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posing what he calls “the very strange blunders which have been made as to the paintings in the catacombs,' says: "Most noteworthy is one made by Bishop Kip, of California, in his work on the Catacombs of Rome. He adduces a picture of the baptism of Christ in the Jordan which is found in the catacomb of St. Pontian, as it is called, as being an instance of sprinkling or pouring. But as Aringhi in his representation of it shows, and as Perret in his picture of it, as well as in his text, expressly sets forth, it is an instance of immersion. Indeed, Bishop Kip's own picture of it shows it to be a dipping, and it seems strange how he could have failed to see this if he had used his eyes.”

But, while mosaics and frescoes are thus of doubtful interpretation, there are unmistakable monuments of ancient baptism in the catacombs. Baptisteries are there which even in their ruins furnish the clearest evidence of immersion. “The most remarkable of these is that in the catacomb of St. Pontianus, the purpose of which is put beyond doubt by its pictorial decorations. The wall above the cistern retains a fresco of the baptism of our Lord.” Northcote, in his Roman Catacombs, describes this baptistery: “A small stream of water runs through the cemetery, and at this one place the channel has been deepened so as to form a kind of reservoir, in which a certain quantity of water is retained. We descend into it by a flight of steps, and the depth of water always varies with the height of the Tiber. When that river is swollen so as to block up the exit by which the stream usually empties itself, the waters are sometimes so dammed back as to inundate the adjacent galleries of the catacombs; at other times there are not above three or four feet of water." Another of these baptisteries is found in the lowest tier of galleries in the catacomb of St. Agnes.

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"It is a well-preserved chamber, with rude columns cut in the tufa rock at the corners. A spring of water runs through it. The paintings have entirely perished."* In periods of persecution, when Christian worship could be maintained only in these subterranean chambers of the dead, the sacred rite of baptism was here administered by a solemn immersion as the symbol of death to sin and of resurrection to holiness.

The testimony of ancient monuments and art, therefore, does not contradict, but is in perfect accordance with, the uniform testimony of patristic and mediæval literature. Both unmistakably point to immersion as the usage of the early ages of the church.

VII. OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED. The preceding argument amply shows that the scriptural form of baptism is immersion. There are, however, several objections and opposing theories which it is proper here to consider.

FIRST: IMMERSION ALWAYS INCONVENIENT, OFTEN DANGEROUS, AND SOMETIMES IMPOSSIBLE. It is said: Immersion is always inconvenient; it is prejudicial to health, and in the case of the sick and dying it is impossible; it cannot, therefore, be the only divinely-appointed form of the rite. To this we reply: 1. It is not certain that our convenience in observing the ordinances was a primary consideration with God in directing their form. On the other hand, it is quite conceivable that in a positive institution intended, in some aspects of it, as a test of obedience to him, he might have studied our inconvenience as thus presenting a more decided test of our submission to him. But, not to insist on this, it is sufficient to answer that those who practise immersion do not, as a general fact, find it specially inconvenient, nor is there usually any possible necessity for making it inconvenient. 2. The objection as to health proceeds from false views of the effect of water on the body; in most cases even the most infirm are benefited physically from it. Those who practise immersion do, as a matter of fact, experience no ill-results from it, nor is there the liability to any in the proper administration of it. 3. The sick and dying have no need of baptism. If Providence, by sending ill-health, prevent obedience, plainly the obligation to baptism is removed. Certainly any attempt to perform it by changing its form, and thereby destroying its significance, can only be offensive to God. Besides, of what use is the ordinance to the dying — the rite of initiation into the earthly church to those who are just entering the church triumphant? Superstition only can find in such a case utility in the rite.

* Smith's Dict. Christ. Antiq., vol. i., p. 313.

SECOND: IMMERSION, THOUGH THE SCRIPTURAL FORM, IS NOT ESSENTIAL. Many excellent men rest their practice of a different form on this non-essential theory. Admitting that immersion was the original form, they insist that, as it is only an outward ordinance, the church has the right to alter the form. On this we remark: 1. Man has never been granted the right to alter an ordinance instituted by

Under the older dispensation such an alteration was deemed impious, as an invasion of the divine prerogatives. For this sin Nadab and Abihu were destroyed by the fire of God (Lev. x. 1-7); Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up in the earth, which opened under their feet (Num. xvi.); Saul was rejected as the king of Israel (1 Sam. xiii. 8-14); and Uzzah perished by the stroke of God (2 Sam. vi, 1-10). The ordinances of

. the New Testament, though fewer in number, are not of less solemnity and authority, nor is there any evidence that they may be altered by man. 2. Baptism is, by


means of its form, a symbol of divine truth; the distinctness, therefore, with which it represents that truth depends on the accuracy of the form. If that be altered, the truth God intended to present is not taught. To alter the divinely-instituted symbol by which the momentous truth of regeneration is set forth before the world is not less impious than to alter the divinely given words in which that truth is taught. The non-essential theory, applied to the form of a divine ordinance, does in fact disown the exclusive authority of God's word, and does so far impiously exalt man in the place of God.

THIRD: DR. DALE'S THEORY: BAPTISM NEVER AN IMMERSION. The four octavo volumes in which this theory is advanced by Rev. James W. Dale, D.D., of Pennsylvania, are entitled respectively, Classic Baptism, Judaic Baptism, Johannic Baptism, and Christic and Patristic Baptism, and contain a very full investigation of the form of baptism, with copious citations from classic, Jewish, biblical, and patristic writings. They give ample evidence of the industry, patience, and learning of the author, and it is claimed for them that they have conclusively proved that Christian baptism is never an immersion. The results supposed to have been reached may be best stated in the author's own words. At the close of the last volume he says :

"1. The baptism of inspiration is a thoroughly-changed spiritual condition of the soul, effected by the power of the Holy Ghost through the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so making it meet for reconciliation, subjection, and assimilation to the one fully-revealed living and true God-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

2. This one baptism of inspiration is, by divine appointment, virtually symbolized as to its soul-purification by pure water, poured or sprinkled, or otherwise suitably


applied to the person, together with a verbal announcement of the spiritual baptism thus symbolized.

"3. Dipping the body into the water is not, nor (by reason of a double impossibility, found in the meaning of the word and in the divine requirement) can it be, Christian baptism. That Christian baptism is a water-dipping is a novelty unheard of in the church for fifteen hundred years. This idea is not merely an error in the mode of using the water (which would, comparatively, be a trifle), but it is an error which sweeps away the substance of baptism without leaving a vestige behind."

We propose here to examine the premises from which these remarkable conclusions are drawn. We shall not, however, investigate in detail the immense mass of matter gathered in these bulky volumes; such an investigation is wholly unnecessary for the determination of the truth or falsity of the theory advanced. The discussion will be restricted, therefore, to an examination of those fundamental positions of the author which, either as underlying assumptions or as formally-stated propositions, constitute the basis of his theory and are essential to its truth.

1. BAPTIZO, he affirms, is derived, not from the primary, but from the secondary, meaning of BAPTO. The latter has

, two meanings: (1.) To dip, to plunge; (2.) To dye, to stain, which was often, but not always, effected by dipping. Baptizo, the derivative, is derived, not from the primary sense, to dip, but from the secondary, to dye. It does not, however, take the signification to dye; but as bapto, when signifying to dye, indicates a thorough change in the condition of the subject as to color, so the derivative, baptizo, takes as its meaning "thoroughly to change the condition of an object by introducing it into some new condition.” Consequently, baptizo never means to dip or

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