« AnteriorContinuar »
book ? and why did he refuse to give satisfaction to his friends when inquired of about the author of it? Would he be treated as a gentleman, a scholar, or a christian ? he ought to have wrote as such. Who is the aggressor ? who gave the first provocation ? If I have any where exceeded the bounds of christianity, or humanity, I would readily acknowledge it upon the first conviction; but who indeed “ can touch pitch, without being defiled with it?” Three or four pages are filled up with a whining, insinuating harangue, upon the nature of controversies, and the disagreeable temper and spirit with which they are frequently managed; designing hereby to wipe himself clean, whilst he is casting reproach upon others. I would not be an advocate for burlesk and banter in religious controversies ; but if he would have them banished from thence, why does he make use of them, even in this his performance, which begins with such loud exclamations against them. As for instance, how does he pun upon presumptive proofs, p. 13. and in p. 27. speaking of our baptizing in boles or cisterns, as he is pleased to call them, “ Thus, says he, you have forsook the
scriptural way of baprizing with water, and have hewn out unto yourselves “ cisterns,” referring to Jer. ii. 13. besides the frequent sneers with which his book abounds. Now if burlesk and banter, in general, ought to be laid aside, much more punning and bantering with the words of scripture, which are facred and awful. Is this the man that directs others to “write in the fear of God, “ having the awful Judge, and the approaching judgment in view ;” and yet takes such a liberty as this? He says, p. 7.
He says, p. 7. “ I shall not entertain the reader “ with any remarks upon his performance, as it is ludicrous, virulent and de
faming :" Which, itself is a manifest defamation, as the reader cannot but observe; it being asserted without attempting to give one iingle instance wherein it appears to be so. With what face can he call it ludicrous; when he himself, in the debate, has been so wretchedly guilty that way? when he talks, p. 9. of “ Christ's being under water still: and in p. 1o. of John's thrusting the people “ into thorns and briars, when he baptized in the wilderness ; ” as also his concluding from Philip and the Eunuch's coming up out of the water, p. 19, " that neither of them was drowned there ;" with other such like rambling stuff, which he might have been ashamed to publish to the world. Moreover, what defamation has he been guilty of, in representing it, as the judgment of “ some of us “ to baptize naked ?” p. 22.
And in the words of a servant of Christ, as he calls him, p. 44. tells the world that we “ baptize persons in thin " and transparent garments ;” which, in other cases, would be accounted down right lying Nay even in this his last performance, p. 44, he has the assurance to insinuate, as if we ourselves thought plunging to be immodest, because we put lead at the bottom of our plunging garments ; why could not he as well have argued from our making use of clothes themselves ? it is strange that a carefulness to prevent every thing that looks like immodefty, should be improved as an evidence of it: None but a man that is ill-natured and virulent, would ever be guilty of such an insinuation.
What his friends, at Rowell, may think of his performances, I cannot tell; but I can affure him, that those of his persuasion at London think very meanly of them; and, as the most effectual way to secure the honour of their cause, which is endangered by such kind of writing as his, say, “he is a weak man that has “ engaged in the controversy;” though, perhaps, some of his admirers may think that he is one of the mighty men of Israel, who, like another Samson, has (mote us hip and thigh; but if I should say, that it is with much such an initrument as he once used, I know that I should be very gravely and feverely reprimanded for it, my grace and good manners called in question, and perhaps be pelted into the bargain, with an old musty proverb or sentence, either in Greek or Latin ; but I will forbear, and proceed to the confideration of his work, as he calls it.
His first attack, p. 8. is upon a small sentence of Latin, made use of to express the nauseous and fulsom repetition, of threadbare arguments in this controverfy, to which he has thought fit, to give no less than three several answers.
