home, she would ask Mr. R., who was still at her father's house, to read from a Greek dictionary the various significations of the original terms, to the translations of which in this passage he had attached so much importance; and also to point out some of the texts, of which there was a great number, where the same words had been rendered 'to' and 'from.' I assured her that if she could persuade him to do this, she would never more think the argument which he had founded upon them worth a straw, and would be ashamed of those who supported their system by reasoning so false, and, to uninstructed persons, so delusive. To this I added, that even were it otherwise, as the words do not describe the act of baptism, but merely what took place prior to its administration, they furnished no solution of the problem, how the ordinance was performed, whether by plunging, pouring, or sprinkling.

“ Having been drawn thus far into discussion, I ventured to ask the ladies whether they could suppose that this African nobleman would have gone down, as he is represented to have done, direct from his chariot to be dipped, either in the travelling dress which he wore, or in other garments put on for the occasion? I inquired, further, whether in the place where this baptism was administered, and which was desert,' it would seem at all probable that a suitable spot for immersion should have been so easily found? And I appealed to the young ladies, whether they had not learned enough of eastern deserts while at school, to satisfy them that the thirsty traveller through such a region is about as likely to meet with a stream of water there, deep enough for such a purpose, as with a stream of gold.

“Whether the mother thought that I was making some impression upon her daughters or not, who seemed amazed at these and other arguments, which had hitherto been carefully concealed from them, I do not know, but she soon rose to depart; and as she retired, she whispered into my ear, Do, Mr. George, lay aside your carnal reasonings, and take up the cross.' I thanked her, smiled, and said, Good morning."-(pp. 50–53.)

One of the “ pillars of the Church," a deacon, next assails him, but with no better success :

" After expressing his high respect for my parents, and the hope which he had entertained that I should have trod in their footsteps, added, But I am exceedingly sorry, my dear young friend, to find that you hesitate to take up the cross and follow Christ. Had I not been familiar with the phraseology in current use amongst the Baptists, I might have mistaken this for a lamentation over my religious indecision, and should never have conceived that it merely referred to doubts on the subject of immersion. But I had been initiated into these mysteries long enough to know the sense in which these terms were employed; and in consequence was scarcely surprised at the arrogant assumptions which they involved. I therefore replied by simply saying, that, in declining immersion, I was quite unconscious of having disregarded either the precept or example of the Saviour.

I was proceeding to advance more in self-defence, but my lecturer interrupted me with the question, What! did not Jesus Christ say—" Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness'!" and then added, in a style meant to be singularly solemn, but with intonation and emphasis quite original, the following distich from Rippon's hymns:

“ Hear the blest Redeemer call you,

Listen to his gracious voice;
Dread no ills that can befal you,
While you make his ways your choice.
Jesus says, “Let each believer
Be baptized in my name;'
He himself in Jordan's river
Was immersed beneath the stream."

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“ The mock heroic of the good man's elocution; the tone of triumphant satisfaction with which he recited the last two lines, and the expression of mingled complacency with himself and compassion for me, with which he fixed his eyes upon mine, as I sat gazing at him with mute surprise, overcame me; and a propensity, for the indulgence of which (though prevention was often impossible) I had been repeatedly punished at school, proved irresistible, and I so far lost the power of self-control, that, in spite of every effort, í burst into a loud laugh. It was a sad slip. I saw instantly that it had exposed me to just censure, and my character to much misconstruction. This soon repressed my risibility, which, otherwise, would have been only increased by the severe frown with which it was met, and the sad lamentations over my levity. Having endeavoured, as well as I could, to convince the good man that it was far from my intention to treat either him or his opinions with disrespect, I recurred to his quotation, expressed my desire to do whatever the Saviour had enjoined, and requested him to furnish me with a proof of the assertion, that he 'was immersed beneath the stream.'

