[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, Extra No. I (1830)
M O N D A Y, J U L Y 5, 1830.
I saw another messenger flying through the midst of heaven, having everlasting
good news to proclaim to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation
and tribe, and tongue, and people--saying with a loud voice, Fear God and
give glory to him, for the hour of his judgments is come: and worship him who
made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of water.--JOHN.
Great is the truth and mighty above things, and will prevail.
REMISSION OF SINS.
LUTHER said that the doctrine of justification., or forgiveness, was the test of a standing or falling church. If right in this, she could not be very far wrong in any thing else; but if wrong here, it was not easy to suppose her right in any thing. I quote from memory, but this was the idea of that great Reformer. We agree with him in this as well as in many other sentiments. Emerging from the smoke of the great city of mystical Babylon, he saw as clearly and as far into these matters as any person could, in such a hazy atmosphere. Many of his views only require to be carried out to their legitimate issue, and we should have the ancient gospel as the result.
The doctrine of remission is the doctrine of salvation; for to talk of salvation without the knowledge of the remission of sins, is to talk without meaning. To give to the Jews "a knowledge of salvation by the remission of their sins," was the mission of John the Immerser, as said the Holy Spirit. In this way he prepared a people for the Lord. This doctrine of forgiveness was gradually opened to the people during the ministry of John and Jesus; but was not fully developed until Pentecost, when the secrets of the Reign of Heaven were fully opened to men.
From Abel to the resurrection of Jesus, the just obtained remission at the altar, through priests and sin-offerings; but it was an imperfect remission as respected the conscience--a shadowy and unconsolatory remission. "For the law," says Paul, (more perfect in this respect than the preceding economy,) "containing a shadow only of the good things to come, and not even the very image of these things, never could, with the same sacrifices which they offer yearly for ever, make those who come to them perfect. Since being offered, would they not have ceased? because, the worshippers being once cleansed, should have had no longer conscience of sins."
The good things to come were future during the reign of Moses and his institution. They have come; and a clear, and full, and perfect  remission of sins, is the great result of the new economy in the consciences of all the citizens of the kingdom of Jesus. The perfection of the conscience of the worshippers of God under Christ, is the grand distinguishing peculiarity in them, compared with those under Moses. They have not only clearer views of God, of his love, of his character, and of immortality; but they have consciences which the Jewish and Patriarchal Ages could not produce.
If faith only were the means of this superior perfection and enjoyment, and if striking symbols or types were all that were necessary to afford this assurance and experience of pardon, the Jewish people might have been as happy as the Christian people. They had as true testimony, as much faith, and as striking emblems as we can have. Many of them through faith obtained a high reputation, were approved of God, and admired by men for their wonderful achievements.
The difference is in the constitution. They lived under a constitution of law--we under a constitution of favor. Before the law their privileges were still move circumscribed. Under the government of the Lord Jesus there is an institution for the forgiveness of sins, like which there was no institution since the world began. It was owing to this institution that Christians were so much distinguished at first from the subjects of every former institution.
Our political happiness in these United States is not owing to any other cause than to our political institutions. If we ore politically the happiest people in the world, it is because we have the happiest political institutions in the world. So it is in the Christian Institution. If Christians were, and may be, the happiest people that ever lived, it is because, they live under the most gracious institution ever bestowed on man. The meaning of this institution has been buried under the rubbish of human traditions for hundreds of years. It was lost in the dark ages, and has never been till now, disinterred. Various efforts have been made, and considerable progress attended them; but since the Grand Apostacy was completed till the prevent generation, the gospel of Jesus Christ has not been in its original plainness, simplicity, and majesty, laid open to mankind. A vail in reading the New Institution has been on the hearts of Christians, as Paul declares it was upon the hearts of the Jews in reading the Old Institution towards the close of that economy.
To take that vail away, since we have discovered it, has been our constant object. The present essay is intended to develope the Christian Institution for the remission of sins. We cannot promise much for the method we shall pursue, as we have not the means of transcribing this essay, and must put it to press just as it is written, a sheet at a time. But this we may say, being full of this subject, that we shall lay down and prove many propositions in it, which, when viewed in connexion, we hope, will not fail to prove and illustrate the forgiveness of sins through immersion into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to every proper subject. We apprize the reader that such is our design, that he may examine with the utmost care every single proposition anal every proof adduced. We do not wish to take  him by stratagem, to captivate him by guile, nor to decoy him by mere speciosity. To the Lair and to the Testimony! How do you read? What say the Scriptures? If they hear not these, neither would they be persuaded though one rose front the dead. We request the reader to examine the following propositions and their proof:--
The Apostles taught their disciples, or converts, that their sins were forgiven, and uniformly addressed them as pardoned or justified persons.
John testifies that the youngest disciples were pardoned, (1 Epistle, ii. 12.) "I write to you little children, because your sins are forgiven you on account of his name." The young men strong in the Lord, and the old men steadfast in the Lord, he commends for their attainments: but the little children, the youngest converts, he addressed as possessing this blessing as one common to all disciples, "Your sins are forgiven you on account of his name."
Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, chapters viii. and x. asserts that one of the provisions of the New Institution is the remission of the sins of all under it. "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." From this he argues as a first principle in the christian economy. "Now," (says he, chapter x. verse 18.) "where remission of these is, no more offering for sin is needed." The reason assigned by the Apostles why christians have no sin offerings is, because they have obtained remission of sins as a standing provision in the New Institution.
The same Apostle testifies that the Ephesian disciples had obtained remission, chap. iv. 32. "Be to one another kind, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Here, also, in the enumeration of christian privileges and immunities under Christ, he asserts forgiveness of sins as the common lot of all disciples, chap. i. 7. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his favor." In his letter to the Colossians, chap. i. 14. he uses the same words--"By whom we have the forgiveness of sins."
Figurative expressions are used by the same Apostle, expressive of the same forgiveness common to all christians, 1 Cor. vi. 11. "And such guilty characters were some of you; but you are washed; but you are sanctified; but you are justified by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Peter, also, is a witness here--1 Epis. i. 22.--"Having purified your souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit."
But there is no need of foreign, or remote, or figurative expressions, when so literally and repeatedly the Apostles assert it as one of the adjuncts of being a disciple of Jesus. Had we no other testimony than that found in a single letter to the Colossians, it would be sufficient to sustain this position. The command given in chapter iii. 13. assumes it as a principle. "As Christ forgave you, so also do you." But in the second chapter, he makes this an inseparable adjunct of being In Christ. "You are complete in him--circumcised  --buried with him--raised with him--made alive with him--HAVING, FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES."
These explicit testimonies from the most illustrious witnesses, sustain my first proposition. On these evidences I rely. I shall henceforth speak of it as a fact or truth not to be questioned; viz. that all the disciples of Christ converted in the apostolic age, were taught by the Apostles to consider themselves as pardoned person's.
The apostolic concerts were addressed by their teachers as justified persons.
We know that none but innocent persons can be legally justified: but it is not in the forensic sense this term is used by the Apostles. Amongst the Jews it imported no more than pardoned; and when applied to christians, it denoted that they were acquitted from guilt--discharged from condemnation, and accounted as righteous persons in the sight of God.
Paul at Antioch in Pisidia assured the Jews, that in or by Jesus all that believed were justified from all things, (certainly here it is equivalent to pardoned from all sins) from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. The disciples are said to be justified by faith, Rom. v. 1. By favor or grace, Rom. iii. 24. In or by the blood of Christ, Rom. v. 9. By the name of the Lord Jesus, I Cor. vi. 11. By works, James ii. 24. It is God who justifies, Rom. viii. 33.
Christians are said to be justified by God, by Jesus, by favor, by faith, by the blood of Jesus, by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God--also by works. Pardon and acquittal are the prominent ideas in every application of the term. God is the justifier. Jesus also, as his Messiah, justifies, and the Spirit declares it. As an act of favor it is done; by the blood of Jesus, as the rightful and efficient cause--by faith; as the instrumental cause--by the name of Jesus the Lord as; the immediate and connecting cause; and by works; as the demonstrative and conclusive cause. Nothing is more plain from the above testimonies, than that all christians are declared to be justified under the Reign of Jesus Christ.
The ancient christians were addressed by the Apostles as sanctified persons.
Paul addressed all the disciples in Rome as saints or sanctified persons. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he addressed them all as the sanctified under Christ Jesus. "To the congregation of God which is at Corinth, to the sanctified under Christ Jesus." Paul argues with the Hebrews that "By the will of God we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once only. "For by this one offering he has for ever perfected (the conscience) of the sanctified." So usual was it for the Apostles to address their disciples as sanctified persons, that occasionally they are thus designated in the inscription upon their epistles. Thus Jude, addressing indiscriminately the whole christian community, inscribes his catholic  epistle--"To the sanctified by God our Father, and to the preserved (or saved) by Jesus Christ, to the called." "The Sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one family," says the Apostle to the Gentiles. And therefore the sanctifier addressed the sanctified as his brethren; and all his brethren, the disciples, as sanctified. But once more we must hear Paul, and hear him connecting his sanctification with the name of the Lord Jesus. He says, (1 Cor. iv. 16.) "But now you are sanctified by the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
The ancient christians, the apostolic converts, were addressed as "reconciled to God."
Paul repeatedly declares that the disciples were reconciled to God. Rom. v. 10. "When enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." To the Corinthians, (2 Ep. v. 18.) he says, "God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ;" and to the Colossians, (i. 21.) he asserts, "It pleased the Father by him to reconcile all things to him, having made peace by the blood of his cross; I say, whether they be things on the earth or things in the heavens. Even you [gentiles] who were formerly alienated in mind, and enemies by works which are wicked, he has now, indeed, reconciled in the body of his flesh through death." To the Ephesians he declares, that though "once they were without God and without hope in the world, far off, they are now, through the blood of Christ, made nigh." He has made the believing Jews and Gentiles one, that he might, under Christ, reconcile both in one body to God, through the cross, having slain the enmity between both thereby. Indeed, he represents God as in Christ, reconciling a world to himself; and so all under Christ are frequently said to be reconciled to God through him; which was the point to be proved.
The first disciples were considered and addressed by the Apostles, as "adopted into the, family of God."
This adoption is presented by the Apostle as the great reason which called forth the Son of God. "God," (says he, Gal. iv. 6.) "sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might buy off those under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." And because you are sons, he has sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." "You are, therefore, now sons of God."
Indeed, the same writer, in his letter to the Ephesians, goes still farther, and represents this adoption of Jews and Gentiles into the rank and dignity of sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, as the great object contemplated in God's predestination. Ep. i. 5. "Having," says he, "predestinated, or beforehand determinately pointed us out, for an adoption into the number of children by Jesus Christ, for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Another testimony must suffice on this point. "Beloved," says the Apostle John. "now are we the sons of God; and what manner of love has God  bestowed upon us that we should be called sons of God! If sons, then we are heirs of God--joint heirs with Christ."
My sixth proposition is, that the first christians were taught by the inspired teachers to consider themselves as saved persons.
Because of some ambiguity in the popular import of the term saved, when applied to the disciples of Christ, we shall define it as used in this proposition. I need not here descant upon the temporal saviours and temporal salvations which are so conspicuous in sacred history; nor need I mention that Noah and his family were saved from the judgment inflicted upon the Old World; the Israelites from the Egyptians, and from all their enemies--as Paul's companions were saved from the deep, and God's people, in all ages, in common with all mankind, from ten thousand perils to which their persons, their families, and their property have been exposed. It is not the present salvation of our persons from the ills of this life; but it is the salvation of the soul from the guilt, pollution, and dominion of sin. "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." It is the salvation of the soul in this present life of which we speak, And here it ought to be clearly and distinctly stated that there is a present and a future salvation, of which all christians are to be partakers. The former is properly the salvation of the soul, and the latter is the salvation of the body, or the whole man, at the resurrection of the just. There are few professing christianity, perhaps none, who do not expect a future salvation--the glory or salvation to be revealed in us at the last time. Peter, who uses this expression in the beginning of his first epistle, and who invites the saints to look forward to the salvation yet future, in the same connexion reminds them that they have now received the salvation of the soul. Indeed, the salvation of the soul is but the first fruit of the Spirit, and but an earnest until the adoption, "the redemption of the body" from the bondage of corruption. It was in this sense of the word that salvation was announced to all who submitted to the Lord Jesus, and hence it is in this connexion equivalent to a deliverance of the soul from the guilt, pollution, and dominion of sin. Having thus defined the present salvation of the soul, I proceed to the proof of my second proposition, viz.--that the first christians were taught by their inspired teachers to consider themselves as saved persons.
