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churches and some others; though he confesses that the ceremony of immersion was the more common, the more fit, and the more safe, as St. Thomas teaches. Knatchbul's Animadversions.
In primitive times, the manner of baptism was by immersion, or dipping the whole body into the water. And this manner of doing it was a very significant emblem of the dying and rising again re ferred to by St. Paul, Rom. vi. 4. Dr. Clarke.
I grant that the word baptize signifies to dip, and the ordinance might have been administered by immersion in the ancient church. De Courcy.
A great part of those who went out to hear John were baptized, that is, dipped in Jordan. Poole's Annotations.
The sacrament of baptism was anciently administered by plunging into water, in the Western as well as the Eastern part of the church; and that the Gothic word (Mark i. 8. and Luke iii. 7. 12.) the German Tauffen; the Danish word Dobe, and the Belgic Doopen, do as clearly make out that practice, as the Greek word BarBishop Nicholson. The third thing to be inquired into, concerning the outward visible sign of baptism is, how it ought to be applied; whether by an im mersion, or an aspersion, or effusion. A more material question this than it is commonly deemed by us, who have been accustomed to baptize by a bare effusion, or sprinkling of water upon the party; for in all things which depend for their force upon the mere will and pleasure of him who instituted them, there ought, no doubt, great regard to be had to the commands of him who did so; as without which there is no reason to presume we shall receive the benefit of that ceremony, to which he hath been pleased to annex it. Now what the command of Christ was in this particular, cannot well be doubted of by those who shall consider the words of Christ (Mat. xxviii. 19.) concerning it, and the practice of those times, whether in the baptism of John, or of our Saviour. For the words of Christ are, that they should baptize, or dip, those whom they made disciples to him; for so, no doubt, the word properly signifies;
and, which is more, and not without its weight, that they should baptize them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; thereby intimating such a washing as should receive the party baptized within the very body of the water, which they were to baptize him with. Though if there could be any doubt concerning the signification of the words in themselves, yet would that doubt be removed by considering the practice of those times, whether in the baptism of John, or of our Saviour; for, such as was the practice of those times in baptizing, such, in reason, are we to think our Saviour's command to have been concerning it, especially when the words themselves incline that way, there being not otherwise any means, either for those or future times to discover his intention concerning it. Dr. Toweson.
The term baptism is a Greek word. It may be rendered a dipping, as when we dip something in water, that it may be entirely covered with water. And though that 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 presently to be drawn out again; for the etymology of the word seems to require it. The Germans call baptism tauff, from depth, which they call tieff in their language, as if it were proper those should be deeply immersed, who were baptized; and truly, if you consider what baptism signifies, you shall see the same thing required; for it signifies, that the old man and our nativity, that is full of sins, which is entirely of flesh and flood, may be overwhelmed by divine grace. The manner of baptism, therefore, should correspond to the signification of baptism, that it may show a certain and plain sign of it. Luther.
None of old were wont to be sprinkled, and I confess myself unconvinced by demonstration of Scripture for infants' sprinkling. It ought to be the church's part to cleave to the institution, which is dipping; and he betrays the church, whose officer he is, to a disorderly error, if he cleave not to the institution, which is to dip. That the minister is to dip in water, as the meetest act, the word baptizo notes it. For the Greeks wanted not other words to express
any other act besides dipping, if the institution could bear it. What resemblance of the burial or the resurrection of Christ is in sprinkling? All antiquity and scripture confirm that way. To dip, therefore, is exceeding material to the ordinance, which was the usage of old, without exception of countries, hot or cold.
In England, of late years, I ever thought the parson baptized his own fingers, rather than the child.
The word baptize doth certainly signify immersion, absolute and total immersion, in Josephus and other Greek writers. But this word is in some degree equivocal; and there are some eminent Greek scholars who have asserted, that immersion is not necessarily included in baptism. The examples produced, however, do not exactly serve the cause, who think that a few drops of water sprinkled on the forehead of a child, constitute the essence of baptism. In the Septuagint it is said, that Nebuchadnezzar was baptized with the dew of heaven; and in a poem attributed to Homer, called the Battle of the Frogs and Mice, it is said, that a lake was baptized
with the blood of a wounded combatant.
