Baptism a rite of purification or initiation, in which water is used; one of the sacraments (q.v.) of the Christian Church. The word baptism is simply an Anglicized form of the Greek βαπτισμός, a verbal noun from βαπτίζω (likewise Anglicized "baptize"), and this, again, is a derivative from βάπτω, the predominant signification of which latter is to whelm or "dye," Lat. tingo. Not being a verb implying motion, βαπτίζω is properly followed in Greek by the preposition ἐν, denoting the means or method (with the "instrumental dative"), which has unfortunately, in the Auth. Engl. Vers., often been rendered by the ambiguous particle "in," whereas it really (in this connection) signifies only with or by, or at most merely designates the locality where the act is performed. The derivative verb and noun are sometimes used with reference to ordinary lustration, and occasionally with respect to merely secular acts; also in a figurative sense. In certain cases it is followed by the preposition εἰς, with the meaning "to," "for," or "unto," as pointing out the design of the act, especially in phrases (comp. πιστεύειν εἰς) expressive of the covenant or relation of which this rite was the seal. (In Mr 1:9, the εἰς depends upon ῏ηλθεν preceding; and in Mr 14:20, there is a constructio praegnans by which some other verb of motion is to be supplied before the preposition.) On these and other applications of the Greek word, see Robinson's Lex. of the N.T. s.v.; where, however (as in some other Lexicons), the statement that the primary force of the verb is "to dip, immerse," etc., is not sustained by its actual usage and grammatical construction. This would always require ἐν, "into," after it; which occurs in 15 examples only out of the exhaustive list (175) adduced by Dr. Conant (Meaning and Use of Baptizein, N. Y. 1860); and a closer and more critical examination will show that it is only the context and association of the word that in any case put this signification upon it, and it is therefore a mere gloss or inference to assign this as the proper sense of the term. The significations "p plunge," "'submerge," etc., are here strictly derived, as cognates, from the more general and primitive one of that complete envelopment with a liquid which a thorough wetting, saturation, or dyeing usually implies. In like manner, Dr. E. Beecher (in a series of articles first published in the Am. Bib. Repos. during 1840 and 1841) has mistaken the allied or inferential signification of purification for the primitive sense of the word, whereas it is only the result expected or attendant in the act of washing. See further below.
As preliminary to the theological discussion of this subject, it will be proper here to discuss, more fully than can be conveniently done elsewhere, the classical and Biblical uses of the word, and some subordinate topics, reserving the conitroverted points for later consideration.
I. Philological Usage of the Word βαπτίζειν. —
1. By Classical Writers. — No instance occurs in these writers of the use of βάπτισμα, and only one in a very late author (Antyllus) of the use of its equivalent βαπτισμός; but the verb occurs frequently, especially in the later writers. It is used to designate:
(1.) The washing of an object by dipping it into water, or any other fluid, or quasi-fluid, for any purpose whatever: as βάπτισον σεαυτὸν εἰς θάλασσαν, "bathe yourself by going into the sea" (Plut. Maor. p. 166 A.); βαπτίζειν τὸν Διόνυσον πρὸς τὴν θάλατταν (Ibid. p. 914).
(2.) The plunging or sinking of an object: as Οὐδὲ γὰρ τοῖς ἀκολύμβοις βαπτίζεσθαι συμβαίνει ξύλων τρὸπον ἐπιπολάζουσι, where βαπτίζεσθαι, in the sense of "submersed," is contrasted with ἐπιπολάζουσι, in the sense of "float;" ἐν ὕδασι γενέσθαι τὴν πορείαν συνέβη, μέχρι ὀμφαλοῦ βαπτιζομένων, being in water up to the navel (Strabo, Geogr. xiv, p. 667); μόλις ἕως τῶν μαστῶν ὅι πεζοὶ βαπτιζόμενοι διέβαινον (Polyb. in). So Pindar says (Pyth. 2:145), ἀβάπτιστός εἰμι, φελλὸς éς, where the cork of the fisherman is. styled unbaptized, in contrast with the net which sinks into the water. From this, by metonomy of cause for effect, is derived the sense to drown, as ἐβάπτισ᾿ εἰς τὸν οϊvνον, "I whelmed him in the wine" (Julian AEgypt. Anacreont.).
(3.) The covering over of any object by the flowing or pouring of a fluid on it; and metaphorically (in the passive), the being overwhelmed or oppressed: thus the Pseudo-Aristotle speaks of places full of bulrushes and sea-weeds, which, when the tide is at the ebb, are not baptized (i.e. covered by the water), but at full tide are flooded over (Mirabil. Auscult. §
137, p. 50, in Westermann's edit. of the Script. Rer. Mir. Gr.); Diodorus Siculus (bk. 1) speaks of land animals being destroyed by the river overtaking them (διαφθείρεται βαπτιζόμενα); Plato and Athenaeus describe men in a state of ebriety as baptized (Sympos. p. 176 B.; and Deipnos.v.); and the former says the same of a youth overwhelmed with sophistry (Euthyd. 277 D.); Plutarch denounces the forcing of knowledge on children beyond what they can receive as a process by which the soul is baptized (De Lib. educ.); and he speaks of men as baptized by debts (Galbae, c. 21); Diodorus Siculus speaks of baptizing people with tears (bk. 1, c., 3); and Libanius says, "He who hardly bears what he now bears, would be baptized by a little addition" (Epist. 310), and "I am one of those baptized by that great wave" (Ep. 25).
(4.) The complete drenching of an object, whether by aspersion or immersion; as Α᾿σκὸς βαπτίζῃ, δῦναι δὲ τοι οὐ θέμις ἐστι, "As a bladder thou shalt be washed (i.e. by the waves breaking over thee), but thou canst not go down" (Orac. Sibyll. de Athenis, ap. Plutarch, Thesei).
From this it appears that in classical usage βαπτίζειν is not fixed to any special mode of applying the baptizing element to the object baptized; all that is implied by the term is, that the former is closely in contact with the latter, or that the latter is wholly in the former.
2. By the Septuagint. — Here the word occurs only four times, viz. 2Ki 5:14: "And Naaman went down and baptized himself (ἐβαπτίσατο) seven times in the river Jordan," where the original Hebrew is וִיִטבֹּל, from טָבִל, to dip, plunge, immerse; Isa 21:4,6 Iniquity baptizes me" (ἡ ἀνομία με βαπτίζει), where the word is plainly used in the sense of overwhelm, answering to the Hebrews בָּעִת, to come upon suddenly, to terrify; Judith 12:7, "She went out by night . . . and baptized herself (ἐβαπτίζετο) at the fountain;" and Ecclesiasticus 31:30, [Ecclesiasticus 34], "He who is baptized from a corpse" (βαπτιζομένος ἀπὸ νεκροῦ), etc. In these last two instances the word merely denotes washed, without indicating any special mode by which this was done, though in the former the circumstances of the case make it improbable that the act described was that of bathing (comp. Nu 19:19).
In the Greek, then, of the Sept., βαπτίζειν signifies to plunge, to bathe, or to overwhelm. It is never used to describe the act of one who dips another object into a fluid, or the case of one who is dipped by another.
3. In the New Testament. — Confining our notice here simply to the philology of the subject, the instances of this usage may be classified thus:
(1.) The verb or noun alone, or with the object baptized merely: as βαπτισθῆναι, Mt 3:13-14; βαπτισθείς, Mr 16:16; βαπτίζων, Mr 1:4; βαπτίσωνται, 7:4; βαπτίξεις, Joh 1:25; ἐβάπτισα, 1Co 1:14, etc.; βάπτισμα αὐτοῦ, Mt 3:7; ž ν βάπτισμα, Eph 4:5; βάπτισμα, Col 2:12; 1Pe 3:21, etc.; βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων, Mr 7:4,8; βαπτισμῶν διδαχῆς, Heb 6:2; διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς, 9:10.
(2.) With addition of the element of baptism: as ἐν ὕδατι, Mr 1:8, etc.; ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί, Mt 3:11, etc.; ὕδατι, Lu 3:16, etc. The force of ἐν in such formulse has by some been pressed, as if it indicated that the object of baptism was in the element of baptism; but by most the ἐν is regarded as merely the nota dativi, so that ἐν ὕδατι means no more than the simple ὕδατι, as the ἐν πλοίῳ of Mt 14:13, means no more than the πλοίῳ of Mr 6:32. (See Matthiae, sec. 401, obs. 2; Kuhner, sec. 585, Anm. 2.) Only in one instance does the accusative appear in the N.T., Mr 1:9, where we have εἰς τὸν Ι᾿ορδάνην, and this can hardly be regarded as a real exception to the ordinary usage of the N.T., because εἰς here is local rather than instrumental. In connection with this may be noticed the phrases καταβαίνειν εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ, and ἀποβαίνειν ἐκ or ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος. According to some, these decisively prove that the party baptized, as well as the baptizer, went down into the water, and came up out of it. But, on the other hand, it is contended that the phrases do not necessarily imply more than that they went to (i.e. to the margin of) the water and returned thence.
(3.) With specification of the end or purpose for which the baptism is effected. This is usually indicated by εἰς: as βαπτίζοντες εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, Mt 28:19, and frequently; ἐβαπτίσθημεν εἰς Χριστόν . . . εἰς τὸν θάνατον αὐτοῦ, Ro 6:3, al.; εἰς τὸν Μωυσῆν ἐβαπτίσθησαν, 1Co 10:3; εἰς ἕν σῶμα ἐβαπτίσθημεν, 12:13; βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος . . . εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν, Ac 2:38, etc. In these cases εἰς retains its proper significancy, as indicating the terminus ad quem, and tropically, that for which, or with a view to which the thing is done, modified according as this is a person or a thing. Thus, to be baptized for Moses, means to be baptized with a view to following or being subject to the rule of Moses; to be baptized for Christ means to be baptized with a view to becoming a true follower of Christ; to be baptized for his death means to be baptized with a view to the enjoyment of the benefits of his death; to be baptized for the remission of sins means to be baptized with a view to receiving this; to be baptized for the name of any one means to be baptized with a view to the realization of all that the meaning of this name implies, etc. In one passage Paul uses ὑπὲρ to express the end or design of baptism, βαπτιζόμενοι ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν, 1Co 15:29; but here the involved idea of substitution justifies the use of the preposition. Instead of a preposition, the genitive of object is sometimes used, as βάπτισμα μετανοίας Lu 3:3, al.= βάπτισμα εἰς μετανοίαν, the baptism which has μετανοία as its end and purpose.