Peter, on Pentecost, exhorted the Jews to save themselves from that untoward generation, by reforming and by being '"immersed for the remission of their sins in the name of the Lord Jesus." Luke, in recording the success attendant on Peter's labors, expresses himself thus, (Acts ii. 42 )--"And the Lord added, daily, the saved to the congregation." Those who obeyed the gospel were recorded by Luke as "the saved." The King's translators supplied out of their own system the words "should be." They are not in any copy of the Greek scriptures. Such is the first application of the words, "the saved," in the Christian Scriptures. 
Paul uses the same words in his first letter to the Corinthians, and applies them to all the disciples of Jesus, chap. i. 18. "To the destroyed the doctrine of the cross is foolishness; but to us, the saved, it is the power of God." In the same letter, chapter xv. 2. he says of the gospel, "By which you are saved if you retain in your memory the word which I announced to you." In his second letter he uses the same style, and distinguishes the disciples by the same designation: "We are through God a fragrant odor of Christ among the saved, and among the destroyed." The Ephesians he declares are saved through favor; and to Titus he says, "God has saved us not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his own, mercy."--By what means we shall soon hear Paul affirm. To multiply testimonies, when there is no need of them, is only making a display for its own sake. The above selections are chosen because they are pointed, express, and unequivocal. Promises of salvation to the obedient are to be found in almost every public address pronounced by the Apostles and first preachers. For the Saviour commanded them to assure mankind that every one who believed the gospel, and was immersed, should be saved. And, connecting faith with immersion, Peter averred that immersion saved us, purifying the conscience through the resurrection of Jesus.
While christians are taught to expect and hope for a future salvation--a salvation from the power of death and the grave--a salvation to be revealed in the last time--they receive the first fruit of the Spirit, the salvation of the soul from guilt, pollution, and the dominion of sin, and come under the dominion of righteousness, peace, and joy. This is what Peter affirms of all the christians in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia, to whom he thus speaks: "Jesus, having not seen, you love; on whom, not now looking, but believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the reward of our faith, the salvation of your souls."
These six propositions, being each and every one of them, clearly sustained by the unequivocal testimony of God, as adduced, and as is well known to the intelligent disciples, by many more passages, equally plain and forcible, not adduced; we shall now engross them into one leading proposition, which we shall in this essay consider as not to be questioned--as irrefragably proved.
The converts made to Jesus Christ by the Apostles were taught to consider themselves pardoned,, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved; and were addressed as pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved persons, by all who first preached the gospel of Christ.
While this proposition is before us, it may be expedient to remark that all these terms are expressive not of any quality of mind--not of any personal attribute of body, soul, or spirit; but each of them represents, and all of them together represent a state or condition. But though these terms represent state and not character, there is a relation between state and character, or an influence which state has  upon character, which makes the state of immense importance in a moral and religious point of view.
Indeed, the strongest arguments which the Apostles use with the christians to urge them forward in the cultivation and display of all the moral and religious excellencies of character, are drawn from the meaning and value of the state in which they are placed. Because forgiven, they should forgive; because justified, they should live righteously; because sanctified, they should live holily and unblameably; because reconciled to God, they should cultivate peace with all men, and act benevolently towards all; because adopted, they should walk in the dignity and purity of sons of God; because saved, they should abound in thanksgivings, praises, and rejoicings, living soberly, righteously, and godly, looking forward to the blessed hope.
As this essay is designed for readers of the most common capacity and most superficial education, I trust I may be permitted to speak still more plainly upon the difference between state and character. Childhood is a state; so is manhood. Now a person in the state of childhood may act sometimes like a person in the state of manhood, and those arrived at the state of manhood may in character or behavior resemble those in a state of childhood. A person in the state of a son may have the character of a servant, and a person in the state of a servant may have the character of a son. This is not generally to be expected, though it sometimes happens. Parents and children, masters and servants, husbands and wives, are terms denoting relations or states. To act in accordance with these states or relations, is quite a different thing from being in any of these states. Many persons enter into the state of matrimony, and yet act unworthily of it. This is true of many other states. Enough, we presume, is said to contradistinguish state and character, relations and moral qualities.
It is scarcely necessary to remark here, that, as the disciples of Christ are declared to be in a pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved state, they are the only persons in such a state; and all others are in an unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, unadopted, and lost state.
When, then, is a change of state effected, and by what means? This is the great question soon to be discussed.
We are constrained to admit that a change in any one of these states necessarily implies, because it involves a change in all the others. Everyone who is pardoned is justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved; and so every one that is saved, is adopted, reconciled, sanctified, justified, and pardoned.
To illustrate what has already been proved, let us turn to some of the changes of state which take place in society as at present constituted. A female changes her state. She enters into the state of matrimony. So soon as she has surrendered herself to the affectionate government and control of him who has become her husband, she has not only become a wife, but a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece,  &c. and may stand in many other relations in which she before stood not. All these are connected with her becoming the wife of a person who stands in many relations. So when a person becomes Christ's, he is a son of Abraham, an heir, a brother, or is pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved.
To be in Christ, or under Christ, then, is to stand in those new relations to God, angels, and men: and to be out of him, or not under his mediatorship or government, is to he in, or under Adam only. It is to he in what is called 'the state of nature;' unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, and an alien from the family of God, lost in trespasses and sins.
These things promised, the question presents itself, When are persons in Christ? I choose this phrase in accommodation to the familiar style of this day. No person is in a house, in a ship, in a state, in a kingdom, but he that has gone or is introduced into a house, into a ship, into a state, into a kingdom; so no person is in Christ but he who has been introduced into Christ. The scripture style is most religiously accurate. We have the words "in Christ" and the words "into Christ" often repeated in the Christian Scriptures; but in no one place can the one phrase be substituted for the other. Hence in all places, when any person is said to be in Christ, it refers not to his conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ, but to a state of rest or privilege subsequent to conversion, regeneration, or putting on Christ. But the phrase "into Christ" is always connected with conversion, regeneration, immersion, or putting on Christ. Before we are justified in Christ, live in Christ, or fall asleep in Christ, we must come, be introduced, or immersed into Christ. Into belongs only to verbs implying motion towards; and in to verbs implying rest, or motion in. He eats, sleeps, sits in the house. He walks into the field; he rides into the city. "Into Christ" is a phrase only applicable to conversion, immersion, or regeneration, or what is called putting on Christ, translation into his kingdom, or submission to his government.1 
Presuming on the intelligence of our readers, so far as to suppose them assured that this is no mere verbal criticism, but a discrimination that detects one of the pillars of an apostate church, I proceed to another preliminary proposition which I choose to submit in the following words, to wit:--
A change of heart, though it necessarily precedes, is in no case equivalent to, and never to be identified with, a change of state.
In all the relations of this life, in all states or conditions of men, we feel the truth of this; and I would to Heaven that our readers could see as plainly what is of infinitely more importance to them, that no change of heart is equivalent to, or can be substituted for, a change of state! A change of heart is the result of a change of views; and whatever can accomplish a change of views may accomplish a change of heart or feeling, but a change of state always calls for something more.
Lavinia was the servant of Palemon, and once thought him a hard master. She changed her views of him, and her feelings were also changed towards him; still, however, she continued in the state of a handmaid. Palemon offered her first his heart, and then his hand,  and she accepted them. He vowed and she vowed before witnesses, and she became his wife. Then and not till then, was her state changed. She is no longer a servant--she is now a wife. A change of views and of feelings led to this change in state; but let it he noted that this might not have issued in a change of state; for Maria, who was another handmaid of Palemon, and changed her views of him and her feelings towards him as much--nay, more than did Lavinia; yet Maria lived and died the servant maid of Palemon and Lavinia.
William Agricola and his brother Thomas, both Canadians, were once much opposed to the constituted government of New England. They both changed their views, and, as a matter of course, their feelings were changed. William became a citizen of Rhode Island; but Thomas, notwithstanding his change of heart, lived and died a colonial subject of a British King.
John and James Superbus became great enemies to each other. They continued irreconciled for many years. At length a change of views brought about a change of heart; but this change for more than a year was concealed in the heart, and by no overt act appeared. They were not reconciled until mutual concessions were made and pledges of a change of feeling were tendered and reciprocated. From enemies they became friends.
A thousand analogies might be adduced, to show that though a change of state often--nay, generally results from a change of feelings, and this from a change of views, yet a change of state does not necessarily follow, and is something quite different from, and cannot be identified with a change of heart. So in religion a man may change his views of Jesus, and his heart may also be changed towards him; but unless a change of state ensues he is still unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, unadopted, and lost to all christian life and enjoyment. For it has been proved that these terms represent states and not feelings, condition and not character; and that a change of views or of heart, is not a change of state. To change a state is to pass into a new relation, and relation is not sentiment, nor feeling. Some act, then, constitutional, by stipulation proposed, sensible, and manifest, must be performed by one or both the parties before such a change can be accomplished, Hence, always, in ancient times, the proclamation of the gospel was accompanied by some instituted act proposed to those who changed their views, by which their state was to be changed, and by which they were to stand in a new relation to Jesus Christ.
This brings us to "the obedience of faith." From the time the proclamation of God's philanthropy was first made there was an act of faith proposed in it by which the believers of the proclamation were put in actual possession of its blessings, and by conformity to which act a change of state ensued.
To perceive what this act of faith is, it must be remarked that where there is no command there can be no obedience. These are correlate terms. A message or proclamation which has not a command in it, cannot be obeyed. But the gospel can be obeyed or  disobeyed, and therefore in it is a command. Lest any person should hesitate in a matter of such importance, we will prove,
That the gospel has in it a command, and as such must be obeyed.
And here I need only ask, Who are they who shall he punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord? Paul replies, (Thess. i. 8.) "They who know not God, and obey not the gospel of his Son." To "obey the gospel," and "to become obedient to the faith," were common phrases in the apostolic discourses and writings. Romans i. 5. "By whom we have received apostleship, in order to the obedience of faith in all nations, on account of his name." Rom. xvi. 26. "By the commandment of the everlasting God the gospel is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith." Acts vi. 7. "A great company of the priests became obedient to the faith." Rom. x. 8. "But they have not all obeyed the gospel." And 1 Peter iv. 17. "What shall be the end of them who obey not the gospel?" From these sayings it is unquestionably plain, that either the gospel itself, taken as a whole, is a command, or that in it there is a command through the obedience of which salvation is enjoyed.
The obedience of the gospel is called the obedience of faith compared with the obedience of law. Faith in God's promise through Jesus Christ being the principle from which the obedience flows. To present the gospel in the form of a command is an act of favor, because it engages the will and the affections of men, and puts it in their power to have an assurance of their salvation from which they would be necessarily excluded if no such act of obedience was enjoined.
Whatever this act of faith may be, it necessarily becomes the line of discrimination between the two states before described. On this side, and on that, mankind are in quite different states. On the one side they are pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved: on the other they are in a state of condemnation. This act is sometimes called immersion, regeneration, conversion; and that this may appear obvious to all, we shall be at some pains to confirm and illustrate it.
That a relation or a state can be changed by an act, I need scarcely at this time attempt to prove; especially to those who know that the act of marriage, of naturalization, adoption, and of being born, changes the state of the subjects of such acts. But rather than attempt to prove that a state is, or may be changed, by an act; I should rather ask if any person has heard, knows, or can conceive, of a state being changed without some act? This point being conceded to us by all the rational, we presume not to prove it. But a question may arise whether faith itself, or an act of obedience to some command or institution, is that act by which our state is changed.
That it is not faith, but an act resulting from faith which charges our state we shall now attempt to prove. 
No relation in which we stand to the material world--no political relation, or relation to society, can be changed by believing, apart from the acts to which that belief, or faith, induces us. Faith never made an American citizen, though it may have been the cause of many thousands migrating to this continent, and ultimately becoming citizens of these United States. Faith never made a man a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a master, a servant, though it may have been essentially necessary to all these relations, as a cause, or principle preparatory, or tending thereunto. Thus, when in scripture, men are said to be justified by faith, or to receive any blessing through faith, it is because faith is the principle of action, and as such, the cause of those acts by which such blessings are enjoyed. But the principle without those acts is nothing, and it is only by the acts which it induces to perform, that it becomes the instrument of any blessings to men.
