name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that
cometh in the name of the Lord." Mark xi:9, 10. And even His
apostles did not understand the nature of His kingdom until after
they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and were by
it guided into all truth. "When they therefore came together, they
asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the
kingdom to Israel?" Acts i:6. It is not unreasonable that Nicodemus
had the same mistaken views of the kingdom, and he knew well that
he was born into that kingdom, and had a right to citizenship in it by
virtue of Abrahamic parentage; and being "a ruler of the Jews," "a
master of Israel," he may have expected to be entitled to an office in
Christ's kingdom on that account. Jesus corrects this mistake by
telling him that the kingdom of God was not to be entered in that
way; but as a birth gave him entrance into that, he must be born
again to enter this.
There is much speculation about the import of this language;
but as Jesus attempted to explain the matter to Nicodemus, and then
asked, "Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things?"
we are encouraged to approach the examination of the subject in the
belief that He intended to be understood, and, as "a teacher come
from God," He was competent to make clear what He attempted to
explain. Let us, then, take up the language in which the conversation
is recorded, and see whether or not we may understand it: "There
was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews."


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So reads the first verse, and from it we learn that, at one time in the
world's history, there lived a man whose name was Nicodemus; that
he belonged to the sect of the Jews' religion called the Pharisees;
and that he was a distinguished personage or ruler among the Jews.
2d verse: "The same (Nicodemus) came to Jesus by night (not in
daylight) and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher
come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest,
except God be with him." Here we learn that Nicodemus was
convinced by the miracles which Jesus did that He was really a
teacher come from God. This is all plain; let us try again. 3d verse:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee,
except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God."
Here we learn, not how a man may be born again, but the
indispensable necessity of being born again in order to see or enjoy
the privileges and blessings of the kingdom of God. 4th verse:
"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is
old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be
born?" Here we find that Nicodemus knew nothing of but one birth,
and this was a birth of the flesh, and that he could not understand
how a man, when old, could be born in this way; he therefore asks
an explanation, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Jesus
attempts to tell him how it can be; hence the 5th verse: "Jesus
answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of
water, and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God."
Here we learn that the elements of birth are water and Spirit, and
that a man must be born of both to be born again -- not born of
water and begotten by the Spirit, as some translations would
indicate, but he must be born of both to be born at all. How is he to
be born of water and of the Spirit? One answers that he must get
religion in the altar, grove, or elsewhere,


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and being then baptized with the Spirit, he is born of the Spirit, and
after a time he is baptized in water and is then born of water. Well,
this theory makes baptism in water indispensable to entering the
kingdom. Will the reader think of this? It also makes two births
where there should be but one. The language is born again, not
again and again, or twice more -- once at the altar and once at the
creek. This is not all; the order is transposed. Jesus said born of
water and of the Spirit; this theory says born of the Spirit and of
water. It is out of joint at every angle. Another theory says that we
are "born of water when we are born into the world, and born of the
Spirit when we get religion." This will provoke a smile on the face
of our readers; but it is taught by men of lofty pretensions, and must
be noticed, whether worthy of respect or not, because it is regarded
important by those who present it. It makes the answer of Jesus
wholly inapplicable to the question asked by Nicodemus, who did
not inquire how a child had been born into the world, but "How
can a man be born when he is old? The answer was, not that you
have once been born of water, and must be born again of the Spirit,
but you must be born again. How? Of water AND of the Spirit.
Another theory makes that part of the Saviour's language which
applies to the Spirit apply to the belief of the gospel at the time the
subject is spiritually begotten. While this theory may not be,
practically, as mischievous as those already noticed, it is quite as
unphilosophic and foreign from the truth as any one of them. It
breaks up the order of the Lord's arrangement and takes the term
Spirit, which comes after water, and places it in theory as far before
water as faith precedes baptism. If this be the thought, it occurs to
us that the Lord was unfortunate in the selection of terms in which
to express it. It would


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have been as easy to have said, a man must be begotten by the Spirit
and born of water, as to have said what He did say. But we are told
that the Greek word genneethee, here rendered born, is elsewhere
rendered begotten, and hence may have that meaning here. We grant
that it is often so rendered; but should it be so rendered here? If so,
it must mean begotten as to water as well as Spirit, and hence the
process is all begetting, and there is no birth about it. Is any one
prepared for this? Will he render the passage, "begotten of water
and of the Spirit?" But may not the word genneethee mean begotten
as to Spirit and born as to water? It must be thus divided in
meaning, to fit the theory; and hence our neighbors may be right in
saying that eis [for], in Acts ii:38, means in order to as to
repentance, but because of as to baptism. Such renderings are at war
with all rules of exegesis on the subject. THE SENSE OF A WORD
CAN NOT BE DIVERSE OR MULTIFORM AT THE SAME TIME
AND IN THE SAME PLACE. Ernesti, p. 9. Again: IN NO
LANGUAGE CAN A WORD HAVE MORE THAN ONE
LITERAL MEANING IN THE SAME PLACE. Ernesti, p. 11.
According to these rules, we may translate genneethee either
begotten OR born, as the sense may require, but we can not
translate it by both in one place; yet we might as well so render it in
words as in theory. Let those who do so, agree with our neighbors
that baptidzontes means sprinkle, pour, AND immerse, in Matt.
xxviii:19. If we may thus bifurcate the meaning of genneethee, in
John iii:5, and make it mean both begotten AND born at the same
time and in the same place, then we may as well have an end to all
rules of interpretation, and no longer complain of others for doing
that which we do ourselves. Surely, Jesus understood the figure He
employed; and if so, the theory is wrong. To be begotten of God is
entirely a different thing from being


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born of water and of the Spirit. He who believes the gospel, and is
truly begotten of God, is not half born, but has the full measure of
a birth of water and of the Spirit between him and the kingdom of
God, and must be born of BOTH to be born at all. Begetting must
precede a birth, but it is no part of a birth.
But as one error often begets others, so this theory has led to
the notion that "regeneration and the new birth are identical."
Generate means to beget; re, as a prefix, means again. Hence
regenerate must mean to beget again. Born means brought forth,
and born again is synonymous with reborn, hence, if language
means any thing, to regenerate or beget again is one thing, and
reborn or born again is a different thing. Physically, a man is
generated or begotten and subsequently born; spiritually, he is
regenerated (i.e., begotten again), and subsequently reborn (i.e.,
born again). Regeneration is the beginning, that may end in
salvation. We are saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing
of the Holy Spirit. Titus iii:5. The washing that belongs to or follows
regeneration is not regeneration. The regenerated man may be born
again -- no one else can be; but it is re-birth, not regeneration, that
reaches salvation.
But our question is yet unanswered, and having been gone from
it so long, we must repeat it, lest it may have been forgotten: How is
a man born of water and of the Spirit? We answer that he is born
of water as a means appointed by the Spirit for a birth. How is a
man begotten of God? Not literally. How then? He is begotten with
the word of truth, the gospel, as the means appointed for this
purpose. Then why not a man be born of the Spirit when born of
water as the means appointed by the Spirit for a birth? Baptism is
the act by which we are placed in and delivered from the water,
according to the teaching of the Spirit, and thus we are born of
water and of the Spirit; hence we are


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"buried with him in baptism, wherein also we are risen with him."
Col. ii:12. To be, if possible, more plain -- to be born contemplates
a delivery, a coming forth from one state into another. Then were we
to immerse a man in water, without faith, repentance, or any thing
else (as we are often accused of doing), when delivered from the
water he would be born of water, but not of water and of the Spirit,
because the process was not in accordance with the teaching of the
Spirit; then it is equally clear that if born of water, as taught by the
Spirit, he is born of water and of the Spirit. But we are told that the
word water, in the sentence "water and of the Spirit," does not
mean water; and one quibbler will say it means grace, another that
it means Spirit; and a third will say that he does not know what it
means, but it can not mean water, for then he must be baptized or
into the kingdom of God he can not go -- and his theory tells him
baptism is a non-essential. So the word of the Lord is made to bend
to suit the theory instead of giving shape to the theory. But we are
told that the Greek particle kai, here rendered and, is sometimes
rendered "even" and that this sentence should read thus: "Except
a man be born of water, even of the Spirit," etc. It is true that the
word is sometimes so rendered, but can it be rendered "even," in
this connection? And is the primary meaning of the word, and the
rules of translation give preference to the primary meaning, unless
the sense requires its removal. Does the sense require that and
should give place to even, in the sentence before us? Theories may
require such a change, but the sense does not either require or allow
it. The word water has no qualifying term, and wherever we find
water, whether in the Jordan or elsewhere, we have the proper
element. But not so of the Spirit. It is made definite, the Spirit -- not
spirit, a spirit, some spirit, or any spirit,


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but the Spirit. "Born of water and of the Spirit" -- immersed in and
born of water, according to the teaching of the Spirit. How perfect
the sense! But another tells us that the word water is exegetical of
the word Spirit; hence to be born of water and of the Spirit, is to be
born of the Spirit like an overflow of water. Whoever saw an
exegesis given in advance of the word explained? We feel ashamed
that it is necessary to notice such quibbles as these. Suppose a man
living at the time the Saviour was on the earth, who had witnessed
the many immersions performed in those days, had heard Jesus say,
"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he can not enter
into the kingdom of God," and he had no theory or prepossessions
to give shape to his conclusions, but had to form them only by the
language used, would he conclude that the word water meant grace,
Spirit, or any thing else but water? Would he not more likely
conclude, with Wesley, Clarke, and others, that it had reference to
water baptism? Is there a man out of the lunatic asylum who can
believe that any one of these quibbles would ever have been thought
of had it not been necessary to devise some means to save some
theory from being destroyed by the obvious meaning of the Saviour's
language?
There were two questions asked by Nicodemus in the 4th verse:
The first, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Jesus answered
as we have seen in the 5th verse. The second question, "Can he
enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" shows
that he had entirely mistaken the kind of birth required. This mistake
Jesus corrects, in the 6th verse, by saying: "That which is born of the
flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" -- as much
as to say to him: "You are thinking of a birth of the flesh, and a
second birth of this character would be indeed impossible. But I am
speaking


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of a moral transition of the spiritual or inner man. The man born
again is the same physical man as he was before, but the temper and
disposition of the inner man are not like they were before. "That
which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again." Seeing your difficulty grows out of a failure
to recognize the existence of an invisible or 'inner man' (Eph. iii:16)
dwelling in 'our earthly house of this tabernacle' (2 Cor. v:1), and
which is the subject of the change produced by the new birth, I will
use an illustration which will make plain the fact just stated, that
'that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' hence the 8th verse, "The
wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,
but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth; so is every
one that is born of the Spirit." The mist and fog that men have
thrown around this verse envelop it in darkness thick as that with
which God cursed the land of Egypt. And we are of the opinion that
most of it has grown out of a failure to keep before the mind the
difficulty under which Nicodemus was laboring, for the removal of
which Jesus introduced the illustration, and failing to get the point
in the comparison at the right place. We once listened to a very
eloquent man through a labored effort to explain the new birth, at the
close of which he said that this verse was designed to teach us that
the new birth is incomprehensible to all finite minds. Others can see
that it teaches the doctrine of abstract and mysterious spiritual
operations; others say that, as the wind blows down a large oak, and
leaves others standing around it, so the Spirit is partial in its
operations, converting one or two out of the many who were with
him or them at the mourner's bench. Jesus did not say, "So is the
Spirit," or "So is the operation of the Spirit" -- no such comparison
was made or intended. Others say that the language


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was addressed to Nicodemus, and is not applicable to us at
all, because we can tell where the wind comes from and where it
goes to. "He bringeth the wind out of his treasure." Ps. cxxxv:7.
"Who hath gathered the wind in his fist." Prov. xxx:4. And what is
gained by these quotations? Where is God's treasure from whence
the wind comes? and where is His fist in which it is gathered? But
suppose we can tell where the wind comes from and goes to, what
light has been thrown on the new birth by the discovery? We
confess ourself unable to see any at all. If we go back to the 4th
verse and see the difficulty in the mind of Nicodemus to be a second
birth of the flesh, then come to the correction given to this mistake
in the 6th verse -- "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" -- and
then regard the 8th verse as an illustration used to teach the
existence of an invisible principle or spiritual man, which is changed
by the new birth, then, it seems to us, there need be no difficulty in
understanding the matter. We have seen many translations of this
verse, quite a number of which we have before us at this writing; and
it is worthy of note that, whether the Greek pneuma be rendered
wind or spirit, the illustrative qualities of the figure are still the
same: they are both invisible -- recognized by sound and not by
sight. "So is every one that is born of the Spirit" -- it being spirit that
is so born.
While the kingdom was yet in prospect, Jesus taught the people
by parables and figures; but after its establishment, figures gave
place to facts, commands, and promises. Jesus commissioned his
apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, promising salvation
to those who would believe and obey it. He also promised them the
Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth, and enable them to
unerringly perform the work He had assigned them. When it came,
they began to preach as it inspired them -- persons


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were cut to the heart and made to cry out, "Men and brethren, what
shall we do?" Peter did not tell them to be born again, because the
time for figures had passed; he therefore said to them: "Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins." Acts ii:38. Thus he told them plainly, without a
figure, to do that which would translate them into the kingdom of
God's dear Son, and produce that change of state indicated by the
figurative language of Jesus as used in the conversation with
Nicodemus when He said: "Except a man be born of water and of
the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." When Peter
thus addressed them, "they that gladly received his word were
baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three
thousand souls." Now, are they born again? Surely, they are. When
were they born again? Just when they did what Peter commanded
them to do. Then, if they were born again when they were baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, will you not be
born again when you do as they did? and if it took this to introduce
them into the kingdom of God then, will any thing less do so now?


CHAPTER IX
FAITH

We hope that the reader has carefully studied the lessons
already given, and that he has not forgotten the marks on
the guide-posts along the road to the Tree of Life. But as we started
far back in the brush, bogs, muck, and mire of Calvinism, our
journey thence to citizenship in the kingdom of God has been
necessarily a long one, and made rapidly; it may not be amiss for us
to go back and familiarize ourselves a little with the scenery along
the road.
We have seen that the destiny of each individual was not unalterably
fixed in heaven or hell before time began, and that God is
no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him and
worketh righteousness is accepted with Him; and hence every one
may make his calling and election sure -- that you did not enter the
world laden with hereditary depravity, by reason of which you are
wholly opposed to all good, and irresistibly inclined to all evil, and
unable to do any thing commanded you of God; but, on the
contrary, you are quite competent to fear God and keep His
commandments, and in doing so you will have discharged your
whole duty. We have further seen that God has one kingdom, body,
or church, on the earth, and only one; that it was set up on the day
of Pentecost, in Jerusalem, by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ,
through the agency of the apostles,


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as guided by the Holy Spirit; and may be as surely known and
identified, as men and things may be known by the features peculiar
to them. And men must enter it by being born of water and of the
Spirit; and thus, as individuals, they become branches of Christ, the
true Vine, or members of his body, the church; but to speak of
organizations as branches of the church of God, is nothing less than
the confused dialect of Babylon. We have further seen that before
we can be born again, we must have been begotten with the word of
God, as the incorruptible seed necessary to the accomplishment of
this end, and that this Word must be preached, heard, and believed,
in order to the production of that change of heart, and reformation
of life, which must necessarily precede the new birth.
As faith is the grand mainspring which propels the human
machinery in all acceptable obedience to God, we propose to pause
here while we open our Bibles and examine it in the light of
inspiration. We think it likely that more has been said and written
on the subject of faith than on any other subject connected with
theology; and if every trace of every thing that uninspired men have
spoken and written could be blotted out of human memory, we are
not sure that the world would be greatly injured by the sacrifice.
Indeed, it seems to us that the greatest labor on the part of those
who would understand the subject, is to disentangle it from the
speculations of men with regard to it. What, then, is faith? whence
cometh it? and what is its office in the plan of salvation?

WHAT IS FAITH?

Many persons speak of it as some indescribable gift infused into
the heart by God, when they neither expected


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nor desired it; while others seem to think it a gift, only to be
obtained after hours, perhaps days, weeks, months, or even years,
spent at the mourner's bench, or elsewhere, in imploring God to
bestow it upon them. Paul says: "Faith is the substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Heb. xi:1. This verse is
perhaps better rendered by Anderson, thus: "Faith is a sure
confidence with respect to things hoped for, a firm persuasion with
respect to things not seen." Christianity is a system of faith, and is
not susceptible of demonstration like a problem in mathematics. We
do not know that there is such a place as heaven, like we know that
there is such a place as Nashville; because the latter we have seen,
the former we have not seen. We have a sure confidence with
respect to it -- a firm persuasion that it exists, because we believe the
testimony concerning it, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor.
v:7. Faith, then, may be defined as a firm, unshaken confidence,
conviction, or belief in the truth of a proposition, based upon
testimony concerning it. The order is: Fact, TESTIMONY, FAITH.
First, a fact must exist, then it must be revealed with testimony
sufficiently strong to establish its truth, then the confidence in, or
firm belief of this testimony is faith. In support of this position, it
may be well to make a quotation or two.
When Jesus saw the centurion's confidence that a word from the
Master would heal his servant, He said to them following Him, "I
have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel," and then said to the
centurion, "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his
servant was healed in the self-same hour." Matt. viii:10, 13. Here
Jesus used the words faith and belief interchangeably, showing
clearly that the centurion's belief was his faith.
Again: Paul tells us that "without faith it is impossible


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to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that
he is." Heb. xi:6. Here the necessity of belief is given as a reason
why persons can not please God without faith; and the fact that we
can not please God without faith, is as good a reason why we must
believe; therefore, with Paul, faith and belief were synonymous
terms.
Once more: "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to
him for righteousness." Rom. iv:3. What was accounted to Abraham
for righteousness? Belief; and that this belief was faith is seen in the
9th verse in which it is said, "Faith was reckoned to Abraham for
righteousness." Surely, nothing could be more clear than that
believing God constituted Abraham's faith. Why, then, was not faith
used in the 3d verse in place of the word believed? Because the
word faith is always used as a noun, and never as a verb; nor is
there any power in the English language to convert it into a verb. We
can not say, "Abraham faithed God," but we can say, "Abraham
believed God, and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness."
We can not say, "Faith on the Lord Jesus Christ," but we can say,
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." We can
not say, "He that faitheth not shall be damned," but we can say, "He
that believeth not shall be damned." We can not say, "If thou faithest
with all thy heart, thou mayest," but we can say, "If thou believest
with all thy heart, thou mayest." Nor can we convert the word faith
into a participle, and say, "That faithing ye might have life through
his name," but we can say, "That believing ye might have life
through his name." When the thought is expressed in the shape of
a command to be obeyed, or as having been obeyed, or as a
condition to be complied with as an act of the mind precedent to
further obedience


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to the gospel, the style is: believe, believeth, believest, believed,
believing, etc.; but when used as a noun, to indicate the conviction
which exists in the mind, with one single exception (2 Thess. ii 13),
the word faith is always used. These facts will be further developed
as we proceed with the examination of our second question, viz.:

HOW DOES FAITH COME?

After asking, "How can they call upon him in whom they have
not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have
not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom.
x:14) intending, doubtless, to make the impression that they could
do neither, and clearly showing that after the facts of the gospel
exist, the order is: preaching, HEARING, BELIEVING, Paul
remarks, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the
word of God." Rom. x:17. Hence, after Jesus had taught the grand
facts of the gospel to the apostles, His first charge to them was,
"Preach the gospel to every creature." Mark xvi:16. And why?
Certainly, that those interested might hear, BELIEVE, and OBEY
it. In His most solemn prayer to His Father He said, "Neither pray I
for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through
their word." John xvii:20. Observe, He prayed for them who should
believe on Him through the words of the apostles; and as He
required them to preach the gospel, the people were expected to
believe in Him by hearing the gospel which the apostles were
required to preach. In keeping with this arrangement, Peter preached
to the Pentecostians, and "when they heard this they were pricked
in their heart." Acts ii:37. So their faith came by hearing, and they
were of the class of believers for whom Jesus prayed. The faith of
the Gentiles,


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too, came in the same way; for Peter said, "Brethren, ye know
that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles
by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."
Acts xv:7. Luke further tells us that "many of the Corinthians
hearing believed, and were baptized." Acts xviii:8. "It came to pass
in Iconium, that they [Paul and Barnabas] went together into the
synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of
the Jews and also of the Greeks believed." Acts xiv:1. The
Samaritans also "believed Philip preaching the things concerning
the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, and were
baptized, both men and women." Acts viii:12. Many other examples
might be given illustrative of the same fact; indeed, there is not a
single example on record where faith came not in this way.
We once saw an educated mute, who was quite an intelligent
member of the church of God. We wrote on a slip of paper and
handed him the following question: "Sir: Paul says 'faith comes by
hearing; as you can not hear, how came your faith?" He was a good
penman, and quickly wrote the following answer: "Though I can not
hear, thank God I can read. I heard the gospel like I heard the
question you asked me. John says: 'Many other signs truly did Jesus
in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book;
but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his
name.' John xx:30, 31. I read, understood, believed, and obeyed
what was written." We were pleased with his answer, for it evinced
that he knew much more about the faith required by the gospel than
many who have ears to hear but seem not to understand what faith
is, or how it comes.


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We have often heard persons praying most earnestly to God to
give them faith, and the preachers exhorting them to believe, without
presenting one word of testimony to produce faith, as though their
loud vociferations could scare them into the exercise of faith, or
awaken their God (who, like Baal, was either asleep or on a
journey), that He might hear and answer their prayers for faith. Such
persons always have the deepest sympathy of our heart; hence, in
great kindness, we say to them, "Come, now, and let us reason
together."
When they ask for faith, they have not faith, for surely they
would not so earnestly beg for that which they already have. James
says: "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is
like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed; let not that
man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." Jas. i:6, 7.
Now, as he asks for faith, and would not knowingly ask for that
which he has, it follows that he has not faith, and therefore can not
ask in faith; therefore let him not think that he will receive any thing
of the Lord, or that the Lord will give him the faith for which he
asks. Again: "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Rom. xiv:23. Then,
as they pray for faith, and therefore have not faith, their prayers can
not be of faith; and as whatsoever is not of faith is sin, it follows
that all such prayers are sin. Once more: "Without faith it is
impossible to please God." Heb. xi:6. As prayers for faith are not
made in faith, but without faith and as without faith it is impossible
to please God, therefore such prayers are not pleasing to God. And
as they are sinful, and therefore not pleasing to God, and nothing
can be received in answer to them, it surely would be better not to
make them.
But an objector says: "It is certainly legitimate to ask God, in
prayer, for that which He has promised to give us;


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and the Bible says faith is the gift of God; therefore we may ask
Him for it." Most assuredly we may pray to God for that which He
has promised to give us; but do the Scriptures teach that He has
promised to give faith to those who are without it? Before we
proceed to examine the proofs relied on to support the theory, we
beg permission to remark to our contemporaries that consistency
looks quite as well in them as in us, and the demand to reconcile
scriptures seemingly at war with positions taken should extend to
them as well as to us. This is not always remembered. Every knotty
quotation is reserved for us to explain, every seeming contradiction
is zealously sought after and brought forward for us to harmonize,
and every quibble that can be thought of is expected to be attended
to by us, while the objector's theory may be flatly contradicted by
the plainest teaching of inspiration, and no attempt is made by him
to explain or harmonize any thing.
We are tired of this. We want to see an objector be a man, and
dig up the briers, thistles, and thorns from his own garden before he
points at the weeds and grass in ours. Come, then: what do you
think of the quotations already made from Jas. i:6, 7, Rom. xiv:23,
and Heb. xi:6, and our reasonings thereon? And when you shall
have harmonized these with the right of such as have no faith to
pray for faith (and many others which you can easily find), then try
the following: "He that believeth not shall be damned." Mark xvi:
16. Will God punish men in hell forever for not believing, when He
has to give them faith? While you smooth these kinks out of the
theory that faith is a direct gift from God to the sinner, we will see
whether or not your proofs contradict us.
The first passage we will examine may be found in 1 Cor. xii:8-
10, where Paul, in speaking of the miraculous


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gifts of the Spirit, says: "For to one is given by the Spirit the word
of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to
another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by
the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another
prophecy; to another discerning of Spirits; to another divers kinds
of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." We have given
the sentence with reference to faith with is context, and the
connection most clearly shows that the faith which is enumerated
among the gifts of the Spirit is not the faith for which the alien is
taught to pray. If he may pray for faith because it is here said to be
the gift of the Spirit, then he may pray for the power to work
miracles, prophesy, speak with tongues, and interpret tongues, for
they are all in the same connection and by the same authority said
to be gifts of the same Spirit. Surely, no one will say that this faith,
or any of these gifts, is to be given to the unconverted alien, in
answer to prayer, or in any other way. There was a faith of which
Jesus said: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say
unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall
remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Matt. xvii:20.
And again: "If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say
unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be
thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you." Luke xvii:6. We
hear Paul also calling Titus his "son after the common faith." Tit.
i:4. Paul had preached the gospel to Titus, and when he believed it
he was begotten by the incorruptible seed, or word of God; and this
belief of the gospel Paul calls the common faith, because this is the
faith common to all God's people. But the word common implies
uncommon, hence, as Paul spake of the common faith, he did it in
contrast with the uncommon or miraculous faith given by the Spirit.
Does any one think he has it


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now? Then let him remove the mountain or tree by his word, and
thereby establish his claim.
The next and last passage to be examined is in the following
words: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God." Eph. ii:8. Is faith the thing here said
to be the gift of God? The demonstrative that never refers to the
thing nearest us or last spoken of. For such purpose this is
preferred. That, as a demonstrative, refers to the thing farther off or
previously spoken of; hence, in this sentence, it must refer to
something behind faith. We would paraphrase the sentence thus:
"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that salvation is not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God." This is the obvious import of the
passage.
But we are told that faith is the gift of God because He has given
us the testimony which produces it. To this we do not greatly object;
but still there can be no propriety in praying for it, nor can their
prayers avail any thing if they do pray. They have the testimony:
why not believe it? Is God to give them more testimony? If they
believe all the testimony, they have faith enough and need not pray
for more. Faith is produced by testimony, and as far as testimony
goes, faith may go, but where the testimony stops, faith must and
will stop. The testimony concerning Jesus tells us that He was born
of Mary in Bethlehem -- was baptized by John in Jordan, and
commenced His ministry in the hill country of Galilee -- was
crucified on Calvary, and was buried in Joseph's new tomb. Now,
suppose the testimony had stopped at this point, how much faith
would any person have had to-day in His resurrection, ascension,
and glorification? Just none at all. As far as testimony goes, faith
may go, but no further; all beyond is mere speculative opinion. Our
faith may be strengthened or weakened by increasing or


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weakening the testimony. We have faith in the testimony of men,
and we have faith in the testimony of God, but our faith in the
testimony of God is as much stronger than our faith in the testimony
of men as we regard God superior to man and His testimony more
reliable than that of man. This difference -- no more, no less. "If we
receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater." 1 John
v:9. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways
my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than
your thoughts." Isa. lv:8, 9.
But we are told that the belief of testimony is merely historic
faith. And what kind of faith is not historic faith? If by historic faith
is meant a belief in the historic account of Jesus, heaven, hell,
salvation, and condemnation given in the word of Truth, then we
hesitate not to admit that we have that kind of faith, and know of no
other. But you tell us you want divine faith. If by divine faith you
mean that which is predicated upon divine testimony, then we have
divine faith, and want no other. But you want evangelical faith.
And what sort of faith is that? Is it to believe all that the evangelists
have spoken and written? If so, we have evangelical faith. But you
want saving faith. What is meant by saving faith? If it is, with all the
powers of the soul, to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and
our Saviour, then we have saving faith. But you want the faith of
credence. And what do you mean by this? Is it to give full credit to
all the divine testimony? Then we have the faith of credence. But
you want the faith of reliance. And what kind of faith is this? Is it
to rely, with full confidence, on the testimony of inspiration? Then
we have the faith of reliance. But you want a trusting faith. Do you
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you to trust in Jesus Christ and the efficacy of His blood for
salvation? Then this is the kind of faith we have, and want no other.
Then of what use are all these qualifying terms as applied to faith?
They serve only to becloud the subject, and never can do any good.
We have heard persons taught that they must believe that God had
pardoned them, and whenever they would believe this they would
realize that it was so. It is not strange that persons feel like they are
pardoned when they believe that God has pardoned them; but if we
must believe that we are pardoned in order to be pardoned, then
we confess, frankly, that we neither have nor want that kind of faith.
Are we to believe that there are as many different kinds of faith as
there are qualifying terms here used? Paul said, "There is one Lord
and one faith." Eph. iv:5. When you believe all that God has said,
through inspired men, to the world, and believe it because God has
said it, you have all the faith which mortals can have or God
requires of them. Pollok has well said:
"Faith was bewildered much by men who meant
To make it clear, so simple in itself;
A thought so rudimental and so plain,
That none by comment could it plainer make.
All faith was one. In object, not in kind,
The difference lay. The faith that saved a soul,
And that which in the common truth believed,
In essence were the same. Hear, then, what faith,
True Christian faith, which brought salvation was --
Belief in all that God revealed to men;
Observe, in all that God revealed to men,
In all He promised, threatened, commanded, said,
Without exception, and without a doubt."

WHAT IS THE OFFICE OF FAITH?

Having seen what faith is and how it comes, we are now prepared
to inquire what it does. And we may as well say


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at once that it induces the performance of every act of acceptable
obedience to God -- every one. We are lost in attempting to find any
thing done in hearty obedience to God that is not, either directly or
indirectly, the result of faith. Is your heart subdued to the will of
God, and your affections and passions all mellowed by love, that
God-like principle that enables you to love your enemies, and do
good to and pray for them that persecute and evilly treat you? This
is the work of faith. Are you heartily sorry for all your past sins and
determined to forsake them and walk humbly and uprightly
henceforth? These are the results of the subjugation of your heart to
the will of God by faith. Have you confessed with the mouth the
Lord Jesus before men, that He may confess you before His Father
and the holy angels? Then you have but confessed with the mouth
what the heart believed. Have you been buried with Christ in
baptism and arisen to walk in newness of life? If so, Jesus, in the
commission which authorized the performance of this act, associated
it with faith, saying, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved;" and Philip made the eunuch's faith an indispensable
prerequisite to his baptism, saying, "If thou believest with all thy
heart thou mayest." And, as without faith it is impossible to please
God, had he baptized him without faith, it would not have been
pleasing to God; and hence were you to be baptized without faith,
it would not be a service well pleasing to Him. Do you, as
Christians, love mercy, deal justly, walk humbly and uprightly
before God? If so, it is all the result of faith; for the Christian lives
by faith, walks by faith, and dies in faith. But we are not yet ready
to develop the life of the Christian; hence we must go back and
assist the alien through that CHANGE IN THE AFFECTIONS OF
THE HEART which we have seen to be the first result of faith.
Paul says: "Ye have obeyed from the heart that form


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of doctrine which was delivered you; being then made free from sin,
ye became the servants of righteousness." Rom. vi:17, 18. By this we
learn that the obedience which freed the Romans from sin was from
the heart; and we may safely affirm that all acceptable obedience
must come from a heart sincerely desirous to honor God's authority.
All else is downright mockery. But no alien can obey from the heart
without a changed heart; hence it may be well to inquire what a
change of heart is, and how it is brought about. In order to acquire
any thing like a satisfactory knowledge of the subject, it is important
to know what the spiritual heart is, and then we may better
understand how and when it is changed. As the physical heart is the
center of the physical circulation, from whence passes the vital
current, giving life and nutriment to all parts of the body, so the
mind of man is the great center of all spiritual impressions and
emotions, and is therefore called the heart -- if you please, the
spiritual heart. If in this we are not mistaken, then all reference of
spiritual emotions and changes to the physical heart is out of place.
Let us see how this is. "And God saw that the wickedness of man
was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of
his heart was only evil continually." Gen. vi:5. It can not require an
argument to show that thoughts originate in the mind, which is here
denominated the heart. Solomon says: "The heart knoweth his own
bitterness." Prov. xiv:10. "The heart of the righteous studieth to
answer." Prov. xv:28. As study is the work of the mind, and as the
mind is the store-house of all knowledge, we can not be at a loss to
know that it was the mind which Solomon called the heart. "Jesus
perceiving the thought of their heart." Luke ix:47. As thoughts
proceed from the mind, it is evidently what Jesus here calls the
heart. "The heart also of the rash shall understand


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knowledge." Isa. xxxii:4. Here it is quite clear that the prophet used
the term heart with reference to the mind. With a single quotation
from an apostle, we must close our proof on this subject: "With the
heart man believeth unto righteousness." Rom. x:10. Until it can be
shown that the physical heart can believe and appreciate testimony,
it is unnecessary to make an argument to show that Paul here used
the word heart as equivalent to the mind. Thus we see that God,
Jesus, Solomon, Isaiah, and Paul used the term heart with reference
to the mind or intellect, with all its faculties, with which we think,
understand, feel, and receive impressions. We may cultivate and
develop the faculties of the mind so as to enlarge our powers of
thought and capabilities of acquiring and retaining knowledge, by
making impressions on it through the senses; but this is not what is
meant by the phrase "change of heart," as used by theologians with
reference to conversion. And it may be well to remark that we use
the phrase "change of heart" by way of accommodation to the
parlance of our times, and not because we find such language in the
Bible. It is not there. It is true that, in Dan. iv:16, it is said of
Nebuchadnezzar: "Let his heart be changed from man's and let a
beast's heart be given him;" but this had no reference to conversion
to Christianity. Indeed, while we confine ourselves strictly to the
literal signification of the terms we are by no means sure that such
a thing as a change of heart is at all possible. We may change the
affections and purposes of the heart or mind, but how we may
change the heart or mind itself, is not very clear to us. The affections
and purposes of the heart are no more the heart than the fruit of a
tree is the tree. In the Scriptures, however, the term heart is
sometimes used in this sense -- i.e., to indicate the affections and
purposes of the mind; and as these may be


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changed, it is with reference to them that we use the phrase "change
of heart." When we speak of a change of heart, then, we mean a
change of the affections and purposes of the heart. Nothing
more -- nothing less.
Many persons are prating about a "change of heart," who are
wholly destitute of any just conceptions of what it is, or how it is
produced. One of them will tell you that "It is the work of grace in
the heart," while another will tell you that "It is the new birth,"
"Getting religion," "Remission of sins," "Salvation from sin,"
"Justification," etc.; and they will tell you that "It was brought
about by the baptism of the Holy Ghost;" or at least they will insist
that "It was by the operation of the Holy Ghost." Hence the
importance of knowing what a change of heart is, that we may know
when we have it, if not how it was brought about. We have often
seen persons, as truly penitent as they were capable of being, who
were still praying for a change of heart, while their hearts were
wilted into perfect submission to the will of God as far as they knew
it. Did they not love God, and fear Him with all the powers of the
mind? Yes. Then if their hearts were changed they must cease to
love and fear God, and might love the devil and his service. Did they
not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of
sinners? Yes; if not, they would not have gone to the mourner's
bench, for it was to obtain salvation through Him that they went
there. Change their hearts from this, and it is bound to land them in
infidelity or unbelief, for this is the opposite of belief in Jesus. Is he
not heartily sorry for sins? Then change his


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heart, and he is not sorry. Is he not willing and determined to
forsake them? Then change his heart, and he is determined to
practice them. Does he not love the company and society of the
people of God? Then change his heart, and he loves the company
and association of the vicious and wicked. But you ask why was he
not pardoned if his heart was submissive to the will of God? Simply
because he had not complied with the conditions upon which God
had offered him pardon. And the failure, upon his part, was not
because of any perversity of heart in him, but because his instructors
had failed to teach him what those conditions are. For want of
proper instructions, he must go home with his head bowed down as
a bulrush, and continue to pray for a change of heart through long
weeks, months, years, or perhaps through life, because he can not
work himself up to a sufficient degree of excitement to believe his
heart changed in some supernatural way. This is the literal meaning
of it. And what is the result? If he is of Calvinistic persuasions, he
may conclude that he is not one of the elect, and in an effort to
drown his emotions he may go back into the practice of wickedness,
and perhaps become tenfold worse than before; or he may plunge
into the dark pool of infidelity, and conclude that there is no truth
in any thing. We very recently had a conversation with a very
intelligent infidel manufactured just in this way.
When a man's affections are won from sin to holiness, a love of
Satan to God, and all the purposes of his heart are submissive to the
will of God as far as he knows it, he has all the change of heart that
God requires of him prior to obedience. And we propose, now, to
examine a few passages of Scripture to see how this change is
produced, to which we invite the very careful attention of those who
would understand the subject: "And on this manner did Absalom to
all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the
hearts of the men of Israel." 2 Sam. xv:6. How did Absalom steal the
hearts of the people? Go back a few verses, and you will find that he


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placed himself by the gate, and when any one who had a
controversy came to present his grievance to the king, he would say
to him: "Thy matters are good and right, but there is no man deputed
of the king to hear thee. Oh, that I were made judge in the land, that
every man that hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I
would do him justice. And it was so, that when any man came nigh
to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand and took him and
kissed him." Thus it was that he stole their hearts; that is, he won
their affections. Hence, the term heart is here used to indicate the
affections of the mind, and not the heart itself; and thus we see
what is meant by a change of heart. The affections of the people
were won from the king and to Absalom; and it was done by making
them believe that the king was indifferent to their interests, and that
Absalom was their friend, and thus their faith changed their hearts.
What a vast cloud is removed from the subject by taking this
view of it! From this stand-point we can see a beauty and fitness in
the language of Peter to his brethren, when he said: "Men, and
brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice
among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of
the Gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare
them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by
faith." Acts xv:7-9. Thus we see that, though God gave the Gentiles
the Holy Ghost, it was not to purify their hearts, for He did this
work by faith. And as He put no difference between the Gentiles
and Jews in this respect, it follows that He purified the hearts of the
Jews by faith. Then let us go to Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost,
when and where the hearts of three thousand were purified in one
day, and see if we can find how


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it was done. And first we premise by saying that it was not done by
the Holy Ghost, for Jesus said they [the world] could not receive it,
and it was poured out upon the disciples before the multitude came
together. When the apostles were filled with it, and under its
influence began to speak forth in different languages, the wonderful
works of God, the people assembled, with hearts full of bitterness,
to hear what was being said. They believed Jesus an impostor, and
that they did right in putting Him to death; and that the apostles
were a drunken rabble. Thus we see that their wicked feelings were
the result of improper faith, and to change their feelings it was
necessary to correct their faith, which produced the feelings. And as
faith is dependent upon testimony, it was necessary, in order to
correct their faith, to present such testimony as would convince
them that Jesus was not an impostor, as they had believed, but was
what He professed to be -- the Son of God. Hence Peter began to
instruct them by telling them that the apostles were not drunk, as
they supposed, and that God had raised up that same Jesus whom
they had wickedly slain, and made Him both Lord and Christ; and
that He had shed forth what they then saw and heard. And as with
many other words he taught and exhorted them, it may be that he
called their attention to the fact that Jesus was once happy in
heaven, in company with God and angels, while they were without
hope and without God in the world, destined to misery and woe;
that to avert their punishment and secure their salvation, He left the
realms of bliss and came to the world a stranger and pilgrim, without
a place whereon to lay His head. That while He had come on a
mission of love for them, and mercy to them, they had ungratefully
persecuted and slain Him; that to increase and protract His
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up the rugged steeps of Calvary, until from fatigue and exhaustion,
He sunk beneath its weight; that to intensify the infamy with which
they intended to load down His memory, they compelled Him to die
between two thieves; that to mock His pretensions as King, they had
put on Him a purple robe, and encircled His head with a crown of
thorns, then buffeted Him, spat upon Him, and hailed Him in
derision as King of the Jews; that they had suspended Him upon
nails driven through His tender hands to the cross, and, when in the
midst of His agony He asked them for drink, they gave Him vinegar
mingled with gall. And while suffering all this for them, He loved
them still -- yes, He even loved the man that drove the nails through
His hands, and prayed, "Father, forgive them; they know not what
they do."

"See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far to small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."
When they heard these things they were pierced in their hearts.
And is it surprising that they were? Ah! would it not have been
surprising beyond measure had they not been deeply affected by the
scenes that had been made to pass afresh before them on that
occasion? They then knew how to appreciate the testimony that God
had borne to the divine character of His Son, through the
convulsions that took place in the laws of nature when He expired
upon the cross. They had felt the earth tremble beneath their
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them had been shaken to atoms, and the vail of their sacred temple,
that had stood for ages, had been rent in twain from top to bottom.
The king of day, for the first time since God had placed him in the
firmament, refused to give his light, and the world was enveloped in
darkness, while all nature was clad in the habiliments of mourning
because the Son of God was dead. Why all this? "God so loved the
world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

"He left His radiant throne on high,
Left the bright realms of bliss,
And came to earth to bleed and die --
Was ever love like this?
Oh! for this love let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
Their Saviour's praises speak."
Reader, have you no place in your heart's deepest affections for
a Saviour like this? But we are wandering from the point before us.
The testimony was believed with all the heart, and by it their
enmity was subdued. They saw their lost and ruined condition, and
hence felt their need of a Saviour. Their law had been: "He that
sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed." Seeing no
means of escape, in deep anguish of soul they cry out: "Men and
brethren, what shall we do?" We can scarcely forbear quoting the
answer, but it must bide its time. How simple the process! They had
improper views of the Saviour when they killed Him; but the
statements made by Peter, and the miraculous confirmation of them
by the Holy Spirit, convinced them that they had been mistaken, and
thus


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corrected their faith, and different faith produced different feelings
and actions. Surely, this is clear enough.
We have said that the testimony was believed with all the heart.
When the eunuch demanded baptism of Philip, he answered: "If
thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest." Acts viii:37. There
is a depth of meaning in this expression that we fear is not
comprehended by all. The word all implies that there may be such
a thing as a part of the whole; and when Philip said, "If thou
believest with all thy heart," he certainly left us to infer that there
is such a thing as believing without engaging all the powers of the
heart. Hence there may be a sort of passive assent of the mind to the
propositions of the Bible that falls very far short of that faith which
works by love and purifies the heart. When a scribe once asked the
Saviour for the first commandment, Jesus said: "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
thy mind, and with all thy strength." Mark xii:30. The same thought
is here intensified by repeating it in different forms of speech, so as
to forcibly impress us with the fact that God intends to engage the
whole powers of the heart; and the faith which falls below this is
worth nothing to any one. Hence says David: "I will praise thee, O
Lord, with my whole heart." Ps. ix:1. Our faith must be sufficiently
strong to subjugate the lusts, appetites, and passions -- in a word, the
whole man to the will of the Lord, and fill the heart with love. It
must enable us to appreciate our dependence upon God, and feel
the need of a Saviour, and put our trust in Him. It must enable us to
rise above all the influences of earth, and disregard what friends,
relatives, or the world may say of us, and feel, in the great deep of
our hearts, to say, "Speak, Lord, thy servant will hear; command,
and he will obey."


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"Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I'll follow where He goes;
Hinder me not, shall be my cry,
Though earth and hell oppose."
If heaven is worth any thing it is worth every thing; and he who
stops to reason with himself about what it will cost him, or the
sacrifices he will have to make to obey God, or the conveniences
and inconveniences attending the requirements which God has made
of him, is not in a fit frame of mind to obey God acceptably in
anything, and need not attempt it until he can bring himself more
fully into subjection to His will.
But we are told that God has to purify or change the heart
before faith, so as to enable us to believe, and the language of the
prophet is invoked to prove this position: "A new heart also will I
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away
the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of
flesh." Ezek. xxxvi:26. And again: "I will give them one heart, and
I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out
of their flesh, and I will give them a heart of flesh: that they may
walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and
they shall be my people, and I will be their God." Ezek. xi:19, 20.
If these quotations prove that God, by His Spirit, purifies and
renews the heart, and until He does this we can not believe and
obey Him, and He never does it, will He send us to hell for an
impurity of heart which He alone could remove? With this interpretation
of these quotations before us, let us try another: "Cast
away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have
transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why
will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of
him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore


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turn yourselves and live ye." Ezek. xviii:31, 32. Now what is to be
done with these quotations? They are all from the same prophet,
inspired by the same God. Does God contradict Himself? It certainly
will be conceded that the phrase "stony heart" was used to indicate
that hardness of heart which the Jews had produced in themselves
by indulgence in crime, the consequences of which they had keenly
felt in the numerous disasters which had befallen them. It will be
conceded, also, that the phrase "heart of flesh" was intended to
indicate that subdued state of mind in which God proposed to again
receive them into His favor. As man is a creature subject to be
influenced by motive, God, through the prophet, in the same
chapter, recounts their afflictions and wickedness as follows: "When
the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their
own way, and by their doings.... Wherefore, I poured my fury upon
them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their
idols wherewith they had polluted it: and I scattered them among
the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according
to their way and according to their doings I judged them." Ezek.
xxxvi:17-19. Then, after presenting their sufferings and their
wickedness, He proposes to take them from among the heathens,
cleanse them from their idolatry, restore to them their country, and
be to them a God. Were not these high incentives to reformation?
And can we not see great similarity in the process by which their
hearts were proposed to be changed, and the process by which the
hearts of the Pentecostians were changed? In both


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cases the wickedness of the parties and its dire consequences were
exhibited, and a plan of reconciliation proposed, embracing the
grandest motives of which the mind can conceive, to induce
acceptance. The arrangement of the terms in both cases was the
work of God; the acceptance in one case was to be, and in the other
case was, the work of man; and thus, in one sense, God changes the
heart, while in the other, and more common signification of the
terms, man does it himself. There are other passages we might
notice, but they will be examined in another department of our
work.
What faith does not do, or the doctrine of justification by faith
alone, will receive attention when we come to consider objections
to the design of baptism.


CHAPTER X
REPENTANCE

We have arrived at a proper stand-point from which to
consider the subject of repentance, and to it we invite the reader's
attention for the present. Its importance is admitted by all religious
parties and teachers of our times. When John came to prepare a
people for the reception of the Messiah, though he came to the Jews
who had long been the recognized people of God, he found them
steeped in wickedness; hence he said: "Repent ye, for the kingdom
of heaven is at hand." Matt. iii:2. When John was cast into prison
and his ministry ended, "Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. iv:17. When Jesus sent
the twelve apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, "they
went out and preached that men should repent." Mark. vi:12. Jesus
said to those who came to Him, "Except ye repent ye shall all
likewise perish." Luke xiii:3, 5. When He gave the final commission
to His apostles He said that "repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at
Jerusalem." Luke xxiv:47. When the apostles began to operate under
this authority, they commanded believers to "repent and be baptized
... in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Acts ii:38.
When the disciples were convinced that salvation was not confined
to the Jews, they "glorified God, saying, Then


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235
hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." Acts
xi:18. Then, as repentance is so important a condition in the gospel
plan of salvation, it is important that we know what it is, that we
may know when we have obeyed the divine mandate.
We find that the word repent occurs in our common English
Bible forty-two times; repented occurs thirty times; repentance
twenty-six times; repenteth five times; and repentest, repenting, and
repentings one time each -- in all, one hundred and six times.
Repent is used with reference to God sixteen times, and with
reference to man twenty-six times. It is used to indicate sorrow
eleven times, a change of mind or purpose fourteen times, and
includes the idea of reformation of life eighteen times. Repented is
used with reference to God thirteen times, and with reference to man
seventeen times. It is used to indicate sorrow twelve times, a change
of mind eight times, and includes a change of life or reformation ten
times. Repentance is used with reference to God twice, and with
reference to man twenty-four times. It is used to indicate sorrow
twice, a change of purpose once, and extends to reformation of life
twenty-three times. Repenteth is used with reference to God three
times, and with reference to man twice. Twice it indicates sorrow,
once a change of mind, and twice includes a change or reformation
of life. Repenting and repentest are each used once with reference
to God to indicate a change of purpose. Repentings is once used
with reference to God to indicate sorrow. With reference to God the
word is sometimes used in a negative sense; as, "God is not a man
that he should repent" (Num. xxiii:19); The Lord hath sworn and
will not repent." Ps. cx:4; Heb. vii:21. Sometimes it is used with
reference to God affirmatively; as, "It repented the Lord that he had
made man on the earth;" "It repenteth me that I have made them."