A question hath arisen, in what sense the word baptize can be used in this passage. Doth it signify immersion, properly so called? We think not. Neither can it signify a partial sprinkling. A body wholly surrounded with a mist, wholly made humid with dew; of a piece of water so tinged with and discoloured by blood, that if it had been a solid body, and dipped into it, it could not have received a more sanguine appearance, is a very different thing from that par tial application, which, in modern times, is supposed sufficient to constitute full and explicit baptism. The accommodation of the word baptism to the instances we have referred to, is not unnatural, though highly metaphorical; and may be resolved into a trope, or figure of speech, in which, though the primary idea is maintained, yet the mode of expression is altered; and the word itself is to be understood rather allusively than really, rather relatively than absolutely. If a body had been baptized, or immersed, it could not have been more wet than Nebuchadnezzar's; if a lake had been
dipped in blood, it could not have put on a more bloody appearance. Hitherto the Anti-Pædo-Baptists seem to have had the best of the argument, on the mode of administering the ordinance. The most explicit authorities are on their side. Their opponents have chiefly availed themselves of inferences, analogy, and doubtful construc Monthly Review for May, 1784.
I think it can hardly be questioned, but that dipping or plunging C into the water was the more usual practice in the primitive times; for the baptism of John, from which the Christian baptism took its rise, was performed in a place "where there was much water." John iii. 23. Which is further confirmed by Philip and the eunuch's going into the water; Acts viii. 38. and also by allusions in scrip"buried. ture to baptism; as when St. Paul speaks of our being with Christ in baptism;" Rom. vi. 4. and so Col. ii. 12. ❝ buried with Christ in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him:" which are metaphors clearly taken from the then common use of baptism, to be plunged over head and ears in the water, and then to be raised up again; which custom was retained in the Church for many centuries. Tertullian, speaking of the baptisms of his time, about the year 200, says, "Hominem in aquam dimissum et tinctum esse :" the baptized person was put into the water, and dipped in it. Tert. de Bapt. Gregory Nazianzen, speaking of the baptism of his father, which was about the beginning of the fourth century, relates the manner of his going out of the water after his baptism. Greg. Naz. in Orat. de Laudibus Patris. But, besides infinite authorities, which might be cited for this practice, the form of the ancient baptisteries, (wherein the xoλuμßn≈pa, or the basin, was made large and deep enough to cover the bodies of grown persons, who were plunged into it,) is sufficient evidence thereof. And moreover the bare dipping under water, there was a custom which obtained during the first ages of Christianity, which was the trine immersion, or dipping three times under water, once at the name of God the Father, the second time at the name of God the Son, and the third time when the Holy Ghost was named. This is mentioned by Tertullian, in his book De Corona: "Dehinc ter mergimur:" after this we are dipped three times under water. This he speaks of again in his
personas book against Praxeas: "Ter ad singula nomina, in gulas tingimur:" we are three times dipped in water, for every Person in the Trinity, once at the naming of each of them. Tert. adv. Prax. cap. xxvi. But this custom is most particularly described by the author of the Book of the Sacraments, commonly attributed to St. Ambrose: " Interrogatus," &c. You are asked the question, Whether you believe in God the Father Almighty? And you answer, I believe; and with that you are dipped in the water. Again, you are asked, Do you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ? and you answer, I believe; and are dipped again. Then you are asked, Do you believe in the Holy Ghost? and you are dipped third time. This St. Jerome will have to be an apostolical tradition: "Multa per quæ traditionem in ecclesiis observantur, authoritatem sibi scriptæ legis usurparunt, velut in lavacro ter mergitari:" there are many things, which by tradition being observed in the Church, have gained to themselves the authority of a written law; as to be plunged into the water three times in baptism.
Hier. Dial. cont. Lucif.-In Booth on Pado-Baptism. But, however, about the latter end of the sixth century, the trine immersion began to be left off in Spain; because the Arians used it. And this was approved by Gregory the Great, in one of his epistles; for he says, "That there is not less mystery in one immer sion than in three; for one immersion is rightly used to signify the oneness of the Deity, as the trine immersion is to signify the three Persons." And this opinion of Gregory was afterwards affirmed by the Fourth Council of Toledo, which was held A. D. 633. The single dipping being now settled in Spain, the trine immersion lost ground in other places, though it was a great while after faintly used; for we find some traces of it in the eighth century, when
Alcuinus wrote, who mentions it, Tit. de Bapt. Dom. and in the Itime when the Ordo Romanus was compiled. But I cannot find that the trine immersion was used in our nation; since there is nothing in the provincial constitutions, nor in those of Otho and
Ottobon, concerning it.
From these words, (John iii. 23.) "And John also was