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But there is nothing of this kind to be found
in all the scriptures, either in the accompanying phraseology, or, as we have seen, in the name of the ordinance itself.
DR. CAMPBell on MatTH. iii. 11.
It is now time to advert to the expression in Matt. iii. 11. ἐγὼ μὲν βαπτίζω ὑμᾶς ἐν ὕδατι-αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπ τίσει ἐν Πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί. These words are rendered by Dr. Campbell, “I indeed baptize you in water -He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire." In defence of this translation, he has added a note, which, as it touches on most of the topics belonging to our present discussion, I shall insert, and consider, at large. It is as follows,
"In water in the Holy Spirit, v dané ȧyíự Iveúar. English translation, with water with the Holy Ghost. Vulgate, in aquain Spiritu Sancto. Thus also the Syriac and other ancient versions. All the modern translations from the Greek which I have seen, render the words as our common version does, except Le Clerc, who says, dans l'eau-dans le saint Esprit. I am sorry to observe that the Popish translators from the Vulgate have shown greater veneration for the style of that version than the generality of Protestant -translators have shown for that of the original. -For in this the Latin is not more explicit than the Greek. Yet so inconsistent are the interpreters: last >mentioned, that none of them have scrupled to render vlogoάv, in the sixth verse, in Jordan, though Iogdáv,
nothing can be plainer, than that if there be any incongruity in the expression in water, this in Jordan must be equally incongruous. But they have seen that the preposition in could not be avoided there without adopting a circumlocution, and saying, with the water of Jordan, which would have made their deviation from the text too glaring. The word BarTile, 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 dying cloth, which was by immersion. It is always construed suitably to this meaning. Thus it is, ἐν ὕδατι, ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ. But I should not lay much stress on the preposition v, which, answering to the Hebrew 2, may denote with as well as in, did not the whole phraseology, in regard to this cere mony, concur in evincing the same thing. Accordingly the baptized are said avaßaivew, to arise, emerge, or ascend, ver. 16. árò roũ üdaros, and Acts viii. 39. in Toũ idaros from or out of the water. When therefore the Greek word is adopted, I may say, rather than translated into modern languages, the mode of construction ought to be preserved so far as may conduce to suggest its original import. It is to be regretted that we have so much evidence that even good and learned men allow their judgments to be warped by the sentiments and customs of the sect which they prefer. The true partizan, of whatever denomination, always inclines to correct the diction of the Spirit, by that of the party."
The references made, in the beginning of this note, to the Vulgate and Syriac, are perfectly correct. They furnish examples of literal translation, which Dr. C. in his preliminary Dissertations, has so successfully shown to be often delusive. Most justly does he observe, (Diss. X. part II. § 2.) "Upon trial, we find that, in no point whatever, does the literal translator fail more remarkably, than in this, of exhibiting the sense." In the instances before us, the imitation of the original is so close, that it can hardly be called translation; as far as the prepositions are concerned, (and it is on them alone that the discussion turns,) there is no translation at all except from the Greek, into the Roman, and from the Hebrew spoken in that day, into the Syriac, alphabet; and the question about the meaning remains equally to be settled, as regards the original, or those ancient versions. We find translators of all persuasions who differ from Dr. C. on this passage. In Schaaf's edition of the Syriac, published, Lugd. Batav. 1709. which Michaelis declares to be the very best, the Latin translation is, Ego baptizo vos aqua ad conversionem: ille autem qui post me venit, validior est me, cujus non sum dignus ego ut calceamenta portem: ipse baptizabit vos Spiritu Sancto et igne." In like manner, the Popish translation of the Vulgate into English, printed by John Moir at Edinburgh 1797, gives it as follows," I indeed baptize you with water unto penance, but he that shall come 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." As far as relates to the present question, both agree with our common version of the original.
The Doctor confesses, that all the modern translations from the Greek, which he had seen, except one, render the words as our common version does. This is an important fact; for the modern translators are certainly more accurate, in general, than the ancient ones; and where, with only one exception, they all agree, the presumption in their favour is strong indeed.
The Doctor confesses also, that they are chiefly Popish translators, who are in his favour, and that the generality of Protestant translators are against him. This is another important fact; for certainly, although there are a few celebrated Popish critics, the brightest light of biblical criticism is to be found among Protestants. This fact cannot be accounted for by any peculiarity of system respecting the mode of baptism. Our English translators, at least, being friends of immersion, would have been led by their system, to have patronised the Doctor's translation. He says, that the Popish translators have shown greater veneration for the style of the Vulgate, than Protestant translators have shown for that of the original. But this is the very question, what is the meaning of either? The phrase is identical in both, and I agree with Dr. C. that "the Latin is not more explicit than the Greek."
The Doctor alleges it to be an inconsistency in his Protestant opponents, that with universal consent they
have rendered iv r 'Iogdávy, in ver. 6th, in Jordan, and iv üdar, in ver. 11th, with water. Here again, their acknowledged unanimity is of importance; while the Doctor's way of accounting for it will not bear examination. Being advocates for immersion, they could be under no temptation to make "the too glaring deviation from the text," which he represents as their only alternative. Why, then, did they make a difference of translation, in these two verses, when the preposition was, in both, the same? For this good, and obvious reason, that there was a difference of the connection, in which it occurs; which, all translators know, will often cause the same word, especially the same preposition, to be understood in a different sense. In ver. 11th, the writer speaks of the ACT and the ELEMENTS of baptism.-Hence, he is understood to say, "I baptize WITH water-he will baptize wITH the Holy Spirit and fire." In ver. 6th, he speaks of the PLACE, where the Baptist was performing the act, and using the element. Hence, he is understood to say, "There went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him IN Jordan." If they had used any circumlocution, it could not have been, with the water of Jordan, (the one which the Doctor supposes) for that would not have expressed their understanding of the passage. It must have been, in the plain of Jordan, in the valley of Jordan, or in Jordan-dale.*
*Mr. Maundrell, in his Journey, thus expresses himself concerning this river. “After having descended the outermost bank, you go about a furlong upon a level strand, before you come to