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exact state of the case as to the judg- the progressive development of that human nature which was to be sanctified by him, but sanctified it in accordance with its natural course of development, and in all its several stages. 'He came to redeem all by himself;
ment of eminent scholars. Opinions are divided in regard to this expression. "Writers of the first ability" also feel constrained, against the influences of their religious training and ecclesiastical relations, after laborious examination all who, through him, are regenerated of the works of Irenæus, and comparison of this passage with his current of thought and his system respecting the recovery of men by Jesus Christ, to con. clude that it does not recognize infant baptism. It will be most satisfactory to have a few specimens, showing the diverse views which have been given, and the tendency of opinions.
Neander, in his History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. i. p. 311, (Torrey's translation), speaks thus: Baptism was administered at first only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive baptism and faith as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution; and the recognition of it which followed somewhat later as an apostolical tradition, serves to confirm this hypothesis. * Irenæus is the first church teacher in whom we find any allusion to infant baptism; and in his mode of expressing himself on the subject, he leads us at the same time to recognize its connexion with the essence of the Christian consciousness; he testifies of the profound Christian idea, out of which infant baptism arose, and which procured for it at length universal recognition. Irenæus is wishing to show that Christ did not interrupt
It is worthy of notice, that while some writers reiterate with positiveness the traditionary assumption of the original existence of infant bap. tism, aз a Christian rite, such scholars as Neander, Schleiermacher, Semisch, Matthies, &c., speak with
the utmost freeness of the introduction of infant
baptism at a date subsequent to that of the apostles. They speak according to the true light of history; such is their learning, and such their literary candour, that it costs them no more effort than it would to speak of any well-known fact, of which they had become personally assured.
to God; infants, little children, boys, young men and old. Hence he passed through every age, and for the infants he became an infant, sanctifying the infants; among the little children he became a little child, sanctifying those who belong to this age, and at the same time presenting to them an example of piety, of well-doing, and of obedience; among the young men he became a young man, that he might set them an example, and sanctify them to the Lord.' It is here especially important to observe, that infants (infantes) are expressly distinguished from children (parvulis) whom Christ could also benefit by his example; and that they are represented as capable of receiving from Christ, who had appeared in their age, nothing more than an objective sanctification. This sanctification becomes theirs, in so far as they are regenerated by Christ to God. Regeneration and baptism are in Irenæus intimately connected; and it is difficult to conceive how the term regeneration can be employed in reference to this age, to denote anything else than baptism.
Infant baptism, then, appears here as the medium through which the principle of sanctification, imparted by Christ to human nature from its earliest development, became appropriated to children."
Matthies (Expositio Baptismatis, p. 189), says, "The matter turns on this
whether to be born again signifies baptism. It can by no means be doubted that Irenæus is accustomed to call baptism a new birth unto God. Still, this writer does not teach that in his age infants were always baptized; rather,
this only is contained in that passage,| namely, that infants, as well as little ones and lads (parvuli et pueri) may be saved, since they may be born again by Christ, that is, in baptism. Though, therefore, Irenæus thinks that infants are partakers of the new birth, and consequently of baptism, (since baptism effects the new birth,) it is yet left in doubt whether infants were always baptized or not. From the remark of Irenæus, it can probably be inferred that towards the end of the second century-about the year 180-infants were sometimes baptized."
On the other side of this question appears Baumgarten-Crusius, one of the most distinguished names in German theological literature, who says, in his Dogmengeschichte, p. 1209, "The celebrated passage in Irenæus (ii. 22, 4) is not to be used in favour of infant baptism. For the expression renasci per eum (Christum) in Deum, evidently signifies here the participation of all in his divine and holy nature, in which he has come into the place of all. Compare 3, 18, per omnem venit ætatem. Hagenbach, in his History of Doctrines, translated by C. W. Buch, vol. i. p. 193, expresses the following opinion: 66 The passages from scripture which are thought to intimate that infant baptism had come into use in the primitive church, are doubtful and prove nothing, viz., Mark x. 14; Matthew xviii. 4, 6; Acts ii. 38, 39, 41; Acts x. 48; 1 Cor. i. 16; Col. ii. 11, 12. Nor does the earliest passage occurring in the writings of the Fathers, Irenæus, adv. Hær. ii. 22, 4, afford any decisive proof. It only expresses the beautiful idea that Jesus was Redeemer in every stage of life, and for every stage of life; but it does not say that he redeemed children by the water of baptism, unless the term renasci be interpreted by the most arbitrary petitio principii to refer to baptism."