“My demand was readily met in the usual way. Without a moment's hesitation, be quoted Mark i. 9, where it is said, that Jesus was baptized of John in Jordan. The emphatic manner in which he pronounced the preposition 'in'created the suspicion that he understood it to mean “under;' and I therefore asked him, whether he considered the words ‘ in Jordan,' to mean that our Lord was plunged below the surface of that river, or, according to the language of the hymn, that he was immersed beneath the stream? Having answered in the affirmative, I requested him to turn to the fourth verse of the same chapter, where it is said, that 'John did baptize in the wilderness,' and I then inquired, whether he did not believe that the word 'in' must have the same signification in both passages. Upon this, he began carefully to con over and collate the two verses, and kept me waiting some time for his reply; and, as if he felt a vague premonition of the consequence of answering my question in the affirmative, he expressed his desire to know why I had put it to him; and said, ' he could not exactly see what the wilderness had to do with the subject.' As, however, I would neither satisfy his curiosity, nor withdraw my demand, he at length admitted, though with evident reluctance, that'he supposed it might be so.' 'Well, then, I added, you must be aware that the wilderness of Judea was about as full of sands as the channels of the Jordan were full of water. If, therefore, the words, “ baptized in Jordan,” mean, as you suppose, “ being immersed under the water of that river,” must not the similar expression, “ did baptize in the wilderness," mean, “ being immersed under its sand?" Besides, I added, 'in the text to which Baptists are particularly partial, it is said that John was baptizing in Ænon;" which, you are aware, was not a river but a place. Now you do not, I presume, believe that he immersed his followers under Ænon; and yet you have precisely the same reason for believing this, that you have for thinking that they were immersed under Jordan.'

The good man sat staring, and, as I thought, startled at the discovery which I had made to him; but instead of attempting to strengthen his position, or extricate himself from the difficulty into which his bold assertion had brought him, he began to expatiate upon the qualities of the tea, and to apologise for taking an extra cup. This parenthesis having been filled up, I again requested his attention to the point which I had presented, when he said, ' But if the words, “ in Jordan," do not mean to be immersed, tell me what can they mean?' That,' I replied, “is not my business; but yet I have no objection to comply with your request. In the first place, then, for the reason which I have stated, it is very certain, whatever else they may signify, that the expressions cannot bear the sepse which you put upon them. This undoubtedly is not the idea which they naturally suggest; it never entered into any head but that of a Baptist, and can only be received by

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giving to the word 'in' a meaning which would, were the same signification retained in several other passages, render them sheer nonsense. But,' I added, there is no difficulty in answering your question. Baptists, in common with others, understood the words, " in the wilderness, "." in Ænon," and “ in Bethabara,” to mean, .at” those places; and why should not the passage, “in Jordan,” have a similar signification? Why, instead of bearing its usual import, when it occurs before the name of a place, should the word “in,” here, and here only, be rendered “into," or " under ?" Do show me the reason of this strange difference, and explain why the two passages might not change places, and be as fairly rendered, " at Jordan," and " under Ænon,” as

at Ænon,” and “under Jordan ?”', "Upon this, a short pause ensued; and then the other deacon (in order, as I thought, to raise the siege, with which his brother was sorely oppressed) demanded of me how John administered the rite, if it was not by immersion? I replied, that this was a point upon which no one could speak with confidence, because the inspired writers themselves had attached so little importance to the mode of baptism, that they had not penned a single syllable on the subject. We were, therefore,' I added, left entirely to inference;' and I then proceeded to state my reasons for this belief, that either pouring or sprinkling must have been generally employed in the service."-(pp. 97 -102.)

The object of the book being evidently to throw reasoning into an attractive form, and in this way to discuss the whole question, it closes so soon as the writer has fully exhibited the grounds on which he finally declined the baptism of the Baptists. No question touching Church or Dissent is handled in it. It simply deals with this one controversy. And to any of our readers, who may be acquainted with a friend who is suffering perplexity from this particular temptation, the volume will undoubtedly prove a seasonable and useful auxiliary.


BICKERSTETH, Rector of Watton. London: Seeleys, 1845.

