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that any of them, since it is incredible that all of them, were baptized by plunging ? The baptism of the Eunuch is another example recorded in fcrip. ture-we have a particular history of this in the 8th chapter of the Acts of the apostles-_" and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him; and when they were come up out of the water, the spirit of the Lord caught away Philip.” This is a very particular description of the folemn transaction upon which the Baptists must infift, as a clear and positive proof, that plunging is the only scripture baptism.
But I hope, in a few words to fhew, that this is so far from proving, that dipping is the only fcrip. ture baptism, that there is not any certain proof whether the Eunuch himself was baptized by plunging, pouring, or sprinkling. Here let it be noticed, that the Greek preposition eis, does not always signify, into, as it is here translated, but is often translated, to or unto --and ek translated, -out of, very frequently signifies, from any thing. Agree. able to this, the passage may be thus read" And they went down both to the water, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him ; and when they were come up from the water," &c.*
I may now appeal to any impartial mind, that it
* Some suppose that the mode of baptism is clearly ascertained, by ito being said of Christ and others, that at the time of their baptism they went down into the water, and came up out of the water. If such will turn to the history of Israel's tranfit over Jordan, they will find it re. peatedly asserted that they went down into Jordan, (the fame river in which Christ was baptized,) and came up out of Jordan, and wet the foles of their feet only. If Israel went down into Jordan, and came up out of Jordan, and were not plunged all over in Jordan, as it is certain they were not, then Christ's going into Jordan, and coming up out of Jordan, furnillies no evidence that he was baptized by plunging.
bihe going doe water, both ph and the
any one should read this history, who has heard of baptizing only by pouring water upon the person baptized, whether he will not immediately say the Eunuch was baptized in that way; and whether • he who has never seen the ordinance administered only by sprinkling of clean water, will not as certainly conclude, that Philip baptized him by that mode ?-But could this possibly be the case, if there were in the text any clear and certain proof in favor of plunging? We will now consider the paffage more critically—" and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch." The going down into the water could not be the baptifm here recorded ; because Philip must then also have been baptized, since they both went down into the water. But the plain fact is, that the going down into the water, is no part of the baptism here, but a distinct thing " And he baptized him.” This sentence contains the baptism, and all that is certain about the mode in which it was administer. ed. After the Eunuch was baptized, it is said, " they both came up out of the water.” Does this proye that the Eunuch was plunged ? and why not Philip ? Since he also came up out of the water. Should it be granted that the Eunuch was dipped, which is by no means certain, it will not establish dipping as the only scriptural mode of baptism. Neither will it prove, that it is essential to the right administration of the ordinance, especially as it is not made necessary by him, who is the acknowledge ed author of the sacred institution..
Let us now consider those particular passages of sacred scripture, which are brought to prove that plunging is the only true mode of scripture baptism T he first I shall take notice of is in Colossians,
ii. 12, and the parallel text in Romans, vi. 4, “ Bu. ried with him in baptism, wherein ye also are rifen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death : that like as Christ, was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” It is very clear that the design of inspiration in these words, was not to eftablish any particular mode of baptism. It was to shew, that all those to whom he addressed himself, who were truly baptized into Jesus Christ, had really the internal change fignified- by baptism. They were baptized into his death, as the apostle expresses it. They were really dead, and buried with Christ as to fin, and with him were risen again; and they also were really alive unto God, and could not desire to live any longer in fin..
This is true with respect to all those who have this internal spiritual change, by the washing of regeneration, and sprinkling of the blood of Christ signified by baptism; though they were baptized only by sprinkling. They are truly and spiritually baptized into his death-They “ are bu. ried with him by their baptisin into death ;” and they also “ are truly risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Christ from the dead."
Let us not, my hearers, be too strenuous, but candid and generous to our brethren, who seem to be a little straitened on this subject. Let us allow, that the apostle has reference to the external mode of baptism. It will then prove that plunging is an allowed mode--But grant that it was an approved mode ; grant that it was a mode of baptism praca
tised in those warmer climes ; and, still farther, grant that it was the only mode practised by the apostles, even then it will not by any means follow, that plunging is the only christian baptism. It is not expressly commanded, and exclusively enjoined by our Lord and Master, in the original institution ; neither any where else in the sacred scriptures, is it intimated to be his will.
Some, to prove dipping to be the only baptism, have made use of 1 Cor. x. 2." And were all baptised unto Mofes, in the cloud, and in the sea.” But it is probable, that they who imagine it to the purpose, are still where our fathers were, under a cloud, and have not yet passed through the sea. Should any think it refers to the mode of christian baptism, I shall only observe, that the spray of the waters on the right and lest, and the mist of the cloud above, as they passed through the fea, gently sprinkling them, do as aptly represent, to an impartial mind, the mode of sprinkling. But the apostle, Eph. iv. 5, fays, “ One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” It is true that we acknowledge but one baptism by water, even that instituted by our blessed Lord in our text ; but still there may be different ways of applying the water in the facred washing, such as may answer a good conscience, and may most aptly represent the manner of his death with Christ, as to fin, and his rising again to spiritual life. The three modes used in the protestant church, taken together, may most fitly represent the out pouring of that all powerful influence of the Holy Spirit, by which the command comes home to the guilty soul : by which sin revives, and the finner is overwhelmed in death. They may also represent that fpiritual washing of regeneration
and sprinkling of the precious blood of Christ, by which the soul is cleansed from sin and guilt, and rises with Christ to a new spiritual life and comfort, through faith, which is of the operation of God.
On the whole, it at least is evident, that our brethren the Baptists ought to be a little less pofitive on this subject, and more modest and charitable toward those who differ from them in that respect. They hold that without dipping or plunging the body all under the water, there is no chris. tian baptism ; esteeming 'themselves, from this principle, the only christian church in the world : they will hold no christian communion with any of the protestant churches.
The Episcopal church administers baptism by pouring, and those of their communion use that mode. We think the mode of sprinkling as scriptural as pouring or plunging ; but yet we can use either mode as may best answer a good conscience to him who is baptized.
The mode of baptizing, by sprinkling clean water, we think was holden forth by the Jewish types, and clearly foretoid of the christian church in Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26, “ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will i cleanfe you.-A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of fleih.” It is expressly promised to Christ, in Isa. lii. 15, “So shall he sprinkle many nations, the kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them fall they fee; and that which they had not heard, shall