(4.) With specification of the ground or basis on which the baptism rests. This is expressed by the use of ἐν in the phrases ἐν ὀνόματι τίνος, and once by the use of ἐπί with the dative, Ac 2:38: "to be baptized on the name of Christ, i.e. so that the baptism is grounded on the confession of his name" (Winer, p. 469). Some regard these formulae as identical in meaning with those in which εἰς is used with ὄνομα, but the more exact scholars view them as distinct.
The two last-mentioned usages are peculiar to the N.T., and arise directly from the new significancy which its writers attached to baptism as a rite.
II. Non-ritual Baptisms mentioned in the N.T. — These are:
1. The baptism of utensils and articles of furniture, Mr 7:4,8.
2. The baptism of persons, Mr 7:3-4; Lu 11:38, etc.
These are the only instances in which the verb or noun is used in a strictly literal sense in the N.T. and there may be some doubt as to whether the last instance should not be remanded to the head of ritual baptisms. These instances are chiefly valuable as bearing on the question of the mode of baptism; they show that no special mode is indicated by the mere use of the word baptize, for the washing of cups, of couches, and of persons is accomplished in a different manner in each case: in the first by dipping, or immersing, or rinsing, or pouring, or simply wiping with a wet cloth; in the second by aspersion and wiping; and in the third by plunging or stepping into the bath.
3. Baptism of affliction, Mr 10:38-39; Lu 12:50. In both these passages our Lord refers to his impending sufferings as a baptism which he had to undergo. Chrysostom, and some others of the fathers, understand this objectively, as referring to the purgation which his sufferings were to effect (see the passages in Suicer, Thes. s.v. βάπτισμα, 1:7); but this does not seem to be the idea of the speaker. Our Lord rather means that his sufferings were to come on him as a mighty overwhelming torrent (see Kuinol on Mt 20:22-23; Blomfield, ibid.). Some interpreters suppose there is an allusion in this language to submersion as essential to baptism (see Olshausen in loc.; Meyer on Mr 10:38); but nothing more seems to be implied than simply the being overwhelmed in a figurative sense, according to what we have seen to be' a common use of the word by the classical writers.
4. Baptism with the Spirit, Mt 3:11; Mr 1:8; Lu 3:16; Joh 1:33; Ac 1:5; Ac 11:16; 1Co 12:13. In the first of these passages it is said of our Lord that he shall baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Whether this be taken as a hendiadys = the Spirit as fire, or as pointing out two distinct baptisms, the one by the Spirit, the other by fire; and whether, on the latter assumption, the baptism by fire means the destruction by Christ of his enemies, or the miraculous endowment of his apostles, it does not concern us at present to inquire. Respecting the intent of baptism by the Spirit, there can be little room for doubt or difference of opinion; it is obviously a figurative mode of describing the agency of the Divine Spirit given through and by Christ, both in conferring miraculous endowments and in purifying and sanctifying the heart of man. By this Spirit the disciples were baptized on the day of Pentecost, when "there appeared unto them cloven tongues of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Ac 2:3-4); by this Spirit men are saved when they are "born again of water and of the Spirit" (Joh 3:5); when they receive "the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Tit 3:5); and when there is the putting away from them of the filth of the flesh, and they have the answer of a good conscience toward God (1Pe 3:21); and by this Spirit believers are baptized for one body, when through his gracious agency they receive that Spirit, and those impulses by which they I are led to realize their unity in Christ Jesus (1Co 12:11). Some refer to the Spirit's baptism also, the apostle's expression, ž ν βάπτισμα, Eph 4:5; but the common and more probable opinion is that the reference here is to ritual baptism as the outward sign of that inner unity which the εϊvς Κύριος and the μία πίστις secure and produce (see Alford, Ellicott, Meyer, Matthies, etc. etc. in loc.). In this figurative use of the term "baptism" the tertium comparationis is found by some in the Spirit's being viewed as the element in which the believer is made to live, and in which he receives the transforming influence; while others find it in the biblical representation of the Spirit as coming upon men, as poured upon them (Isa 32:15; Zec 12:10; Joe 2:28; Ac 2:17), and as sprinkled on them like clean water (Eze 36:25).
5. Baptism for Moses. — In 1Co 10:2, the apostle says of the Israelites, "And they all received baptism ('the middle voice is selected to express a receptive sense,' Meyer) for Moses (εἰς τὸν Μωυσῆν ἐβαπτίσαντο) in (or by, ἐν) the cloud, and in (or by) the sea." In the Syr. εἰς r. M. is translated "by the hand of Moses;" and this is followed by Beza and others. Some render una cum Mose; others, aupiciis Mosis; others, in Mose, i.e. "sub ministerio et ductu Mosis" (Calvin), etc. But all these interpretations are precluded by the proper meaning of εἰς. and the fixed significance of the phrase βαπτίζειν εῖς in the N.T. The only rendering that can be admitted is "for Moses," i.e. with a view to him, in reference to him, in respect of him. "They were baptized for Moses. i.e. they became bound to fidelity and obedience, and were accepted into the covenant which God then made with the people through Moses" (Ruckert in loc.; see also Meyer and Alford on the passage).
III. The Types of Baptism. —
1. The apostle Peter (1Pe 3:21) compares the deliverance of Noah in the Deluge to the deliverance of Christians in baptism. The apostle had been speaking of those who had perished "in the days of Noah when the ark was a-preparing, in which few, that is eight souls, were saved by water." According to the A.V., he goes on, "The like figure whereunto baptism doth now save us." The Greek, in the best MSS., is ῾῏Ο καὶ ἡμᾶς ἀντίτυπον νῦν σώζει βάπτισμα. Grotius well expounds ἀντίτυπον by ἀντίστοιχον, "accurately corresponding." The difficulty is in the relative ὅ. There is no antecedent to which it can refer except ὕδατος, "water;" and it seems as if βάπτισμα must be put in ap- position with ὅ, and as an explanation of it. Noah and his company were saved by water, "which water also, that is, the water of baptism, correspondingly saves us." Even if the reading were ω῏/, it -would most naturally refer to the preceding ὕδατος. Certainly it could not refer to κιβωτοῦ, which is feminine. We must, then, probably interpret that, though water was the instrument for destroying the disobedient, it was yet the instrument ordained of God for floating the ark, and so for saving Noah and his family; and it is in correspondence with this that water also, viz. the water of baptism, saves Christians. Augustine, commenting on these words, writes that "the events in the days of Noah were a figure of things to come, so that they who believe not the Gospel, when the church is building, may be considered as like those who believed not when the ark was preparing; while those who have believed and are baptized (i.e. are saved by baptism) may be compared to those who were formerly saved in the ark by water" (Epist. 164, tom. 2, p. 579). "The building of the ark," he says again, "was a kind of preaching." "The waters of the deluge pre-signified baptism to those who believed — punishment to the unbelieving" (ib.).
It would be impossible to give any definite explanation of the words "baptism doth save us" without entering upon the theological question of baptismal regeneration. The apostle, however, gives a caution which no doubt may itself have need of an interpreter, when he adds, "not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer (ἐπερώτημα) of a good conscience toward God." Probably all will agree that he intended here to warn us against resting on the outward administration of a sacrament, with no corresponding preparation of the conscience and the soul. The connection in this passage between baptism and "the resurrection of Jesus Christ" maybe compared with Col 2:12.
2. In 1Co 10:1-2, the passage of the Red Sea and the shadowing of the miraculous cloud are treated as types of baptism. In all the early part of this chapter the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness are put in comparison with the life of the Christian. The being under the cloud and the passing through the sea resemble baptism; eating manna and drinking of the rock are as the spiritual food which feeds the church; and the different temptations, sins, and punishments of the Israelites on their journey to Canaan are held up as a warning to the Corinthian Church. It appears that the Rabbins themselves speak of a baptism in the cloud (see Wetstein in loc., who quotes Pirke R. Eliezer, 44; see also Schottgen in loc.). The passage from the condition of bondmen in Egypt was through the Red Sea, and with the protection of the luminous cloud. When the sea was passed the people were no longer subjects of Pharaoh, but were, under the guidance of Moses, forming into a new commonwealth, and on their way to the promised land, It is sufficiently apparent how this may resemble the enlisting of a new convert into the body of the Christian Church, his being placed in a new relation, under a new condition, in a spiritual commonwealth, with a way before him to a better country, though surrounded with dangers, subject to temptations, and with enemies on all sides to encounter in his progress.
3. Another type of, or rather a rite analogous to, baptism was circumcision. Paul (Col 2:11) speaks of the Colossian Christians as having been circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, when they were buried with Christ in baptism, in which they were also raised again with him (ἐν ω῏/ περιετμήθητε . . . . συνταφέντες αυτῷ ἐν τῷ βαπτίσματι. The aorist participle, as often, is contemporary with the preceding past verb." — Alford in loc.). The obvious reason for the comparison of the two rites is that circumcision was the entrance to the Jewish Church and the ancient covenant, baptism to the Christian Church and to the new covenant; and perhaps also that the spiritual significance of circumcision had a resemblance to the spiritual import of baptism, viz. "the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh," and the purification of the heart by the grace of God. Paul therefore calls baptism the circumcision made without hands, and speaks of the putting off of the sins of the flesh by Christian circumcision (ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοà), i.e. by baptism.
4. Before leaving this part of the subject, we ought perhaps to observe that in more than one instance death is called a baptism. In Mt 20:22; Mr 10:39, our Lord speaks of the cup which he had to drink, and the baptism that he was to be baptized with; and again, in Lu 12:50, "I have a baptism to be baptized with." It is generally thought that baptism here means an inundation of sorrows; that, as the baptized went down in the water, and water was to be poured over him, so our Lord meant to indicate that he himself had to pass through "the deep waters of affliction" (see Kuinol on Mt 20:22; Schleusner, s.v. βαπτίζω). In after times martyrdom was called a baptism of blood. But the metaphor in this latter case is evidently different; and in the above words of our Lord baptism is used without any qualification, whereas in passages adduced from profane authors we always find some words explanatory of the mode of the immersion. Is it not then probable that some deeper significance attaches to the comparison of death, especially of our Lord's death, to baptism, when we consider, too, that the connection of baptism with the death and resurrection of Christ is so much insisted on by Paul?
