Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

of Judea give us; I inean the Jerusalem Gemarists, from several passages that they have about the Greek language. In Megillah, fol. 71, col. 2, they say thus: “There is a tradition from Ben Kaphra, God shall enlarge Japhet, and shall dwell in the tents of Sem.' The Babylonian Gemara, on the same treatise, fol. 9, col. 2, resolves us what tongue of Japhet is meant; for having all along before spoken of the excellency and dignity of the Greek tongue, Rabbi Jonathan of Beth Gubrin saith there are four languages brave for the world to use, viz: the Vulgar, the Roman, the

Syrian, and the Hebrew. Now the question is, what | tongue he means by the Vulgar. ' Reason will name' the Greek ; and Midras Tillin makes it plain, for fol. 25, col. 4, speaking of this very passage, he nameth the Greek. Observe then, that the Hebrews call the Greek the Vulgar tongue. They proceed, fol. 25, col. 3: It is a tradition, Simeon Ben Gamaliel saith, in books they permitted not that they should write but only in the Greek; they searched and found that the law be interpreted completely but only in the Greek. And the same Talmud, in Sotah, fol. 21, col. 2, hath this record : Rabbi Levi, went to Césarea, and heard them rehearsing their phylacteries in the Greek language ; a passage very well worth observing; for in Cesarea were as learned schools as any in the nation, and if the phylacteries, (picked sentences out of the law,) which might above all things have challenged their rehearsal in the Hebrew tongue, as their own writers show, yet they say them over in Greek,-Paul might very well write to the Hebrews in Judea in the Greek tongue, when that tongue was in so common use even in the university of Judea itself. We should consider how that tongue (i. e, the Hebrew) was now a stranger to all but scholars, (yes, as much as it is to us at this day;) and how God in his providence had dispersed and planted the Greek tongue throughout all the world,

by the conquest of Alexander, (331 years before Christ, and had brought the Old Testament into Greek.”-ib. vol. 1, p. 340.

Thus we find that although the Savior, the apostles, and the members of the first church, were Jews in blood, yet they, and all their fathers for more than three hundred years, were Greeks by education; that by law they were obliged to write and teach in the Greek language only; and their learned Rabbi, Simeon Ben Gamaliel, (who lived at the time, and must have known as much about it as Mr. S. does,) searched and found that the law was interpreted completely but only in the Greek. See with how good a face Mr. S. condemns the Septuagint.

Thus generation after generation had passed by since the Hebrew language was dead, and the Greek in use, in school and out of school, in the public services of the synagogues, and in all the business of life, wherever they had need of language; and yet Mr. S. attempts to show this enlightened community that they were all so Hebraistic that they did not understand the Greek language then, as well as he does at the present time,--and ventures to raise his whole superstructure of sprinkling on this one point. Well might the apostle say, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ;" Colos. ii. 8; when he was about to teach the truth concerning baptism as at ver. 12: “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him.”

SECTION 111. In this section I shall briefly review Mr. Sawyer's second pamphlet, named " A Critical Dissertation on

the Ecclesiastical Relations and Privileges of Children, clearly establishing their Scriptural Title to Baptism." Leaving all classical and other minute criticisms to be considered under their respective heads.

1. The singular view that he takes of John's mission and work. Page 1: “John exercised the authority of a prophet duly authorized to modify and change the religious institutions of his time;" pp. 1, 2, "of initiating persons into a religious society, of which he was the founder, and which professed to receive his doctrines and submit to his discipline, as of Divine authority. Those who embraced the doctrines, and submitted to the discipline of John, were entitled to his baptism, as a seal of their faith in him."

