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most common sense, as referring to that which refers the expression to the administration of the rite of bap- vicarious baptism, by which, it is tism ; and have therefore set them. said, if any one died while a catechu. selves to wrest a meaning suited to men before he had received baprism, their purpose out of υπέρ των νεκρών. . another person was baptized in bis The most successful perhaps is Wer- name and place; by which ceremo. enfels, a translation of whose remarks ny the dead person received all the was published in the Lit. and Evan. benefits of the rite.
This opinion is Mag. for Jan. 1823 He gives to adopted by Grotius and Michaelis. vexpoí the meaning assigned to it But that such a custom prevailed in above ; but by retaining the religious the time of Paul, there is no evisense of Barriţw, he has encumber. dence whatever ab extra ; there is ed himself with difficulties that could no other passage in the N. T. wbich be removed only by a train of rea- can be construed into tbe remotest soniog ; which, after all, brings him, allusion to it; nor is there any hint of if any where, to the sentiment above such a custom in the ancient history given. Some suppose that the plu- of the Church,except among the Marral is used by enallage for the singu- cionites as mentioned by Tertullian lar, and that vexpoi means Christ; oth- (adv. Marcion.) and even they would ers consider it as equivalent to dáva- seem to have adopted it in their scrucos death, and suppose it. refers to pulous observance of the precepts of baptism on account of approaching Paul through a misconstruction of death, like the extreme unction of the this very passage. In later ages, inCatholics ; others again, as Chrysos- dred, we read of the custom of adtom, Hammond, Wetstein, &c. think ministering baptism, and even the οι νεκροί το be put instead of the res- eucharist, to the dead bodies of cateurrection of the dead, and that the chumens (Canones Concil. Carthag. Apostle would ask, 'why, if they did xviii or xix. LXXX111.) in order, pronot believe there was a resurrection, bably, that they might enjoy the benthey were yet baptized into the pro- efit of the prayers of the church, session of such a belief ?' All these which were not offered up for any are mere conjectures, and one is who were not in full communion. therefore of just as much value as In this, however, there was nothing another; and they all make the pas- vicarious. But granting that such a sage amount only to an argumentuin custom did exist, this mode of ex. ad hominem. Others suppose that planation would convert the powerυπέρ των νεκρών means over the sep- ful appeal of the Apostle to his state ulchres of the dead, referring to the of danger and of suffering-an applace of baptism ; but it is at least
peal upon which he dwells emphatidifficult to discover what this would cally in the three succeeding verses, have to do with the Apostle's argu. into a mere argumentum ex concesment. LeClerc on no authority thinks sis ; and that too in respect to a custhat is ép means duri, and that instead tom which Paul certainly would be of tbose who had been removed by the last to sanction, and which, bedeath, new converts were pressing ing in itself groundless, would of forward to receive baptism and sup- course render his argument comparaply their places. Others refer Urèptively trivial. Tüv vexpôv to the cheerfulness which was manifested by Christians in the Should it be objected, that the view hour of death, on account of which above presented, (I.) of the meanmany were induced to embrace ing of the word Barrizw, goes to Christianity and be baptised. But show that the original mode of adthe most simple interpretation, apart ministering the rite of baptism was from the one above given, (so far as probably by immersion, and that the mere words are concerned,) is therefore we are bound tu follow that
mode at the present day ; I readily bound to retain the modus in the one concede the fact, but do not admit the case, when it is universally neglected inference. In all his external con- in the other ? Is the rite of baptism duct, his teaching, his dress, his food, of greater consequence than that of his worship, &c. our Lord conform- the Lord's supper? Is there a more ed himself to the customs of his coun- important difference between immertry. The same is true of the exter- sion and affusion or sprinkling, than nal ordinances of his religion, bap- there is between leavened and untism and the Lord's supper. In the leavened bread ? or between the former, in that hot country where bath. highly emblematic wine of Palestine ing was a luxury, and where it was and the unwholesome mixtures with already known and practised as a which our communion tables are part of religious worship, (Lev. xvii. served ? or between an upright and 15, 16. 22 : 6. Num. xix. 7 ;) be a recumbent posture ? or between adopted it as the sign of initiation in- that striking ceremony of bathing the to the faith and profession of his re- disciples' feet as performed by our ligion. In the latter, be partook of Lord himself, and the utter neglect the sacred meal in an upper cham- of it by all his followers ? Or, in ber, the usual apartnient among the itself considered, does the value of Jews for eating ; he broke for his the baptismal rite depend on the disciples the unleavened bread of the quaniity of water employed ? Does passover, there being no other on the mere fact that he has been imihat day throughout the country; mersed, enable a Christian to 'wor. the wine which be poured out was ship God in spirit and in truth,'more probably the common red wine of than if he had received the rite by that region, a most significant am- sprinkling or affusion ? In short, blem of blood ; and they all partook which is of the greater consequence, of the repast while placed as usual the sign itself, or the thing signified ? around the low table in a recumbent the modus, or the res ipsa? When posture. After the supper too, we all these questions, and many others are informed by John (xiii. 4.) that which may be put, shall have been Jesus girded himseif with a cloth, and satisfactorily answered, I shall be washed his disciples' feet. Now | ready to admit the inference which I would ask, by what authority are we have above denied.