IV. Names of Baptism. —
1. "Baptism" (βάπτισμα: the word βαπτισμός occurs only three times, viz. Mr 7:8; Heb 6:2; Heb 9:10). The verb βαπτίζειν from βάπτειν, to wet) is the rendering of טָבִל, to plunge, by the Sept. in 2Ki 5:14; and accordingly the Rabbins used , טבילָה for βάπτισμα. The Latin fathers render βαπτίζειν by tingere (e.g. Tertull. adv. Prax. c. 26, "Novissimo mandavit ut tingerent in Patrem Filium et Spiritum Sanctum"); by mergere (as Ambros. De Sacramentis, lib. 2, c. 7, "Interrogatus es, Credis in Deum Patrem Omnipotentem? Dixisti Credo; et mersisti, hoc est sepultus es"); by mergztare (as Tertullian, De Corona Militis, c. 3, "Dehinc ter mergitamur"); see Suicer, s.v. άναδυω. By the Greek fathers the word βαπτίζειν is often used figuratively for overwhelming with sleep, sorrow, sin, etc. Thus ὑπὸ μέθης βαπτιζόμενος εἰς ὕπνον, buried in sleep through drunkenness. So μυρίαις βαπτιζόμενος φρόντισιν, absorbed in thought (Chrysost.). Ταῖς βαρυτάταις ἁμαρτίαις βεβαπτισμενοι, steeped in sin (Justin M.). See Suicer, s.v. βαπτίζω.
2. "The Water" (τὸ ὕδωρ) is a name of baptism which occurs in Ac 10:47. After Peter's discourse, the Holy Spirit came visibly on Cornelius and his company; and the apostle asked, "Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost?" In ordinary cases the water had been first administered, after that the apostles laid on their hands, and then the Spirit was given. But here the Spirit had come down manifestly; before the administration of baptism; and Peter argued that no one could then reasonably withhold baptism (calling it "the water") from those who had visibly received that of which baptism was the sign and seal. With this phrase, τὸ ὕδωρ, "the water," used of baptism, compare "the breaking of bread" as a title of the Eucharist, Ac 2:42.
3. "The Washing of Water" (τὸ λουτρὸν τοῦ ὕδατος, "the bath of the water") occurs Eph 5:26. There appears clearly in these words a reference to the bridal bath; but the allusion to baptism is clearer still, baptism of which the bridal bath was an emblem, a type, or mystery, signifying to us the spiritual union betwixt Christ and his church. For as the bride was wont to bathe before being presented to the bridegroom, so washing in the water is that initiatory rite by which the Christian Church is betrothed to the Bridegroom, Christ.
There is some difficulty in the construction and interpretation of the qualifying words, ἐν ῥήματι, "by the word." According to the more ancient interpretation, they would indicate that the outward rite of washing is insufficient and unavailing without the added potency of the Word of God (comp. 1Pe 3:21), "Not the putting away the filth of the flesh," etc.); and as the λουτρὸν τοῦ ὕδατος had reference to the bridal bath, so there might be an allusion to the words of betrothal. The bridal bath and the words of betrothal typified the water and the words of baptism. On the doctrine so expressed the language of Augustine is famous: ''Detrahe verbum, et quid est aqua nisi aqua? Accedit verbum ad elementum, et fit sacramentum" (Tract. 80 ins Johan.). Yet the general use of ῥῆμα in the New Testament and the grammatical construction of the passage seem to favor the opinion that the Word of God preached to the church, rather than the words made use of in baptism, is that accompaniment of the laver without which it would be imperfect (see Ellicott, in loc.).
4. "The washing of regeneration" (λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας) is a phrase naturally connected with the foregoing. It occurs Tit 3:5. All ancient and most modern commentators have interpreted it of baptism. Controversy has made some persons unwilling to admit this interpretation; but the question probably should be, not as to the significance of the phrase, but as to the degree of importance attached in the words of the apostle to that which the phrase indicates. Thus Calvin held that the "bath" meant baptism; but he explained its occurrence in this context by saying that "Baptism is to us the seal of salvation which Christ hath obtained for us." The current of the apostle's reasoning is this. He tells Titus to exhort the Christians of Crete to be submissive to authority, showing all meekness to all men: "for we ourselves were once foolish, erring, serving our own lusts; but when the kindness of God our Savior and His love toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we performed, but according to His own mercy He saved us by (through the instrumentality of) the bath of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost (διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως Πνεύματος ἁγίου), which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we might be made heirs of eternal life through hope (or according to hope, κατ᾿ ἐλπίδα).'' The argument is, that Christians should be kind to all men, remembering that they themselves had been formerly disobedient, but that by God's free mercy in Christ they had been transplanted into a better state, even a state of salvation (ἔσωσεν ημᾶς), and that by means of the bath of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. If, according to the more ancient and common interpretation, the laver means baptism, the whole will seem pertinent. Christians are placed in a new condition, made members of the Church of Christ by baptism, and they are renewed in the spirit of their minds by the Holy Ghost.
There is so much resemblance, both in the phraseology and in the argument, between this passage in Titus and 1Co 6:11, that the latter ought by all means to be compared with the former. Paul tells the Corinthians that in their heathen state they had been stained with heathen vices; "but," he adds, "ye were washed" (lit. ye washed or bathed yourselves, ἀπελούσασθε), "but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God." It is generally believed that here is an allusion to the being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; though some connect "sanctified" and "justified," as well as "washed," with the words "in the name," etc. (see Stanley, in loc.). But, however this may be, the reference to baptism seems unquestionable.
Another passage containing very similar thoughts, clothed in almost the same words, is Ac 22:16, where Ananias says to Saul of Tarsus, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord" (ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι καὶ ἀπόλουσα τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου, ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ). See Calvin's Commentary on this passage.
5. "Illumination" (φωτισμός). It has been much questioned whether φωτίζεσθαι, "enlightened," in Heb 6:4; Heb 10:32, be used of baptism or not. Justin M., Clement of Alexandria, and almost all the Greek fathers, use φωτισμός as a synonym for baptism. The Syriac version, the most ancient in existence, gives this sense to the word in both the passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, and other Greek commentators so interpret it; and they are followed by Ernesti, Michaelis, and many modern interpreters of the highest authority (Wetstein cites from Orac. Sibyll. 1, ὕδατι φωτίζεσθαι). On the other hand, it is now very commonly alleged that the use is entirely ecclesiastical, not scriptural, and that it arose from the undue esteem for baptism in the primitive church. It is impossible to enter into all the merits of the question here. If the usage be scriptural, it is to be found only in the two passages in Hebrews above mentioned; but it may perhaps correspond with other figures and expressions in the New Testament. The patristic use of the word may be seen by referring to Suicer, s.v. φωτισμός, and to Bingham (E. A. bk. 11, ch. 1, § 4). The rationale of the name, according to Justin Martyr, is, that the catechumens, before admission to baptism, were instructed in all the principal doctrines of the Christian faith, and hence "this laver is called illumination, because those who learn these things are illuminated in their understanding" (Apol. 2:94). But if this word be used in the sense of baptism in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as we have no mention of any training of catechumens in the New Testament, we must probably seek for a different explanation of its origin. It will be remembered that φωταγωγία was a term for admission into the ancient mysteries. Baptism was without question the initiatory rite in reference to the Christian faith (comp. τρία βαπτίσματα μιᾶς μυήσεως, Can. Apost. 1). Now that 'Christian faith is more than once called by Paul the Christian "mystery." The "mystery of God's will" (Eph 1:9), "the mystery of Christ" (Col 4:3; Eph 3:4), "the mystery of the Gospel" (Eph 6:19), and other like phrases, are common in his epistles. A Greek could hardly fail to be reminded by such language of the religious mysteries of his own former heathenism. But, moreover, seeing that "in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," it seems highly probable that in three memorable passages Paul speaks, not merely of the Gospel or the faith, but of Christ himself as the great Mystery of God or of godliness.
(1) In Col 1:27, we read, "the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, τοῦ μυστηρίου τούτου, ὅς ἐστιν Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν (2) In Col 2:2, Lachmann, Tregelles, and Ellicott, as we think on good grounds, adopt the reading τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ, rightly compared by Bp. Ellicott with the preceding passage occurring only four verses before it, and interpreted by him "the mystery of God, even Christ."
(3) It deserves to be carefully considered whether the above usage in Colossians does not suggest a clear exposition of 1Ti 3:16, τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον ὃς ἐφανερώθη κ. τ. λ· For, if Christ be the "Mystery of God," he may well be called also the "Mystery of godliness;" and the masculine relative is then easily intelligible, as being referred to Χριστός understood and implied in μυστήριον; for, in the words of Hilary, "Dens Christus est Sacramentum." But, if all this be true, as baptism is the initiatory Christian rite admitting us to the service of God and to the knowledge of Christ, it may not improbably have been called φωτισμός, and afterward φωταγωγία, as having reference, and as admitting to the mystery of the Gospel, and to Christ himself, who is the Mystery of God.
V. We pass to a few of the more prominent passages, not already considered, in which baptism is referred to.
1. Joh 3:5 — "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" — has been a well-established battle-field from the time of Calvin. Hooker states that for the first fifteen centuries no one had ever doubted its application to baptism (Eccl. Pol. v, 59). Zuinglius was probably the first who interpreted it otherwise. Calvin understood the words "of water and of the Spirit" as ἕν διὰ δυοῖν, "the washing or cleansing of the Spirit" (or rather perhaps "by the Spirit"), "who cleanses as water," referring to Mt 3:11 ("He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire"), as a parallel usage. Stier (Words of the Lord Jesus, in loc.) observes that Licke has rightly said that we may regard this interpretation by means of a hendiadys, which erroneously appealed to Mt 3:11, as now generally abandoned. Stier, moreover, quotes with entire approbation the words of Meyer (on Joh 3:5): "Jesus speaks here concerning a spiritual baptism, as in chap. vi, concerning a spiritual feeding; in both places, however, with reference to their visible auxiliary means." That our Lord probably adopted expressions familiar to the Jews in this discourse with Nicodemus may be seen by reference to Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in loc.
