« AnteriorContinuar »
fess the faith of Christ, there appears to be no reason for objecting to this definition. I have already observed, however, that the apostle seems to make three distinct allusions to baptism, to grafting, and to crucifixion; and, at any rate, there is no allusion, here, to the mode of Baptism in the term " planted," more than in the term "crucified," in the following
The transplanting of Christ is his death and resurrection. In the transplantation of ingrafting, the scion is wholly and entirely removed from the parent stock. It no longer draws vitality or nourishment from it; no longer depends on it for growth; and now draws every thing from another stock, to which it is united, and is completely supported by its new connection. This is exactly what has happened to the exalted Saviour. He is no longer connected with this world, by his incarnation. He no longer partakes of earthly food, or drinks of the fruit of the vine. He is no longer subject to bodily inconveniences, to suffering, to insult, and to death. Being raised from the dead, he dieth no more. His resurrection is to eternal glory; and he draws all his honours from the blissful state, and spiritual world. short, he is transplanted from earth to heaven. While here, the prophecy was verified, Isa. liii. 2. "He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." He now enjoys the accomplishment of the prophecy in Jer. xxiii. 5.
"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."
The transplanting of the disciples of Christ in consequence of their union with him is their dying to sin, and living to righteousness, with all that victory over the world at present, and all that final glory, which attends the happy change. They are grafted, or transplanted together with him in the likeness of his death, and they shall be in the likeness of his resurrection. They are brought into a new state. Hence, they are in the first instance called, as we have seen, 1. Tim. iii. 6. " newly planted persons." Old connections are broken; old principles are disavowed; old practices are abandoned; old names even are relinquished; the old man is put off, and the new man is put on. The transplanted person draws new life, and strength from his new connection. He rises to a new life of holiness, which is begun on earth, and is manifested on earth, as introductory to its perfection and eternity in heaven. "If ye, then,” says the apostle," be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is ye also appear with
our life, shall appear, then shall
him in glory." Col. iii. 1—4.
As all figures come short of spiritual realities, so this defect may be observed, in the figure before us,
in two particulars, in which the truth referred to must be illustrated by contrast. First, in ordinary grafting the plant brings its own nature with it, as an improvement on the stock; but, here, the plant has been removed, that it might lose its own nature, and has been ingrafted, that it might acquire the nature of its new connection. Again: it is said to have been ascertained, that a graft cannot be preserved in life, beyond the usual term of the natural life of the parent tree; whereas, in the case before us, as there is a change of nature, there is a change of duration, from mortality to eternal life.-The imperfection of figures gives rise to their multiplication. Our Saviour draws another illustration of the union between himself and his people from the vine, in the cultivation of which there is no ingrafting, but where the union is represented as still more entire. "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 cleaneth 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 cannot 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: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing." John xv. 1-5.
The import of the allusions made by the apostle Paul to Baptism, and to grafting, is confirmed by that which he makes, in the next verse, to crucifixion.
As in Baptism, there is a representation of death to sin by a figure of washing, like that preparatory to interment, which took place in the burial of Christ; as in grafting or transplantation, we have a figure of that change of state and character, by which we have all connection broken off with the circumstances of our former condition that we may be one with Christ; so in crucifixion, our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. On this third allusion, however, it is unnecessary to enter at present, as it is not supposed by any one, so far as I know, to affect the question before us, respecting Baptism.
INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD BAPTISM,
BY THE GREEKS.
MR. ROBINSON of Cambridge says,* "Whether John baptized by pouring on water, or by bathing in water, is to be determined chiefly, though not wholly, by ascertaining the precise meaning of the word baptize. A linguist determines himself by his own knowledge of the Greek language, and an illiterate man by the best evidence he can obtain from the testimony of others, whom by his condition he is obliged to trust. To the latter it is sufficient to observe, that the word
* History of Baptism, Chap. II.
is confessedly Greek, that native Greeks must understand their own language better than foreigners, and that they have always understood the word Baptism to signify dipping; and therefore, from their first embracing christianity to this day, they have always baptized, and do yet baptize, by immersion. This is an authority for the meaning of the word baptize, infinitely preferable to that of European lexicographers; so that a man, who is obliged to trust human testimony, and who baptizes by immersion, because the Greeks do, understands a Greek word exactly as the Greeks themselves understand it; and in this case the Greeks are unexceptionable guides, and their practice is, in this instance, safe ground of action."
Nothing can be more plausible than this representation. I have no doubt it has caused the Immersion of many. The only thing about it, which might lead an illiterate man to ask a single question, is the fact, that a controversy should have actually risen on the subject. If the Greeks have always understood the word baptism to signify dipping," what could tempt any of the other children of men to dispute with that nation the meaning of their native language? The reader will now perceive, that my objection to the paragraph which I have quoted from Mr Robinson, relates to the assertion on which the whole of it is founded. I distinctly deny that "the Greeks have always understood the word baptism to signify dipping.”—That, in the days of Tertullian, when churches, in every nation, were running the race of superstitious observance, and vying with one another