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be defended, and still the rule be true. Indeed his inserting an and
shows that he felt that if the participial form was changed. It must
either be disconnected from the imperative by and, or cut off from it
by placing a full period between them, which is a general rule in
such cases. His translating a participle by an imperative, required
a supplementary and according to my rule; but none, according to

The reasons which induced Macknight in this case, aopear to
have been, that the punctuation in some Greek and English copies
connected the words "in all icisdo)n," with the command, "Let the
word of God dwell in you richly." This is the common version;
but he follows the pointing which Griesbach preferred, and read.s
it, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and in all wisdom
teach," etc. To give it greater force, and to mark more distinctly
the connection between "in all wisdom" and teaching, he chose thi3
course. It would have been equally plain in rendering it as Thomp-
son has done — "Let the word of the Christ dwell richly in you with
all wisdom, when you teach and admonish one another, when with
psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs you sing gratefully to the Lord
with your heart." Here it is thrown into another mood. Pierce, as
learned a critic as any of them, says the phrase, the word of Christ,
is "the discourse concerning the Christ," and not the ordinary con-
versation of Christians, which is alluded to; and, therefore, it oughi
to read, "Let the history of Christ dwell richly among you, teach
Ing," etc.

Having now attended to some of the reasons for the translation,
let ua hear our friend reason upon this his example. He asserts that
teaching and c.dmonishing "do not 'strictly, and properly speaking,
express the manner in which the foregoing Injunction is to be com-
plied with;" bi;t not stricth/, and iviprnpcrhj speaking, they do! But


"they express kindred exercises," German cousins at least; but noth-
ing neareir akin, and ''therefore'' (this is a logical particle after two
assertions! ) they are "virtually'' distinct imperatives! This is the
reason why they, improperly speaking, express the manner of the
action! My friend Christianos relied too much upon Dr. Macknight'3
helping him out, and thought that this would pass for logic, backed
as it would be, by the new version.

But I have yet to make my most serious objection to this example;
and it is, because it is not a pertinent one. There is more than a
simple imperative mood; nay, virtually, two or three imperatives in
this sentence. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you," would be a
simple imperative. But, "Let it dwell in you richly," is another com-
mand: and what if teaching and admonishing belong to the richly,
and not to the simple imperative? Then it, strictly and properly
speaking, does show the manner in which the word is to dwell in us
richly. This assertion, without argument, is certainly as conclusive
as Christianos' assertion — that it does not strictly and properly ex-
press the manner. But I can do more than assert; for the following
words show that the manner of dwelling in us, is the primary object.
"In all wisdom, teaching," etc. The second imperative in this sen-
tence is richly; and according to the common version, the third
imperative is "in all wisdom." "Let the word of Christ dwell in
you," is one command. "Let it dwell in you richly," is the second
command. "Let it dwell in you in all wisdom," is a third command;
and the participles teaching, admonishing, and praising, show the
manner in which these commands are to be obeyed. I now leave it
with the discerning public to say what has become of my friend
Christianos' triumphant exception to this universal rule.

Having found that this is not the one example demanded in my
former criticism, I will be excused from considering "the work of
supererogation," for the second example falls before the same tri-

But it falls before another tribunal also. If separated, as Mack-
night does in his punctuation of the sentence, then it is not con-
nected with the imperative humhle; and so it destroys its being an
example at all. And standing before two other imperatives, it may
apply to them, or to one of them in sense. Suppose, then, that cast-
ing our care upon the Heavenly Father, does not express the manner
of humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God, it may show
the manner in which the succeeding imperatives are to be cbeyed.
This, the punctuation must determine. Thompson, into whose ver-
sion I have just now looked, points it as follows — "Having cast all
your care upon him, for he careth for you, be ' sober, be watchful;
because your adversary the devil is walking about," etc. What a


pity that my friend Christianos should be so unfortunate in finding

Other critics have suggested to me as exceptions— "Take the hei-
met of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, praying always with
all prayer and supplication." But the praying always is the adjunct
of the following words— "with all prayer and supplication, praying
always"— and this is the manner in which every part of the Christian
panoply is to be put on.