2. The prophecy of John the Baptist just referred to, viz. that our Lord should baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Mt 3:11), has usually been interpreted by that rhetorical figure (hendiadys) which designates one thing by a double expression. Bengel thus paraphrases it: "The Holy Spirit, with which Christ baptizes, has a fiery force, and this was once even manifest to human sight" (Ac 2:3). The fathers, indeed, spoke of a threefold baptism with fire: first, of the Holy Ghost in the shape of fiery tongues at Pentecost; secondly, of the fiery trial of affliction and temptation (1Pe 1:7); thirdly, of the fire which at the last day is to try every man's works (1Co 3:13). It is, however, very improbable that there is any allusion to either of the last two in Mt 3:11. There is an antithesis in John the Baptist's language between his own lower mission and the divine authority of the Savior. John baptized with a mere earthly element, teaching men to repent, and pointing them to Christ; but He that should come after, ὁ ἐρχόμενος, was empowered to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. The water of John's baptism could but wash the body; the Holy Ghost, with which Christ was to baptize, should purify the soul as with fire. SEE BAPTISM WITH FIRE.
3. Ga 3:27: "For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." In the whole of this very important and difficult chapter Paul is reasoning on the inheritance by the Church of Christ of the promises made to Abraham. Christ — i.e. Christ comprehending his whole body mystical — is the true seed of Abraham, to whom the promises belong (ver. 16). The law, which came afterward, could not annul the promises thus made. The law was fit to restrain (or perhaps rather to manifest) transgression (ver. 23). The law acted as a pedagogue, keeping us for and leading us on to Christ, that he might bestow on us freedom and justification by faith in him (ver. 24). But after the coming of faith we are no longer, like young children, under a pedagogue, but we are free, as heirs in our Father's house (ver. 25; comp. ch. 4:1-5). "For ye all are God's sons (filii emancipati, not παῖδες, but υἱοί, Bengel and Ellicott) through the faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on (clothed yourselves in) Christ (see Schottgen on Ro 13:14). In him is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female; for all ye are one in Christ Jesus" (ver. 26-28). The argument is plain. All Christians are God's sons through union with the Only-begotten. Before the faith in him came into the world, men were held under the tutelage of the law, like children, kept as in a state of bondage under a pedagogue. But after the preaching of the faith, all who are baptized into Christ clothe themselves in him; so they are esteemed as adult sons of his Father, and by faith in him they may be justified from their sins, from which the law could not justify them (Ac 13:37). The contrast is between the Christian and the Jewish Church: one bond, the other free; one infant, the other adult. The transition point is naturally when by baptism the service of Christ is undertaken and the promises of the Gospel are claimed. This is represented as putting on Christ and in him assuming the position of full- grown men. In this more privileged condition there is the power of obtaining justification by faith, a justification which the law had not to offer.
4. 1Co 12:13: "For by one Spirit (or in one spirit, ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι) we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, and were all made to drink of one Spirit." The resemblance of this passage to the last is very clear. In the old dispensation there was a marked division between Jew and Gentile; under the Gospel there is one body in Christ. As in Ga 3:16, Christ is the seed (τὸ σπέρμα), so here he is the body (τὸ σῶμα) into which all Christians become incorporated. All distinctions of Jew and Gentile, bond and free, are abolished. By the grace of the same Spirit (or perhaps "in one spirit" of Christian love and fellowship (comp. Eph 2:18), without division or separate interests) all are joined in baptism to the one body of Christ, his universal church. Possibly there is an allusion to both sacraments. "We were baptized into one body, we were made to drink of one Spirit" (ἕν Πνεῦμα ἐποτίσθημεν: Lachm. and Tisch. omit εἰς). Both our baptism and our partaking of the cup in the communion are tokens and pledges of Christian unity. They mark our union with the one body of Christ, and they are means of grace, in which we may look for one Spirit to be present with blessing (comp. 1Co 10:3,17'; see Waterland on the Eucharist, ch. 10, and Stanley on 1Co 12:13).
5. Ro 6:4, and Col 2:12, are so closely parallel that we may notice them together. As the apostle in the two last-considered passages views baptism as a joining to the mystical body of Christ, so in these two passages he goes on to speak of Christians in their baptism as buried with Christ in his death, and raised again with him in his resurrection. As the natural body of Christ was laid in the ground and then raised up again, so his mystical body, the church, descends in baptism into the waters, in which also (ἐν ω῏/, sc. βαπτίσματι, Col 2:12) it is raised up again with Christ, through "faith in the mighty working of God, who raised him from the dead." Probably, as in the former passages Paul had brought forward baptism as the symbol of Christian unity, so in those now before us he refers to it as the token and pledge of the spiritual death to sin and resurrection to righteousness; and moreover of the final victory over death in the last day, through the power of the resurrection of Christ. It is said that it was partly in reference to this passage in Colossians that the early Christians so generally used trine immersion, as signifying thereby the three days in which Christ lay in the grave (see Suicer, s.v. ἀναδύω, II. a). — Smith, Append. s.v.
1. JEWISH BAPTISM. — Purifications by washing (q.v.) were very common among the Jews. SEE ABLUTION. In the language of the prophets, cleansing -with water is used as an emblem of the purification of the heart, which in the Messianic age is to glorify the soul in her innermost recesses, and to embrace the whole of the theocratic nation (Eze 36:25 sq.; Zec 13:1).Of the antiquity of lustrations by water among the Jews there is no question, but it is still a disputed point whether baptism was practiced, as an initiatory rite, in connection with circumcision, before the coming of Christ. It is well established that, as early as the second century of the Christian sera, this proselyte baptism was an established rite among the Jews; and their writers, as well as many Christian theologians (e.g. Lightfoot, Wetstein, Wall, and others), claim for it a much greater antiquity. But this opinion is hardly tenable, for, as an act which strictly gives validity to the admission of a proselyte, and is no mere accompaniment to his admission, baptism certainly is not alluded to in the New Testament; while, as to the passages quoted in proof from the classical (profane) writers of that period, they are all open to the most fundamental objections. Nor is the utter silence of Josephus and Philo on the subject, notwithstanding their various opportunities of touching on it, a less weighty argument against this view. It is true that mention is made in the Talmud of that regulation as already existing in the first century A.D.; but such statements belong only to the traditions of the Gemara, and require careful investigation before they can serve as proper authority. This Jewish rite was probably originally only a purifying ceremony; and it was raised to the character of an initiating and indispensable rite, coordinate with that of sacrifice and circumcision, only after the destruction of the Temple, when sacrifices had ceased, and the circumcision of proselytes had, by reason of public edicts, become more and more impracticable. SEE PROSELYTE.
2. JOHN'S BAPTISM. — It was the principal object of John the Baptist to combat the prevailing opinion that the performance of external ceremonies was sufficient to secure participation in the kingdom of God and his promises; he required repentance, therefore, as a preparation for the approaching kingdom of the Messiah. That he may possibly have baptized heathens also seems to follow from his censuring the Pharisees for confiding in their descent from Abraham, while they had no share in his spirit; yet it should not be overlooked that this remark was drawn from him by the course of the argument (Mt 3:8-9; Lu 3:7-8). W We must, on the whole, assume that John considered the existing Judaism as a stepping-stone by which the Gentiles were to arrive at the kingdom of God in its Messianic form. The general point of view from which John contemplated the Messiah and his kingdom was that of the Old Testament, though closely bordering on Christianity. He regards, it is true, an alteration in the mind and spirit as an indispensable condition for partaking in the kingdom of the Messiah; still, he looked for its establishment by means of conflict and external force, with which the Messiah was to be endowed; and he expected in him a Judge and Avenger, who was to set up outward and visible distinctions. It is, therefore, by no means a matter of indifference whether baptism be administered in the name of that Christ who floated before the mind of John, or of the suffering and glorified One, such as the apostles knew him; and whether it was considered a preparation for a political, or a consecration into a spiritual theocracy. John was so far from this latter view, so far from contemplating a purely spiritual development of the kingdom of God, that he even began subsequently to entertain doubts concerning Christ (Mt 11:2). John's baptism had not the character of an immediate, but merely of a preparatory consecration for the glorified theocracy (Joh 1:31). The apostles, therefore, found it necessary to rebaptize the disciples of John, who had still adhered to the notions of their master on that head (Acts 19). To this apostolic judgment Tertullian appeals, and in his opinion coincide the most eminent teachers of the ancient' church, both of the East and the West." — Jacobi, in Kitto's Cyclop. s.v. SEE JOHN (THE BAPTIST).
The Baptism of Jesus by John (Mt 3:13; Mr 1:9; Lu 3:21; comp. Joh 1:19), as the first act of Christ's public career, is one of the most important events recorded in the evangelical history. We might be apt to infer from Luke and Matthew that there had been an acquaintance between Christ and John prior to the baptism, and that hence John declines (Mt 3:14) to baptize Jesus, arguing that he needed to be baptized by him. This, however, has been thought to be at variance with Joh 1:31,33. Lucke (Comment. 1:416 sq., 3d edit.) takes the words "I knew him not" in their strict and exclusive sense. John, he says, could not have spoken in this manner if he had at all known Jesus; and had he known him, he could not, as a prophet, have failed to discover, even at an earlier period, the but too evident "glory" of the Messiah. On the other hand, the narrative of the-first three Gospels presupposes John's personal acquaintance with him, since, although the herald of the Messiah, he could not otherwise have given that refusal (Mt 3:14) to the Messiah alone; for his own language necessarily implies that Jesus was not a stranger to him. SEE MESSIAH.
With regard to the object of Christ in undergoing baptism, we find, in the first instance, that he ranked this action among those of his Messianic calling. This object is still more defined by John the Baptist (Joh 1:31), which passage Lucke interprets in the following words: "Only by entering into that community which was to be introductory to the Messianic, by attaching himself to the Baptist like any other man, was it possible for Christ to reveal himself to the Baptist, and through him to others." Christ himself never for a moment could doubt his own mission, or the right period when his character was to be made manifest by God; but John needed to receive that assurance, in order to be the herald of the Messiah who was actually come. For all others whom John baptized, either before or after Christ, this act was a mere preparatory consecration to the kingdom of the Messiah; while for Jesus it was a direct and immediate consecration, by means of which he manifested the commencement of his career as the founder of the new theocracy, which began at the very moment of his baptism, the initiatory character of which constituted its general principle and tendency. SEE JESUS.
Baptism of the Disciples of Christ. — Whether our Lord ever baptized has been doubted. (See Schenk, De lotione a 'Christo administrata, Marb. 1745.) The only passage which may distinctly bear on the question is Joh 4:1-2, where it is said "that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples." We necessarily infer from it that, as soon as our Lord began his ministry, and gathered to him a company of disciples, he, like John the Baptist, admitted into that company by the administration of baptism. Normally, however, to say the least of it, the administration of baptism was by the hands of his disciples. Some suppose that the first-called disciples had all received baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, as must have pretty certainly been the case with Andrew (see Joh 1:35,37,40), and that they were not again baptized with water after they joined the company of Christ. Others believe that Christ himself baptized some few of his earlier disciples, who were afterward authorized to baptize the rest. But in any case the words above cited seem to show that making disciples and baptizing them went together; and that baptism was, even during our Lord's earthly ministry, the formal, mode of accepting his service and becoming attached to his company.
After the resurrection, when the church was to be spread and the Gospel preached, our Lord's own commission conjoins the making of disciples with their baptism. The command, "Make disciples of all nations by baptizing them" (Mt 28:19), is merely the extension of his own practice, "Jesus made disciples and baptized them" (Joh 4:1). The conduct of the apostles is the plainest comment on both; for so soon as ever men, convinced by their preaching, asked for guidance and direction, their first exhortation was to repentance and baptism, that thus the convert should be at once publicly received into the fold of Christ (see Ac 2:38; Ac 8:12,36; Ac 9:18; Ac 10:47; Ac 16:15,33, etc.). (See Zimmermann, De Baptismi origine et usu, Gott. 1816.) SEE DISCIPLE.
3. CHRISTIAN BAPTISM is a sacrament instituted by Christ himself. When he could no longer personally and immediately choose and receive members of his kingdom, when at the same time all had been accomplished which the founder thought necessary for its completion, he gave power to the spiritual community to receive, in his name, members by baptism. The authority and obligation of baptism as a universal ordinance of the Christian Church is derived from the commission of Christ, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (to, εἰς) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Mt 28:19). See II below.
1. Design and Benefits of Baptism. — As to the design and benefits of baptism there are various views held. The principal are the following:
1. That it is a direct instrument of grace; the application of water to the person by a properly qualified functionary being regarded as the appointed vehicle by which God bestows regenerating grace upon men. This is the view of the Roman and Eastern churches, and of one (the "High-Church") party in the Protestant Episcopal and the Lutheran churches. Nearly the same view is held by the Disciples of Christ (Campbellites), who regard baptism as the remitting ordinance of the Gospel, or the appointed means through which the penitent sinner obtains the assurance of that remission of sins procured by the death of Christ. SEE REGENERATION.
2. That it is neither an instrument nor a seal of grace, but simply a ceremony of initiation into church membership. This is the Socinian view of the ordinance.
3. That it is a token of regeneration, to be received only by those who give evidence of being really regenerated. This is the view adopted by the Baptists.
4. That it is a symbol of purification, the use of which simply announces that the religion of Christ is a purifying religion, and intimates that the party receiving the rite assumes the profession, and is to be instructed in the principles of that religion. This opinion is extensively entertained among the Congregationalists of England.
5. That it is the rite of initiation into the visible church, and that, though not an instrument, it is a seal of grace, divine blessings being thereby confirmed and obsignated to the individual.
This is the doctrine of the Confessions of the majority of the Reformed churches. The Augsburg Confession states,
Art. 9: "Concerning baptism, our churches teach that it is a necessary ordinance; that it is a means of grace, and ought to be administered also to children, who are thereby dedicated to God, and received into his favor. They condemn the Anabaptists who reject the baptism of children, and who affirm that infants may be saved without baptism." The Westminster Confession,
Art. 28: "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life; which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the Gospel lawfully called thereunto. Dipping of the person into water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents, are to be baptized. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time. The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered to any person." In the 17th article of the Methodist Episcopal Church it is declared that "Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized, but it is also a sign of regeneration, or the new birth. The baptism of young children is to be retained in the church." The same formula appears in the Articles of the Church of England and of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, with certain additions, as follows:
"Art. 27. Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of regeneration, or new birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly are grafted into the church: the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed -and sealed: faith is confirmed, and grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the church as most agreeable with the institution of Christ." The following excellent summary of the benefits of baptism is given by Watson (Institutes, 2:646): "Baptism introduces the adult believer into the covenant of grace and the Church of Christ, and is the seal, the pledge to him on the part of God of the fulfillment of all its provisions in time and in eternity, while on his part he takes upon himself the obligations of steadfast faith and obedience. To the infant child it is a visible reception into the same covenant and church-a pledge of acceptance through Christ — the bestowment of a title to all the grace of the covenant as circumstances may require, and as the mind of the child may be capable, or made capable of receiving it, and as it may be sought in future life by prayer, when the period of reason and moral choice shall arrive. It conveys, also, the present 'blessing' of Christ, of which we are assured by his taking children in his arms and blessing them; which blessing cannot be merely nominal, but must be substantial and efficacious. It secures, too, the gift of the Holy Ghost in those secret spiritual influences by which the actual regeneration of those children who die in infancy is effected, and which are a seed of life in those who are spared, to prepare them for instruction in the Word of God, as they are taught it by parental care, to incline their will and affections to good, and to begin and maintain in them the war against inward and outward evil, so that they may be divinely assisted, as reason strengthens, to make their calling and election sure. In a word, it is, both as to infants and to adults, the sign and pledge of that inward grace which, though modified in its operations by the difference of their circumstances, has respect to, and flows from, a covenant relation to each of the three persons in whose one name they are baptized-acceptance by the Father, union with Christ as the head of his mystical body, the church, and the communion of the Holy Ghost. To these advantages must be added the respect which God bears to the believing act of the parents, and to their solemn prayers on the occasion, in both which the child is interested, as well as in that solemn engagement of the parents which the rite necessarily implies to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Exaggerated ideas of the necessity and efficacy of baptism developed themselves as early as the second and third centuries (see references in Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, § 72). It became the custom to defer baptism as long as possible (a practice recommended, e.g. by Tertullian, De Bapt. c. 18). Many would not be baptized until just before death; e.g. Constantine. They supposed that baptism removes all previous sins in a sort of magical way; but that sins after baptism are remitted with difficulty, or not at all. Hence the baptism of new converts was delayed, entirely contrary to the 'spirit and practice of the apostles, who baptized' converts immediately (Ac 2:41; Ac 16:15). See Baumgarten, De Procrastinatione Baptismi ap. Veteres, Halle, 1747. After Augustine, through whom the doctrine of "no salvation out of the church" came to be received, it began to be held that infants dying without baptism were lost, and the baptism of very young infants became the common rule, while the baptism of adult converts was hastened (Knapp, Theology, § 141).
The Church of Rome continues to teach that original sin is effaced by the sacrament of baptism. The Anglican Church holds that "this infection of nature doth remain in them that are regenerated." The Russian Catechism declares that in holy baptism the believer "dies to the carnal life of sin, and is born again of the Holy Ghost to a life spiritual and holy;" which is the doctrine of the Greek Church generally. SEE GRACE; SEE REGENERATION; SEE SACRAMENTS.
II. Obligation and Perpetuity of Baptism. — That baptism is obligatory is evident from the example of Christ, who by his disciples baptized many that, by his miracles and discourses, were brought to profess faith in him as the Messiah; from his command to his apostles after his resurrection (Mt 28:19); and from the practice of the apostles themselves (Ac 2:38). But the Quakers assert that water baptism was never intended to continue in the Church of Christ any longer than while Jewish prejudices made such an external ceremony necessary. They argue from Eph 4:5, in which one baptism is spoken of as necessary to Christians, that this must be a baptism of the Spirit. But, from comparing the texts that relate to this institution, it will plainly appear that water baptism was instituted by Christ in more general terms than will agree with this explication. That it was administered to all the Gentile converts, and not confined to the Jews, appears from Mt 28:19-20, compared with Ac 10:47; and that the baptism of the Spirit did not supersede water baptism appears to have been the judgment of Peter and of those that were with him; so that the one baptism spoken of seems to have been that of water, the communication of the Holy Spirit being only called baptism in a figurative sense. As for any objection which may be drawn from 1Co 1:17; it is sufficiently answered by the preceding verses, and all the numerous texts in which, in epistles written long after this, the apostle speaks of all Christians as baptized, and argues from the obligation of baptism in such a manner as we could never imagine he would have done if he had apprehended it to have been the will of God that it should be discontinued in the church (compare Ro 6:3, etc.; Col 2:12; Ga 3:27). Doddridge, Lectures on Divinity, Lect. 201. For a clear view of the obligation of baptism, see Hibbard on Christian Baptism, pt. 2, ch. 10. SEE ANTI-BAPTISTS; SEE QUAKERS.
III. Mode of Baptism. — The ceremonies used in baptism have varied in different ages and countries; a brief account of them is given below (VIII). Among Protestants baptism is performed with great simplicity; all that is deemed essential to the ordinance being the application of water by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
1. The Baptists (q.v.) maintain, however, that immersion is the only valid baptism, in this point separating themselves from all the rest of Christendom. They rely for their justification chiefly upon the following arguments:
(1.) That the word βαπτίζω means, literally, to "immerse," and nothing else; while its figurative uses always include the idea of "burying" or "overwhelming;"
(2.) that the terms washing, purifying, burying in baptism, so often mentioned in the Scriptures, allude to this mode;
(3.) that the places selected for baptism in the New Test. imply immersion;
(4.) that immersion only was the practice of the apostles, the first Christians, and the church in general for many ages, and that it was only laid aside from the love of novelty and the coldness of climate. These positions, they think, are so clear from Scripture and the history of the church that they stand in need of but little argument for their support.