In a similar strain we have, as is fully stated in the Christian Review, vol. iii. p. 213, the conclusions of Winer, Starck, Rossler, Münscher, Von Cöln, all declining to borrow any support for infant baptism from this passage.
I have thus far avoided all mention of the result to which my learned friend, Rev. Irah Chase, D.D., was led by a laborious examination of the works of Irenæus, because I wished to derive testimony from learned men whose religious predilections would rather incline them to discover in the passage an argument for infant baptism. Dr. Chase has rendered valuable service to theological literature, by his endeavours to ascertain the real meaning of the passage under consideration. In pursuance of his purpose he read and re-read every page of all the extant works of Irenæus, as well as of that containing this passage, and formed an independent opinion of its meaning. This opinion he afterwards discovered, from time to time, to accord with results to which learned German investigators had been led. From his satisfactory article on this passage, published in the Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review, published at Andover, vol. vi. pp. 646, 656, I extract the following statement : According to Irenæus, Christ, in becoming incarnate, and thus assuming his mediatorial work, brought the human family into a new relation, under himself, and placed them in a condition in which they can be saved. In this sense he is the Saviour of all. He restored them, or summed them up anew, in himself. He became, so to speak, a second Adam, the regenerator of mankind. Through him they are regenerated unto God; per eum renascuntur in Deum.
"The thought occurs frequently, and it is variously modified by the various connexions in which it is introduced.
"In the passage which has often been
brought forward as recognizing the bap- | coming to them an example. Then, too, tism of infants, Irenæus is maintaining he passed through even unto death, that that Christ appeared as he really was, he might be the first born from the and passed through the various stages dead, himself holding the primacy of all of human life, sanctifying, it is added, things, the prince of life, superior to sanctifying every age by the likeness all, and preceding all. B. ii., c. 22, that it had to himself; for he came to § 4. save all by himself; all, I say, since by him they are regenerated unto God-infants and little ones, and children, and youths, and elder persons. Therefore he came through the several ages, and for infants was made an infant, sanctifying infants; among little ones, a little one, sanctifying those of that age; and, at the same time, being to them an example of piety, uprightness, and obedience; among the youth, a youth, becoming an example to the youths, and sanctifying them to the Lord; thus also an elderly person, among elderly persons, that he might be a perfect master among all, not only in respect to the presentation of truth, but also in respect to age, sanctifying at the same time also the elderly persons, and be
"What Irenæus thought of baptism must be gathered from the passages in which he is speaking of the subject. But that he is speaking of it in this passage, there is no sufficient evidence. For a mere resemblance in one or two words to certain terms sometimes used in connexion with baptism, falls very far short of proving the point assumed. The context is against it, for the context directs our attention to Christ, and what he himself personally came to do for the human family. It is by Him, and not by baptism, that they are here said to be renewed, born anew, or regenerated. And parallel passages are against it, for they abundantly confirm the senses which I have given as being the true sense of the passage before us."
A FEW minor suggestions as to pro- | different species. phetical interpretation may fitly follow in non-technical the more general discussion which occupied our last number. There are modes of representing truth which, if not peculiar to the prophets, certainly characterize their writings in an extraordinary degree-in a far larger degree than they do any other compositions with which we are familiar.
