[ocr errors]

he went up straightway out of the water?” now asked Israel.,

“ Yes, and likewise Philip and the Eunuch went down both into the water, and they came up out of the water," added another of the students.

“ And they baptized in Enon because there was much water there,” pursued a third.

“Now he is surely out and quite lost,” reflected Israel triumphantly.

“Both you and I have studied the Greek sufficiently to know that all those words which in English place the persons engaged in the rite of baptism in the water, also the coming out of the water, etc., could just as easily and honestly be rendered by other prepositions. A laborious investigator * of this part of translation has taken pains to furnish the following statement, which, thinking it might be useful as well as curious to you, I have brought with me today

66. The Greek word in those places translated in is en. The word expressing Jesus went up out of the water, is apo. The word expressing Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water, is eis. The word expressing they went out of the water, is ek.

66. I have examined those prepositions in all those five books, how they are translated in every place where they are used. There are, of all that I have examined, 2859. En is used 1033 times, of which 47 are rendered in adverbs. In 25 cases the sense is

* Rev. Ebenezer Chaplin. From this author the teacher derived many of his arguments, which appear in this and the foregoing chapter.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

involved in other words, so that there is no distinct word in English answering to en in the Greek. The rest, 964, are rendered in English prepositions, seventeen different ways; viz., in, by, with, among, within, for, under, at, through, on, before, unto, into, of, to, about, over. It is translated in more than all the rest. But it is rendered at 53 times, by 44, with 42, among 45, on 30. The rest are less, as 10, 7, etc.

“The word apo I have found used 423 times in those five books; 6 are rendered adverbs, II are involved. The rest, 406, are rendered in English prepositions, 13 different ways.

It is translated from 235 times, all the rest 172 ; so that from is many more than all the rest.

66. The word eis is used in those first five books of the New Testament 955 times; 17 are rendered adverbs, 36 are involved.

The rest, 902, are rendered in English prepositions, seventeen different ways. It is rendered into 388, to 188, unto 97, in 86, on 45, for 23, at 18, against 18; the rest are less, aš 10, 8, etc.

66. Ek is found 446 times in the same books; 4 are rendered adverbs, 6 are involved. The remainder, 435, are rendered in English prepositions, thirteen different ways. It is rendered of 191, from 102, out of 77, on 30, with 17.""

“ How are we to arrive at a certainty respecting the translation of any passage, if the original words can be rendered in so many ways?” asked one present, who had no acquaintance with any language but his

[ocr errors]


"Only by the obvious sense of the word in connec


tion with the spirit of kindred passages," replied the teacher. After a moment's pause, he continued, “ In those countries, the multitudes who gathered for baptism could only be accommodated near the water. This was necessary for the comfort of themselves and their beasts. As they were a nomadic people, and being in the wilderness, vessels were not convenient. In Mark, we find it stated that John began to baptize in the wilderness. In John, it reads, "These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

“Likewise, in the case of Philip and the Eunuch, it will be noticed that recourse to water by the wayside was a necessity. But here the translators have not been faithful to their own rules. In connection with the baptism of Christ, the word rendered out of the water' is apo,' while in this position, the word having the same translation is “ek.'

“It is just as true to say that they went by or from the water as out of it.

“The case of baptism in Enon is explained likewise by reference to the original, where it reads, "for there were many waters there.' These numerous springs, or waters, would accommodate the multitudes who flocked to the baptism of John."

6. That he could not have immersed so many, is evident from the multitudes who received the rite. This also appears in connection with the baptism at the Day of Pentecost, when three thousand were added to the Church in one day. It would have been impossible to have immersed so many.

“In regard to your other point of difficulty, respect




ing believers being the only proper subjects of baptism," continued the clergyman, “here I must again insist upon the spiritual meaning of the outward act. The baptism of infants who have not arrived at sufficient age to participate in the act of faith themselves, is always in the faith of one or more responsible believers.”

“ Since Christ was circumcised in his infancy,” said Israel, “ and if baptism came in the room of circumcision, why was it necessary for him to be baptized upon his own responsibility ? Or rather, if children are now sprinkled in the room of circumcision, why should they not again be baptized upon profession of their faith, after the pattern of Christ?”

“ It reads, “Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' The birth of water is mentioned first, as coming in the divine order, before the birth of the spirit. It is certain that Christ's baptism, though accompanied by water, was a spiritual one, for the heavens being opened, the Spirit of God descended like a dove, and lighted upon him. From this event commenced his divine career among men.”

“ But why was he circumcised, if the first act of his baptism, namely, that of water, was typical of that rite?” pursued Israel.

“While subject unto his parents, he deported himself like a natural child, and was subject to the natural rite; but when he assumed his divine mission, he instituted the spiritual nature of the natural baptism. Hence, the special spiritual manifestation from heaven.


Israel looked as though not perfectly satisfied, but he forbore to follow his questions in that line of difficulty. His next words were: “ The Baptists assert, as I think with good reason, that there is not a single instance of infant baptism in the Scriptures.”

“ We also assert, with no less confidence, that the children of proselytes to the faith of the Gospel were baptized, with their parents, by the apostles,” answered the teacher. “ But


will hardly venture to claim an explicit mention of a case of the baptism of a child,” continued Israel, smiling triumphantly.

" That there is no mention of the baptism of one of the twelve apostles is no argument against the validity or universality of baptism in the apostolic churches. Or yet is it any proof of their being under no necessity for regeneration, because no relation of the conversion of any of the twelve is found, other than their being called or chosen, and accepting their commission by the external act. It is rather a proof of the universality of the custom of infant baptism, and not less of its approval by Christ; else, he would have somewhere brought his condemnation upon it.

On the contrary, the Saviour decidedly manifested his gracious love of children by taking them in his arms and blessing them. Observe, he never baptized adults; but he deigned to perform this act of condescension, and taught the ambitious disciples to receive the little child in his name. One of the evangelists says that Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little

« VorigeDoorgaan »