(5.) Farther, they also insist that all positive institutions depend entirely upon the will and declaration of the institutor; and that, therefore, reasoning by analogy from previously abrogated rites is to be rejected, and the express command of Christ respecting baptism ought to be our rule. SEE IMMERSION.
2. The Christian Church generally, on the other hand, denies that immersion is essential to the ordinance of baptism, and admits any of the three modes, sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. The Greek Church requires trine immersion in its rubrics, but in Russia baptism by sprinkling or affusion is regarded as equally valid. The Roman ritual favors affusion thrice repeated, but admits also of immersion. In the "Office for the Public Baptism of Infants" in the Church of England it is directed that the "priest shall dip the child in the water if the sponsors shall certify him that the child may well endure it;" but "if they certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it." In the "Office for the Private Baptism of Infants" it is directed that the baptism shall be by affusion, the infant in such cases being always certified to be weak. In the "Office for the Baptism of Adults," it is left altogether to the discretion of the minister to dip the person to be baptized in the water or to pour water upon him. The framers of the Office evidently, by the discretionary power left to the officiating minister, have decided that the mode in this respect is immaterial. The ritual of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in like manner, leaves the administrator free; and he is so, in fact, in most (but not all) Protestant Churches. The substantial question, therefore, between the Baptists and the Christian Church generally, is whether immersion is essential to baptism or not. The negative is maintained by the following arguments (besides others for which we have not space), viz.
(1.) As to the meaning of βαπτίζω, it is allowed, on all hands, that it is (at least sometimes) applied to acts involving the process of immersion both by profane and sacred writers (see above). But the best lexicographers agree that this is not its exclusive meaning, and none but a daring controversialist would assert that it is. The word βαπτίζω is derived from βαπτὸς, the verbal adjective of βάπτω, to wet thoroughly, and its etymological meaning is to put into a drenched or imbued condition (Meth. Quar. Rev. 1850, p. 406). In the New Testament it generally means to purify by the application of water. (See Beecher on Baptism; Murdock, in Bib. Sac. Oct. 1850, on the Syriac words for baptism.) "As the word βαπτίζω is used to express the various ablutions among the Jews, such as sprinkling, pouring, etc. (Heb 9:10), for the custom of washing before meals, and the washing of household furniture, pots, etc., it is evident from hence that it does not express the manner of doing a thing, whether by immersion or affusion, but only the thing done — that is, washing, or the application of water in some form or other. It nowhere signifies to dip, but in denoting a mode of, and in order to, washing or cleansing; and the mode or use is only the ceremonial part of a positive institute, just as in the Lord's Supper the time of day, the number and posture of the communicants, the quantity and quality of bread and wine, are circumstances not accounted essential by any part of Christians. If in baptism there be an expressive emblem of the descending influence of the Spirit, pouring must be the mode of administration, for that is the scriptural term most commonly and properly used for the communication of divine influences (Mt 3:11; Mr 1:8,10; Lu 3:16-22; Joh 1:33; Ac 1:5; Ac 2:38-39; Ac 8:12,17; Ac 11:15-16). The term sprinkling, also, is made use of in reference to the act of purification (Isa 52:15; Eze 36:25; Heb 9:13-14), and therefore cannot be inapplicable to baptismal purification" (Watson). So far, then, as the word
βαπτίζω is concerned, there is no foundation for the exclusive theory of the Baptists.
(2.) As for the fact that John baptized "in Jordan,' it is enough to reply that to infer always a plunging of the whole body in water from this particle would, in many instances, be false and absurd. Indeed, if immersion were intended, the preposition should be εἰς and not ἐν. The same preposition, ἐν, is used when it is said they should be "baptized with fire," but few will assert that they should be plunged into it. The apostle, speaking of Christ, says he came not, ἐν, "by water only," but, ἐν, — "by water and blood." There the same word, ἐν, is translated by; and with justice and propriety, for we know no good sense in which we could say he came in water. Jesus, it is said, came up out of the water, but this is no proof that he was immersed, as the Greek term ἀπό properly signifies from; for instance, "Who hath warned you to flee from," not out of, the "wrath to come?" with many others that might be mentioned. Again, it is urged that Philip and the eunuch went down both into the water. To this it is answered that here also is no proof of immersion; for if the expression of their going down into the water necessarily includes dipping, then Philip was dipped as well as the eunuch. The preposition εἰς, translated into, often signifies no more than to or unto, see Mt 15:24; Ro 10:10; Ac 28:14; Mt 3:11; Mt 17:27; so that from none of these circumstances can it be proved that there was one person of all the baptized who went into the water ankle deep. As to the apostle's expression, "buried with him in baptism," that has no force in the argument for immersion, since it does not allude to a custom of dipping, any more than our baptismal crucifixion and death has any such reference. It is not the sign, but the thing signified, that is here alluded to. As Christ was buried and rose again to a heavenly life, so we by baptism signify that we are separated from sin, that we may live a new life of faith and love. (See above.)
(3). It is urged further against immersion that it carries with it too much, of the appearance of a burdensome rite for the Gospel dispensation; that it is unfit publicly for so solemn an ordinance; that it has a tendency to agitate the spirits, often rendering the subject unfit for the exercise of proper thoughts and affections, and, indeed, utterly incapable of them; that in many cases the immersion of the body would, in all probability, be instant death; that in other situations it would be impracticable for want of water: hence it cannot be considered as necessary to the ordinance of baptism, and there is the strongest improbability that it was universally practiced in the times of the New Testament, or in the earliest periods of the Christian Church; indeed, the allegation of the exclusiveness of this mode is far from being adequately supported by ancient testimony, while in many instances (e.g. that of the Philippine jailer, Ac 17:33) this theory involves the most unlikely suppositions. See above (I-V).
IV. Subjects of Baptism. — The Christian churches generally baptize infants as well as adult believers, and this is believed to have been the practice of the church from the apostolical age. The Roman and Lutheran: churches teach that baptism admits children into the church and makes them members of the body of Christ. The Reformed churches, generally, teach that the children of believers are included in the covenant, and are therefore entitled to baptism. The Methodist Church holds that all infants are redeemed by Christ, and are therefore entitled to baptism, wherever they can receive the instruction and care of a Christian church or family.
(I.) As to the antiquity of infant baptism, it is admitted by Baptist writers themselves that it was practiced in Tertullian's time (A.D. 200); but they insist that beyond that date there is no proof of any other baptism than that of adult believers. The principal passages cited in the controversy are from Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr.
1. Origen (A.D. 185-253) speaks in the most un- equivocal terms of the baptism of infants, as the general practice of the church in his time, and as having been received from the apostles. His testimony is as follows: "According to the usage of the church, baptism is given even to infants; when, if there were nothing in infants which needed forgiveness and mercy, the grace of baptism would seem to be superfluous" (Homil. VIII in Levit. ch. 12). Again: "Infants are baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Of what sins? Or, when have they sinned? Or, can there be any reason for the laver in their case, unless it be according to the sense which we have mentioned above, viz. that no one is free from pollution, though he has lived but one day upon earth? And because by baptism native pollution is taken away, therefore infants are baptized" (Homil. in Luc. 14). Again: "For this cause it was that the church received a tradition from the apostles (παράδοσις ἀποστολική) to give baptism even to infants" (Comm. on Rom. lib. v, cap. 9). Neander (Ch. Hist. 1:514) depreciates this testimony, but without any real ground. On any ordinary subject it would be taken as decisive, at least as to the prevalence of infant baptism in Origen's time, and long before.
2. Tertullian (A.D. 160-240), in his treatise De Baptismo (c. 18), opposes infant baptism on the ground (1) "that it is too important; not even earthly goods are intrusted to infants;" (2) that "sponsors are imperilled by the responsibility they incur." Tertullian adopted the superstitious idea that baptism was accompanied with the remission of all past sins, and that sins committed after baptism were peculiarly dangerous. He therefore advised that not merely infants, but young men and young women, and even young widows and widowers, should postpone their baptism until the period of their youthful appetite and passion should have passed. In short, he advised that, in all cases in which death was not likely to intervene, baptism be postponed until the subjects of it should have arrived at a period of life when they would be no longer in danger of being led astray by youthful lusts. And thus, for more than a century after the age of Tertullian, we find some of the most conspicuous converts to the Christian faith postponing baptism till the close of life. Further, if he could have said that infant baptism was "an innovation," he would; no argument was surer or weightier in that age; and he constantly appeals to it on other subjects. All attempts to invalidate this testimony have failed. If any fact in history is certain, it is that infant baptism was practiced in Tertullian's time, and long before. For the Baptist view, however, on this point, see an able article in the Christian Review, 16:510. See also Bibliotheca Sacra, 3, 680; v. 307.
3. Irenaeus (circ. A.D. 125-190) has the following passage (lib. 2, cap. 39): "Omnes venit per semetipsum salvare; omnes, inquam, qui per eum renascuntur in Deum, infantes et parvulos et pueros," etc.; i.e. ' He came to save all by himself; all, I say, who, by him, are born again unto God, infants, and little children, and youth," etc. All turns here on the meaning attached by Irenaeus to the word renasci; and this is clear from a passage (lib. 3, c. 19) in which he speaks of the Gospel commission. "When," says he, "[Christ] gave this commission of regenerating to God [renasci], he said, 'Go, teach all nations, baptizing them, etc.'" Neander (whose loose admissions as to the entire question are eagerly made use of by Baptists) remarks of this passage that "it is difficult to conceive how the term regeneration can be employed in reference to this age (i.e. infancy), to denote any thing else than baptism" (Ch. Hist. 1:314).
4. Justin Martyr, who wrote his "Apology" about A.D. 138, declares that there were among Christians, in his time, "many persons of both sexes, some sixty and some seventy years old, who had been made disciples to Christ from their infancy" (ο‰ ἐκ παίδων ἐμαθητεύθησαν τῷ Χριστῷ,
Apol. 2), and who must therefore have been baptized during the lifetime of some of the apostles. In his Trypho he says, "We are circumcised by baptism, with Christ's circumcision." If ἐκ παίδων means from infancy, which is probable, but not absolutely certain, this passage is conclusive.
These citations seem clearly to carry back the practice of infant baptism to a date very near the apostles' time. If it were then "an innovation," we should have had some indication of so great a change; but there is none. Up to the rise of the Anabaptists in the 16th century, the practice of infant baptism existed in the church without opposition, or with only here and there an occasional word of question.