Upon these assertions of Mr. S. I would remark, that none appears more glaringly anti-scriptural, than that John required the people to believe in himself, and baptized them on a profession of such faith. It is obvious to every Sabbath School scholar, that John required the people to believe in Jesus Christ, and be baptized on this condition. Mark i. 1-8: John's preaching and baptizing is called "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." See also Matt. iii. 10–12: Luke iii. 15–20: Jolin i. 19-28, 35–42: Acts xix. 1-7. These passages do not favor Mr. S's new doctrine, but all to the reverse. But lest he should not rest satisfied, I will quote a few pedobaptists.

John i. 22–25. “The right and power of baptizing Jews, and of collecting them by baptism into a new religion, was confined to the Messiah and his precursor in establishing his terrestrial monarchy," — Lightfoot, Rosenmueller, and Kuinoel, in comprehensive comment on the place.

"Such as professed repentance and made confession of their sins, he (John) baptized with water, charging them to believe on the Messiah, who was to be immediately revealed."- Brown's Bible Dictionary, under: John.

: “ The beginning of the gospel history of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, as it is recorded by the evangelist Mark, thus takes its rise from the opening of John's ministry. It was this John that came under the character of the great forerunner of the Messiah, as it is written in the prophets, and particularly in Mal. iii. 1: “Behold I send my messenger before thy face, O my anointed son, who shall prepare thy way before thee, and as a harbinger appointed to proclaim thy coming,' shall with remarkable solemnity make it the business of his ministry to introduce thy kingdom." See also, Isa. xl. 3. " And while he (John) was thus urging his exhortation, and saying

repent ye,' he pleaded with them a very new and important argument; for, said he, the long expected kingdom of heaven is now approaching, and God is about to appear in an extraordinary manner, to erect that kingdom spoken of by Daniel, ii. 44, and viii. 13, 14, as the kingdom of the God of heaven, which he would set up and give to the Son of man.— Dr. Sykes, in his essay on the truth of the Christian religion, chap. 3, has largely proved that this phrase refers to those texts in Daniel, quoted in the paraphrase. It properly signifies the gospel dispensation, in which subjects were to be gathered to God by his Son, and a society formed which was to subsist, first in more inperfect circumstances on earth, but afterwards to appear complete in the world of glory."-Doddridge's Expositor, Sec. 15..

“ John indeed administered the baptism of repentance, and came to prepare the way of the Lord, telling the people that they should believe in him that was to come after him, that is in Jesus Christ, whose servant he (John) professed himself to be, and so much inferior to him as not to be worthy to loose or bear his shoes.”Doddridge on Acts xix. 1-7.

“ John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth; he was great in the sight of God, and one of the most excellent of inen; yet he was nothing but the voice of a herald tò proclain the Savior's glo. ry, unworthy even to loose the latchet of his shoes. He knew that Jesus was before him as the Eternal Word: that he would for ever be preferred before him and all creatures, and that he alone could pardon sin or baptize with the Holy Ghost. He thought he could 1100 enough abase himself or exalt the Lord; he only desired to prepare his way, and manifest him to Israel. Their light is darkness, and their wisdom madness, who exalt themselves and degrade Christ."-Scott's Commeni.

From the above it is evident that John did not conic to sct up a dispensation of his own, requiring people to believe in him, and receive his baptism as a seal ot such faith. This statement, and that John was duly authorized to modify and change the religious institutions of his time, only prove that Mr. S. knows how to make assertions.

II. I notice the result of his argument.

On pp. 1, 2, Mr. S. says, " that the Mosaic baptisms, which were of daily occurrence, especially so in the age of pharisaical strictness and formality which characterized the cotemporaries of Christ, was the same baptism which John adopted and used for the purpose of initiating persons into the religious society of which he was the founder, and as a seal of their faith in him," (John.) Now I ask was Jesus Christ baptized merely with John's Mosaic pharisaical washing, on condition of his faith in John, to make him a member of John's society ? - Let men of sense judge. --- Again, Mr. S. assures us on p. 2," that the first notice we have of Christian baptism is at John iii. 22,5" long after Christ had been baptized of John; and on p. 3 he says "that all who believed in Christ were

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »