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These reasons are communicated briefly ; but if you will think of them, you can supply 'what is wanting. If the denomination to which you belong are in an error in reference to baptism, and are disobeying the Saviour; producing this separation, with its attendant evils ; preventing the removal of this separation; rendering itself insecure, by breaking away from the Bible; and are pursuing a course, which will diminish their happiness in heaven; ought not their interests in this respect to suffer, yea, to be destroyed? Ought you not to give (your influence] wholly to the cause of truth? With prayer that you may be led aright, I close.


These are a specimen of letters which I often receive. Sometimes they are on one side of the question, and sometimes on the other. I have been filled with regret, while reading such letters, that questions of this nature should thus agitate the Christian church; but as the matter actually is, I know of no way in which a discussion can be well avoided. I have engaged in it with much and sincere reluctance; but if I must engage, and cannot be let off, (which really seems to be the case), then at least I ought not to spend my time in beating the air. I may possibly accomplish thus much, if nothing more, viz. I may be the means of turning the attention of other minds to the whole subject; and the result of this may be, the final removal of the difficulties that now agitate so many churches. If my discussion should be the occasion of this, it will not be in vain that I have expended so much time and pains upon it.




$1. Form and Classical Use of the word Bantiśw.

The original etymological root of the verbs Bantico, Bonto, as also of the nouns Bónnois, Bóntigua, Bantiquós, Bantiotorov, βαπτιστής, βάπτρια, βαφή, βαφείς, βαφείον, βαφική, βάψιμος, βάψις, and in like manner of the adjectives or verbals Pantós, Baqirós, Bówiuos, -appears plainly to be the monosyllable BAI. In all the words derived from this root, there is a similarity of meaning, which shows an intimate connexion between them.

As to the formation of the words, some of them adopt the smooth and others the rough consonant or mute, as grammarians call letters of this class, viz. n and 9; sometimes with, and sometimes without, any special variation of meaning. The leading and original meaning of BAII, seems to have been dipping, plunging, immersing, soaking or drenching, in some liquid substance. As kindred to this meaning, and closely united with it, i. e. as an effect resulting from such a cause, the idea of dyeing, colouring, tinging, seeins also to have been often associated with the original root, and to have passed into many of its derivates. For example; Bantós dipped, immersed, coloured ; Bantw to dip, plunge, dye, colour ; Bapeus a dyer, usually limited to this signification ; Bugin dipping, plunging, imir-rsing, the act of colouring, colouring-stuff or matter, dye ; puqizós what belongs or is appropriate to dipping, immersing, or to colouring, dyeing ; Paqıný (sc. Téqun) the art of dyeing ; puqeius a dyer's work-shop; pówes the act of immersion, or of dyriny; Pawiuos 10 be immersed (quasi immersable), or to be coloured ; all of which shew, that there is a frequent interchange of meaning in the above derived words, and a similarity between them all; and also that the two ideas of immersion and of dyeing or colouring lie at the basis of the words derived from BATI, in most of their forms; although, in a few cases, usage has confined some particular words among these derivates solely to one class of meanings; e. g. Bugaús a dyer, pagaiov a dyer's shop,

TIOLS immersion, submersion, washing, etc. Such a limited lisage of a few of these derivative nouns, however, is probably the result merely of convenience and custom, and lies not in the original nature itself of the words thus employed; for as they are obviously from the root D AII, so they might be employed, if usage had thus determined, like nearly all its other numerous derivates, in the twofold sense of dipping or immersing, and of dyeing or colouring.

For the present, I merely state the fact in relation to these several meanings of the root BAII and its derivates. The leader is desired particularly to notice what has been stated, viz. that while most of the nouns derived from BAIT have a twofold sense, that of innmersion and that of dyeing, yet some of them are employed only in one sense exclusively, either that of immersion, or that of dyeing. We shall see, in the sequel, that the verbs Bóniw and Bantito have distinctions of meaning analogous to these,-distinctions which are never confounded by usage; while they both agree in one common and original meaning, viz. that of immersion or plunging.