"Rising be immersed, and wash you from your sins, calling on the
name of the Lord," is also adduced as an exception by two others.
Culling here shows the manner in which he is to submit to the con-
mandment. It is in the passive voice, and shows the manner of sub-
mitting, not of acting. In this way he is to connect his immersioa
with invocation of the name of the Lord. Thus, while immersing
into the name of the Lord, all the immersed should invoke his name.
And thus, in spirit and reality, do all who intelligently go down into
the water.

'Standing, going, and arising," precede many imperatives in th?
Septuaglnt idiom. Because these are modes and manners in which
a servant first places himself to receive or to execute instructions.
Standing forward, be immersed; coming forward, wash your hands;
arising, enter the synagogue, etc., are all expressions of the same
family, and do not constitute exceptions to this rule. Because, even
when most rigidly interpreted, they show the manner in which the
person is to obey the command, or the manner in which the com-
mand is to be obeyed; and both are included in my definition of it.

But my friend Christianos returns to the commission, and after a
mere hint of what might be achieved, if the common version could
be sustained, C'teach all nations," instead of "co7iverr) generously,
however, giving this up, he throws himself behind the shield of Ur.
George Campbell, which places me in as awkward a position as was
William Tell, who had to split an apple on the head of his son; either
at the hazard of his own life if he shot too high, or at the hazard
of his son's if he shot too low. What in such a crisis is to be done"'
Try to escape, or to die like a soldier? We shall hear what are the
conditions proposed. Dr. George Campbell says there are three dis-
tinct acts in the commission, and yet but one imperative: and I have
said that if distinct commands, they ought to be distinct imperatives.
Am I not stranded here!! I dare not say that Dr. George Campbell
is in an error. I dare not retract my position, that if distinct com-
mands they ought to be distinct imperatives. To save myself and
the Doctor, is now a consummation most devoutly to be wished. Let
us see if any way of escape remains. A says to B, Saddle my horse.
This is one imperative. But, in obeying this command, B has to


perform, three acts — to catch the horse, to bridle the horse, and to
saddle him. D says to E, Make a fire in the study. One imperative
again. But how many acts — go after the fuel, carry it into tho study.
build It upon the hearth, go after a spark, apply it, and fan it into a
flame. One imperative and six acts. Well, now, I agree with Dr.
George Campbell, that there are three distinct acts. There is first
proclaiming the gospel; then immersing the believers; and then
teaching the immersed how to behave themselves. But in each of
these acts there are diverse acts. In immersing, for instance, there
is walking to the bath or river; there is a call for the good confes-
sion; there is walking down into the water, taking hold of the can-
didate, pronouncing the words of the institution, putting the person
under the water, and raising him up again. Here are seven acts.
But who will say, that there ought to be seven commands? You say
so, replies Christianos. I request him to read what I have writ-
ten again: "If distinct acts, they ought to be distinct imperatives."
No: that is not what I have written. If distinct commands, I say
they ought to be distinct imperatives. And so one horn of the dilem-
ma is broken!

In the most perfect good will and esteem for my very intelligent
friend and brother Broaddus, I have written the preceding remarks.
And I must add, that I feel obliged to him for the unsparing critical
severity with which he has examined this rule. I feel, if possible,
more confidence in it than before; seeing it pass the ordeal of one
who has a hundred eyes for one of some of my opponents, and whos-e
attainments, as a writer, are so conspicuous, and so generally acknowl-
edged and admired as to need neither notice nor encomium.

I think my friend Christianos is quite alarmed at the idea of
making baptism the converting act This is the reason why he sought
out exceptions to a rule which he has admitted is general, and with
what success he has sought for exceptions I leave others to say. As
I have given all the exceptions to it which I have heard from all
quarters, I will now add the opinion of a plain good-sense English
scholar, who never harangued a congregation. He is from a county
bordering on the cure of bishop Broaddus.