Many blessings are metonymically ascribed to faith in the sacred writings. We are said to be justified, sanctified, and purified by faith--to walk by faith, and to live by faith, &c. &c. But these sayings, as qualified by the Apostles, mean no more than by believing the truth of God, we have access into all these blessings. So that as Paul explains, "by faith we have access into the favor in which we stand." These words he uses on two occasions (Rom. v. 2. Eph. iii. 12.) when speaking of the value of this principle, contrasted with the principle of law; and in his letter to the Hebrews, when he brings up his cloud of witnesses to the excellency of this principle, he shows that by it the ancients obtained a high reputation--that is, as he explains by their acts of faith in obedience to God's commands.
That faith by itself neither justifies, sanctifies, nor purifies, is admitted by those who oppose immersion for the forgiveness of sins. They all include the idea of the blood of Christ. And yet they seem not to perceive, that in objecting to immersion as necessary, to forgiveness in connexion with faith, their own arguments preclude them from connecting the blood of Christ with faith. If they admit that faith, apart from the blood of Christ, cannot obtain pardon, they admit all that is necessary to prove them inconsistent with themselves in opposing immersion for the remission of sins; or immersion, as that act by which our state is changed.
But that an act of faith, and not faith itself, changes our state; we prove, not by reasoning analogically, but from the apostolic writings. And to these we shall now attend. This proposition is, we think, sustained by the following testimonies:--
The Apostle Peter, when first publishing the gospel to the Jews, taught them, that they were not forgiven their sins by faith; but by an act of faith, by a believing immersion into the Lord Jesus. That this may appear evident to all, we shall examine his Pentecostian address, and his Pentecostian hearers.
Peter now holding the keys of the kingdom of Jesus, and speaking under the commission for converting the world, and by the authority  of the Lord Jesus, guided, inspired, and accompanied by the Spirit--may be expected to speak the truth, the whole truth, plainly and intelligibly, to his brethren the Jews. He had that day declared the gospel facts, and proved the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the conviction of thousands. They believed and repented--believed that Jesus was the Messiah, had died as a sin-offering, was risen from the dead, and crowned Lord of All. Being full of this faith, they inquired of Peter and the other Apostles, what they ought to do to obtain remission. They were informed, that though they now believed and repented, they were not pardoned; but must "reform and be immersed for the remission of sins." Immersion for the forgiveness of sins, was the command addressed to these believers, to these penitents, in answer to the most earnest question; and by one of the most sincere, candid, and honest speakers ever heard. This act of faith was presented as that act by which a change in their state could be effected; or, in other words, by which alone they could be pardoned. They who "gladly received this word were that day immersed;" or, in other words, that same day were converted, or regenerated, or obeyed the gospel. These expressions in the Apostles' style, when applied to persons coming into the kingdom, denote the same act, as will be perceived from the various passages in the writings of Luke and Paul. This testimony, when the speaker, the occasion, and the congregation are all taken into view, is itself alone sufficient to establish the point in support of which we have adduced it.
But the second discourse, recorded by Luke from the lips of the same Peter, pronounced in Solomon's Portico, is equally pointed, clear, and full in support of this position. After he had explained the miracle which he had wrought in the name of the Lord Jesus, and stated the same gospel facts, he proclaims the same command--"Reform and be converted that your sins may be blotted out;" or, "Reform and turn to God, that so your sins may be blotted out; that seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may come, and that he may send Jesus whom the heavens must receive till the accomplishment of all the things which God has foretold," &c. Peter, in substituting other terms in this proclamation, for those used on Pentecost, does preach a new gospel, but the same gospel in terms equally strong, he uses the same word in the first part of the command, which he used on Pentecost. Instead of "be immersed," he has here "be converted," or "turn to God;" instead of "for the remission of your sins," here it is, "that your sins may be blotted out;" and instead of "you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit," here it is, "that seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may come."2 On Pentecost, it was,  1. "Reform" 2. "Be immersed." 3. "For the remission of your sins" And 4. "You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." In Solomon's Portico, it was, 1. "Reform" 2. "Be converted?' 3. "That your sins may be blotted out." And, 4. "That seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may come;" that "you may have righteousness, peace, and joy, in a holy spirit it." So read the different clauses in these two discourses to the Jews, expressive of the same acts.
There is yet, in this discourse in the Portico, a very strong expression, declarative of the same gracious connexion between immersion and remission. It is the last period in the discourse. "Unto you, first, brethren of the Jews, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, every one of you, in the act of turning from your iniquities;" or, as we would say, in the act of conversion. Why the Apostle Peter should have used "converted," or "turning to God," instead of "be immersed," is, to the candid and unprejudiced reader of this narrative, very plain. After Pentecost, the disciples immersed on that day, having turned to God through Jesus; were spoken of by their brethren as discipled or converted to Jesus. The unbelieving Jews, soon after Pentecost, knew that the disciples called the immersed, "converted;" and immersion being the act of faith which drew the line of demarcation between Christians and Jews, nothing could be more natural than to call the act of immersion the converting of a Jew. The time intervening between these discourses was long enough to introduce and familiarize this style in the metropolis; so that when a Christian said, "Be converted," or, "Turn to God," every Jew knew, the act of putting on the Messiah to be that intended. After the immersion of some Gentiles into the faith, in the house and neighborhood of Cornelius, it was reported that the Gentiles were converted to God. Thus; Acts xv. 3. the Apostles, in passing through the country, gave great joy to the disciples from among the Jews, "telling them of the conversion" or immersion of the Gentiles. Indeed, in a short time it was a summary way of representing the faith, reformation, and immersion of disciples, by using one word for all. Thus; Acts ix. "All the inhabitants of Sharon and Lydda turned," or "were converted to the Lord."
While on the subject of conversion, we shall adduce, as a fourth testimony, the words of the Lord Jesus to Paul, when he called him. Paul is introduced by Luke in the Acts, telling what the Lord said to him when he received his apostleship. Acts xxvi. 17, 18. "I send you Paul, by the faith that respects me, to open their eyes; to turn or convert them from darkness to light; and from the power of Satan to God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among the saved" Every thing to be accomplished among the Gentiles was to be effected by the faith or truth in Christ. The Saviour connected that, with opening their eyes; their conversion from the ignorance and tyranny of sin and satan; their forgiveness of sins; and finally, an inheritance among the saved or sanctified. First, faith or illumination; then, conversion; then, remission of sins; then, the inheritance. All these testimonies concur with each other in presenting  the act of faith--christian immersion, frequently called conversion as that act, inseparably connected with the remission of sins; or that change of state, of which we have already spoken.
One reason why we would arrest the attention of the reader to the substitution of the terms convert and conversion, for immerse and immersion, in the apostolic discourses and in the sacred writings, is not so much for the purpose of proving that the forgiveness of sins, or a change of state, is necessarily connected with that act of faith called "christian immersion;" as it is to fix the minds of the biblical students upon a very important fact, viz. that immersion is the converting act; or, that no person is discipled to Christ until he is immersed. It is true, that this view of the matter bears strongly upon the question; but it bears upon other great matters pertaining to the present and ancient order of things.
Discovering that much depended upon having correct views on this point, we have minutely examined all those passages where "conversion," either in the common version, or in the new version, or in the original, occurs, and have found an uniformity in the use of this term, and its compounds and derivatives, which warrant the conclusion, that the converting act is immersion; or that the assumption of the Lord's name is in this Institution. That such was the apostolic import of the term, we have no doubt. No person was said to be converted until he was immersed; and all persons, who were immersed, were said to be converted. If any apostatized, and were again converted, it was in that sense in which our Lord applied the word to Peter, "When you are converted, strengthen your brethren;" or, as James used it in his letter when he said, "If any of you err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he who converts a transgressor from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and hole a multitude of sins."
In a number of the Christian Baptist, nigh the close of seventh volume, we noticed, that in the commission to convert the nations, the act by which this work was to be completed, was the act of immersion. This was argued from the charge, as given by the Saviour, from the manner in which the order was ordained: "Going forth," says he, "disciple all nations, or convert all the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching the disciples to observe all the things I have commanded you," &c. On this a question was proposed, viz--"Does not the active participle always, when connected with the imperative mood, express the manner in which the thing commanded is to be performed? Cleanse the room, washing it; clean the floor, sweeping it; cultivate the field, ploughing it; sustain the hungry, feeding them; furnish the soldiers, arming them; convert the nations immersing them--are exactly the same forms of speech. No person will, we presume, controvert this." This has, however, been warmly attacked by several writers. A writer in a New York paper, and Christianos, and "No Theorist" in the Religious Herald, have warmly opposed this rule. They have only denied that it is universal.  That it is a general rule, and that the examples given are all fairly under it, no one has, as yet, presumed to controvert. Its universality alone has been called in question. It was felt that its generality could not be impugned. To escape from its force, it is necessary to prove it not universal. If, however, it were proved not universal, still its generality might prevent the possibility of escape from its applicability in this case. And what surprizes me not a little is, that brother Andrew Broaddus, the most acute, and discriminating of those who have impugned its universality, does not observe that here it must apply were it only a general and not a universal rule. There is but one position he can take to elude its applicability in this case; and this I am persuaded he will not take. He will not say, that a disciple is finished, and made, or completed, without immersion. That the work of discipling, is finished before immersion and without immersion. Neither Catholics, nor Protestants, will, as such, contend that a Pagan or a Jew was ever discipled or converted to the christian faith without immersion. Indeed, I presume, that brother Broaddus has been so much engrossed in discussing the mere universality of the rule, and has been so much engaged in attempting to find exceptions to it, that he has not looked to the bearing, nor to the cui bono, the utility, of his examples. That the nations could be converted to Jesus Christ without immersion, he must affirm, if he allege the rule is inapplicable in this place. Will he take this ground! If he do not take this ground, he is only beating the air; or, what is still less profitable, he is sapping and mining that which he has been building up all his life--that immersion is a discipling institution. I care not whether he object to those words: it is a fact, a sober fact, that he has, as a Baptist, made immersion a discipling institution. I would not say of him what I have to say of many of my opponents, that he would rather go back to Judaism, or Presbyterianism, than that I should convince him of the import of christian immersion. Indeed, they are, in principle, going back to Pedobaptism; and before this controversy is ended they will he driven there, or into the ancient gospel.
"No Theorist," whom we suspect to have written much in favor of immersion against Dr. Rice of pamphleteering memory, is well skilled in managing Paidobaptist arguments; yet I will engage to show him, that he must "give up the ship," if he will try me on the affirmative of this position "a person may be converted according to the commission without immersion." I, say let him take the affirmative of this position, (which he obliges himself to do in attempting to show that my rule is not applicable here) and I will attempt to prove that his argument against Paido-ism is, vox et preterea nihil, sound and nothing else.
The question is, Who is to be immersed--a christian, a disciple, a convert to Christ; or a believing candidate for discipleship? One who has put on Christ; or one who wishes to put him on? One who is under Christ; or one who wishes to be under him? One in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ; or one who wishes to become a, citizen?  This, brethren, is the question. And, although you may not have seen it, in opposing my rule in its application here, you take the Paidobaptist side, and I am the Baptist now.
But, perhaps, he does not oppose the application of the rule in this case; but only wishes to try his strength in critical disquisitions: and thinking that he has got an advantage over me in this case, he and brother Keeling are determined to push me to the wall, and to carry this point by dint of critical investigation. Be it so. I ought not to envy them this pleasure. But I wish them to bear in mind, that in succeeding in this case, their success will be a serious loss to themselves.
But as the question of conversion, as well as the act of converting, is implicated in this controversy upon the participle, I will, though it may appear tedious, introduce brother Broaddus at his own request, and let him speak to my readers, in reply to my former criticism upon his criticism.
|From the Religious Herald.|
"Disciple or convert the nations, immersing them," &c.
THE point at issue between Mr. Campbell and myself, in this case, is not whether baptism appertains to the character of a disciple of Christ: this I not only admit, but maintain. And so of the observance of the Lord's supper, and, indeed, of "all those things" which our King left in charge with his Apostles. Nor is the question between us, whether baptism is the act by which persons are formally recognized as disciples: for here again we agree. But the question is this: Does it follow from the grammatical construction of the commission, when translated, "convert all the nations, immersing them," &c. that baptism is to be considered as really and properly the converting act: is that by which the command to convert was to be obeyed, and the nations converted? Mr. Campbell affirms, and I have undertaken to deny: and here we are at issue.
In support of his position, Mr. Campbell argues, that "the active participle does always, when connected with the imperative mood, express the manner in which the thing commanded is to be performed:" and thus, that the commission given by our Lord, "convert all the nations, immersing them" &c. must be interpreted, convert them by immersing them: "That was the act (he says) by which the command to convert the nations was to be obeyed." (C. B. vol. 7. p. 164.)