1. He says the Latin is falfe, because of an erratum of coetum for coeta; which had I observed before che last half sheet had been worked off, should have been inserted among the errata ; whereby he would have been prevented making this learned remark; though had it not fallen under my notice, before he pointed it to me, he should have had the honour of this great discovery. He does well indeed to excuse his making such low observations, as being beneath the vast defigns he has in view. I might as well take notice of his Greck proverb, p. 25. where οσπης,
@oms, and charge it with being false Greek, though I should rather chuse to ascribe it to the fault of the printer, than the inadvertancy of the writer. However, he does well to let his readers know that he can write Greek; which they could not have come at the knowledge of, by his former performance. But why does not he give a version of his Latin and Greek scraps, especially seeing he writes for the benefit of the Lord's people, the Godly, and poor men and women, that cannot look into Dictionaries, and consult Lexicons ; besides, all the wir cherein will be lost to them, as well as others be left unacquainted with his happy genius for, and skill in translating.
2. He says, “ the application of this sentence is false :” But how does it appear? why, because at Rowell he and his people are very moderate in the affair of baptisın, they seldom discourse of it; when every body knows, that has read my book, that the paragraph referred to, regards not the private conversation of
persons on that subject, but the repeated writings which have been published to the world on his side the question. If the different sentiments of his people, about Baptism, “make no manner of difference in affection, church-relation," &c. as he says p. 9. why does he give them any disturbance ? what could provoke him to write after the manner he has done? He knows very well, however mistaken they may be about this ordinance, in his apprehensions, yet that they are conscientious in what they do; why should he then sneer at them, as he does for their practice of plunging, and fix upon them the heavy charges of superftition and will-worship? Is not this man a wise shepherd, that will give disturbance to his flock, when the fheep are still and quiet?
3. He would have his reader believe, that in using this sentence, I would insinuate, that the notions wherein they differ from us about Baptism are poisonous, when I intend no such thing; nor does the proverb, as expressed by me, lead to any such thought, but is used for a nauseous repetition of things, with which his performance, we are considering, very plentifully abounds. We do not look upon mistakes about the grace of God, the person of Christ, and the person and operations of the Spirit, to be of a leffer nature than those about Baptism, as he reproachfully insinuates; for we do with a becoming zeal and courage, oppose such erroneous doctrines in those who are of the same mind with us, respecting baptism, as much as we do in those who differ from us therein.
Page 10. He seems to be angry with me for calling him an anonymous author ; what should I have called him, since he did not put his name to his book ? he alks, “Who was the penman of the epistle to the Hebrews ?” Very much to the purpose indeed! and then brings in a scrap of Greek out of Synesius, with whom, however he may agree in the choice of an obscure life, yet will not in the affair of Baptism; for Synesius was baptized upon profession of his faith, and after that made bishop of Ptolemais. “ Hundreds of precious tracts, he says, have « been published without the names of their authors ;” among which, I hope, he does not think his must have a place, it having no authority from the scripture, whatever else it may pretend to; as I hope hereafter to make appear.
С НА Р. II.
the Baptism of John, Christ, and his Apostles, maintained : and
Mr M's demonstrative proofs, for pouring or sprinkling, confidered. T!
HE ordinance of water-baptism, is not only frequently inculcated in the
New Testament, as an ordinance that ought to be regarded; but also many instances of persons who have submitted to it, are therein recorded, and those VOL. II.
attended with such circumstances, as manifestly fhow, to unprejudiced minds, in what manner it was performed.