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Gen. vi:6, 7. At other times it is used with reference to God
conditionally; as, "If that nation against whom I have pronounced
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil I thought to do unto
them.... If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will
repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them." Jer. xviii:
8, 10. Again, it is sometimes used in petition or supplication to God;
as, "Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy
people." Ex. xxxii:12. In all the forms in which the word is used it
refers to God thirty-seven times, and with reference to man sixty-
nine times. It is used to indicate sorrow or regret twenty-eight times,
a change of mind or will twenty-five times, and a change of mind
resulting in reformation of life fifty-three times. We are not
concerned or interested in the use of the term as applied to God; its
application to man is that which more directly concerns us, and to
it we will confine our examination.
When used in the New Testament as a command to the alien in
order to the remission of sins, it always indicates such a change of
mind as produces a change or reformation of life under
circumstances warranting the conclusion that sorrow for the past
would or had preceded it. When so used it is invariably a
translation of the Greek word metanoio; and when used to indicate
sorrow or regret it is always from metamelomai -- a different word,
though improperly rendered the same in English. Had these words
been properly translated we think it likely that much of the
confusion on the subject of repentance would have been prevented.
Regret is certainly a much more fitting representative of
metamelomai than repentance, and why it has not been so
translated is more than we can tell.
A striking example of the difference in the meaning of the word
repent when derived from these different Greek words will be found
in 2 Cor. vii:8-10: "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do
not repent [metamelomai, regret], though I


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did repent [metamelomen, regret], for I perceive that the same
epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now
I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to
repentance [metanoian, reformation]: for ye were made sorry after
a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing; for
godly sorrow worketh repentance [metanoian, reformation] to
salvation not to be repented [metameleton, regretted]." Surely,
nothing could be more apparent than the difference in the use which
Paul makes of these two Greek words, though both rendered repent
in the common version. Paul wrote the Corinthians a letter which
made them sorry, and he regretted it, but he ceased to regret it when
he saw that their sorrow worked in them repentance: i.e., such a
change of mind as culminated in their reformation.
The words repentance, in the commission, Luke xxiv:47, and
repent, as used by Peter, Acts ii:38, and iii:19, are from the Greek
metanoio, and not from metamelomai, and hence means more than
sorrow for past sins. We say more, because that change of mind
which we call repentance always implies that sorrow for the past has
preceded it. When the Jews at Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost,
heard Peter's preaching, and by it were convinced that they had truly
crucified and slain the Son of God; they were pierced in their hearts,
and cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts ii:37.
Can we conclude that the hearts of those who asked this soul-
stirring question were not filled with sorrow for the sins from which
they desired salvation? Yet they were commanded to repent. But it
may be said that the sorrow which they had was not godly sorrow,
and this is the reason why it was not repentance. Their sorrow was
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their faith, and their faith was produced by Peter's preaching, which
was dictated by the Holy Spirit, sent that day from heaven, by Him
who sat at God's right hand. Surely, if this was not godly sorrow,
then there can be no such thing connected with conversion. But is
godly sorrow repentance? Paul did not so think. He says: "Now I
rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to
repentance, for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye
might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh
repentance unto salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of
the world worketh death." 2 Cor. vii:9, 10. Here we learn that godly
sorrow precedes repentance, but certainly is not repentance. Godly
sorrow is produced by respect for God and His violated law, and
produces a change of mind which induces reformation or change of
life; while the sorrow of the world may be produced by the fact that
the party has been detected in crime -- is subjected to the frowns of
men or the punishment inflicted by human laws -- perchance
because his schemes have proven unprofitable and have resulted in
loss to him. Such is the sorrow of the world, and makes no man
better, but ends in death. The repentance contemplated in the
commission, and required by Peter of those to whom he spake,
began where they gladly received his words, with a fixed purpose to
reform their lives in accordance therewith, and it was preceded by
deep sorrow for the wrongs they had done.
But we have a definition of repentance incidentally given us in
the Scriptures which will make the matter, if possible, more plain.
Jesus on one occasion said: "The men of Nineveh shall rise in
judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they
repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas
is here." Matt. xii:41. Jesus here says that the men of Nineveh


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repented at the preaching of Jonas; if, therefore, we can learn what
the Ninevites did, we can thence learn what Jesus meant by
repentance. "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil
way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do
unto them, and he did it not." Jonah iii:10. Then, the change of
mind which resulted in turning the Ninevites from their evil ways
constituted their repentance.
The determination to reform must be such as will lead the party
to a reparation of injuries done to others, as far as may be in his
power to make restitution. In vain may any one tell me that he
repents slandering me while he refused to correct his false
statements concerning me, or that he repents stealing my horse while
he continues to ride him without my consent. A circumstance
recorded on page 256, Ch. Syst., which, whether real or imaginary,
so aptly illustrates our view of this subject, that we feel constrained
to transcribe it:
"Peccator wounded the reputation of his neighbor Hermis, and
on another occasion defrauded him of ten pounds. Some of the
neighborhood were apprised that he had done both. Peccator was
converted under the preaching of Paulinus, and, on giving a
relation of his sorrow for his sins, spoke of the depth of his
convictions and of his abhorrence of his transgressions. He was
received into the congregation and sat down with the faithful to
commemorate the great sin-offering. Hermis and his neighbors were
witnesses of all this. They saw that Peccator was penitent and much
reformed in his behavior, but they could not believe him sincere
because he had made no restitution. They regarded him either as a
hypocrite or self-deceived, because, having it in his power, he repaid
not the ten pounds, nor once contradicted the slanders he had
propagated. Peccator, however, felt little enjoyment in


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his profession, and soon fell back into his former habits. He became
again penitent, and, on examining the grounds of his falling off,
discovered that he had never cordially turned away from his sins.
Overwhelmed in sorrow for the past, he resolved on giving himself
up to the Lord, and, reflecting on his past life, set about the work of
reformation in earnest. He called on Hermis, paid him his ten
pounds, and the interest for every day he had kept it back, went to
all the persons to whom he had slandered him, told them what
injustice he had done him, and begged them, if they had told it to
any other persons, to contradict it. Several other persons whom he
had wronged in his dealings with them, he also visited, and fully
redressed all these wrongs against his neighbors. He also confessed
them to the Lord, and asked Him to forgive him. Peccator was then
restored to the church, and, better still, he enjoyed a peace of mind
and confidence in God which was a continual feast. His example,
moreover, did more to enlarge the congregation at the cross-roads
than did the preaching of Paulinus in a whole year. This was
unequivocally sincere repentance."
Dr. Adam Clarke, in his commentary on Genesis, says: "No man
should expect mercy at the hand of God, who, having wronged his
neighbor, refuses, when he has it in his power, to make restitution.
Were he to weep tears of blood, both the justice and mercy of God
would shut out his prayers if he make not his neighbor amends for
the injury he has done him."
This principle seems to have ever characterized God's dealings
with men. In the Jewish law it is said: "When a man or a woman
shall commit any sin that men commit, or do a trespass against the
Lord, and that person be guilty, then they shall confess their sin
which they have done; and he shall recompense his trespass with the
principal thereof,


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and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against
whom he hath trespassed. But if the man have no kinsman to
recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto
the Lord, even to the priest." Num. v:6-8. Now, it will be seen that,
during the existence of this law, a trespass against a man was
regarded as a trespass against God, the Giver of the law forbidding
the trespass; and it was not only necessary to recompense to the
party aggrieved, but it was necessary to add a fifth part to it. And if
he could not find the party to whom recompense was due, he should
make it to his kindred if he had any; and if there were none, then it
was required to be made to the Lord through the priest. There was
no escape from making restitution. See also Lev. vi:1-7. Indeed, it is
difficult to conceive it possible for the heart of a man to be wholly
subjugated to the will of the Lord and he not feel a desire to restore
any thing unjustly taken from any one. If his pretensions be real he
will make restitution if in his power to do so. We do not mean that
all this must be consummated before remission of sins and adoption
into the family of God can take place; but we insist that the
disposition or purpose of heart must be present before the party is
in a fit frame of mind to further obey God in anything. And if the
purpose thus formed is abandoned and not carried out, "it had been
better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than
after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment
delivered unto them." 2 Pet. ii:21. Zaccheus said: "If I have taken
any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
And Jesus said, This day is salvation come to this house." Luke
xix:8, 9. Thus we see that the principle of restitution met the
approval of Jesus, even to the extent of fourfold.
Once more: Jesus once said to a distinguished lawyer:


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"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Matt. xxii:39. If we do
this, will we not do by our neighbor as we do by ourselves? As the
golden precept which crowned the rich casket of jewels contained
in the sermon on the mount, it is said: "Whatsoever ye would that
men should do to you, do you even so to them." Matt. vii:12. Do we
desire that others withhold from us that which they have wrongfully
taken from us? Or do we not rather desire them to restore to us that
which is our own? If so, then we are bound to make that restitution
to others which, under like circumstances, we would have them
make to us. True, this is a strait and narrow path, and few there be
who walk therein; but it is nevertheless "the law and the prophets."
He who would come to God must come with a clean breast; hence
"let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having
our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed
with pure water." Heb. x:22.
We come now to look for the order or place of repentance in
the scheme of salvation presented in the gospel. From the fact that
repentance is mentioned before faith, in a few places in the New
Testament, many have concluded that men must repent before they
exercise faith. We will very briefly examine these scriptures, that we
may see whether or not they prove the doctrine in question.
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee
preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time
is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and
believe the gospel." Mark i:14, 15. These persons were not required
to believe the same gospel that was to be preached to every creature
alluded to in the commission given after the resurrection of Jesus,
but they were simply to believe in the good news that the


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kingdom of God was at hand. This was the gospel which Jesus
preached to them. They were Jews who had previous faith in God
whose laws they had violated; hence for this they were required to
repent and then believe in the coming reign of Messiah. In like
manner Paul preached to the Ephesians "repentance toward God
and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts xx:21. Their repentance
was toward God, in whom they believed before the Messiahship of
Jesus was proclaimed to them. Hence toward Him their repentance
was directed. There is still another passage worthy of note in this
connection: "John came to you in the way of righteousness, and ye
believed him not; but the publicans and harlots believed him: and
you, when you had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might
believe him." Matt. xxi:32. Here we not only have the word
repentance before faith, but expressive of that which was necessary to
faith; but it is from metamelomai, indicating regret, and not from
the word indicative of that change of mind which is truly
repentance. It was the pride of the self-righteous Pharisees that kept
them from believing the proofs and accepting the ministry of John.
When they saw the publicans and harlots acting more consistently
in submitting to His teaching, as they believed in God by whom
John was sent, they should have regretted that these outcasts
outstripped them in obedience to the servant of the God in whom
they believed; and had they been filled with such regret, it would
have prepared them for faith in the glad tidings proclaimed by John.
Having seen that the strongest proofs relied on do not support
the theory, it may be well to see whether the interpretation given to
these scriptures by the advocates of the theory be not contradicted
by other scriptures the import of which we can not mistake. Paul
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is not of faith is sin." Rom; xiv:23. If repentance precedes faith,
it can not be of faith, and is therefore sin. Again: "Without faith it is
impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe
that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
him." Heb. xi:6. If repentance precedes faith, it is without faith, and
hence can not be pleasing to God. Surely, then, there must be error
in the theory. Finally: The advocates of this doctrine associate
repentance with prayer, generally, at the mourner's bench. Now, if
these prayers, connected with repentance, are before faith, they can
not be in faith. James says: "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering,
for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind
and tossed; let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of
the Lord." Jas. i:6, 7. Will God hear and answer these prayers made
in connection with repentance (so called) before faith? James says:
"Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
If there be truth in Holy Writ, a prayer made before faith will not be
answered.
Perhaps it may be well to examine the history of a few actual
cases of repentance, and see whether it preceded or succeeded faith.
We have seen that Jesus himself said that the Ninevites repented at
the preaching of Jonah; let us see whether or not faith in Jonah's
preaching preceded their repentance: "And Jonah began to enter
into the city a day's journey, and he cried and said, Yet forty days
and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Jonah iii:4. Here is the
preaching; what was the first effect of it? "So the people believed
God." Here is their faith, the first thing. What next? "They
proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them
even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh,
and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and


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covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it
to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh, by the decree of
the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor
flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man
and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God;
yea, let them turn, every one, from his evil way, and from the
violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and
repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And
God saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways." Jonah
iii:5-10. Here is their repentance. Who can not see the order of
events? First, Jonah preached the message which God gave him to
say to them. Second, The people believed God. Third, They turned
from their evil way. On the day of Pentecost the order was similar.
Peter preached, the people heard, believed, were cut to the heart,
asked what to do, were commanded to repent and be baptized. In
the narrative already twice quoted from Paul, 2 Cor. vii:8-10, he
wrote them a letter; they believed it -- were made sorry by it -- they
sorrowed in a godly manner, and their godly sorrow worked
repentance.
It will be admitted that repentance is produced in some way by
some cause. If it precedes faith, faith can not be the cause of it, and
we would be pleased to learn what does produce it. Do you admit
that a belief with all the heart in God, Jesus, heaven, hell, apostles,
prophets, and all things written and spoken by inspiration, precedes
and causes repentance? then will you please give us a minute
description of the faith that follows repentance -- what it is, and how
it comes. We acknowledge the want of light along here. We are not
very well prepared to understand how we are to repent for
transgressing the laws of a king in whom we have no faith. To us the


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doctrine seems not only contrary to the order of the Bible, but at war
with every principle of reason and common sense.
But we may be told that repentance is the direct gift of God.
The distinguished Watson says: "But if repentance be taken in the
second sense, and this is certainly the light in which true repentance
is exhibited in the Scriptures, then it is forgotten that such is the
corrupt state of man that he is incapable of penitence of this kind.
This follows from that view of human depravity which we have
already established from the Scriptures, and which we need not
repeat. In conformity with this view of the entire corruptness of
man's nature, therefore repentance is said to be the gift of Christ,
who, in consequence of being exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour,
gives repentance as well as remission of sins -- a gift quite
superfluous if to repent truly were in the power of man and
independent of Christ. To suppose man to be capable of a
repentance which is the result of genuine principle is to assume
human nature to be what it is not." Watson's Institutes, vol. ii, pp.
98, 99.
It seems to us that the dogma of hereditary depravity is the
Pandora's box from which have sprung most, if not all, the errors
which distract the religious world. This doctrine once received, and
every thing else is tried by it. Hence man can not repent because the
total depravity of his nature renders him incapable of it; and though
God has commanded him to repent, and told him plainly that he
shall perish if he does not repent, yet He must give him repentance
before he can repent!! Suppose God never gives the man
repentance, and per consequence the man never repents, what then?
Will God damn him for His own neglect? Surely not. We know it is
said: "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and


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a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
Acts v:31. Again: "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted
repentance unto life." Acts xi:18.
Are these passages sufficient to prove that man is incapable of
repenting? God gives us bread, but we have to work and make it,
nevertheless. So God gives us repentance by placing motives before
us to induce it; hence Paul asks: "Despisest thou the riches of his
goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the
goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" Rom. ii:4. God has
manifested His love for man in the gift of His Son, through whom
salvation is offered on certain conditions, among which repentance
holds a prominent place. He has revealed Himself to man in all the
loveliness of His true character. The joys and bliss of heaven are set
forth in a revelation adapted to his comprehension, and thus the
goodness of God leads man to repentance; hence Paul says: "The
servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt
to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose
themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the
acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves
out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his
will." 2 Tim. ii:24-26. Why should the servant of the Lord manifest
such patience, and so meekly instruct the opposers, if God gives
them repentance directly? Does not this case clearly show that God
gives men repentance by a system of means calculated to produce it?
He gives man faith by giving him testimony calculated to produce it,
and will damn him if he does not believe it. He gives man bread by
giving him the means with which to make it, but unless he uses the
means he will starve for food. So God gives man repentance by
causing repentance


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and remission of sins to be preached among all nations in the
name of His Son, yet he who does not repent will surely perish.
Then let no man wait for God to give him repentance directly, until
he is willing to sit, with folded arms, and wait for God to give him
bread in the same way.


CHAPTER XI
THE CONFESSION

It is very generally admitted that some sort of a confession of
something should be made by everyone at some time prior to
admission into the church of God; but what this confession is, how
and when it should be made, and its office in the plan of salvation,
are questions which have greatly perplexed those who have spoken
and written concerning them for the last three hundred years. In the
earlier ages of the church persons were required to confess with the
mouth their faith in Jesus Christ as the son of God prior to baptism,
and the only question worthy of our consideration at present is
whether or not this practice was authorized by inspired precept or
example. Paul says: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. iii:16, 17. If the
man of God is authorized to require the confession to be made by
anyone, surely it is a good work; and if a good work, the Scriptures
thoroughly furnish the man of God to it; i.e., they thoroughly
furnish the man of God with all needful instructions concerning it.
If he is not therein thoroughly furnished to it, then it follows that it
is not a good work, and should be abandoned. It may be well, then,
for us to examine the Divine Volume, and see whether or not it
furnishes authority for such a practice.


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When the Ethiopian nobleman demanded baptism at the hands
of Philip, the inspired teacher said: "If thou believest with all thy
heart thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God." Acts viii:37. That this was the proper
confession is evident from the fact that it was satisfactory to the man
of God, who thereupon proceeded at once to baptize him. And that
it should be made after faith is evident from the fact that it would
have been false had not the faith preceded it; and that it should be
made before baptism is evident from the fact that it was demanded
as a condition precedent to baptism. Here, then, we learn what is to
be confessed: i.e., that "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God," and that the time to make it is after faith and before baptism.
While this verse is regarded as genuine, the question of authority for
this confession is not debatable at all. Here is a plain, unmistakable
precedent which we dare not ignore. Our practice must conform to
it, or the passage must be removed from the Divine Volume. But we
are told that the passage is spurious -- an interpolation which
constitutes no part of the inspired text.
While our limits will not allow us to enter upon an extensive
examination of the claims of this verse, nor have the means afforded
us been such as to enable us to decide the matter, even to our own
satisfaction, we are by no means satisfied that the proofs offered by
those who would set it aside are conclusive. Indeed, we are not
quite sure that there is, at this day, a possibility of knowing with
certainty that it is spurious. This narrative (the Acts), like all the
other books of the New Testament, was at first a separate
manuscript, and was circulated by being copied by uninspired men.
These copies were again copied, and copies of copies were copied,
how far from the original we


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have no means of knowing. The first copy taken was in all
probability imperfect, as it is very difficult to copy any thing without
imperfections; and these imperfections must have increased, as the
copies were more remote from the original, because each copy must
contain the errors of the one from which it was taken, with the
chance of incorporating others. As the only sure method of
correcting these errors was to compare copies with the original,
when it wore out, we see not how any further corrections could
have been made. That the original manuscript, and all copies taken
directly from it, have long since been worn out is next to certain.
How, then, are the claims of the verse in question to be settled?
Were it wanting in all the manuscripts of the first thousand years,
and only found in such us are of modern date, this would be a
circumstance well calculated to cast suspicion upon it; but Dr.
Hacket tells us that this interpolation was known to Irenaeus as
early as the year 170. Then it was bound to have been in copies
taken at or before that period. It is fair to presume that the original
and all the first copies were circulated among, and read, and
handled by thousands of persons, and hence were most likely worn
out before that time, so that we are not sure that even Irenaeus had
the privilege of comparing such copies as he saw with the original,
so as to be assured that it was spurious. Hence, unless Dr. Hacket
would furnish us with the testimony upon which Irenaeus based his
judgment, we can not accept it as conclusive.
Tregelles tells us that this verse was inserted by Erasmus, as
being supposed to have been incorrectly omitted in his manuscripts;
and from his edition this and similar passages have been
perpetuated, just as if they were undoubtedly genuine. Are we to
understand by this that the interpolation began with Erasmus? If so,
how could


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Irenaeus have known of it so early as A.D. 170, more than twelve
hundred years before the time Erasmus lived? It occurs to us that
those who would set aside this verse should harmonize their
testimony, for when it is so plainly inconsistent we are inclined to
reject it all.
The circumstance which casts the darkest shade upon the purity
of the verse is the fact that the most profound critics, whose
opportunities have been best for examining the subject, and whose
peculiar labors called them directly into its examination, have
decided against it. Tregelles tells us that "no part of this verse is
recognized in critical texts." While the version of the New
Testament put forth by the American Bible Union retains the verse,
the translators have appended a foot-note, saying, "It is wanting in
the best authorities." As it was their object to give the English reader
a pure version of the mind of the Spirit, we see not why they
retained the verse at all, if satisfied that it was spurious. Anderson
has excluded the verse from his version of the New Testament, and
many other men of great research have pronounced it an
interpolation; but, as far as we have been able to examine the
grounds of their decision, we regard them as inconclusive; and we
think that attacks upon a verse that has had a place in the Bible,
according to the testimony of its opposers, since the year 170, more
than seventeen hundred years, should be very cautiously made, lest,
unfortunately, we shake the confidence of the uninformed in the
whole Bible.
Were this verse inconsistent with the sense of the context, we
might give more credit to attacks upon its purity; on the contrary, as
it is not only in harmony with the context, but indispensable to a
completion of the sense, we insist that a presumption is created in
its favor; and we wish to call attention to what we think is plain to
the most


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ordinary reader, that there is evidently a blank in the narrative
without the 37th verse. We quote from Anderson's version of the
New Testament, in which the verse is omitted: "And as they went
along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said: See,
here is water; what hinders me from being immersed? And he
commanded the chariot to stand still, and they both went down into
the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he immersed him."
Now, please observe that when they came to water the eunuch
asked a question, saying, "See, here is water, what hinders me from
being immersed?" and to this important question his inspired
instructor makes no answer whatever! none!! He knew that Jesus, in
the very commission which authorized the act about to be
performed, said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,"
and when asked what hindered baptism he made no answer at all,
but acting upon the presumption that the eunuch believed,
proceeded to baptize him, without asking whether he believed or
not. And, stranger still, the eunuch commanded the chariot to stand
still, and got out of it, without knowing whether Philip would
baptize him or not. Are we to believe that Philip said nothing in
answer to the question? and yet the eunuch commanded the chariot
to be still -- that both got out of it and went down into the water in
silence. Can any sane man believe it? Is there not a perceivable
blank which the sense requires to be filled with just such language
as we find in the verse in question? We can not pursue the subject
further, but dismiss it with the remark that the verse is fairly
deducible from the connection, and it will require stronger proof
than we have yet seen to shake our confidence in its purity. But
whether it be real or spurious the confession can be justified by
other scriptures, the authenticity


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of which will not be called in question by any believer in the
inspiration of the Bible.
Upon the banks of Jordan, in the presence of the multitude that
waited on the ministry of John, God bore witness to the divine
character and mission of His Son, saying: "This is my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased." Matt. iii:17.
Upon the truth of the grand proposition that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God, rests the salvation of the world, and in it are
centered all the hopes which mortals can have that reach beyond the
grave. It underlies the whole scheme of man's redemption. For if He
be not the Son of God, He was an impostor, the Bible is a fable, and
no man was, is, or ever will be under obligations to believe in or
obey Him. On the contrary, if this is true, His pretensions were real,
His claims are just, and every man who professes to believe it puts
himself under obligations to accept the terms he imposes. Hence,
Jesus said: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him
will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but
whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before
my Father which is in heaven." Matt. x:33. Here He gives us plainly
to know the importance of confessing Him [before men. But how did
they confess Him? When the parents of the blind man, whose eyes
were opened by Jesus, were questioned, they feared the people, for
"the Jews had agreed already that if any man did confess that he was
the Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue." John ix:22. Then
to confess Him was to confess that He was the Christ, and to deny
Him was to deny that He was the Christ. Of course, some were
making this confession, and others denying it, or the Jews would not
have made such an agreement concerning those who did make it.
These sayings among the


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people may have given rise to the question which Jesus asked His
disciples, saying: "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?"
Matt. xvi:13. In answer to this question the disciples gave some of
the opinions which the people expressed concerning Him, when He
put the question directly to them, saying: "Whom say ye that I am?
And Simon Peter answered, and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God." Matt. xvi:15, 16. Here the same grand truth is
confessed by Peter; and Jesus assures him that on it His church is to
be built: as much as to say, "All my claims upon the world rest upon
this truth which you have now confessed, not because you have
confessed it, but because it is true. You could not have known it,
had not my Father, at my baptism, and at my transfiguration, and
also through the mighty works I have done in His name, in your
presence, revealed it to you. All who confess it put themselves
under obligations thereby to accept the terms and obligations
impose, as much as if God, who sent me, did himself impose them;
hence I will make this truth the foundation of my church." By
making this confession the party puts himself under the strongest
possible obligations to observe all the ordinances emanating from
Jesus as Head of the church built upon the truth confessed. Hence
says John: "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God,
God dwelleth in him, and he in God." 1 John iv:15. And again:
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that
Jesus is the Son of God." 1 John v:5.
Having thus seen that this fact, which was attested by God and
confessed by Peter, is the truth to be believed in order to overcome
the world, and confessed in order that God may dwell in the party
making it, it may be well to see how it is confessed. Paul says that
"at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in heaven, and
things in earth, and things


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under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. ii:10, 11.
Again: "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and
every tongue shall confess to God." Rom. xiv:11. In these quotations
two important facts are made apparent. First: The confession is to be
made with the tongue. Second: God has determined that it shall be
made, and, therefore, it can not be dispensed with or ignored by
those who would honor His authority.
But from the pen of the same apostle we have another lesson on
this subject. He says: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from
the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
salvation." Rom. x:9, 10. We here learn that the confession is not
only to be made with the mouth, but it is a condition of salvation,
and therefore precedes remission of sins. Mark well that Paul does
not say "with a nod of the head confession is made unto salvation,"
nor does he say that by visiting the sick, or other acts of obedience
through life, confession is made -- but it is made WITH THE
MOUTH unto salvation; and while Paul is thus specific we dare not
accept it made in any other way, provided, the subject has the use
of the tongue with which to make it.
Having learned that the confession with the mouth is a condition
of and unto salvation, and therefore before it, and as Jesus says that
"he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark xvi:16), it
follows that confession precedes baptism. As the baptized believer
is saved, there is no period between his baptism and his salvation in
which to make the confession, and hence, as it is made before
salvation, it is certainly made before baptism. As it is with


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the heart man believeth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
with the mouth he confesses what the heart believes, it follows that
the confession with the mouth is subsequent to faith or belief;
hence, clearly the confession is located after faith and before
baptism. As stated elsewhere, were a man to make the confession
with the mouth before he believed with the heart, it would be a
downright falsehood, for he would thereby say he believed what he
did not believe.
Now, if the reader will review the ground over which we have
traveled, he will find that God has determined that man shall
confess with the mouth his faith in Jesus Christ as being the Son of
God before he is baptized, and by so doing he puts himself under
obligation to observe all the laws emanating from Him as Head of
the church built upon the truth he thus confesses. Paul's account of
Timothy's confession is in perfect harmony with this view of the
whole subject. We quote from Anderson's version as follows: "Fight
the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life to which you have
been called, and for which you confessed the good confession
before many witnesses." 1 Tim. vi:12. Jesus proposed to confess
such as confessed Him before men -- Timothy made the good
confession before many witnesses. Paul tells the Romans that
confession is made unto salvation; and when we supply the
antecedent to which the relative "which" refers in his account of
Timothy's confession, we find it reading thus: "For which, eternal
life, you confessed the good confession." Then Timothy made the
confession unto salvation, or for eternal life, "whereunto he was
called" by the gospel when Paul preached it to him. Surely this is
plain enough.
That the "good confession" made by Timothy consisted in
confessing that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, is


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further shown by the fact that in the next verse Paul applies the very
same words -- "the good confession: -- to the confession made by
Jesus before Pontius Pilate. And though in the account given by
Matthew of what He said in answer to Pilate, the words I am the
Son of God are not found, yet we are assured by the testimony of
His enemies that this was embraced in His confession. In derision
they said: "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross."
And again: "He trusted in God, let him deliver him now, if he will
have him: for he said, I am the Son of God." Matt. xxvii:40-43. If
this, then, was what Paul called the good confession when made by
the Saviour, it is also what he called the good confession when
made by Timothy, before many witnesses, for eternal life, whereunto
he was called by the gospel which was preached to him. Kind
reader, have you made this confession with your mouth to your
salvation? If not, you may have to make it to your eternal
condemnation, for we have seen that the decree has gone forth that
every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God
the Father.
But it is sometimes said that there was not time enough on the
day of Pentecost, after Peter quit preaching, for three thousand to
have made this confession before their baptism. Will the objector
tell us how long it would have taken, on that occasion, for this same
three thousand to have each told such an "experience" as HE
requires previous to baptism? While it would have been possible for
one speaker (and there were twelve present) to have propounded the
question, "Do each one of you believe, with all the heart, that Jesus
is the Christ, the Son of God?" and the response, "I DO" to have
come simultaneously from three thousand tongues in as little time
as it could have been asked of and answered by a single person, it


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could not have been possible for such experiences as are now told
to have been told in that way. They may all differ in the details, and
must therefore be told, listened to, and decided upon separately.
Say, then, how long would it have taken to hear three thousand of
them in that way? We have seen the inexorable law that every
tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, and that with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation; hence the presentation of
difficulties can not set aside the positive law as long as there remains
a possibility that the law was obeyed. The objector must show that
obedience to the law was impossible before we are at liberty to
presume that it was not obeyed, and even then the impossibility
might constitute an exception to the law, but not an abrogation of
it.
Were it profitable, we might entertain the reader with a feast of
fat things sometimes narrated in those so-called experiences, but we
forebear. We beg permission, however, to suggest a few plain
questions for the reflection of our readers before leaving this branch
of our subject:
If the belief of the fact that Jesus is the Son of God is the faith
that overcomes the world, will believing that He is the very and
eternal God do the same thing? If this is what must be confessed
with the mouth unto salvation, after faith and before baptism, and
it is not made, will we get the salvation unto which it should have
been made? If Timothy made this good confession for eternal life,
may we dispense with it, and still get the eternal life for which he
made it? If God has determined that every tongue shall confess that
Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, and we fail to make it
unto our salvation, will we not have to make it in the final day to
our eternal condemnation? If Jesus has promised to confess before


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His Father such as confess Him before men, will He still confess us
if we fail to confess Him? If God dwells in those who confess that
Jesus is the Son of God, will He also dwell in those who do not
confess this fact? Does not the language imply that He only dwells
in such as make this confession? If this is what has to be confessed,
will it be safe to substitute a narrative of our dreams, feelings, and
imaginations in the shape of an experience instead of the confession
required by the law of the Lord? And if these dreams, feelings, and
imaginations constitute all the confession made prior to baptism,
when do the parties confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, or
that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father, to their own
salvation, and for eternal life, and which secures the dwelling of
God in those who make it?
But we have said that in the earlier ages of the church persons
were baptized upon a simple confession of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Neander says: "At the beginning, when it was important that the
church should rapidly extend itself, those who confessed their belief
in Jesus as the Messiah (among the Jews), or their belief in one
God, and in Jesus as the Messiah (among the Gentiles), were
immediately baptized, as appears from the New Testament.
Gradually it came to be thought necessary that those who wished to
be received into the Christian Church should be subjected to a more
careful preparatory instruction, and a stricter examination."
-- Neander's History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 385.
Thus we have the testimony of this distinguished historian that
in primitive times all that was required was that the candidate
should confess his faith in the fact that Jesus was the Messiah. How
long before this scriptural confession was abandoned he does not
tell us, but it was gradual. Hence, as far as his authority goes, it
shows


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what the New Testament confession was, and certainly the church
had no right to change it.
Dr. Robinson says: "Among primitive Christians there was an
uniform belief that Jesus was the Christ, and a perfect harmony of
affection." -- Benedict's History, Vol. 1, p. 99.
Again: "These churches were all composed of reputed believers,
who had been baptized by immersion on the profession of their
faith." -- Ibid, p. 8.
Mosheim says: "Whoever acknowledged Christ as the Saviour
of mankind, and made a solemn profession of his confidence in him,
was immediately baptized and received into the church." -- Maclain's
Mosheim, First Century, p. 38. Part II, chap. 2, sec. 7.
Again, p. 42, chap. iii, sec. 5, he says: "In the earliest times of
the church all who professed firmly to believe that Jesus was the
only Redeemer of the world, and who, in consequence of this
profession, promised to live in a manner conformable to the purity
of his holy religion, were immediately received among the disciples
of Christ."
These quotations might be extended almost indefinitely, but the
foregoing are deemed sufficient to show that in primitive times the
only confession demanded was a belief in the fact that Jesus Christ
was the Son of God. As this was the confession authorized of the
Lord, and required by the apostles and primitive Christians, who is
authorized to demand any thing else now? Can we improve upon
the work of the Lord? Surely, it is more safe to keep within the
boundary prescribed in the New Testament. Has a church the right
to determine whether or not a sinner may obey the Lord? Surely
not; yet this is just what is assumed. A man wishes to be baptized in
obedience to the Lord, but the church must hear his experience, and
determine whether or not it is genuine before they will permit him
to be baptized. And they decide upon the value of


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his experience, not by its approximation to the divine models given
in the New Testament, but by comparing it with their own; and if his
feelings have been like theirs, he is accepted, otherwise he is
rejected. Paul says: "We dare not make ourselves of the number, or
compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they,
measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves
among themselves, are not wise." 2 Cor. x:12. Now, if these persons
are not doing just the thing here pronounced unwise when
comparing experiences, then we know not how they may do so.
However much the man may desire to obey God, he can not be
permitted to do so unless his experience is like that of each one who
decides upon the merits of his. Who has the right to come between
the sinner and his God and say he may or may not obey what God
hath enjoined upon him? Surely, this is a most fearful responsibility.
Nor is this the worst feature of the case; for however anxious a man
may be to submit to baptism, and however anxious the administrator
may be to wait upon him, he dare not do it until the church is
convened to pass upon the merits of the experience. Was this the
custom anciently? When the eunuch demanded baptism at the hands
of Philip, the latter did not think of convening the church to hear
and decide upon the experience of the candidate, but he said: "If
thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest;" and when the eunuch
said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," Philip
proceeded at once to baptize him, without waiting to know what the
church thought of it, or whether this was like theirs, yea or nay. It
was what the Lord required, and this was enough for him.
Nor is the church any less liable to be imposed upon by these
experiences than by a simple confession of faith in Christ. If the man
be insincere, he can just as easily


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263
fabricate a narrative of falsehoods suited to his purpose as he could
falsely confess his faith in Jesus Christ. Is man capable of improving
upon the plan instituted by the Lord? If so, why could he not devise
a system of salvation without invoking the wisdom of heaven at all?
And if we may introduce such an addition to the confession, where
will such interpolations stop? If the word of God is perfect, let us
come to it, and be satisfied with it.


CHAPTER XII
BAPTISM

The subject of baptism has engaged the attention of many of
the wisest heads, and employed the tongues and pens of
many of the ablest speakers and writers that have blessed the world
by their labors since the days of the Apostles. In the examination of
a subject upon which there has been so much spoken and written,
it will not be expected that we shall be able to present a single
thought that has not been presented in some shape by some one who
has preceded us. If there is a subject connected with man's salvation
that has been exhausted, surely this one has. We have read every
thing that has come in our way on the subject, and have profited
especially by the writings of Campbell, Carson, Conant, Booth,
Gale, Hinton, Bailey, and Stuart, whose works we have by us at this
writing; but we will write just as though nothing had ever been
written on the subject before, presenting every thing we may deem
important to a thorough examination of the subject in our own way,
without regard to the source from which we learned it, whether from
the Bible or the writings of men tried by the Bible. If we speak not
as the oracles of God speak, then prove all things and hold fast that
which is good First, then, we inquire:

WHAT IS BAPTISM?

When Jesus commanded his disciples to teach all nations,


What Is Baptism?
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baptizing them, did He mean any thing? if so, what? It is
scarcely necessary to say to the reader that the words baptist,
baptism, baptize, baptized, and baptizing are all Greek words
anglicized in termination to satisfy the demands of English euphony,
and transferred (not translated) to our version of the sacred
Scriptures; hence, if we would comprehend the subject, we must
learn correctly the meaning of these words, not as defined by
authors whose works are made to reflect the faith of the party to
which they belong, but we must get at their import at the time the
Saviour and the inspired speakers and writers employed them.
The word baptisma, rendered baptism, occurs in the New
Testament twenty-two times. The word baptismos occurs four
times, three times rendered washing and once baptism. Baptistees
occurs fourteen times connected with John, and is rendered baptist.
Baptidzo occurs eighty times, seventy-eight times rendered baptize,
baptized, etc., and one time each wash and washing. This family of
words is derived from bapto, and each derivative partakes of the
primary import of this word. It occurs five times in the New
Testament, and embapto once. Matt. xxvi:23, Mark xiv:20, Luke
xvi:24, John xviii:26 (twice) and Rev. xix:13. This word is never
used to indicate baptism, and hence is not transferred but translated
every time; hence you will find it dip, dippeth, dipped. Language
has no law that is better established than that derivative words
inherit the radical form and primary meaning of the words from
which they are derived. This being so, and the primary meaning of
bapto being dip, does it not follow that its derivative baptidzo must
be rendered dip, immerse, or by some word equivalent thereto? If
baptism may be performed by sprinkling or pouring, is it not strange
that we never have baptidzo, the word used to indicate it, rendered
sprinkle or


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pour? These words often occur in the sacred Scriptures, but never
from the word baptidzo. Sprinkle is always from its own
representative raino, and pour from cheo.
While the primary meaning of bapto, and, per consequence, of
its derivative baptidzo, is to dip, immerse, overwhelm, the meaning
of sprinkle is to scatter in drops, and pour to turn out in a stream.
As well might we expect purely English parentage to produce a
progeny of baboons and monkeys as for baptidzo, or any other word
derived from bapto, to mean sprinkle or pour.
Worcester, in his unabridged Dictionary, first defines the Greek
word baptismos "a dipping," and then proceeds to define the same
word (less two letters) as an English word thus: "Act of baptizing,
a Christian rite or sacrament, symbolical of initiation into the church
and consecration to a pure life; performed by immersion, ablution,
or sprinkling, and accompanied with a form of words." Now, how
are we to reconcile his definition of baptismos, "a dipping," with his
definition of baptism, "performed by immersion, ablution, or
sprinkling?" The former is the primitive meaning of the Greek when
Jesus used it to indicate His will, the latter is the modern abuse of
the term defined in accommodation to present usage. The Greek
baptidzo he defines "to dip or merge," and then defines baptize "to
administer baptism to; to immerse in water, or to sprinkle with
water, in token of initiation into the Christian church; to christen."
Here again we see that the word employed by the Lord means to dip
or merge, while its modernized equivalent means to immerse or
sprinkle.
Webster, in his unabridged Dictionary, defines "baptisma
baptismos, from baptidzein, to baptize, from baptein, to dip in
water." Then he defines baptism as from these: "The act of baptizing,
the application of water to a person, as a


What Is Baptism?
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sacrament or religious ceremony, by which he is initiated into the
visible church of Christ. This is usually performed by sprinkling or
immersion." When defining the Greek it means to dip, but in these
days it is usually performed by sprinkling or immersion! Can dipping
be done by sprinkling?
We introduce these authors, not for the purpose of objecting to
them, for they were bound to define words as used when they wrote,
but we introduce them, first, to show the marked difference between
the Greek words employed by inspiration and the modern abuse of
them; and, secondly, that we may have the benefit of their authority
in showing that the Greek, from which we have the words in
controversy, means to dip or immerse. Had there been any such
meanings as sprinkle and pour in the Greek, surely they would have
found them, and the definitions they give to the anglicized
equivalents show that had they found them they would have given
them. Ours is a living, growing, and, therefore, a changing language,
and the import of adopted words is as liable to be changed by usage
as native English words. Surely, it would have astonished the Greek
writers of eighteen hundred years ago to have found a definition to
baptisma, like those given to baptism by Webster and Worcester,
saying, "it may be performed by immersion, ablution, or sprinkling."
But let us examine the works of those whose peculiar business it is
to define Greek words:
1. PICKERING defines baptidzo "to dip, immerse, submerge,
plunge, sink, overwhelm; to steep, to soak, to wet, to wash one's
self, or bathe."
2. GROVES: "Baptidzo (from bapto, to dip), to dip, immerse,
immerge, plunge; to wash, cleanse, purify."
Mr. Groves and many others show that baptidzo comes from
bapto, to dip; hence, however numerous the meanings


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of bapto, baptidzo inherits only the primary meaning dip, in
accordance with the law already laid down.
3. ROBINSON: "Baptidzo -- to immerse, to sink; for example,
spoken of ships, galleys, etc. In the New Testament, to wash, to
cleanse by washing; to wash one's self, to bathe, perform ablution,"
etc.
Mr. Robinson was a Presbyterian and gives the primary meaning
of the word baptidzo to immerse, and then gives the meanings wash,
cleanse, etc., from the New Testament, from such passages as do not
speak of baptism, and where the word is translated, as Mark vii:4,
Luke xi:38.
4. LIDDELL and Scott: "Baptidzo -- to dip in or under water; of
ships, to sink or disable them. Pass., to be drenched. 2. 2. Metahp.,
soaked in wine, over head and ears in debt; being drowned with
questions or getting into deep water. To draw wine by dipping the
cup in the bowl. 3. To baptize. Mid., to dip oneself; to get oneself
baptized. [Latest edition].
"Baptismos -- a dipping in water, ablution.
"Baptistas -- one that dips, a baptizer, the Baptist, N.T."
In the first American edition of Liddell and Scott's lexicon to
pour upon was in the definition of baptidzo, but this was expunged
from subsequent editions.
In a discussion at Flat Creek, our opponent read these definitions
from his edition of Liddell and Scott, remarking that this work
had been tampered with by immersionists until it is difficult to tell
when we have the real definitions of the authors -- that it is likely an
edition will be presented not having pour upon in its definition of
baptidzo. When asked who was the editor of his edition, he said,
"Drisler." Drisler is the editor of our edition, and, as far as we are
informed, is the only American editor who has ever published
Liddell and Scott. So it is certain that the same editor had control
of the work when pour upon was in the definition, and when it
came out; and could


What Is Baptism?
269
such a definition have been verified by examples it would doubtless
have been retained. As it could not be sustained and had to come
out, it is quite clear that sectarianism put it there and would have
kept it there if any such meaning belonged to the word.
5. DONNEGAN: "Baptidzo -- to immerse repeatedly into a
liquid, to submerge; to soak thoroughly, to saturate, hence to drench
with wine. Metaphorically, to confound totally; to dip in a vessel
and draw. Passive, to be immersed."
Some lexicographers regard the termination "zo" as a
frequentative, indicating a repetition of the act; hence they define
baptidzo "to dip repeatedly." But Moses Stuart, a justly celebrated
Presbyterian critic, in his work on baptism, has clearly shown this
to be an error. Indeed, those who oppose us can not base an
objection on this hypothesis, for then would they have to repeat
their sprinkling as often as we our immersion.
6. SCHREVELLIUS, whose definitions are given in Latin,
defines baptidzo, "baptizo, mergo, abluo, lavo;" which we
translate, I baptize, I immerse, I cleanse, I wash.
The foregoing definitions we have taken directly from the
original works of the authors quoted. The definitions following we
collate from debates where they were presented in presence of
opponents competent to have exposed any want of fidelity to the
works from which they were taken. That they are correct we have no
doubt.
7. SCAPULA: "Baptidzo -- to dip, to immerse; also, to submerge
or overwhelm, to wash, to cleanse."
8. STEPHANUS: "Bapto and baptidzo -- to dip or immerse, as
we dip things for the purpose of dyeing them, or immerge them in
water."
9. ROBERTSON: "Baptidzo -- to immerse, to wash."
10. PASOR: "Bapto et baptidzo -- to dip, immerse, to dye,
because it is done by immersing. It differs from


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dunai, which means to sink to the bottom and to be thoroughly
submerged."
"Metaphorically, in Matthew, afflictions are compared to a
flood of waters, in which they seem to be immersed who are
overwhelmed with the miseries and misfortunes of life, yet only so
overwhelmed as to emerge again."
11. PARKHURST: Baptidzo -- to immerse in or wash with
water, in token of purification." "Figuratively, to be immersed or
plunged into a flood or sea, as it were of grievous afflictions and
suffering."
12. BRETSCHNEIDER: Baptidzo -- properly, often to dip, often
to wash; to wash, to cleanse; in the middle voice, I wash or cleanse
myself. An entire immersion belongs to the nature of baptism. This
is the meaning of the word; for in baptidzo is contained the idea of
a complete immersion under water; at least so is baptisma in the
New Testament. In the New Testament baptidzo is not used unless
concerning the sacred and solemn submersion, which the Jews
used."
"Baptisma -- immersion, submersion. In the New Testament it is
used only concerning the sacred submersion, which the Fathers call
baptism."
13. SUIDAS: "Baptidzo -- to sink, to plunge, immerse, wet,
wash, cleanse, purify."
14. GREENFIELD: "Baptidzo means to immerse, immerge, sub-
merge, sink." In New Testament, "to wash, perform ablution,
cleanse; to immerse, baptize, and perform the rite of baptism."
15. BASS: "Baptidzo -- to dip, immerse, plunge in water; to
bathe one's self; to be immersed in sufferings or afflictions."
16. DR. JOHN JONES: Baptidzo -- I plunge, I plunge in water,
dip, baptize, bury, overwhelm."
17. WAHL: "Baptidzo (from bapto -- to immerse; more


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frequently, to immerse in N. T.) To immerse (always in Josephus,
Ant. IX, 10, 2, etc. Polyb. etc.). Properly and truly concerning
sacred immersion."
18. HEDERICUS: "Baptidzo -- I plunge, immerse, overwhelm
in water, I cleanse, wash, I baptize, in a sacred sense. Baptisma --
immersion, dipping, baptism. Baptistees -- one who immerses, who
washes; one who baptizes; a baptizer.
19. EWING: "Baptidzo -- in its primary and radical sense, I
cover with water or some other fluid, in whatever manner this is
done, whether by immersion or effusion, wholly or partially,
permanently, or for a moment; and in the passive voice, I am covered
with water or some other fluid, in some manner or other. Hence, the
word is used in several different senses, referring either mediately or
immediately to the primary idea. It is used to denote, First: I plunge
or sink completely under water. Second: I cover partially with water,
I wet. Third: I overwhelm or cover with water by rushing, flowing,
or pouring upon. And in the passive voice, I am overwhelmed or
covered with water in that mode. Fourth: I drench or impregnate
with liquor by effusion. Fifth: I oppress or overwhelm, in a
metaphorical sense, by bringing afflictions or distresses upon. Sixth:
I wash, in general, without specifying the mode. Seventh: I wash for
the special purpose of symbolical, ritual, or ceremonial purification.
Eighth: I administer the ordinance of Christian baptism; I baptize.
20. Vossus: "Baptidzo -- to baptize, signifies to plunge. It
certainly, therefore, signifies more than epi polazin, which is to
swim lightly on top, and less than dunein, which is to sink to the
bottom so as to be destroyed."
21. TROMMIUS: "Baptidzo -- to baptize, to immerse, to dip."


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22. BAGSTER: "Baptidzo -- to dip, to immerse, to cleanse, or
purify by washing, to administer the rite of baptism, to baptize.
"Baptisma -- immersion, baptism, ordinance of baptism.
"Baptismos -- an act of dipping or immersing."
23. SOPHOCLES: "Baptidzo -- to dip, to immerse; sink, to be
drowned (as the effect of sinking), to sink. Trop., to afflict; soaked
in liquor; to be drunk, intoxicated."
24. LEIGH: "Baptidzo -- the native and proper signification of
baptidzo, is to dip in water, or to plunge under water."
25. RICHARDSON: "Baptidzo -- to dip or merge in water, to
sink, to plunge or immerse."
26. SCHOTTGENTUS: Baptidzo, from bapto -- properly, to
plunge, to immerse, to cleanse, to wash."
27. CASTEL.: "Baptidzo -- to bathe, baptize, immerse."
28. CONSTANTINE: Baptismos -- baptism, the act of dyeing;
that is, of plunging.
29. MINHERT: "Baptidzo -- to baptize, properly, indeed, it
signifies to immerse, to plunge, to dip in water. But because it is
common to plunge or dip a thing to wash it, hence it signifies also
to wash, to wash away.
"Baptisma -- immersion, dipping into, washing, washing away;
properly, and according to its etymology, it denotes that washing
that is done by immersion."
30. THAYER: "Baptidzo -- 1 Prop. to dip repeatedly, to
immerge, submerge ... 2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to
wash, to make clean with water ... to wash one's self, bathe. Met.
overwhelm. Baptisma -- N.T. immersion, submersion.
31. SUICER: "Baptidzo -- properly denotes an immersion or
dipping into."
32. ANTHON: Dr. Anthon, though not a lexicographer, as a
scholar has no superior in America. He says: "The primary meaning
of the word (baptidzo) is dip or immerse,


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and its secondary meanings, if it ever had any, all refer to the same
leading idea. Sprinkling, pouring, etc., are entirely out of the
question."
33. STOKIUS: Stokius defines in Latin, and is supposed to give
some comfort to those who practice effusion and aspersion. The
plan of his work is somewhat different from other lexicographers, as
indicated in the title page, which we give, as follows: "Clavis of
Christian Stokius, Professor in Public Academy at Jena; Opening the
way to the sacred tongue of the New Testament; exhibiting, in
convenient order, first, the general and then the special meanings
of words; assisting especially the studies (or efforts) as well of tyros
as of the cultivators of homiletics and exegesis; and then supplying
the place of concordances with an index of words. Fourth edition,
enlarged and improved."
By this it will be seen that he gives, first, the general and then
the specific meanings. Hence he defines baptidzo "to wash, to
baptize," and then proceeds to define the word specifically as
follows: "Generally, and by force of the word, it obtains the notion
of a dipping and an immersion. Second: Specifically and properly,
it is to immerse or to dip into water. Figuratively, by metalepsis, it
is to wash, to cleanse, because a thing is accustomed to be dipped
or immersed in water that it may be washed or cleansed; although
washing or cleansing can and is accustomed to be done by
sprinkling water." [Thus we see how it is that baptidzo comes to
mean wash, because things are accustomed to be dipped that they
may be washed.]
"Baptisma -- baptism: 1. Generally, and by force of its origin, it
denotes immersion or dipping. 2. Specifically, properly it denotes
the immersion or dipping of a thing into water that it may be
cleansed or washed; hence, it is transferred to designating the first
sacrament of the New


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Testament, which they call [the sacrament] of initiation -- namely,
baptism, in which those to be baptized were formerly immersed into
water; though at this day the water is only sprinkled upon them, that
they may be cleansed from the pollutions of sin, obtain the
remission of it, and be received into the covenant of grace as heirs
of eternal life. 3. By metaphor, it signifies the miraculous effusion
of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other believers, not only on
account of the abundance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, just as
formerly water was abundantly poured upon those baptized, or they
were immersed deep into the water, but also on account of the
efficacy and virtue of the Holy Spirit, which, like living water,
refreshes in heart, cleanses from filth, and purifies."
Thus we have given a perfectly literal translation of the Latin of
Stokius, made directly from his original work, that the reader may
have the full benefit of it. He shows clearly that baptidzo primarily
means to dip or immerse, and that it means to wash only because
things are accustomed to be dipped that they may be washed. Nor
is this all; he most clearly shows that the custom of the present day
is a departure from the original practice. As to when, how, and by
whom this departure from primitive practice was introduced we will
see at the proper time. He also shows that persons were baptized, in
early times, that they might be cleansed from the pollutions of sin
and obtain the remission of it. Will the reader remember this when
we come to examine the design of baptism?
34. SCHLEUSNER: "Baptidzo -- properly, I immerse, and I dip
(intingo), I sink into the water. From bapto, and corresponds to the
Hebrew tabal; 2 Kings v:14, in the Alexandrian version; to tabang,
in the writings of Symmachus, Psalmody 68:5, in anonymous Psalm
9:6. But it is never used in this signification in


What Is Baptism?
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the New Testament, but is frequently thus used in Greek writers.
"Now, because a thing is accustomed to be immersed, or
dipped in water, that it may be washed, hence it marks (or denotes)
I cleanse, I wash, I purge with water; thus it is used in Mark vii:4.
"Jesus did not wash himself before dinner. Luke xi:38.
"Metaphorically, as in Latin, I wet, or I soak, I give and supply
largely and copiously, I pour forth abundantly; e.g., Matt. iii:11. 'He
will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.'
"It can be proved that baptidzesthei, in many places, signifies,
not only to be washed, but also that one washes himself.
"Baptisma -- baptism; a verbal noun from the passive participle
of bebaptisma, of the verb baptidzo, (1) properly, immersion,
dipping into water, a washing. Hence, it is transferred to the sacred
rite which, par excellence, is called baptism, in which formerly
those to be baptized were plunged into water that they might be
bound to the true divine religion. Thus it is used concerning the
baptism which John the Baptist administered by divine command
(Matt. iii:7, Luke vii:29), which, par excellence, is called the
baptism of repentance, because he bound men to a willing
obedience to God and an emendation of their spirits. Here, truly, it
should be observed that the expression 'the baptism of John' has
sometimes a wider signification, and by synecdoche it signifies the
whole function, institution, and doctrine of John the Baptist. By
metaphor, the heaviest afflictions and calamities were endured on
account of religion, in which those who sustained them were as if
they were submerged, which formerly were not improperly called a
baptism in blood.
"Baptismos -- a washing, cleansing, purification."
As Schleusner's Lexicon, like that of Stokius, is in possession


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of but very few, and is not published in America making it
almost impossible to purchase it without an order to London, we
have given a literal translation, made directly from the Latin of his
work. And as his language is most cruelly perverted, and those who
have not the lexicon are imposed upon by those who are willing to
support a favorite dogma at the expense of truth, we have given all
he has said which we regard at all calculated to throw any light on
the subject. His definition of baptidzo is quoted thus: "Properly to
immerse or dip, to plunge into water, from bapto but in this
sense it never occurs in the New Testament." See Louisville Debate,
page 487. It was also thus used in debate with us at Flat Creek. By
leaving out the words to which the author refers when he says "in
this sense it never occurs in the New Testament," he is made to say
that baptidzo never occurs in the sense of immerse, dip, or plunge
into water, in the New Testament. By reference to his definition it
will be seen that he says in the sense of tabang it is never used in
the New Testament. Tabang means to sink, to be sunk, immersed,
as in mire or a pit; and the examples referred to are cases where
baptidzo is used in this sense, without any reference to emersion
from that into which the immersion occurred. The author's
definition of the noun baptisma (which was left out in the debates
referred to), shows that because it does mean immerse, dipping, etc.,
it is transferred to the sacred rite which, par excellence, is called
baptism, in which those formerly to be baptized were plunged into
water. Thus Schleusner was made to say just the opposite to what
he did say. Certainly the whole weight of his authority is in favor of
immersion as baptism.
Thus we have the definition of baptidzo from thirty-four lexicons,
most if not all of which were made by pedobaptists,


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and with great unanimity they give dip, immerse, or some
equivalent word as its primary meaning. Surely, if authority can
settle the meaning of a word, the settled meaning of baptidzo is to
dip or immerse.
But we have the testimony of other profound scholars who have
incidentally defined the word baptidzo when writing on other
subjects. At the risk of wearying our readers we will hear them also:
1. MICHAELIS: To baptize, to immerse, to bathe.
2. SCHAAF: "To bathe one's self, to bathe, to dip, immerse in
water, baptize."
3. GUIDO FABRICUS: "To baptize, dip, bathe."
4. BUXTORF: "To baptize, dip, bathe one's self."
5. SCHINDLER: "To baptize, dip, bathe, immerse in water."
6. PASCHAL AUSCHER: To baptize, to wash by plunging in
water."
7. MEKITAR VARTABED: The same as Auscher.
8. ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA: Baptism, that is, dipping,
immersion, from the Greek word baptidzo."
9. EDINBURGH ENCYCLOPEDIA: In the times of the apostles
the act was very simple. The person was dipped in water."
10. KITTO'S ENCYCLOPEDIA: The whole person was
immersed in water."
11. ALSTEDIUS: "Baptidzein signifies only to immerse, and
not to wash, except by consequence."
12. WILSON: "Baptize, to dip in water, or plunge one into
water."
13. DR. WILLIAM YOUNG: To dip all over, to wash, to
baptize."
14. BAILEY: "Baptism, in strictness of speech, is that kind of
ablution or washing which consists in dipping, and, when applied to
the Christian institution, it was used


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by the early Christians in no other way than that of dipping, as the
learned Grotius and Casaubon observe."
15. BUTTERWORTH renders baptidzo "to dip, immerse, or
plunge." Bliss, Let. p. 18.
16. JOHN ASH'S Dictionary, London, 1776, renders baptize "to
dip, plunge, to overwhelm, to administer baptism."
17. BRANDE'S ENCYCLOPEDIA of Science, Literature, and
Art, article Baptism: "Bapto -- I dip. Baptism was originally
administered by immersion. At present sprinkling is generally substituted
for dipping -- at least in northern climates."
18. BEZA: "Christ commanded us to be baptized, by which
word it is certain immersion is signified. To be baptized in water
signifies no other than to be immersed in water, which is the
external ceremony of baptism."
19. ALTINGIUS: "Baptism is immersion when the whole body
is immersed, but the term baptism is never used concerning
aspersion."
20. BISHOP BASSUET: To baptize signifies to plunge, as is
granted by all the world."
21. HOSP1NIANUS: "Christ commanded us to be baptized, by
which word it is certain immersion is signified."
22. GURTLERUS: "To baptize, among the Greeks, is undoubtedly
to immerse, to dip; and baptism is immersion, dipping. The
thing commanded by our Lord is baptism, immersion in water."
23. BUDDEUS: "The words baptizein and baptismos are not
to be interpreted of aspersion, but always of immersion."
24. VENEMA: "The word baptizein, to baptize, is nowhere
used in the Scripture for sprinkling."
25. PROFESSOR FRITSCHI: "Baptism was performed, not by
sprinkling, but by immersion; this is evident not only from the
nature of the word, but from Rom. vi:4."