(II.) At the present day the Greek Church, the Roman Church, and all Protestant churches (except the Baptists) hold to infant baptism. The usage rests on the following grounds (among others), viz.
1. If the practice of infant baptism prevailed at the early period above mentioned, and all history is silent as to the time of its introduction, and gives no intimation of any excitement, controversy, or opposition to an innovation so remarkable as this must have been had it been obtruded on the churches without apostolical authority, we may fairly conclude, even were Scripture silent on the subject, that infant baptism has invariably prevailed in the church as a new Testament institution.
2. From the very nature of the case, the first subjects of the baptism of Christ and his apostles were adults converted from Judaism or heathenism. But although there are no express examples in the New Testament of Christ and his apostles baptizing infants, there is no proof that they were excluded. Jesus Christ actually blessed little children; and it is difficult to believe that such received his blessing, and yet were not to be members of the Gospel church. If Christ received them, and would have us "receive" them, how can we keep them out of the visible church? Besides, if children were not to be baptized, it is reasonable to expect that they would have been expressly forbidden. As whole households were baptized, it is also probable there were children among them.
3. Infants are included in Christ's act of redemption, and are entitled thereby to the benefits and blessings of his church. Moreover, they are specifically embraced in the Gospel covenant. The covenant with Abraham, of which circumcision was made the sign and seal, is not to be regarded wholly nor even chiefly, as a political and national covenant. The engagement was,
(1.) That God would bless Abraham. This included justification, and the imputation of his faith for righteousness, with all spiritual blessings.
(2.) That he should be the father of many nations. This refers quite as much to his spiritual seed as to his natural descendants.
(3.) The promise of Canaan; and this included the higher promise of the eternal inheritance (Heb 11:9-10).
(4.) God would be "a God to Abraham and to his seed after him," a promise connected with the highest spiritual blessing, and which included the justification of all believers in all nations. See Ga 3:8-9.
Now of this spiritual covenant, circumcision was the sign and the seal, and, being enjoined on all Abraham's posterity, was a constant publication of God's covenant grace among the descendants of Abraham, and its repetition a continual confirmation of that covenant. Baptism is, in like manner, the initiatory sign and seal of the same covenant, in its new and perfect form in Christ Jesus; otherwise the new covenant has no initiatory rite or sacrament. The argument that baptism has precisely the same federal and initiatory character as circumcision, and that it was instituted for the same ends, and in its place, is clearly established in several important passages of the New Testament. To these we can only refer (Col 2:10-12; Ga 3:27,29; 1Pe 3:21).
"The ultimate authority for infant baptism in the bosom of a regular Christian community and under a sufficient guarantee of pious education- for only on these terms do we advocate it — lies in the universal import of Christ's person and work, which extends as far as humanity itself. Christ is not only able, but willing to save mankind of all classes, in all circumstances, of both sexes, and at all stages of life, and consequently to provide for all these the necessary means of grace (comp. Ga 3:28). A Christ able and willing to save none but adults would be no such Christ as the Gospel presents. In the significant parallel, Ro 5:12 sq., the apostle earnestly presses the point that the reign of righteousness and life is, in its divine intent and intrinsic efficacy, fully as comprehensive as the reign of sin and doubt, to which children among the rest are subject — nay, far more comprehensive and availing; and that the blessing and gain by the second Adam far outweigh the curse and the loss by the first. When the Lord, after solemnly declaring that all power is given to him in heaven and earth, commands his apostles to make all nations disciples (μαθητεύειν) by baptism and instruction, there is not the least reason for limiting this to those of maturer age. Or do nations consist only of men, and not of youth also, and children? According to Ps 117:1, 'all nations,' and according to Ps 150:6, 'every thing that hath breath,' should praise the Lord; and that these include babes and sucklings is explicitly told us in Ps 8:2, and Mt 21:16. With this is closely connected the beautiful idea, already clearly brought out by Irenaeus, the disciple of Polycarp, and the faithful medium of the apostolical tradition descending from John's field of labor-the idea that Jesus Christ became for children a child, for youth a youth, for men a man; and by thus entering into the various conditions and stages of our earthly existence, sanctified every period of life, infancy as well as manhood. The Baptist view robs the Savior's infancy of its profound and cheering significance." — Schaff, Apost. Ch., § 143.
(III.) The BAPTISTS reject infant baptism, and maintain that the ordinance is only to be administered to persons making a profession of faith in Christ. The arguments by which they seek to maintain this view are substantially as follows, viz.
1. The commission of Christ to the disciples (Mr 16:15-16) fixes instruction in the truths of the Gospel and belief in them as prerequisites to baptism.
2. The instances of baptism given in the N.T. are adduced as confirming this view. "Those baptized by John confessed their sins (Mt 3:6). The Lord Jesus Christ gave the command to teach and baptize (Mt 28:19; Mr 16:15-16. At the day of Pentecost, they who gladly received the word were baptized, and they afterward continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship (Ac 2:41-42,47). At Samaria, those who believed were baptized, both men and women (Ac 8:12). The eunuch openly avowed his faith (in reply to Philip's statement, If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest), and went down into the water and was baptized (Ac 8:35,39). Saul of Tarsus, after his sight was restored, and he had received the Holy Ghost, arose and was baptized (Ac 9:17-18). Cornelius and his friends heard Peter, received the Holy Ghost, and were baptized (Ac 10:44-48). Lydia heard Paul and Silas; the Lord opened her heart, and she was baptized, and her household."
3. The Baptists farther assert that the N.T. affords no single example of infant baptism. They explain the baptisms of "households" by the assumption that none of their members were infants.
4. They argue that if infant baptism be a Christian ordinance, it must be expressly enjoined in Scripture, which is not the case.
5. They argue, finally, that as "Christian faith is a personal matter, its profession ought to be a matter of free conviction and choice, which cannot be the case with infants." SEE PAEDOBAPTISM.
V. The Minister of Baptism. — The administration by baptism is a function of the ministerial office (Mt 28:16-20). But it is the general opinion, both of the Roman and Protestant churches, that the presence of an ordained minister is not absolutely essential to the ordinance, and that, in extreme cases, it is lawful for lay persons to baptize. At the present day, not only lay baptism, but baptism administered by heretics, schismatics, and even women, is held to be valid by the Greek and Roman churches. The Lutherans also hold the same view. Baptism by midwives was admitted by the Church of England in extreme cases down to the Great Rebellion. Not that it was believed that laymen have the right to baptize, but that, the baptism having been once performed, it is valid to such an extent that rebaptism is improper. SEE BAPTISM (LAY).
VI. Repetition of Baptism. — In the third century the question arose whether the baptism of heretics was to be accounted valid, or whether a heretic who returned to the Catholic Church was to be rebaptized. In opposition to the usage of the Eastern and African churches, which was defended by Cyprian, the principle was established in the Roman Church under Stephen, that the right of baptism, if duly performed, was always valid, and its repetition contrary to the tradition of the church. In the next age Basil and Gregory of Nazianzen followed Cyprian's view, but by the influence of Augustine the Roman view became the prevalent one; but the Donatists maintained that heretics must be rebaptized. SEE DONATISTS (Hagenbach, Hist. of Doct. § 72 and 137, and references there). After the Reformation, the Roman Church, compelled by its old usage and principle, continued to acknowledge the validity of Protestant baptisms, while Protestants, in turn, admit the validity of Roman Catholic baptism.
VII. Sponsors or Godfathers. — Sponsors (called also godfathers and godmothers) are persons who, at the baptism of infants, answer for their future conduct, and solemnly promise that they will renounce the devil and all his works, and follow a life of purity and virtue; and by these means lay themselves under an indispensable obligation to instruct them and watch over their conduct. In the Roman Church the number of godfathers and godmothers is reduced to two; in the Church of England, to three; formerly the number was not limited. It is prohibited, in the Roman Church, to sponsors to marry their godchildren, or each other, or either parent of their godchild; nor may the baptizer marry the child baptized or its parent. The custom of having sponsors is not in use among the dissenting denominations in England, nor among the evangelical churches in America. The parents are held to be the proper persons to present their children for baptism, and to train them up afterward; indeed, while they live, no other persons can possibly take this duty from them. In the early church the parents were commonly the sponsors of infants. The duty of those who undertook the office of sponsor for adult persons was not to answer in their names, but to admonish and instruct them, both before and after baptism. In many churches this office was chiefly imposed upon the deacons and deaconesses. The only persons excluded from this office by the ancient Church were catechumens, energumens, heretics, and penitents; also persons not confirmed are excluded by some canons. Anciently one sponsor only was required for each person to be baptized, who was to be of the same sex as the latter in the case of adult persons; in the case of infants the sex was indifferent. The origin of the prohibition of sponsors marrying within the forbidden degrees of spiritual relationship appears to have been a law of Justinian, still extant in the Codex (lib. v, tit. 4, De Nuptiis, Leg. 26), which forbade a godfather to marry the woman for whom he had stood sponsor at baptism. The council in Trullo extended this prohibition to the marrying the mother of the baptized infant (can. 53); and it was subsequently carried to such an extent that the council of Trent (Sess. 24, De Reform. Matrimon. cap. 2) was compelled to relax it in some degree. — Bingham, 11, 8. SEE SPONSORS.
VIII. Ceremonies, Places, and Times of Baptism. —
1. In the earlier ages of the Church there were several peculiarities in the mode of baptism which have now fallen into disuse, except, perhaps, in the Roman Catholic and Greek churches. Among there usages were trine
immersion (i.e. dipping three times, once at the naming of each person in the Trinity, Tertull. Cont. Prax. 26), anointing with oil, giving milk and honey to the baptized person, etc. After the council of Nice, Christians added to baptism the ceremonies of exorcism and adjuration, to make evil spirits depart from the persons to be baptized. They made several signings with the cross, they used lighted candles, they gave salt to the baptized person to taste, and the priest touched his mouth and ears with spittle, and also blew and spat upon his face. At that time also baptized persons wore white garments till the Sunday following.
Three things were required of the catechumens immediately before their baptism:
(1.) A solemn renunciation of the devil;
(2.) A profession of faith in the words of some received creed; and
(3.) An engagement to live a Christian life. The form of renunciation is given in the Const. Apost. lib. 7, cap. 41.