"Christianos seems to be very tenacious of his views on Rom. viii.
and also of his criticism. But, not being able to produce one example
similar to his own, he has given two examples quite foreign from
the point. He might have given many such examples; but they aro
no exceptions to the rule. Because in these examples the participles
are used mentally, and do not relate to the same word which is gov-
erned by the imperative mood as in the commission. In this, and in
all similar examples, the participlesi are used physically; that is, to
denote an act of the body. To prevent all mistake, I would add lo


your rule, provided the participle is used physically, to denote any
act of the body."

I have heard the views of sundry learned persons, who are unani-
mous in their opinion of its perfect accuracy. But so long as the
general accuracy of it is admitted by all, with the commission in all
its circumstances, with the practice of the Apostles under it, declar-
ative of the fact, that unless the nations were immersed they were
not converted, I see no good reason for contesting, nor need for defend-
ing its absolute truth universally. I pray the teachers of the Scrip-
tures to consider, that no person in the Scripture style, (and for that
we contend) is said to be converted to God until he iS immersed.
I think I can reconcile, even Christianos to the idea, that the act of
immersion is an act of conversion; and what may be called the new
birth or regeneration, spoken of in the Holy Scriptures. Christianoa
will agree with me, that many terms have a Bible sense, different
from the ecclesiastic sense; and that it is our safety, as it is our
province, and our happiness, to understand the Bible language in
the Bible sense, or to attach the apostolic ideas to the apostolic words.

rROPosrnoN x.

/ now proceed to shoio that immersion and regeneration are two
Bible names for the same act, contemplated in two different points
of view.

The term regeneration occurs but twice in the common version of
the New Testament, and not once in the Old Testament The first is
Matt. xix. 28. "You that have followed me in the regeneration, when
the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, you also shall
sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Dr.
George Campbell, following the punctuation adopted by Griesbach,
and substituting the word renovation instead of regeneration, renders
it — "That, at the renovation, when the Son of man shall be seated on
his glorious throne, you, my followers, sitting also upon twelve
thrones, shall," etc. Genesis, being the term used for creation, palin^
grnesia denotes the new creation. Either literally at the resurrec-
tion of the dead, or figuratively, at the commencement of the Christian
era, or at the commencement of the Millennium. Josephus the Jew
called the return of Israel to their own land, and institution, "the
regeneration," or "palingenesia."

No writer of any note, critic or expositor, supposes that regener-
ation in Matt. xix. applies to what is, in theology, called the neve
birth, or regeneration of the soul — not even the Presbyterian Matthew
Henry, nor Dr. Whitby, Campbell. Macknigbt. Thompson; nor, indeoil,
any writer we recollect ever to have read. Regeneration in this pas-
sage denotes a state, a new state of things. In the same sense wo


often use the term. The American Revolution was the regeneration
of the country or the government. The commencement of the Chris-
tian era was a regeneration — so will be the Millennial Era — so will
be the creation of the new Heavens and new Earth. As this Is so
plain a matter, and so generally admitted, we proceed to the second
occurrence of this term.

"God has saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing
of the Holy Spirit" (Common version, Tit. iii. 5). God has saved us
through the bath of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
This is the second time the word regeneration is found in the New
Testament; and here it is conceded by the most learned Paidobaptists
and Baptists, that it refers to immersion. Though I have been led
to this conclusion from my views of the Christian religion, yet I
neither hold it myself, nor justify it to others on this account. 1
choose rather to establish it by other testimonies, than by those who
agree with me in the import of this institution. Amongst these I
shall place Dr. James Macknight, formerly prolocutor or moderator
of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and translator of the Apo-v
tolic Epistles. One of his notes upon Tit. iii. 5, is in the following
words: — "Through the bath of regeneration." "Through baptism, called
the bath of regeneration, not because any change in the nature" (but
1 would say in the state) "of the baptized person is produced by bap-
tism; but because it is an emblem of the purification of his soul from
sin." He then quotes in proof, (Acts xxii. 16,) "Arise, and be
immersed, and wash thee from thy sins." — Paul. He supports this
view also from Eph. v. 26, and John iii. 5. "The bath of regeneration,"
is then, according to the learned Paidobaptist, Christian immersion,