Strongly persuaded that Mr. Campbell was too sanguine in his conclusion, I ventured to call in question the validity of his criticism; and undertook to show, that the universality of his position could not be maintained. That the active participle does not always express the manner of performing the preceding command; but that sometimes it expresses another thing, distinct from the first; or, in other words, that it has the force of another imperative mood. This point being established, the argument founded on Mr. Campbell's criticism would fall to the ground; and we must then resort to other data to decide the question, "Is baptism really the converting act?" Here,  still I differed from Mr. Campbell, and endeavored briefly to show that conversion does not consist in baptism. This, I believe, is a fair statement of the case.
From the manner in which my friend of the Harbinger has replied to my strictures, (waving his palm triumphantly over me) it would seem that he is quite confident my "Criticism" is blown all to atoms; and possibly some others may think so too. Mr. Campbell can argue, not only powerfully, when on the right side; but plausibly, when he happens to be on the wrong side. What will be thought when I now say, with confidence, (though I trust, with becoming modesty, and certainly with perfect friendship) that I feel myself prepared to sustain my criticism, as well as to defend my theology! The point we have been on has not yet received a proper attention. It is desirable I should not be tedious, and I will enter immediately into the matter.
My position is this: that the active participle, connected with the imperative mood, does not always express the manner in which the preceding command is to be performed:--that sometimes (and more frequently indeed than I had supposed) it expresses a distinct action--having the force of another imperative, and being convertible into that mood, with the conjunction and, before it, expressed or understood. Be it observed, that the construction I contend for, takes place in condensed sentences, condensed as to matter and form; there being a close connexion between the parts of the sentence, and an affinity in the object.
I was just about to illustrate my position, by casting another bullet in the same mould; thinking it might be smoother than my other two; I was just about to invent another example. But I forbear; there is no need; and I might not only give my friend some trouble, in "converting it into good common English," or in exposing its good-for-nothingness; but bring on myself also some chastisement, for the violence I might happen to commit on the principles of language. Well then; let me exemplify from better authority.
I am called on to bring one example to my purpose, "only one example, from any standard writer, Grecian, Roman, or English;" and I will do more than that: I will perform, for once, a work of supererogation.
Col. iii. 16. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs" Now permit me to say, that these two active participles, teaching and admonishing, do not strictly and properly speaking, express the manner in which the foregoing injunction or exhortation is to be complied with; but that they express kindred exercises, requisite to be added to the first mentioned: that, therefore, they are virtually distinct imperatives, and capable of being converted into imperative moods; the language, in both cases, being pure and classical. If I am correct, it cannot be denied that I have here brought an example in point. And that I am correct, I call to witness the common version and Greek  Testament, in both of which the active participles are used; and Dr. Macknight--yes, Dr. Macknight, the learned critic and translator, who has actually translated these participles by the imperative mood--rendering them clearly distinct from the first imperative, by introducing the copulative and. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; and with all wisdom teach and admonish each other," &c. Now Mr. Campbell says, "To convert participles into imperative moods is only necessary when there is some unreasonable point to carry." But Macknight has actually done this: (see Mr. Campbell's New Translation) and I do not suppose Mr. Campbell will accuse him of having done this to carry some unreasonable point. Has not my good friend been rather rash and hasty? Most of us are liable to this: may we learn to improve! Here comes another example.
1. Pet. v. ii, 7. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." It is unnecessary to repeat the above remarks, which are apposite and applicable here. Macknight considers the participle as enjoining an additional exercise, and accordingly renders it by the imperative mood. "Cast all your anxious care on him?' &c. (See New Translation again.)
Other similar examples might be adduced from the Epistles: other "bullets made in the same moulds," namely, in the Greek Testament, in the common version, and in Macknight's translation. But let us now once more try the commission. And here I might, by way of example, take this passage, as it stands in the common version. "Teach all nations baptizing them:" for scarcely any person, I presume, would insist on a construction of this sort; "teach them by baptizing them." I might take this example, if it were necessary, to keep me in countenance at least. However, I will not here insist on it. Let us try Dr. Campbell's translation.
"Go, therefore, convert all the nations, baptizing (or immersing) them," &c. Here it is that we are told, without any hesitation or shadow of doubt, the meaning is, "convert the nations by immersing them" and that it must be so for this reason, if for no other, namely, that the active participle, connected with the imperative mood, does always express the manner of performing that command. Already, however, the force of this criticism appears to be greatly spent. Macknight has withered its strength. Let us see how it will be treated by the illustrious Dr. George Campbell.
In his critical note (mark that! a critical note) on this passage, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. he says, "There are manifestly three things which our Lord here distinctly enjoins his Apostles to execute with regard to the nations, to wit, matheteuein, baptizein, didaskein; that is, to convert them to the faith--to initiate the converts into the church by baptism--and to instruct the baptized in all the duties of the christian life." Mr. Campbell says expressly, "If distinct commands, they ought to be distinct imperatives. So will decree all the colleges in christendom." But his namesake the Doctor as positively maintains, that here "there are three things distinctly enjoined,"  that is, virtually, three imperatives, though two expressed in the participial form. So decrees George Campbell, D. D., F. R. S. Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen. Behind his ample Telamonian shield I take shelter.
It is now left to the candid and judicious--or I may say, to the learned, (for I too am willing to appeal, in this case, to the learned) to all competent persons it is left to judge, whether I have not produced authority--good standard authority to justify my criticism. And I think I might ask my friend of the "Harbinger" himself, whether it still appears that I was so glaringly wrong in supposing that the phraseology of the commission might well be construed according to that criticism? and whether I ought not to be considered, as in some measure redeemed from the charge of an outrage upon the peace and dignity of the commonwealth of letters?
In the discussion of this point, I have not been led on to oppose the views of my friend Mr. Campbell by an ambitious desire to pluck one laurel-bud from the chaplet which decks his brow, though, indeed, if this were done, he might well afford it. He will have enough left to satisfy any reasonable man. We take pleasure in owning him the conquerer of Walker and M'Calla on Baptism; and the christian public must hail, with gratulation, the complete discomfiture of the atheistic Owen; who, like the Moloch of Milton,
|"Down cloven to the waist, with shattered arms,
And uncouth pain, fled bellowing."
Many admirable things, I own, Mr. Campbell has written; but we know he is not infallible. If my position is now established (as I think it is) "that the active participle, connected with the imperative mood, does sometimes carry the force of an additional injunction," then Mr. Campbell's argument, founded on the grammatical construction of the sentence, must fall of course; and his views must depend on other data for support.
Let me now take occasion to say, that on the point in question, there would probably be no material difference between us, were it not that Mr. Campbell, in his zeal for external conversion, seems to lose sight of internal conversion, or to make it only a thing by the by; or, in other words, that he appears almost to disregard the line of distinction between the visible kingdom of Christ, and the power of that kingdom (or reign) within us. Mark well! I do not wish to separate, but to distinguish between them. "Convert the nations;" turn their hearts to the Lord: "immersing them;" thus preparing them to enter and enjoy the visible kingdom: "teaching them to observe all things," &c. thus accomplishing them as subjects preparing for the approbation of their King. "We come to Christ by baptism." Yes; but this is not the only way. We first come to him spiritually by a living faith; and then externally and visibly by being "baptized into his death." While I am writing, from my heart I am wishing, that I and all of us, could see satisfactory ground for harmonizing more cordially with one, for whom personally I feel a real friendship;  for whose talents and learning I have the highest respect; and to whose labors I own we are indebted for a noble vindication of the truth in some of its branches. Would that there were not some dangerous blows dealt out, against which I think we ought to be guarded.
The remarks in the above paragraph go, in some measure, towards a defence of my theology. There will not be space for me now to say much in that way. But I cannot forbear expressing my surprize and regret, that Mr. Campbell should so vehemently reprobate my account of conversion. In the sincerity of my heart I thought it a good and valid account, and still I think it so. But this, I know, is not enough. Is it scriptural? Clearly so, I think. "Conversion (I said) is a turning of the heart to holiness:" here Mr. Campbell stops me short, without quoting out the sentence, impatient, it would seem, to cast my definition (as an idol) "to the moles and bats" He stops me here, and talks about "mental converts," and "philosophical converts," and how "christian converts are persons whose lives are changed." Well! but hear me out (it is but fair) and see whether this essential requisite is not included. "Conversion is a turning of the heart to holiness, by repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; this repentance bringeth forth "fruits meet," and this faith "working by love." Now I ask, Is not the necessary change of life embraced here? And what possible fault can be found with this account of conversion, by any person who considers a turning of the heart as well as a change of life to be necessary? And is not a turning of the heart to holiness necessary? Or will God, who requires the heart to be given to him, accept of mere external reformation? Or are our hearts naturally turned already to him? I go for conversion from centre to circumference--from the heart to the life. Ah, my good sir, I am aware indeed that the notions of many people about conversion, need correction; but let us take care, that while we are cutting away the unsound flesh, we cut not the heart.
P. S. Mr. Campbell, it is hoped, will be so obliging as to give this reply a place in the next Harbinger.
I am pleased to see that Christianos does not defend the examples which he before alleged. This is candid. And had not Dr. Macknight turned the Greek participles into English imperatives, in the two examples here adduced; I am so charitable as to think they would not have been adduced on this occasion. This is another question involving other canons of criticism. How far a translator may, from the diversity of idioms in any two languages, change the moods and flexions of verbs, to give greater clearness and force of expression, is to be decided before another tribunal, and to be tried in another court, than before that in which we are to try the rights of an English writer to convert imperatives into participles, or particles into imperatives. The remark quoted from my former criticism, and applied with so  much zest to this question of translation, is misplaced: "To convert participles into imperative moods is only necessary when there is some unreasonable point to carry!" If I had said to translate participles into imperative moods from one language into another, it would have been apposite; but, surely, the right an English writer has to convert participles into imperatives, is another question! I cannot, then, so much admire the candor of my friend Christianos in this instance as in the former; especially as he knew that the Greeks have three voices, five moods, eight tenses, and in each voice they have eight participles, and six imperatives. If all these are translated into a language with fewer moods, tenses, and participles; changes of moods, tenses, and participles must take place. Supposing these remarks to have no bearing whatever on this question, still they go to show the impropriety of converting a canon of writing English into a canon of translating. This remark applies to "No Theorist," as fully as to "Christianos." His whole criticism is, however, a mistake of the question; and as it seems he wrote his criticism at the request of somebody, not having read my remarks, as he says; it would be preposterous for me to pay any more attention to them than, to inform him, that he must read first, and write afterwards. Then will an apology for attacking, he knows not what, be unnecessary.
Christianos will yet see, I trust, that I have neither been as rash, nor as hasty as "No Theorist"; nor so rash and hasty as he supposes me to have been, in alleging the universality of this rule in its legitimate interpretation and application. Dr. Macknight translating the participles by imperatives, and supplying an and may, or may not 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 Christianos.
The reasons which induced Macknight in this case, appear to have been, that the punctuation in some Greek and English copies connected the words "in all wisdom," with the command, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." This is the common version; but he follows the pointing which Griesbach preferred, and reads it, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and in all wisdom teach," &c. To give it greater force, and to mark more distinctly the connexion between "in all wisdom" and teaching, he chose this course. It would have been equally plain in rendering it as Thompson 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 conversation of christians, which is alluded to and therefore, it ought to  read, "Let the history of Christ dwell richly among you, teaching," &c.
Having now attended to some of the reasons for the translation, let us hear our friend reason upon this his example. He asserts that teaching and admonishing, "do not strictly, and properly speaking, express the manner in which the foregoing injunction is to be complied with;" but not strictly, and improperly speaking, they do! But "they express kindred exercises," german cousins at least; but nothing nearer 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's 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 command: 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 express 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," &c. The second imperative in this sentence 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 a 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 he excused from considering "the work of supererogation" for the second example falls before the same tribunal.
But it falls before another tribunal also. If separated, as by Macknight, in his punctuation of the sentence, then it is not connected with the imperative humble; 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 casting 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 he obeyed. This, the punctuation must determine. Thompson, into whose version 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," &c. What a pity that my friend Christianos should be so unfortunate in finding examples!
Other critics have suggested to me as exceptions--"Take the helmet 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. Calling here shows the manner in which he is to submit to the commandment. It is in the passive voice, and shows the manner of submitting, not of acting. In this way he is to connect his immersion 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 the septuagint 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, &c. 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 command 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, ("teach all nations," instead of "convert") generously, however, giving this up, he throws himself behind the shield of Dr. 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 distinct 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 commands 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 to the 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 confession; there is walking down into the water, taking hold of the candidate, 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 written 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 dilemma 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 whose attainments, as a writer, are so conspicuous, and so generally acknowledged 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 are no exceptions to the RULE. Because in these examples the participles are used mentally, and do not relate to the same word which is governed by the imperative mood as in the commission. In this, and all similar examples, the participles are used physically; that is to denote an act of the body. To prevent all mistake, I would add to your rule, provided the participle is used physically, to denote am, act of the body."