This little tract is of the practical and useful character which marks all Mr. Bickersteth's productions. It must do much to further and clear the way for the sort of movement, the desirableness of which it indicates. As, however, most of our readers have already perused it in the Record, or in its separate form, we must not offer any extracts from it; but must endeavour, if possible, to carry the inquiry one step further.

An attempt,-in what degree growing out of Mr. Bickersteth's letters we know not,-is just about to be made, to devise some plan for a general Union of Christians throughout the empire. We cordially wish its success. The necessity for some united stand against the advances of Popery, and against the liberalizing spirit of our legislators, is becoming every day more apparent. Surely, by this time it must be clear to every one, that if remaining disunited as heretofore, the Protestants of the empire will be utterly disregarded in Parliament; and Romanism will be entirely established and endowed by the State, in spite of the outcries of the various divided and isolated sects which may

oppose it?

The approach of real and alarming danger generally unites those who have one common interest, however separated they may have previously been. A slight approach to union was thus produced in the progress of the last session of Parliament, by the persistence of Ministers in their Maynooth Bill. What we really want, is, that same union greatly increased, rendered permanent, and established on some intelligible basis. This would probably be most effectually obtained, by a perseverance in the same course :—that is, not by talking much about union, but by coming together, and cordially acting together, for a common object. In the Maynooth opposition, men found themselves mingled in an unusual manner, and they delighted to find that they could so mingle. But they had come together without thinking of Union,—they had come together simply to oppose Maynooth. And

so, now, if we might counsel, we would say, let not Union in itself be made the ultimate object; for in doing so, you force on a discussion about the terms of Union. Rather agree upon some common effort, some open field of labour ; and in attempting that, men will find themselves thrown together; will learn to esteem and love each other, and thus will soon begin to ask,

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“ Cannot we get rid of some of those little hindrances which still keep us in a measure apart.

Thus Mr. Bickersteth himself counsels, “What we are now especially called to, is combined resistance to Popery and Socinianism. We believe Popery to be the great apostasy of the Christian Church, and one of the most dangerous engines of Satan for the destruction of the souls of men. While Rome continues wbat it is, we must contend with it. To deliver our country from the guilt of supporting it, to deliver Papists themselves from its soul-ruinous tyranny, and thus to hasten the kingdom of Christ, is the work to which we are now especially called. Let us enter into every opening of Providence for this, and we shall be drawn nearer and closer to each other, and become more compact and invincible as the good fight of faith in which we are contending becomes hotter and hotter, till our Master returns and gives us the complete victory.”—(pp. 23, 24.)

Hence, as sincerely desiring the success of that attempt which is just about to be made, we would earnestly press upon the minds of its promoters, the absolute necessity of setting before all parties some great object in the attainment of which all parties may unite. If Union itself, nakedly and solely, is made the object, then the terms of Union must be immediately discussed ; and for such a discussion, we fear, men's minds are hardly yet sufficiently prepared.

There is another practical suggestion which we must offer; and it is one which arises out of an observation of Mr. Bickersteth's --that Christian Union must be a progressive work.

Every thing in which man is concerned, must proceed by steps. We cannot speak things into existence by a word, or change the man “ breathing out threatenings and slaughter," into one humbly asking, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” The Apostles themselves, inspired and working miracles, were yet obliged to spend years in building up a single church. (Acts xviii. 11. xix. 8, 10.) The Christian Union now desired, if attained at all, must be attained by slow and painful steps.

And, in attaining it, it will be useful to regard carefully the road, and the milestones ;-—to observe whether we have been advancing or retrograding of late; and if the latter, of which, unhappily, there can be little doubt,--then to strive to retrace mile by mile, our lost ground; in order that, having recovered our former position, we may endeavour next, at still further advances.

Now many of these milestones or landmarks may easily be found, by which we can measure and rightly estimate, the ground we have lately lost. Two most remarkable ones occur to our recollection ; and it will be useful to bring them before our readers' minds. By such a retrospect we may come to understand, how much nearer a perfect state of union we have been, in former times, than at the present

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