Parkhurst, in his lexicon, upon the word loiitron, connects this
same phrase, the washing or bath of regeneration, with Eph. v. 26,
and John iii. 5, as alluding to immersion. So say all the critics, one
by one, as far as I know. Even Matthew Henry, the good and ven-
erable Presbyterian commentator, concedes this point also, and quotes
Eph. V. 26, Acts xxii. 16, and Matt, xxviii, 19, 20, in support of the
conclusion, that the washing of regeneration refers to baptism.

Our opponents themselves being judges, we have gained this point;
viz.: that the only time the word regeneration occurs in the Ne\V
Testament with a reference to a personal change, it means, or is
equivalent to, immersion. Regeneration and immersion are, therefor",
two names for the same thing. Although I might be justified in pro-
ceeding to another topic, and in supposing this point to be fully estab-
lished, I choose rather, for the sake of the slow to apprehend, to fortify
this conclusion by some other testimonies and arguments.

As regeneration is taught to be equivalent to ''being born again.''
and understood to be of the same import with a new birth, we shall


examine it under this metaphor. For if immersion be equivalent to
regeneration, and regeneration be of the same import with being born
again, then being born again, and being immersed are the same thing;
for this plain reason, that things which are equal to the same thing,
are equal to one another. All must admit, that no person can he hor.-i
ufjain of that which he receives. For as no person is born naturally;
so no person can be born again, or born metaphorically, of that which
he receives. It destroys the idea, the figure, the allusion, and every
thing else which authorizes the application of these words to any
change which takes place in man, to suppose that the subject of the
new birth, or regeneration, is born again of someUiing which he has
received. This single remark shows the impropriety, and inaccuracy
of thought; or, perhaps, the want of thought, which the popular
notions of regeneration sanction, and sanctify.

In being born naturally there is the begetter, and that which Is
begotten. These are not the same. The act of being born is different
from that which is born. Now the Scriptures carry this figure through
every prominent point of coincidence. There is the begetter. "Of his
own will he has begotten, or impregnated us," says James the Apostle.
'•By the word of truth," as the incorruptible seed; or, as Peter says,
"We are born again, not from corruptible, but from incorruptible Beed,
the word of God which endureth forever." But when the act of beins;
born is spoken of, then the water is introduced. Hence, before we
come into the kingdom, we are born of water.

The Spirit of God is the begetter, the gospel is the seed; and being
thus begotten, and quickened, we are born of the water. A child
is alive before it is bom, and the act of being born only changes its
state, not its life. Just so in the metaphorical birth. Persons are
begotten by the Spirit of God, impregnated by the Word, and bom of
the water.

In one sense a person is born of his father; but not until he is
first bom of his mother. So in evei-y place where water and the Spirit,
or water and the Word, are spoken of, the water stands first. Every
child is born of its father, when it is born of its mother. Hence the
Saviour put the mother first, and the Apostles follow him. No other
reason can be assigned for placing the water first. How uniform this
stylel Jesus says to Nicodemus, "You must be born again, or yon
can not discern the Reign of God." Born again! What means this?
"Nicodemus, unless you are born of water, and of the Spirit, you can
not enter into the kingdom of God." So Paul speaks to the Ephesians,
(v. 26,) "He cleansed the church," or the disciples, "by a bath of
water, and the Word." And to Titus he says, "He saved the disciples
ht/ the bath of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit." Now,
aa soon as, and not before, a disciple, who has been begotten of God, is


born of water he is born of God, or of the Spirit. Regeneration is,
therefore, the act of being horn. Hence its connection always with
v/ater. Reader reflect — what a jargon, what a confusion, have the
mystic doctors made of this metaphorical expression, and of this topic
of regeneration. To call the receiving of any spirit, or any influence,
or energy, or any operation upon the heart of man, regeneration, is
an abuse of all speech, as well as a departure from the diction of the
Holy Spirit, who calls nothing personal regeneration, except the act
of immersion.