What Is Baptism?
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26. PROF. PORSON: "The Baptists have the advantage of us;
baptism signifies a total immersion."
27. CATTENBURGH: "In baptism the whole body is ordered to
be immersed."
28. KECKERMANUS: "We can not deny that the first
institution of baptism consisted in immersion, and not sprinkling."
29. STOURDZA, a native Greek: "The verb baptizo has only
one acceptation. It literally and perpetually signifies to plunge.
Baptism and immersion, therefore, are identical; and to say baptism
by aspersion is as if one should say immersion by aspersion, or
utter any other contradiction of the same nature."
30. JEREMIAH, the Greek Patriarch: "The ancients were not
accustomed to sprinkle the candidate, but to immerse him."
31. DANIEL ROGERS: "That the minister is to dip in water, the
word denotes it. None of old were wont to be sprinkled."
32. BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR: "The custom of the ancient
churches was not sprinkling, but immersion -- in pursuance of the
sense of the word in the commandment and the example of our
blessed Saviour."
33. DR. GEO. CAMPBELL: "The word baptizein, both in
sacred authors and in classical, signifies to dip, to plunge, to
immerse, and was rendered by Tertullian, the oldest of the Latin
fathers, tingere, the term used for dyeing cloth, which was by
immersion. It is always construed suitably to this meaning."
34. DRS. STORR AND FLATT'S THEOLOGY: "The disciples
of our Lord could understand his command in no other manner than
as enjoining immersion. Under these circumstances, it is certainly to
be lamented that Luther was not able to accomplish his wish with
regard to the introduction


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of immersion in baptism, as he had done in the restoration of the
wine in the eucharist."
35. LONDON QUARTERLY REVIEW: "There can be no
question that the original form of baptism -- the very meaning of the
word -- was a complete immersion in the deep baptismal waters, and
that, for at least four centuries, any other form was either unknown
or else regarded as exceptional, almost a monstrous case."
36. CURCELLIUS: "Baptism was performed by plunging the
whole body into water, and not by sprinkling a few drops, as is now
the practice. Nor did the disciples that were sent out by Christ
administer baptism afterwards in any other way."
37. MARTIN LUTHER: "The term baptism is a Greek word; it
may be rendered into Latin by mersio -- when we immerse any thing
in water, that it may be entirely covered with water. And though this
custom be quite abolished among the generality (for neither do they
entirely dip children, but only sprinkle them with a little water),
nevertheless they ought to be wholly immersed, and immediately to
be drawn out again, for the etymology of the word seems to require
it."
38. KNAPP'S THEOLOGY: "Baptisma, from baptizein, which
properly signifies to dip in, to wash by immersion."
39. DR. BLOOMFIELD, on Mark i:9: "The sense of 'was
baptized in' is 'was dipped or plunged into.' He underwent the rite of
baptism by being plunged into the water."
40. VETRINGA: "The act of baptizing is the immersion of believers
in water. This expresses the force of the word. Thus also it
was performed by Christ and the apostles."
41. PROF. MOSES STUART: "Bapto and baptizo mean to dip,
plunge, or immerse into any thing liquid. All lexicographers and
critics of any note are agreed in this."
42. CALVIN: "The word baptize signifies to immerse,


What Is Baptism?
281
and the rite of immersion was practiced by the ancient church."
43. WITSIUS: "It can not be denied that the native signification
of the words baptein and baptizein is to plunge, to dip."
44. ZANCHIUS: "The proper signification of baptize is to
immerse, plunge under, overwhelm in water."
45. DR. CHALMERS: "The original meaning of the word baptism
is immersion, and, though we regard it as a point of indifference
whether the ordinance so named be performed in this way or by
sprinkling, yet we doubt not that the prevalent style of
administration in the apostles' days was by an actual submerging
of the whole body under water."
46. SMITH'S DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE: "Baptisma,
baptism (the word baptismos occurs only four times, viz: Mark vii:4,
8, Heb. vi:2, ix:10). The verb baptidzein (from baptein, to dip) is
the rendering of the Hebrew by the LXX, in 2 Kings v:14. The Latin
fathers render baptidzein by tingere, mergere, and mergitare. By
the Greek fathers the word baptidzein is often used, frequently
figuratively, for to immerse or overwhelm with sleep, sorrow, sin,
etc. Hence baptisma properly and literally means immersion."
47. PICTET: "They immerse the whole body in water in order
that the baptized might be counted a child of the covenant. Now,
John (the Baptist) administered the rite among the Jews in the
manner above described, and the same rite was used by Christ."
48. SALMASIUS: "Baptism is immersion, and was administered
in former times according to the force and meaning of the word."
R. Fuller, p. 20. "Baptism signifies immersion, not aspersion,
nor did the ancients baptize any but by dipping." Witsius' Works,
Vol. III, pp. 390, 391.


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49. AUGUSTI: "The word baptism, according to etymology and
usage, signifies to immerse, submerge, etc., and the choice of the
expression betrays an age in which the latter custom of sprinkling
had not been introduced."
50. BRENNER: The word corresponds in signification with the
German taufen, to sink in the deep."
51. PAULLUS: "The word baptize signifies in Greek sometimes
to immerse, sometimes to submerge."
52. SCHOLZ: "Baptism consists in the immersion of the whole
body in water."
53. IKENIUS: "The Greek word baptismos denotes the
immersion of a person or a thing into something."
54. CASAUBON: "To baptize is to immerse." Fuller, p. 72.
"This was the rite of baptizing that persons were plunged into the
water, which the very word baptizein, to baptize, sufficiently
declares." Judson p. 11.
55. CHRISTOPHULUS, a Greek: "We follow the examples of
the apostles, who immersed the candidate under the water."
56. RIDGELEY: "The original and natural signification of the
word baptize imports to dip."
57. LIMBORCH: "Baptism consists in washing or rather immersing
the whole body in water, as was customary in primitive times."
58. SIR JON FLOYER: "Immersion is no circumstance but the
very act of baptism."
59. POOLE'S CONTINUATORS: "To be baptized is to be
dipped in water; metaphorically, to be plunged in afflictions."
60. VALESIUS, in his edition of Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., speaking
of the pouring of water all over Novatian while he was sick says:
"Moreover, since baptism properly signifies immersion, such
perfusion (pouring over) could hardly be called baptism."


What Is Baptism?
283
61. COLEMAN: "The term baptism is derived from the Greek
word bapto, from which term is formed baptizo, with its derivatives
baptismos and baptisma, baptism. The primary signification of the
original is to dip, to plunge, immerse. The obvious import of the
noun is immersion."
62. EDINBURGH REVIEWERS: "They tell me (says Carson)
that it was unnecessary to bring forward any of the examples to
prove that the word signifies to dip, that I might have commenced
with this as a fixed point universally admitted."
63. WETSTENIUS: "To baptize is to plunge, to dip. The body,
or part of the body being under water, is said to be baptized."
64. MELANCTHON: "Baptism is an entire action; to wit: a
dipping and a pronouncing the words I baptize," etc.
65. ISAAC BARROW: "The action is baptizing or immersing in
water."
66. BURMANNUS: "Baptismos and baptisma, if you consider
the etymology, properly signifies immersion."
67. RICHARD BENTLY: Baptismos -- baptism, dipping.
68. BECKMANUS: "Baptism, according to the force of its
etymology, is immersion and washing or dipping."
69. BUCANUS: "Baptism, that is, immersion, and by consequence
washing. Baptistery, a vat or large vessel of wood or stone
in which we are immersed for the sake of washing,. Baptist, one that
immerses or dips."
70. OTTO VON GERLACH: "The Greek word (baptizo) properly
signifies dip. Baptism was performed in the first times of
Christianity by immersion in water."
The foregoing quotations are mostly from Bailey's Manual,
where he gives references to the works from which they are taken,
many of which we have examined and know that they are correct.
Added to the lexicographers quoted, they make one hundred and
four scholars who say,


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one and all, that the word used by the Lord to indicate the act
required by Him of those who would become obedient to His will,
primarily and literally means to dip or immerse. He who will not
be satisfied with this testimony would not likely be satisfied by the
presentation of much more that might be adduced.
We propose next to examine the use of the term by those who
lived before, during, and subsequent to the time when Christ and the
apostles used it. Carson, Stuart, and Conant have given us perhaps
every known occurrence of the word in the whole range of Greek
literature. Dr. Conant, in his "BAPTIZEIN," has given two hundred
and thirty-six examples of its use, of which he says: "The examples
of the common meaning and use of the word in Sections I and II, are
from every period of Greek literature in which the word occurs.
They include all that have been given by lexicographers, and by
those who have written professedly on this subject; and these, with
the examples added from my own reading, exhaust the use of this
word in Greek literature.
"The quotations have been copied, in every instance, by myself
or under my own eye, from the page, chapter, or section referred to.
Special pains have been taken to make these references as definite
and clear as possible, that any passage may be easily found; the
author's name being given, the name of the treatise and its divisions
(if any are made), and the volume and page of the edition in most
common use, or of the one accessible to me."
We have not room to give our readers the benefit of all the
examples given by Dr. Conant, but we will give a sufficient number
to indicate the import of the term at the time it was used by the
authors of the New Testament. We give the number attached to each
example in Dr. Conant's work, by which they may be found by any
one


What Is Baptism?
285
who may choose to look for them. We do not follow the numerical
order of the Doctor, because we wish to present such examples as
will give the use of the word at a sufficient period before the days
of the Saviour, and coming down through His time to a sufficiently
late period to give its use at the time He employed it.
EXAMPLE 62.
PINDAR, born 522 before Christ, Pythic Odes, II, 79, 80 (144-
147). Comparing himself to a cork of a fisher's net, floating at the
top, while the other parts of the fishing tackle are doing service in
the depth below, he says:
"For, as when the rest of the tackle is toiling deep in the sea, I,
as a cork above the net, am undipped (unbaptized) in the brine."
EXAMPLE 1.
POLYBIUS, born 205 before Christ, History, book i, chap. 51,
6. In his account of the sea fight at Drepanum, between the Romans
and Carthagenians, describing the advantages of the latter in their
choice of a position, and in the superior structure and more skillful
management of their vessels, he says:
"For, if any were hard pressed by the enemy, they retreated
safely, on account of their fast sailing, into the open space; and
then, with reversed course, now sailing round and now attacking in
flank the more advanced of the pursuers, while turning and
embarrassed on account of the weight of the ships and the
unskillfulness of the crews, they made continued assaults and
SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) many of the vessels.
EXAMPLE 2.
The same work, book viii, ch. 8, 4. Describing the operations of
the engines which Archimedes constructed


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for the defense of Syracuse when besieged by the Romans, and with
which he lifted the prows of the besieging vessels out of the water,
so that they stood erect on the stern, and then let them fall, he says:
"Which being done, some the vessels fell on their sides, and
some were overturned, but most of them, when the prow was let fall
from on high, being SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED), became filled
with sea-water and with confusion."
EXAMPLE 6.
The same history, book xxxiv, ch. 3, 7. In his description of the
manner of taking the sword-fish (with an iron-headed spear or
harpoon), he says:
"And even if the spear fall into the sea, it is not lost, for it is
compacted of both oak and pine, so that when the oaken part is
IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) by the weight, the rest is buoyed up, and
is easily recovered."
EXAMPLE 7.
The same work, book iii, ch. 72, 4. Speaking of the passage of
the Roman army, under the consul Tiberius, through the river Tebia,
which had been swollen by heavy rains, he says:
"They passed through with difficulty, the foot soldiers IMMERSED
(BAPTIZED) as far as to the breast."
EXAMPLE 50.
AESOPIC FABLES; fable of the mule, who, finding that he
lightened his load of salt by lying down in the water, repeated the
experiment when loaded with sponges and wool.
"One of the salt-bearing mules, rushing into a river, accidentally
slipped down, and rising up lightened (the salt becoming dissolved),
he perceived the cause and remembered


What Is Baptism?
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it; so that always, when passing through the river, he
purposely lowered down and IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) the
pannier. Of uncertain date (related in Plut. Moral., Skill of Water
and Land Animals, xvi).
EXAMPLE 86.
AESOPIC FABLES; writer and date unknown; fable of the
Man and the Fox: "A certain man, having a grudge against a fox
for some mischief done by her, after getting her into his power
contrived a long time how to punish her, and DIPPING
(BAPTIZING) tow in oil, he bound it to her tail and set fire to it."
EXAMPLE 71.
HOMERIC ALLEGORIES, ch. 9; (B. C., uncertain how long).
The writer explains the grounds of the allegory (as he regards it) of
Neptune freeing Mars from Vulcan thus: "Since the mass of iron
drawn red hot from the furnace is PLUNGED (BAPTIZED) in
water; and the fiery glow, by its own nature quenched with water,
ceases."
EXAMPLE 9.
STRABO, born about 60 years B. C., Geography, book xii, ch.
2, 4. Speaking of the underground channel through which the waters
of the Pyramus (a river of Cilicia in Asia Minor) forced their way, he
says:
"And to one who hurls down a dart from above into the
channel, the force of the water makes so much resistance that it is
hardly IMMERSED (BAPTIZED).
EXAMPLE 10.
The same work, book vi, ch. 2, 9: "And around Acragos
Agrigentum in Sicily: are marsh lakes, having the taste indeed of sea-
water, but a different nature; for even


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those who can not swim are not IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) floating
like pieces of wood.
EXAMPLE 11.
The same work, book xiv, ch. 3, 9. Speaking of the march of
Alexander's army along the narrow beach (flooded in stormy
weather) between the mountain called Climax and the Pamphilian
Sea, he says:
"Alexander happening to be there at the stormy season, and
accustomed to trust for the most part to fortune, set forward before
the swell subsided, and they marched the whole day in water,
IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) as far as to the waist.
EXAMPLE 12.
The same work, book xiv, ch. 2, 42. Speaking of the asphalt in
the lake Lirbanus, which floats on the surface on account of the
greater specific gravity of the water, he says:
"Then floating at the top on account of the nature of the water,
by virtue of which we said there is no need of being a swimmer, and
he who enters in is not IMMERSED (BAPTIZED), but is lifted out."
EXAMPLE 61.
STRABO, born about the year 60 B.C., Geography, book xii,
ch. 5, sec. 4. Speaking of the lake Tatta, in Phrygia (which he calls
a natural salt pit), he says:
"The water solidifies so readily around every thing that is
IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) into it, that they draw up salt crowns
when they let down a circle of rushes."
EXAMPLE 13.
DIODORUS wrote his history about 60-30 B.C., Historical
Library, book xvi, ch. 80. In his account of Timoleon's


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defeat of the Carthagenian army on the bank of the river Crimissus,
in Sicily, many of the fugitives perishing in the stream, swollen by
a violent storm, he says:
"The river, rushing down with the current, increased in violence,
SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) many, and destroyed them
attempting to swim through with their armor."
EXAMPLE 14.
The same work, book 1, ch. 36. Describing the effects of the
rapid rise of water during the annual inundation of the Nile, he
says:
"Most of the wild land animals are surrounded by the stream
and perish, being SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) but some,
escaping to the high grounds, are saved."
EXAMPLE 16.
JOSEPHUS, born A.D. 37, Jewish Antiquities, book xv, ch.
3, 3. Describing the murder of the boy Aristobulus, who (by
Herod's command) was drowned by his companions in a
swimming-bath, says:
"Continually pressing down and IMMERSING (BAPTIZING)
him while swimming, as if in sport, they did not desist till they had
entirely suffocated him."
EXAMPLE 17.
The same writer, Jewish Wars, book 1, ch. 22, 2, relating to
the same occurrence, says:
"And there, according to command, being IMMERSED
(BAPTIZED) by the Gauls in a swimming-bath, he dies."
EXAMPLE 18.
The same writer, Jewish Wars, book iii, ch. 8, 5:
"As I also account a pilot most cowardly, who, through dread
of a storm, before the blast came, voluntarily SUBMERGED
(BAPTIZED) the vessel.


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EXAMPLE 19.
The same writer, Jewish Wars, book iii, ch. 9, 3. Describing the
condition of the vessels in the port of Joppa, during a storm, he says:
"And many [of the vessels] struggling against the opposing swell
toward the open sea (for they feared the shore, being rocky, and the
enemies upon it), the billows, rising high above, SUBMERGED
(BAPTIZED) them."
EXAMPLE 20.
The same writer, Antiquities of the Jews. book ix, ch. 10, 2. In
his narrative of Jonah's flight, and of the events that followed, he
says: The ship being just about to be SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED).
EXAMPLE 21.
The same writer, Life of Himself, sec. 3, says:
For our vessel having been SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) in the
midst of the Adriatic, being about six hundred in number, we swam
through the whole night."
EXAMPLE 24.
PLUTARCH, born A.D. 50, Life of Theseus, xxiv, quotes the
following oracle of the Sybil, respecting the city of Athens:
"A bladder, thou mayest be IMMERSED (BAPTIZED), but it
is not possible for thee to sink."
EXAMPLE 25.
The same writer, Life of Alexander, xvii. Describing a season
of revelry in the army of Alexander the Great, when returning from
his eastern conquests, he says:
"Thou wouldest not have seen a buckler, or a helmet, or a pike,
but the soldiers, along the whole way, DIPPING


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(BAPTIZING) with cups, and horns, and goblets, from great wine-
jars and mixing-bowls, were drinking to one another."
EXAMPLE 64.
The same writer, on Superstition, iii. The superstitious man,
consulting the jugglers on his frightful dreams, is told:
Call the old Expiatrix, and PLUNGE (BAPTIZE) thyself into
the sea, and spend a day in sitting on the ground."
EXAMPLE 65.
The same writer, Gryllus, vii. He says of Agamemnon:
Then bravely PLUNGING (BAPTIZING) himself into the lake
Capais, that there he might extinguish his love and be freed from
desire."
EXAMPLE 28.
LUCIEN, born about 135 A.D., Timon or the Man-hater, 44.
Among the resolves for the direction of his future life (to testify his
hatred of mankind) is the following:
"And if the winter's torrent were bearing one away, and he with
outstretched hands were imploring help, to thrust even him
headlong, IMMERSING (BAPTIZING) so that he should not be
able to come up again."
EXAMPLE 29.
The same writer, True History, book ii, 4. In this satire on the
love of the marvelous, he pleasantly describes men walking on the
sea (having cork feet), and says:
"We wondered, therefore, when we saw them not
IMMERSED (BAPTIZED), but standing above the waves and
traveling on without fear."
EXAMPLE 31.
DION CASSIUS, born A.D. 155, Roman History, book xxxvii,
ch. 58. In the description here given of the effects of a violent storm
of wind, he says:


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"So that very many trees were upturned by the roots, and many
houses were thrown down; the ships which were in the Tiber, and
lying at anchor by the city and at its mouth, were SUBMERGED
(BAPTIZED), and the wooden bridge was destroyed.
EXAMPLE 32.
The same work, book xii, ch. 42. Describing the defeat of Curio
by Juba, king of Numidia (at the siege of Utica, in Africa), and the
fate of the fugitives, many losing their lives in their eager haste to get
aboard of their vessels, and others by overloading and sinking them,
he says:
"And many of them who had fled perished; some thrown down
by the jostling in getting on board the vessels, and others
SUBMERGED (BAPTIZED) in the vessels themselves by their
own weight."
EXAMPLE 38.
PORPHYRY, born A.D. 233, Concerning the Styx. Describing
the Lake of Probation, in India, and the use made of it by the
Brahmins for testing the guilt or innocence of persons accused of
crime, he says:
"The depth is as far as to the knees; ... and when the accused
comes to it, if he is guiltless he goes through without fear, having the
water as far as to the knees; but if guilty, after proceeding a little
way he is IMMERSED (BAPTIZED) unto the head."
EXAMPLE 44.
GREGORY, A.D. 240, Panegyric on Origen, xiv. Describing
him as an experienced and skillful guide through the mazes of
philosophical speculations, he says:
"He himself would remain on high in safety, and, stretching out
a hand to others, save them as if drawing up persons SUB-
MERGED (BAPTIZED) .


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EXAMPLE 54.
ACHILLES TATIUS, A.D. 450, Story of Clitophon and
Leucippe, book iii, ch. 1. The vessel being thrown on her beam ends
in a storm, the narrator says:
"We all, therefore, shifted our position to the more elevated
parts of the ship, in order that we might lighten that part of the ship
that was IMMERSED (BAPTIZED).
EXAMPLE 55.
The same writer (Ibidem).
"But suddenly the wind shifts to another quarter of the ship, and
the vessel is almost IMMERGED (BAPTIZED) .
EXAMPLE 82.
ACHILLES TATIUS, A.D. 450, Story of Clitophon and
Leucippe, book ii, ch. 14: "And there is a fountain of gold there.
They PLUNGE (BAPTIZED) into the water, therefore, a pole
smeared with pitch, and open the barriers of the stream. And the
pole is to the gold what the hook is to the fish, for it catches it; and
the pitch is a bait for the prey."
Many other examples might be given, but these are deemed
sufficient to show that baptidzo, at the time the Saviour and the
writers of the New Testament used it, primarily meant to dip or
immerse. It is admitted that classic Greek writers often employed
the word in a metaphorical sense, but we are seeking for its
primary and literal meaning, as used in the New Testament.
The examples given cover a period of nearly a thousand years,
embracing the time when the Lord and the apostles lived. Josephus
was born A.D. 37, and hence lived and wrote contemporaneously
with the apostles. He was a native Jew and wrote in the Greek
language, and certainly understood the word as used by his people.
As a


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scholar he was inferior to no man of his day. He says: "Now, my
father Matthias was not only eminent on account of his nobility, but
had a higher commendation on account of his righteousness, and
was in great reputation in Jerusalem, the greatest city we have. I was
myself brought up with my brother, whose name was Matthias, for
he was my own brother, by both father and mother; and I made
mighty proficiency in the improvements of my learning, and
appeared to have both a great memory and understanding.
Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I
was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which
account the high-priests and principal men of the city then came
frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the
accurate understanding of points of the law," etc.
Again: Ant., book xx, ch. xi, sec 3, p. 139, he says: "I am so bold
as to say, now I have so completely perfected the work I proposed
to myself to do, that no other person whether he were a Jew or a
foreigner, had he ever so great an inclination to it, could so
accurately deliver these accounts to the Greeks as is done in these
books. For those of my own nation freely acknowledge that I far
exceed them in the learning belonging to the Jew. I have also taken
a great deal of pains to obtain the learning of the Greeks, and
understand the elements of the Greek language, although I have so
long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue that I can not
pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness," etc.
Although these extracts were written by Josephus himself, yet
the literary world awards him all the ability claimed in them, as the
following paragraph will show:
"JOSEPHUS, FLAVIUS, a celebrated Jewish historian, was
born at Jerusalem 37 A.D. He was of both royal and sacerdotal
lineage, being descended, on the mother's side,


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from the line of Asmonean princes, while his father, Matthias,
officiated as a priest in the first of the twenty-four courses. The
careful education he received developed his brilliant faculties at an
unusually early period, and his acquirements both in Hebrew and
Greek literature -- the two principal branches of his studies -- soon
drew public attention upon him." Chambers's Encyclopedia.
Josephus used the word baptidzo, in some of its forms, fourteen
times, several examples of which we have given, and surely he knew
the meaning his people attached to it; and had they used it in a sense
different from him, it is likely it would have been mentioned by him
somewhere. It is sometimes said that he used the word in the sense
of drowning, but this is manifestly an error. The boy Aristobulus, of
whom he speaks, was indeed drowned, but we know the fact,
because it is so stated, and not because of any such meaning in the
word baptidzo.
Many persons admit that the word baptidzo in classic Greek
means to dip or immerse, but they insist that it has a different
meaning in the New Testament. The reader will remember that the
seventy authors already quoted defined the word in its scriptural
application, and they say it means immerse when used to indicate
baptism; and the examples given from the classics show that with
the Greek classic writers it meant the same thing. Moses Stuart says:
"That the Greek fathers and the Latin ones who were familiar with
the Greek understood the usual import of the word baptidzo would
hardly seem to be capable of a denial. That they might be confirmed
in their view of the import of this word, by common usage among
the Greek classic authors, we have seen in the first part of this
dissertation." -- Stuart on Baptism, p. 154. How could the fathers be
confirmed in the fact that baptidzo meant immerse by classic usage,
if their use of it differed from its


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use among the classics? Mr. Hughey, a distinguished Methodist
debater, of great learning and research, in his debate with President
Braden, p. 81, says: "I will show by examples from the classics that
the classical usage agrees with the Hellenistic and patristic usage of
the word." After giving some examples of its use, on page 82, he
says: "These examples show, by the usage of the word, that classical
usage agrees exactly with the scriptural usage and also the usage of
the fathers." When summing up his argument, on page 157, he says:
"I showed by a number of examples from the classics that classical
usage agrees with Scripture and patristic usage." Thus we have his
testimony, in three different places, that the classic usage of
baptidzo differs not from scriptural and patristic usage. Such is his
testimony, though different from some of his brethren.
Dr. H. A. W. Meyer, in his Manual on the Gospels of Mark and
Luke, says: "The expression in Mark vii:4, is not to be understood of
the washing of hands (as interpreted by Lightfoot and Wetstein),
but of the immersing -- which the word always means in the classics
and in the New Testament." Bailey's Manual, p. 294. Thus, with Dr.
Meyer, it means the same in both places.
Dr. George Campbell says: "The word baptidzein, both in sacred
authors and classical, signifies to dip, to plunge, to immerse."
Campbell on Baptism, p. 142. Dr. George Campbell, as a scholar
and biblical critic, had no superior in his time, and he unites his
testimony with the others given, and still others which might be
given, in proving that baptidzo means to dip or immerse in both
sacred and classic usage. It is true, as shown by Schluesner, that the
Greek classic writers sometimes used the word to indicate sinking
without regard to emersion, while in the Scriptures it is used in the
sense of dip, as in 2 Kings v:14, which


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includes the idea of emersion. Hence says Paul: "Buried with him in
baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him." Col. ii:12. But this is
rather a difference in application than in primary import. Immersion
is the leading idea in the classics as well as in the Scriptures. But
were we to admit a difference in the primary import of the word,
unless it be shown to mean sprinkle and pour in the New
Testament, the admission could not serve sprinklers any purpose.
This is the point which they must prove.
That dip, immerse, or some equivalent word, is necessary to
express the primary meaning of baptidzo, is admitted by all; but it
is insisted that wash, wet, stain, dye, etc., are figurative meanings;
and, as washing, wetting, staining, and dyeing may be done by
pouring or sprinkling, therefore baptism may be performed in either
of these ways.
Wash, wet, stain, dye, etc., can not be real meanings, but are
purely metonymical -- that is, they are effects of the true or real
meaning of the word.
No two meanings can be given to the same word which are
antagonistic to each other. Stains are removed by washing, and,
therefore, the same word can not literally mean both wash and stain.
Washing may be the effect of immersing in clean water, while
staining and dyeing may be done by immersing in impure or coloring
fluids; hence these opposite meanings can not be otherwise than
metonymical -- that is, they are effects produced by the real
meaning, dipping or immersing. All these figurative meanings, so-
called, may be the effect of immersion, but they can not all be the
effect of sprinkling or pouring, for washing and dyeing are not done
in either of these ways. Sprinkling a few drops of water on a filthy
garment would not be likely to wash it well, nor would pouring a
little water on one end of a garment be very apt to wash or cleanse
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it would not be a good process by which to dye a whole web to
sprinkle or pour a little of the fluid on one end of it.
But does the word baptidzo ever mean to color or dye? We beg
the attention of the reader to the following very appropriate remarks
of Dr. Carson on this subject. He says:
"The word BAPTO, from which is formed BAPTIDZO, signifies,
primarily, to dip; and, as a secondary meaning, obviously derived
from the primary, it denotes to dye. Every occurrence of the word
may be reduced to one or other of these acceptations." Carson on
Baptism, p. 18.
On page 19 he says: "There is a very obvious difference in the
use of the words, and a difference that materially affects the point
at issue. This difference is, BAPTO IS NEVER USED TO DENOTE
THE ORDINANCE OF BAPTISM, AND BAPTIDZO NEVER
SIGNIFIES TO DYE. But the derivative is formed to modify the
primary only, and in all the Greek language, I assert that an instance
is not to be found in which it has the secondary meaning of the
primitive word. If this assertion is not correct, it will be easy for
learned men to produce an example in contradiction. That bapto is
never applied to the ordinance of baptism any one can verify who is
able to look into the passages of the Greek Testament where the
ordinance is spoken of. Now, if this observation is just, it overturns
all those speculations that explain the word, as applied to baptism,
by an allusion to dyeing; for the primitive word that has this
secondary meaning is not applied to the ordinance, and the
derivative word, which is appointed to express it, has not the
secondary signification of dyeing. Bapto has two meanings;
baptidzo in the whole history of the Greek language has but one. It
not only signifies to dip or immerse, but it never has any other
meaning. Each


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of these words has its specific province, into which the other can not
enter, while there is a common province in which either of them may
serve. Either of them may signify to dip generally, but the primitive
can not specifically express that ordinance to which the derivative
has been appropriated, and the derivative can not signify to dye,
which is a part of the province of the primitive. The difference is
precise and important."
While we think it likely that Dr. Carson's language is rather
strong in some respects, he shows most conclusively that baptidzo
can not mean to dye. Indeed, we have no faith in the transmission of
secondary or metonymical meanings from primitive to derivative
words. They inherit the primary but not foreign meanings of the
words from which they came. But as Dr. Carson was an immersionist
it may be well to hear from those who practiced effusion and
aspersion. Dr. Moses Stuart says:
"I have already intimated that baptidzo is distinguished from
bapto in its meaning. I now add that it is not, like the latter word,
used to designate the idea of coloring or dyeing; while in some
other respects it seems, in classical use, to be nearly or quite
synonymous with bapto. In the New Testament, however, there is
one other marked distinction between the use of these verbs.
Baptidzo and its derivatives are exclusively employed when the rite
of baptism is to be designated in any form whatever, and in this
case bapto seems to be purposely as well as habitually excluded."
Here we have a confirmation of Dr. Carson's statement by one
whose authority will not be questioned by those who oppose us. If
these authors are worthy of credit, baptidzo does not mean to dye.
But suppose that in this they are mistaken, as immersion is admitted
by all to be the primary meaning of the word representing baptism,
we


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wish to know why it is to give place to figurative or metonymical
meanings, such as wash, wet, stain, dye, etc.? All philological laws
require preference to be given to the primary meaning of words,
unless good reason be shown for its removal. We submit the
following rules for the use and interpretation of words, arranged by
Moses Stuart, of Andover, aided by Edward Robinson, author of
Robinson's Greek Lexicon, Robinson's Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon,
etc.
1. "To every word in Scripture there is unquestionably assigned
some idea or notion, otherwise words are useless, and have no more
signification than the inarticulate sounds of animals." Ernesti, p. 7.
2. "The literal meaning of words is the sense that is so connected
with them as to be spontaneously presented to the mind as
soon as the sound of the word is heard, and that is first in order. The
literal sense does not differ from the sense of the letter." Ibid.
3. "A particular meaning being attached to a word can no more
be changed or denied than any historical event whatever. All men
in their daily conversation and writings attach but one sense to a
word, at the same time and in the same passage, unless they design
to speak in enigmas. The sense of a word can not be diverse or
multifarious at the same time and in the same passage or
expression." Ibid., p. 9.
4. "There can be no certainty at all in respect to the interpretation
of any passage, unless a kind of necessity compels us to affix
a particular sense to a word, which sense must be one, and unless
there are special reasons for a tropical meaning, it must be literal."
Ibid, p. 10.
5. "The sense of words depends upon the usus loquendi." Ibid.,
p. 13.
6. "Words are proper and tropical, literal and figurative.


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First: A proper or literal word is a definite name given to a
certain thing. Originally, words were undoubtedly used in their
proper and literal sense. Second: Tropes or metaphorical words are
called by Aristotle strangers, foreigners. Ibid, p. 21.
7. "In no language can a word have more than one literal
meaning in the same place." Ibid.
By these rules we see that a word can have but one meaning at
the same time and in the same place, and that the primary meaning
must be given to words unless there be special reasons for its
removal. These rules come to us from the very fountain of authority
in America, and have existence in the nature of all language. Having
thus found that the primary meaning of baptidzo is to dip or
immerse, dare we set it aside and adopt a metonymical,
metaphorical, or figurative meaning, for no better reason than to
save a favorite theory or to avoid going into the water where the
Lord commanded us to go?
In the Septuagint Greek of the Old Testament we have baptidzo
as a translation of the Hebrew word taval, which modern
theologians insist means sprinkle or pour. Although this word is
never employed to indicate baptism, as baptidzo is once a translation
of it, it may be well for us to examine it briefly. In the Hebrew Bible
it is used fourteen times, and is rendered by King James' translators
dip, every time; hence, we have the unanimous testimony of the
forty-seven distinguished scholars employed by him in the
translation of the Hebrew Bible, that this is the meaning of the
word. The following are the connections in which it occurs:
Genesis xxxvii:31: "And they took Joseph's coat and killed a kid
of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood."
Exodus xii:22: "And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it
in the blood that is in the basin."


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Leviticus iv:6: "And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood;"
chap. ix:9: "And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him, and
he dipped his finger in the blood;" chap. xiv:6: "And shall dip them
and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed;" verse 16:
"And the priest shall dip his finger in the oil;" verse 51: "And he
shall take the cedar wood and the hyssop, and the scarlet and the
living bird and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the
running water."
Numbers xix:18: "And a clean person shall take hyssop and dip
it in water."
Deut. xxxiii:24: "Let him dip his foot in oil."
Joshua iii:15: "The feet of the priests that bear the ark were
dipped in the brim of the water."
Ruth ii:14: "And dip thy morsel in the vinegar."
1 Sam. xiv:27: "Wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that
was in his hand and dipped it in an honeycomb."
2 Kings v:14: "And dipped himself seven times in Jordan," chap.
viii:15: "He took a thick cloth and dipped it in water."
In Lev. ix:9, we have dipped and poured in the same verse;
dipped is from taval, but poured is not. In Lev. xiv:16, we have dip
and sprinkle in the same verse; dip is from taval, sprinkle is not.
Why is this? If taval means to sprinkle and pour, why was it not
used to express sprinkling and pouring even when it was employed
in the same verse? We have four Hebrew lexicons by us as we write,
which define the word as follows: "Taval -- to dip, to dip in, to
immerse, to dip or immerse one's self. Ex. 2 Kings. v:14: He went
down and dipped himself seven times in Jordan. ROBINSON &
GESENIUS Heb. Lex., p. 364.
"Taval -- 1, to dip, immerse, plunge; 2, to tinge or dye with a
certain color, which is usually performed by dipping."
PARKHURST, page 255.


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"Taval -- 1. He dipped; 2. He was dipped." ROBERTSON'S He-
brew Dictionary by Joseph, page 111.
"Taval -- dip, dip in, immerse, submerge." STOKIUS, Vet. Test.,
Vol. 1, p. 421.
"Taval -- merge, immerse." M. STUART, Chr. Bap., p. 119.
SCHUEUSNER incidentally defines taval in his definition of
baptidzo thus: "to immerse, dip, plunge into water; from bapto, and
corresponds to the Hebrew taval."
Besides these, we have in other works the following definitions
of taval, viz.:
1. By DAVIDSON: "Taval -- 1, to dip, to immerse; 2, to stain."
2. BUXTORF: "Taval -- to dip, to dip into, to submerge, to
immerse."
3. DR. KLEEBURG, a celebrated Jewish rabbi, of Louisville,
Ky., answered certain interrogatories propounded to him, thus: "I.
What does taval mean? It means to immerse, to dip. 2. Does it ever
mean to sprinkle or pour? It never means to sprinkle or pour. 3. Did
the Hebrews always immerse their proselytes? They did. The whole
body was entirely submerged. 4. Were the Jewish ablutions
immersions? [Before eating and prayer, and after rising in the
morning they washed; when they have become unclean they must
immerse." Louisville Debate, p.652.
Thus we see these authors concur in giving the import of taval
to dip or immerse; hence, as far as it throws any light upon
baptidzo, it certainly does not give any support to sprinkling or
pouring.
We next present the reader with a table of versions of the New
Testament, showing the several languages into which it has been
translated, when the translations were made, and the word
representing baptidzo in each of the languages, which we copy from
Bailey's Manual, pages 121, 122, 123:


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THE GOSPEL PLAN OF SALVATION

Version  

Date  

Word  

Meaning  

SYRIAC:  

 

 

 

Peshito,  

2d century,  

amad,  

immerse.  

Philozenian,  

6th century,  

amad,  

immerse.  

ARABIC:  

 

 

 

Polyglot,  

7th century (?)  

amada,  

immerse.  

Propaganda,  

1671,  

amada,  

immerse.  

Sabat,  

1816,  

amada,  

immerse.  

PERSIC,  

1341,  

shustan and shuzidan,  

wash.  

ETHIOPIC,  

4th century,  

tamaka,  

immerse.  

Amharic,  

1822,  

tamaka,  

immerse.  

EGYPTIAN:  

 

 

 

Coptic,  

3d century,  

tomas,  

immerse, plunge.  

Sahidic,  

2d century,  

baptizo,  

immerse.  

Basmuric,  

3d century,  

baptizo,  

immerse.  

ARMENIAN,  

5th century,  

mugurdel,  

immerse.  

SLAVONIC,  

9th century,  

krestiti,  

cross.  

Russian,  

1519,  

(same root)  

cross.  

Polish,  

1585,  

(same root)  

cross.  

Bohemian,  

1593,  

(same root)  

cross.  

Lithuanian,  

1660,  

(same root)  

cross.  

Livonian,  

1685,  

(same root)  

cross.  

Dorpat Esthonian,  

1727,  

(same root)  

cross.  

Gothic,  

4th century,  

daupjan,  

dip.  

German,  

1522,  

taufen,  

dip.  

Danish,  

1524,  

dobe,  

dip.  

Swedish,  

1534,  

dopa,  

dip.  

Dutch, etc.,  

1460,  

doopen,  

dip.  

Icelandic,  

1584,  

skira,  

cleanse.  

ANGLO-SAXON,  

8th century,  

dyppan,  

dip.  

ANGLO-SAXON,  

8th century,  

fullian,  

cleanse.  

LATIN:  

 

 

 

Of the early Fathers,  

2d century,  

tingo,  

immerse.  

Ante-Hieronymian,  

3d century,  

baptizo  

immerse.  

Vulgate,  

4th century,  

baptizo  

immerse.  

French,  

1535,  

baptizer,  

immerse.  

Spanish,  

1556,  

baptizar,  

immerse.  

Italian,  

1562,  

baptizzan,  

immerse.  

English (Wickliffe),  

1380,  

wash, christen, baptize,  

immerse.  

English (Tindale),  

1526,  

baptize,  

immerse.  

Welsh,  

1567,  

bedyddio,  

bathe.  

Irish,  

1602,  

baisdim,  

bathe.  

Gaelic,  

1650,  

baisdean,  

bathe.  


What Is Baptism?
305
Here are thirty-eight versions of the New Testament, made at
periods extending from the latter part of the second century to 1822,
none of which represent baptism by a word indicating to sprinkle or
pour, nineteen of which represent it by a word meaning to immerse,
six by a word meaning to dip, and one to plunge, while others use
words meaning to bathe and cleanse, which manifestly refer to the
same leading thought.
But it is insisted that the Syriac word amad means to pour or
shed forth. In support of our table of versions we offer the following
testimony as to the meaning of this word:
SCHAAF: "Amad -- to bathe one's self, to bathe, dip, immerse
into water, baptize." Syriac Lex., Lyons, 1708.
MICHAELIS: "Amad -- to bathe, baptize, immerse." Syriac Lex.,
Gottingen, 1788.
GUIDO FABRICUS: "Amad -- to baptize, dip, bathe." Syro-
Chal. Lex. accompanying Antwerp Polyglot, Antwerp, 1592.
BUXTORF: "Amad -- baptize, dip, bathe one's self." Chaldee
and Syriac Lex., Basle, 1662.
BEZA: After remarking that baptidzo properly means to
immerse and never to wash, except as a consequence of immersion,
says: "Nor does this signification of 'amad,' which the Syrians use for
'baptize,' differ at all from this." Appendix to Stewart on Baptism, p.
249.
ULEMAN: "Amad -- to suffer one's self to be dipped, to suffer
one's self to be baptized. Amada -- dipping, baptism." Syriac Gram.
with Sex. by Hutchinson, p. 359.
EPHRAIM CYRUS was a native Syrian, who lived in the fourth
century; speaking of Christ, says: "How wonderful is it that thy
footsteps were planted on the waters; that the great sea should
subject itself to thy feet; and that yet, at a small river, that same
head of thine should be


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subject to be bowed down and baptized in it." Gotch's Bible
Questions, p. 130.
These definitions and examples of the meaning of amad are
quite sufficient to sustain our table of versions as to this word. But
it is further insisted that the German taufen signifies to sprinkle or
pour. If this be so, our table needs correction at this point. Let us
see how this is:
LUTHER says: "The Germans call baptism tauff, from depth,
which they call tief in their language, as if it were proper those
should be deeply immersed who are baptized. And truly, if you
consider what baptism signifies you shall see the same thing
required." Luther's Works, Vol. 1, p. 72, Wittenberg, 1582.
HEINSIUS: "Taufen signifies, in a general sense, to plunge into
water (as a bomb dipped in pitch and rosin); in a more limited sense,
to immerse in water in a religious way." German Dict., 4 vole.,
Hanover, 1822.
SMILTHENNER: "Taufen, in old German, taufian, from taufa,
which signifies tiefe, (i.e., deep), consequently it means to immerse."
Etymol. Dict., 1834.
KALTSCHMIDT: "Taufen -- to immerse (eintauchen) to
consecrate to Christianity, to name." Germ. Lex., Leipsic, 1834.
SCHWENCK: "taufen -- to immerse in water; specially, to purify
with water for admission to the Christian church. Taufen is the same
as tauchen." Etymol. Dict. 3d ea., 1838.
GEMTHE: "Tauchen and taufen were originally the same; the
act expressed by taufen was performed by immersion
(untertauchen). At present the word taufen retains its proper
signification -- overwhelm with water." Gemthe's Germ. Synonyms, 1838.
WIEGAND'S GERMAN SYNONYMS: Taufen -- originally
equivalent to untertauchen (to dip under), signifies, in its religious
use, to immerse in water."


What Is Baptism?
307
KNAPP'S THEOLOGY, Vol. ii, p. 501, Andover edition, taufen
is incidentally defined. This great German scholar says:
"Baptisma, from baptidzein, which properly signifies to
immerse, like the German taufen, to dip in, to wash by immersion."
WEBSTER and WORCESTER each give taufen as the German
synonym of dip.
Surely these authorities are sufficient to establish immersion or
dipping as the meaning of taufen, the German word representing
baptism.
The Chaldee word tseva is also brought into the service of
sprinklers in modern times. GESENIUS defines it thus: "To dip in,
to immerse; hence to tinge, to dye." Heb. and Chal. Lex., p. 891. M.
STUART says: "The Syriac has a word like the Chaldee tseva ...
which means to plunge, immerse." Christ. Bap., p. 155. Thus it will
be seen that there is not much appearance of sprinkle or pour in it.
Having viewed the word baptidzo through the light of thirty-
four lexicographers, seventy commentators and critics, numerous
examples of its use among the classics, and its representatives in
thirty-eight different versions, made at different times and in
different countries, and every-where found that its primary import
is to dip or immerse, and that the laws of interpretation require us
to retain the primary meaning, unless good reason be found for its
removal, we are now prepared to open the New Testament and see
what the Lord required of those commanded to be baptized.

THE COMMISSION

To the apostles Jesus said: "Go teach all nations, baptizing them
into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Matt. xxviii:19. Here, He who was possessed of all authority in
heaven and upon earth commanded his apostles to do something, to
which


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the obedient of all nations were bound to submit. We have found a
rule of interpretation saying: "To every word in Scripture there is
unquestionably assigned some idea or notion, otherwise words are
useless, and have no more signification than the inarticulate sounds
of animals." What particular idea, notion, or thought is attached to
the word "baptizing" in the commission given by the Lord? Did He
employ the term in its ordinary, current signification, or did He
attach to it some figurative or tropical meaning? If He used the word
out of its current signification, and gave no notice thereof, we see
not how He expected to be understood by those who heard Him.
Unless a command is understood it can not be obeyed; hence, we
see not how persons are to submit to baptism when they know not
what is required of them. Therefore, as it was necessary that He
should be understood in order to be obeyed, we conclude He used
the term baptizing in its ordinary or current acceptation; and if so,
He commanded the apostles to immerse the people, for we have
shown this to be the current meaning of the word used by Him.
Indeed, if the word means to sprinkle and to pour, it is difficult to
see how the command can be obeyed at all; for the command
requires the people to be baptized and not the water to be baptized
upon the people. If sprinkling or pouring be the act required, then
it is the water or element used that is baptized, and not the people;
for it is certainly water that is sprinkled or poured. We are aware
that Paul says: "When Moses had spoken every precept to all the
people, according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of
goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both
the book and all the people." Heb. ix:19. But we regard this as no
valid objection to the position we have taken, for Paul's language
was evidently elliptical, as may be seen by reference to the


What Is Baptism?
309
historical account of what Moses did: "And he took the book of the
covenant and read in the audience of the people, and they said, All
that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses
took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the
blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you
concerning all these words." Ex. xxiv:7, 8. Hence, the ellipsis in
Paul's language being supplied, it means that Moses sprinkled the
blood upon the people. But we may be asked, is not the commission
also elliptical? Suppose it is; this will not affect our argument at all,
as may be seen by supplying the ellipsis: 1. Teach the people,
sprinkling (water upon) them. 2. Teach the people, pouring (water
upon) them. 3. Teach the people, immersing them (in water).
Though the ellipsis be supplied, it changes not the act indicated.
The government is not changed when the ellipsis is supplied as to
immersion, the object of the action expressed by the participle is the
people; hence they are immersed; but as to the act of sprinkling and
pouring the government is entirely changed -- the act expressed by
the active participle sprinkling takes effect upon the water, and the
word people is governed by a preposition. The same remark applies
to pouring. The act expressed by it takes effect upon the water or
element poured, and the word people is governed by a preposition.
Then, when the word baptizing in the commission is made to mean
pour it is the water that is baptized, because it is the thing poured,
and when it is made to mean sprinkle it is the water that is baptized,
because it is the thing sprinkled; but when it means immersing, the
command can be obeyed by the people, for they may be immersed
but can not be sprinkled or poured.
But there is another difficulty involved in the idea of
substituting sprinkling or pouring for immersion. The


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verb sprinkle means to scatter in drops, and is always followed by
the material to be sprinkled, either expressed or understood. We
may sprinkle blood, water, sand, or ashes on a man, but we can not
sprinkle a man on any thing. We sometimes speak of sprinkling a
man with water when we mean to sprinkle water upon him, but the
language is an outrage upon all grammatical accuracy. If we say, we
sprinkle a man with water, the language must mean one of two
things: first, that we sprinkle (that is, scatter in drops) both the man
and the water together, as we eat butter with our bread; or, second,
that the water is the instrument with which we sprinkle or scatter the
man, as we sprinkle water with a broom. In the first construction,
the nouns man and water are the objects of the action expressed by
the verb sprinkle; and in the second construction, the noun man is
alone the object and water the instrument -- either of which involves
a physical impossibility.
The verb pour means to turn out in a stream, and is followed
by the thing poured, which must be something fluid or composed of
small particles. It is as much impossible to pour a man as to
sprinkle him.
But those who practice sprinkling, pouring, and immersion as
baptism tell us that the only authority they have to baptize any body
is found in this verse: Matt. xxviii:19. (See Louisville Debate, p. 15.)
Then, when they sprinkle water upon any one as baptism they derive
authority from this verse; when they pour water upon any one as
baptism they derive authority from this verse; and when they
immerse a man in water as baptism they get their authority from this
same verse, hence, the word baptizing must mean sprinkle, pour,
and immerse in this one place, in clear violation of the rule of
interpretation, which says: "The sense of a word cannot be diverse
or multifarious at


What Is Baptism?
311
the same time and in the same passage or expression;" and again: "In
no language can a word have more than one literal meaning in the
same place."
Sprinkling, pouring, and immersion are three separate, distinct,
and specific acts, diverse from each other; hence they can not all be
used as the meaning of "baptizing" in this place. But it may be said
that sprinkle and pour are tropical meanings. This does not relieve
the difficulty, for we have shown that immersing is the literal
import; hence, you can not give a literal and tropical meaning to the
same word in the same place. If you do, the word becomes
"multifarious" in violation of the laws of interpretation.
Again: if sprinkling, pouring, and immersing are all required to
make up the full import of the word indicating the command in this
place, then no one has been baptized in obedience to the command
until he has submitted to all three of these acts -- that is, until he has
had water sprinkled upon him, poured upon him, and has been
immersed in it.
But if it be insisted that in this one place the word authorizes
one man to be immersed, another to have water sprinkled upon him,
and a third to have water poured upon him, and that each case is a
baptism, it follows that as they are different acts performed by
different persons, each being a baptism, they are not one but three
baptisms, and Paul was mistaken when he said that there is "one
baptism;" for the phrase "one baptism" as much implies that there is
but one baptism as does the phrase "one God'' imply that there is
but one God. Hence, we conclude that when the Lord said "go teach
all nations, baptizing them," He intended one specific act, and not
three different acts. This one act is baptism -- nothing else is.