For the Christian Spectator.
ulation, not only from the restraints
of industrious employment, but too Remarks on the manner of celebra
often from the laws of morality, has a ting our National Independence.
tendency to improve our morals and To celebrate the anniversary of to give pernianence to our national any national blessing in a mode cal- independence ? And who does not culated to destroy that blessing is know that, in the apprehension of surely irrational and pernicious. In many, the laws of morality are on dependence is indeed a blessing, yet this day somewhat relaxed ? That who will deny that we are independ- many honour of the day are not ent no longer than we are a virtuous ashamed to do what on other days and christian nation? Can it then would be illicit? A little boisterous be maintained that the ringing of mirth, a little tipsy patriotism, is not bells and the firing of cannon, and only allowable but even commendathe release of a great part of the pop- ble.
Nor can much be said in favour of information and to banish that slugthe numerous effusions with which, gisbness and narrowness of mind under the name of orations we are which are necessarily produced by deluged. Perhaps a few good ones seclusion and exclusive attention to are to be found, like angels' visits, few local or individual interests. Men and far between. But could the ma. need to expand their winds, and to jority of them live long enough to ex- look abroad on the state of nations ert any influence on our national and of the world, that their mental encharacter, or to cross the Atlantic, ergies may not wax small for want of their weak politics, gasconading eu- excitement or their social feelings logiums, improbable anticipations, grow torpid for want of consideraand universal denunciations of all tions calculated to exercise them. sorts of government except our own, But on such occasions true political would justly render us contemptible. wisdom is always conversant with Their effects might be positively in facts; leaving the regions of fancy jurious were they not, happily, too to the poet or speculatist. The true weak to be felt. Particularly would state of the nation, the means of nathis be the case wlien, as tvo often tional prosperity, our greatest danhappens, they are made the instru- gers, with the means of avoiding them, nients of inflaming party feeling-- are always important and useful subalienating still more those who are jects of consideration on public and already 100 much alienated, and cut- national festivals. But no politics ting the curds of national strength. are perfect that do not practically Tiany man deserves to be delesied, acknowledge and bring into view the it is he who can by sectional consid- government of God. A nation eratious and party prejudices pollute where the eternal realities of the the sacred feelings which belong to Christian religion do not exert a genthe birth day of our country,--that eral and powerful influence is on day when all hearts should ihrob in the road to ruin. Human depravity unison.
makes government necessary, and is By these considerations I do not at the same time the source of nationintend to deny the propriety of cele al dangers and decay ; and the brating the day, nor do I object to Christian religion alone purifies the the firing of cannon, or the ringing of heart and lays deep the foundations bells, or any other indications of joy of national independence and hapin themselves innocent. But I do piness. object not only to all that has a di- Many who are not experimental rect demoralizing tendency but to christians, and even infidels, compelthe entire prevalence of those indi- led by facts, pay homage to chriscations of joy that are in themselves tianity and acknowledge its benefineutral. There should be some pos- cial effects. Ought not christians itive moral and elevating influence then, in all proper cases, to exert exerted. For on a day of so much that moral infuence which christianexcited and irregular feeling, unless ity throws into their hands? If some good object is presented, or christians really feel that the religion some restraining influence exerted, of the bible alone can purify the naunless something of a more than neu- tion and establish our government tral character is done, it is almost in- immovably, are they not bound to evitable that hurtful excesses will enlarge the sphere of its operations prevail.
as far as possible ?-Let infidel poli. Anniversaries and public days, if :icians and the wise men of this well conducted, are useful in many world sneer-can this alter facts ? respects. They tend to awaken the Shall christians shut their eyes beenergies of society, to give a healthy cause others are blind ? Shall those tone to the public feeling, to diffuse who know and feel make concessions 308 Inquiry respecting the Authority of the Say brook Platform. (JUNE, to the ignorant and senseless ? It is tions, yet the spirit by which these then greatly to be desired that the are done is entirely at her control. celebration of the anniversary of our Before I close I will suggest some independence should assume a reli- considerations respecting a portion gious aspect, that the christian com- of the inhabitants of our country to munity should on that day thankfully whom the yearly return of tbe day and publicly acknowledge the na- which freemen hail with transport, tional blessings for which we are in brings no joy for the past, and no debted to the God of nations, confess hope for the future. Surely comnational sins, and implore forgive- passion for them is no crime, whom ness and continued mercy.