I have heard the views of sundry learned persons, who are unanimous 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, declarative of the fact, that unless the nations were immersed they were not converted, I see no good reason for contesting. nor need for defending its absolute truth universally. I pray the teachers of the  scriptures 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 the act of conversion; and what may be called the new birth or regeneration, spoken of in the Holy Scriptures. Christianos 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.
I now proceed to show 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," &c. Genesis, being the term used for creation, palingenesia, denotes the new creation. Either literally at the resurrection 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 regeneration in Matt. xix. applies to what is, in theology, called the new birth, or regeneration of the soul--not even the Presbyterian Matthew Henry, nor Dr. Whitby, Campbell, Macknight, Thompson; nor, indeed, any writer we recollect ever to have read. Regeneration in this passage denotes a state, a new state of things. In the same sense we often use the term. The American Revolution was the regeneration of the country or the government. The commencement of the christian 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, Titus iii. 5. God has save 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, I 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 Apostolic Epistles. One of his notes upon Titus 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 I would say in the state) "of the baptized person is produced by baptism; 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 Ephesians v. 26. and John iii. 5. "The bath of regeneration," is then, according to this learned Paidobaptist, christian immersion.
Parkhurst, in his Lexicon, upon the word loutron, 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 venerable Presbyterian commentator, concedes this point also, and quotes Eph. v. 26. Acts xiii. 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 New Testament, with a reference to a personal change, it means, or is equivalent to, immersion. Regeneration and immersion are, therefore, two names for the same thing. Although I might be justified in proceeding to another topic, and in supposing this point to be fully established, 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 be born again 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 something 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 seed, the word of God which endureth forever." But when the act of being 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 born, 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 born of the water.
In one sense a person is born of his father; but not until he is first born of his mother. So in every 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 style! Jesus says to Nicodemus, "You must be born again, or you cannot discern the Reign of God." Born again! What means this? "Nicodemus, unless you are born of water, and of the Spirit, you cannot 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 by the bath of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit?" Now, as 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 born. Hence its connexion always with water. 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.
Objection 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 born of God, whenever he 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 in 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 born 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 cannot be, until born 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 Kingdom 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 cannot speak with the certainty of knowledge. 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 cannot hope for their future and eternal salvation. But we have no 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 mistook 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. I 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 be condemned.
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 mean to be born of water, to be born of the Spirit, must mean something else than to be born of the Spirit. This is so fanatical and extravagant as to need no other exposure. He who cannot see the 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 speech: 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 "the 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, we may illustrate this subject to the apprehension of all. Yes, the whole subject of faith, change of heart, regeneration, and character.
All civilized nations and kingdoms have constitutions; and in their constitutions they have declared who are members of the social compact. Besides those who constitute the community at the time a constitution is adopted, they say who shall compose the community in all time coming; that is, who shall be admitted into it, and by what means they shall become members of it. They have always decreed, that their own posterity shall inherit their political rights and immunities. But they have, also, ordained that foreigners; that is, members of other communities, may become, by adoption, or naturalization, citizens, or fellow members, of the same community. But they have, in their wisdom and benevolence, instituted a rite or form of adoption, which form has much meaning; and which, when submitted to, changes the state of the subject of it. Now, as the Saviour consented to be called a King, and to call the community over which he presides, a Kingdom, it was because of the analogy between these human institutions and his institution; and for the purpose, not of confounding, but of aiding the human mind in apprehending and comprehending the great object of his mission to the world. And it is worthy of the most emphatic attention, that it was when SPEAKING OF A KINGDOM, HE SPOKE OF BEING BORN AGAIN. Yes; on that occasion, and on that occasion only, when he spoke of entering into his Kingdom, did he speak of the necessity of BEING BORN AGAIN. And had he not chosen that figure, he would not have chosen the figure of a new birth. With these facts and circumstances before us, let us examine political regeneration as the best conceivable illustration of religious regeneration.
A B was born in the island of Great Britain, a native subject of George III. King of Great Britain. He was much attached to his native island, to the people, the manners and customs of his ancestors and kinsmen. With all these attachments, still increasing, he grew to manhood. Then he heard the report of this good land, of this large, fertile, and most desirable country. The country, the  people, and the government, were represented to him in the most favorable light. Sometimes these representations were exaggerated; but still he could separate the truth from the fable; and was fully persuaded not only of the existence of these United States, but, also, of the eligibility of being a citizen thereof. He believed the testimony which he heard, resolved to expatriate himself from the land of his nativity, to imperil life and property, putting himself aboard of a ship, and bidding adieu to all the companions of his youth, his kinsmen and dear friends. So full was his conviction, and so strong his faith, that old Neptune and King Eolus, with all their terrors, could not appal him. He sailed from his native shores, and landed on this continent. He was, however, ignorant of many things pertaining to this new country, and government; and on his arrival asked for the rights and immunities of a citizen. He was told, that the civil rights of hospitality to a stranger could be extended to him as a sojourner; but not one of the rights, or immunities of a citizen, could be his, unless he were born again. "Born again!" said he, in a disappointed tone, to Columbus, with whom he had his first conversation on the subject. "What do you mean by being born again?"
Columbus.--You must be naturalized, or adopted as a citizen; or, what we call being born again.
A. B.--I do not understand you. How can a man be born when he is grown?
Col.--That which is born of Great Britain is British, and that which is born of America is American. If, then, you would be an American citizen, you must be born of America.
A. B.--"Born of America!" You astonish me! I have come to America, well disposed towards the people and the country. I was once attached to England, but I became attached to the United States; and because of my faith, and attachments, I have come hither; and will you not receive me into Yours truly, kingdom, because I could not help being born in England?
Col.--Well disposed as I am, and we are, to receive you, most assuredly, I say to you, unless you are regenerated in a court-house, and be enfranchised by and before the judges, you can never become a citizen of these United States.
A. B.--Yours is an arbitrary and despotic government. What airs of sovereignty you have assumed!
Col.--By no means. Right reason, wisdom, policy, and benevolence for you; as well as the safety, dignity, and happiness of the whole community, require that every alien shall be naturalized, or made a citizen, before he exercise, or enjoy the rights of a citizen.
A. B.--You are certainly arbitrary--if not in the thing itself, of regeneration--in the place and manner in which it shall be done. Why, for instance, say, that it must be done in a court-house?
Col.--I will tell you: because there are the judges, the records, and the seal of the government.
A. B.--I understand you. Well, tell me, how is a man born again? Tell me plainly and without a figure.
Col.--With pleasure. You were born of your mother and of your father, when you were born in England; but you were born legitimately, according to the institutions of England. Well, then, you were born of England, as well as born in it; and were, therefore, wholly English. This was your first birth. But you have expatriated yourself, as your application here proves--I say, sentimentally you have expatriated yourself; but we must have a formal, solemn pledge, of your renunciation; and we will give you a formal, solemn pledge, of your adoption. You must, ex animo, in the presence of the Judges, and the  Recorders, renounce all allegiance to every foreign prince and potentate; and, especially His Majesty the King of Great Britain.
A. B.--Is that the thing? I can, with all my heart, renounce all political allegiance to every foreign prince and government. Is that all? I have, then, no objection to that.
Col.--There is this also:--You are not only to renounce all political allegiance; but you must also, ex animo, from the soul, solemnly vow, in the presence of the same Judges and Recorders, that you will adopt, and submit to, the constitution and government of these United States.
A. B.--I can do that also. I can renounce, and I can adopt. Nor do I object to the place where it shall be done. But, pray, what solemn pledge will you give me?
Col.--So soon as you have vowed renunciation, and adoption, in the presence of the Judges and the Recorders; we will give you a certificate, with a red seal, the seal of state, attached to it; stating that you, having now been naturalized, or born according to our institutions, are born of America; and are now a son, an adopted son, of America. And that red seal indicates that the blood, the best blood of this government, will be shed for you, to protect you and defend you; and that your life will, when called for, be cheerfully given up for your mother, of whom you have been politically born; as it would have been for your own natural political mother, of whom you were first born.
A. B.--To this I must subscribe. In my mother tongue it all means, that I give myself up politically to this government, and it gives itself up to me, before witness too. How soon, pray, after this new birth, may I exercise and enjoy all the rights of a citizen?
Col.--They are yours the first breath you breathe under your new mother. 'Tis true, we have not, in these United States, any symbol through which a person is politically regenerated. We only ask a solemn pledge, and give one. Other nations have symbols. But we understand that the moment the vow is taken, the person is politically born again. And as every other child has all the rights of a child which it can exercise, so soon as it inhales the air; so have all our political children all political rights, so soon as the form of naturalization is consummated. But, remember, not till then.
A. B.--You say other nations had their symbols. What do you mean by these?
Col.--I mean that the naturalized had to submit to some emblematic rite, by which they were symbolically detached from every other people, and introduced among those who adopted them, and whom they adopted. The Indian nations wash all, whom they adopt, in a running stream; and impose this task upon their females. The Jews circumcised and washed all whom they admitted to the rights of their institutions. Other customs and forms have obtained in other nations; but we regard simply the meaning of the thing, and have no symbol.
A. B.--In this I feel but little interested. I wish to become a citizen of these United States; especially as I am informed I can have no inheritance among you, nor a voice in the nation, nor any immunity, unless I am born again.
Col.--You must, then, submit to the institution: and I know, that so soon as you are politically born again, you will feel more of the importance and utility of this institution, than you now can; and will be just as anxious as I am, to see others submit to this wise, wholesome, and benevolent institution.
A. B.--As my faith brought me to your shores; and as I approve your constitution and government, I will not (now that I understand your institutions) suffer an opportunity to pass. I will direct my course to the place where I can be born again.
I ought here to offer an apology for a phrase occurring frequently in this essay and in this dialogue. When we represent the subject of immersion as active, either in so many words, or impliedly, we so  far depart from that style which comports with the figure of "being born." For all persons are passive in being born. So in immersion, the subject buries not himself, raises not himself; but is buried and raised by another. So that in the act the subject is always passive. And it is of the act alone of which we thus speak.
From all that has been said on regeneration, and from the illustration just now adduced, the following conclusions, must, we think, be apparent to all:--
1. Begetting and quickening necessarily precede being born.
2. Being born imparts no new life; but is simply a change of state, and introduces into a new mode of living.
3. Regeneration, or immersion--the former referring to the import of the act; and the latter term to the act itself--denote only the act of being born.
4. God, or the Spirit of God, being the author of the whole institution, imparting to it its life and efficiency, is the begetter, in the fullest sense of that term. Yet, in a subordinate sense, every one, skilful in the word of God, who converts another, may be said to have begotten him whom he enlightens. So Paul says, "I have begotten Onesimus in my bonds:"--and "I have begotten you, Corinthians, through the gospel."
5. The gospel is declared to be the seed; the power and strength of the Holy Spirit to impart life.
6. And the great argument, pertinent to our object, in this long examination of conversion and regeneration, is that which we conceive to be the most apparent of all other conclusions, viz.--that remission of sins, or coming into a state of acceptance, being one of the present immunities of the kingdom of heaven, cannot be enjoyed by any person before immersion. As soon can a person be a citizen before he is born, or have the immunities of an American citizen while an alien; as one enjoy the privileges of a son of God before he is born again. For Jesus expressly declares, that he has not given the privilege of sons to any but to those born of God. John i. 12. If, then, the present forgiveness of sins be a privilege, and a right of those under the new constitution, in the kingdom of Jesus; and if being born again, or being born of water and of the Spirit, is necessary to admission; and if being born of water means immersion, as clearly proved by all witnesses; then, remission of sins cannot, in this life, be received or enjoyed previous to immersion. If there be any proposition, regarding any item of the Christian institution, which admits of clearer proof, or fuller illustration than this one, I have yet to learn where it may be found.
But before we dismiss the fifth evidence, which embraces so many items, I beg leave to make a remark or two on the propriety of considering the term "immersion," as equivalent to the term "conversion." And this I do with special reference to the objection of Christianos.