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THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

We propose now to examine an example of baptism furnished
in the baptism of Jesus by John, an account of which we have in
Mark i:9, 10, as follows: "And it came to pass in those days, that
Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in
Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the
heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him."
Here we learn that Jesus was baptized by John in Jordan, after
which He came up out of the water. For thus going into and coming
out of the water there could have been neither reason nor propriety
had sprinkling or pouring water upon Him been the baptism to
which He submitted. It is true that in modern times we hear of
persons going down into the water and having some of it poured or
sprinkled upon them. This seems to be an artifice on the part of the
administrator to satisfy the credulous subject, if possible, without at
all doing the thing commanded. Surely, none will dare say the Lord
ever commanded such a procedure.
But we are told that apo, the Greek word here rendered out of,
primarily means from, and that nothing more was signified by it than
that Jesus came up from the margin of the water. If apo be the
correct word in the original text -- about which we will see
directly -- is it not bound by the nature of the transaction, and by the
meaning of the other words related to it in this connection, to mean
out of? Mark tells us that John baptized Jesus in Jordan. Hence, if
the baptism took place in Jordan, must not the subject (Christ) come
from within Jordan, or the place where the baptism occurred?
But we are told that the Greek word eis, here rendered in, is
sometimes rendered at, and may be so translated in


What Is Baptism?
313
this passage. Hence, John simply baptized Jesus at Jordan. But the
whole force of this argument is based upon the primary meaning of
apo; why, then, shall we not be allowed to demand the primary
meaning of eis? We grant that primary meanings are to be preferred
unless good reason be given for another. We dare not adopt or reject
the meanings of words just as they may chance to favor or oppose
our peculiar views. The primary meaning of eis is into, and were it
so rendered, the connection would show that John baptized Jesus
into Jordan.
As Jordan was a river, into the water of which Jesus was baptized,
it is easy to see why He came "up out of the water;" and
although apo, as contended, may primarily mean from, it is only
from the place that eis put Him, and as this was into the water, the
necessity of the case demands, as our rules of interpretation allow,
a secondary meaning for apo, out of. Nor is there any thing in apo
making it unreasonable that from, in the passage, means from within
the water. A man might say, "I came from Nashville," when in truth
he came from the Maxwell House in the very heart of the city.
Pickering, in his Greek Lexicon, gives us an example in which
we see that apo means out of; as, From or out of Egypt. He further
says: "It is also used instead of the prepositions ek, epi, peri, and
hupo; as, Out of a hundred and twenty youths one only escaped;"
thus showing us clearly that apo may and does often mean out of.
But some of the very best authorities known have ek in place of apo
in the original text, among whom we may mention Tregelles,
Tischendorf, Alford, Greene, Bengel, Lackman, and Meyer.
When, in connection with all this, we consider the additional
fact that the multitudes were being baptized by John in the river of
Jordan, the conclusion that he was immersed by John in Jordan is
irresistible. If John did


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not baptize in the river, he did not preach in the wilderness. Matt.
iii:1. If Jesus was only baptized at the Jordan, then He was only led
by the Spirit at the wilderness, for both are expressed by the same
original word.
We have no confidence in the pictures exhibited by debaters in
modern times, showing that John poured water on the head of the
Saviour. But there is a thought or two connected with them to which
we would solicit the attention of the reader. We have seen some ten
or twelve of these, each representing the scene in a different manner
from the others. No higher evidence than this is needed to prove
them unfaithful in delineation, for, as He was baptized but once, it
is not possible that a dozen modes were adopted.
Some of them represent Him as standing up to the waist in
water, at least sufficiently deep to be immersed, while their
criticisms upon eis and apo have Him baptized at or near the margin
of the stream, and not in the water at all. Thus their own pictures
contradict their criticisms. Truly, "the legs of the lame are unequal."
But it is said that "John baptized the people with water," and
hence applied the water to the subject and not the subject to the
water. And, by way of illustration, they give us examples like the
following: "I shave with a razor," "I write with a pen," etc. As an
offset to these examples we might give the following: "The tanner
tans his leather with ooze," "The lady colors her web with dye," etc.
Surely, it will not be insisted that the tanner makes his leather by
sprinkling a little ooze upon it, or that the lady colors her web by
sprinkling a few drops of her dye thereon. Hence, the examples
given by the objector can prove nothing. The original word from
which we have the word with in the connection, "I indeed baptize
you with water" (Matt. iii:11; Mark i:8), is the Greek en, the
primary meaning of which is in, and which


What Is Baptism?
315
must be the meaning used, as our rules say, unless there is some
circumstance compelling some other. But so far from there being
those compulsory circumstances, the other words and circumstances
compel the retention of the primary meaning in. But we are told that
en conveys the idea of instrumentality and must be rendered with. If
so, when John baptized the people (en) with the river Jordan, we
suppose he had rather an unwieldy instrument, to say the least of it.
But we are told that the fearfully impetuous current of the
Jordan would have rendered it impossible for John to have stood in
it and baptized the people. As the testimony of Lieut. Lynch is
invoked upon this subject, it will be well for us to hear what he says
about it. On page 255 of his work titled the "DEAD SEA AND THE
JORDAN, he says:
"At 9:30 P.M. we arrived at 'El Meshra,' the bathing place of
the Christian pilgrims, after having been fifteen hours in the boats.
This ford is consecrated by tradition as the place where the Israelites
passed over with the ark of the covenant, and where our blessed
Saviour was baptized by John. Feeling that it would be desecration
to moor the boats at a place so sacred, we passed it, and with some
difficulty found a landing below.
"My first act was to bathe in the consecrated stream, thanking
God first for the precious favor of being permitted to visit such a
spot; and, secondly, for his protecting care throughout our perilous
passage. Tradition, sustained by the geographical features of
the country, makes this also the scene of the baptism of the
Redeemer. The mind of man, trammeled by sin. can not soar in
contemplation of so sublime an event. On that wondrous day, when
the Deity, veiled in flesh, descended the bank, all nature, hushed in
awe, looked on, and the impetuous


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river, in grateful homage, must have stayed its course, and gently
raved the body of its Lord."
Thus it will be seen that Lieut. Lynch did not think it impossible
for the body of the Lord to have been gently raved by the waters of
the Jordan.
In describing a visit by a company of pilgrims to the Jordan, he
says: "The party which had disturbed us was the advanced guard of
the great body of the pilgrims. At 5, just at the dawn of day, the last
made its appearance. coming over the crest of a high ridge, in one
tumultuous anal eager throng. In all the wild haste of a disorderly
rout, Copts and Russians, Poles, Armenians, Greeks and Syrians,
from all parts of Asia, from Europe, from Africa, and from far
distant America, on they came; men, women, and children, of every
age and hue, and in every variety of costume; talking, screaming,
shouting, in almost every known language under the sun. Mounted
as variously as those who had preceded them, many of the women
and children were suspended in baskets or confined in cages; and,
with their eyes strained toward the river, heedless of all intervening
obstacles, they hurried eagerly forward, and dismounting in haste
and disrobing with precipitation, rushed down the bank and threw
themselves into the stream. They seemed to be absorbed by one
impulsive feeling, and perfectly regardless of the observations of
others. Each one plunged himself, or was dipped by another, three
times below the surface, in honor of the Trinity; and then filled a
bottle or some other utensil from the river. The bathing-dress of
many of the pilgrims was a white gown with a black cross upon it.
Most of them, as soon as they dressed, cut branches either of the
agnus castus or willow, and, dipping them in the consecrated
stream, bore them away as memorials of their visit.
"In an hour they began to disappear, and in less than


What Is Baptism?
317
three hours the trodden surface of the lately crowded bank reflected
no human shadow. The pageant disappeared as rapidly as it had
approached, and left to us once more the silence and the solitude of
the wilderness. It was like a dream. An immense crown of human
beings -- said to be 8,000, but I thought not so many -- had passed
and repassed before our tents and left not a vestige behind them.
Every one bathed, a few Franks excepted, the greater number in a
quiet and reverential manner, but some, I am sorry to say, displayed
an ill-timed levity." Pages 261, 262.
This needs no comment. We leave it with the single remark, that
where so many in so short a time could bathe themselves without
difficulty, surely John the Baptist could have no difficulty in
baptizing those who came to him.
Rev. D. A. Randall visited the Jordan at the time of harvest,
when it "overfloweth his banks all the time." In consequence of the
falling rains and melting snows of the far distant mountains of
Herman, it was near its greatest depth, yet he and his comrades
enjoyed the pleasure of a bath in its waters. Handwriting of God,
Part ii, p. 233.
The river Jordan, like all other streams, has its rapids and its
eddies, in the latter of which there are doubtless numerous places in
which it would be safe to immerse. It is a little remarkable to what
extremes the opponents of immersion will go in their zeal to show
the impossibility of performing this act in the Jordan. Heretofore,
some have contended that immersion could not have been the act,
because this river is so small that "a man might step across it, or
arrest its current with his foot," but since the observations of Lynch,
Randall, and others have been published, it suddenly becomes so
impetuous and deep as to make it impossible for John to have
immersed the people in it.


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Before leaving this part of the subject we deduce another
argument in favor of immersion from John's clothing: "John had his
raiment of camel's hair and a leathern girdle about his loins," Matt.
iii:4; Mark i:6. Why was he thus clad? I suppose it means something
or it would not have been recorded. Some suppose that the coarse
hair-cloth with which he was clad was used as the best protection
against the water. Certain it is that leathern girdles then and now are
used to strengthen the loins under physical exertion. We can see
propriety in this girdle to sustain him while immersing the vast
crowds baptized by him, but none whatever if he only sprinkled
water upon them. Surely, his loins needed no support for such labor
as this, since the most fashionably clad may now administer the rite
without physical effort or damage to silks or satins.
As a further evidence that John practiced immersion we find he
"was baptizing in Aenon, near to Salem, because there was much
water there." John iii:23. Why should he have gone there to sprinkle
or pour a few drops of water upon the people? This could not have
required much water. We suppose a single gallon would be quite
sufficient for a modern preacher for a whole day. But we are told
that much water was necessary to supply the people and their
animals with drink while attending his preaching. Then the passage
should read, "John was holding a meeting at Aenon, near Salem,
because there was much water there." Would not this have been
much more appropriate? But, on the contrary, "he came into all the
country about the Jordan preaching the baptism of repentance for
the remission of sins." Luke iii:3. Thus we see that John preached
every-where, but when he went to baptize he went where there was
much water. It is reasonable to suppose that quite as many people
attended his preaching


What Is Baptism?
319
in the country as witnessed his baptism at Aenon, yet much water is
not mentioned as an accommodation for those who attended his
preaching, but is given as a reason for his "baptizing at Aenon." For
a beautiful description of the waters of Aenon and their adaptation
to the purposes for which John selected them, see Barclay's "City of
the Great King," pp. 559-562.

CONVERTIBLE TERMS

We now pass to the examination of a law of translation found
in the convertibility of terms, which may be stated substantially in
the following words: "When the correct meaning of a word, in a
given place, is substituted for the word, it must make sense, and
harmonize with the other words m construction with the word for
which the substitution is made." This rule lies at the foundation of
all translation and must obtain, though in some instances, from force
of habit, the euphony may seem somewhat impaired. Be it further
observed that the demands of the rule are not that every meaning a
word may have will make sense every-where it occurs, but the
correct meaning of a word in a given place must make sense in that
place. By this rule we will try the meaning of the word baptize in a
few passages, and see whether or not it may mean sprinkle or
pour -- remembering, in the meantime, that sprinkle means to scatter
in drops, and pour means to turn out in a stream. Let us now read
the passages and submit these definitions to the rule stated: "Then
went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round
about Jordan, and were sprinkled (scattered in drops) of him in
Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the
Pharisees and Sadducees come to his sprinkling (scattering in
drops) he said unto them," etc. Matt. iii:5-7. Were the people
scattered in drops by John in Jordan? "He that believeth


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and is sprinkled (scattered in drops) shall be saved." Mark xvi:13.
"Repent and be sprinkled (scattered in drops) every one of you."
Acts ii:38. "When they believed Philip preaching the things
concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they
were sprinkled (scattered in drops), both men and women." Acts
viii:12. These scriptures need only to be read -- no comment is
necessary to show that sprinkle will not bear the test. Will pour do
any better? We will try it. "Then went out to him Jerusalem and all
Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were poured
(turned out in a stream) of him in Jordan." "He that believeth and is
poured (fumed out in a stream) shall be saved." "Repent and be
poured (turned out in a stream) every one of you." "When they
believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God
and the name of Jesus Christ, they were poured (turned out in a
stream), both men and women." Thus we see that the sense is as
completely destroyed by substituting pour as by sprinkle.
Now, let us subject immersion to the same ordeal; if it will do
no better, away with it. "Then went out to him Jerusalem and all
Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were immersed
of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." "But when he saw many of
the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his immersion, he said unto
them," etc. "He that believeth and is immersed shall be saved."
"Repent and be immersed every one of you." 'When they believed
Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the
name of Jesus Christ, they were immersed, both men and women."
Thus we might try every place in the New Testament where the
word occurs, and the result would be the same. A man may be
immersed in water, blood, oil, grief, suffering, debt, etc., but
sprinkled or poured he can not be, and live.


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321
As the Holy Spirit was shed forth on the day of Pentecost, when
the apostles were baptized with it, it is sometimes insisted that this
is the meaning of baptize. Then let us try it. "Go teach all nations,
shedding them forth in the name," etc. Matt. xxviii:19. "And they
went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he shed
him forth." Acts viii:38. Will this do? Once more: At the house of
Cornelius "the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word."
Acts x:44. It is therefore insisted that fell on is the meaning of the
word baptize, and indicates the manner in which it should be
performed. Then we will try this also. "Go teach all nations, falling
on them in the name of the Father," etc. "And they went down into
the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he fell on him." We will
not offer a word of comment to make these definitions more
ridiculously absurd than they are in their own native deformity.
These illustrations clearly show that the lexicons and critics
were right in giving immerse as the primary and literal meaning of
baptidzo, as used in the New Testament. Hence the conclusion that
John immersed Jesus and the multitudes who demanded baptism of
him, in the waters of Jordan and Aenon, is irresistible. To the reader,
then, we say, "go thou and do likewise."

THE BIRTH OF WATER

We deduce another argument in favor of immersion from the
language of Jesus to Nicodemus, as follows:
"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not
enter into the kingdom of God." John iii:5.
The language "born again" is to be understood figuratively, of
course; but the figure is based upon the real or natural birth, and as
a figure must, in some sense, resemble the fact upon which it is
based, so a birth of water


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must, in some sense, resemble a natural birth. Natural birth
contemplates delivery, so when a man is born of water, he must be
delivered from or come forth out of it. As he can not be delivered
from or come forth out of that in which he has never been, it follows
that a man must be placed in water before he can be delivered from
or born of it. Hence, in order to be born of water, a man must be
immersed in it that he may emerge from it. But what resemblance to
a birth has sprinkling or pouring water upon any one? Can a man
be born of a substance less than himself? Such a thing is
impossible with every one save him who practices sprinkling or
pouring water as baptism. How a grown man or woman may be born
of a drop or a spoonful of water is a mystery which needs
explanation.
For a full examination of the New Birth the reader is referred to
the chapter on this subject, the object here being only to examine it
so far as it bears upon the action of baptism. That the words "born
of water" refer to baptism, see authorities quoted in argument based
upon this verse in the chapter on the Design of Baptism.

BAPTISM A BURIAL

"Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism." Rom. vi:4.
"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him."
Col. ii:12.
That these passages refer to immersion is so manifestly plain that
it seems almost an insult to common sense to attempt an argument
to show it. There are three things which, though not all in the word,
are implied in the idea of a burial. First, the thing buried; second,
the thing buried in; and, third, the act of burying.


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323
A burial may differ as to the thing buried; it may be a seed, or
it may be a man. It may differ as to the thing buried in; it may be in
earth, it may be in water, but as to the act of burying there can be no
difference; it must be a placing in and covering up in every burial,
whether it be a seed or a man, in the earth or in water. Then, when
a man has a few drops of water sprinkled on him, is he buried?
Surely not. When he has a small stream poured upon him, is he
buried? He is not. When he is immersed in water, is he buried? Most
certainly he is.
We have shown that baptism means immersion; hence, when
Paul said he and his brethren had been buried with Christ by
baptism, is it not clear that he spake of that burial which was
effected by immersion? Lives there a man beneath the sun, who has
only had a few drops of water sprinkled on him, who can approach
the mercy-seat of Christ, and, with his hand upon his heart, say "I
have been buried with Christ by baptism?" We think not.
But we are told that Paul alluded to Holy Spirit baptism.
Suppose he did, does this bring any support to those who oppose
immersion? When they wish to make an argument in favor of
pouring, they tell us that the Holy Spirit was poured upon the
Pentecostians; and as that was Holy Spirit baptism, water baptism
must be like it, and therefore must be pouring. Spirit baptism and
water baptism must be administered in the same way. Well, then, if
Paul spoke of Holy Spirit baptism, it was a burial, and if water
baptism be like it, it must also be a burial. Hence this passage proves
baptism to be immersion, whether he spoke of water or Spirit. If of
water, the proof is direct; if of Spirit, it is by analogy, our opponents
being judges.
But did Paul allude to Holy Spirit baptism? In submitting to it
his brethren obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine delivered to
them. See verse 17. Luke tells us that Jesus commanded his disciples
"that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the
promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me." What


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promise? "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be
baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Acts i:4, 5.
Promises may be enjoyed, but can not be obeyed. We may obey
commands, but can not obey promises. Then, as the baptism of the
Spirit was a promise, and as submission to the baptism of which
Paul spoke was obedience, it follows, clear as demonstration, that
he spoke not of spiritual baptism.
Commentators and critics have, with great unanimity, in all ages,
decided that Rom. vi:4, and Col. ii:12, refer to immersion in water.
At the risk of being tedious we will collate a few extracts, which will
serve to show the decision of the learned on this subject:
1. JUSTIN MARTYR, born A.D. 140: "We represent our Lord's
suffering by baptism in a pool." Adkins, p. 127.
2. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, A.D. 200: "You were led to
a bath as Christ was conveyed to the sepulcher, and were thrice
immersed, to signify Christ's three days' burial." Adkins, p. 127.
3. ATHANASIUS, Bishop of Alexandria, A.D. 328: "To
immerse a child three times in a pool or bath, and to emerse him;
this shows the death and resurrection of Christ on the third day."
Stuart, p. 148, Conant, Ex. 188.
4. GREGORY NYSSEN, A.D. 328: "Coming into water, the
kindred element of earth, we hide ourselves in it as the Saviour did
in the earth." Stuart, p. 147. "Let us, therefore, be buried with Christ
in baptism, that we may also rise with him; let us go down with him,
that we also may be exalted with him." Conant, Ex. 188.
5. AMBROSE, A.D. 340: "You were asked, 'Dost thou believe
in GOD ALMIGHTY?' Thou saidst, 'I believe,' and thus thou wast
immerged (mersisti); that is, thou wast buried." Stuart, p. 147.
6. CHRYSOSTOM, A.D. 347: "To be baptized and to


Baptism Is A Burial
325
submerge, then to emerge, as a symbol of descent to the grave and
of ascent from it. And therefore Paul calls baptism a burial when he
says: 'We are therefore buried with him by baptism into death.'"
Westlake, ch. 3. Stuart, p. 147.
7. APOSTOLICAL CONSTITUTIONS, written in the fourth
century: "Immersion denotes dying with him (Christ); emersion a
resurrection with Christ." Stuart, p. 148.
8. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, A.D. 350: "Thou, going down
into the water, and in a manner buried in the waters, as he in the
rock, art raised again, walking in newness of life." Conant, Ex. 176.
"Ye professed the saving profession and sunk down thrice into the
water, and again came up, and thereby a symbol shadowing forth the
burial of Christ." Conant, Ex. 178.
9. BASIL THE GREAT, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia,
A.D. 370: "By three immersions we represent the death of
Christ -- the bodies of those that are baptized are buried in water."
Conant, Ex. 181.
10. FOURTH COUNCIL OF TOLEDO, Can. 5: "The immersion
in water is, as it were, the descent into the grave, and the emersion
from the water the resurrection." Adkins, p. 128.
11. PHOTIUS: "The three immersions and emersions of baptism
signify death and the resurrection." Stuart, p. 148.
12. GELASIUS: "The three immersions and emersions of
baptism signify death and the resurrection." Adkins, p. 129.
13. GREGORY: "The three immersions and emersions of
baptism signify death and the resurrection." Ut supra.
14. PELAGIUS: "The three immersions and emersions of
baptism signify death and the resurrection." Ut supra.
15. ARCHBISHOP CRANMER: The dipping into water


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doth betoken that the old Adam, with all his sin and evil lusts,
ought to be drowned and killed by daily contrition and repentance."
Westlake, ch. 3.
16. SCUDDER: "Baptism doth lively represent the death,
burial, and resurrection of Christ, together with your crucifying the
affections and lusts: being dead and buried with him unto sin, and
rising with him to newness of life and to hope of glory." Westlake,
ch. 3.
17. PICTETUS: "That immersion into and emersion out of the
water, as practiced by the ancients, signify the death of the old and
the resurrection of the new." Ut supra.
18. NICHOLSON, Bishop of Gloucester, Expos. of Ch.
Catechism: "The ancient manner of baptizing and putting the person
baptized under the water and then taking him out again, did well set
forth these two acts: the first his dying, the second his rising again.
In our baptism, by a kind of analogy or resemblance, while our
bodies are under the water we may be said to be buried with him."
Ut supra.
19. DR. MANTON, Chaplain to the King of England: "The
putting the baptized person into the water denoteth and proclaimeth
the burial of Christ, and we, by submitting to it, are dead and buried;
so that it signifieth Christ's death for sin and our death unto sin." Ut
supra.
20. AUGUSTINE: "That thrice repeated submersion expresses
a resemblance of the Lord's burial." Ut supra.
21. BENGELLIUS, Professor of Theology at Denkendorf,
Germany, in 1713: "He that is baptized puts on Christ, the second
Adam; he is baptized, I say, into a whole Christ, and therefore into
his death; and it is like as if that very moment Christ suffered, died,
and was buried for such a man, and such a man suffered, died, and
was buried with Christ." Westlake, ch. 3.
22. DR. GOODWIN, member of the Westminster Assembly:


Baptism Is A Burial
327
"There is a further representation therein of Christ's death,
burial, and resurrection, in the baptized's being first buried under
water and then rising out of it. Therefore, it is said we are buried
with him in baptism." Ut supra.
23. DODDRIDGE'S Family Expositor on Rom. vi:4: "Buried
with him in baptism. It seems to me the part of candor to confess
that here is an illusion to the manner of baptizing by immersion."
24. WHITBY'S Commentary on the New Testament -- Note on
Rom. vi:4: "It being so expressly declared here (Rom. vi:4, and Col.
ii:12) that we are buried with Christ in baptism by being buried
under water, and the argument to oblige us to a conformity to his
death being taken hence, and this immersion being religiously
observed by all Christians for thirteen centuries, and approved by
our church, and the change of it into sprinkling, even without any
allowance from the Author of this institution, or any license from
any council of the church, being that which the Romanist still urges
to justify his refusal of the cup to the laity, it were to be wished that
this custom might be of general use, and aspersion only permitted,
as of old, in cases of the clinic or present danger of death." Pengilly,
p. 47.
25. WELLS' Illus. Bible on Rom. vi:4: "St. Paul here alludes to
immersion or dipping the whole body under water in baptism."
Pengilly, 46.
26. ADAM CLARKE, Com. on Rom. vi:4: "When he [the
person to be baptized] came up out of the water, he seemed to have
a resurrection to life. He was, therefore, supposed to throw off his
old Gentile state, as he threw off his clothes, and to assume a new
character, as the baptized generally put on new or fresh garments."
27. JOHN EDWARDS: "The immersion into the water was
thought to signify the death of Christ, and their coming out


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his rising again, and did no less represent their own resurrection."
Pengilly, p. 49.
29. EDINBURGH REVIEWERS: "We have rarely met, for
example, a more weak and fanciful piece of reasoning than that by
which Mr. Ewing would persuade us that there is no allusion to the
mode by immersion in the expression 'buried with him in baptism.'
This point ought to be frankly admitted and indeed can not be
denied with any show of reason." lb., p. 47.
30. BLOOMFIELD'S GREEK TESTAMENT, note on Rom.
vi:4: "By which the rite of immersion in the baptismal water and
egress from it were used as a symbol of breaking off all connection
with the present sinful life and giving one's self to a new and pure
one. We have been thus buried in the waters of baptism. There is a
plain allusion to the ancient custom of baptism by immersion," on
which (says Bloomfield) see 31 SUICER'S Eccl. in V. cited in
confession.
32. BINGHAM's Antiquities of the Chr. Ch.: "Immersion universally
prevailed, since all the ancients thought that burying under
water did more lively represent the death, burial, and resurrection
of Christ." Bloomfield also cites to the same effect Bishops Sherlock
and Warburton.
33. SAURIN'S SERMONS, Vol. iii, p. 17:6: "Paul says we are
buried with Christ by baptism into death; that is, the ceremony of
wholly immersing us in water when we were baptized signified that
we died to sin, and that of rising again from our immersion signified
that we would no more return to those disorderly practices in which
we lived before our conversion to Christianity." Benedict's History,
p. 179.
34. ARCHBISHOP LEIGHTON: "We are buried with him, the
dipping into the waters representing our dying with Christ, and the
return thence our rising with him." Works, p. 277.


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329
35. MATHIES' Biblical, Historical, and Dogmatical Exposition
of Baptism, which obtained a prize in the University of Berlin, says:
"Paul, as we have seen (Rom. vi:4), has in his mind only the rite of
immersing and emerging; and in the apostolic church, in order that
a communion with the death of Christ may be signified the whole
body of the person to be baptized was immersed in the water or
river, and then, in order that a connection with the resurrection of
Christ might be indicated, the body again emerged or raised out of
the water. That this rite has been changed is indeed a calamity, for
it is placed before the eyes most aptly the symbolical meaning of
baptism." Dr. 1. Chase, on Bap., pp. 50, 51.
36. ROSENMULLER, Professor of Theology at Leipsic, says:
"Immersion in the water of baptism and coming forth out of it was
a symbol of a person's renouncing his former life, and, on the
contrary, of beginning a new one. The learned have rightly reminded
us, that, on account of this emblematical meaning of baptism, the
rite of immersion ought to have been retained in the Christian
church." 1. Chase on Bap., p. 49.
37. JASPIS, in his Latin version of the Epistles, says: "Paul in
this place (Rom. vi:4) alludes to the custom then usual of immersing
the whole body, which immersion resembled the laying of a man in
a sepulcher." Ut supra, p. 49.
38. TURRETIN: "For as in baptism, when performed in the
primitive manner, by immersion and emersion, descending into the
water and again going out of it, of which descent and ascent we have
an example in the eunuch, in Acts viii:38, 39. Yea, and what is
more, as by this rite, when persons are immersed in water they are
overwhelmed, and as it were buried, and in a manner buried
together with Christ; and again they emerge, seems to be raised out


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of a grave, and are said to be risen again with Christ." Frey on
Baptism, p. 186.
39. THEOPHYLACT, a Greek commentator on Col. ii:12: "Baptism
typifies by immersion the death, by emersion the resurrection
of Christ." Adkins, p. 128.
40. LEO, bishop of Rome, Decret. 9: "Trine immersion
represents the three days' burial of Christ." Ut supra.
41. THEOBUCK, on Rom. vi:4: "In order to understand the
figurative use of baptism we must bear in mind the well-known fact that
the candidate in the primitive church was immersed in water and
raised out of it again." Ut supra, p. 130.
42. WINER, in his Manuscript Letters on Christian Antiquities,
says: "In the apostolic age baptism was immersion, as its symbolical
explanation shows." Ut supra.
43. PROF. LANG, on Infant Baptism, 1834: "As Christ died, so
we die (to sin) with him in baptism. The body is as it were buried
under water, is dead with Christ; the plunging under water
represents death, and rising out of it the resurrection to a new life.
A more striking symbol could not be chosen." Ut supra.
44. DR. JORTIN'S Sermons. Of the baptized he says: "He that
descended into the water and stooped or laid down in it -- this
represents death and the grave. His ascending out of the water under
which he had been hidden represents the resurrection of Christ for
our justification, and the new life and second birth of the baptized
person, who was thenceforward to live to God and to do good
works." Frey on Bap., pp. 128,129.
45. SUPERVILLE, Pastor of the French Protestant Church at
Rotterdam, says: "You know that in ancient times baptism was
administered by immersion, so that the person who was baptized,
being entirely plunged into the water, appeared for a moment as one
dead and buried; after


Baptism Is A Burial
331
which, emerging from the water, he seemed as one rising from the
dead. Hence the language of the apostle in Rom. vi:4, Col. ii:12,"
Ut supra.
46. BURMANNUS, Synop. Theol.: "Immersion was used by the
Jews, the apostles, and the primitive church, especially in warm
countries. To this, various forms of speaking used by the apostles
refer: Rom. vi:4, Col. ii:12, etc." Frey, p. 132.
46. PETER MARTYR: As Christ by baptism hath drawn us into
his death and burial, so he hath drawn us out into life. This doth the
dipping into the waters and the issuing forth again signify when we
are baptized." Westlake, ch. iii.
47. ALBERT BARNES: It is altogether probable that the apostle
in this place had allusion to the custom of baptizing by immersion."
Note on Rom. vi:4.
48. ESTIUS: "Immersion, in a more expressive manner, represents
the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and of us."
Frey, p. 150.
49. BRAUNUS, in his Doctrina Federum: "By baptism we are
plunged under water, and, as it were, buried; but we do not continue
in a state of death, for we immediately rise again from thence,
to signify that we, through the merits of Christ, and with Christ,
mortify the old man, are buried with Christ, and with him arise to
newness of life." Haynes' Bap. Cyclopedia, p. 78.
50. DR. BOYS' Works: "The dipping, in holy baptism, has three
parts: the putting into the water, the continuance in the water, and
the coming out of the water. The putting into the water doth ratify
the mortification of sin by the power of Christ's death, as Paul in
Rom. vi:4." Ut supra, p. 99.
51. RHEINHARD'S Ethics: "In sprinkling, the symbolical
meaning of the ordinance is wholly lost." Hinton's History, Bap., p.


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52. BISHOP BURNETT'S Expos. of the Thirty-nine Articles,
pp. 374, 375: "They (the primitive ministers of the gospel) led them
into the water, and with no other garments but what might cover
nature. They first laid them down in the water, as a man is buried
in a grave, and then they said the words 'I baptize thee in the name
of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.' Then they raised them up
again, and clean garments were put on them, from whence came the
phrases of being baptized into Christ's death, of our being buried
with him by baptism into death, being baptized into Christ's
death, of our being risen with Christ, and of our putting on
Christ, putting off the old man and putting on the new man."
53. CARDINAL CAJETAN: "'We are buried with him by
baptism into death.' By our burying he declares our death from the
ceremony of baptism: because he who is baptized is put under the
water, and by this bears a likeness of him that was buried, who is
put under the earth. Now, because none are buried by dead men,
from this very thing we are buried in baptism, we are assimilated to
Christ when he was buried. Christ ascended out of the water,
therefore he was baptized by John, not by sprinkling or pouring
water upon him, but by immersion." Booth's Ped. Ex.
54. DR. CAVE'S Primitive Christianity: "As in immersion there
are, in a manner, three several acts, the putting a person into the
water, his abiding there for a little time, and rising again; so by these
were represented Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and in
conformity thereunto our dying unto sin, the destruction of its
power, and our resurrection to a new course of life. By the persons
being put into water was lively represented the putting off the body
of the sins of the flesh, and being washed from the filth and
pollution of them," etc. Booth's Ped. Ex.


Baptism Is A Burial
333
55. BISHOP DAVENANT, of Salisbury, Eng., 1641, Exposition
of Col. ii:12: "In baptism, the burial of the body of sin, or of the old
Adam, is represented when the person to be baptized is put down
into the water, as a resurrection when he is brought out of it."
Haynes' Bap. Cyclopedia, p. 186.
60. JOHN FELT, Bishop of Oxford, in his Paraphrase and An-
notations on St. Paul's Epistles, Rom. vi:4: "The primitive fashion of
immersion under the water representing our death, and elevation out
of it our resurrection, our regeneration." let supra, pp. 246, 247.
61. DR. QUENSTEDT (Lutheran): "Immersion is similar to a
burial, emersion, to a resurrection." Wiberg, p. 83.
62. CH. STARK: "The apostle has reference to the then prevailing
custom, according to which the candidate was entirely
immersed in water, and after he had been left under a little while,
was again taken up out of it. Baptism, consequently, does not only
contain the image and power of the death of Christ, but of his
burial; so that, as the Lord, by his burial, has done away with the
curse that lay upon him, we also might be partakers of his burial
when we were laid down under the water as in a grave and covered
with it." Wiberg, p. 113.
63. LOCKE: "We did own some kind of a death by being buried
under the water -- even so we, being raised from our typical death
and burial in baptism, should lead a new sort of life." Campbell and
Rice, p. 235.
64. DR. G. C. KNAPP: "The image is here taken from baptized
persons as they were immerged (buried) and as they emerged (rose
again); so it was understood by Chrysostom." Theol., Vol. ii, p. 525.
65. MACKNIGHT: "In baptism, the baptized person is buried
under water, as one put to death with Christ on account of sin, in
order that they may be strongly impressed with


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a sense of the malignity of sin and excited to hate it as the greatest
of evils." On Epist., Vol. 1, p. 259.
"Christ submitted to be baptized, that is, to be buried under the
water by John, and to be raised out of it again, as an emblem of his
future death and resurrection. In like manner the baptism of
believers is emblematical of his own death, burial, and resurrection."
On Rom. vi:4.
66. JOHN WESLEY: "Buried with him -- alluding to the ancient
manner of baptizing by immersion." Notes on Rom. vi.:4; Vol. ii:12.
67. GEORGE WHITFIELD: It is certain that, in the words of
our text, Rom. vi:4, there is an allusion to the manner of baptizing,
which was immersion." Pengilly, p. 47.
68. DR. WALL: "St. Paul does twice, in an allusive way of
speaking, call baptism a burial." Defense of Hist. of Infant Bap.,
131.
68. ARCHBISHOP TILLOTSON: "Anciently, those who were
baptized were immersed and buried in the water, to represent their
death to sin, and then did rise up out of the water, to signify their
entrance upon the new life; and to these customs the apostle alludes
in Rom. vi:4." Pengilly, p. 46.
69. ARCHBISHOP SEEKER: "Burying, as it were, the person
in the water and raising him out again, without question, was
anciently the more usual method, on account of which St. Paul speaks
of baptism as representing the death, burial, and resurrection of
Christ, and what is grounded on them -- our being dead and buried
to sin, and our rising again to walk in newness of life." Pengilly, p.
46.
70. SAMUEL CLARKE: "We are buried with Christ by baptism,
etc. In the primitive times the manner of baptizing was by
immersion, or dipping the whole body into water. And this manner
of doing it was a very significant emblem


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of the dying and rising again referred to by St. Paul in the above
mentioned similitude." Ibid.
71. BURKITT'S Notes on the New Testament. On Rom. vi:4:
"The apostle alludes, no doubt, to the ancient manner and way of
baptizing persons in those hot countries, which was by immersion
or putting them under the water for a time, and raising them up
again out of the water, which rite had also a mystical signification,
representing the burial of our old man, sin in us, and our
resurrection to newness of life."
72. OLSHAUSEN'S Commentary on Rom. vi:4: "In this passage
we are by no means to refer the baptism merely to their own
resolutions, or see in it merely a figure in which the one-half of the
ancient baptismal rite -- the submersion merely prefigures the death
and burial of the old man -- the second half the emersion, the
resurrection of the new man."
73. CONYBEARE AND HOWSON, Life and Epist. of St. Paul:
"Baptism was immersion, the convert being plunged beneath the
surface of the water to represent his death to sin, and then raised
from this momentary burial to represent his resurrection to a life of
righteousness." Also on Rom. vi:4: "This passage can not be
understood unless it is borne in mind that the primitive baptism was
by immersion."
74. DR. HAMMOND on Rom. vi:4: "It is a thing that every
Christian knows, that the immersion in baptism refers to the death
of Christ; the putting of the person into the water denotes and
proclaims the death and burial of Christ." Haynes' Last Reply to
Cook and Towne, p. 107.
75. BISHOP HOADLEY: "If baptism had been then performed
as it is now among us, we should never so much as heard of this
form of expression, of dying and rising again in this rite." Ibid.


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76. DR. STORR AND FLATT'S Biblical Theol., Andover,
1826: "The disciples of our Lord could understand his command in
no other manner than as enjoining immersion; and that they
actually did understand it so is proved partly by those passages of
Scripture which evidently allude to immersion: Acts viii:36, Rom.
vi:4." Ut supra.
77. MARTIN LUTHER: "Baptism is a sign of both death and
resurrection. Being moved by this reason, I would have those who
are to be baptized to be altogether dipped into the water, as the
word doth express and the mystery doth signify." Ut supra, pp.
109, 110.
78. DR. R. NEWTON, on Rom. vi:4: "Baptism was usually performed
by immersion or dipping the whole body under the water, to
represent the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ together."
Slack's Reasons for Becoming a Bap., p. 56.
79. RICHARD BAXTER: "It is commonly confessed by us of the
Anabaptists, as our commentators declare, that in the apostles' times
the baptized were dipped over-head in the water, and that this
signified their profession both of the believing the burial and
resurrection of Christ, and of their own present renouncing of the
world and flesh, or of dying to sin and living to Christ, or rising
again to newness of life, or being buried and risen again with Christ,
as the apostle expoundeth in the fore cited texts." Westlake, ch. v.
80. BISHOP SMITH: "Buried in baptism -- all continue to render
the fact as early ascertained far more reconcilable with Scripture
than any contrary theory can be. If any one practice of the early
churches is clearly ascertained, it is immersion." Bliss' Letters, p. 24.
81. WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES, Annotations
on Rom. vi:4: "'Buried with him in baptism.' In this phrase the
apostle seemeth to allude to the ancient


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337
manner of baptism, which was to dip the parties baptized, and as it
were bury them under water." Judson, p. 24.
82. WILLIAM TYNDALE: "The plunging into the water signifieth
that we die and are buried with Christ, as concerning the old
life of sin, which is in Adam; and the pulling out again signifieth that
we rise again with Christ in a new life." Westlake, p. 5.
83. DR. CHALMERS on Rom. vi:4: "In the act of descending
under the water of baptism, to have resigned an old life, and in the
act of ascending, to emerge into a second or new life -- along the
course of which it is our part to maintain a strenuous avoidance of
sin."
84. GROTIUS: "Buried with him by baptism. Not only the
word baptism, but the very form of it, intimates this. For an
immersion of the whole body in water so that it is no longer beheld,
bears an image of that burial which is given to the dead. So Col.
ii:12. There was in baptism, as administered in former times, an
image both of a burial and of a resurrection, which in respect of
Christ was external, in regard to Christians internal." Rom. vi:4.
Booth on pedobaptism, abridged by Bryant, p. 52.
85. CHURCH OF ENGLAND: "As we be buried with Christ by
our baptism into death, so let us daily die to sin, mortifying and
killing the evil motions thereof. And as Christ was raised up from
death by the glory of the Father, so let us rise to a new life and walk
continually therein." Homily of the Resurrection, Booth. pp. 52, 53.
86. WOLFIUS: "Immersion into water, in former times, and a
short continuance under the water, practiced by the ancient church,
afford the representation of a burial in baptism." Curae, ad Rom.
vi:4.
87. BISHOP PEARCE: "It seems to have been a metaphor taken
from the custom of those days in baptizing, for the person baptized
went down under the water and was (as it were)


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buried under it. Hence St. Paul says, in Rom. vi:4, and Col. ii:
12, that they were buried with Christ by baptism." Ibid, p. 68.
88, 89. BISHOP SHERLOCK and BISHOP WARBURTON are
cited to the same effect in Bloomfield on Rom. vi:4: and still others
might be given, but surely the reader is ready to say with us, these
are enough. This list is mostly made up of those who practiced
sprinkling and pouring, and surely were not influenced by any
disposition to favor immersion, but when speaking as scholars and
critics were compelled to testify to the truth, whether for or against
their practice. The reader will please observe that some of them
lived early in the second century; and we have taken some from
every period in the history of the church from then until now, thus
showing that, almost with one voice, the learned of all ages and
countries testify that this passage refers to the ancient custom of
baptizing by immersion. Surely, nothing but a cause reduced to
desperation would demand of its advocates a departure from a
meaning so plainly taught by all these authorities floating (as it
were) upon the very surface of this passage.

BAPTISM A WASHING

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water." Heb. x:22.
That the apostle here alludes to baptism is very generally
admitted. He had been reasoning on the subject of the Jewish
priesthood and the process of consecration connected with it, a
partial account of which we have as follows: "Thus shalt Aaron
come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin-offering,
and a ram for a burnt-offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat,
and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall


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339
be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be
attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh,
and so put them on." Lev. xvi:3, 4.
Under the Christian dispensation every Christian is regarded as
a priest. Speaking of his brethren, Peter said: 'Ye also, as lively
stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. ii:5.
Again, verse 9, he says: "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood." As Christians are priests, we can see a peculiar fitness
in Paul's allusion to the washing of a Jewish priest in the ceremony
of his consecration, illustrative of the washing of a Christian in the
ceremony of his consecration. That it did not consist in the
application of a small quantity of water to the face may be seen in
the fact that the same general term flesh is used to indicate the
extent of the washing, that is used to indicate the parts on which the
priestly garments were worn. That the Jews understood the phrase
wash the flesh in the sense of bathing the whole body may be seen
in the washing of Naaman. "Elisha sent a messenger unto him,
saying, Go wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come
again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. Then went he down,
and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying
of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of
a little child, and he was clean." 2 Kings v:10-14.
Here we see that Naaman was commanded to WASH himself
seven times in Jordan; and, guided by those who are presumed to
have understood what was meant, he DIPPED himself. That he
correctly obeyed the command is evident from the fact that he
dipped himself according to the saying of the man of God, and
God recognized his act by curing him of his leprosy. This case
throws a


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flood of light upon all the Jewish washings, and clearly shows what
they did when they washed themselves, or any thing else, in
accordance with their law. The word dipped, which expresses the
act performed by Naaman, is from the Hebrew word taval, which
the seventy Jews who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek
rendered baptidzo, the very word which the Lord subsequently
employed to indicate baptism. Then, as King James' translators gave
us dip as the English equivalent of taval, and the Jewish translators
gave us baptidzo as its Greek representative, it follows that, in the
judgment of the seventy scholars who made the Septuagint, and the
forty-seven who made the common version, baptidzo in Greek and
dip in English are synonymous. And since things which are equal to
the same thing are equal to each other, it follows that baptidzo in
Greek and dip in English, being equal to taval in Hebrew, are equal
to each other, hence dip is demonstrably the proper translation of
baptidzo.
In confirmation of our position on Heb. x:22, we quote
Bloomfield as follows: "This is not an admonition to corporeal
purity, but the expression turns wholly on a comparison with the
legal rite of washing for purification; and there is an allusion to
baptism, as also in the foregoing expression we have a parallel with
a Jewish rite. The Jews (to use the words of Prof. Stuart) were
sprinkled with blood in order that they might be purified, so as to
have access to God -- Christians are internally sprinkled; i.e.,
purified by the blood of Jesus. The Jews were washed with water in
order to be ceremonially purified, so as to come before
God -- Christians have been washed by the purifying water of
baptism." The reader will observe that in this quotation we have not
only the authority of Dr. Bloomfield, but also that of Prof. Stuart,
approvingly quoted by him.


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341
But Paul speaks of the body as washed in pure water. We are a
little curious to know how it is that a drop of water applied to the
head can be regarded as a washing of the body. The Greek word
lelumenoi here used indicates a washing of the whole body, while
nipsosthai is used to indicate a partial washing, as the hands or feet.
(See MacKnight on this verse.) It occurs to us that had the Lord
intended a topical application of water in baptism He would have
designated the part to which it should be applied. Surely, this was
not a matter unworthy of note, for in matters perhaps less significant
the parts involved are specifically named. When God instituted
circumcision in the family of Abraham. He specifically named the
part to be excised. When a man was slain by unknown hands among
the Jews, the elders of the city next to him were to "wash their
hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley." Deut. xxi:6.
When Jesus washed the disciples' feet, the parts washed are
specifically mentioned. John xiii:5. When Aaron and his sons were
going to enter the tabernacle, they had to wash their hands and their
feet. Ex. xl:31. In the consecration of a Jewish priest, there were
applications to be made to the head, the tip of the right ear, the
thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, and
each part is specifically designated. Then, if it were important to
thus designate specifically and plainly each part to which an
application was to be made in the examples given, it was not less
important that the part to be wet in the act of baptism should have
been designated with at least equal precision. Why should not Paul
have mentioned this part, in place of the body, which he said was
washed in pure water? We respectfully suggest that there is quite as
much Scriptural authority for baptizing the hand or foot as there is
for baptizing the head, and we may justly demand by what law of
Christ or


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by what example of the apostles is any one authorized to apply
water to the face or the head rather than to the hands, the feet, or
any other part of the body?

BAPTISM OF THE EUNUCH

"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water;
and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be
baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou
mayest. And he answered, and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they
went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he
baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the
Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no
more; and he went on his way rejoicing." Acts viii:36-39.
We call the reader's attention to the progressive steps in the
foregoing narrative and to the force of the several prepositions used.
First, while on their journey, they came unto a certain water. This
brings them to or at the water. Secondly, they went down into the
water where the baptism took place. Thirdly, they come up out of
the water. All this is perfectly rational if immersion was the act
performed, but worse than useless if sprinkling or pouring was what
was done. If the phrase come unto a certain water brought them to
or at it, it follows that, if the phrase they went down into the water
moved them at all, it must have carried them beyond its margin,
hence a preposition indicating motion, into, was used to indicate the
thought. We have into from the Greek word eis, which primarily
means motion toward or into, and is; therefore, correctly rendered
in the passage before us. Out of is from ek, the primary meaning of
which is, not from, but out of, just as here rendered; and when
construed with


Baptism Of The Eunuch
343
water, as it is here, it must mean literally out of the water; hence eis
must have taken them just as far into the water as ek brought them
out of it. If this language does not show that they really and literally
went down into and came up out of the water, then we submit that
it is beyond the power of language to express or embody the
thought. No more appropriate language could have been used.
We have already seen that the rules of translation require the
primary meanings of words to be retained unless good reasons be
shown for their removal. Therefore, if we substitute the secondary
meanings of eis and ek in the passage under consideration for into
and out of, their primary meanings, there must be a better reason
shown for it than the salvation of a favorite theory or the support of
an unscriptural practice.
But as it is said that eis in this passage should be rendered at or
near to, it may be well to examine a few passages where the word
occurs. "It is better for thee to enter (eis) into life halt or maimed,
rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast (eis) into
everlasting fire." "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast
it from thee: it is better for thee to enter (eis) into life with one eye,
rather than having two eyes to be cast (eis) into hellfire." Matt. xviii:
8, 9. Here are four examples of eis in this quotation, which might be
as correctly rendered at as in Acts viii:38: thus, enter at life -- cast at
everlasting fire, etc. Again: "Depart from me, ye cursed (eis) into
everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matt. ....''. It
would rejoice the hearts of many if eis in this place could be
rendered at or near by. Verse 46: "And these shall go away (eis) into
everlasting punishment: but the righteous (eis) into life eternal."
Matt. xxv:46. While the translation of eis by at in the verse might
bring joy to the wicked, it would destroy the hopes and


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happiness of the righteous. Numerous examples might be given, but
these are deemed sufficient to show the absurdity of translating eis
otherwise than by into, its primary meaning, in passages similar to
the one under consideration.
But Prof. Stuart says "that if the phrase 'they both went down
into the water' is meant to designate the action of plunging or being
immersed into the water, as a part of the rite of baptism, then was
Philip baptized as well as the eunuch; for the sacred writer says that
BOTH went into the water. Here, then, must have been a rebaptizing
of Philip, and, what is at least singular, he must have baptized
himself as well as the eunuch." Stuart on Bap., p. 97.
Here is a false issue made over a most ridiculous quibble by a
truly great man; and we may well ask whether truth ever demands
of its advocates a resort to such support? We insist that the very fact
of such transcendent ability as Prof. Stuart possessed being reduced
to such straits is evidence that he had a hard cause to defend. He
knew well that the act of baptism was not expressed by the phrase
"they both went down into the water," but was expressed by the
phrase "he baptized him." All that is claimed for the language they
both went down into the water, where the baptizing was done, and
afterward came up out of the water is that it expresses acts wholly
incompatible with the notion that baptism was sprinkling or pouring,
but perfectly harmonious with the idea that Philip immersed the
eunuch. Why was it necessary that Philip and the eunuch should
have gone down into the water, or to have even got out of the
chariot at all? When he commanded the chariot to stand still, why
did he not order the driver to bring a pitcher, bowl, or cup of water
with which to baptize the nobleman? Surely, any one traveling in
such style, and so far as was this nobleman, might well be


Baptism Of The Eunuch
345
presumed to have such vessels. Nor will it do to presume them
unworthy of mention had they been employed in connection with
the sacred rite, for when Jesus washed the disciples' feet the basin
that contained the water, and the towel wherewith he was girded
were both thought worthy of their notice and are therefore recorded.
Was the use of such implements of any more importance connected
with the washing of feet, than a bowl, pitcher, or cup would have
been in connection with baptism, had any such thing been
employed? Is it not a little remarkable that we have no account of
Peter, James, John, or Philip's taking a little water from any such
vessel for the purpose of baptizing any one, since for the want of
any such facility they were compelled sometimes to leave the house
at midnight in order to perform this rite? Not only so, but we find
them going where there was much water -- baptizing in a
river -- going down into and coming up out of the water, none of
which is more worthy of note than would have been a bowl or
pitcher had it been employed.
But it is insisted that, as the eunuch was reading the 53d chapter
of Isaiah when Philip approached him, it is likely he had previously
read the 52d chapter, the 15th verse of which says, "So shall he
sprinkle many nations," and as Philip preached Jesus as the party
referred to, when he came to the water the eunuch concluded that
there was a suitable place for him to be sprinkled, as one of a nation
referred to. We have the word sprinkle in Isaiah lii:15, from the
Hebrew word nazah, which Gesenius thus defines: "To leap, to
spring, to exult, to leap for joy; when applied to liquids, to spirt, to
spatter, to be sprinkled." The reader will please note the fact that the
word nazah only means to be sprinkled in the passive form, and
only then when it refers to liquids; and as in Isaiah it refers to
nations and not liquids, this meaning will not apply.