The time of administering the rite was subject to various changes; at first it was without limitation. Soon Easter and Whitsuntide were considered the most appropriate seasons, and Easter-eve deemed the most sacred; afterward, Epiphany and the festivals of the apostles and martyrs were selected in addition. From the tenth century the observance of the stated seasons fell into disuse, and children were required to be baptized within a month of their birth (Bingham, Orig. Eccles. bk. 11, ch. 6; Coleman, Ancient Christianity, ch. 19). SEE IMPOSITION OF HANDS.
Until the time of Justin Martyr there appears to have been no fixed place for baptism, which was administered wherever it best suited; but in after times baptisteries were built near the churches, in which alone baptism might be administered. Baptism was not permitted to be conferred in private houses without the bishop's express license, and persons so baptized could never be received into priest's orders (Council of Neocaesarea, can. 2). Such private baptisms were called παραβαπτίσματα. Afterward the font appears to have been set up in the church porch, and thence was removed into the church itself. SEE BAPTISTERY.
2. The following are the baptismal ceremonies of the Church of Rome, though not all of universal obligation:
(1.) The child is held without the Church, to signify an actual exclusion from heaven, which is symbolized by the Church.
(2.) The priest blows three times in the face of the child, signifying thereby that the devil can be displaced only by the Spirit of God.
(3.) The sign of the cross is made on the forehead and bosom of the child.
(4.) The priest, having exorcised the salt (to show that the devil, until God prevents, avails himself of every creature in order to injure mankind), puts it into the mouth of the infant, signifying by it that wisdom which shall preserve him from corruption.
(5.) The child is exorcised.
(6.) The priest touches his mouth and ears with saliva, pronouncing the word Ephphatha.
(7.) The child is unclothed, signifying the laying aside the old man. (8.) He is presented by the sponsors, who represent the Church. (9.) The renunciation of the devil and his works is made. (10.) He is anointed with oil.
(11.) The profession of faith is made.
(12.) He is questioned whether he will be baptized.
(13.) The name of some saint is given to him, who shall be his example and protector.
(14.) He is dipped thrice, or water is poured thrice on his head.
(15.) He receives the kiss of peace.
(16.) He is anointed on the head, to show that by baptism he becomes a king and a priest.
(17.) He receives the lighted taper, to mark that he has become a child of light.
(18.) He is folded in the alb, to show his baptismal purity (Elliott, Delineation of Romanism, 1:241).
The practice of exorcising water for baptism is kept up in the Roman Church to this day. It exhibits a thoroughly pagan spirit. The following formula, taken from the Rituale Romananum, is used at the ceremony of exercising the water: "I exorcise thee, creature of water, by God + the living, by God + the true, by God + the holy; by God who, in the beginning, separated thee by a word from the dry land, whose Spirit over thee was borne, who from Paradise commanded thee to flow." Then follows the rubric: "Let him with his hand divide the water, and then pour some of it over the edge of the font toward the four quarters of the globe, and then proceed thus: I exorcise thee also by Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord, who, in Cana of Galilee, changed thee by his wonderful power into wine; who walked upon thee on foot, and who was baptized in thee by John in Judaea, etc.; . . . that thou mayest be made water holy, water blessed, water which washes away our filth, and cleanses our guilty stain. Thee therefore I command — every foul spirit — every phantasm — every lie — be thou eradicated, and put to flight from the creature of water; that, to those who are to be baptized in it, it may become a fountain of water springing up into life eternal, regenerating them to God the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, in the name of the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall come again to judge the living and the dead, and the whole world by fire, Amen." Then follows a prayer, in which the priest supplicates the Almighty to send down the "ANGEL OF SANCTITY" over the waters thus prepared for the purpose of purification. Afterward the rubric directs that "he shall BLOW THREE TIMES upon the water, in three different directions, according to a prescribed figure Ψ. In the next place, he is to deposit the incense upon the censer, and to incense the font. Afterward, pouring of the Oil of the Catechumens into the water after the form of a CROSS, he says, with a laud voice, Let this font be sanctified, and made fruitful-by the Oil of salvation for those who are born again thereby unto life eternal in the name of the Father +, and of the Son +, and of the Holy Ghost +, Amen." Then follows another rubric: "Next, he pours in of the CHRISM after the manner above mentioned, saying, Let this infusion of the Chrism of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, be made in the name of the sacred Trinity, Amen." Again: "Afterward he takes the two vessels of the before-mentioned holy Oil and Chrism, and in pouring from each in the form of a Cross, he says, Let this mixture of the Chrism of Sanctification, of the Oil of Unction, and of the Water of Baptism, be made together in the name of the Father +, and of the Son +, and of the Holy Ghost +, Amen." Finally, the rubric again directs as follows: "Then the vessel being put aside, he mingles with his right hand the holy Oil and the infused Chrism with the water, and sprinkles it all over the font. Then he swipes his hand upon (what is termed) medulla panis; and if any one is to be baptized, he baptizes him as above. But if there is no one to be baptized, he is forthwith to wash his hands, and the water of ablution must be poured out into the sacrarium (see Rit. Romans p. 58. — Elliott, Delineation of Romanism,, bk. 2, ch. 2).
3. The ceremonies of baptism in the Protestant churches are: generally very simple, consisting, as has been said, in the application of water, by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Ritual services are fixed in the Church of England, and the same (or nearly the same) are used in the Protestant Episcopal Church in America (see Prayer-book, Ministration of Baptism). The same forms, omitting the sign of the cross, and those parts which imply baptismal regeneration (ex opere) and the use of sponsors, is used in the Methodist Episcopal Church (Discipline, pt. 4, ch. 1). The Presbyterian Church prescribes no complete ritual, but gives certain rules in the Directory for Worship, ch. 7. The Reformed Dutch Church prescribes a simple and scriptural form (Constitution of R. D. Church, ed. Mentz, p. 93). The German Reformed Church admits sponsors, but they must be "in full communion with some Christian church (Constitution, pt. iv); and a form approaching to that of the Methodist Episcopal Church is given in the Provisional Liturgy of 1858, p. 204. The Lutheran Church prescribes forms of baptism (Liturgy, § 4), and admits sponsors, who may be the parents of the child.
The sign of the cross is used in baptism in the Greek and Roman churches, and in the Church of England; it is optional in the Protestant Episcopal Church. SEE CROSS IN BAPTISM.
IX. Works on Baptism. — The literature of the subject is very ample. Besides the works cited in the course of this article, and the writers on systematic theology, see Baxter, Plain Proof of Infants' Church Membership (1656); Wall, History of Infant Baptism, with Gale's Reflections and Wall's Defence, edited by Cotton (Oxford, 1836 and 1844, 4 vols. 8vo); Matthies, Baptismatis Expositio Bibl. — Hist. — Dogmatica (Berlin, 1831, 8vo); Lange, Die Kisnerstaufe (Jena, 1834, 8vo); Walch, Historia Paedobaptismi (Jenae, 1739); Williams, Antipaedobaptism examined (1789, 2 vols. 12mo); Facts and Evidences
on Baptism, by the editor of Calmet's Dictionary (London, 1815, 2 vols. 8vo; condensed into one vol., entitled Apostolic Baptism, N. Y. 1850, 12mo); Towgood, Dissertations on Christian Baptism (Lond. 1815, 12mo); Ewing, Essay on Baptism (Glasgow, 1823); Bradbury, Duty and Doctrine of Baptism (Lond. 1749, 8vo); Woods, Lectures on Infant Baptism (Andover, 1829, 12mo); Slicer, On Baptism (N.Y. 1841, 12mo); Wardlaw, Dissertation on Infant Baptism (Lond. 12mo); Neander, History of Doctrines, 1:229 sq.; Beecher, Baptism, its Import and Modes (N. Y. 1849, 12mo); Coleridge, Works (N. Y. ed., v. 187); Hibbard, Christiano Baptism, its Subjects, Mode, and Obligation (N. Y. 1845, 12mo); Hofling, Sacrament der Taufe (Erlang. 1846, 2 vols.); Rosser, Baptism, its Nature, Obligation, etc. (Richmond, 1853, 12mo); Gibson, The Fathers on Nature and Effects of Baptism (Lond. 1854); Cunningham, Reformers and Theology of Reformation, Essay v; Summers, On Baptism (Richmond, 1853, 12mo); Hall, Law of Baptism (N. Y. 1846, 12mo); Studien u. Kritiken, 1861, p. 219; Litton, On the Church, 243 sq. One of the best tracts on infant baptism is Dr. Miller's, No. VIII of the Tracts of the Presbyterian Board. On early history, doctrines, and usages, Coleman, Ancient Christianity, ch. 19; Schaff, Apostolical Church, § 142; Palmer, Origines Liturgicae, 2:166 sq.; Procter On Common Prayer,' 361 sq.; Mosheim, Commentaries; Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, 1:168 sq.
On the Baptist side: Gale, Reply to Wall (bound in Cotton's edition of Wall); Booth, Apology fu the Baptists (Works, vol. 51); Booth, Paedobaptism Examined (Lond. 1829, 3 vols. 8vo); Gill, Divine Right of Infant Baptism and other Essays (in "Collection of Sermons and Tracts," Lond. 1773, 2 vols. 4to); Hinton, History of Baptism (Philippians 1849, 12mo); Robinson, History of Baptism (Lond. 1790, and later editions, 4to); Carson, Baptism in its Mode and Objects (Lond. 1844, 8vo; Phila. 5th ed. 1857, 8vo); Noel, Essay on Christian Baptism (N. Y. 1850, 12mo); Orchard, Concise History of Foreign Baptists, etc. (Lond. 1838); Curtis, Progress of Baptist Principles (Boston, 1856); Pengilly, Scripture Guide to Baptism (Phila. 1849, 12mo); J. T. Smitti, Arguments for Infant Baptism examined (Phila. 1850, 12mo); Haynes, The Baptist Denomination (N. Y. 1856, 12mo); Jewett On Baptism (Bapt. Pub. Soc.); Conant, Meaning and Use of Baptizein (N. Y. 1860, 4to). On sacramental grace and regeneration by baptism, SEE GRACE; SEE SACRAMENTS; SEE REGENERATION (BAPTISMAL.).