"Conversion" is, on all sides, understood to be a turning to God. Not a thinking favorably of God, nor a repenting for former misdeeds;  but an actual turning to God, in word and in deed. It is true, that no person can be said to turn to God, whose mind is not enlightened, and whose heart is not well disposed towards God. All human actions, not resulting from previous thought or determination, are rather the actions of a machine, than the actions of a rational being. "He that comes to God," or turns to him, "must believe that God exists, and that he is a rewarder of every one who diligently seeks him." Then he will seek and find the Lord. An "external conversion" is no conversion at all. A turning to God with the lips, while the heart is far from him, is mere pretence and mockery. But though I never thought anything else, since I thought upon religion; I understand the "turning to God, taught in the New Institution, to be a coming to the Lord Jesus--not a thinking about doing it, nor a repenting that we have not done it;--but an actual coming to him. The question then is, Where shall we find him? Where shall we meet him? No where on earth, but in his institutions. "Where he records his name," there only can he be found; for there only has he promised to be found. I affirm, then, that the first institution in which we can meet with God, is, the institution for remission. And here it is worthy of notice, that the Apostles, in all their speeches, and replies to interrogatories, never commanded an inquirer to pray, read, or sing, as preliminary to coming; but always commanded and proclaimed immersion as the first duty, or the first thing to be done, after a belief of the testimony. Hence, neither praying, singing, reading, repenting, sorrowing, resolving, nor waiting to be better, was the converting act. Immersion alone was that act of turning to God. Hence, in the commission to convert the nations, the only institution mentioned after proclaiming the gospel, was the immersion of the believers, as the divinely authorized way of carrying out and completing the work. And from the day of Pentecost, to the final Amen in the revelation of Jesus Christ, no person was said to be converted, or to turn to God, until he was buried in, and raised up out of the water. I call upon them who dissent, to specify an instance to the contrary.
If it were not to treat this subject as one of doubtful disputation, I would say; that, had there not been some act, such as immersion, agreed on all hands, to be the medium of remission and the act of conversion and regeneration; the Apostles could not, with any regard to truth or consistency, have addressed the disciples as pardoned, justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, and saved persons. If all this had depended upon some mental change, as faith; they could never have addressed their congregations in any other way than as the moderns do: and that is always in the language of doubt and uncertainty--hoping a little, and fearing much. This mode of address and the modern compared, is proof positive that they viewed the immersed through one medium, and we through another. They taught all the disciples to consider not only themselves as saved persons but all whom they saw, or knew to be immersed into the Lord Jesus. They saluted every one, on his coming out of the water, as, saved, and recorded him as such. Luke writes. (Acts, ii) "The Lord added the saved daily to the congregation." 
Whenever a child is born into a family, it is a brother or a sister to all the other children of the family; and its being born of the same parents, is the act causative and declarative of its fraternity. All is mental and invisible before coming out of the water: and as immersion is the first act commanded, and the first constitutional act; so it was in the commission, the act by which the Apostles were commanded to turn, or convert those to God, who believed their testimony. In this sense, then, it is the converting act. No man can, scripturally, be said to be converted to God until he is immersed. How ecclesiastics interpret their own language is no concern of ours. We contend for the pure speech, and for the apostolic ideas attached to it.3
To resume the direct testimonies declarative of the remission of sins by immersion, we turn to the Gentiles. Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius to tell him and his family "words by which they might be saved." He tells those words. He was interrupted by the miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit. But it is to be noticed, that the testimony, to which the Holy Spirit there affixed its seal, was the following words:--"To him gave all the prophets witness, that every one, who believes on him, shall receive remission of sins by his name." While speaking these words, concerning remission of sins by, or through, his name, the Holy Spirit, in its marvellous gifts of tongues, fell upon them.
Many, seeing so much stress laid upon faith or belief, suppose that all blessings flow from it immediately. This is a great mistake. Faith, indeed, is the principle, and the distinguishing principle, of this economy. But it is only the principle of action. Hence, we find the name, or person of Christ always interposed between faith and the cure, mental or corporeal. The woman, who touched the tuft of the mantle of Jesus, had as much faith before as after; but though her faith was the cause of her putting forth her hand, and accompanied it; she was not cured until the touch. That great type of Christ, the brazen serpent, cured no Israelite simply by faith. The Israelites, as soon as they were bitten, believed it would cure them. But yet they were not cured as soon as bitten; nor until they looked to the serpent. It was one thing to believe, that looking at the serpent would cure them; and another to look at it. It was the faith, remotely; but, immediately, the look, which cured them. It was not faith in the waters of Jordan that healed the leprosy of Naaman the Syrian. It was immersing himself in it, according to the commandment. It was not faith in the pool of Siloam, that cured the blind man, whose eyes Jesus anointed with clay; it was his washing his eyes in Siloam's water. Hence, the imposition of hands, or a word, or a touch, or the shadow, or something from the persons of those anointed with the Holy Spirit, was the immediate cause of all the cures recorded in the New Testament. 'Tis true, also, that  without it is impossible to be healed; for in some places Jesus could not work many miracles, because of their unbelief. It is so in all the moral remedies and cures. It is impossible to receive the remission of sins without faith. In this world of means, (however it may be in a world where there are no means) it is as impossible to receive any blessing through faith without the appointed means. Both are indispensable. Hence, the name of the Lord Jesus is interposed between faith and forgiveness, justification and sanctification, even where immersion into that name is not detailed. It would have been unprecedented in the annals of the world, for the historian always to have recorded all the circumstances of the same institution, on every allusion to it; and it would have been equally so for the Apostles to have mentioned it always in the same words. Thus, in the passage before us, the name of the Lord is only mentioned. So in the first letter to the Corinthians, the disciples are represented as saved, as washed, as justified, sanctified by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. The frequent interposition of the name of the Lord between faith and forgiveness, justification, sanctification, &c. is explained in a remark in James' speech in Jerusalem, (Acts xv. 17.) It is the application of an ancient prophecy, concerning the conversion of the Gentiles. The Gentiles are spoken of as turning to, or seeking the Lord. But who of them are thus converted? "Even all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called." It is, then, to those upon whom the name of the Lord is called, that the name of the Lord communicates remission, justification, &c.
Some captious spirits need to be reminded, that as they sometimes find forgiveness, justification, sanctification, &c. ascribed to grace, to the blood of Christ, to the name of the Lord, without an allusion to faith; so we sometimes find faith, and grace, and the blood of Christ without an allusion to water. Now, if they have any reason, or right to say, that faith is understood in the one case; we have the same reason and right to say, that water or immersion is understood in the other. For their argument is, that in sundry places this matter is made plain enough. This is, also, our argument--in sundry places this matter is made plain enough. This single remark cuts off all their objections drawn from the fact, that immersion is not always found in every place where the name of the Lord, or faith is found connected with forgiveness. Neither is grace, the blood of Christ, nor faith, always mentioned with forgiveness. When they find a passage where remission of sins is mentioned without immersion, it is weak, or unfair, in the extreme, to argue from that, that forgiveness can be enjoyed without immersion. IF THEIR LOGIC BE WORTH ANY THING, IT WILL PROVE, THAT A MAN MAY BE FORGIVEN WITHOUT GRACE, THE BLOOD OF JESUS, AND WITHOUT FAITH: FOR WE CAN FIND PASSAGES, MANY PASSAGES, WHERE REMISSION, OR JUSTIFICATION, SANCTIFICATION, OR SOME SIMILAR TERM OCCURS, AND NO MENTION OF EITHER GRACE, FAITH, OR THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
As this is the pith, the marrow, and fatness of all the logic of our most ingenious opponents on this subject, I wish I could make it  more emphatic, than by printing it in capitals. I know some editor; some of our Doctors of Divinity, some of our most learned declaimers, who make this argument, which we unhesitatingly call a genuine sophism, the alpha and the omega of their speeches against the meaning, and indispensable importance of immersion, or regeneration.
The New Testament would have been a curious book, if, every time remission of sins was mentioned, or alluded to, it had been preceded by grace, faith, the blood of Jesus, immersion, &c. &c. But now the question comes, which, to the rational, is the emphatic question--WHETHER DO THEY THINK, BELIEVE, TEACH, AND PRACTISE MORE WISELY AND MORE SAFELY; WHO THINK, BELIEVE, AND TEACH, THAT GRACE, FAITH, THE BLOOD OF JESUS, THE NAME OF THE LORD, AND IMMERSION, ARE ALL ESSENTIAL TO IMMEDIATE PARDON AND ACCEPTANCE;--OR THEY WHO SAY, THAT FAITH ONLY, GRACE ONLY, THE BLOOD OF CHRIST ONLY, THE NAME OF THE LORD ONLY--AND IMMERSION, NOT AT ALL? To all men, women, and children, of common sense, this question is submitted.
It is, however, to me admirable, that the remission of sins should be, not merely unequivocally, but so repeatedly declared through immersion, as it is in the apostolic writings. And here I would ask the whole thinking community, one by one, whether, if the whole race of men had been assembled on Pentecost, or in Solomon's Portico, and had asked Peter the same question, which the convicted proposed, would he, or would he not, have given them the same answer? Would he not have told the whole race to reform, and be immersed for the remission of their sins? or, to reform and be converted, that their sins might be blotted out?--to arise, and be immersed, and wash away their sins? If he would not, let them give a reason; and if they say he would, let them assign a reason why they do not go, and do likewise.
Some have objected against the "seasons of refreshment," or the comforts of the Holy Spirit being placed subsequent to "conversion," or "regeneration," or "immersion;" (for, when we speak Scripturally we must use these terms as all descriptive of the same thing,) because the gifts of the Holy Spirit were poured out upon the Gentiles before immersion. They see not the design of thus welcoming the Gentiles into the Kingdom. They forget the comparison of the Gentiles to a returning prodigal, and his father going out to meet him, even while he was yet a good way off. God had welcomed the first fruits of the Jews into his Kingdom, by a stupendous display of spiritual gifts, called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, before any one of the Jews had been immersed into the Lord Jesus. And, as Peter explains this matter in Cornelius' case, it appears that God determined to make no difference between the Jews and Gentiles in receiving them into his Kingdom. Hence, says Peter, "he gave them the same gift which he gave to us Jews at the beginning," (never since Pentecost.) Thus Peter was authorized to command those Gentiles to he immersed by the authority of the Lord, no man daring to forbid it. But  these gifts of the Holy Spirit, differed exceedingly from the seasons of refreshment, or the righteousness, peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit, the common enjoyment of all who were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins.4
Let it be noted here, as pertinent to our present purpose, that as the Apostle Peter was interrupted by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, when he began to speak of the forgiveness of sins by the name of the Lord Jesus; so soon as he saw the Lord had received them, he commanded them to be immersed by the authority of the Lord. And here I must propose another question to the learned, and the unlearned. How comes it to pass, that though once, and only once, it is commanded, that the nations who believe should be immersed into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; and though we read of no person being immersed into this name in this way; I say, how comes it to pass, that all sects use these words without a scruple, and baptize or sprinkle in this name; when more than once persons are commanded to be immersed for the remission of sins, and but a few of the proclaimers can be induced to immerse for the remission of sins, though so repeatedly taught and proclaimed by the Apostles? Is one command, unsupported by a single precedent, sufficient to justify this practice of christians; and sundry commands and precedents from the same authority insufficient to authorize, or justify us in immersing for the remission of sins? Answer this who can; I cannot, upon any other principle than that the tyrant Custom, who gives no account of his doings, has so decreed.
I come now to another of the direct and positive testimonies of the Apostles, showing that immersion for the remission of sins, is an institution of Jesus Christ. It is the address of Ananias to Saul. "Arise and be immersed, and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord." On this testimony we have not as yet descanted in this essay. It has been mentioned; but not examined.
Paul, like the Pentecostian hearers, when convinced of the truth of the pretensions of the Messiah, asked what he should do. He was commanded to go into Damascus, and it should be told him there what to do. It was told him in the words now before us. But say some this cannot be understood literally.
For experiment, then, take it figuratively. Of what was it figurative? of something already received,--of pardon formerly bestowed! a figure of the past! This is anomalous. I read one writer, and but one, who converted this into a commemorative baptism, like Israel's commemorating the escape from Egypt, or christians commemorating the Lord's death. And, if I do not mistake, some preacher said it was a figurative expression, similar to "This is my body!!" One, whom I pressed out of all these refuges, was candid enough to say he really did not know what it meant; but it could not mean, that Paul was to "be baptized for the remission of his sins." 
