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is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”—2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.
3. The testimony of pedobaptists.
“The Supreme Judge, by whom all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of Councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures. Matt. xxii. 29–31." -Presbyterian Confession of Faith, Chap. 1, Sec. 10.
“We ought not to worship God with any other external worship than what himself has, commanded and appointed us in his holy word. The Scripture has set us our bounds for worship, to which we must not add, and from which we ought not to diminish; for whosoever does either the one or the other, must needs accuse the rule either in defect of things necessary, or of superfluity in things unnecessary, which is an high affront to the wisdom of God, who, as he is the object of all worship, so he is the prescriber of all that worship which he will accept and reward.”— Bishop Hopkins' Works, p. 107.
But notwithstanding this, some men positively deny what Mr. Sawyer says above: yes, Mr. S. himself palpably contradicts it before he gets through ; for on p. 19 he says, “ As no specific directions are given in the New Testament respecting the MODE of baptism the early Christians, like many in modern times, may have thought themselves at liberty to baptize in what mode they pleased.”. Again, he says in his second pamphlet; p. 20, “The mere mode of administering established rites, where the directions respecting the MODE are not supposed to be specific.”
Such gross mistakes are not the fruit of ignorance, for Mr. S. is a man of erudition ; but it is the legitimate result of attempting to run between the commands of God and human institutions. He sometimes falls in with one, and then with the other. Now God either has made a revelation of his will to us, or he has not: if he has not, then we are wholly without a guide; if he has, then the Bible is his will and our guide. If the Bible is his will respecting our duty, then it is complete, or it is not: if it is complete, then our duty is clearly expressed. If it is not complete, then it is so because God would not, or could not, make it complete: but to say that he could not, limits omnipotence; and to say he would not, impeaches his goodness. The conclusion is evident, the Bible is a full and complete rule of faith and practice.
SECTION II. The next position of Mr. Sawyer's which I shall notice, is that in order to establish his doctrine, he denies the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures; charges the Greeks, as a nation and a church, with not understanding their own language; the apostles and primitive church with ignorance and error; and the translators of our English version with error and want of ability to accomplish in their whole effort even as much as he has done in his little book of 24 pages.
1. He denies the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. On p. 2 he says, “The English verb baptize corresponds to the Greek fantığw, from which it is derived. The noun baptism corresponds to the Greek βαπτισμα and βαπτισμος, both of which are applied to denote the rite of baptism in the New Testament.-The language of the Septuagint is Hebraistic, not strictly classic; that is, it differs from the language used by native Greek writers, by being, in many instances and particulars, conformed to the Hebrew, of which it is a. translation, and by being used to express ideas and denote objects unknown to Grecian literature.” On p. 3 he says, " Bantiću, as used by the classic Greek writers, signifies to dip, to immerse in a liquid.” On p. 8 he says, " In adopting the Greek language, and applying it to describe their own peculiar institutions, it was not possible for the Jews to use all the words of that language in senses previously established by Grecian usage.”
Thus Mr. S. argues through his whole book, to prove that the writers of the New Testament, either from choice, or ignorantly, or for want of language, did adopt and use a classic Greek word, the meaning of which is universally known to be dip, while they by using this word intended to teach the whole church of God to sprinkle. Now Mr. S. has proved his point, or he has not. If he has not proved that Christ and the apostles were all mistaken in the use of the word Bantic, then his whole scheme is gone at a dash; for he concedes that the legitimate meaning of that word is dip. But if he has established the point that the writers of the New Testament fell into the same error with which he charges the translators of the Septuagint, then it is obvious that he denies the inspiration of their writings. Mr. S. would make us believe, that he is only arguing the difference between classic and Hebraistic Greek, while he evidently aims to fix on the mind of the reader, that the language of the Scriptures was not inspired. What if the translators of the Septuagint before Christ's incarnation niistook? and what if the translators of the English version were mistaken? If Christ and his apostles are correct in their use of the word Battiğw and its cognates, this is all we wish to know. The distinction between classic and Hebraistic Greek has nothing to do with this argument. The question that Mr. S. has introduced is concerning plenary inspiration; that is, were the words. as well as the sentiments of the Bible dictated by the Holy Spirit ? or were the apostles and the whole primitive church left to use a classic Greek word, calculated to mislead themselves, and the churches in succeeding ages ? On this important point we need light..
1. The testimony of our Lord.
“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord.”-Exodus xxiv. 4. “I have also spoken by the prophets.”—Hosea xii. 10. “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God.”- John iii. 34. See also Deut. xxxi. 12: Prov. i. 23, &c. &c.
2. The testimony of the apostles.
“For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book ;- and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy.”- Rev. xxii. 18, 19. “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdorn teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”—1 Cor. ii. 13. “Take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say ; for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”—Luke xii. 11, 12. See also Acts v. 20 : John xvii. 14: Rev. i. 3 : xxii, 18: xxi. 5: Heb. iv. 12.
3. The testimony of pedobaptists.
“And this is the most literal, and no doubt the most correct, rendering of 'rodha yata, the Greek words which were dictated by the Holy Ghost.”—Evangel. Mag., Hartford, Ct., June, 1836.
“In the text we are presented, among other things, with a commission given to the apostles and others, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and Bantiobeiç, (is baptized;) &c. Their preaching therefore was a business of mere delegation; or in other words, Christ preached the gospel by their instrumentality.- Can he who came to publish the will of God to mankind concerning this immensely important subject have left it to be chiedy published under his authority, by the mere force of human memory, and mixed with human frailty and human opinions, and thus necessarily have become a mass of truth and falsehood, so blended that those who read their writings could never be able to separate the falsehood from the truth? Does any human legislature suffer its own laws to be published in such a manner ? Was Christ possessed of less wisdom, or less integrity, or less benevolence, than human legislators ?- The same truth is evident, from the promise given to the apostles by our Savior in his last discourse, of the descent of the Holy Ghost.:That he (the Holy Ghost) should bring up to the full view of the memory the things which Christ had taught them. It will be evident to the slightest attention, that the things here promised contain whatever is involved in the plenary inspiration of the apostles. If it was fulfilled, then the apostles wrote and preached the gospel under the plenary inspiration of the Holy Ghost, because the promise assures them of such inspiration, in the amplest terins conceivable. If it was not fulfilled, then Christ was a false prophet.---The apostles testify directly, that the gospel which they preached was revealed to them from God, 'which things also we speak not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual ;' or as the last phrase is rendered by Dr. Macknight, explaining spiritual things in spiritual words.” — Dwight's Theology, Sermon 48.
“But God has given us his word to this very end, that it may be our rule; and therefore he has so ordered it that it may be understood by us; and strictly speaking this is our only rule. If we join any thing to it, as making it our rule, we do that which we have no warrant for ; yea, that which God has forbidden. Deut. iv. 2: Prov. XXX. 6.”—Pres't Edwards, vol. 4, p. 482.