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Hence, we must adopt one of the first meanings, and these are all
expressive of joy or rejoicing.
A distinguished scholar renders this verse: "So shall many nations
exult on account of him." Bailey's Manual, p. 271. Perhaps the
thought would be correctly expressed thus: "Many nations shall
rejoice at his coming." Dr. BARNES, the celebrated Presbyterian
commentator, says: "It may be remarked that whichever of the above
senses is assigned, it furnishes no argument for the practice of
sprinkling in baptism. It refers to the fact of his purifying or
cleansing the nations, and not to the ordinance of Christian baptism;
nor should it be used as an argument in reference to the mode in
which that should be administered." Com. on Isa. lii:15.

BAPTISM OF THE JAILER

"And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast
them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely. Who,
having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and
made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas
prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations
of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were
opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the
prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open,
he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing
that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice,
saying, Do thyself no harm; for we are all here. Then he called for
a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before
Paul and Silas; and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do
to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the
word of the Lord, and to all


Baptism Of The Jailer
347
that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night,
and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his,
straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set
meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."
Acts xvi:23-34.
It is insisted by those who oppose immersion that the jailer was
baptized in the house at or after midnight, and hence was baptized
by sprinkling or pouring. We frankly admit that, should we find, on
examination, he was baptized in the house, it would raise a
presumption in favor of their hypothesis, but, still, it would not be
conclusive, for persons are often now and might then have been
immersed in the house. On the other hand, should we find that he
left the house, at the time indicated, in order to be baptized, it must
raise a strong presumption in favor of immersion.
Let us, then, very carefully examine as to how this was. "Who,
having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and
made their feet fast in the stocks." Here we find that Paul and Silas
were lodged in the inner prison. Let us watch them closely, and see
how and when they leave and whither they go.
"Then he [the jailer] called for a light, and sprang in, and came
trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them
out." Out where? "And they spake unto him the word of the Lord,
and to all that were in his house." Here we learn that the jailer had
brought them from the inner prison into his house where the
preaching was done.
"And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their
stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." Remember
that the preaching took place in the house, then the jailer took them
to a place where there was water enough to wash their stripes and
to baptize him and all his. Was this in the house? Surely not.


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For in the next verse we are informed that "when he had brought
them into his house, he set meat before them." How could it be said
that they were brought into the house after baptism if they had not
left the house to be baptized? Seeing, then, that they were not
baptized in the house, but left it in the night to be baptized, we
claim the benefit of a strong presumption in favor of immersion -- for
surely no one would now think of leaving the house, at such an hour
of the night, to sprinkle or pour a few drops of water on any one in
lieu of baptism.
But we are told that, in the morning Paul and Silas refused to
leave the prison, and it is unlikely they would have left it the night
before as it would have been dissembling in them to do so. We beg
the objector to remember that it was one thing to leave the prison in
company with their keeper in the discharge of sacred duty and
return in ample time to be ready to meet the charges which had been
preferred against them, and quite another thing to leave the prison
and the city privately, without a trial or an honorable acquittal, thus
furnishing their enemies with a pretext for saying they had fled from
justice. They had given abundant evidence of the fact that they did
not wish to escape, by not leaving the prison when the doors were
opened and their bands loosed; and as he had saved the jailer from
a violent death at his own hands, it is reasonable to suppose that his
confidence in them was such as allowed no fears of efforts on their
part to escape.
All things considered, we are driven to the only probable solution
of the matter -- which is, that they left the house and went to
where there was water in which to be immersed and were immersed.
In commenting on a phrase in the writings of Justin Martyr
[They are led out by us to a place where there is water], Prof. Stuart
says: "I am persuaded that this passage,


The Baptism Of Paul
349
as a whole, most naturally refers to immersion; for why, on
any other ground, should the convert who is to be initiated go out
to the place where there IS water? There could be no need of this
if mere sprinkling, or partial effusion only, was customary in the
time of Justin." Stuart on Baptism, p. 144.
Now, if the fact that going to a place where there was water to
baptize, in the days of Justin, was evidence of immersion, why is not
the same fact evidence that the jailer was immersed, especially when
we remember that he went at or after midnight? If Prof. Stuart's
conclusion was a reasonable deduction from the language of Justin
(and we think it certainly was), why does he not come to a like
conclusion as to the baptism of the jailer? Yea, why should we not
come to a like conclusion in a case surrounded by similar
circumstances? That he did leave the house to be baptized is as
certain as the language of Holy Writ can make any thing, yet Prof.
Stuart gives the baptism of the jailer as one of three cases where
immersion was not the act performed. As to whether or not he is
consistent the reader will judge for himself.

THE BAPTISM OF PAUL

"Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the
name of the Lord." Acts xxii:16.
It would have been wholly unnecessary that Paul should arise
to have water sprinkled or poured on him, but indispensable to his
being immersed, as he could not go to a place suited to immersion
without arising, while water could just as easily have been sprinkled
or poured upon him lying, sitting, or in any other position, as
standing, without the necessity of arising. Hence, the fact that he
was told to arise raises a presumption that he was immersed; and
this presumption is made a certainty by his


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own declaration that he was "buried with Christ by baptism." Rom.
vi:4.

BAPTISM OF THE ISRAELITES

"Moreover, brethren, I would not have you ignorant how that all
our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." 1
Cor. x:1, 2.
That the baptism of the Israelites unto Moses in the cloud and
in the sea, was in some sense typical of our baptism into Christ, is
very generally admitted. As we will have occasion to introduce
proof of this when we come to look for the design of baptism, we
will not introduce it here.
In what sense are we to understand baptism in this passage? In
a literal or figurative sense? If in a literal sense, the baptism
consisted in specific action, as we have seen that the word primarily
and literally indicates specific action.
Was there specific action in this baptism? If so, what was it? The
Israelites were not dipped in the cloud and in the sea, nor were they
sprinkled or poured in the cloud and in the sea. Hence, the specific
act of dipping, sprinkling, or pouring was not in this baptism.
Therefore, we conclude the baptism was figurative, not literal. As
figures are based upon facts, and must resemble them, we may
expect this figurative baptism in some sense to resemble the literal
one. The word baptidzo is sometimes used metonymically; that is,
the result reached by the specific action indicated by the term is put
for the act itself. In such cases the result must be such as to
resemble that produced by the specific act. The specific act indicated
by baptidzo being dipping or immersion, the result must always be
such as to resemble that produced by dipping or immersion --
namely, overwhelming or burial. These things premised,


Baptism Of The Israelites
351
we are now prepared to read an account of this baptism
recorded in Exodus xiv:15-31, the sixteenth verse of which says to
Moses: "Lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea,
and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground
through the midst of the sea." Again, verses 19-22: "And the angel
of God which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went
behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face,
and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the
Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness
to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not
near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over
the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east
wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were
divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea
upon the dry ground, and the waters were a wall unto them on their
right hand and on their left." Thus we see what Paul meant when he
said they were under the cloud and passed through the sea. And as
he understood baptism to be a burial (Rom. vi:4; Col. ii:12), it is not
strange that he should call the passage of the Israelites through the
sea and under the cloud a baptism, for truly they were buried, the
sea being a wall on their right hand and on their left, and the cloud
over and behind them.
But we are told that the Israelites were baptized by spray blown
from the sea in their passage. When we remember that the hosts of
Israel numbered six hundred thousand men, besides women and
children, and that they all passed through the sea in a single night,
taking every thing possessed by them, it will be seen that an opening
several miles in width must have been required for their passage; and
as a wind could blow spray but in


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one direction, and as it would fall much thicker and heavier on the
side next its source, it must have deluged those on one side in order
to have reached those of the other side at all, and yet we are told
that all passed on dry ground. But, worse still, the sacred historian
tells us that "the waters were gathered together, the floods stood
upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of
the sea." Ex. xv:8. Now, it occurs to us that such a wind as would
have blown congealed water, in spray, upon the Israelites would
have blown them to the promised land before the time, or lifted
them over the sea without passing through it at all.
But it is said that the Psalmist comes to the aid of the objector,
saying: "The clouds poured out water." Psalm lxxvii:17. But it will
be observed that clouds, in the plural, poured out water, while it
was a cloud, in the singular, which covered the Israelites, and was
a cloud of fire and not of water. But the Psalmist is again quoted:
"The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God:
even Sinai itself was moved with the presence of God, the God of
Israel. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst
confirm thine inheritance." Psalm Ixviii:8, 9. Truly, this quotation
speaks of rain, but it was that which fell on the Israelites when at the
base of Sinai, and not when passing through the sea.
If we would have David's description of their delivery and how
they obtained water to drink, we have it briefly stated in the
following words: "He divided the sea, and caused them to pass
through: and he made the waters to stand as an heap: in the day-time
also, he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire:
he crave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of
the great depths; he brought streams also out of the rock, and caused
waters to run down like rivers." Ps. Lxxviii:13-16.


The Baptism Of Suffering
353
Thus we see that David confirms rather than conflicts with the
statement of Paul and Moses.
MOSES STUART says: "They went through the sea on dry
ground. Yet they were baptized in the cloud and in the sea. The
reason and ground of such an expression must be, so far as I can
discern, a surrounding of the Israelites on different sides by the
cloud and by the sea, although neither the cloud nor the sea
touched them. It is, therefore, a kind of figurative mode of
expression, derived from the idea that baptizing is surrounding with
a fluid. But whether this be by immersion, affusion, suffusion, or
washing, would not seem to be decided. The suggestion has
sometimes been made that the Israelites were sprinkled by the cloud
and by the sea, and this was the baptism which Paul meant to
designate. But the cloud on this occasion was not a cloud of rain;
nor do we find any intimation that the waters of the Red Sea
sprinkled the children of Israel at this time. So much is true, viz: that
they were not immersed. Yet, as the language must evidently be
figurative in some good degree, and not literal, I do not see how, on
the whole, we can make less of it than to suppose that it has a tacit
reference to the idea of surrounding in some way or other." Stuart
on Baptism, p. 113.
This is a candid admission from one writing confessedly in the
interest of sprinkling and pouring. Indeed, it is just the truth. No one
ever supposed that the Israelites were immersed or dipped, but they
were surrounded by the cloud and sea, suggestive of Paul's idea that
baptism is a burial.

BAPTISM OF SUFFERING

"But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye
able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with
the baptism that I am baptized


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with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye
shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that
I am baptized with." Matt. xx:22, 23.
"But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask; can ye
drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism
that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus
said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and
with the baptism that I am baptized with shall ye be baptized." Mark
x:38, 39.
"But I have a baptism to be baptized with: and how am I
straitened till it be accomplished!" Luke xii:50.
Upon these passages eminent critics have written as follows:
WITSIUS: "Immersion into water is to be considered as exhibiting
the dreadful abyss of divine justice, in which Christ for our
sins was for a time, as it were, absorbed; as in David, his type, he
complains (Ps. lxix:2), 'I am come into deep waters where the floods
overflow me.'" Bailey's Manual, p. 232.
DODDRIDGE'S FAMILY EXPOSITOR: "Are ye able to drink
the bitter cup of which I am about to drink so deep, and be baptized
with the baptism, and plunged into that sea of sufferings with which
I am shortly to be baptized, and, as it were, overwhelmed for a time?
I have indeed a most dreadful baptism to be baptized with; and I
know that I shall shortly be bathed, as it were, in blood, and
plunged in the most overwhelming distress."
HERVEY: "He was baptized with the baptism of his sufferings,
hashed in blood, and plunged in death." Bailey's Manual, p. 235.
SIR H. TRELAWNEY: "Here, I must acknowledge, our Baptist
brethren have the advantage; for our Redeemer's


The Baptism Of Suffering
355
sufferings must not be compared to a few drops of water sprinkled
on the face, for he was plunged into distress and environed with
sorrows." Ibid.
BLOOMFIELD'S GREEK TESTAMENT: "This metaphor of immersion
in water, as expressive of being overwhelmed by affliction, is
frequent, both in the Scriptures and in classical writers." Vol. 1, p. 97.
WESLEY'S NOTES, p. 123: "Our Lord was filled with
sufferings within, and covered with them without."
PROF. STUART: "I have a baptism to be baptized with -- that
is, I am about to be overwhelmed with sufferings, and I am greatly
distressed with the prospect of them."
"Can ye indeed take upon you to undergo, patiently and submissively,
sufferings like mine -- sufferings of an overwhelming and
dreadful nature?" Stuart on Baptism, p. 72.
The awful sufferings of Jesus may well be called a baptism, for
truly he was overwhelmed in them. Will the reader follow Him to
the garden of Gethsemane, and see Him, as it were, sweating great
drops of blood, and say that such agony was in anticipation of a
little sprinkle of suffering? Shall we enter the judgment hall of Pilate
and see him clothed with a mock robe and crown of thorns, and still
say this was a little sprinkle of insult and injury? Shall we stand
upon the summit of Calvary and see the rusty nails sent hissing
through His quivering flesh as He is made fast to the cross, and say
this is yet only a sprinkle of suffering? Shall we stand by the cross
on which he is suspended for three long hours, suffering all the
horrors of a malefactor's death, derided by enemies, forsaken by
friends, and for a time even forsaken by His God, and still say this
is all a mere sprinkle of sufferings? Is not such a thought
monstrously impious? Yet it is involved in the idea that sprinkling
or pouring is baptism.


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We will not dignify it by a further examination in connection with
the sufferings of our blessed Lord.

ARGUMENTS FOR SPRINKLING AND POURING CONSIDERED

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that
cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to
bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Matt.
iii:11. This was a prophetic declaration made by John the Baptist;
and before we proceed to look for its fulfillment it may be well for
us to remark that the preposition with, which occurs three times in
this passage, is from the Greek preposition en, the primary meaning
of which is in, and should be so rendered here, unless good reasons,
which we are not able to see, be shown for its removal. Thus
translated, the passage reads: "I indeed baptize you in water but
he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and in fire." On the day of
Pentecost this remarkable prediction was fulfilled as to the baptism
in the Holy Spirit, an account of which we have as follows: "And
when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one
accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven
as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they
were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as
of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with
the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit
gave them utterance." Acts ii:14. As we have elsewhere remarked,
there was here an absolute impact of the human spirit and the Holy
Spirit. They being filled with the Spirit, it follows that their spirits
were overwhelmed or immersed in the Holy Spirit.
But was this a baptism of the Holy Ghost? On a subsequent
occasion Peter said: "As I began to speak [at the


Sprinkling And Pouring Considered
357
house of Cornelius] the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the
beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he
said, John indeed baptized with [in] water; but ye shall be baptized
with [in] the Holy Ghost." Acts xi:15, 16. This shows that the
baptism in the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and
at the house of Cornelius.
But we are told that, as the Spirit was poured out on the day of
Pentecost, that the pouring was the baptism. If this is true, it was the
Spirit that was poured, and consequently it was the Spirit that was
baptized and not the people.
That this is a figurative use of the term baptidzo is very generally
admitted by the learned. In Dr. ROBINSON'S Greek Lexicon
of the New Testament, p. 126, he says: "Metaphorically, and in
direct allusion to the sacred act, baptize en pneumati hagio kai
puri -- to baptize in the Holy Ghost and in fire, to overwhelm, richly
furnish with all spiritual gifts, or overwhelm with fire unquenchable.
Matt. iii:11, etc."
CYRIL, Bishop of Jerusalem, A. D. 350, says: "As he who is
plunged in the water and baptized is encompassed by the water on
every side, so they that are baptized by the Holy Spirit are also
wholly covered over." Bailey's Manual, p. 222. Substantially the
same, Stuart on Bap., p. 148.
PROF. STUART on Baptism, p. 74, says: "The basis of this usage
is very plainly to be found in the designation by baptidzo of the idea
of overwhelming -- i.e., of surrounding on all sides with a fluid."
GURTLERUS: "Baptism in the Holy Spirit is immersion into the
pure waters of the Holy Spirit, or a rich and abundant communication
of his gifts. For he on whom the Holy Spirit is poured out is,
as it were, immersed unto him." Campbell and Rice Debate, p. 222.


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BISHOP REYNOLDS: "The Spirit, under the gospel, is compared
to water, and that not a little measure, to sprinkle or
bedew, but to BAPT1ZE the faithful in (Matt. iii:11; Acts i:5), and
that not in a font or vessel, which grows less and less, but in a spring
or living water." Ut supra.
IKENIUS: "The Greek word baptismos denotes the immersion
of a thing or person into something. Here, also (Matt. iii:11,
compared with Luke iii:16), the baptism of fire, or that which is
performed in fire, must signify, according to the same simplicity of
the letter, an immission or immersion into fire -- and this the rather,
because here, to baptize in the Spirit and in fire are not only
connected but also opposed to being baptized in water." Ibid.
LE CLERC: "He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit. As I
plunge you in water, he shall plunge you, so to speak, in the Holy
Spirit." Ibid.
CASAUBON: "To baptize is to immerse -- and in this sense the
apostles are truly said to be baptized; for the house in which this
was done was filled with the Holy Ghost, so that the apostles
seemed to be plunged into it as into a fish-pool." Ut supra.
GROTIUS: "To be baptized here is not to be slightly sprinkled, but
to have the Holy Spirit abundantly poured upon them." Ibid.
MR. LEIGH: "Baptized -- that is, drown you all over, dip you
into the ocean of his grace; opposite to the sprinkling which was in
the law." Ut supra.
ARCH'P TILLOTSON "It (the sound from heaven, Acts 2) filled
all the house. This is that which our Saviour calls baptizing with the
Holy Ghost. So that they who sat in the house were, as it were,
immersed in the Holy Ghost, as they who were buried with water
were overwhelmed and covered all over with water, which is the
proper notion of baptism." Ibid.


Baptism Of The Altar
359
BISHOP HOPKINS: "Those that are baptized with the Spirit are,
as it were, plunged into that heavenly flame whose searching energy
devours all their dross, tin, and base alloy." Ut supra.
MR. H. DODWELL: "The words of our Saviour were made good,
Ye shall be baptized (plunged or covered) with the Holy Spirit, as
John baptized with water without it." Ibid.
THEOPHYLACT, commenting on the baptism of the Holy
Spirit, says: "That is, he shall inundate you abundantly with the gifts
of the Spirit." Bailey's Manual, p. 223.
These authors all concur in the fact that the word baptidzo,
when applied to the Holy Spirit, indicates an overwhelming in
Spirit, drawn from the result reached by the primary meaning of the
word, hence the overwhelming was the baptism, and not the
outpouring. And if the spiritual or inner man was baptized in the
Holy Spirit, as they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, we may well
see why this was called a baptism or overwhelming of the human
spirit in the Holy Spirit.

BAPTISM OF THE ALTAR

"And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces,
and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and
pour it on the burnt-sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it
a second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it
the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran
round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water."
1 Kings xviii:33-35.
Origen, one of the most learned of the Greek fathers, was born
A.D. 185, and probably wrote about the middle of the third century.
He incidentally alludes to the baptism of the altar, wood, etc., by
Elijah; and as the water was poured on the altar, the opponents of
immersion insist


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that the pouring was what Origen called the baptism. If so, we again
insist that he made an improper use of the term baptidzo, his great
learning to the contrary notwithstanding; for, as the water was
poured and not the altar or wood, it follows that the water was
baptized upon the altar and the latter not baptized at all. Certainly,
it was the complete saturation or overwhelming of the altar to which
he alluded as a baptism, for he was, as before stated, one of the most
learned of the Greeks, and as such knew well that baptidzo never
meant to pour. What he understood baptism to be may be learned
from his own words, as follows: "They are rightly baptized who are
washed unto salvation. He that is baptized unto salvation receives
the water and the Holy Spirit; such baptism as is accompanied with
crucifying the flesh and rising again to newness of life is the
approved baptism." Orchard's Hist., Vol. 1, p. 35.
But if the pouring constituted the baptism to which Origen
referred, there must have been as many baptisms as there were
pourings, hence he could not have spoken of a baptism, for there
were twelve barrels of water used, and each one would have
constituted a pouring, therefore there must have been twelve
baptisms.
But we are told that there were no barrels in those days, and
that Elijah only used twelve leathern bottles of water, a quantity
wholly insufficient to have saturated or overwhelmed the altar. Such
persons should take heed lest they deprive the prophet of the benefit
of the trial between himself and the prophets of Baal, for the very
object he had in applying the water was to so completely inundate
the altar as to forbid the supposition or possibility of fire being
concealed beneath it.
We come next to an examination of the bathing of Judith in or
at the fountain in the valley of Bethulia. This


Apocryphal Baptisms
361
case, recorded in the apochryphal books of the Bible, is no part of
the inspired volume, and therefore has no just claim to our
consideration, but as the advocates of sprinkling always introduce
it, as drowning men catch at straws, we will therefore examine it.
"Then Holofernes commanded his guard that they should not
stay her: thus she abode in the camp three days, and went out in the
night into the valley of Bethulia, and washed herself in a fountain
of water by the camp." Judith xii:7. Some copies have at the fountain
in place of in the fountain. Hence it is insisted that she sprinkled a
little water upon herself as a mere ceremonial cleansing, but we
have quoted the above from Bagster's large family edition, which is
one of the most authentic copies known.
DR. CONANT says: "One of the oldest Greek manuscripts (No.
58), and the two oldest versions (the Syriac and Latin), read
immersed (baptized) herself in the fountain of water (omitting in the
camp). According to the common Greek text, this was done at the
fountain to which she went, because she had there the means of
immersing herself. Any other use of water for purification could
have been made in her tent." Baptizien, p. 85.
Surely, this is a rational conclusion. Why should she, like the
Philippian jailer, have left her tent after midnight and gone out into
the valley to sprinkle a few drops of water upon her person? The
fact that she did go at such an hour proves that she went in
obedience to the Jewish law that required her to bathe her whole
person.
We have another case in the apocryphal writings suggested in
the following words: "He that washeth himself after the touching of
a dead body, if he touch it again, what availeth his washing?"
Eccles. xxxiv:25.
We need not say to the Bible reader that any one who had
touched a dead body was regarded as unclean, and that the


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law required him to wash his clothes and bathe himself in water that
he might be clean at even. See Numbers xix:19. Let it not be said
that this bathing was a mere sprinkling, for they were required both
to sprinkle and bathe, and both are specifically named in the same
verse. Hence, all that is meant by baptizing from a dead body is that
they baptized from the ceremonial uncleanness contracted by
contact with a dead body. A similar form of expression is found in
Heb. x:22, where we are said to be sprinkled from an evil conscience
and the body washed in pure water.
We next come to examine the baptism of cups, pots, brazen
vessels, and tables, recorded Mark vii:4, as follows: "And when they
come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many
other things there be which they have received to hold, as the
washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables."
Although these washings had nothing to do with the baptism
commanded by the Lord, yet, as the word wash is the translation of
baptidzo, they are relied upon as expressive of its meaning. By
reference to the Jewish law it will be seen that the washings here
referred to were more than mere sprinkling. In Lev. vi:28, it is said:
"The brazen pot shall be scoured and rinsed in water" -- not a little
water simply sprinkled upon it, but scoured and rinsed in water. As
a brazen pot was one of the articles mentioned in Mark, it is fair to
conclude that the other articles were cleansed as it was.
But again, the law says: "Upon whatsoever any of them, when
they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel
of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be
wherein any work is done, it must be put into water; and it shall be
unclean until the even, so it shall be cleansed." Lev. xi:32. This
puts the whole


Baptism Of Beds, Vessels, Etc.
363
matter beyond the reach of cavil; they were to be put into water, and
any thing short of this would have been an insult to the Giver of the
law. Hence, the word baptidzo in Mark vii:4, should be rendered
dip or immerse, according to its primary import; and MacKnight, in
his Harmony of the Gospels, so renders it.
THOMAS SHELDON GREEN, of London, in an improved version
of the Greek Text, has this verse and a translation of it, by
himself, as follows: "And coming from the market-place, they do not
eat unless they dip themselves, and there are many other matters
which they have received to hold, dipping of cups, and jars, and
brazen vessels, and couches," etc.
On this verse BEZA remarks: "Christ commanded us to be
baptized; by which word it is certain immersion is signified;
baptizesthai in this place is more than niptein, because that seems
to respect the whole body, this only the hands."
"DR. H. A. W. MEYER, in his Manual on the Gospels of Mark
and Luke, says: 'The expression in Mark vii:4, is not to be
understood of the washing of the hands (as interpreted by Lightfoot
and Wetstein, but of the immersing which the word always means
in the classics and the New Testament; that is here, according to the
context, the taking of a bath. So Luke xi:38. Having come from the
market, where among a crowd of men, they might have come in
contact with unclean persons, they eat not without having first
bathed themselves. The representation proceeds after the manner of
a climax: before eating they always observe the washing of hands,
but (employ) the bath when they come from the market and wish
to take food.'" Louisville Debate, p. 563.
"VATABULUS, professor of Hebrew in Paris, says of Mark
vii:4: 'They washed themselves all over.' GROTIUS,


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the great German writer, says: 'They cleansed themselves
more carefully from defilement contracted at the market, to wit: not
only by washing hands, but by immersing their bodies.'" Braden and
Hughey Debate, p. 45.
The Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts give us beds or couches
in place of tables in the common version. Hence, it is insisted that
baptism must have been a sprinkling, as beds could not have been
immersed -- basing their argument, of course, upon the assumption
that beds then were such as are now used. They forget, however,
that Jesus commanded persons to take up their beds and walk. See
Matt. ix:6; Mark ii:9-11; John vi:11, 12.
CALMET says: "The word bed is in many cases calculated to
mislead the reader and perplex him. The beds in the East are very
different from those used in this part of the world. They are often
nothing more than a cloth or quilt folded double." Braden and
Hughey Debate, p. 46.
Though not always so, it is evident that the beds of those times
were often composed of a light fabric which could be conveniently
spread down or taken up, folded and carried along at pleasure.
MAIMONIDES, a Jewish rabbi, learned in the ceremonial law
and traditions of the elders, says: "Wherever, in the law, washing of
the flesh or clothes is mentioned, it means nothing else than dipping
the whole body in a laver; for if a man dips himself all over except
the tips of his little finger, he is still in his uncleanness. In a laver
which held forty sacks (one hundred gallons) of water, every defiled
man dips himself, except a profluvious man, and in it they dip all
unclean vessels. A bed that is wholly defiled, if he dip it part by
part, is pure. If he dip the bed in a pool, although its feet are
plunged in the thick clay of the bottom, it is clean." Ibid. p. 45.


Baptism Of Beds, Vessels, Etc.
365
Maimonides was one of the greatest lights in the Jewish church,
and lived about the twelfth century, when the baptismal controversy
was not so rife as now, and surely had no motive to misrepresent the
fact.
But we are told that some versions have sprinkle in place of
wash, in Mark vii:4. This is true, but we deny that it is a translation
of baptidzo, here or elsewhere.
SCELEUSNER says that some manuscripts have rantizonti in
place of baptizonti, in Mark vii:4; hence any translator having such
a manuscript before him must necessarily have sprinkle in his
version. Although we thus account for the appearance of sprinkle in
some versions, we have no idea that rantizonti is the correct word
for the text, because we have seen that the washings referred to were
immersions.
One other text, we believe, exhausts the proof of those who
practice sprinkling for baptism, and, like the one just considered, it
has no allusion to baptism whatever. It is found in Luke xi:38, as
follows:
"And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first
washed before dinner," etc.
GREEN, of London, translates this verse thus: "And as he
spake, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, and he went in and
lay down. But the Pharisee wondered that he had not dipped before
dinner." Twofold New Testament, p. 131.
We have already seen that this rendering is in harmony with the
Jewish law. When any one went out where he was liable to come in
contact with such things as would render him unclean, he must
bathe his flesh in water as though he were really unclean. Hence,
this can not be taken as evidence sufficient to justify the conclusion
that the washing referred to was not an immersion.
We have abundantly shown that baptidzo means to immerse


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or dip; hence, wherever it occurs we are bound to presume
that the act indicated was dipping or immersing as long as there
remains a possibility that this was the act performed. A mere
possibility that it may have been done otherwise is
not sufficient to overturn the settled meaning of the word.

HISTORY OF BAPTISM

We have now passed over and examined every scripture relied
upon to prove sprinkling or pouring as baptism, and have not found
a single passage where the word baptidzo occurs in the New
Testament, where it may not justly be translated dip or immerse.
And it is not a little remarkable that more importance is attached to
the word in places where it has NO reference to baptism, as
commanded by the Lord, than in those places where He used it to
express the act He required of His followers, or in places where any
inspired apostle employed it with reference to the act enjoined by
Him. Mark vii:4, and Luke xi:38, are regarded by them as of more
importance than even the commission itself; and yet these passages
have no reference to Christian baptism. No scholar has ever been
found willing to hazard his reputation by pointing out a single place
in the New Testament where the word baptidzo refers to the rite in
question, and saying that it means sprinkle or pour and should be so
rendered in that place, or who has ever been able to point to a single
clear example of sprinkling or pouring for baptism.
We now pass to the history of baptism, and we will begin with
the writings of those who lived contemporaneously with the
apostles, and see if we can learn how the primitive Christians
obeyed the command of the Lord in baptism.
HERMAS lived in the days of the apostles and wrote before
John wrote his gospel. See Wall's History of Infant


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Baptism, Vol. 1, pp. 52-56. He says: "For before any one receives
the name of the Son of God he is liable to death, but when he
receives that seal he is delivered from death and is assigned to life.
Now, that seal is water, into which persons go down liable to death,
but come out of it assigned to life." Ut supra, p. 51. Here, we see,
they went down into and came up out of the water.
BARNABAS was the companion of Paul. He says: "For these
words imply, Blessed are they who, placing their trust in the Cross,
have gone down into the water. This meaneth that we,
indeed, descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come
up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear of God and trust in
Jesus in our spirit." Apostolic Fathers, p. 121.
JUSTIN MARTYR was a Christian, and was put to death for his
faith in Jesus Christ. He was born A.D. 114, and wrote about A.D.
150. He says: "Then we bring them to some place where there is
water, and they are regenerated by the same way of regeneration by
which we were regenerated: for they are washed with water in the
name of God, the Father and Lord of all things, and of our Saviour
Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ says: Unless ye be
regenerated, ye can not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Wall's
Hist. Inf. Bap., p. 68.
Why should they have been taken to a place where there was
water, to be "regenerated" (or, more properly, born again) ? There
is nothing in sprinkling or pouring resembling a birth or which could
have created a necessity for going to a place where there was water
in order to be born again.
MOSHEIM, in speaking of the first century, says: "The sacrament
of baptism was administered in this century without the public
assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for that purpose, and
was performed by an immersion


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of the whole body in the baptismal font." Maclaine's Mosheim's
Church Hist., Vol. 1, p. 49.
Of the second century he says: "The persons that were to be
baptized, after they had repeated the creed, confessed and
renounced their sins, and particularly the devil and his pompous
allurements, were immersed under water, and received into Christ's
kingdom by a solemn invocation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
according to the express command of our blessed Lord." Ibid., p.
69. This not only shows that the parties were immersed under water,
but that it was done according to the express command of our
blessed Lord."
Of the fourth century the same author says: "Baptismal fonts
were now erected in the porch of each church, for the more
commodious administration of that initiating sacrament." Ibid., p.
121. We are not here told expressly how baptism was administered
in the fourth century, but surely it would have been unnecessary to
erect fonts in connection with churches in order to practice
sprinkling or pouring.
Mosheim is one of the most reliable ecclesiastical historians we
have, and practiced sprinkling and pouring himself. It is not to be
presumed, therefore, that he would misrepresent the facts of history
in favor of immersion.
NEANDER, another church historian, says: "In respect to the
form of baptism, it was in conformity with the original institution
and the original import of the symbol, performed by immersion, as
a sign of entire baptism into the Holy Spirit, of being entirely
penetrated by the same. It was only the sick, where the exigency
required it, that any exception was made, and in this case baptism
was administered by sprinkling. Many superstitious persons, clinging
to the outward form, imagined that such baptism by sprinkling was
not fully valid, and hence they distinguished


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369
those who had been so baptized by denominating them the clinici.''
Neander's Church History, by Torry, Vol. 1, p. 310. Neander is a
voluminous and reliable author, and as the church of which he was
a member practiced sprinkling, it is reasonable to suppose that he
did also, and most likely gave unwilling testimony to the facts of
history against his own practice.
DR. WALL, the pedobaptist historian, says: 'Their general and
ordinary way was to baptize by immersion, or dipping the person,
whether it were an infant or grown man or woman, into the water.
This is so plain and clear by an infinite number of passages, that, as
one can not but pity the weak endeavors of such pedobaptists as
would maintain the negative of it, so also we ought to disown and
show a dislike of the profane scoffs which some people give to the
English anti-pedobaptists merely for their use of dipping. It is one
thing to maintain that that circumstance is not absolutely necessary
to the essence of baptism, and another to go about to represent it as
ridiculous and foolish, or as shameful and indecent, when it was, in
all probability, the way by which our blessed Saviour, and for
certain was the most usual and ordinary way by which the ancient
Christians did receive their baptism. I shall not stay to produce the
particular proofs of this. Many of the quotations which I brought for
other purposes, and shall bring, do evince it. It is a great want of
prudence as well as of honesty to refuse to grant to an adversary
what is certainly true and may be proved so. It creates a jealousy of
all the rest that one says.
"Before the Christian religion was so far encouraged as to have
churches built for its service, they baptized in any river, pond, etc.
So Tertullian says: 'It is all one whether one be washed in the sea or
in a pond, in a fountain or in a river, in standing or in running water;
nor is there


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any difference between those that John baptized in Jordan and those
that Peter baptized in the river Tiber.' But when they came to have
churches, one part of the church, or place nigh the church, called
the baptistery, was employed to this use, and had a cistern, font, or
pond large enough for several at once to go into the water; divided
into two parts by a partition, one for the men and the other for the
women, for the ordinary baptisms." Wall's Hist. Inf. Bap., Vol. ii,
pp. 384, 385.
As Wall here refers to examples previously given as evidence of
the correctness of his conclusions, it may not be amiss to give the
reader the benefit of a few of them recorded in the first volume of
his work.
On the language of Justin Martyr, which we have already
quoted, he marks as follows: "I bring it because it is the most ancient
account of the way of baptizing, next the Scripture, and shows the
plain and simple manner of administering it. The Christians of these
times had lived, many of them at least in the apostles' days." Vol. 1,
p. 69.
CLEMENT, of Alexandria, says: "If any one be by trade a fisherman,
he will do well to think of an apostle and the children taken
out of the water." Again, the same author says: "If there be engraved
in a seal ring the picture of a fisherman [or rather, as Clement's own
words are, if a fisherman will have an engraving on his seal], let
him think of St. Peter, whom Christ made a fisher of men; and of the
children, which, when baptized, are drawn out of a laver of water as
out of a fish-pool." Ibid., p. 86. These quotations from Clement
show that after the introduction of infant baptism, even they were
immersed, being drawn out of a laver of water as out of a fish-pool.
There was rather a novel question mooted before the Council of
Neocaesarea, in the year 314 A.D., with regard to which Dr. Wall
remarks as follows: "So much is plain,


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371
that some about that time and place had put this question: Whether
a woman with child, that had a mind to become a Christian and be
baptized, might conveniently receive baptism during her going with
child, or must stay till she was delivered? And it is agreed likewise
that the reason of the doubt was, because when she was immersed
into the water, the child in her womb did seem to some to be
baptized with her, and consequently they were apt to argue that that
child must not be baptized, or would not need to be baptized,
afterward for itself. This any one will conclude from the words of
the council, which are these." (Here follow the words of the council.)
Ibid, Vol. 1, p. 151. It strikes us that such a question would never
have arisen with reference to the offspring of a mother who had had
only a few drops of water sprinkled upon her head. Other examples
might be cited, but these are sufficient to justify Wall in the
conclusion to which he came.
PROF. STUART says: "Tertullian, who died in A.D. 220, is the
most ample witness of all the early writers. In his works is an essay
in defense of Christian baptism, which had been assailed by some of
the heretics of his time. Passing by the multitude of expressions
which speak of the importance of being cleansed by water, being
born in the water, etc., I quote only such as are directly to the
point." He then proceeds to quote Tertullian as follows: "In aquam
de missus, let down into the water -- i.e., immersed -- and inter
pauca verba tinctus -- i.e., dipped between the utterance of a few
words. There is, then, no difference whether any one is
washed in a pool, river, fountain, lake, or channel, alveus (canal),
nor is there any difference of consequence between those whom
John immersed (tinxit) in the Jordan or Peter in the Tiber. Not
that we obtain the Holy Spirit in aquis [i.e., in the baptismal water],
but being cleansed in the water we are prepared for


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the Holy Spirit. Afterwards, going out from the ablution or
bath, we are anointed. Thence we are thrice immersed (ter
mergitamur), answering, i.e., fulfilling somewhat more than the
Lord has decreed in the gospel." On these quotations from
Tertullian Prof. Stuart remarks: "I do not see how any doubt can
well remain, that in Tertullian's time the practice of the African
church, to say the least, as to the mode of baptism, must have been
that of trine immersion." Stuart on Bap., pp. 144-46.
"But enough. 'It is,' says Augusti, 'a thing made out,' viz., the
ancient practice of immersion. So, indeed, all the writers who had
thoroughly investigated this subject conclude. I know of no one
usage of ancient times which seems to be more clearly made out. I
can not see how it is possible for any candid man who examines the
subject to deny this." Ibid, p. 149. On page 152, Prof. Stuart quotes
Augusti further: "Thirteen hundred years was baptism generally and
ordinarily performed by the immersion of a man under water, and
only in extraordinary cases was sprinkling or effusion permitted.
These latter methods of baptism were called in question and even
prohibited."
After quoting Chrysostom, Ambrose, Cyril, and Brenner to
show that in their times persons were baptized in a nude state, Prof.
Stuart says: "Still, say what we may concerning it in a moral point
of view, the argument to be deduced from it in respect to immersion
is not at all diminished. Nay, it is strengthened. For if such a
violation of decency was submitted to in order that baptism might
be performed as the church thought it should be, it argues that
baptizing by immersion was considered as a rite not to be dispensed
with." Ibid, p. 151.
After quite an array of testimony concerning the ancient
practice, Prof. Stuart gives his conclusions in the following


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words: "We have collected facts enough to authorize us now to
come to the following general conclusion, respecting the practice of
the Christian church in general, with regard to the mode of baptism,
viz: that from the earliest ages of which we have any account,
subsequent to the apostolic age, and downward for several
centuries, the churches did generally practice baptism by immersion,
perhaps by immersion of the whole person; and that the only
exceptions to this mode which were usually allowed were in cases
of urgent sickness or other cases of immediate and imminent danger,
where immersion could not be practiced. It may also be mentioned
here, that aspersion and affusion, which had in particular cases
been now and then practiced in primitive times, were gradually
introduced. These became at length, as we shall see hereafter, quite
common, and in the western church almost universal, sometime
before the Reformation.
"In what manner, then, did the churches of Christ, from a very
early period, to say the least, understand the word baptidzo in the
New Testament? Plainly, they construed it as meaning immersion.
They sometimes even went so far as to forbid any other method of
administering the ordinance, cases of necessity and mercy only
excepted. If, then, we are left in doubt after a philological
investigation of baptidzo, how much it necessarily implies; if the
circumstances which are related as accompanying this rite, so far as
the New Testament has given them, leave us still in doubt; if we can
not trace with any certainty the Jewish proselyte baptism to a period
as early as the baptism of John and Jesus, so as to draw any
inferences with probability from this, still we are left in no doubt as
to the more generally received usage of the Christian church down
to a period several centuries after the apostolic age. That the Greek
fathers, and the Latin ones who were


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familiar with the Greek, understood the usual import of the word
baptidzo, would hardly seem to be capable of a denial. That they
might be confirmed in their view of the import of this word by
common usage among the Greek classic authors, we have seen in the
first part of this dissertation. For myself, then, I cheerfully admit that
baptidzo in the New Testament, when applied to the rite of baptism,
does in all probability involve the idea that this rite was usually
performed by immersion, but not always." Ibid, p. 153, 154.
Is it not strange that such a termination should follow such
testimony and admissions? After telling us that bapto and baptidzo
mean to dip, plunge, or immerge into any thing liquid, and that all
lexicographers of any note are agreed in this -- that the churches of
Christ, from a very early period, to say the least, understood the
word baptidzo to mean immersion in the New Testament -- that it
could not be denied that those who so used it understood its
import -- that aspersion and effusion were gradually
introduced -- that he cheerfully admitted that baptidzo in the New
Testament, when applied to the rite of baptism, in all probability
involved the idea of immersion, he then closes with "not always."
And he repeats, with emphasis, "I say usually and not always." And
what are the examples to which he refers as exceptions? The reader
shall have the benefit of them. He says: "To say more than this, the
tenor of some of the narrations, particularly in Acts x:47, 48; xvi:32,
33, and ii:41, seem to me to forbid. I can not read these examples
without the distinct conviction that immersion was not practiced on
these occasions." p. 154.
Now, we confess ourself wholly unable to see any thing in these
examples calculated to overturn the settled meaning of the word
used to indicate the act required, and the construction placed upon
it in the New Testament by the


History Of Baptism
375
primitive Christians acknowledged competent to understand it, and
the practice of the church from an early period in harmony with
these authorities. May we briefly examine the exceptional cases to
which he refers us? Acts x:47, 48, reads as follows: "Can any man
forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received
the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be
baptized in the name of the Lord." On this passage Prof. Stuart says:
"Observe that the idea in this case seems almost of necessity to be:
Can any one forbid that water should be brought in, and these
persons baptized? He does not say: 'Can any one forbid the bath, or
the river -- i.e., the use of these, by which these persons should be
baptized; but the intimation seems to be that they were to be
baptized on the spot, and that water was to be brought in for that
purpose." Stuart on Bap., p. 110.
Now, is it not strange that persons can see what is not said on
one side and be blind as to what is not said on the other? He says:
"He does not say: Can any one forbid the bath or the river?" No; nor
does he say: Can any man forbid that water should be brought in,
and yet he can easily infer it. Candor compels him to admit "that
another meaning is not necessarily excluded which would accord
with the practice of immersion." In view of the admissions of Prof.
Stuart, as long as there remains a possibility that the command was
obeyed as commanded, we have no right to infer that something else
was done not indicated by the command.
The second example to which he refers, in Acts xvi:34, we have
already examined, and we have seen that, according to rules of
interpretation given by Prof. Stuart himself, we are bound to
presume that the jailer was immersed. We refer the reader to the
argument there presented without repeating it here. His third
example claims a brief


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notice at our hands. The passage reads: "They that gladly received
his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto
them about three thousand souls." Acts ii:41. On this passage Prof.
Stuart asks: "Where and how were they baptized? Was it in the
brooks or streams near Jerusalem? I can not find this to be probable.
The feast of Pentecost, being fifty days after the Passover (Lev.
xxv:15), must fall in the latter part of the month of May, and after
the Jewish harvest. In Palestine this is usually a time of drought, or
at least of great scarcity of rain." Ibid., p. 108. How easy it is to
imagine a thing just as we would have it to be! Prof. Stuart was
anxious to find some testimony favoring baptism by aspersion or
affusion, and hence he imagines that the Jewish harvest was at a
time of great scarcity of water in Jerusalem, and therefore those
baptized could not have been immersed. Joshua says: "Jordan
overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest." Josh. iii:15.
Jordan was one of the chief rivers of that country, and is only
eighteen miles from the city of Jerusalem by the ordinary road of
travel. At a time when Jordan was overflowing his banks we can not
easily imagine a great drought in Palestine. Josephus informs us that
no less than two million seven hundred thousand two hundred
persons assembled in Jerusalem to eat the feast of the annual
passover. (Wars of the Jews, book vi, ch. 9.) Now, it occurs to us
that a city which had water facilities for the accommodation of such
a number of persons could furnish water enough to baptize them all
in if necessary. "There were in Jerusalem the following pools:
Bethesda, twenty-two rods long and


History Of Baptism
377
eight rods wide; Solomon's pool, fifteen rods long and six rods wide;
the pool of Siloam, fifty-three feet long and eighteen feet wide, with
a smaller pool; Old pool, twenty rods long and thirteen rods wide;
pool of Hezekiah, fifteen rods long and nine rods wide; lower pool
of Gihon, thirty-six rods long and sixteen rods wide, now, in the
days of the apostles it covered over four acres." Braden and Hughey
Debate, p. 129. Here were acres upon acres of water, besides
numerous other sources of water of which we have no names, and
yet not water enough in which to immerse three thousand!! But
Prof. Stuart admits that they might have been immersed even in
baths or washing places. He says: "I do not say that this was
impossible for every one acquainted with the Jewish rites must know
that they made much use of ablutions, and therefore they would
provide many conveniences for them." Stuart on Bap., p. 109.
But we are told that the water was controlled by the enemies of
the disciples, and hence they would have objected to their using it
for such purpose. But Luke says they had "favor with all the
people." Acts ii:47. Why should a people with whom God had given
them favor forbid the use of the public watering-places for the
immersion of those converted by their preaching?
After making an argument based upon the supposition that there
was not time enough for the apostles to have baptized so many,
Prof. Stuart says: "However, I concede that there are some points
here which are left undetermined, and which may serve to aid those
who differ from me in replying to these remarks. It is true that we do
not know that baptism was performed by the apostles only nor that
all the three thousand were baptized before the going down of the
sun. The work may have extended into the evening, and so, many
being engaged in it, and more time being given, there was a
possibility that the work in question should be performed although
immersion was practiced." Stuart on Bap., pp. 109, 110. Here he so
completely meets his own argument that we feel disposed to dismiss
it just where he left it -- only asking the


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candid reader whether or not these three examples to which Prof.
Stuart refers us are sufficient to overturn the evidence furnished by
himself in favor of immersion? How are we to know what the Lord
requires of us in any matter only as we learn it from the words
employed by Him to express His will? We have seen a rule for the
use of words given by Prof. Stuart himself, which says: "To every
word in Scripture there is unquestionably assigned some idea or
notion, otherwise words are useless and have no more signification
than the inarticulate sounds of animals." Ernesti, p. 7. This being so,
when the Lord used the word baptdzo there was unquestionably
assigned to it some idea or notion -- what was it? Prof. Stuart says:
"Bapto and baptidzo mean to dip, plunge, or immerge into any
thing liquid. All lexicographers and critics of any note are agreed in
this." Stuart on Baptism, p. 51.
He gives us numerous examples from the classics, showing that
this statement is true as far as they are authority. Then he quotes
largely from the primitive fathers, showing that they so understood
the word baptidzo in the New Testament, and admits that they did
understand its import. Finally, he shows by undoubted historical
testimony that the church practiced immersion only as baptism, from
its organization on, for many centuries; then seeks to overturn it all
by referring us to three cases in the New Testament which seem to
teach otherwise; and yet, when he comes to examine them, his
candor compels him to admit that they are not conclusive, and that
even these may have been immersed. It is but just to Prof. Stuart to
say that there is no higher authority in all the ranks of orthodoxy
than he; yet with all his learning he was compelled to bring to the
support of sprinkling and pouring mere possibilities, which he seeks
to make probabilities


History Of Sprinkling
379
by ridiculous quibbles unworthy of notice but for the fact
that they emanate from a man whose fame, though starting at
Andover, is not confined to America.