In the brief view given above, I have supposed the original and literal meaning of the root BAII, to be that of dipping or plunging; and accordingly I have arranged this meaning so as to stand first in order. Still, some may be disposed to consider this as not altogether certain. They may perhaps maintain, that the idea of BAII was to tinge, dye, or colour ; and that the idea of plunging or dipping was derived from this, because, in order to accomplish the work of dyeing, the act of plunging or dipping was necessary. But as the idea of immersing or plunging is common to both the words βάπτω and βαπτίζω,

while that of dyeing or colouring belongs only to pánto); it would seem altogether probable, that the former signification is the more usual and natural one, and therefore more probably the original one. Accordingly I have so arranged it in my statement above ; but at the same time, it should be understood, that the signification of dyeing or colouring, as attached to the , word Pánow, and many forms derived from it, is not less certain than the signification of dipping or immersing. If the reader will keep this in mind, he will be enabled in the sequel easily to solve soine cases, concerning which there has been dispute, among those who have defended views that widely differ in regard to the manner in which the rite of baptism should be performed.

In addition to the two fundamental meanings of the word Bániw as derived from BAII, there are other derived or secondary meanings of the word, which will of course be noted in the sequel, when we come more fully to consider this subject. My present object, and the one first in order, is merely to illustrate, in an intelligible way, the different forms of the respective words. I do this first, in order that we may see whether Búntw and Buntićw are really synonymous, as they have often been asserted to be; or whether they have, in some respects, a real diversity of signification; a question not without importance in regard to the object before us.

It is seldom that any language has two words, which in all respects are synonymous, and are both in common usage at one and the same time. Synonymous words may indeed exist in a language, when a recent form of a word is substituted for a more ancient one of the same meaning; or when a word of foreign origin co-exists with one that is indigenous and of the same meaning, as is the case in our own language with regard to a great number of words derived from the Latin, Greek, French, etc. which co-exist with our indigenous Anglo-Saxon words; or lastly, words of different forms and yet synonymous in sense, may exist in a language which has different dialectical variations, such as the ancient Greek exhibited. But do any of these reasons exist in respect to pántw and Pantićw, so that on account of them we may take these words as in all respects synonymous ?

In quite ancient times, we find evidence of some difference being supposed to exist between them. For example, Tertullian says : “ Dehinc ter mergitamur,” Corona Militis c. 3. Je

rome (advers. Luciferianos) also says, “Nam et multa alia, quae per traditionem in ecclesiis observantur ; velut in lavacro ter caput mergitare," etc. Now mergito is a frequentative form of mergo. At the same time, however, these fathers, and others who wrote in Latin, often and commonly use the words tingo, mergo, demergo, in order to express the idea conveyed by Pantićw; especially do they employ lingo and mergo. By these latter words, in fact, do the Latin ecclesiastical writers for the most part render Bantiso, when they really translate the word; for ofientimes, like our English Version, they employ the original word itself, baptizo, in order to represent the Greek Bantiśw, merely making it conform to the Latin mode of inflection.

It would appear then, that a feeling existed among some of the Latin fathers, when they rendered Bantitw by mergito, that Pantiso is, in its appropriate sense, what the grammarians and lexicographers call a frequentative verb, i.e. one which denotes repetition of the action which it indicates. « Nor are they alone in this. Some of the best Greek scholars of the present and past age, have expressed the same opinion in a more definite shape.

Butimann lays it down as a principle of the Greek language, that a class of verbs in -Św, formed from other verbs, have the signi'fication of frequentatives, Gramm. $ 119. I. 5. 2. Rost lays down the same principle, Gramm. Ø 94. 2.b. Both appeal, by way of confirming their opinion, to such examples as orivo to groan or sigh, otevośw to sigh or groan often or much; aité'w to ask, ai. tibw, to beg, i. e. to ask repeatedly; EonW 10 creep, čonićw to creep along, to continue creeping ; binto) to cast or throw, gintášo io throw hither and thither. In accordance with this, Stephens and Vossius have given their opinions; and the highest authorites of recent date in lexicography, have decided in the same way. Passow, Bretschneider, and Donnegan, all affirm, that Bantišo originally and properly means to dip or plunge often or repeatedly.

With all deference to such masters of the Greek language, and with the full acknowledgement that frequentative verbs may be, and actually are, formed in the way just stated, I must still doubt, whether the sense of frequentativeness belongs essentially to verbs of this prolonged form, which are derived from other verbs of a shorter and more simple form. My meaning is, that although frequentative verbs may be easily and naturally formed in this way; and although this mode of formation accords well

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