"To wash away sins" is a figurative expression. Like other metaphoric expressions, it puts the resemblance in place of the proper word. It necessarily means something analogous to what is said. But we are said to be washed from our sins in, or by, the blood of Christ. But even "washed in blood" is a figurative expression, and means something analogous to washing in water. Perhaps we may find in another expression a means of reconciling these strong metaphors. Rev. vii. 14. "They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Here are two things equally incomprehensible--to wash garments white in blood, and to wash away sins in water! An efficacy is ascribed to water which it does not possess; and, as certainly, an efficacy is ascribed to blood which it does not possess. If blood can whiten or cleanse garments, certainly water can wash away sins. There is, then, a transferring of the efficacy of blood to water; and a transferring of the efficacy of water to blood. This is a plain solution of the whole matter. God has transferred, in some way, the whitening efficacy, or cleansing power, of water to blood; and the absolving or pardoning power of blood to water. This is done upon the same principle as that of accounting faith for righteousness. What a gracious institution! God has opened a fountain for sin, for moral pollution. He has given it an extension far and wide as sin has spread--far and wide as water flows. Wherever water, faith, and the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are, there will be found the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. Yes; as God first gave the efficacy of water to blood, he has now given the efficacy of blood to water. This, as was said, is figurative; but it is not a figure which misleads, for the meaning is given without a figure; viz. immersion for the remission of sins. And to him that made the washing of clay from the eyes, the washing away of blindness, it is competent to make the immersion of the body in water efficacious to the washing away of sin from the conscience.
From the conscience I say; for there its malignity is felt; and it is only in releasing the conscience from guilt, and its consequences,--fear and shame, that we are released from the dominion of sin, or washed from its pollution in this world. Thus immersion, says Peter, saves us, not by cleansing the body from its filth, but the conscience from its guilt; yes, immersion saves us by burying its with Christ, raising us with him, and so our consciences are purged from dead works to serve the living God. Hence, our Lord gave so much importance to immersion in giving the commission to convert the world, "He that believes, and is immersed, shall be saved."
But, while viewing the water and the blood as made to unite their powers, as certainly as Jesus came by water and blood, we ought to consider another testimony given to this gracious combination of powers, by Paul the Apostle. Heb. x. 24. "Being sprinkled in heart from an evil conscience, and being washed in body with clean water." The application of water, the cleansing element, to the  body, is made in this gracious institution to reach the conscience, as did the blood of sprinkling under the Law.
Some ask, How can water, which penetrates not the skin, reach the conscience? They boast of such an objection, as exhibiting great intellect, and good sense. But little do they think, that in so talking, they laugh at, and mock the whole Divine Economy, under the Old and New Institutions: for, I ask, did not the sacrifices, and Jewish purgations, some way reach the conscience of that people!! If they did not, it was all mere frivolity throughout. And can eating bread, and drinking wine not influence, nor affect, the soul! And cannot the breath of one man pierce the heart of another, and so move his blood, as to make his head a fountain of tears! He, who thus objects to water, and the import of immersion, objects to the whole remedial institution, as taught by Moses and by Christ, and insults the wisdom and goodness of God in the whole scheme of salvation. And he, who objects to water, because it can only take away the filth of the flesh, ought rather to object to blood; because it rather besmears and pollutes, than cleanses the body, and cannot touch the soul. But all such reasoners are foolish talkers. To submit to God's institution is our wisdom, and our happiness. The experience of the myriads who were immersed for the remission of their sins, detailed in the christian scriptures, to say nothing of those immersed in our times, is worth more than volumes of arguments from the lips and pens of those who can only regard, and venerate the traditions of their fathers; because it is presumed their fathers were wiser, and more able to judge correctly than their sons.
But as it is not our object to quote, and expatiate upon, all the sacred testimonies, direct and allusive to immersion for the remission of sins, we shall close the proof and illustration of this proposition with an incidental allusion to the cleansing efficacy of this institution, found in the 2d Epistle of Peter, i. 9. After enumerating the additions to faith necessary to securing our calling and election, of which courage is the first; and charity, or universal love, the last; the Apostle says, that "he who has not these things is blind, shutting his eyes, and forgetting that he was purified or purged from his old sins." I need not here say that this is, perhaps, (and certainly as far as I know,) universally understood to refer to christian immersion. The "old sins," or "former sins," can, we presume, mean no other sins than those washed away in immersion. No person has yet attempted to show that these words can import any thing else. It is one of the most unequivocal, and, because incidental, one of the most decisive proofs, that, in Peter's judgment, all former sins were remitted in immersion. With Peter we began our proof of this position, and with Peter we shall end our proof of it. He first proclaimed reformation for the remission of sins; and in his last and farewell letter to, the christian communities, he reminds them of that purification from sin, received in, and through immersion; and in the strongest terms cautions them against forgetting that they were so purified. 
Were any person to reason upon the simple import of the action commanded by Jesus, I think it might be made apparent from the action itself, in its two parts, the burial and the resurrection, that it must import every thing which we have heard the Apostles ascribe to it. Corruption goes down into the grave literally; but does corruption come forth out of it? Is there no change of state in the grave? Who is it that expects to come forth from the grave in the same state in which he descends into it? The first born from the dead did not; nor shall any of them who fall asleep in him. How, then, can it be, that any person, buried with Christ in immersion, can rise with Christ, and not rise in a new state!! Surely the Apostle exhorts to a new life from the change of state effected in immersion. If, indeed, you have risen with Christ, set your affections above. Walk in a new life.
Again, and in the last place here, is a child in the same state after, as before its birth? Is not its state changed? And does it not live a new life, compared with its former mode of living? As new born babes desire the milk of the breast, so let the newly regenerate desire the unadulterated milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby. Call immersion, then, a new birth, a regeneration, a burial and resurrection, and its meaning is the same. And when so denominated, it must import that change of state which is imported in putting on Christ, in being pardoned, justified, sanctified, adopted, reconciled, saved, which was the great proposition to be proved and illustrated, and which, we think, has been proved and illustrated by the preceding testimonies and reflections.
Though no article of christian faith, nor item of christian practice, can, legitimately, rest upon any testimony, reasoning, or authority, out of the sacred writings of the Apostles, were it only one day after their decease; yet the views and practices of those who were the contemporaries, or the pupils, of the Apostles and their immediate successors, may be adduced as corroborating evidence of the truths taught, and the practices enjoined, by the Apostles; and, as such, may be cited; still bearing in mind, that where the testimony of the Apostles ends, christian faith necessarily terminates. After this preliminary remark, I proceed to sustain the following proposition:--
All the Apostolical Fathers, as they are called; all the pupils of the Apostles; and all the ecclesiastical writers of note, of the first four christian centuries, whose writings have come down to us; allude to, and speak of, christian immersion, as the "regeneration" and "remission of sins" spoken of in the New Testament.
This proposition I shall sustain by the testimony of those who have examined all christian antiquity, and by citing the words of those usually called the Apostolic Fathers, and other distinguished writers of the first four hundred years. We shall first summon one whose name is familiar throughout christendom. Whether the writing be genuine or spurious, it is on all hands admitted to be a fragment of the highest antiquity:-- 
In his Catholic Epistle, chapter xi. says, "Let us now inquire whether the Lord took care to manifest any thing beforehand, concerning water and the cross: Now, for the former of these, it is written to the people of Israel, how they shall not receive that baptism which brings to forgiveness of sins; but shall institute another to themselves that cannot. For thus saith the Prophet, "Be astonished, O Heavens! and let the Earth tremble at it; because this people have done two great and wicked things: They have left me, the fountain of living waters, and have digged for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Is my holy mountain, Zion, a desolate wilderness? For she shall be as a young bird when its nest is taken away."--"Consider how he hath joined both the cross and the water together. For this he saith, "Blessed are they, who, putting their trust in the cross, descend into the water; for they shall have their reward in due time: then, saith he, will I give it them." But as concerning the present time, he saith, "Their leaves shall not fail." Meaning thereby, that every word that shall go out of your mouth, shall, through faith and charity, be to the conversion and hope of many. In like manner does another Prophet speak: "And the land of Jacob was the praise of all the earth;" magnifying thereby the vessels of his Spirit. And what follows? "And there was a river running on the right hand, and beautiful trees grew up by it; and he that shall eat of them shall live for ever." The signification of which is this:--that we go down into the water, full of sins and pollutions; but come up again bringing forth fruit; having in our hearts the fear and hope which are in Jesus by the Spirit: "And whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever." That is, whosoever shall hearken to those that call them, and shall believe, shall live for ever."
CLEMENT AND HERMAS.
The former gives no testimony on the subject. The latter deposes as follows. [Book of Similitudes, chapter xvi.]--
In speaking of a tower, built upon the water, by which he signified the building of Christ's church, he thus speaks:--"Hear, therefore, why the tower is built on the waters:--Because your life is saved, and shall be saved by water." In answer to the question, "Why did the stones come up into this tower out of the deep?" he says, "It was necessary for them to come up by (or through) water, that they might he at rest; for they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God: for before any one receives the name of the Son of God, he is liable to death; but when he receives that seal, he is delivered from death, and assigned to life. Now that seal is water, into which persons go down, liable to death; but come out of it, assigned to life: for which reason to these also was this seal preached; and they made use of it, that they might enter into the kingdom of God."
Both Clement and Hermas wrote about the end of the first, or beginning of the second century.
Hermas, moreover, deposes as follows, in another work of his, called "the Commands of Hermas." [Com. 4. chap. iii.]--
"And I said to him, I have even now heard from certain teachers, that there is no other repentance besides that of baptism: when we go down into the water, and receive the forgiveness of sins; and after that we should sin no more, but live in purity. And he said to me, Thou hast been rightly informed."
Having closely and repeatedly examined the Epistles of Clement; of Polycarp, to the Philippians; of Ignatius, to the Ephesians; that to the Magnesians; that to the Trallians, the Romans, the Philadelphians, the Smyrnians, and his Epistle to Polycarp; together with the Catholic Epistle of Barnabas, and the genuine works of Hermas, I can affirm that the preceding extracts are the only passages, in all these writings, that speak of immersion. 
Having heard the Apostolic Fathers, as they are called, depose to the views of the pupils of the Apostles, down to A. D. 140; I will summon a very learned Paidobaptist antiquarian, who can bring forward every writer and Father, down to the fifth century; and before we hear any of his witnesses, we shall interrogate him concerning his own convictions after he had spent years in rummaging all christian antiquity:--
TESTIMONY OF DR. W. WALL,
AUTHOR OF THE HISTORY OF
Pray, Doctor, have you examined all the primitive writers, from the death of John down to the fifth century?
W. Wall.--I have.
And will you explicitly avow what was the established and universal view of all christians, public and private, for four hundred years from the nativity of the Messiah, on the import of the saying, (John iii. 5.) "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?"
W. Wall.--"There is not any one christian writer, of any antiquity, in any language, but who understands it of baptism; and if it be not so understood, it is difficult to give an account how a person is born of water, any more than born of wood."--4th London edition, p. 116, vol. I. A. D. 1819.
Did all the christians, public and private, and all the christian writers from Barnabas to the times of Pelagius, (410,) as far as you know, continue to use the term regenerate as only applicable to immersion?
W. Wall.--"The christians did, in all ancient times, continue the use of this name, "regeneration," for baptism; so that they never use the word "regenerate," or "born again," but they mean, or denote by it, baptism. And almost all the quotations which I shall bring in this book, shall be instances of it."--vol. 1. p. 24.
Did they not also substitute for "baptism" and "baptize," the words renewed, sanctified, sealed, enlightened, initiated, as well as regenerated?
W. Wall.--"For to baptize, they used the following words:--Most commonly, anagennan, to regenerate; sometimes, kainopoien, or anakainizo, to renew; frequently, agiazein, to sanctify. Sometimes they call it the seal; and frequently, illumination, as it is also called, Heb. vi. 4. and sometimes, teliosis, initiation."--vol. 1. p. 8. "St. Austin, not less than a hundred times, expresses baptized by the word sanctified."--page 194.
We shall now hear some of W. Wall's witnesses; and I choose rather to introduce them from his own pen, as he cannot be supposed partial to the views I have presented in this essay:--
Justin Martyr wrote about forty years after John the Apostle died, and stands most conspicuous among the primitive Fathers. He addressed an apology to the Emperor Antoninus Pius. In this apology he narrates the practices of the christians, and the reasons of them. 
Concerning those who are persuaded and believe the things which are taught, and who promise to live according to them, he writes--
"Then we bring them to some place where there is water, and they are regenerated by the same way of regeneration by which we were regenerated; for they are washed in water (en to udati) in the name of God the Father and Lord of all things, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit: for Christ says, Unless you be regenerated you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven; and every body knows it is impossible for those who are once generated (or born) to enter again into their mother's womb."
"It was foretold by Isaiah, as I said, by what means they who should repent of their sins might escape them; and was written in these words, "Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil," &c.