HISTORY OF SPRINKLING

Having seen that primitive Christians practiced immersion only
as baptism, we come now to inquire for the origin of sprinkling and
pouring. The first case known to us is that of Novatian, in the year
251 A.D., an allusion to which we have, given by Wall, as follows:
"Novatian was by one party of the clergy and people of Rome
chosen bishop of that church, in a schismatical way, and in
opposition to Cornelius, who had been chosen by the major part
and was already ordained. Cornelius does, in a letter to Fabius,
bishop of Antioch, vindicate his right, and shows that Novatian
came not canonically to his orders of priesthood; much less was he
capable of being chosen bishop; for that all the clergy and a great
many of the laity were against his being ordained presbyter, because
it was not lawful (they said) for any one that had been baptized in
his bed in time of sickness, as he had been, to be admitted to any
office of the clergy." Wall, Inf. Bap., Vol. ii, pp. 385, 388.
Mosheim, in his Historical Commentaries, p. 62, Vol. 1, gives
us the history of the baptism of Novatian. He says: "He was seized
with a threatening disease and was baptized in his bed, when
apparently about to die." He recovered from his sickness and was
subsequently made a presbyter in the church by Bishop Fabian,
contrary to the whole body of priests and of a large part of the
church. The author says: "It was altogether irregular and contrary to
ecclesiastical rules, to admit a man to the priestly office who had
been baptized in bed -- that is, who had been merely sprinkled, and
had not been wholly immersed


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in water, in the ancient method. For by many, and especially the
Roman Christians, the baptism of clinici (so they called those who,
lest they should die out of the church, were baptized on a sick bed)
was accounted less perfect, and indeed less valid, and not sufficient
for the attainment of salvation." Louisville Debate, pp. 439, 440.
The reader will please observe that the objection made to the
ordination of Novatian was that he had been merely sprinkled (in
the language of the author), and not wholly immersed in water, in
the ancient method, thus showing clearly that immersion was the
ancient method. From this time sprinkling and pouring as baptism
seem to have been practiced, but only upon persons dangerously ill.
Much discussion of its validity ensued, until about eighty years
afterward the question was laid before the Neocaesarean Council,
the twelfth canon of which is: "He that is baptized when he is sick
ought not to be made a priest (for his coming to the faith is not
voluntary, but from necessity), unless his diligence and faith do
afterward prove commendable, or the scarcity of men fit for the
office requires it." Wall's Hist., Vol. u, pp. 383, 387.
On the validity of this baptism Bishop Cyprian remarks:
"The breast of the believer is washed, the soul of the man is
cleansed by the merits of faith. In the sacraments of salvation, where
necessity compels and God gives his permission, the divine thing,
though outwardly abridged, bestows all that implies on the faithful."
Neander's Church History, Vol. i, p. 310.
Observe here, that while Cyprian held that clinic baptism secured
the blessings implied in the rite, he acknowledges it to be an
outward abridgment of the divine thing. Who has a right to abridge
divine things?
"The first general law for sprinkling was obtained in the
following manner: Pope Stephen II, being driven from Rome


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by Adolphus, king of the Lombards, in 753, fled to Pepin, who a
short time before had usurped the crown of France. Whilst he
remained there, the monks of Cressy, in Brittany, consulted him
whether, in case of necessity, baptism poured on the head of the
infant would be lawful. Stephen replied that it would. But though
the truth of this fact be allowed -- which, however, some Catholics
deny -- yet pouring or sprinkling was admitted only in cases of
necessity. It was not till the year 1311 that the legislature, in a
council held in Ravenna, declared immersion or sprinkling to be
indifferent. In Scotland, however, sprinkling was never practiced in
ordinary cases, till after the Reformation (about the middle of the
sixteenth century). From Scotland it made its way into England, in
the reign of Elizabeth, but was not authorized in the Established
Church." Edinburgh Encyclopedia, article Baptism.
It has been insisted that sprinkling or pouring was first practiced
in cold countries, but Dr. Wall says: "By history it appears that the
cold climate held the custom of dipping as long as any; for England,
which is one of the coldest, was one of the latest that admitted this
alteration of the ordinary way. Vasquez having said that it was the
old custom both in the East and the West to baptize both grown
persons and infants that were in health by immersion, and that it
plainly appears by the words of St. Gregory that the custom
continued so to be in his time. ... I will here endeavor to trace the
times when it begun to be left off in the several countries in the
West, meaning still, in the case of infants that were in health, and in
the public baptism; for in the case of sickly or weak infants, there
was always, in all countries, an allowance of effusion or sprinkling,
to be given in haste, and in the house, or any other place.


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"France seems to have been the first country in the world where
baptism by effusion was used ordinarily to persons in health, and in
the public way of administering it. ...
"It came more and more into request in that country till, in
Bonaventure's time, it was become, as appears by his words last
quoted, as very ordinary practice; and though he says some other
churches did then so use it, yet he names none but France.
"The synod of Angiers, 1275, speaks of dipping or pouring as
indifferently used, and blames some ignorant priests for that they dip
or pour the water but once, and instructs them that the general
custom of the church is to dip thrice or pour on water three times.
... From France it spread (but not till a good while after) into
Italy, Germany, Spain, etc., and, last of all, into England. ... In
England there seem to have been some priests so early as the year
816 that attempted to bring in the use of baptism by effusion in the
public administration, for Spellman recites a canon of a council in
that year: 'Let the priests know that when they administer holy
baptism they must not pour the water on the head of the infants, but
they must always be dipped in the font.'" Wall's Hist., Vol. ii, pp.
392-396.
On page 397, Dr. Wall quotes Wickliffe thus: "And the church
has ordained that in case of necessity any person that is fidel [or
that is himself baptized] may give baptism, etc. Nor is it material
whether they be dipped," etc.
By this quotation from Wickliffe it will be seen that the church
ordained the departure from the ancient custom by making it
immaterial whether the subject was dipped, etc.
On page 398, Dr. Wall says: "From the time of King Edward,
Mr. Walker (who has taken the most pains in tracing this matter)
derives the beginning of the alteration


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of the general custom. He says that 'dipping was at this time the
more usual, but sprinkling was sometimes used, which, within the
time of half a century [meaning from 1550 to 1600], prevailed to be
the more general (as it is now almost the only) way of baptizing.'"
We call the reader's special attention to the beginning of the
alteration of the general custom. We might quote numerous other
extracts from Dr. Wall, showing that the primitive practice was
dipping or immersion, and that the church through her councils,
popes, and bishops has assumed the right to change it, but the
amount of testimony we wish to present from other sources forbids
further quotations from him.
DR. KENDRICK, Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Baltimore,
says: "When religion had consummated her triumphs over
paganism in the various countries of Europe, the custom of
Christians baptizing children being universal, ages passed away
almost without an instance of the baptism of adults. Hence the
necessity of receding from the mode of immersion became still more
frequent, since the tender infant oftentimes could not be immersed
without peril to its life. These cases thus multiplying, the more
solemn method fell gradually into disuse, until it was in most places
entirely superseded.
"Another cause contributed to favor effusion: A class of females
formerly existed in the church, under the name of deaconesses, who,
among other exercises of piety, instructed and prepared for baptism
the catechumens of their sex, and performed some of the ceremonies
preparatory to its administration. This class of females having
ceased, from a variety of causes, it became expedient to abstain from
the immersion of females." Kendrick on Baptism, pp. 172, 173.
And on page 174 he says:


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"The change of discipline which has taken place in regard to
baptism should not surprise us; for, although the church is but the
dispenser of the sacraments which her divine spouse instituted, she
rightfully exercises a discretionary power as to the manner of their
administration. She can not change their substance."
Again, on same page: "The church wisely sanctioned that which,
although less solemn, is equally effectual. The power of binding and
loosing which she received from Christ warrants this exercise of
governing wisdom, that, the difference of times and places being
considered, condensation may be used with regard to the mode of
administering the sacraments without danger to their integrity."
DR. JOHNSON said: "As to giving the bread to the laity, they
may think that, in what is merely ritual, deviations from the primitive
mode may be admitted on the ground of convenience; and I think
they are as well warranted to make this alteration as we are to
substitute SPRINKLING in the room of ANCIENT BAPTISM.
Campbell, Debate with Rice, p. 173.
MR. BONNER says: "Baptism by immersion was undoubtedly
the apostolic practice, and was never dispensed with by the church,
except in cases of sickness, or when a sufficient quantity of water
could not be had. In both these cases baptism by aspersion or
sprinkling was allowed, but in no other." Booth on Baptism, p. 176.
CHAMIERUS: "Immersion of the whole body was used from
the beginning, which expresses the force of the word BAPTIZO:
whence John baptized in the river. It was afterward changed into
sprinkling, though it is uncertain when or by whom it commenced."
Ibid, p. 192.
BISHOP STILLINGFLEET'S Rites and Customs of the English
Church: "Rites and customs apostolical are altered; therefore men
do not think that apostolical practice


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doth bind, for if it did, there could be no alteration of things
agreeable thereunto. Now, let any one consider but these few
particulars, and judge how far the pleaders for a divine right of
apostolical practice do look upon themselves as bound now to
observe them." Ut supra.
DEYLINGIUS: "It is manifest, that while the apostles lived the
ordinance of baptism was administered, not out of a vessel or a
baptistery, which are the marks of later times, but out of rivers and
pools, and that not by sprinkling but by immersion. ... So long as
the apostles lived, as many believe, immersion only was used, to
which afterward, perhaps, they added a kind of pouring." Ibid, p.
194.
HEIDEGGERUS: "Plunging or immersion was most commonly
used by John the Baptist and by the apostles. ... It is of no
importance whether baptism be performed by immersion into water,
as of old, in the warm Eastern countries, and even at this day, or by
sprinkling, which was afterward introduced in colder climates." Ut
supra.
EDWARD LEIGH: "The ceremony used in baptism is either dipping
or sprinkling; dipping is the more ancient. At first they went
down into the rivers; afterward they were dipped in fonts. ...
Zanchius and Mr. Perkins prefer (in persons of age, and in hot
countries, where it may be safe) the ceremony of immersion under
water, as holding more analogy to that of Paul (Rom. vi:4)." Ut
supra.
HORNBEKIUS: "In the Eastern churches baptism was more
anciently administered by immersing the whole body in water.
Afterward, first in the Western churches, on account of the coldness
of the countries, bathing being less in use than in the East, and the
tender age of those that were baptized, dipping or sprinkling was
admitted." Booth, Abridged, pp. 100, 101.
GROTIUS: "The custom of pouring or sprinkling seems to have
prevailed in favor of those that were dangerously


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ill, and were desirous of giving up themselves to Christ -- whom
others call clinics. See the Epistle of Cyprian to Magnus." Ibid., p.
101.
E. SPANHEMIUS: "In these northern and colder countries, out
of regard to the tender age of infants, we use aspersion in the place
of immersion, which, of old, was usually practiced, either in open
rivers or in private baptisteries and vessels filled with water." Ut
supra.
BISHOP BURNET: "The danger of dipping, in cold climates,
may be a very good reason for changing the form of baptism to
sprinkling." Ut supra.
DR. TOWERSON: "The first mention we find of aspersion in
the baptism of the elder sort was in the case of the clinici, or men
who received baptism upon their sick beds; and that baptism is
represented by St. Cyprian as legitimate, upon the account of
necessity that compelled it, and the presumption there was of God's
gracious acceptation thereof because of it. By which means the
lawfulness of any other baptism than by immersion will be found to
be in the necessity there may sometimes be of another manner of
administering it." Ibid., pp. 101, 102.
SIR JOHN FLOYER: "The Church of Rome hath drawn short
compendiums of both sacraments. In the eucharist they use only the
wafer, and instead of immersion they introduced aspersion." Ibid, p.
102.
SCHLEUSNER, in defining baptisma, says: "Properly, immersion,
dipping into water, a washing; hence, it is transferred to the
sacred rite which, par excellence, is called baptism, in which
formerly those to be baptized were plunged into water." New
Testament Lexicon.
STOKIUS, in defining baptisma, says: "Specifically, properly
it denotes the immersion or dipping of a thing into water that it may
be cleansed or washed; hence it is transferred to designating the first
sacrament of the New


History Of Sprinkling
387
Testament, which they call the sacrament of initiation -- namely,
baptism, in which those to be baptized were formerly immersed into
water, though at this day the water is only sprinkled upon them."
New Testament Lexicon. Formerly they were immersed, now they
have water only sprinkled on them. How came the change?
DR. R. WITHAM: "The word baptism signifies a washing, particularly
when it is done by immersion, or by dipping, or plunging
a thing under water, which was formerly the ordinary way of
administering the sacrament of baptism. But the church, which can
not change the least article of the Christian faith, is not so tied up in
matters of discipline and ceremonies. Not only the Catholic Church,
but also the pretended reformed churches, have altered this
primitive custom in giving the sacrament of baptism, and now
allow of baptism by pouring or sprinkling water on the person
baptized." Booth, Abridged, pp. 102,103.
MOSES STUART: "It will be seen from all this, that Christians
began somewhat early to deflect from the ancient practice of
immersion." Stuart on Chr. Bap., p. 175.
In debate with J. S. Sweeney, Dr. J. B. Logan, an eminent
Cumberland Presbyterian debater, said: "The church claimed the
right to change the mode but not the ordinance itself, and in that I
agree with the church and can cheerfully admit it." Sweeney and
Logan Debate, p. 72.
We have already quoted from Prof. Stuart "that aspersion and
effusion, which had now and then been practiced in particular cases
in primitive times, were gradually introduced." The fact that they
were gradually introduced shows that they came not from the Lord.
He says that these became at length quite common in the Western
church, but "the mode of baptism by immersion the Oriental church
has always continued to preserve, even down to the present time."
Stuart on Bap., p. 151.


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DEYLINGIUS says: "The Greeks retain the rite of immersion to
this day, as JEREMIAH, the Patriarch of Constantinople, declares."
Booth on Baptism, Abridged, p. 93.
BUDDEUS: "That the Greeks defend immersion is manifest, and
has been frequently observed by learned men, which LUDOLPHUS
informs us is the practice of the Ethiopians." Ut supra.
VENEMA: "In pronouncing the baptismal form of words, the
Greeks used the third person saying, 'Let the servant of Christ be
baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit,' and immerse the whole man in water." Ut supra.
Other authorities might be given, but these are deemed sufficient
to show that, while the Western or Roman Catholic Church
gradually introduced the practice of aspersion and effusion until
they became common by the time of the Reformation, the Oriental
or Greek Church has continued faithful to the commands of the
Lord and still practices only immersion as baptism. As the Greeks
are presumed to better understand the Greek language than others
unaccustomed to speak it, the fact that they have always understood
baptidzo to mean immersion, and have practiced accordingly, is an
item of no small importance in arriving at a knowledge of what the
Lord required as baptism. If any people may be presumed to know
the import of the word used by the Lord it is certainly those by
whom the Greek language has been always spoken. If they have not
understood their native tongue, who has understood it?
PROF. STUART quotes Calvin, thus: "It is of no consequence
at all whether the person baptized is totally immersed, or whether
he is merely sprinkled by an effusion of water. This should be a
matter of choice to the churches in different regions, although the
word baptize


History Of Sprinkling
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signifies to immerse, and the rite of immersion was practiced by the
ancient church;" and then says "To this opinion I do most fully and
heartily subscribe." Stuart on Bap., pp. 156, 157.
Thus we see that, after conceding immersion to be the meaning
of the word used by the Lord to indicate His will, and that
immersion was the practice of the ancient church, these two great
lights in the ranks of orthodoxy think it a matter of indifference, and
should be left to the choice of the church; hence, the church may
decide whether the people shall obey the Lord or not. Kind reader,
which will you obey? "If the Lord be God, serve him; if Baal, serve
him."
But what are the reasons given by Prof. Stuart for the conclusion
to which he comes? "1. The rite in question is merely external."
Suppose it is, is that any reason why it should not be obeyed?
Jewish circumcision was "outward in the flesh" (Rom. ii:28), yet
God said: "The uncircumcised man-child whose flesh of his foreskin
is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath
broken my covenant." Gen. xvii:14. Does any one believe that God
would have excused a Jew from circumcision or have justified him
in changing the act to something else upon the ground that the rite
was merely external? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to
hearken than the fat of rams.
Prof. Stuart argues the right of the church to change the act of
baptism at great length with all the plausibility of an ingenious
sophist, but we have room only for a few short extracts, which we
give as follow: "Must I show that we are not at liberty, without being
justly exposed to the accusation of gross departure from
Christianity, to depart from the modes and forms of the apostolic
church in any respect? I have shown that all the churches on earth


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do depart from these, in their celebration of the Lord's Supper, and
yet without any apprehension of being guilty of an impropriety,
much less of being justly chargeable with the spirit of disobedience
and revolt. But what is the case in respect to baptism? Will
nothing but the letter do here? So you may think and reason, but are
you not entirely inconsistent with yourself? Mere externals
must be things of particular time and place. Dress does not make the
man. One dress may be more convenient or more decorous than
another, but neither the one nor the other is an essential part of the
person. So the common feeling of men has decided about most of
the external matters pertaining to religion the world over. They have
always been modified by time and place, by manners and customs,
and they always will be. Accordingly, long before the light of
the Reformation began to dawn upon the churches, the Roman
Catholics themselves were gradually adopting the method of
baptism by sprinkling or effusion, notwithstanding their superstitious
and excessive devotedness to the usages of the ancient church.
All this serves to illustrate how there sprang up, in the bosom of a
church superstitiously devoted to ancient rites and forms, a
conviction that the mode of baptism was one of the adiaphora of
religion -- i.e., something unessential to the rite itself, and which
might be modified by time and place, without any encroachment
upon the command itself to baptize. Gradually did this conviction
increase until the whole Roman Catholic Church, that of Milan only
excepted, admit it. By far the greater part of the Protestant world
have also acceded to the same views. Even the English Episcopal
Church and the Lutheran Church, both zealous in times past for
what they supposed to be apostolic and really ancient usage, have
had no difficulty in adopting modes of baptism quite


History Of Sprinkling
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different from that of immersion." Stuart on Baptism, pp. 169-172.
Thus we see that Prof. Stuart thinks that the church may change
the forms and usages of worship just as a man may change his dress
to suit time and place. He shows us, with an air of seeming pleasure,
that the Roman Catholic Church had gradually left her devotedness
to the usages of the ancient church and adopted sprinkling and
pouring, and that the Protestant churches had followed her
example. Daniel prophesied of a power that should "speak great
swelling words against the Most High, and think to change times and
laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times
and the dividing of time; but the judgment shall sit, and they shall
take his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end." Dan.
vii:25, 26. Does not the power assigned by Prof. Stuart to the church
resemble that claimed by the government spoken of by Daniel?
Though he seemed to triumph for a time, judgment came upon him
in the end.
Let us learn a lesson here, and seek not to change laws and
times which God has arranged in accordance with His own will. "Let
no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come,
except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be
revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself
above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God
sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2
These. ii:3, 4.
The Pope of Rome has gone on from one act of usurpation to
another, changed the act of baptism in accordance with his views of
propriety, and has, finally, had himself proclaimed infallible, thus
sitting in the temple of God and seeking to show himself that he is
God. But Daniel said a day of judgment would


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come that would break the power of the usurper, and we feel
encouraged to hope that the day of his power is fast drawing to a
close. Will Protestant parties continue to cling to the changes which
he has made for them in the divine law? "Why call ye me Lord,
Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Luke vi:46. "If ye love me,
keep my commandments." John xiv:15.


CHAPTER XIII
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?

When Jesus commanded the apostles to "Teach all nations,
baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit," Matt. xxviii:19, there was an implied
obligation upon those to whom they were sent, to submit to be
baptized by them. Upon whom did this obligation rest? These may
and should be baptized; none others may, unless other authority be
shown for it. That penitent, believing adults should be baptized is
admitted by all parties; we need not, therefore, stop to offer proof
of what no one denies. But it is insisted that he who has submitted
to the divine injunction himself, should also have his infant children
baptized, and thus brought into the church with him. This we
respectfully deny; hence the onus of proof rests upon him who so
affirms. Our first duty, therefore, is to examine the proofs presented
by him, and if these be found satisfactory and conclusive, our duty
is clear without further investigation; for we may be assured that the
Bible, faithfully translated and construed, will nowhere contradict
that which is clearly taught in it.
We know of but three ways by which the practice of infant
baptism could be taught in the Divine Volume, First: By the express
command of the Lord, or some one speaking by inspiration. Second:
By example; i.e., where the Lord or some inspired man, baptized
infants,


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or where it was done in his presence, by his consent or approval.
Third: By a passage of Scripture from which the baptism of infants
is a necessary inference. A merely possible inference is not
sufficient, for while a thing is only possibly true, it is still possible
for it to be false. We believe it is very generally admitted that there
is no express command for, or example of, infant baptism recorded
in the Bible, hence inferential proof is all we may expect from those
who advocate the practice. It may be well to see how this is, for a
concession so important, from those who advocate the practice in
question, will greatly diminish the area of our investigation. We will
hear what they say on the subject.
1. DR. MOSES STUART says: "On the subject of infant baptism
I have said nothing. The present occasion did not call for it;
and I have no wish or intention to enter into the controversy
respecting it. I have only to say, that I believe in both the propriety
and expediency of the rite thus administered, and therefore accede
to it ex animo. Commands, or plain and certain examples, in the
New Testament relative to it, I do not find. Nor, with my views of it
do I need them." Stuart on Baptism, pp. 189, 190.
2. BISHOP BURNET: "There is no express precept or rule given
in the New Testament for the baptism of infants." Expos. of 39
Articles, in Booth Abridged, p. 116.
3. DR. WALL: "Among all the persons that are recorded as
baptized by the apostles, there is no express mention of any infant.
There is no express mention of any children baptized by them." Hist.
Inf. Bap. in Booth Abridged, p. 116.
4. LUTHER: "It can not be proved by the sacred Scriptures that
infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or began by the first
Christians after the apostles." Ut supra.


Who Should Be Baptized?
395
5. BAXTER: "I know of no one word in Scripture, that giveth
us the least intimation that every man was baptized without the
profession of a saving faith, or that giveth the least encouragement
to baptize any upon another's faith." Ut supra.
6. WILLS: "Christ did many things that were not recorded, and
so did the apostles; whereof this was one, for aught we know, the
baptizing of infants. Calvin, in his fourth book of Institutes, Chap.
xvi, confesseth, that it is nowhere expressly mentioned by the
Evangelists, that any one child was by the apostles baptized. To the
same purpose are Stophilus, Melancthon, Turinglius quoted." Inf.
Bap. Asserted in Booth Abridged, p. 117.
7. PALMER: "There is nothing in the words of the institution,
nor in any after accounts of the administration of this rite, respecting
the baptism of infants; there is not a single precept for, nor example
of, this practice, through the whole New Testament." Ut supra.
8. LIMBORCH: "There is no express command for it in
Scripture, nay, all those passages wherein baptism is commanded do
immediately relate to adult persons, since they are ordered to be
instructed, and faith is prerequisite as a necessary qualification,
which are peculiar to adults alone. There is no instance that can be
produced, from whence it may indisputably be inferred that any
child was baptized by the apostles. The necessity of pedobaptism
was never asserted by any council before that of Carthage, held in
the year four hundred and eighteen." Ut supra.
9. ERASMUS: "Paul does not seem (in Rom. v:14), to treat
about infants. It was not yet the custom for infants to be baptized."
Annotations on Rom. in Booth Abridged, p. 118.
10. T. BOSTON: "It is plain that he [Peter, in Acts ii:38]


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requires their repentance antecedently to baptism, as necessary
to qualify them for the right and due reception thereof. And there is
no example of baptism recorded in the Scriptures, when any were
baptized, but such as appeared to have a saving interest in Christ."
Ut supra.
11. BISHOP SANDERSON: "The baptism of infants, and the
sprinkling of water in baptism, instead of immersing the whole body,
must be exterminated from the church -- according to their principle;
i.e., that nothing can be lawfully performed, much less required, in
the affairs of religion, which is not either commanded by God in the
Scripture, or at least recommended by a laudable example." Ut.
supra.
12. CELLARIUS: "Infant baptism is neither commanded in the
sacred Scripture, nor is confirmed by apostolic examples." Ut supra.
13. DR. KNAPP: "There is, therefore, no express command for
infant baptism found in the New Testament, as Morris (p. 215, S.
12) justly concedes. Infant baptism has been often defended on
very unsatisfactory a priori grounds, e.g., necessity of it has been
contended for, in order that children may obtain by it the faith
which is necessary to salvation, etc. It is sufficient to show; (1) That
infant baptism was not forbidden by Christ, and is not opposed to
his will, and the principles of his religion, but entirely suited to
both; (2) That it was probably practiced even in the apostolic
church; (3) That it is not without advantages." Lectures on Christian
Theology, p. 494.
14. We may close this testimony by the declarations of Henry
Ward Beecher, who is quoted in the Louisville Debate, page 173,
as saying:* That he had no authority from the Bible for the baptism
of infants, and that he

*This was published in The Christian Union by Mr. Beecher.


Who Should Be Baptized?
397
wanted none; that he had better authority for it than if even the
Bible commanded it; that he had tried it, and knew from actual
experience that it was a good thing; he had the same divine authority
for it that he had for making an ox-yoke -- it worked well -- and,
therefore, it was from God."
The foregoing list might be extended much further; but these
quotations are deemed sufficient to warrant us in regarding it as a
fact, conceded that there is no divine command, nor apostolic
precedent for the baptism of infants. It is insisted that the writers of
the New Testament were all pedobaptists; if so, is not such
profound reticence on the subject a little remarkable, to say the least
of it? They record the baptism of vast numbers of believers, just as
though infant baptism had then never been heard of; and Luke tells
us that when the Samaritans "Believed Philip preaching the things
concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they
were baptized, both men and women." Acts viii:12. Is it not strange
that he should be so specific as to mention the baptism of men and
women, and say nothing about the multitudes of dear little children
that were baptized? Their baptism could not have been a matter of
less importance than that of the men and women, if indeed they
were baptized at all. Would any of our pedobaptist friends imitate
Luke's example were they now writing the narrative? Would they
not likely say "They were baptized, men, women, and children?"
They are specifically mentioned in matters not less worthy of note.
When the covenant of circumcision was instituted in the family of
Abraham the Lord said: "He that is eight days old shall be
circumcised among you, every male child in your generations, he
that is born in thy house, or bought with money of any stranger,
which is not of thy seed."


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Gen. xvii:12. Here is a rite applicable to infants, and we find that
even the age of the child to be circumcised is specifically given.
Numerous examples can be found recorded where this rite was
performed according to the law. "Abraham circumcised his son
Isaac, being eight days old, as God had commanded him." Gen.
xxi:4. "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising
of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the
angel before he was conceived in the womb." Luke ii:21. Is it not a
little strange, if baptism was made obligatory on children, that we
can not as easily find examples of it as of circumcision! When
Pharaoh issued his decree for the destruction of the Hebrew
children, he said: "When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew
women, and see them upon the stools, if it be a son, then ye shall
kill him." Ex. 1:16. When Herod determined upon the destruction
of the infant Saviour, he "Sent forth, and slew all the children that
were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old
and under." Matt. ii:16. When Jesus miraculously fed the
multitudes, the children are not forgotten in the narrative. "They that
had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children."
Matt. xiv:21. Nor are they omitted in the record of the second
occurrence. "They that did eat were four thousand men, beside
women and children." Matt. xv:38. When infants were brought to
the master that they might receive His heavenly benediction, He
said: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me;
for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. xix:14. This account is
preserved in the records of Mark and Luke also. When Paul and
company bade a final adieu to the disciples at the city of Tyre, the
historian informs us that "they all brought us on our way, with wives
and children, till we


Who Should Be Baptized?
399
were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and
prayed." Acts xxi:5.
Thus we see that infants were deemed worthy of mention in all
matters with which they were in any way connected; even in cases
where they did nothing but to satisfy the demands of hunger, or
were brought out of a city in company with those who were parting
with a friend; where no doctrine is involved, no duty enforced, no
dispute settled; yet we are asked to believe that they were baptized
in obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus, by inspired men,
and no record of the fact; when such a record would have prevented
bitter contention and strife; much labor in preaching and writing;
and would have secured the performance of a duty now bound to be
neglected by many millions of devoted followers of the Master for
want of the knowledge which such a record would have furnished.
Luke says: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth
in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed
among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the
beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed
good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from
the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
that thou mightiest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou
hast been instructed." Luke i:14. Again he says: "The former treatise
have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and
to teach." Acts i:1. The sum of these quotations is that Luke had a
perfect understanding of all things which Jesus did and taught; and
that he wrote in order that Theophilus might know the certainty of
the whole matter as believed among the disciples. Certainly, then,
we may justly conclude that no important matter was omitted


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which had not been perfectly taught by some one else. Hence, as he
says not a word about infant baptism we may feel tolerably sure that
it was not taught or practiced by Jesus, nor believed among the
disciples with whom he associated. When he tells us that "Saul
made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling
men and women, committed them to prison" (Acts viii:3), we may
justly conclude that infants escaped the fierceness of his wrath,
otherwise they would have been mentioned as well as men and
women. We are strengthened in this conclusion by the fact already
seen that it was his custom to mention them where they were
connected with the matter recorded. Then as he speaks of the
baptism of multitudes of believers, at different times and places, and
under different circumstances, even mentioning men and women,
and yet says nothing of the baptism of a single infant, we conclude
that none were baptized, or he would have mentioned the fact
somewhere; especially when he must have known that what he was
writing would not only furnish an interesting history of past events,
but would constitute a rule of action for the government of God's
people as long as time should endure.
Paul told Timothy that "all scripture is given by inspiration of
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. iii:16, 17. The
Scriptures can not be profitable for the doctrine of infant baptism,
for its advocates admit that they say nothing about it. If infant
baptism be a duty, the Scriptures furnish no reproof for those who
neglect it. If it be a crime to oppose infant baptism, the Scriptures
furnish no correction for the error. If infant baptism be right, the
Scriptures furnish no instruction to those whose duty it is to
perform it. If the


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Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and
instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect,
as they say nothing about infant baptism, it follows that the man of
God may attain to perfection without it. If the Scriptures not only
furnish, but thoroughly furnish the man of God not only to some,
but to all good works, as they are confessedly silent on the subject
of infant baptism, it follows that it is not a good work, otherwise the
man of God would be thoroughly furnished with instruction
concerning the baptism of infants.
While considering the conceded fact that the Scriptures say
nothing about the baptism of infants, we will hear another apostle
on this subject. Peter says: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you
through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as
his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain, unto life
and godliness, through the knowledge of him who hath called us to
glory and virtue." 2 Pet. i:2, 3. Here is a clear intimation that God
has given us all things, through the knowledge of His Son revealed
in the gospel, which pertain to life and godliness. And as He has
given us nothing on the subject of infant baptism, we conclude that
it neither pertains to life nor godliness. We are commanded to do
all: "Whatsoever we do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the
Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." Col. iii:17.
We understand this passage to teach that we are to do all things
done at all by the authority of the Lord Jesus. How, then, can a
man, standing in the presence of God, with his hand lifted toward
heaven, say, "In the name or by the authority of


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the Lord Jesus, I baptize this child," when he acknowledges that the
Word of the Lord furnishes neither command nor example for what
he is doing? Could Prof. Stuart baptize a child in the name or by the
authority of the Lord Jesus after saying: "Commands, or plain and
certain examples, in the New Testament relative to it, I do not find?"
Surely, he could not adopt the maxim of the justly celebrated
Chillingworth, that THE BIBLE ONLY IS THE RELIGION OF
PROTESTANTS. If this maxim is worthy of all acceptation, well
may we ask, in the language of Ambrose, 'Who shall speak where
Scripture is silent?" Dare we baptize an infant in the name of the
Lord Jesus if He has not appointed it? When Peter commanded the
Pentecostians to be baptized, he did it in the "name of Jesus Christ."
Acts ii:38. He also commanded the Gentiles at the house of
Cornelius, "to be baptized in the name of the Lord." Acts x:48. And
surely, such examples are worthy of our imitation; if so, there is an
implied prohibition of administering this sacred rite in any other
name or by any other authority. Surely, then, if Dr. Beecher was
right when he said, in substance, that he had no higher authority for
baptizing an infant than for making an ox-yoke, it had better be left
undone. God will not condemn us in the great day of judgment for
a failure to do that which He has nowhere commanded; but there
may be danger in performing a thing in the sacred name of His Son
for which we can not find authority in the Book by which we are to
be judged.
The Lord said that the way of holiness should be so plain that
"the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Isa. xxxv:8.
Hence, when Jesus sent chosen men to proclaim the gospel of peace
and the approach of the kingdom of heaven, their mission was not
confined to the wealthy who had been reared in opulence and
learned in all the literature of the age in which they lived, but "the
poor had the gospel preached to them." Matt. xi:5. Yet we are asked
to believe that these uneducated poor were to learn the duty of
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from oral instructions which not once mentioned it, and in a country
where they never once saw an example of it. And after the New
Testament was written, the primitive Christians are expected to take
a copy of it and learn the duty of baptizing their children from a
record which furnishes not a command for it or an example of it.
Nay, these unlettered fishermen, mechanics, and plowmen are
expected to arrive at a knowledge of their duty from a careful
examination of the covenants which God made with Abraham, and
by identifying them with the New Covenant dedicated with the
blood of Jesus. Those who lived later might also study the Talmud,
and familiarize themselves with the writings of Maimonides and
other Jewish rabbis and doctors of the law, from whom to learn that
the children of proseltyes were baptized along with their parents,
and infer therefrom that the Lord condescended to borrow the
baptism of infants from those who believed Him an impostor and
worthy of death. Nor must they stop here, but they must study the
writings of Moses until familiar with the antiquated rite of
circumcision; and, notwithstanding the many marks of dissimilarity,
infer that baptism came in its room, and as male children were
circumcised under the law, therefore males and females must be
baptized under the gospel of the Son of God. Such are some of the
sources from which the unlettered poor are expected to learn the
duty of baptizing their children; and we next propose to examine
them and see whether or not they furnish just grounds for even
inferring infant baptism, though it were possible for all to
understand them.
And, first, it is assumed that God has had but one church on the
earth, and that it has existed at least since the days of Abraham; that
the church now is the same church that then was; and that infants
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the church then, and having never been put out, are members of it
now; that all members of the church should be baptized -- ergo,
infants, being members, should be baptized.
We believe this is a fair statement of the argument, but before
we enter upon an examination of its merits we would respectfully
call attention to a want of consistency in the pleadings of those who
advocate it. The argument is based upon the assumption that infants
are members of the church, and as such should be baptized; yet
they tell us that they should be baptized in order to bring them into
the church. In the ministration of baptism to infants, the Methodist
Discipline instructs the administrator to say: "Dearly beloved,
forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that our
Saviour Christ saith, Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God, I beseech you to
call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his
bounteous mercy he will grant to this child that which by nature he
can not have; that he may be baptized with water and the Holy
Ghost, and received into Christ's holy church, and be made a lively
member of the same."
Please observe that the minister instructs the congregation to
pray that the child to be baptized may be received into the church
and made a lively member of it. Then he leads them in the following
prayer: "Almighty and everlasting God, who of thy great mercy didst
save Noah and his family in the ark from perishing by water; and
also didst safely lead the children of Israel, thy people, through the
Red Sea, figuring thereby thy holy baptism: we beseech thee, for
thine infinite mercies, that thou wilt look upon this child: wash
him, and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost; that he, being delivered
from thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ's church."
Methodist Discipline, pp. 159, 160.


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405
What can this mean? Clearly, it means
nothing less than that the child is baptized to introduce it into the
church, and yet the very foundation of the argument stated is that it
must be baptized because IN the church already.
Mr. Henry, in his Treatise on Baptism, p. 40, says: "The gospel
contains not only a doctrine but a covenant; and by baptism we are
brought into that covenant." And again: "Baptism is an ordinance of
Christ, whereby the person baptized is solemnly admitted a member
of the visible church." ibid, p. 66. Then page 79, he says: "Baptism
is a seal of the covenant of grace, and therefore belongs to those
who ARE IN that covenant (at least by profession), and to NONE
OTHER. The infants of believing parents ARE IN covenant with
God, and therefore have a right to the initiating seal of that
covenant." Again, page 66, he says: "Baptism is an ordinance of the
visible church, and pertains, therefore, to those who are visible
members of the church. Their covenant right and their church
membership entitle them to baptism. Baptism doth not give the title,
but recognizes it."
Other quotations might be given, but these are deemed sufficient
to show the want of consistency on the subject referred to. The
argument is as changeable as the colors of a chameleon. At one time
parents are admonished to dedicate their children to God in baptism,
and bring them into covenant and church relation with them; and we
are severely reprimanded for denying the dear children the privilege
of entering the church with their parents by baptism; and anon the
order is reversed, and the little babes are in the church -- in
covenant relation with God with their parents, and for this very
reason should be baptized. Thus it is that infants must be baptized
because not in the church to bring them in; and they must be
baptized


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because they are in it and entitled to its ordinances as members of
it.
But if all children of believing parents are born members of the
church, and on that account are entitled to baptism, then we would
be pleased to know what church they enter by baptism, and what
means their so-called reception into the church when they are grown
and make a profession of religion? First: We are told that infants of
believing parents are born members of the church, and should be
baptized because they are in it. Second: "Baptism is for the solemn
admission of the party baptized into the church." What church?
Third: They grow up to mature years, attend a protracted meeting,
make a profession of religion; the doors are opened for the reception
of members, and they join the church. What church? Is there one
church into which they enter at birth, another into which they enter
by baptism, and still another into which they enter by formal
reception after "getting religion?" In a previous chapter, we have
seen that there is one church, and only one. Are we to understand
that the infant was born a member of it and subsequently re-entered
the church of which it was born a member? If so, did it forfeit its
previous membership in some way so as to make other admissions
necessary? If it did, we would be pleased to know how, and when,
or at what age the forfeiture was effected, and whether or not the
church formally declared non-fellowship with it.
Again: If there be blessings conferred upon infants by baptism,
why are they restricted to the children of believing parents? Are the
children of unbelievers to be made responsible for the sins of their
parents so as to deprive them of gospel privileges which belong to
and are enjoyed by others of their age? Where is the authority for
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surely all others may. Indeed, we have observed quite a disposition
to a change of position here in modern times. Formerly, debaters
were willing to affirm that the children of believing parents were
proper subjects of baptism; now they can not be induced to make
such a discrimination, but will affirm only the general proposition
that infants are proper subjects. We are rather pleased at this. If
infant baptism be a blessing, let all have the benefit of it. But does
not such shifting of ground show that there is nothing taught in the
gospel in favor it? It occurs to us that if the practice were clearly
taught it would be understood, and there would be no need of
changing theories concerning it.
Once more: If infants enter the church either by birth or
baptism, why are they not fit subjects for and admitted to the Lord's
table? Surely, if they are members of the church, they should be
entitled to all the privileges of full membership. Then, why not give
them the bread and wine, as emblems of the body and blood of the
Lord, which belong to all who are members of the body of which He
is the head? Do you tell me that they can not partake of these
emblems discerning the Lord's body? Then, for this very reason they
are not competent for membership in the church where such a duty
is enjoined upon them. We know of no reason why they should not
be admitted to the Lord's table, which would not apply to their
membership in the church with at least equal force. Does the gospel
contain any special reason why they should be excused, as members
of the church, from participation in the Lord's Supper? If not, are
they not entitled to it? Nay, are they not bound to eat if members at
all? No member of the church can be debarred from the emblematic
body and blood of the Lord unless he has made himself unworthy
by the commission of crime, such as infants are incapable


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of committing. Then, we insist that those who regard infants as
members of the church should give them the bread and wine to
which all members are entitled, or show the law excusing them.
Finally, as infants come into the church, according to the theory,
without faith or repentance, it is not easy for us to see how such
graces may be demanded of them in mature years. If they may enter
the church without faith or repentance, surely they could remain
members without them; why should they be treated as aliens or
rebels for a want of faith or repentance in adult age, when they
entered the church and lived in it for years without either? Indeed,
no such qualifications were at all necessary to membership in the
Jewish church; and if the church now is but a continuance of the
same church which existed then, why should they be required now?
No faith, change of heart, repentance, purity of life, or holiness was
essential to membership in the Jewish churches. Every species of
crime was perpetrated by those who lived and died in that church.
If the same church exists now, and infants are in it because such
were in it then, why may not adults be in it without faith,
repentance, or any thing spiritual, seeing such were in it then.
Persons were born members of the church then and continued in it
until death, however wicked they may have lived; why not now? But
suppose they are not born members of the church, but enter it by
baptism, the same results must follow. Many thousands of those
who are baptized in infancy become wicked, and remain through life
as wicked as men ever get to be, even never making any pretense of
Christianity in any way; hence, if they entered the church when
baptized, they live and die in it, for we never hear of any such being
excluded from the church because they become wicked; and
therefore the church is as full of depravity and


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wickedness as is the dominion of Satan. There is no visible line of
separation between the world and the church. Those in the church
are just as wicked as those out of it, for we have never been able to
see any difference in the ungodly who were baptized in infancy and
those who were not. Nor is this the worst; if infants must be
baptized because infants were in the Jewish church, then the
wickedest man living may be baptized for a similar reason. We
suppose there is not a worse man alive than lived in the Jewish
church, and if infants may be baptized because infants were in that
church, we see not why all other classes similar to those in that
church may not be baptized. Will the advocates of the theory accept
the results of their logic, and baptize every wicked man, because
such were in the Jewish church? If not, the argument based upon
infant membership must be abandoned.
In a previous chapter we attempted to show that the church now
in existence was organized in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost; we
need not, therefore, further examine this subject here, but we may
call attention to some facts, not presented there, showing that it can
not be the same organization which existed in the days of Abraham,
or in the days of Moses. The Church of Christ differs from the so-
called Jewish church in the fact that it was based upon another
covenant. There were two classes of promises made by God to
Abraham. One pertained to the flesh and temporal interests, and the
other to matters spiritual. God said, "I am the Almighty God: walk
before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant
between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And
Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me,
behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many
nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy
name shall


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be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I
will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee,
and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant
between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for
an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after
thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land
wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an
everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto
Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy
seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye
shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: Every man
child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the
flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant
between me and you." Gen. xvii:1-11.
In this covenant God promises Abraham a numerous fleshly
offspring and the land of Canaan, as a permanent inheritance, and
instituted circumcision as a token of the covenant thus made. This
covenant was renewed with Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, and upon it the
Jewish church or commonwealth was organized. That the covenant
of circumcision was incorporated into the law of Moses may be seen
by the language of the Savior, saying, "If a man on the Sabbath day
receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken."
John vii:23. That the covenant made with Abraham, and renewed
with Isaac and Jacob, was renewed with Moses, is shown by the
language of Moses himself. He says, "Keep therefore the words of
this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. Ye
stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of
your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel.
Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp,


Who Should Be Baptized?
411
from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: That thou
shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his
oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day: That he
may establish thee to-day for a people unto himself, and that he may
be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn
unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Deut. xxix:9-
13. Thus we clearly identify the covenant concerning Abraham's
fleshly descendants, the land of Canaan, and the right of
circumcision with the covenant made with Moses; and Paul says
Jesus "Blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,
which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his
cross." Col. ii:14.
But there was another class of promises spiritual in their nature.
When Abraham offered his son, as commanded of God, "And the
Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second
time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because
thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only
son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will
multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which
is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his
enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
because thou hast obeyed my voice." Gen. xxii:15-18. Now let it be
carefully observed that this promise was based upon the express
ground of Abraham's obedience in offering Isaac. "Because thou hast
done this thing," "Because thou hast obeyed my voice." And Paul
quotes the language of this promise as fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He
says: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He
saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed,
which is Christ." Gal. iii:16. That these


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different sets of promises constituted at least a plurality of
covenants, may be seen in the language of Paul concerning the
Gentiles before the coming of Christ. He says: "At that time ye were
without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers from the covenants of promise." Eph..ii:12. Here is a clear
intimation that the promises made to Abraham constituted more
than one covenant. Upon the promise made at the offering of Isaac
was based the new and better covenant, established upon better
promises (Heb. viii:6), which was predicted by the Lord through his
prophet, as follows:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not
according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day
that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;
which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them,
saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with
the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my law
in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their
God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more
every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know
the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the
greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and
I will remember their sin no more." Jer. xxxi:3134. That this new
covenant was that of which Christ became the mediator is evident
from the fact that Paul quotes the language as an argument to show
that the old covenant had given place to the new. He says, "But now
hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is
the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon
better


Who Should Be Baptized?
413
promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should
no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with
them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house
of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their
fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out
of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant,
and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that
I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord:
I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts;
and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and
they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his
brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the
least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,
and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that
he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that
which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." Heb.
viii:6-13.
We would respectfully call the reader's attention to several
important thoughts presented in the foregoing quotation. The Lord
said He would make a new covenant, hence it was not an old one,
made prior to the time He used the language quoted. Paul gives us
several reasons why this new covenant was necessary, and he
mentions several important points in which it differs from the old
covenant. First: Those to whom the first covenant was given broke
it -- continued not in it, and hence God ceased to regard them.
Second: The first was a faulty covenant, hence it became necessary
to have a better covenant, established upon better promises, the
provisions of which were not according to the old one.


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Third: The laws of the old covenant were engraven on stone; those
of the new were to be written in the hearts of the people. Fourth:
The subjects of the old covenant became such by natural birth, or
were purchased with money, and hence could not know the Lord
until taught by such as had reached mature years; the subjects of the
new covenant have to be born again to enter the kingdom based
upon it, and hence have to be all taught to know the Lord before
they believe in Him, and become subjects of His government; this
being so, there are no infants among them, because they can not
know the Lord, or have his laws written in their hearts. Fifth: Under
the old covenant those who violated its laws died without mercy
under two or three witnesses (Heb. x:28); under the new covenant
God is merciful to the unrighteousness of its subjects. Sixth: Under
the old covenant, sins were pardoned only a year at a time. "For in
those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every
year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats
should take away sins." Heb. x:3, 4. Under the new covenant, one
of its chief excellencies is that sins once pardoned are remembered
no more.
As this position is fiercely assailed by some, and doubted by
others, it may be well for us to give it more than a passing notice. If
the sins pardoned under the old covenant were forever pardoned,
why was it necessary that this should be mentioned as one of the
superior provisions of the new covenant? Wherein is it a better
covenant in this respect than the old? Was Paul mistaken when he
said: "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should
take away sin?" Surely the blood of these sacrifices did take them
away if they were forever pardoned by them. Paul says: "How much
more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered


Who Should Be Baptized?
415
himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead
works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator
of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of
the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are
called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Heb. ix:14,
15. Why was it necessary that Jesus should die for the redemption
of the transgressions which were under the first testament if they
were forever pardoned by the offerings made according to its
provisions? If we at all comprehend the language of Paul, he meant
to teach that Jesus died for the redemption of the transgressions
committed under the first testament, that those who were called by
it might receive the eternal inheritance promised them. All the
offerings made under the law looked to, and were perfected by, the
death of Jesus Christ. "He taketh away the first, that he may
establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through
the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest
standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same
sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man, after he
had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand
of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his
footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that
are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for
after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make
with them after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into
their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and
iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these
is, there is no more offering for sin." Heb. x:9-18. Thus we see that
the apostle argues this question at great length, to show this as one
of the great points of superiority


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in the new covenant over the old; and it seems to us that it
could not have been made more plain. Then, as it is a new and
better covenant, established upon better promises, why should any
one want to get back under the old and faulty covenant, which has
been taken out of the way to make room for a better one?
But we are told that it was the law given by Moses when the
Jews were delivered from Egyptian bondage which was the old
covenant which was taken out of the way, and not the covenant
made with Abraham. We have seen that the covenant made with
Abraham was renewed with Isaac, Jacob, and Moses (see Deut.
xxix:9-13); and we have seen that even circumcision belonged to the
law of Moses. (See John vii:23.) Surely this was given to Abraham
(Gen. xvii:9-14); and we suppose no one, unless a Jew, will contend
that it has not been taken out of the way; hence it is unsafe to affirm
that a convenant has not been taken out of the way because it was
given to Abraham. But it does not matter what covenant it was that
was taken out of the way; the one of which Christ is mediator is the
one which concerns us, and it is the new covenant; and the
prophecy concerning it was made long after, not before the time
when the Lord delivered the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Long
after that time the Lord said, Behold the days come, (not have
passed), when I will make a new covenant (not have made a
covenant long years ago); hence it could not have been a covenant
made with Abraham, or with any one else prior to the time God
made this declaration by Jeremiah; and it was to be made with the
house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- houses which had no
existence in the days of Abraham, nor until long years afterward.
How, then, could it refer to a covenant made with him?
But the Jewish church was only half as large as the


Who Should Be Baptized?
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Christian church. While that was confined to the Jews, this is for
every creature among all nations who will accept its blessings on the
terms proposed. Here, too, is another striking evidence that the new
and better covenant, of which Christ is the mediator, was based
upon the promise of God to Abraham at the offering of Isaac. "In thy
seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast
obeyed my voice." Gen. xxii:18. As long as the Jewish church
existed, the Gentiles were refused the privileges of it. Paul says:
"Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the
flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the
Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were
without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and
without God in the world: but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who
sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he
is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the
middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh
the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;
for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and
that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross,
having slain the enmity thereby." Eph. ii:11-16. Here we find that
the law, which stood as a middle wall between Jews and Gentiles
for ages, and had kept the latter from any participation in the
worship of God with the former, was taken out of the way, by the
death of Christ, and one new man or church was made of both Jews
and Gentiles, who participated in its privileges upon terms of perfect
equality. It is agreed by all parties that the phrase new man here
simply means a new church. Under the old dispensation the Gentiles
were without Christ, aliens


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from the Jewish commonwealth, and strangers from the covenants
of promise; but, under the new covenant, they enter into, and are
members of the one church composed of all nations, to whom the
gospel is preached, and for whom Jesus died. Observe it is not an
enlarged church, an improved church, or a renewed church, but a
NEW church, hence we see not how it can be the same old church
which existed in the days of Abraham and Moses. Jesus says: "No
man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment; for that
which is put in to fill it up taketh away from the garment, and the
rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles:
else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles
perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are
preserved." Matt. ix:16, 17; Mark ii:22; Luke v:36-38. Now it
occurs to us that those who seek to retain the old Jewish church are
doing just the thing which the Lord here condemned. They seek to
enlarge it so as to include the Gentiles, leaving off its ceremonies,
carnal ordinances, and festivals: and fill up the rents with infant
baptism and other human traditions, and thus patch up the old
garment with a little Christianity and a good supply of the
commandments of men, and make a worse system than Judaism
itself.
If the church of Christ or kingdom of God is the same church
which existed in the days of Abraham and Moses, why did those
who had been brought up in the Jewish church have still to enter
the church established by the authority of the Lord? When
Nicodemus recognized the divine character and mission of Jesus, he
expected, doubtless, that, as a descendant of Abraham, he would be
recognized as a ruler in the kingdom or church of God; but all his
claims based upon Jewish birth were met with the solemn
announcement that, "Except a man be born of


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water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God."
John iii:5. It is not strange that such a declaration should have
astonished him, for he had the same notion of the continuance of the
Jewish church which pedobaptists seem to have now. As they view
it could he not reply, "I have been in the church all my life, and am
now a ruler of the Jews -- a master of Israel, and you speak to ME of
having yet to enter the church or kingdom into which I was born!"
Still he is met with the cool reply: "Marvel not that I said unto thee,
ye must be born again." Verse 7. Was not this equivalent to saying:
"I know you were born into the Jewish church, but My kingdom or
church is a very different organization. No spiritual qualifications
were necessary to membership in that church, but a birth of flesh
only, or even purchase with money was sufficient. My church is
designed to make men holy; hence, purity of heart and submission
to My will are the means of entrance; and, therefore, I tell you that,
though a member of the Jewish church, of however great distinction,
you must be born of water and of the Spirit, or into My kingdom or
church you can not enter." Could language more clearly teach that
the Jewish church was not the church which Jesus came to
establish?
On another occasion Jesus said: "Among those that are born of
women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he
that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." Luke vii:28.
Though John was born of Jewish parentage, and filled with the Holy
Spirit from birth (Luke i:15), a prophet, sent of God (John i:6), than
whom there was not a greater, yet he that was least in the kingdom
was greater than he. He lived and died out of the kingdom or church
for which he prepared materials, because he died before it was


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established; but had the Jewish church been the one for which he
prepared material, there would have been none greater than he in it,
for there was none greater born of women, and he was born in it.
When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to John, demanding
baptism of him, he said: "Think not to say within yourselves, We
have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of
these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Matt. iii:9. Does
not this language imply that these Pharisees and Sadducees had set
up peculiar claims on account of Abrahamic descent? And truly
their claims would have been just, had the theory under
consideration been true. If the Jewish and Christian churches were
the same, and persons are to be baptized because in the church,
surely they were in the Jewish church; were born members of it, and
would have been entitled to baptism as such. Was it not, therefore,
cruel in John to thus rebuke them; even cruel as we when we refuse
to baptize infants because in the church? On one occasion Jesus said
to the disciples: "Except ye be converted, and become as little
children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt.
xviii:3. Though the disciples of the Lord were selected from those
prepared by John whose ministry was confined to the "lost sheep of
the house of Israel," yet at the time Jesus used the language quoted
they were not in the kingdom or church which Jesus came to
establish, for the very good reason that it did not then exist. But
with what propriety could Jesus have used such language had the
Jewish church, in which they had lived all their lives, been the
kingdom referred to? "Except ye become converted ye shall not
enter a kingdom or church in which you have been all your lives."
My blessed Lord never talked such nonsense. Other examples might
be given, but these are deemed sufficient to show that those who
were born and


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raised in the Jewish church, had nevertheless to enter the church of
God or die out of it; and this fact is conclusive proof that they can
not be identical. Similar in some respects they were, but identical
they can not be.
But they are both called the church. Yes, but this proves not
their identity, for different things are often called by the same name.
How many different organizations are there now claiming to be the
church? Joshua was called Jesus, so was Christ; yet they were not
the same person. Joshua was called a Priest, so was Aaron, yet they
were not the same person. Baalam was called a prophet, so were
Elisha, Isaiah, John, Jesus, and many others, but still they were not
identical; so Stephen speaks of the church in the wilderness, and
Paul speaks of the church of God at Corinth, yet this proves not that
they spake of the same organization. The Greek word ekklesia, from
which we have the word church, means called out; hence, as God
called the Jews out of bondage and separated them from the
Egyptians, they were called the church in the wilderness; but they
were not the church in our sense of this word. While there were
some good people among them, yet, in the main, they were wicked,
ungrateful, and idolatrous, lacking all the elements of character,
which should characterize the spiritual church of God. The word
assembly, in Acts xix:34, is from the same word, ekklesia, rendered
church, and is used to designate a rabble that would have taken
Paul's life. Hence, the mere occurrence of the word can not identify
the same church. The word ekklesia is variously rendered church,
congregation, assembly, etc.; and we can only learn whether it is
applied to a lawless mob, a political assembly, or a religious
organization, from the context. Why, then, should the application
of this word to the Jewish


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nation prove it to the church of God? Surely it can not.
But we are referred to the olive-tree, which is claimed to have
been a figure of the Jewish church, into which the Gentiles were
engrafted; hence it is but the same church under both dispensations.
As this is an important argument, let us somewhat carefully examine
it. Paul says: "For if the first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy, ...
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild
olive-tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of
the root and fatness of the olive-tree; boast not against the branches.
But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou
will say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted
in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off; and thou
standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear; for if God spared not
the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee. Behold
therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell
severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his
goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they
abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft
them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive-tree which is wild
by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive-tree;
how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be
grafted into their own olive-tree?" Rom. xi:16-24.
In the first place, we remark that this passage says not a word
about when the good olive-tree began, whether in the days of
Abraham or on the day of Pentecost. In the next place, the natural
and unnatural branches were supported by the root, and alike had
to be grafted in. In the next place, those broken off were broken off
for unbelief,


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and those who stood, stood by faith. Infants can not exercise faith,
nor is it probable that they are rejected for unbelief; hence, it can
not apply to them in any sense. And if this good olive-tree
represents the church, it is certain that it can not represent the
Jewish church, because its branches stood by faith and were rejected
for unbelief. Infants were in the Jewish church, hence the olive-tree
could not represent it. The root, which gave support to all the
members or branches, represents Christ. Isaiah says: "And in that
day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of
the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek." Isa. xi:10. Paul quotes this
language in this same letter to the Romans as fulfilled in Christ. He
says: "Isais saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise
to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust." Rom.
xv:12. The same thought is presented in the figure of the vine and its
branches. Jesus says: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the
husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh
away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may
bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I
have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch can
not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye,
except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches." John
xv:1-5. Jesus, as the promised seed of Abraham in whom all nations
were to be blessed, was the root of the good olive-tree or church
established on the day of Pentecost among the Jews or natural
descendants of Abraham, who very soon went back into Judaism
and rejected the Messiah, and were thus broken off for their
unbelief, and the Gentiles were brought in, and to-day stand by
faith, but the Jews are not yet grafted in again, because they abide
still in unbelief.