1. The baptism of Christ administered by John deserves to be mentioned, and considered first: This was performed in the river Jordan, Matt. iii. 6, 13. and the circumstance of his coming up out of the water, as soon as it was done, record. ed ver. 16. is a full demonstracion that he was in it; now that he should go into the river Jordan, to have water poured, or Sprinkled on him, is intolerable, and ridiculous to suppose. Mr M. in his debate, p. 6. tells us, that “ the words “ only fignify, that he went up from the water ;” to which I replied, that the preposition amo signifies out of, and is justly rendered so here. I gave him an instance of it, which he has not thought fit to except against; yet still he says, " the criticism delivers us from a necessity of concluding, that Christ was in the “ water :" though it has been entirely baffled; neither has he attempted to defend it. And, because I say, that " we do not infer plunging, merely from “ Christ's going down into, and coming up out of the water;" therefore he would have the argument from hence, as well as from the same circumstances. attending the baptism of the Eunuch, wholly laid aside; which I do not wonder al, because it presles him hard. He seems to triumph, because I have not, in his posicive and dogmatical way, asserted those circumstances, to be demonstrative proofs of immersion; as though they were entirely given up as such; bue he is more ready to receive, than I am to give. This is a manifest indication, I will not say, of a wounded cause only, but of a dying one, which makes him catch at every thing to support himself under, or, free himself from those prelfures, which lie hard upon him. We insist upon it, that those proofs are demonstrative, so far as proofs from circumstances can be so; and challenge him to give the like in favour of pouring or sprinkling. Is it not a wretched thing, to use our author's words; that not one text of scripture can be produced, which will vindicate the practice of sprinkling in baptism ; and that among all the instances of the performance of the ordinance, which are recorded in scripture; not one single circumstance can render it so much as probable ?
2. We not only read of many others baptized by John, but also the places which he chose to administer ic in, which will lead any thinking, and considering mind to conclude, that it was performed by immersion : Now, one of those places, where John baptized a considerable number, and among the rest Chrift Jesus, was the river Jordan, Matt. iii. 6. Mark i. 5, 9. the latter of which texts Mr M. says, p. 12. “ leads us to no other thought, than that Jelus was bapos tized of yohn at Jordan; as the preposition us, he fays, is sometimes tran« Nated ;” though he gives us no one instance of it. Now in his debate, p. 7. he says, “chat the holy Ghost himself tells us, that noching else is intended by
“ it than baptizing in Jordan;" and yet this man takes a liberty to differ from him. What will he be at' next? to such straits are men driven, who oppose the plain words of the holy Ghost, as he is pleased to say in another case.
Enon was another of those places, which John chose to baptize in ; and the reason of his making choice of it was, because there was much water there, John iii. 23. which was proper and necesary, for the baptizing of persons by immerfion. Mr M. says, p. 19. “ that the holy Ghost does not say that they were “ baptized there, because there was much water ; but that John was also bap:
tizing in Enon because there was much water there ;”. but what difference is there? Why only between John's administering the ordinance, and the persons to whom it was administered. He says, p. 21. “ that I have granted that the “ words, he means udka ta roma, literally denote, “ many rivulets or streams ;" which is notoriously false ; for I do in express words utterly deny it; and have proved from the use of the phrase in the New Testainent, and in the Septua. gint version of the Old, as well as from Nonnus's paraphrase of the text, that it signifies “ large waters, or abundance of them :" I do affure him, that neither of the editions of Nonnus, which he has the vanity to mention, was made use of by me; but if there had been any material difference in them, from what I have made use of, I suppose he would have observed it to me, if he has consulted them; and I would also inform him, that Nonnus has not always a Latin version printed along with it, as he wrongly asserts.
I have consulted Calvin upon the place directed to by him : the text says, chat Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea; and Calvin upon it says, that “ he came into that part of the country which was nigh to Enon;" but neither the text, nor Calvin upon it, say that they were both at Enon, as our author insinuates ; so that from hence there appears no necessity of concluding that choice was made of this place for the accommodation of the large number of people which attended, either upon the ministry of Christ or Jobn; that so both chey and their cattle might be refreshed, as he ridiculously enough suggests. As to the account he has given of the land of Canaan, it is manifest, notwithstanding all his shifts and cavils, that he did represent it in general as a land that wanted water, especially a great part of it; now whatever little spots (for the land itself was not very large) might not be so well watered, yet it is certain, that in general it was; and is therefore called a land of brooks of water, &c. But since he acknowledges there was plenty of water at Enos, where John was baprizing, which is sufficient for our purpose, we need not further inquire about the land.
3. Another remarkable instance of baptism is that of the Eunuch's, in Aets viii. 38. which is attended with such circumstances, as would leave any person,