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Is Christian-Baptism to be administered on
LY by Immersion, or Dipping the Body under Water ? or, may it not Also, by Sprinkling, or Pouring Water on it ?
SECONDLY, That, if it was, yet a strict adherence to it, is not obligatory upon us : but that this Circumstance may, very lawfully and properly, be now exchanged for that of Sprinkling or. Pouring.
IT is, First, to be shewn - That Dipping the
I Body under Water, was not the only antiene and scriptural way of Bapiizing. To which purpose, the three following Things are premised ; in which all are agreed.
· I. That Baptism (i.e. Water-Baptism) is but an emblematical, or figurative Thing.
II. That the general nature or design of this Emblem or Figure, is by the application of Water, to signify or betoken a Person to be holy or clean ; appropriated to, and fit for the divine Service. And,
III. That Baptism was really a divine Institution ; and, by the express command of God, practised as a religious Rite in his Church ; both long before, and at the time of John's and Christ's appearing, and beginning to baptize.
This last Proposition is not, perhaps, so carefully attended to, as it ought. We are wont to consider Baptism, as a purely Christian Institution ; and to trace it to no higher Origin chan Jesus CHRIST, or John the Baptist. But this is certainly wrong. Baptism was, 'unquestionably, a divine Inftitution ; practised as a religious and sacred Ceremony, in the Church of God, Ages before. There were διαφοροι Βαπλισμοι diver/e kinds of Bapti/ms, the Apostle expressly says*, in which the WorMoip of God stood, under the Jewish Dispensation.
Heb. ix, 10.
Neither John, nor our Saviour, did properly inAitute this Ritet : but only took this antient, standing, religious Institution, and applied it to a particular Purpose, in their Miffion : namely, By the application of Water, to betoken to certain Perfons, that they mould be accepted of God, as boly and pure; fit for his Service, and for a place in that Church, or Kingdom of the MESSIAH, which was then going to be set up *
They made no alteration in it's general Nature or Design. Baptism, under the New Testament, has the very same general Meaning, Purpose or Intent, with Baptism under the Old: And is but an application of Water to fignify or betoken a person to be holy, or consecrated to the service of God. It is a ceremonial, and but a ceremonial, Washing in both.
Now, forafmuch as neither Christ, nor John the Baptift, did properly institute, but only borrowed or continued this before-instituted Ceremony ; and forasmuch, as it has the very fame general meaning and design under the Christian Scheme of Worship, as it had under the Jewish; it follows, that to look back to the Manner of it's adminiftration under the Old Testament, will be of great use to direct us, as to the MANNER of it's administration under the New.
What, then, was the MANNER, in which Baptism was wont to be administered; that is to
+ It is a great Truth (says Grotius) what the most learned Broughton notes, That Christ insituted no new Rites. Vid. Trač concerning Communicating, &c.
* Our Lord took (says Dr. Lightfoot) into his Hands Baptism, such as he found it : adding only this, that he exalted it to a nobler Purpose, and to a larger Use. Hor. Heb. Matt.
say, in which Water was wont to be applied, by God's express Command, to Persons or Things, to betoken them holy, and consecrated to his Service ; at that Time, and in that Church, in which both John and Jesus Christ were born, and brought up? Was it ONLY by Dipping wholly under Water ? Or, was it not ALSO by Sprinkling, or Pouring it on? I reply-Undoubtedly by both.
That it was sometimes by Dipping, there is no dispute. And that it was also sometimes, by Sprinkling, or Pouring on, the Case is equally clear. Amongst a multitude, I shall mention but the following Texts.. . "
LEVIT. xiv. When a Leper, who had been put out from the Camp of Ifrael (the then Enclosure, or Church of God) as being unclean or ukoly, was again to be taken in, and received to the Communion of Saints, (i. e, of the Ifraelites, the holy People) and to a free access to God ; by what Ceremony was. it done? SPRINKLING Water on him, was one of the principal Rites by which he was thus received. . Verse 7. And He, the Priest, pall SPRINKLE upon him, ibat is to be cleansed from the Leprosy, and fall pronounce him clean. By the same Rite also, of SPRINKLING, the infected House was to be purified, i. e. declared boly or clean. Verses 51, 52.;
Note, It ought carefully to be remembered, that the Law is expressly said to be a Shadow or Exemplar of the CHRISTIAN Dispensation ; and the then Scheme of Worship, was intended to be a sacred Figure or Type of the present *.
NUMB. viii. When the Levites were to be separated from the rest of the Tribes, and confecrated a boly Priesthood to God (a Figure of
:.: Christians, * Heb. viii, 5. ix. 9. X. 1. Vid. Peirce in Loc. .
Cbristians, who, at their Baptism, are separated from the rest of the World, and are consecrated a boly Priesthood, to offer up spiritual Sacrifices 7.) How was it done ? Verses 6, 7. Take the Levites, from among the Children of Israel, and cleanse them : And thus halt thou do unto them, to cleanse them, SPRINKLE Water of purifying upon them.
Numb. xix. 11. If a Man had touched a dead Body, and was thereby tecome unclean, unfit to approach God, and to stand before him in his Sanctuary; by what Rite was he to be declared clean, and readmitted to the divine Presence ? The Water of separation was to be SPRINKLED upon him, and upon his Tent, and upon his Vejjels.
FINALLY, When the Israelites were called out from among the idolatrous Egyptians; and were fantified and set apart as a holy People or Church' to God; they were all taptized, the Apostle says *, by the Cloud, and by the Sea, e in vegean,' rj cu mn Ounaoon; i. e. by the Cloud pouring down Water on them, and by the Sea Sprinkling them with it's Surges, as they passed through. And when they were, in the nioft solemn manner, entered into covenant with Jehovah at Sinai, and formed into a Church; by what Token or Rite did Moses, the Mediator, initiate or admit them? When Moses had spoken every precept to all the People, according to the Law ; and they had publickly consented and promised to obey; He took the Blood of sacrificed Beasts, and Water, and SPRINKLED both the Book and all the People I.
Hence, then, it is indisputable ; that SPRINKLING, or POURING ON Water, was one of the
. principal t i Pet. ii. 5.' * 1 Cor. x. 2. See more concerning this Text, p. II. | Heb. ix. 19.
Apottia to God and sec ar