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But as all the members stand by faith, or fall by unbelief,
infants are entirely out of the question. It can not embrace them. But
we are referred to the language of James: "After this I will build
again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build
again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." Acts xv:16. It is assumed
that the tabernacle of David here means the Jewish church. But what
may we not prove by assumption? Isaiah says: "And in mercy shall
the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the
tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting
righteousness." Isa. xvi:5. The throne of David was long unoccupied
by any descendant of his, and it was predicted that that throne
should be re-established in his family. Hence says Peter: "Therefore
being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to
him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh he would
raise up Christ to sit on his throne." Acts ii:30. Thus the tabernacle
of David was simply the family of David, from which Christ was
raised up to sit upon his throne -- Christ was the fruit of his loins,
according to the flesh. It had no allusion to such a thing as the church
of David. Did David have a church? Mr. Robinson, a celebrated
pedobaptist Lexicographer, in defining the Greek word from which
we have the word tabernacle in the above quotation, says:
"Metaphorically, for the family, or royal line of David, fallen into
weakness and decay." Louisville Debate, p. 78.
It occurs to us that if the Jewish church and the Christian church
are the same, the Jews' religion and the Christian religion are the
same. Paul was zealous in the Jews' religion while persecuting
Christians. He says: "My manner of life from my youth, which was
at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, knew all the Jews;


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which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after
the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." Acts xxvi:4, 5.
And again: "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the
Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of
God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews' religion above many
my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of
the traditions of my fathers." Gal. i:13, 14. Once more: "I persecuted
the church of God." 1 Cor. xv:9. From these quotations it is evident
that the Jewish and Christian religions differed very widely. While
Paul was a rigid adherent to the Jewish religion, he was a most
fanatical persecutor of the Christian religion. Nor will it change the
argument to admit that he was mistaken in his views of Christianity,
for had he been imbued with the spirit of the Christian religion he
could not have given encouragement to the murder of Stephen, and
the persecution of Christians, even granting them to have been
wicked as he regarded them. The spirit which characterized him as
a Jew, is not the spirit of Christianity at all. And while at this point,
we would refer the reader to the sermon on the mount, where he
may find a most wonderful and striking contrast in the principles of
the Jewish and Christian religions. While one was a system of
retaliation, sensuality, and revenge, the other is a system of love,
mercy, good for evil, and self-denial. Can fruits so very different be
the product of the same religion in the same church? Can the same
fountain send forth bitter water and sweet? Surely no two
organizations could be more different; and yet infant baptism derives
its chief support from their supposed identity.
But we propose to show that there was no such thing as infant
membership in the church in the days of the


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apostles. Paul says: "Those members of the body which seem to be
more feeble are necessary." 1 Cor. xii:22. Are infants the more
feeble members? If so, for what are they necessary? "That the
members should have the same care one for another." Verse 25.
What care has an infant for any one as a member of the church of
God? "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with
it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it."
Verse 26. All the members sympathize with each other in time of
distress; and rejoice in times of honor with the honored ones. They
rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Infants can not do this, and as all did do it, there could have been
no infants among them. We are aware that the word all must
sometimes be understood in a limited sense, but we are not sure that
it may be so understood here. The language seems to individualize
the whole body. When one member suffers all the members suffer
with it. When one member rejoices all rejoice.
When Ananias and Sapphira were put to death, it is said that
"Great fear came upon all the church." Acts v:11. Were the little
infants alarmed lest some great calamity should come upon the
church? If not, none were in the church at that time, for such was
the feeling of the church -- all the church.
When the difficulty arose concerning circumcision, and Paul
and Barnabas placed the matter before the church at Jerusalem, it
pleased "the apostles and elders, with the WHOLE CHURCH, to
send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and
Barnabas." Acts xv:22. We know that the church may do things
without every member engaging in the work, but in such cases it
could not be said that it pleased the WHOLE church. When it is
said that the WHOLE church did a thing, we


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are inclined to think that every member, great and small, engaged in
it. Infants could not take part in such a settlement as the one
referred to, and as the whole church did take part in, and sanction
what was done, it follows that there were no infants in the church.
Paul gives us an instructive lesson on this subject: He says:
"From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by
that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working
in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the
edifying of itself in love." Eph. iv:16. Here we learn that the great
business of the church is to edify itself and convert sinners, that it
may increase the number of the saved in the body. And in order to
do this, every joint must supply some assistance, that the whole
body be engaged in the work. The apostle declares that there must
be an effectual working in the measure of every part. We not only
have the whole body here engaged, but every part is effectually
working. Can infants effectually work for the salvation of men and
the edification of the church? If not, they have no place in it.
Peter says: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable
to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. ii:5. The church is not made of dead,
inactive material, but of active, lively members who can work in
God's building. They are spiritual priests, whose business it is to
offer spiritual sacrifices -- not mere lumps of flesh, without any
spirituality connected with them. Can infants be thus actively
engaged as lively stones in this great spiritual temple? If not, they
have no place in it. There is no function belonging to the body
which they can perform, unless it be to weep with them that weep.
They do not know the Lord, and hence can not make spiritual


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sacrifices to Him, and therefore, have no place in the church of
God on the earth.
We come now to examine the argument based upon the
assumption that baptism came in the room of circumcision, and as
infants were circumcised in the Jewish church they must now be
baptized. Though in former days this was regarded as the chief
argument supporting the practice, it has become about obsolete.
Watson, in his "Institutes," makes it his strongest argument, and so
did Rice, Hughey, and other debaters; yet Mr. Ditzler says they were
all wrong -- that baptism did not come in the room of circumcision,
and that the argument drawn from that source must be abandoned.
He, though the recognized champion in pedobaptist ranks, makes no
argument based upon that hypothesis in support of his practice. Is
not this significant? When a practice is to be supported for a time
from one stand-point, and when driven from it, positions are shifted,
and the same practice supported from other considerations, equally
doubtful, we are inclined to regard it as of doubtful authority, and
hard to defend, to say the least of it.
But why shall we consume time in the examination of an
absolete argument? Because it still has a place in the standard works
and text-books of the various parties who practice infant baptism,
and some may still be inclined to regard it as important, for long
cherished arguments are usually abandoned reluctantly. But as this
argument has its root in the doctrine of the identity of the Jewish
and Christian churches, it necessarily falls with that theory. We will,
however, present some additional arguments, designed to show that
baptism did not come in the room of circumcision.
1. Circumcision was confined to the Jews, and those


Who Should Be Baptized?
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purchased with money by them; baptism is for all nations.
2. Circumcision was to be performed on native Jews at eight
days old; baptism is for any age capable of believing the gospel.
3. Circumcision was confined to males only; baptism is for men
and women. If baptism came in the room of circumcision, why
baptize females?
4. Circumcision applied to those bought with money; baptism
has no such application. No Christian man thinks of baptizing a
servant, simply because of purchase; but why not, if baptism came
in the room of circumcision?
5. No faith was required as a qualification for circumcision; but
believers only are baptized. When the eunuch demanded baptism of
Philip, the answer was: "If thou believest with all thy heart, thou
mayest," clearly implying that if he did not believe he should not be
baptized.
6. Circumcision was not an initiatory ordinance, but was for
such as were already members of the Jewish family; and if not
circumcised he was to be cut off from his people. Gen. xvii:14.
Baptism, properly administered, admits or introduces the subject
into the kingdom of God (John iii:5); therefore, baptism did not
come in the room of circumcision.
7. Circumcision showed a man to be a Jew; baptism shows a
man to be neither a Jew nor a Gentile, but a Christian only.
8. Baptism is administered in the name of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit. Circumcision was not thus administered.
9. Baptism is administered to show the burial and resurrection
of Christ. Circumcision was not administered


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for this purpose, because these events had not transpired when it
was instituted, nor for many hundred years afterward.
10. Circumcision placed a man under obligations to do the
whole law; baptism frees us from bondage, and puts no one under
the law of Moses; hence it came not in the room of circumcision.
11. Baptism is administered for the remission of sins (Acts
ii:38); circumcision had no such object.
12. Baptism is for the answer of a good conscience (1 Peter
iii:21); circumcision had nothing to do with the conscience, but
pertained wholly to the flesh.
13. Those baptized went on their way rejoicing (Acts viii:39;
xvi:34); we imagine that those who were circumcised were usually
taken away crying. Therefore they were not much alike.
14. Circumcision was obedience to the law of Moses (John
vii:23); baptism is obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
15. No one can be a scriptural subject of baptism who is not
first taught the gospel; but many were circumcised before they were
old enough to be taught any thing.
16. The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised to those baptized
on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii:38); this gift was never promised to
any for being circumcised, or, as following it.
This list of distinctions might be extended much further, but
these are enough to show, to every reflecting mind, that there is not
a shadow of resemblance in baptism to circumcision, and that one
came not in the room of the other. But there arose a difficulty in the
church in the days of the apostles concerning circumcision, which
it seems to us would have been a good time to have settled this
whole question. "Certain men which came down


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from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised
after the manner of Moses, ye can not be saved. When therefore
Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with
them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of
them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about
this question. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were
received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they
declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up
certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it
was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the
law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to
consider of this matter." Acts xv:1-6. Had the apostles only thought
of the fact that circumcision had given place to baptism, which had
taken its place, they would have answered something after the
following style: "Brethren, there need be no difficulty about
circumcision, for baptism has come in its place, and hence you need
only now be baptized, and have your children baptized, in place of
having them circumcised, as under the law." Would not such an
answer have been most natural under the circumstances? Did they
so answer? Peter said: "Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the
neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to
bear?" Verse 10. But he said not a word about baptism in room of
circumcision. After due deliberation these inspired teachers wrote
an answer as follows: "The apostles, and elders, and brethren, send
greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch, and
Syria, and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which
went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your
souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law; to whom
we gave no such commandment;


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it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to
send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul.
For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon
you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain
from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things
strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves,
ye shall do well. Fare ye well." Verses 23-29. Now, be it observed
that this letter was written by the apostles and elders, from the
church at Jerusalem, who had duly considered the question of
circumcision, and it was approved by the Holy Spirit; and yet it
contains not a word about baptism coming in the room of
circumcision; and circumcision was the very thing about which the
difficulty arose! Would a pedobaptist council now write thus?
Would they not more probably write something after the following
style: "Brethren, you need not now be circumcised, for baptism has
taken its place. If you, therefore, have your children baptized and
abstain from circumcision, you shall do well?" Paul labors this
question at great length in his letter to the Galatians, who were
inclined to go back to the law. He says: "Stand fast therefore in the
liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled
again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that
if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing; for I testify
again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the
whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you. Whosoever of
you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace. For we through
the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith; for in Jesus
Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision,
but faith which worketh by love." Gal. v:14. Is it not strange that,
while Paul was making this argument to keep his brethren from
being circumcised, he


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never once thought of the fact that baptism came in the room of
circumcision? Had he informed them of this fact it would have settled
the question forever. But he could think of every other argument
except this, the most important of all. He told them it was a yoke of
bondage, from which to keep themselves free; that if circumcised
they would have to keep the whole law; that they would lose all
their hopes of salvation through Christ; that they would fall from
grace; that in Christ circumcision could not avail them any thing; all
this, but never once said, "Brethren, you need not be circumcised,
for baptism has taken its place." Why did he not think of it? Will the
reader think of it?
But we insist that baptism did not come in the room of circumcision
from another consideration: both were in force, under the
same covenant, among the same people, at the same time. We have
seen that circumcision was instituted in the family of Abraham for
the Jewish nation, and that the covenant to which it belonged was
not taken out of the way until the death of Christ; hence it was in
force up to the time of His death. John's ministry was confined to the
Jews, and ended before Christ began to preach. See Matt. iv:12-17.
Then, John's ministry began and ended during the existence of the
covenant of circumcision; and his baptism and Jewish circumcision
were both binding among the same people at the same time -- with
this difference only: infants were circumcised at eight days old;
those only were baptized who had sinned and were willing to
confess and forsake their sins. As circumcision and John's baptism
were both in force at the same time, under the same covenant among
the same people, how could one be in the place of the other?
Again: If baptism came in the room of circumcision, why was it
necessary for Jews who had been circumcised


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to still be baptized? We have stated that John's ministry was
confined to the Jews who had been circumcised, and yet he baptized
vast numbers of them. The Pharisees were the straitest sect of the
Jews, and were so zealous for the law of circumcision that they even
wanted to bind it upon Gentiles after conversion to Christianity, and
yet the "Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against
themselves, being not baptized of him." Luke vii:30. It may be that
they made their objection to John's baptism because they had been
circumcised; we suppose not; but whether they did or did not, one
thing is certain; namely, it was the counsel of God that they should
be baptized notwithstanding their circumcision. On the day of
Pentecost the gospel was preached to Jews, who were commanded
to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and three
thousand of them were baptized, though, as Jews, they had all been
circumcised. And Paul was a Pharisee, brought up at the feet of
Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law
touching which he was blameless; yet, under special instructions
from the Lord, Ananias commanded him to "be baptized and wash
away his sins." Acts xxii:16. Might he not have expostulated with
the man of God thus: "Sir, I am a Jew, and have been circumcised;
and as baptism came in the room of circumcision, however,
important it may be to a Gentile, it can not be obligatory on me, as
I have complied with the rite in the room of which it came, and for
which it is a substitute? Why should I submit to the substitute,
having received the original?" Surely, such a plea would have been
in harmony with the theory. But, as no such plea was made by any
Jew, but every one of them converted to the faith of the gospel had
to be baptized notwithstanding his circumcision, we conclude that
circumcision passed away with the old covenant, of which it was a
part, and


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that baptism has no connection with it whatever. Indeed, as
circumcision belonged to the old covenant which has passed away,
baptism can not be in the place of circumcision, for it has no place.
The covenant in which it had a place being gone, it would be quite
as sensible to speak of a man having a place in a house which had
been burned to ashes. A place in the house he may have had when
it was a house, but when it ceased to exist he could no longer have
a place in it. So, when the covenant to which circumcision belonged
passed away its place passed away, and it is idle to talk of any thing
coming in and filling its place. It has no place only in Jewish
history.
But it is said that circumcision was a seal of the Jewish covenant,
and that baptism is the seal of the new covenant, hence one is
in the place of the other -- i.e., baptism sustains the same
relationship to the new covenant which circumcision sustained to
the old. Well, let us examine this theory. And, first, the reader will
note the fact that this argument -- or, rather, theory -- abandons the
whole doctrine of church identity based upon an identity of the
covenants. Waving this, however, we will examine the theory upon
its merits. God said: "And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your
foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and
you." Gen. xvii:11. Here we find circumcision called a token, but
not a seal of the covenant. Paul says Abraham "received the sign of
circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had
yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that
believe, though they be not circumcised." Rom. iv:11. Here
circumcision was a seal of the righteousness of Abraham's faith, not
a seal of the covenant. And circumcision was to Abraham what it
was to no other Jew. It was a seal of the righteousness of the faith
which he had before he was circumcised. How much faith could a
Jewish


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infant have before it was eight days old? Of course, none at all; and
hence, circumcision could not seal the righteousness of the faith of
those who had no faith.
But is baptism the seal of the new covenant? If so, where is the
scripture which proves or teaches it? As to the covenant itself, it
came nearer being sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ than by
baptism; and the subjects are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Paul says:
"In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the
gospel of your salvation; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Eph. i:13. And again:
"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the
day of redemption." Eph. iv:30. Thus we see that persons converted
to God under the new covenant are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and
not by baptism; nor is it even once called the seal, or a seal in all the
book of God. Hence, if any thing sustains the same relation to the
new covenant which circumcision did to the old, as taught by
pedobaptists, it is the Holy Spirit. Thus, were we to grant that
circumcision was the seal of the Jewish covenant -- or, rather, were
it true -- it would only be another evidence that baptism did not
come in its place, for baptism is not a seal, nor is it anywhere called
one. It comes much nearer performing, under the new covenant, the
office which the natural birth did to a Jew under the old. Natural
birth introduced a Jew into the Jewish commonwealth, or so-called
church, and a birth of water and Spirit introduces men and women
into the kingdom or church of God. Hence, there is some analogy
between the natural birth of a Jew and the new birth which makes
a man a child of God or a Christian, but none whatever between
baptism and Jewish circumcision.
But suppose we admit, for a moment, that circumcision was the
seal of the Jewish covenant, and that it is still in


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force, the seal being changed to baptism, then it follows that every
Jew who is baptized is twice sealed in the same covenant -- once
with the sign of circumcision and once in baptism. Hence, if
circumcision and baptism may be, and were administered to the same
subject under the same covenant, why will not pedobaptists
rebaptize those who become dissatisfied with a baptism received in
infancy? If the same persons may be twice sealed in the same
covenant -- once by circumcision, and again by baptism after it
became a substitute for the former, then we see not why others may
not be twice sealed by baptism upon the same principle. If they may
receive the original and then the substitute, why not twice receive
the substitute? Those who can, may explain; we can not.
We close our examination of the covenants with Paul's allegory.
He says: "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear
the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a
bond-maid and the other by a free woman. But he that was of the
bond-woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was
by promise; which things are an allegory; for these are the two
covenants; for this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to
Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children, but
Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For
it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and
cry, thou that travaileth not: for the desolate hath many more
children than she which hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac
was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after
the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even as it is
now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bond-
woman and her son: for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir
with the son of the free woman. So, then,


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brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free."
Gal. iv:21-31. In this allegory, Abraham's bond-woman Hagar
represents the covenant made at Sinai, and his lawful wife Sarah
represents the new covenant, of which Jesus Christ is the mediator.
Each of these women had a son by Abraham. Hagar's son was born
after the flesh, Sarah's son Isaac was given her by promise when she
was past age. The question arose whether the child of the bond-
woman should inherit Abraham's estate equal with the son of the
free. God decided that he should not be heir with the son of the free
woman, and ordered the bond-woman and her son to be cast out.
Paul uses this circumstance to illustrate the two covenants. As the
Sinaitic covenant required no spiritual qualifications for membership
but a birth of flesh only, it was fitly represented by the woman
whose son was born according to the flesh, and was rejected. But as
the new covenant required spiritual qualifications for membership,
and conferred spiritual blessings upon the subjects of it through
Christ, it was fitly represented by the lawful wife, whose son Isaac
was, the child of promise and the seed of Abraham, from whom
Christ the mediator of the new covenant should come. And Paul
says we, as Isaac was, are the children of promise; not children of
the bond-woman, but of the free. As the free woman represented the
new covenant and we are children of the free woman, it follows that
we are children of the new covenant represented by the free woman,
whose children we are. And as God commanded to cast out the
bond-woman and her son, which represented the old covenant and
its membership, it follows that no one can inherit the spiritual
privileges of the new covenant as a subject of the one which has
waxed old and been cast out with its membership.
Nor will it do to assume that this bond-woman simply


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represented the covenant made at Sinai, but did not include the
covenant made with Abraham, for we have already seen that the
covenant made with Abraham was renewed with Isaac, Jacob, and
Moses (See Deut. xxix:19); and even the covenant of circumcision
originally given to Abraham was incorporated in and became part of
the law of Moses. Jesus says: "If a man on the sabbath day receive
circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye
angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the
sabbath day?" John vii:23. Then, as circumcision, which
pedobaptists tell us was the seal of the Abrahamic covenant, became
part of the law of Moses or covenant made at Sinai, surely the
covenant did also, for the seal would not have been transferred
without the covenant to which it belonged. Then, as these were
merged into the covenant made at Sinai, which was represented by
the bond-woman and her son who were cast out, it follows that that
covenant and the Jewish church based upon it, with its membership,
are gone, forever gone. "So, then, brethren, we are not children of
the bondwoman, but of the free," thank God.
We come now to examine the argument based upon Jewish
proselyte baptism. It is assumed that the Jews, from the days of
Jacob until now, have baptized female proselytes, and both baptized
and circumcised male proselytes; and when they baptized parents
they also baptized their children. The theory appears to be
somewhat inconsistent, to say the least of it. Both circumcision and
baptism practiced at the same time, among the same people, upon
the same subjects, under the same covenant, and yet one came in the
room of the other! Really, if both were in existence from the days of
Jacob until the coming of the Messiah, it would seem that if He did
any thing with them He rather consolidated them than substituted
one for the


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other. Among the Jews, it seems that each is in its own place for if
both were practiced under the old covenant, each had a place; and
as both are practiced now, we suppose they have not changed places
yet. But as pedobaptists admit that circumcision has passed away,
but contend that baptism has taken its place, we feel a little curious
to know what place it filled under the old covenant when
circumcision was in its own place. If baptism is the seal under the
new covenant, what office did it fill in the old covenant when
circumcision was the seal? Leaving those who advocate the theories
to harmonize them at their leisure, we propose to examine the
testimony concerning the baptism of Jewish proselytes, and see
whether or not it was practiced from the days of Jacob, or even
before the days of John the Baptist. And we will first hear what
eminent pedobaptists, who have given the subject a careful and
thorough examination, say about:
1. "Part of John's office consisted in baptizing as an external rite,
then in a particular manner appointed of God, and not used before."
Venema, in Booth Abridged, p. 161.
2. When speaking of John the Baptist and his ministry,
Gerhardus asks: "Who would have embraced that new and hitherto
unusual ceremony, baptism, without sufficient previous
information." Gerhardus, in Booth Abridged, p. 161.
3. "Why, then, baptizest thou? Hence, it appears the Jews were
not ignorant that there should be some alteration in the rites of
religion under the Messiah, which they might easily learn from Jer.
xxxi. John most pertinently answers, professing that he was not the
author, but only the administrator, of this new rite." Beza, in Booth
Abridged, p. 161.
4. "The baptism of proselytes, in our opinion, seems to have
been received by the Jews after the time of John the


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Baptist, being very much influenced by his authority, and greatly
admiring him. Certainly, it can not be proved by any substantial
testimony, that it was in use among the Jews before the time of John."
Deylingius, in Booth, p. 162.
5. "In fine, we are destitute of any early testimony to the
practice of proselyte baptism antecedently to the Christian era. The
original institution of admitting Jews to the covenant, and strangers
to the same, prescribed no other rite than that of circumcision. No
account of any other is found in the Old Testament; none in the
Apocrypha, New Testament, Targums of Onkelos, Jonathan, Joseph
the Blind, or in the work of any other Targumist, excepting Pseudo-
Jonathan, whose work belongs to the seventh or eighth centuries.
No evidence is found in Philo, Josephus, or any of the earlier
Christian writers. How could an allusion to such a rite have escaped
them all if it were as common and as much required by usage as
circumcision?" Stuart on Baptism, p. 140.
Again he says: "Be this as it may, or be the origin of proselyte
baptism as it may, I can not see that there is any adequate evidence
for believing that it existed contemporarily with the baptism of John
and of Jesus. But what has all this to do with the question, What
was the ancient mode of baptism? Much; for it is on all hands
conceded that, so far as the testimony of the Rabbis can decide such
a point, the baptism of proselytes among the Jews was by
immersion. It is, therefore, a matter of no little interest, so far
as our question is concerned, to inquire whether Christian baptism
had its origin from the proselyte baptism of the Jews. This we have
done, and have come to this result, viz.: that there is no certainty
that such was the case, but that the probability, on the ground of
evidence, is strong against it." Ibid, p. 142.


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6. "But independently of its supposed scriptural sanction, an
attempt has been made to prove this usage in the apostolic age, upon
the alleged fact that the Jews then baptized proselytes from
heathenism. Now, this alleged fact of the baptism of proselytes is
very uncertain, and, even if admitted, would by no means establish
the apostolic usage of infant baptism. The baptism of proselytes is
first mentioned in the Mishna, a collection of Jewish traditions,
completed in the third century [A.D. 219]; and the usage there
mentioned (baptism of adults and infants) might have been derived,
directly or indirectly, from Christians." Dr. Blunt, in Louisville
Debate, p. 105
With regard to the silence of Josephus on the subject, Dr. Blunt
very justly remarks: "But whether this supposed Jewish usage existed
at all (among Jews or Christians) in the apostolic age is uncertain.
It is not mentioned by Josephus, even when we might fairly expect
that it would have been recorded -- as when he relates that the
Idumeans were received among the Jewish people by circumcision,
without mentioning baptism. Were the usage undoubted, it would
only have been an unauthorized addition to the scriptural command,
since it was by circumcision only that proselytes were to be added
to the Jewish Church. Ex. xii:48." Ut supra.
On this subject Prof. Stuart says: "Nay, there is one passage in
Josephus which seems to afford strong ground of suspicion that the
rite in question was unknown at a period not long antecedent to the
time of the apostles. This author is relating the history of John
Hyrcanus, high priest and king of the Jews, a zealous Pharisee, and
one who, according to Josephus, was favored with divine
revelations. He says that Hyrcanus took certain cities from the
Idumeans; 'And he commanded, after subduing all the Idumeans,
that they should remain in their country if


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443
they would circumcise themselves and conform to the Jewish
customs. Then they, through love of their country, underwent
circumcision, and submitted to other modes of living which were
Jewish; and from that time they became Jews.' Ant. xiii:9, 1." Stuart
on Baptism, p. 129.
Now, is it not a little strange that Josephus should mention the
circumcision of persons who became Jews, and say not one word
about their baptism, when, if the Jews both circumcised and
baptized their proselytes, they must have baptized these very
persons which he speaks of being circumcised?
But we are not done with the testimony of Dr. Blunt yet. He
says: "It is, however, very unlikely that the Jews would adopt the
usage of baptism from the Christians; and the Mishna being founded
on previous collections reaching to the apostolic age, there is just a
probability that at the time of our Lord and His apostles the Jewish
custom prevailed of baptizing proselytes and their children. Even
admitting this, yet before this custom can be alleged in proof or
confirmation of apostolic usage, it must be proved that the Jewish
custom was adopted by our Lord and His apostles; but of this
neither the Scriptures nor the early fathers offered any proof
whatever. Besides, it should be considered that the baptism of
proselytes widely differs in theory from the Christian doctrine of
baptism. The convert to Judaism was baptized, and all his family
then born; but if he had children born afterward, they were not
baptized, the previous baptism of their parents being deemed
sufficient." Blunt, in Louisville Debate, p. 105.
Thus testify pedobaptists themselves on the whole question of
Jewish proselyte baptism; and so far from tracing it back to the days
of Jacob, it goes back to sometime in the third century, when even
the church, to say nothing of Judaism, was full of heresy and
corruption.


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From that time it has been practiced as claimed by pedobaptists, but
all behind that is doubt and speculation.
But Dr. Robinson says: "Purifications of proselytes indeed there
were, but there never was any such ceremony as baptism in practice
before the time of John. If such a rite had existed, the regular priests,
and not John, would have administered it, and there would have
been no need of a new and extraordinary appointment from heaven
to give being to an old established custom; nor would it have been
decent for John, or any other man, to treat native Jews -- especially
Jesus, who had no paganism to put away -- as pagan proselytes were
treated. This uninteresting subject hath produced voluminous
disputes, which may be fairly cut short by demanding at the outset
substantial proof of the fact that the Jews baptized proselytes before
the time of John -- which can never be done." Robinson, in
Louisville Debate, p. 104.
Again, the same author says: "The modest Dr. Benson was
pleased to and that he wished to see all these difficulties cleared up,
and that he could not answer all that Dr. Wall and Mr. Emlyn had
said in support of proselyte baptism; but, with all possible deference
to this most excellent critic, it may be truly said he hath, by stating
his difficulties, fully answered both these writers; for what they call
proselyte baptism was not baptism, and if there was no institution
of such a washing as they call baptism in the Old Testament, and no
mention of such a thing in the Apocrypha, or in Josephus, or in
Philo, what, at this age of the world, signify the conjectures of a
Lightfoot, and a Wall, or even an Emlyn?"
On the subject of Jewish washings, which some have been
inclined to call baptism, he says: "A fact it is, beyond all
contradiction, that this same proselyte washing, which learned
men have thought fit to call baptism, is no


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baptism at all, but, as Dr. Benson truly says, a very different thing,
and that in which infants could have no share. It was a person's
washing himself, and not the dipping of one person by another."
Robinson, in Louisville Debate, p. 104.
We could well afford to rest the argument with the authors
quoted, but at the risk of being tedious we will offer a few thoughts
for the consideration of the reader not suggested in the foregoing
quotations.
These authors concede that the Bible furnishes not a trace of
authority for the baptism of proselytes by the Jews, nor any account
of a single example of it. Surely, then, divine authority can not be
claimed for it; hence, it can furnish no authority for the baptism of
infants, though we were to grant that it had been practiced from the
days of Adam. If the practice began with man, without divine
sanction, how can it furnish authority for any thing? Are we to
conclude that the Lord borrowed the idea of baptism from the
unauthorized practice of men when He sent John to baptize the
people? When Jesus asked the people whether the baptism of John
was from heaven or of men, they might have promptly answered that
it was of men if it had come from the unauthorized practice of men.
And it dare not be assumed that God authorized the practice. Let
him that so assumes produce the passage of Holy Writ that proves
it. God instituted circumcision, and we can find an account of it, and
a record of cases under the law; why can we not do the same as to
the baptism of Jewish proselytes? When a stranger would keep the
passover among the Jews, God gave the law for it. "When a stranger
shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let
all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep
it, and he shall be as one that is born in the land; for no
uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.


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One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger
that sojourneth among you." Ex. xii:48, 49. Is it not strange that the
Lord did not say: "Let all his males be circumcised, and his males
and females be baptized, and then let him come near and keep it?"
Surely, it would have been a good time to make the suggestion. But
it is not contended that native Jews were to be baptized, but only
proselytes; and here the Lord says one law shall be to him that is
home-born, and unto the stranger; hence, as the home-born were
only circumcised, it follows that nothing more was required of
strangers, at least to prepare for eating the passover, and we suppose
when any one could eat the passover he was in full fellowship. We
regard this as settling the question as far as authority is concerned.
But if further proof be desirable, it may be found in the official
title of John THE Baptist. If others had been baptizing since the
days of Jacob, why call John the Baptist? A baptist he might have
been, but THE Baptist he could not have been, for the Jewish priests
would have been baptists as well as John. Indeed, it would not have
required a special appointment from God to authorize John to do
that which any Jewish priest could do, and had been doing, for ages.
Is it not a little strange that the Lord should give a commission
to the apostles to baptize the nations, and yet leave those who are
to submit to it to eliminate their duty from Jewish talmuds and
targums in place of from His law? On this subject we wish to give
the reader the benefit of a paragraph from the illustrious Booth. He
says: "If, therefore, we obtain the useful intelligence about it, so as
to help us in settling who are the subjects of our Sovereign's
appointment, it must be by having recourse to the Jewish synagogue.
Now, is it not far more probable


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447
that Christ intended his own commission for the observance of
baptism as the only law of administration, and the practice of His
apostles as the only example for His people to follow, than that He
should leave either its mode or subjects to be learned from the
traditions of an apostate people, or the records of their admired but
impious talmuds? Can it be imagined that our Lord should appoint
baptism for all his disciples; that He should give them a body of
doctrine and a code of law in the New Testament; and, after all,
tacitly refer them to the writings of His enemies; those writings
which are the register of their own pride, and madness, and shame;
writings, too, of which perhaps a great majority of Christians never
heard, nor had in their power to read, in order to learn whom He
intended to be baptized?" Booth Abridged, p. 166.
All the premises considered, it is quite apparent that there was
no such thing as the baptism of Jewish proselytes until long after the
introduction of Christianity, from which the practice was borrowed
by the Jews. If any one thinks he can find an example of Jewish
proselyte baptism earlier than two hundred years after John began
to baptize, let him name the case, tell who he was, where it was
done, and by whom. All this we can do as to John's baptism and
Christian baptism from their introduction; why may it not be done
with reference to the baptism of Jewish proselytes, if indeed they
were baptized at all? As neither command nor example can be
produced antedating Christianity, we conclude there was no such
practice, and dismiss the subject with the question, upon which the
reader may reflect at his leisure, whether it is more likely that the
Lord borrowed the idea of baptism from an unauthorized Jewish
custom, or whether the Jews borrowed the practice from John and
primitive Christians?
We congratulate the reader upon his escape from Jewish


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covenants, talmuds, targums, and antiquated rites and ceremonies,
and take much pleasure in introducing him to the New Testament,
where we may at least find the word baptism, baptize, baptist, or
some word akin to the subject under examination. Baptism is
confessedly a New Testament ordinance, and why we should go to
Jewish commands, talmuds, targums, any where and every where
save the New Testament, to examine a question of purely New
Testament origin, is, to say the least, a little strange. As we are in the
negative of the question, we must go where others lead; but if the
practice of infant baptism were clearly taught in the New
Testament, it is likely we should be spared the trouble of looking for
it elsewhere.
As John was the first to baptize the people, it may be well to see
whether or not he baptized any infants. The record says: "Then went
out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about
Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
Matt. iii:5, 6. "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out
unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all
baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins." Mark
i:4, 5. "And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching
the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Luke iii:3.
These quotations are deemed sufficient to give us a pretty clear
view of John's baptism, so far as the present inquiry is concerned.
They show us, with great clearness, that John's baptism was for the
remission of sins; infants have no sins to be remitted, hence it was
not for them. Nor could it have been the guilt of original sin, for the
removal of which John baptized the people -- i.e., the dear babes,
for then it must have been, not for the remission of


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sins, but for the remission of a sin -- Adam's sin. And the scriptures
quoted show that the people were all baptized by John in Jordan,
confessing THEIR sins, not Adam's sin; hence, it was for the
remission of the sins of the people that they were baptized. Again:
These persons were not only baptized for the remission of sins, but
they confessed their sins. This infants could not do, hence there
were no infants baptized by John. Paul says: "John verily baptized
with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they
should believe on him which should come after him; that is, on
Christ Jesus." Acts xix:4. Thus we see that faith in a coming Saviour
was enjoined by John upon those he baptized. Infants could not
have appreciated such preaching or exercised such faith, therefore
they were not subjects of John's ministry. Finally: John preached the
baptism of repentance; that is, it was a baptism which belonged to
and grew out of repentance; infants can not repent, therefore the
baptism of repentance was not for them. Collating these items then,
we find that John preached -- the people heard, believed, repented,
confessed their sins, and were baptized by John for the remission of
them. Infants were not competent to do these things, hence they
were not the subjects of John's preaching or baptism.
We come now to an examination of the commission given by the
Lord, a record of which we have by Matthew in the following
words: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth go ye,
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matt. xxviii:
18-20.
This is truly an important text and well deserves our most
serious consideration. John's mission was confined


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to the Jews, and so was that of the twelve and the seventy prior to
the death of Jesus; now He claims all authority in heaven and on
earth and for the first time authorizes the baptism of the Gentiles.
His language, then, must be regarded as the organic law of this
divine institution, and not as a merely incidental allusion to the
subject. It not only furnishes authority for baptizing all nations, but
gives the only formula contained in Holy Writ in which the sacred
rite is to be administered. The word teach occurs twice in the
passage, and is from different Greek words, a circumstance which
has given rise to much speculation on the subject to very little profit.
It is insisted that mathetusate, rendered teaching, means to make
disciples; and suppose it does. What is a disciple? A student, or
learner; and could there be such a thing as a student without
teaching? Where there is a student there must be something to study.
Hence, the obvious import of the passage is, teach first the
elementary principles of the gospel, so that the people may believe
in Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour of man; then baptize them
into the sacred names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; then further
teach them how to live the Christian life.
Mr. Baxter says: "Go disciple me all nations, baptizing them.
As for those who say they are discipled by baptizing, and not before
baptizing, they speak not the sense of that text, or that which is true
or rational, if they mean it absolutely as so spoken; else why should
one be baptized more than another? This is not a mere occasional
or historical mention of baptism, but it is the very commission of
Christ to His apostles for preaching and baptizing, and purposely
expresseth their several works in their several places and order.
Their first task is, by teaching to make disciples, which are by Mark
called believers. The second work is, to baptize them, whereto is


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annexed the promise of their salvation. The third work is to teach
them all other things which are afterward to be learned in the school
of Christ. To condemn this order is to renounce all rules of order,
for where can we expect to find it if not here?" Booth Abridged, p.
202.
BRUGONSIS says: "Christ commanded first to teach the nations
that are strangers to God and the truth; afterward, when they have
submitted to the truth, to teach them those precepts and rules of life
which are worthy of God and the truth. The order here observed,
says Jerome, is excellent. He commands the apostles first to teach
all nations; then to dip them with the sacrament of faith; and then
to show them how they should behave themselves after their faith
and baptism. Before baptism, they are to be taught the truth of the
gospel, especially matters of faith; after baptism, they are to be
instructed in the Christian morals, and what concerns their practice."
Booth Abridged, pp. 203, 204.
These statements made by pedobaptists we will regard as so
obviously correct that further comment is unnecessary; we will
regard this as the settled meaning of the text and make our
deductions accordingly.
It is claimed that, as infants compose a part of all nations, they
are included in the command to "teach and baptize all nations." Will
those who make the argument stand by the same rule throughout?
The veriest infidel that lives is a part of all nations -- should he be
baptized for that reason? Idiots belong to all nations -- should they
therefore be baptized? If infants should be baptized because they are
a part of all nations, then there is not an atheist or an infidel which
may not be baptized for the same reason. The phrase all nations
often occurs in the Scriptures, where only a class is embraced in it.
The word ethne, rendered nations, occurs about eighty times in the


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New Testament, where the context clearly shows that infants are not
included. There are no less than eight such passages in Matthew's
gospel. We will give a few New Testament examples. "Ye shall be
hated of all nations." Matt. xxiv:9. "This gospel of the kingdom shall
be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations." Ver. 14.
"My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer." Mark
xi:17. "Made known to all nations for the obedience of faith." Rom.
xvi:26. "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made
all nations drink of the wine of her fornication." Rev. xiv:8. "All
nations shall come and worship before thee." Rev. xv:4. "By thy
sorceries were all nations deceived." Rev. xviii:23. Similar examples
may be found in the Old Testament. "I will gather all nations against
Jerusalem to battle." Zech. xiv:2. Surely, we are not to understand
by this that all the infants, idiots, and old women of all nations
were to enter the army of Titus to fight against Jerusalem. These
quotations need only be carefully read to see that in every instance
infants were excluded, though the phrase all nations was used; then
why should the same words necessarily include them in the
commission? We think they are just as clearly excluded by the
context as they are in either of the texts quoted above. "Go teach all
nations, baptizing them." Infants nor idiots are subjects of gospel
address, and can not be taught the gospel; hence, if the Lord
required the apostles to teach such the gospel, He simply required
of them an impossibility.
But worse still: If infants are included in the commission, then
it follows that they must all be lost. Mark records the commission
thus: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned." Mark xvi:16. Infants can not


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believe the gospel; hence, if the commission includes them, they
must all be damned. The language of Mark is even more
comprehensive than that of Matthew. He says teach all nations;
Mark says go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature. Surely, then, if the phrase all nations includes infants,
then every creature in all the world would none the less include
them; and if so, they can not believe; and as those who believe not
must be damned, we see no chance for the salvation of one of them
according to the pedobaptist argument based on the commission.
Again: The language of the commission makes faith a necessary
antecedent to baptism. Teach the nations, baptizing them -- he that
believeth and is baptized. Here the inference is clear that unbelievers
are not to be baptized; nay, a want of faith is sufficient to bar any
one from the sacred rite; infants can not believe, and therefore can
not be scripturally baptized under this commission. More of this
directly.
But we are now ready to make a little advance in the argument.
Having seen that the commission does not authorize infant baptism,
we respectfully suggest that it very clearly forbids the practice.
When God gave specific directions for doing any thing, it was a clear
violation of law to do it otherwise. When God commanded Noah to
build an ark of gopher wood (Gen. vi:14), it clearly implied a
prohibition to make it of cedar wood; and had he made it of cedar,
it would have been as clear a violation of God's law as though he
had not made it at all. When God commanded Moses to make a
serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole in the midst of the camps
of Israel (Num. xxi:9), it implied a prohibition to hang up a brazen
pot in the camp. When God commanded a Jew to kill a red heifer,
he dare not kill a black one, because


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it would have been a clear violation of the law. When God
commanded a Jew to offer a ewe lamb of the first year, he dare not
offer a male or an old sheep. When God commanded the apostles to
teach the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit, He clearly implied that they were not to baptize
into other names; and were any one to baptize into the names of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he would be regarded as an impious
violator of God's holy law. Then, when the Lord told the apostles
to teach all nations, baptizing them, the taught, the language as
clearly implied that they were to baptize none others, as did the
command to build the ark of gopher wood imply that he was not to
make it of cedar wood. Hence, it is just as clear a violation of the
commission to baptize an untaught infant as though the Lord had
expressly forbidden it.
That we are correct in our interpretation of the commission, may
be further seen by an examination of the various baptisms recorded
in the Acts. That the Lord made faith an indispensable antecedent
to baptism is confirmed by the fact that no case can be shown where
any were baptized without it. Believers and believers ONLY were
baptized by divine authority. With this thought specially before us,
let us examine every case on record, and see whether or not we can
find an exception. And as we proceed we may note any evidence, of
any kind, of the baptism of any infant by divine authority, if any
such there be.
1. The first baptism which occurred under the commission just
examined was the Pentecostian converts. Peter preached the gospel
to the people; thousands heard, understood, and believed it; were
cut to their hearts, and anxiously inquired what to do. Peter told
them to repent and be baptized. He would not have addressed
infants


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thus, for they could not repent; nor will it do to assume that some
were infants, for the command says every one of you. As many as
gladly received his word were baptized; no more, not another one.
This is clearly the import of the language, as many as gladly
received his word. Infants can not so receive the word, hence none
were baptized. That faith preceded their baptism is evident from the
fact that they were pricked in their hearts. This was a result of their
faith in what Peter had preached. Infants would have heard Peter
any length of time with perfect indifference, because they could not
have understood him.
2. The second case of baptism recorded was at Samaria, where
Philip preached the gospel to the people, and "when they believed
Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the
name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
Acts viii:12. When they believed Philip they were baptized, not until
then. Hence, Philip understood faith to be antecedent to baptism,
and none but men and women were baptized.
3. "Then Simon himself believed also, and when he was
baptized he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the
miracles and signs which were done." Ver. 13. In Simon's case, the
same order is observed -- preaching, hearing, faith, then baptism, but
not until then. Is not this in harmony with the commission? Preach
the gospel; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.
Preaching, hearing, faith, then baptism is the order ordained of the
Lord, and as this order can not apply to infants, it follows that
baptism was not intended for them.
4. But we have another example of baptism in this chapter. We
find that Philip preached the gospel to a distinguished Ethiopian
nobleman, who understood and believed it, and demanded baptism,
saying: "See, here is


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water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou
believest with all thy heart thou mayest. And he answered and said,
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Acts viii:36, 37. This
case most clearly shows that no one was allowed to be baptized
who did not believe with the heart in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
When this man demanded baptism, he was told that if he believed
he might be baptized, clearly implying that if he did not believe he
was not a fit subject for baptism. Who, then, has a right to improve
upon the work of Philip and baptize such as do not believe in Jesus
Christ at all? Are there two baptisms, one requiring faith to prepare
the subject for it, and another which may be administered without
faith? Paul says there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.
5. The next case recorded is that of Saul of Tarsus, afterward
called Paul, an account of which we have in the ninth and twenty-
second chapters of the Acts, which we need not stop to examine, as
no question important to our search can arise concerning it.
6. A case of much more interest and importance to our inquiry,
is the introduction of the gospel to the Gentiles at the house of
Cornelius, recorded in the tenth chapter of the Acts. Not to be
tedious in unimportant details, it is sufficient to state that Peter
visited the house of Cornelius in Caesarea, and preached the gospel
to him and his friends who were there assembled. While he spake,
the Holy Spirit fell on them who heard the word, and they of the
circumcision heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. They
were all old enough to talk, to say the least of it. And he
commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then
prayed they him to tarry certain days. Who solicited Peter to tarry
certain days? They who had been baptized; nor is there any
evidence


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that any one was baptized who did not join in this solicitation.
7. The next case recorded is the baptism of Lydia and her
household, a record of which we have in Acts xvi:15. The subject of
household baptisms has been one out of which more capital has
been made by the advocates of infant baptism than perhaps any
thing else. It is assumed that infants are in every family, and hence
were baptized when and where there was a household baptized. To
prove that infants were baptized with Lydia's household, it must be
proved. 1. That Lydia was a married woman, or at least had
children; 2. That some of these children were infants; 3. That these
infant children were with her, though she lived in Thyatira and was
then in the city of Philippi, three hundred miles from her home. We
grant that it is possible that Lydia was a married woman; but what
are the probabilities of the case? As she was three hundred miles
from home, on a mercantile mission, is it not likely that if she had
a husband he would have made the trip for her? or had she gone
without him, is it not likely that he would have taken care of the
children at home without burthening her with them? But is it likely
that a husband composed a part of her household? Surely not. As
the husband is, in the New Testament, regarded as the head of the
family, the household would have been ascribed to him rather than
to her. Nor is it at all likely that the husband would not have been
named in the narrative by the historian had he been present, for the
same writer did mention both on other occasions where they were
present. See Acts v:1; xviii:2. And there is a fair intimation by Lydia
herself that she did not have a husband; at least, if she had, that he
was not with her. She says: "If ye have judged me to be faithful to
the Lord, come into my house and abide there." Ver. 15. As


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a modest Christian woman, it is not likely that she would have
claimed the house in presence of her husband; nor is it likely that
she would have invited guests into her house on the sole ground of
HER fidelity to the Lord, and say nothing of her husband had he
been present. It was a delicate matter for her to invite men into her
house to remain with her in the absence of a husband, and, knowing
that good men would feel a delicacy in doing so, she put the
invitation upon the express ground of her fidelity to the Lord.
Virtually, this was saying: "Though I am a long ways from home,
where you can know nothing of my character, and my family is
made up of such as are in my employment, yet if you have judged
me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there."
The argument prevailed, and she constrained us, says the apostle;
and that her family was composed of adults may be seen in the fact
that after Paul and Silas had been released from prison they "entered
into the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they
comforted them and departed." Acts xvi:40. Then, her family was
composed of such as were capable of being comforted by the
apostles, and there is not the slightest evidence that she even had a
child there or at home. But suppose we grant that she had infants,
and that they were with her, it would be no evidence that they were
baptized, because they were not subjects of gospel address, and
hence were not baptized in flagrant violation of the law of the Lord
requiring faith before baptism. We have seen that the commission
required the gospel to be preached to every creature in all the world,
and yet it did not apply to infants, else they must all be damned.
The import of it is, preach the gospel to every creature of the classes
embraced in the gospel. So, when Lydia and her household were
baptized, the clear inference is that, if there were infants or idiots in
her


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house, they were not subjects of baptism and made no part of the
household baptized. Nothing is more plainly apparent in the
Scriptures than that the word household, and even the phrase all the
house, are used in a limited sense -- i.e., where a class of persons,
and not every one in the house, was included. It is said "the man
Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the
yearly sacrifice and his vow." Here it is expressly stated that Elkanah
and all his house went to offer sacrifice to the Lord. This is strong
language -- all his house; but did every one go? "But Hannah went
not up, for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the
child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear
before the Lord, and there abide forever. And Elkanah her husband
said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have
weaned him." 1 Sam. i:21-23.
From this quotation it is clear that Elkanah's wife and child did
not go to offer the yearly sacrifice, though it is said all his house
went up. Then, were it granted that Lydia's household had infants
in it, and it were said, not only that her household was baptized, but
that all of it was baptized, still it would only imply that all for
whom baptism was intended were baptized. Thus we see the utter
impossibility of proving infant baptism from household baptisms,
even were every thing granted that is claimed; but we have seen no
evidence of an infant in Lydia's household to be baptized.
8. But we have an account of another family baptism in this
chapter. The jailer "was baptized, he and all his, straightway." It is
claimed that this jailer had infants in his family, and, as he and all
his were baptized, his infants were baptized also. Is this position
warranted by the proof? The record says: "They spake unto him the
word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house." Ver. 32.


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The gospel was preached to all that were in his house. Why preach
the gospel to senseless babes? But he and all his were baptized.
Yes; "And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat
before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." Ver.
34. Then the same, all his house, that were baptized were capable
of rejoicing and believing in God. We think such should be
baptized; but we submit to the unprejudiced judgment of the reader
whether infants are capable of doing what is here said to have been
done by the jailer and those baptized with him. Can they believe in
God? Can they rejoice in the privileges of the gospel? If not, then no
infants were among the baptized of this family.
9. "And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were
baptized." Acts xviii:8. Here the order is in perfect harmony with the
commission. The gospel was preached, the Corinthians hearing
believed it, and their faith prepared them for baptism, to which they
submitted. Of course, there were no infants baptized among them.
10. The twelve disciples found at Ephesus by Paul had been
baptized with the baptism of John after the organization of the
church on the day of Pentecost; hence, their faith was defective.
John preached that they should believe on a Saviour to come after
him, hence they were believing in a Saviour to come who had
already come. Their baptism was defective for these reasons: 1. It
was not administered in the name or by the authority of the Lord
Jesus Christ; 2. It was not into the name of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, as the baptism then in force required to be
administered; 3. John's baptism had been superseded by another;
hence, when Apollos only knew John's baptism, it was necessary
that he be taught the way of the Lord more perfectly -- i.e., that
John's baptism had passed away and was not then in force, and
hence worthless to


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those who received it. When these disciples heard these things, "they
were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts xix:5. We will
not insult the reader by offering an argument to show that there
were no infants among these, and that faith preceded their baptism.
We believe we have now examined every case of baptism recorded
in the Acts. There are a few incidental allusions to other
cases in the epistles which throw no additional light on the subject.
Now, will the reader bring himself as near the judgment of the great
day as it is possible for mortals to come in this life, and ask himself
the question, "Is there a case of infant baptism recorded in all the
Book of God? Have we been able to find one?" We have found
where believers were baptized by thousands. We have found where
men and women were baptized in great numbers, and in families, but
nowhere is there a record of the baptism of a single infant. Suppose
a modern preacher had written the Acts of the Apostles, and things
had been then as now, we imagine the narrative would have run
about thus: "As many as gladly received his word were baptized,
with their children, and the same day there were added three
thousand adults and as many infants." "They were baptized men,
WOMEN, and CHILDREN." "And he commanded men, WOMEN,
and CHILDREN to be baptized in the name of the Lord." "And
when she and the infants of her household were baptized." "And he
took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes and
was baptized, he and all his infant children, straightway." Recently,
I read a scrap from a preacher's journal of several years ago, running
thus: "Baptized 20 adults and 21 children." "Sept. 3. Sunday, I
preached, and then baptized 21 adults and 3 infants." "On the first
Sunday in this month I baptized 34 adults and their


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children -- 48 in all." This shows us what the record kept -- or, rather,
made -- by Luke would have been had infants been baptized then as
they are now. On the contrary, we have found the same order every-
where. As faith comes by hearing, the gospel was first preached that
the people might hear, understand, and believe it. Jesus said: "He
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" hence, when they
believed, if they desired salvation, they were baptized, both men and
women; but we may safely affirm that no one without faith in Jesus
Christ was ever baptized by divine authority. Paul says: "Without
faith it is impossible to please him." Heb. xi:6. Therefore, when any
one is baptized who has no faith, such baptism can not be pleasing
to God. "That which is not of faith is sin." Rom. xiv:23. Infants can
not exercise faith hence their baptism can not be of faith, and is,
therefore, sin. Hence, we conclude that an infant has never yet been
baptized by divine authority anywhere.
Paul says Jesus gave Himself for the church, "that he might
sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that
he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish." Eph. vi:26, 27. When would the church attain to this state
of perfection if the practice of infant baptism was universal, and
baptism introduced infants into the church? (And if its advocates
could succeed in their efforts it would be universal, and should be
universal if right; if wrong, it should not be at all.) All distinction
between the church and the world would be obliterated; nay, there
would, in this sense, be no world. All would be in the church, good
and bad. Drunkards, liars, murders, infidels, atheists, and all other
classes would be in the church, having entered it by baptism in
infancy; for none


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thus introduced are ever excluded for crime unless they make a
profession of religion in maturer years. Such a church as there would
then be!!! Was this the glorious church for which Jesus gave His
life, that it might be without spot, wrinkle, blemish, or any such
thing? Is this the bride which He is coming to receive, expecting her
to be clad in robes of righteousness comparable to fine linen, clean
and white? Rev. xix:8.
This theory perfected would make void the commission of Jesus
Christ. If infant baptism universally prevailed, there would be no
such thing as believer's baptism. When Jesus says: "He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved," infant baptism comes
along and takes every subject from Him, leaving not one to grow old
enough to believe the gospel and be baptized. Nor is this all; Peter's
sermon on the day of Pentecost would not apply to such a state of
things. Were all baptized in infancy, no one in mature years could
be commanded to "repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins." Such a command could not apply
to infants; and as there would be no unbaptized men and women,
there would be none to whom such preaching could apply. Is it not
clear, therefore, that the gospel plan of salvation given by Jesus
Christ and carried into operation by His inspired apostles did not
contemplate the baptism of infants?
Baptism, says Peter, is "the answer of a good conscience toward
God." 1 Pet. iii:21. It was not to be a mere fleshly washing, but was
intended to reach the conscience; but how can it reach the
conscience of an infant? It may satisfy the consciences of some
misguided parents; but the conscience of the infant subject has
nothing to do with it; nor can it be in the least exercised thereby.
One of the most pernicious tendencies of the practice is that it
prevents many thousands of conscientious persons from intelligently


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obeying the Lord for themselves. They are informed by their
parents or others that they were baptized in infancy, and they must
be content with this statement. If they are more correctly taught in
after life, and desire to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins, they must abandon the church of their infancy
or they can not obtain the services of an administrator. Hence,
nothing short of an abandonment of their entire system of theology
can secure their emancipation from the bondage of a practice
unauthorized by inspired precept or example, even as admitted by
many wise and good men who practice it.
We come now to notice the argument which those who defend
infant baptism base upon the history of the practice; and we
promise our readers the utmost brevity in its examination, for we
have already dignified the subject of this chapter with an undue
portion of our space. Indeed, we confess our inability to see the
importance which those who make the argument attach to it.
Suppose it were true, and could be so proved by well authenticated
history, that infant baptism was practiced even in the days of the
apostles, unless it could be shown that it met their approval, it
would not authorize the practice. In Paul's time he tells us that "the
mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2 These. ii:7. He also says:
"I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in
among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men
arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Acts xx:29, 30. If, therefore, innovations began to spring up even in
the days of the apostles, and persons then among the disciples, who
had been blessed with the personal instruction of the apostles,
would, so soon after Paul's death, teach perverse doctrine which
would draw disciples after them, is it surprising that infant


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baptism should be introduced in two hundred years? That it did not
have the sanction of inspiration in any way, we have already shown
by the admissions of as truly great and good men as belong to the
pedobaptist ranks; what, then, is gained by proving, what no one
denies, that it has been practiced from the days of Origen until now?
are we to practice every thing which came into the church in those
days? If so, we must go to anointing with oil -- casting devils out of
persons before they are baptized -- breathing on them in imitation
of the Saviour -- consecrating the baptismal water -- applying salt
and spittle to the tongue -- giving honey and milk -- anointing the
eyes with clay -- covering the head, and numerous other things
which came into the church about the time infant baptism was
introduced. They were practiced from about the close of the second
century, on for several hundred years, why not practice them now?
Do you say they were without divine authority? We grant it; but
many of the wisest and best men who have practiced infant baptism
admit the same of it; why not discard them all together; or practice
them all, and be at least consistent?
We believe Irenaus is the first witness whose testimony is
introduced in support of the practice. He wrote about the year 190,
and is quoted by Neander, Vol. 1, p. 311. As Neander was a
pedobaptist historian, we will give what he says on the subject in
connection with the quotation from Irenaus. He says: "Baptism was
administered at first only to adults, as men were accustomed to
receive baptism and faith as strictly connected. We have all reason
for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution, and the
recognition of it which followed somewhat later, as an apostolical
tradition, serves to confirm this hypothesis. Irenaeus is the first
church teacher in whom we find any allusion to infant baptism, and
in his mode of expressing


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himself on the subject, he leads us at the same time to recognize its
connection with the essence of the Christian consciousness; he
testifies of the profound Christian idea out of which infant baptism
arose, and which procured for it at length universal recognition.
Irenaus is wishing to show that Christ did not interrupt the
progressive development of that human nature which was to be
sanctified by Him, but sanctified it in accordance with its natural
course of development and in all its several stages. 'He came to
redeem all by Himself; all who through Him are regenerated to God;
infants, little children, boys, young men and old. Hence, He passed
through every age, and for the infants He became an infant,
sanctifying the infants; among the little children He became a little
child, sanctifying those who belong to this age, and at the same time
presenting to them an example of piety, of well-doing, and of
obedience; among the young men He became a young man, that He
might set them an example and sanctify them to the Lord.' "
The reader will observe that Neander says that Irenaeus is the
first church teacher in whom we find any allusion to infant baptism,
and hence the practice can not be traced further back than 190
A.D., even granting that Irenaus means baptism by "regenerated to
God." Neander further testifies that baptism was administered at first
only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive baptism and
faith as strictly connected. And why should they not be connected
when Jesus so connected them, saying: "He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved;" and Philip made faith an indispensable
condition upon which he would baptize the eunuch -- "If thou
believest with all thy heart thou mayest?" But Neander further says:
'We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic
institution." These are surely strong admissions coming


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from one whose practice shows they were not suggested by partisan
feelings.
Again he says: "But immediately after Irenaus, in the last years
of the second century, Tertullian appears as a zealous opponent of
infant baptism; a proof that the practice had not as yet come to be
regarded as an apostolical institution; for otherwise he would hardly
have ventured to express himself so strongly against it." Neander,
Vol. 1, p. 312. On the same page Neander quotes Tertullian as
follows: "Let them come, while they are growing up; let them come
while they are learning, while they are being taught to what it is they
are coming; let them become Christians when they are susceptible
of the knowledge of Christ. What haste to procure the forgiveness
of sin for the age of innocence! We show more prudence in the
management of our worldly concerns, than we do in intrusting the
divine treasure to those who can not be intrusted with earthly
property. Let them first learn to feel their need of salvation, so it
may appear that we have given to those that wanted."
Dr. Wall has a slightly different translation of this paragraph, as
follows: "Therefore, let them come when they are grown up; let
them come when they understand; when they are instructed whither
it is that they come; let them be made Christians when they can
know Christ. What need their guiltless age make such haste to the
forgiveness of sins? Men will proceed more warily in worldly things;
and he that should not have earthly goods committed to him, yet
shall have heavenly. Let them know how to desire this salvation,
that you may appear to have given to one that asketh." Wall's Hist.
Infant Bap., Vol. 1, p. 94.
Neander comments upon this paragraph from Tertullian as
follows: "It seems, in fact, according to the principles


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laid down by him, that he could not conceive of any efficacy
whatever residing in baptism, without the conscious participation
and individual faith of the person baptized; nor could he see any
danger accruing to the age of innocence from delaying it; although
this view of the matter was not logically consistent with his own
view.
"But when, now, on the one hand, the doctrine of the corruption
and guilt cleaving to human nature in consequence of the first
transgression, was reduced to a more precise and systematic form,
and, on the other, from the want of duly distinguishing between
what is outward and what is inward baptism (the baptism by water
and the baptism by the Spirit), the error became more firmly
established that without external baptism no one could be delivered
from that inherent guilt, could be saved from the everlasting
punishment that threatened him, or raised to eternal life; and when
the notion of a magical influence or charm connected with the
sacraments continually gained ground, the theory was finally
evolved of the unconditional necessity of infant baptism."
Neander, Vol. 1, p. 313.
Thus we see when and how the theory of infant baptism was
finally evolved. Infantile depravity, or the guilt of original sin, was
the foundation of it. The fathers drank down the notion that infants
inherited the guilt of Adam's sin, and unless this was washed away
in baptism they were lost if they died in infancy; hence, says
Neander, was finally evolved the unconditional necessity of infant
baptism. They must be damned for Adam's sin unless baptized.
Modern pedobaptists are unwilling to admit this, and seek to derive
it from the identity of the Jewish and Christian churches, as we have
seen, and yet, strange enough, they base an argument on the history
of infant baptism which must develop the true foundation of the
practice and destroy every argument made in its support.


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But is Neander correct in this statement? As he was a pedobaptist
himself, he could have had no motive to misrepresent the facts;
nevertheless, it may not be amiss to see whether or not he had
authority for what he said.
Dr. Wall was one of the most voluminous writers that has ever
wielded a pen in defense of infant baptism. He makes a quotation
from Justin Martyr, on which he comments as follows: "I recite this
only to show that in these times, so very near the apostles, they
spoke of original sin affecting all mankind descended of Adam, and
understood that, besides the actual sins of each particular person,
there is in our nature itself, since the fall, something that needs
redemption and forgiveness by the merits of Christ. And that is
ordinarily applied to every particular person by baptism." Wall, Vol.
1, p. 64.
When the fathers became well settled in the doctrine of infantile
depravity, they very naturally desired a remedy for it, and, knowing
that baptism was for the remission of sins, they conceived the idea
of baptizing infants for the removal of the guilt of Adam's sin in
them. By the close of the second century it made its appearance, and
we have found Tertullian opposing it. In Origen's day it was more
general, and we find him favoring it. He was born about 185 A.D.
Allowing him to have been fifty or sixty years old when he
wrote, his writings would date near the middle of the third century.
We have not much confidence in the authenticity of what is said to
have been written by him, yet we will give some of it to the reader,
and he can estimate it for himself.
Dr. Wall says: "The Greek (which was the original) of all
Origen's works being lost, except a very few, there remain only the
Latin translations of them. And when these translations were
collected together, a great many


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spurious ones were added and mixed with them and went under
Origen's name." Wall's History, Vol. 1, p. 106.
Though Dr. Wall goes on to say that "critics quickly smelt them
out and admitted none for his but such as appeared to have been
done into Latin either by St. Hierome or Rufinus," yet he says:
"Rufinus altered or left out any thing which he thought not
orthodox, whereas now, in these translations of Rufinus, the
reader is uncertain (as Erasmus angrily says) whether he read Origen
or Rufinus." Pp. 106-08.
The following paragraph is a translation of Rufinus' Latin of
Origen's Greek by Wall: "Besides all this, let it be considered what
is the reason that, whereas the baptism of the church is given for the
forgiveness of sins, infants also are by the usage of the church
baptized, when, if there were nothing in infants that wanted
forgiveness and mercy, the grace of baptism would be needless to
them." Wall, Vol. 1, p. 104
The following paragraph was translated from Origen's Greek
into Latin by St. Hierome, and thence into English by Wall, who
exonerates Hierome from any want of fidelity to the original of
Origen: "Having occasion given in this place, I will mention a thing
that causes frequent inquiries among the brethren. Infants are
baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Of what sins? Or when have
they sinned? Or how can any reason of the laver in their case hold
good, but according to that sense that we mentioned even now: none
is free from pollution, though his life be but of the length of one day
upon the earth? And it is for that reason, because by the sacrament
of baptism the pollution of our birth is taken away, that infants are
baptized." Wall, Vol. i, pp. 104, 105. This comes to us from Origen
through Hierome and Wall, and must, therefore, be received as
genuine. In it Origen answers the inquiries of his brethren


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471
by plainly stating that it is because the pollution of our birth taken
away by baptism that infants are baptized.
But there is another passage translated from Origen's Greek by
Rufinus, to which we must give some attention: "For this also it was
that the church had from the apostles a tradition [or order] to give
baptism even to infants. For they, to whom the divine mysteries were
committed, knew that there is in all persons the natural pollution of
sin which must be done away by water and the Spirit." Wall, Vol.
1, p. 106.
As this passage comes to us through Rufinus, an admitted
interpolator of Origen's works, we can have no confidence in its
purity; and even Dr. Wall has given us some evidence of overmuch
zeal in his cause, by placing in brackets the phrase "or order," as
though order was the synonym of tradition, and thus seeking to
make his author say that the church had an order to give baptism to
infants. Does tradition amount to an order? Let us see. "Tradition
is a very convenient word to excuse and retain those things that were
brought into religion without the authority of Scripture, by the
ignorance of the times and the tyranny of men." Turettenus, in
Booth Abridged, p. 273.
"To convince the world how early tradition might either vary or
misrepresent matters, let the tradition not only in, but before St.
Irenaeus' time, concerning the observation of Easter be considered,
which goes up as high as St. Polycarps time. If, then, tradition failed
so near its fountain, we may easily judge what account we ought to
make of it at so great a distance." Bishop Burnet, in Ibid.
"Irenaeus, one of the first fathers, with this passage [John viii:57]
supports the tradition, which he saith he had from some that had
conversed with St. John, that our Saviour lived to be fifty years old,
which he contends for.


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See what little credit is to be given to tradition." Mr. Henry, in Ibid,
pp. 3, 4.
"As to the Scripture, instead of making that the only rule of
faith, they [the Papists] have joined traditions with it; that is to say,
the most uncertain thing in the world, the most subject to
impostures, and the most mixed with human inventions and
weaknesses, tradition is so far from being able to serve for a rule that
it ought itself to be corrected according to that maxim of Jesus
Christ, In the beginning it was not so. There is, therefore, nothing
more improper to be the rule of faith than that pretended tradition
which is not established upon any certain foundation, which serves
for a pretense to heretics, which is embraced pro and con, which
changes according as times and places do, and by the favor of which
they may defend the greatest absurdities by merely saying that they
are the traditions which the apostles transmitted from their own
mouths to their successors." Mr. Claude, in Ibid, pp. 274, 275.
Thus, we see that, when contending against Papal usurpation,
pedobaptists regard tradition as "the most uncertain thing in the
world" -- serves as a pretext for heretics, by the favor of which they
may prove the greatest absurdities, even that Jesus lived to be fifty
years old; but when defending infant baptism, and nothing better
can be had, tradition does very well, and may be called an order
from the apostles to give baptism to infants! With reference to
Origen's remark, Neander says: "Origen, in whose system infant
baptism could readily find its place, though not in the same
connection as in the system of the North African church, declares it
to be an apostolical tradition; an expression, by the way, which can
not be regarded as of much weight in this age when the inclination
was so strong to trace every institution which was considered of


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473
special importance to the apostles; and when so many walls of
separation, hindering the freedom of prospect, had already been set
up between this and the apostolic age." Neander, Vol. 1, p. 314.
These quotations are deemed sufficient to show what estimate
is to be placed upon Wall's substitution of the word order for
tradition in the quotation from Origen. He verifies the adage that
"drowning men will catch at straws." As he has nothing better with
which to support his practice, we leave him in the enjoyment of his
tradition, but insist that he hold it as a tradition, not as an order.
Having seen that the history of infant baptism can not be traced
further back than about the close of the second century, we feel no
disposition to pursue it into later periods, being content to know
that it did not originate in the days of the apostles, or have their
sanction; this we have seen as surely as there is truth in the
testimony of those who practice it. The reader will please remember
that we have found its origin -- not in the identity of the Jewish and
the Christian churches -- not in Jewish circumcision -- not in Jewish
proselyte baptism -- not in the teaching of John the Baptist, Christ,
or the apostles -- but in the absurd dogma of infantile depravity, or
the inherited guilt of Adam's sin. So testifies Tertullian, so testifies
Origen, and all the primitive fathers who give testimony on the
subject. My distinguished friend Mr. Ditzler says: "They all believed
that infants were depraved, as their writings show. They
believed that baptism was regeneration in the sense of washing away
original sin; that infants were depraved by original sin, and could
not be saved without this washing away of that sin; and, therefore,
they baptized infants that they might be saved. Now, the apostolic
fathers speak in this manner, and refer to the baptism


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of infants." Louisville Debate, p. 163. This is a frank admission
of what is unquestionably true, limiting the words apostolic fathers
to such as wrote after the introduction of the practice.
But we have later testimony than the so-called apostolic fathers
on this subject. In a work, titled DOCTRINAL TRACTS, page 251,
we find the following paragraph in a treatise on baptism:
"As to the grounds of it: if infants are guilty of original sin, then
they are proper subjects of baptism; seeing, in the ordinary way,
they can not be saved unless this be washed away in baptism. It has
been already proved that this original stain cleaves to every child of
man; and that hereby they are children of wrath and liable to eternal
damnation." This work was published by Lane & Scott, New York,
1850, BY ORDER OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE of the
Methodist Church. Hence, the above paragraph comes to us
indorsed by the Methodist Church through her General Conference
only twenty-three years ago. And it clearly shows that infant
baptism, in the judgment of that organization, was based upon the
doctrine of original sin, or inherited guilt, by reason of which
infants are children of wrath and liable to eternal damnation; and in
the ordinary way can not be saved unless this original sin be washed
away by baptism.
This tract was published, for about thirty years, by the General
Conference as the production of Mr. Wesley's pen, but Mr. Jackson,
the biographer of Mr. Wesley, denies that he wrote it. So far as the
weight of its authority goes, it matters little whether Mr. Wesley
wrote it or not; it was written by some one of no ordinary power, as
the tract itself shows; and the fact that it was published by order of
the General Conference gives it more authority than it could derive
from Mr. Wesley or any other one


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475
man. But we do not regard Mr. Jackson's denial as quite sufficient
to show that it was not written by Mr. Wesley. Of all writers known
to us, as a class, biographers are least reliable. It is a well known
fact that they ignore and often cover up the faults and exaggerate the
virtues of their heroes; and when we add to this the fact that Mr.
Jackson's partisan feelings would incline him to mould Mr. Wesley's
teaching in accordance with his own views and the interest of his
church, we are inclined to accept his denial, under the
circumstances, with some degree of caution. What are the
circumstances connected with the publication of this tract? In the
advertisement following the title page it is shown that a number of
tracts had been published with the Discipline for a time, but in 1812
the General Conference ordered them left out of the Discipline and
published in a separate volume. Following this announcement, it is
said: "Several new tracts are included in this volume, and Mr.
Wesley's Short Treatise on Baptism is substituted in the place of the
extract from Mr. Edwards on that subject." Here it is stated that the
former tract by Mr. Edwards was taken out and this one by Wesley
was put in. Did those who made this statement tell the truth, or were
they mistaken in what they said?
On page 249, we find a footnote, as follows: "That Mr. Wesley,
as a clergyman of the Church of England, was originally a high-
churchman, in the fullest sense, is well known. When he wrote this
treatise, in the year 1756, he seems still to have used some
expressions in relation to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration,
which we at this day should not prefer. Some such, in the judgment
of the reader, may perhaps be found under this second head. The
last sentence, however, contains a guarded corrective. It explains
also the sense in which we believe Mr. Wesley intended much of
what goes before to be understood."


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As no name is attached to this note, we know not who wrote it,
but we suppose it was by the publishing committee. Be this as it
may, it seems to have been written by some one acquainted with the
facts, for it even gives the date when Mr. Wesley wrote the tract.
This note, be it remembered, is attached to the tract itself. The
whole Methodist Conference, publishers, publishing committee, and
every body else connected with this tract, save Mr. Jackson, were
mistaken for thirty years or Mr. Wesley wrote it. No child ever
resembled its father more than does the style of this tract resemble
the general style of Mr. Wesley's writings. But if those who practice
infant baptism intend to repudiate the doctrine that infants are in
danger of being lost unless baptized, we trust they will cease
abusing us for opposing their baptism. If those who are unbaptized
are in no more danger than those baptized, why abuse us for seeking
to prevent that which can do no good? Surely, they do not wish to
unjustly prejudice the minds of the people against us by making
much ado about nothing. If infants need not baptism, why baptize
them? We think they are good enough without baptism. Jesus said:
"Of such is the kingdom of heaven." Not of such as they will be
when they are baptized, but of such as they are without baptism.
But we are referred to the baptism of the Israelites in the cloud
and sea as a clear case of the baptism of infants. Paul says: "All our
fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and
were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." 1 Cor.
x:1, 2. It is certain that infants were under the cloud and passed
through the sea, hence it is insisted that they were in the typical
baptism referred to by Paul, and should now be baptized to fill the
antitype. Does the fact that they were under the cloud and in the sea
prove that they were contemplated by


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Paul in the baptism referred to? If so, then the flocks and herds of
the Hebrews were included also, for it is just as certain that they
were under the cloud and in the sea as it is that the infants were
there. Shall we baptize our flocks therefore, to fill the antitype?
Why not? They were taken along without their volition just as were
the infants; hence, if these were baptized, why not those? Paul says
that those baptized "did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all
drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock
that followed them; and that Rock was Christ." Verses 3, 4. Thus we
see that those contemplated by Paul were capable of receiving
spiritual instruction concerning Christ, which Paul calls spiritual
meat and drink. Hence, says he, "By faith they passed through the
Red Sea as by dry land; which the Egyptians essaying to do were
drowned." Heb. xi:29. Is it not clear that Paul did not contemplate
infants; but alluded to such as could receive spiritual instruction,
and pass through by faith? Infant baptism was never heard of in
Paul's day; hence, when he spake of baptized persons, either in type
or antitype, he contemplated only such as were legitimate subjects
of the rite.
Suppose we try the commission by the same principle of
interpretation applied to the baptism of the Israelites. Jesus said: "Go
ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Now,
it is just as certain that infants are creatures in the world, as it is
that they were under the cloud and passed through the sea -- were
they contemplated in the commission? If so, what next? "He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not
shall be damned." Infants can not believe, therefore they must all be
damned! Is any one prepared to accept the conclusion? Surely not;
yet it is fairly deducible from the commission by the same rules
applied to


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the baptism of the Israelites to prove infant baptism. Infants are not
subjects of gospel address, and were not contemplated in the
commission, nor are they subjects of baptism; hence they were not
contemplated by Paul.
Baptism is not a mere unmeaning ceremony, but a solemn act of
obedience to God. Gentle reader, have you intelligently submitted
to His will in the act required of you? Jesus commanded the apostles
to teach the nations, baptizing them, the taught -- clearly implying
that they should baptize none but the taught. We have seen that
they, acting under this commission, preached the gospel to the
people, and when they believed it they were baptized, both men and
women. Intelligent, believing, penitent men and women who desire
salvation should be baptized into the sublime names of Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit. None others should be so baptized, for it
would do them no good; and should it unfortunately keep them
from obeying God in mature years, it would do them much harm. In
vain may we attempt the worship of God by obeying the
commandments of men. Be baptized yourself; you can not obey
God for your children; but you can bring them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord, and when they are old enough to
understand the Lord's will, you will have the consolation of seeing
them obey it for themselves.


CHAPTER XIV
THE DESIGN OF BAPTISM

The GOSPEL PLAN OF SALVATION is the grandest system
of harmony and order ever devised by God for man. There is
a place for every thing, and every thing should be in its place. We
have found a place for faith, what it is, how it comes, and what it
does; a place for repentance, what it is, how it is produced, and
what it does; a place for the good confession, what it is, how it is
made, when it should be made, who should make it, and what it is
made for; a place for baptism, what it is, and who should submit to
it; and now it remains for us to see what it is for, or to learn, if we
can, the design of it -- what office, if any, it fills in the great system
of salvation to which it belongs.
It is not to be presumed that the Lord required men and women
to be baptized into the awfully sublime names of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, without some important design or
end to be accomplished by it; and when we take from baptism this
design, it becomes an unmeaning pageant, which may be attended
to or neglected as the caprice of the clergy or the people may
determine. If a sick man waits until he get well before he takes the
medicine designed to cure him, it is scarcely necessary that he
should then trouble himself to take it at all. So if a man must wait
until he be saved from his sins, made a child of God and an heir of
heaven, before he


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obeys the Lord, we see not why he should still be baptized for the
remission of sins already pardoned. Hence, when we take from
baptism its design, it matters little who is baptized, how it is done,
or whether it is done at all.
That we may have something tangible and definite before us, we
affirm that BAPTISM IS FOR, OR IN ORDER TO, THE
REMISSION OF SINS. This is its design, as taught by Christ and
those who wrote the New Testament. Before offering the proof of
this affirmation, it may be well to get its import clearly before the
mind of the reader. We fully realize the importance of the
proposition, and feel, therefore, that we should well understand the
import of the terms employed in its construction.
"Sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John iii:4. Not a law,
some law, or any law, but the law. There are laws which, we
suppose, it would be no sin to violate; but sin is the transgression
of divine law, and whenever any other law comes in conflict with
this law, it is no crime, but may be a virtue to violate it. That we be
more plain, the wife is required to obey her husband, but were the
husband to command her to steal, we suppose she had better obey
God, who says "thou shalt not steal," than the husband who says
"you shall steal." "All unrighteousness is sin." 1 John v:19.
There can be no enforcement of law without a penalty for its
violation, and this penalty must be suffered by the guilty or it must
be forgiven by the offended. By remission of sins, then, we mean a
release from the punishment due the violation of God's law. The
same thought is expressed in different forms; as: "Remission of sins,"
Matt. xxvi:28; Acts ii:38. "Forgiveness of sins," Acts v:31; xiii:38;
xxvi:18. "Salvation from sins," Matt. i:21. "Cleansing from sin,"
1 John i:7. "Blotting out of sin," Ps.ii:1; Isa. xliii:25; Jer. xviii:23.
"Washing away


The Design Of Baptism
481
sins," Acts xxii:16. "Ceasing to remember sins," Jer. xxxi:34; Heb.
viii:12, x:17. All these, and others which we might give are but
different ways of expressing the same thought. A sin once committed
can never be undone by any power, human or divine. The punishment
may be commuted, suspended, or forgiven -- undone it can
not be, but must remain in the history of past events as long as
eternity endures. How important, then, it is that we look well to the
record we are making; and how wonderfully kind, too, has been our
Heavenly Father in providing a plan of salvation by which we may
escape the punishment justly due those who violate His law!
But while baptism is appointed of the Lord for the remission of
sins, the pardon granted is retrospective, only for the sins of the
past; hence says Paul: "Being justified freely by his grace through
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to
be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." Rom. iii:24, 25.
But does any one suppose that baptism is for the remission of all the
sins of the party baptized, future as well as past? If not, what means
John Calvin by the following language: "Nor must it be supposed
that baptism is administered only for the time past, so that for sins
into which we fall after baptism it would be necessary to seek other
new remedies of expiation, in I know not what other sacraments, as
if the virtue of baptism were become obsolete. In consequence of
this error, it happened in former ages that some persons would not
be baptized except at the close of their life, and almost in the
moment of their death, so that they might obtain pardon for their
whole life -- a preposterous caution, which is frequently censured in
the writings of the ancient bishops. But we ought to conclude that
at whatever time we are baptized


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we are washed and purified for the whole life. Whenever we have
fallen, therefore, we must recur to the remembrance of baptism, and
arm our minds with the consideration of it, that we may be always
certified and assured of the remission of our sins." Calvin in
Campbell on Baptism, pp. 262, 263.
This is an error into which Mr. Calvin and others fell by failing
to recognize the fact that God has ordained a law of pardon or
naturalization for the alien, by which he must become a citizen of
His kingdom, and another law of pardon for him after he becomes
a subject of His government -- one law of pardon for the stranger and
another for His children. We do not know whether there are any
who now believe the doctrine of the foregoing paragraph from Mr.
Calvin's pen or not, but we do know that many, like him, have failed
to make any distinction in the law which applies to the alien and
that which applies to the erring Christian; and, hence, the common
objection to the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins: "If
baptism is for the remission of sins, why do you not baptize a man
every time he sins? We are not surprised when such an objection
comes from those who never read the Bible, but when it comes from
good men who study the Bible, we know not how to account for it.
Our charity, however, inclines us to make great allowance for the
blinding influences of a false theory, and to conclude that the
objection is honestly made and must be met accordingly; we,
therefore, proceed to show that God has given a law of pardon
applicable to His erring children differing from the law of pardon
given to the unconverted sinner.
Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to
the people, and "when they believed Philip preaching the things
concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they
were baptized, both men


The Design Of Baptism
483
and women. Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was
baptized he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the
miracles and signs which were done." Acts viii:12, 13. Here is one
law to which the Samaritans submitted, in doing which they became
children of God. Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall
be saved." Mark xvi:16. The Samaritans, Simon among them, did
believe and were baptized, and hence were pardoned as surely as
there is any truth in the record. Simon did just what the others did,
and was saved if they were saved. But "when Simon saw that
through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given,
he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on
whomsoever I lay hands he may receive the Holy Ghost." Ver.
18, 19. Here was a wicked thought which entered into the heart of
Simon, but did the inspired teachers rebaptize him? No; but why
not? This is a case exactly applicable to the objection under
examination. He, with the other Samaritans, had believed and been
baptized, and was, therefore, saved; yet he sinned. What shall he do
now? Peter said: "Repent, therefore, of this thy wickedness, and pray
God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."
Ver. 22. Here is the law which applies to those who sin after having
been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their
past sins. They must repent of the sin or sins committed, and pray
to God for pardon, and, as His children, He will hear and pardon
them. Being a child of God, "if any man sin, we have an advocate
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John ii:1. And, again:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John i:9. Here are
privileges which the children of God have, which aliens, while
children of the wicked one, have not.


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It is their gracious privilege to pray to their Father, with the
assurance that He will grant them such favors as they ask in
accordance with His will.
But Mr. Ditzler says Simon "did not believe on Christ, but they
simply believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom
of God and were baptized. Acts viii:12. Ver. 13: Then Simon
himself believed (i.e., Philip preaching), and was baptized."
Louisville Debate, p. 222. He says Simon did not believe on Christ,
yet the scriptures he quotes show that he believed just what the
others did; and no one doubts their faith. But he omits some words
in the quotation, which, of course, he deems unimportant to the
sense, yet we think them calculated to show just the opposite of
what he said. They are the words "and the name of Jesus Christ" in
the sentence, "They believed Philip preaching the things concerning
the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ."
Then Philip preached the things concerning the kingdom of God
and the name of Jesus Christ, which they and Simon believed, yet
he did not believe on Christ at all! Philip must have acted strangely
inconsistent; for, in the same chapter (ver. 37), we find that he
would not baptize the eunuch until he confessed his faith in Jesus
Christ as the Son of God, and yet he baptized Simon and the
Samaritans who did not believe on Christ! How is this? But he
continues: "Now, because Simon was baptized, sorcerer as he was,
though at once said to be in the gall of bitterness and the bond of
iniquity." How does he know that as soon as Simon was baptized
this was at once said to him? The record says: "When the apostles
which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word
of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were
come down," etc. Ver. 14, 15.
This shows that after Simon's baptism a report of the


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success of Philip's preaching had to go from Samaria to Jerusalem (a
distance of thirty-six miles); the apostles have a meeting, and Peter
and John go from Jerusalem to Samaria before Peter could have said
to him what Mr. Ditzler says was said at once. We suppose the news
went from Samaria to Jerusalem by the ordinary intercourse between
those cities; as we have no account of special messengers being sent
to carry it, then it is impossible to tell how long a time elapsed from
Simon's baptism to his rebuke by Peter. But when we take into
consideration the means of travel in that country at that time, we
know it was several days at least.
Mr. Ditzler continues: "Peter's very words, 'I perceive thou art
in the gall of bitterness,' imply he discovered he never had been
right." Do Peter's words show that Simon never had been right?
Peter does not tell Simon to repent of all his sins, or even of sins,
but of a specific sin -- repent of THIS thy wickedness. Nor does he
tell him to pray to God for the pardon of all his past sins, but for a
specific sin -- pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be
forgiven thee -- this thought of purchasing the gift of God with
money. We insist that this language clearly shows that one sin, and
only one, stood charged against Simon, and that all his former sins
had been pardoned prior to that time.
Nor is this all; Simon did not manifest a wicked, but a penitent,
disposition after Peter rebuked him. Said he: "Pray ye to the Lord for
me, that none of these things come upon me." Acts viii:24. And if
Peter obeyed the instructions which were given to other disciples,
to "pray one for another" (Jas. v:16), he did pray for Simon, and
none of these things came upon him.
We have quoted Mr. Ditzler as expressing the generally received
theory on Simon's case, because his language is


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a matter of record, and can be found by those who will take the
trouble to find and read the page to which we have referred them.
Simon's case as clearly shows two laws of pardon -- one for the alien
and another for the erring Christian -- as it is possible to show any
thing by proof; we shall, therefore, treat this as settled, and proceed
to examine the testimony upon which we rely to prove that baptism
is for the remission of sins.
Though John's baptism is not now binding upon any one, and
has not been since the establishment of the kingdom for which it
prepared material, yet a brief examination of it is deemed important
to a proper understanding of the baptism to which the taught of all
nations are now required to submit. Indeed, that differed from this
rather in its adjuncts than in the baptism itself. John required those
baptized by him to believe in a Saviour to come. John required
those who came to his baptism to confess their sins -- now those
who would be baptized must confess their faith in the Son of God.
Now, persons are baptized into the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit. What formula John used is not known,
but it is certain he did not baptize into these sublime names. John's
baptism prepared material for position in a kingdom to be
established, or a temple or church to be built; now, persons are
baptized into a kingdom already established, a temple which has
been built, a church already in existence. While there are these
differences in the adjuncts, John's baptism was immersion in
water -- adults only were subjects of it, and it was for the remission
of the sins of those who submitted to it.
When John was named by the direction of the angel, his father
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
"Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou
shalt go before the face


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of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto
his people by the remission of their sins." Luke i:76, 77. In
fulfillment of the prophecy, and others made by the prophets, it is
said "John did baptize in the wilderness, and peach the baptism of
repentance for the remission of sins." Mark i:4. "And he came into
all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance
for the remission of sins." Luke ii:3. If these scriptures do not prove,
beyond the possibility of even respectable quibble, that John's
baptism was for the remission of sins, then we know not how
language might be shaped capable of proving that fact.
To keep within the range of English criticism, the preposition of
in these quotations implies possession -- i.e., that baptism belongs
to or grows out of repentance; hence, those baptized by John were
truly penitent, and desired to obey God in baptism that they might
have knowledge of salvation by the remission of their sins. But we
are told that John's baptism did not follow repentance, but preceded
and obligated to it. Then we are to understand that John baptized
the impenitent upon a promise of future repentance. Suppose an
applicant for baptism had said: "John, I have not repented, but if you
will baptize me I will repent at a more convenient season," would
John have baptized such an applicant? But let us suppose this
theory true for a moment, and see what it will do for the theory of
those who advocate it. They tell us that there never has been but
one law of pardon from the days of Adam until now, and that
repentance precedes faith in the order of their occurrence. Then, as
the same law of pardon existed in John's day that exists now, and
baptism preceded repentance, and repentance preceded faith, it
follows that baptism is first in order, then repentance, and faith
comes last; and, hence, we must


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baptize persons without faith or repentance. Paul says: "Without
faith it is impossible to please God," therefore such baptism could
not be pleasing to God; and as that which is not of faith is sin, such
baptism is sin. The advocates of this theory have often tantalized us
for baptizing persons without sufficient preparation, but we would
like to know how much preparation for baptism belongs to this
theory. As it precedes repentance, and repentance precedes faith,
what precedes and prepares for baptism? Just nothing at all.
But again: suppose their theory be true that repentance did
follow, not precede, John's baptism, does it follow that his baptism
was not for the remission of sins because it was not last in the order
of conditions complied with?
We are told that Jacob served seven years for Rachel (Gen.
xxix:20); was not the first year's service as much for Rachel as that
of the seventh year? and could he ever have reached the seventh
year without passing through all the preceding years? When Naaman
dipped himself seven times in Jordan, that he might be cured of his
leprosy, though the cure followed the seventh dipping, all the
preceding were as much for his cure as was the seventh. We might
give numerous illustrations of this principle, but these are enough to
show that were we to concede that John's baptism preceded
repentance, the concession would not prove that it was not for
remission of sins.
When the Bible says that John preached the baptism of repentance
for remission of sins, the language affirms nothing of
repentance, but that the baptism which belongs to repentance is for
remission of sins. But why argue the question further? It is plain
enough.
But there are those who admit that John's baptism was for the
remission of sins, and yet they tell us that those who submitted to it
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489
after the day of Pentecost without being rebaptized. Now, if John's
baptism was for the remission of sins, and those who submitted to
it were pardoned -- their sins remitted -- for what must they be
baptized on or after the day of Pentecost? Must they again be
baptized for the remission of the same sins remitted in John's
baptism? When the blood of Jesus was shed their pardon was
complete. As the material prepared for the temple of Solomon was
ready, as soon as brought together, for position in the building, so
those baptized by John, and during the personal ministry of Jesus by
the apostles, were ready to be placed in the great spiritual temple
erected on the day of Pentecost -- all that was necessary was that
they should be placed together, and the building was complete
without the sound of axe or hammer. But more of this anon.
[Here brother Brents fails to consider that sacrifices under the Old Covenant were also for the remission of sins.
In Acts 19:5 disciples who had been baptized into John's baptism had to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
John's baptism did not have a promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit as in Acts 2:38. ~ Roy Davison]

We base our second argument upon the language of Christ to
Nicodemus: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he
can not enter into the kingdom of God." John iii:5. Having devoted
a chapter each to the establishment of the kingdom and the
philosophy of the new birth, we need not stop here to enlarge upon
either; but it is sufficient to remark that in the kingdom is a state of
safety -- out of it we know of no salvation for any one who belongs
to the class of persons for whom it was established. Paul says: "Then
cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to
God, even the Father." 1 Cor. xv:24.
How shall those for whom the kingdom was established be
delivered with the kingdom unless they be in it? He who enters the
kingdom is saved, pardoned, justified; but if there is salvation for
intelligent men and women out of it, why did Christ give His life to
establish it? Surely it could do no good to establish a kingdom out
of which persons could be saved as well as in it; and had such been


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the fact, when Jesus said "Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit he can not enter the kingdom," Nicodemus could have replied:
'It matters not whether a man enters it or not, as he can be saved as
well out of it as in it."
As it is an incontrovertible truth, then, that men who would be
saved from their sins must enter the kingdom, and as they can not
enter it without being born of water and of the Spirit, it follows that
a birth of water and of the Spirit is indispensable to salvation from
sins.
The only remaining question, then, is: Did the Lord allude to
baptism when He used the language "born of water?" If not, to
what did He allude? What other connection with water can there be
to which He may have referred? The religious world, with one voice,
from the days of Christ until quite recently, has ascribed this
language to water baptism.
Speaking of the primitive fathers, Dr. Wall, the great pedobaptist
historian, says: "They understood that rule of our Saviour,
'Except one be regenerated (or born again) of water and of the
Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God,' of water baptism,
and concluded from it that without such baptism., no person could
come to heaven -- and so did all the writers of these four hundred
years, not one man excepted." Wall's History of Infant Bap., Vol. 1,
pp. 69, 70.
Thus we have Dr. Wall's testimony that every writer of the first
four hundred years, without a single exception, understood the
Saviour to refer to water baptism, and that no man could be saved
without it.
Again: on page 147, of the same volume, Dr. Wall says: "There
is not any one Christian writer of any antiquity in any language, but
what understands it of baptism; and if it be not so understood, it is
difficult to give an account


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how a person is born of water any more than born of wood." This is
strong language, but no writer has ventured to dispute it. If it were
not true, and any writer understood it otherwise, his writings would
have been produced in refutation of the statement.
But what is the testimony of modern writers on this subject? Mr.
Wesley says: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit
-- except he experience that great inward change by the Spirit and
be baptized (wherever baptism can be had) as the outward sign and
means of it." Wesley's Notes on John iii:5.
"By baptism, we who were 'by nature children of wrath,' are
made the children of God; and this regeneration which our church
in so many places ascribes to baptism is more than barely being
admitted into the church, though commonly connected therewith;
being 'grafted into the body of Christ's church, we are made the
children of God by adoption and grace.' This is grounded on the
plain words of our Lord, 'Except a man be born again of water and
of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God.' John iii:5.
By water, then, as a means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated
or born again; whence it is also called by the apostle 'the washing of
regeneration.'" Doctrinal Tracts, published by order of the Methodist
General Conference, pp. 248, 249.
BLOOMFIELD: "The purpose of the next verse (6) seems to be
to set forth the indispensable necessity of this regeneration by water
and the Spirit, in order to the attainment of everlasting salvation; for
that as the natural or animal life depends on flesh and blood, so
does the spiritual life depend on the baptism by water and by the
Spirit." Greek Testament and Notes.
WHITBY: "If a man be not born of water: That our Lord
speaks here of baptismal regeneration, the whole


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Christian church from the beginning hath always taught, and that
with very good reason." Notes on John iii:5.
BARNES: "Born of water: By water here is evidently signified
baptism; thus the word is used, Eph. v:26; Titus iii:5." Notes on
John iii:5.
TIMOTHY DWIGHT, president of Yale College: "To be born
again is precisely the same thing as to be born of water and of the
Spirit; and to be born of water is to be baptized, and he who
understands the nature and authority of this institution, and refuses
to be baptized, will never enter the visible or invisible kingdom of
God."
GEORGE WHITFIELD: Born of water and of the Spirit: Does
not this verse urge the absolute necessity of baptism? Yes, when it
may be had." Works, Vol. iv, p. 355.
While we do not indorse every thing quoted from these authors,
they show that the learned of all ages understand baptism by the
language born of water. Did space permit we might extend the list
of quotations ad infinitum. The Methodist Discipline quotes John
iii:1-8, in the baptismal ceremony. The Westminster and Cumberland
Presbyterian Confessions refer to John iii:5, as a proof text under the
head of baptism, showing that they understand the passage to refer
to water baptism, otherwise they would not thus refer to it. The
Episcopalian Church so understands it, as the following questions
and answers from the Catechism will clearly show:
"Question. What is the inward and spiritual grace (of baptism)?
"Answer. A death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness,
for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are
hereby made the children of grace.
"Q. But are there not some conditions required on the part of
man in order to his being saved by the death of Christ?


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"A. We must become members of that spiritual society or body
of which Christ is the head.
"Q. Why must we become members of this body?
"A. Because we can not partake of the Spirit of Christ unless we
are members of the body of Christ. 'There is one body and one
Spirit.' Eph. iv:4.
"Q. What is the body of Christ commonly called?
"A. It is called the church. Eph. i:23.
"Q. How are we made members of the church or mystical body
of Christ?
"A. By baptism. 'We are all baptized into one body.' 1 Cor. xii:
13.
"Q. For what end did our Lord institute the rite of baptism?
"A. To be the way and means of admitting man again into the
favor of God. 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he
can not enter into the kingdom of God.' John iii:5.
"Q. What favors or privileges does God grant to persons
baptized in this new covenant?
"A. The forgiveness of all his own sins, if he hath committed
any, and the sin of Adam so far as concerned him; a title to the Holy
Spirit, as being the life of the body whereof he is now made a
member, and the promise of a resurrection of his body, and a
glorious immortality in heaven.
"Q. Can forgiveness of sin be obtained by those to whom the
gospel is preached, out of the church?
"A. No; for it is obtained only through Jesus Christ.
"Q. Does baptism cleanse us from all the actual sins we have
committed before it?
"A. Yes; as well as from original sin. 'Arise, and be baptized,
and wash away thy sins.' Acts xxii:16.
"Q. Who instituted the sacrament of baptism and the Lord's
Supper?


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"A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the purpose of applying the
merits of his death to us.
"Q. Is it, then, a great advantage to receive these sacraments
worthily?
"A. It is the greatest blessing of this life, because they are the
means of conveying grace into our souls, without which we can do
no good thing."
This catechism teaches that baptism brings us into the church,
out of which those to whom the gospel is preached can not be
saved; it brings us into the body of Christ, out of which we can not
partake of the Spirit of Christ, without which we are none of His; it
is the means of obtaining the remission of all our sins, and Adam's
sin as far as it pertains to us; it gives a title to the Holy Spirit, a
promise of a resurrection of the body, and a glorious immortality in
heaven. Is not this enough? Who ever attached more importance to
baptism than this?
But our chief object in quoting it was to show that it refers the
language of Jesus (born of water) to baptism. How comes it to pass
NOW that men will abandon their own creeds and the plainest
teaching of Holy Writ, as understood by the learned of all ages, and
deny that the passage has any reference to baptism at all. When the
Lord said: "Suffer little children to come unto me," and said not a
word about water, or baptism, they can see plenty of water to
baptize an infant; yet where the Lord uses the language "born of
water and of the Spirit," they can not find a drop of water in the
passage. Whether or not they are consistent the reader will judge for
himself.
But we are told that if the kingdom was not established until the
day of Pentecost, this language can not apply to it, for it was used
before that time. It is true that the kingdom was not set up until the
day of Pentecost; and it is also true that this language was used by
Christ before


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that time, but the same is true of every thing He said while on the
earth; hence it may all be wiped out by the same rule. The New
Testament is the last will of the Saviour; was there ever a will the
provisions of which were not arranged before the death of the
testator? Jesus Christ arranged the provisions of His will before His
death, and one very important provision was the manner of entering
His kingdom when it should be established. The clause containing
this provision was given to Nicodemus in a figure, and went into
effect when His apostles were installed executors of the will on the
day of Pentecost.
But the tenth verse -- "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest
not these things?" -- is supposed to show