In all neither liberty, nor intellectual enthis there is something so rational, so joyment, nor christianity consoles. dignified, and so elevating, that it There is here no occasion for irritacommends itself immediately to the ting expressions or hostile feelings. heart and to the understanding. No An immense evil exists, and there is rights of conscience are violated. room for benevolent feeling in at. Those who dislike religion can do tempting to remove or lessen it. An what they please ; but let christians attempt of this kind has been made make the day an occasion of exerting by the American Colonization Soci. a powerful moral influence for the
eiy, and surely, it is the part of evgood of the nation. And the God of ery christian patriot to assist this efHosts will look down with approba. fort or to disclose a better plan. And tion, and He by whom kings reign it is worthy of the serious consideraand princes decree justice, will save tion of the christian public, and of all by his own right hand, and be our freemen, whether a contribution year. ruler and guide.
ly raised throughout the United It is the glory of Christianity that States on the anniversary of our inthough sublime in theory, it is no dependence, for the sake of assistless perfect in its practical tendency: ing the funds of this society, would it is designed and it ought to govern not materially benefit the cause ot all things. Much has been said, and liberty and religion.
D.R. often justly said, against introducing politics into religion ; but who will say that religion should not be intro.
To the Editor of the Christian Spectator duced into politics ? Is it a fact that Inquiry respecting the Authority of the author of christianity governs ev. ery movement of every earthly gove
ihe Saybrook Platform. ernment, and are there those who Many of the ministers and intellithink that christianity has nothing to gent lay-members of the Congrega. do with politics ? “ He that sitieth tional churches in this State, are of in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord the opinion, that a more intimate and sball hold them in derision.”
definite union of all the churches in It is nou indeed the part of Chris.. the State than that which at present tianity to forget her heavenly char. exists, is both expedient and practiacter ; her kingdom is not of this cable. It is now more than a centuworld, but she bears with her the ry, since the "Saybrook Platform, light of eternity to illuminate the our only formulary of fellowship transactions of time ; she points out anong separate churches, was ato the elector, to the lawgiver, to the dopted. In several sections of judge, the path of duty, and the con- the State, ihe authority of this instrusequences of transgression to the ment is but partially admitted. Its government and to the people. provisions have been gradually sus. Though she does not make laws, or penıled, either by customs or by condirectly regulate national transac- sociational or associational rules, oc
casioned by the changes which so long a period produces, in the prin
HYMN: ciples and circumstances of chris- Before sunrise, in the vale of Chamouny. tians. Reference to the Platform” Hast thou a charın to stay the morning as a standard, is now seldom made in deliberations on church order In his steep course ? So long he seems to and discipline," and when made, it
pause is rather as evidence of the princi. The Árve and arveiron, at thy base
On thy bald, awful head, O Sovran Blanc! ples and proceedings of our fathers, Rave ceaselessly ; but thou, most awful than as decisive of what should be form! our own. So feeble, inderd, is the Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines, influence of that ancient ecclesiastic. How silently! Around thee and above,
Deep is the air and Jark,transpicuous al code, that for the most part, cases deep, of discipline and fellowship, whether An ebon mass ; methinks thou piercest it ibey respect the internal
As with a wedge! But, when I look again,
It is thine own calm home, thy crystal ment of single churches, or the ex
shrine, ternal relations of neighbouring Thy habitation from eternity! churches, are determined by the general precepts of the gospel and Oh, dread and silent Mount ! I gazd upthe known and ancient habits of the Till thou, still present to the bodily sense, people, as interpreted and applied Didst vavish from my thought : entranced by the parties themselves. Tradi
in prayer, tionary and oral law is subject to the I worshipped the Invisible alone. caprice of expediency, and to the Yet like some sweet beginning melody, violence of passion. A written con- So sweet we know not we are listening stitution of uncertain meaning and au
tuit, thority is nugatory. I then it be im- Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with portant to the peace and harmony of my thought,
Yea with my life, and life's own secret single churches, that they should maintain christian intercourse, it is essen. Till the dilating soul, enwrapt, transfused, tial that the nature and terms of their Into the mighty vision passing :-there, fellowship should be definite and As in her natural form, swelled vast to
Heaven. certain. I beg leave, therefore, to
Awake, my Soul ! pot alone these swel. call the attention of yourself or your ling tears, correspondents to this subject. | Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy ! awake, wish to be informed what is, or what Voice of sweet song ! awake, my heart, ought to be, the authority of Say. Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my brook Platform over the ministers
Hymu ! and churches in this state ? Whether Thou, first, and chief, sole Sovran of the that instrument needs a revision, or vale! whether a systein, new in some par
Or struggling with the darkness of the ticulars, is demanded by the signs And visited all night by troops of stars,
night, of the times ?” Will a general con- Or when they climb the sky, or when they sociation consolidate the energies, sink : and thereby increase the strength Companion of the Morning Star at dawn, and bring out the resources of our
Thyself Earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald! wake, 0 wake, and utter churches? An answer to these in
praise ! quiries will be thankfully received Who sunk thy sunlees pillars deep in by
Who filled thy countenance with rosy
light? in Connecticut.
Who made thee Parent of perpetual