Ohjection 1. — "You then make every immersed person a child of
God, by the very act of immersion; and you represent every person
as born of God who is born of water, or immersed."

Provided always, that he has been begotten of God; or, that he
has been impregnated by the gospel. If quickened by the Spirit of
God before he is buried in the water, he is bom of God, whenever
bt is born of water; just as every other child is born of its father,
when born of its mother. But if he do not believe the gospel, or
ip other words, if he be not quickened by the Word, he is not born
of God when he is born of water — he is, to speak after the manner of
men, still born.

Objection 2. — "Then none are bom of God, or of the Spirit, unless
those who are immersed in water, and raised out of it."

I admit the objection; for he that has never been buried in water,
never has been raised out of it. He that has never been in the womb
of waters, never has been born of water. Begotten of God he may be;
but born of God he can not be, until bom of water. It is worthy of
remark, that Dr. Macknight, who certainly had no predilections for
this view of the matter, has the word begotten in every passage in
the first Epistle of John, where the common version has the word
born, and with the greatest propriety, too.

Objection 3. — "Then none of the unimmersed can be saved; for
none can enter the Kingdom of God, but those born of water."

This is, or is not true, according as you understand the term
saved. If you understand the term as defined in the preceding pages,
they are not saved; for the present salvation of the gospel is that
salvation into which we enter, when we become citizens of the King-
dom of God. But whether they may enter into the kingdom of future
and eternal glory after the resurrection, is a question much like that
question long discussed in the schools, viz.: Can infants who have
been quickened, but who died before they were born, be saved? We
may hope the best, but can not speak with the certainty of knowl-
edge. One thing we know, that it is not a difficult matter for believers
to be born of water; and if any of them wilfully neglect, or disdain
it, we can not hope for their future and eternal salvation. But wj


have uo authority to speak comfortably to them who will not submit
to the government of the Saviour.

Many persons, I doubt not, who never were informed on these
matters, but simply mistooli the import and design of the Institution,
who were nevertheless honestly disposed to obey, and did obey as
far as they were instructed, may, as the devout Jews and Patriarchs
who lived before the Christian era, be admitted into the Kingdom of
future glory. But this by the way, to prevent the calumnies of those
who are better disposed to censure every thing we write, than to obey
the Lord. 1 am sure of one thing; because the decree is published, viz..
that he that believes the gospel, and is immersed, shall be saved; and
he who submits not to the government of Jesus Christ shall he

Some curious criticisms have been offered, to escape the force of
the plain declaration of Jesus and his Apostles, upon this subject.
Some say, that the words, "Except a man be born of water and Spirit,"
are not to be understood literally. Surely, then, if to be born of water
does not moan to be born of water, to be born of the Spirit must meaji
something else than to be born of the Spirit. This is so fanatical and
extravagant as to need no other exposure. He who can not see tha
propriety of calling immersion a being born again, can see no propriety
in any metaphor in common use. A resurrection is a new birth. Jesus
is said to be the first born from the dead; because the first who rose
from the dead to die no more. And, surely, there is no abuse in speecii;
but the greatest propriety in saying, that he who has died to sin, and
been buried in water, when raised up again out of that element, is born
again, or regenerated. If Jesus was born again, when he came out
of a sepulchre, surely he is born again who is raised up out of the
grave of waters.

Those, who are thus begotten, and born of God, are children of God.
It would be a monstrous supposition, that such persons are not freed
from their sins. To be born of God, and born in sin. is inconceivable.
Remission of sins is as certainly granted to "'Ihe born of God;" as life
eternal, and deliverance from corruption, will be granted to the children
of the resurrection, when born from the grave.

To illustrate what has, we presume to say, been now proved, we
shall consider political regeneration. Though the term regeneration
is laxly employed in this association; yet, by such a license of speech,

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 64 of 70)