The most prominent of these is one which, we think, will be best designated in the first instance by the employment of logical terms. The prophets are in the habit constantly of denoting a genus by a species, or by an enumeration of
We may explain this language by saying that where they would express some general truth, they are accustomed to put forward either some particular aspect of this truth, or a variety of such aspects. The peculiarity of the case is that we are to conceive of these particularizations not always as the actual realities which will hereafter be verified in history, but simply as possible realities. Before, in other words, we can safely translate them into matters for definite expectation or hope, it is requisite that we should generalize their import, and the fulfilment, when it
arrives, shall, perhaps, be some new be confined to the more wealthy idolaters development of the promise or pre-of the nation-to those who had been diction, rather than the one specified.
able to afford the cost of gold or silver idols; nor does the prediction restrict either them or others to one particular mode of marking their abhorrence of idolatry; a removal of the former signs and instruments of apostacy, in whatever way, is the thing denoted. The Ephesian converts who, in the apostles' times (see Acts xix. 19) publicly burnt their "curious books," would be as good an exemplification of the religious reform here pre
idols. We will endeavour to make the importance of this observation evident by another instance taken from the same. Part of the prophecy quoted
Let us first take an example of the substitution of a single species for its genus. We will go no farther, in the selection of our instances, whether for the illustration of this or the other idiom, than to the writings of Isaiah. Foretelling, in ch. xxx. 20, a time of future religious prosperity, the prophet says, "Thy teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers." Now, to inter-dicted as any fingers-away of literal pret this language literally, we must suppose that the religious teachers of the Jews had been obliged to seclude themselves from observation-a fact of which we have no evidence. Something from Joel (see Joel ii. 28) by the like it had occurred in the neighbouring kingdom in the time of Ahab (see 1 Kings xviii. 4), but there the calamity I would seem to have been little felt. For religious teachers, however, to withdraw into seclusion is one phase of interruption of religious privileges, and we know not whether more than this general case can be said to be here contemplated. The following verse will afford us an example less deniable, "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left."
Here we have a promise of future moral and religious guidance-a promise which would be equally fulfilled, whether the direction given were by audible utterances according to the letter of the text, or by secret monitions according to its spirit. In the following verse the prophet proceeds, "Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold; thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence," ver. 22. Now certainly the applicability of this promise is not to
VOL. XV.-FOURTH SERIES.
apostle Peter in his Pentecostal discourse, foretold that in the days of the Messiah the old men of the church should "dream dreams." (See Acts ii. 19.) Now it has been remarked that though we have in the Acts sundry accounts of visions appearing to apostles or apostolic men, we have no single instance of a dream. It is not necessary that there should have been one, nor is there any failure of the prediction on this account. All that the prophecy engages for is satisfied by the fact that the Divine Spirit at that time made known his will to his servants by new and extraordinary methods - that divine revelations were more largely and variously diffused.
This instance affords us a convenient point of transition to the elucidation of the other kind of idiom we mentioned, sc. where a genus is broken up into a number of species. "Visions" and "dreams" are special forms of divine revelation generally; accordingly, as we said, new revelations, of whatever kind, will acquit the obligation involved in their mention. Let us now, recurring to Isaiah, take an example where the particulars specified are numerous
and diverse. The following prediction | cypresses, and sycamores, does not imply that these would escape the visitation; a few are taken as a sample of the whole, and could we imagine a period to arrive when the latter class of trees would supply more materials for pride and vainglory than the former, it is just these which would then experience the stroke. Impiety is wont to assume different expressions at different times, and it would be altogether a hasty conclusion, because we may, at any given season, be clear from one manifestation of it, to infer that therefore we are clear from all. This was the error into which the Jews fell when they compared themselves with their forefathers. (See Matt. xxiii. 29, 30.) They felicitated themselves on their purity from all participation in the stain of prophet-murder, just when they were about to imbrue their hands in the blood of one greater than the prophets. They could scarcely have indulged in this self-gratulation had they remembered to distinguish between an inward evil and its outward manifestation. We must, in interpreting those parts of scripture where special forms of error or vice are brought before us, ascend to the root or principle whence they spring, and, according to the circumstances of the case, generalize the rebuke, the denunciation, or the promise.
will be found in ch. ii. 12-16. "For
Another example of this process of generalization will be, perhaps, only too obvious. We have in Isaiah, ch. liv. 11, 12, a picture of the glory awaiting the church under the image of a mansion or a palace. "O thou afflicted," says the prophet, "tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones." Now here, even should we preserve for a time the beau