"And we have been taught by the Apostles this reason for this thing. Because we being ignorant of our first birth, were generated by necessity (or course of nature) and have been brought up in ill customs and conversation; that we should not continue children of that necessity and ignorance, but of will (or choice) and knowledge, and should obtain forgiveness of the sins in which we have lived, by water (or in the water.) Then is invoked over him that has a mind to he regenerated, the name of God the Father, &c. And this washing is called the enlightening."
As you trace the history of infant baptism, Mr. Wall, as nigh the apostolic times as possible, pray why do you quote Justin Martyr, who never mentions it?
W. Wall.--"Because his is the most ancient account of the way of baptizing, next the scripture; and shows the plain and simple manner of administering it. Because it shows that the christians of those times (many of whom lived in the days of the Apostles) uses the word "regeneration" (or "being born again") for baptism; and that they were taught to do so by the Apostles. And because we see by it that they understood John iii. 5. of water baptism; and so did all the writers of those 400 years, NOT ONE MAN EXCEPTED."--p. 54.
Did any of the ancients use the word matheteuin (to disciple) as it is used in the commission; or did they call the baptized discipled?
W. Wall.--"Justin Martyr, in his second apology to Antoninus, uses it. His words are:--"Several persons among us, of 60 and 70 years old, of both sexes, who were discipled (matheteuin) to Christ, in or from their childhood, do continue uncorrupted."--p. 54.
So soon as they began to mysticise they began to teach that immersion without faith would obtain remission of sins, and that immersion without faith was regeneration. Then came the debates about original sin: and so soon as original sin was proved, then came the necessity of infant immersion for the remission of original sin. And so undisputed was the import of baptism for remission, that when the Pelagians denied original sin, pressed with the difficulty, "why immerse those who have no sins?" they were pushed to invent actual sins for infants; such as their crying, peevishness, restlessness, &c. on account of which sins they supposed that infants might, with propriety, be immersed, though they had no original sin.
Tertullian, the first who mentions infant baptism, flourished about A. D. 216. He writes against the practice: and among his most  conclusive arguments against infant immersion, (for then there was no sprinkling,) he assumes, as a fundamental principle not to be questioned, that immersion was for the remission of sins; and this being universally conceded, he argues as follows:--
"Our Lord says, indeed, "Do not forbid them to come to me;" therefore let them come when they are grown up--let them come when they understand--when they are instructed whither it is that they come. Let them be made christians when they can know Christ. What need their guiltless age make such haste to the forgiveness of sins? Men will proceed more warily in worldly goods; and he that should not have earthly goods committed to him, yet shall have heavenly! Let them know how to desire this salvation, that you may appear to have given to one that asketh."--p. 74.
Origen, though so great a visionary, is, nevertheless, a competent witness in any question of fact. And here I would again remind the reader, that it is as witnesses in a question of fact, and not of opinion, we summon these ancients. It is not to tell their own opinions, nor the reasons of them; but to depose what were the views of christians on this institution in their times. There was no controversy on this subject for more than four hundred years, and therefore we expect only to find incidental allusions to it; but these are numerous, and of the most unquestionable character. Origen, in his homily upon Luke, says:--
"Infants are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. Of what sins? Or when have they sinned? Or how can any reason of the law, in their case, hold good, but according to that sense that we mentioned even now? (that is) none is free from pollution, though his life be but the length of one day upon the earth."
And in another place he says, that
"The baptism of the church is given for the forgiveness of sins."
"If there were nothing in infants that wanted forgiveness and mercy, the grace of baptism would be needless to them."
In another place he says--
"But in the regeneration, (or new birth,) by the laver, (or baptism,) every one that is born again of water and the Spirit, is clear from pollution: clear (as I may venture to say) as by a glass darkly.--p. 82.
But now let me ask Dr. Wall--Do Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, Ambrose, Chrysostom, and St. Austin, concur with all their predecessors in those views of regeneration and remission?
W. Wall.--Yes, exactly. "I have observed, among the several names which the ancients give to baptism, they often, by this phrase, "the forgiveness of sins," do mean the sacrament of baptism."--p. 179. "And as for Chrysostom, he expressly says, "In baptism, or the spiritual circumcision, there is no trouble to be undergone but to throw off the load of sins, and receive pardon for all foregoing offences."--p. 182. And again; "There is no receiving or having the bequeathed inheritance before one is baptized; and none can be called a son till he is baptized."--p. 183.
The controversy about infant baptism and original sin were contemporaneous; and just so soon as they decided the nature and extent of original sin, baptism for the remission of sins was given to infants  because of this pollution, and defended because of the necessity of regeneration and forgiveness to salvation; and because immersion was universally admitted to be the scriptural regeneration and remission. In this way, there is no reasonable doubt, but infant baptism began; and for convenience sake, as Dr. Wall contends, it was substituted by infant sprinkling.
Unless we were to transcribe all the testimonies of antiquity, one by one, no greater assurance can be given, that, for more than four hundred years after Christ, all writers, orthodox and heterodox, Pelagius and Austin not excepted, concurred in the preceding views. Were I to summon others--Eusebius, Dupin, Lightfoot, and Hammond, cum multis aliis--will depose the same.
This proposition we will dismiss with the testimony of the most renowned of the Bishops of Africa. I extract it from a work now generally read, called the "History of the Martyrs." It is from the account Cyprian gives of his conversion.--p. 317.
"While (says he) I laid in darkness and uncertainty, I thought on what I had heard of a second birth, proposed by the divine goodness; but could not comprehend how a man could receive a new life from his being immersed in water; cease to be what he was before, and still remain the same body. How, said I, can such a change be possible? How can he, who is grown old in a worldly way of living, strip himself of his former inclinations, and inveterate habits? Can he, who has spent his whole time in plenty, and indulged his appetite without restraint, ever be transformed into an example of frugality and sobriety? Or he who has always appeared in splendid apparel, stoop to the plain, simple, and unornamented dress of the common people? It is impossible for a man, who has borne the most honorable posts, ever to submit to lead a private and an obscure life: or that he who was never seen in public without a crowd of attendants, and persons who endeavored to make their fortunes by attending him, should ever bear to be alone. This (continues he) was my way of arguing; I thought it was impossible for me to leave my former course of life, and the habits I was then engaged in, and accustomed to: but no sooner did the life-giving water wash the spots off my soul, than my heart received the heavenly light of the Holy Spirit, which transformed me into a new creature; all my difficulties were cleared, my doubts dissolved, and my darkness dispelled. I was then able to do what before seemed impossible; could discern that my former life was earthly and sinful, according to the impurity of my birth; but that my spiritual birth gave me new ideas and inclinations, and directed all my views to God."
Cyprian flourished A. D. 250.
But even the reformed creeds, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist, substantially avow the same views of immersion, though apparently afraid to carry them out in faith and practice.
This proposition will be sustained by an extract from the creed of each of these sects.
The clergy are ordered, before proceeding to baptize, to make the following prayer.--Common Prayer, p. 165.
"Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy great mercy, didst save Noah and his family in the Ark from perishing by water; and also didst safely lead  the children of Israel thy people through the Red Sea; figuring thereby thy holy Baptism; and by the Baptism of thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ in the river Jordan, didst sanctify the element of water, to the mystical washing away of sin; we beseech thee, for thine infinite mercies, that thou wilt mercifully look upon these thy servants; wash them and sanctify them with the Holy Ghost; that they, being delivered from thy wrath, may be received into the Ark of Christ's Church; and being steadfast in fame, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally they may come to the land of everlasting life; there to reign with thee, world without end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
After reading a part of the discourse with Nicodemus, they are ordered to make the following exhortation.--p. 165.--
"Beloved, ye hear in this gospel the express words of our Saviour Christ, that except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Whereby ye may perceive the great necessity of this sacrament, where it may be had. Likewise, immediately before his ascension into heaven, (as we read in the last chapter of St. Mark's Gospel,) he gave command to his disciples, saying, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned. Which also showeth unto us the great benefit we reap thereby. For which cause St. Peter the Apostle, when upon his first preaching of the gospel many were pricked at the heart, and said to him and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? replied, and said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: for the promise is to you and your children, and to all that are afar off; even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words exhorted he them, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. For, as the same Apostle testifieth in another place, even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Doubt ye not, therefore, but earnestly believe that he will favorably receive these present persons, truly repenting, and coming unto him by faith; that he will grant them remission of their sins, and bestow upon them the Holy Ghost; that he will give them the blessing of eternal life, and make them partakers of his everlasting kingdom."
This, I need not add, is in accordance with the sentiments advanced in this essay. What a pity that the Episcopal Church does not believe and practise her own creed!
The Presbyterian Confession, on Baptism, chap. xxviii. sect. 1. declares that--
"Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized in the visible church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his engrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his church until the end of the world."
"A sign and seal of remission of sins!!" This is much nigher the truth than this church seems to be apprized of. However, she cannot believe her own creed; for she does not believe that baptism is a sign and a seal of remission of sins, nor of regeneration, in her own sense of it, to her baptized or sprinkled infants. But in paying any regard to the Scriptures, she could not say less than she has said. It is no wonder that many sectaries cannot be persuaded to think that the Scriptures mean what they say for they are so much  accustomed to say what they do not mean, that they cannot think God does mean what he says.
The Methodist Creed says--
"Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, (and that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but live in sin, committing many actual transgressions:) and that our Saviour Christ saith, None shall enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost; I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous goodness he will grant to these persons, that which by nature they cannot have; that they may be baptized with water and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ's holy church, and be made lively members of the same."
Then it is ordained that the minister say, or repeat the following prayer:--
"Almighty and immortal God, the aid of all that need, the helper of all that flee to thee for succor, the life of them that believe, and the resurrection of the dead: We call upon thee for these persons; that they coming to thy holy baptism, may receive remission of their sins, by spiritual regeneration. Receive them, O Lord, as thou hast promised by thy well-beloved Son, saying, Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you; so give unto us that ask; let us that seek, find; open the gate unto us that knock; that these persons may enjoy the everlasting benediction of the heavenly washing, and may come to the eternal kingdom which thou hast promised by Christ our Lord. Amen."--Dis. p. 105.
Thus the Methodist Creed and Church are nearly as scriptural as the church from which they sprang. She prays for those to he baptized, that in baptism they may receive remission of sins! Does she believe what she says?
Chapter xxx. Section 1.
"Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with him in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life."
The Baptist follows the Presbyterian church as servilely as the Methodist church follows the English hierarchy. But she avows her faith that immersion is a sign of remission. A sign of the past, the present, or the future! A sign accompanying!
Calvin and Wesley are with us here. Calvin makes remission the principal thing in baptism.--Inst. l. 4, c. xv. p. 327.
"Baptism," says he, "resembles a legal instrument properly attested, by which he assures us that all our sins are cancelled, effaced, and obliterated, so that they will never appear in his sight, or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us. For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins. Therefore, those who have imagined that baptism is nothing more than a mark or sign by which we profess our religion before men, as soldiers wear the insignia of their sovereign as a mark of their profession, have not considered that which was the principal thing in baptism; which is, that we ought to receive it with this promise--"He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved."
John Wesley, in his comment on the New Testament, page 350,) speaks plainer than either the Methodist Discipline or the Regular Baptist Confession. His words are:--"Baptism administered to real penitents is both a means and a seal of pardon. Not did God ordinarily,  in the primitive church, bestow this (pardon) on any, unless through this means." This is almost, if not altogether, as much as we have said on the forgiveness of sins through immersion.
May we not say, that we have sustained this last proposition to the full extent of the terms thereof?
With the testimony of John Wesley, the last of the reformers, I close my list of human vouchers for the import of christian immersion. This list I could swell greatly; for, indeed, I have been quite disappointed in looking back into creeds, councils, commentators, and reformers, ancient and modern. I begin to fear, that I should be suspected to have come to the conclusions, which I have exhibited from consulting human writings, creeds, and reformers. My fears are not that we, who plead for reformation, may appear to have nothing original to offer in this reformation; that we are mere gleaners in the fields which other minds have cultivated. It is not on this account our fears are excited: for the reformation we plead is not characterized by new and original ideas, or human inventions; but by a return to the original ideas and institutions developed in the New Institution. Nor do we profess to have any originality of mind, strength of reason, or compass of imagination worthy of admiration, worthy of a temple, or a memorial of any sort whatever. But we fear lest any should suspect the views offered to be a human invention or tradition; because we have found so much countenance for them in the works of the most ancient and renowned christian writers, and the creeds of ancient and modern reformers, We can assure our readers, that we have been led to these conclusions from the simple perusal, unprejudiced and impartial examination, of the New Testament alone. And, we may add, that we are as much astonished, as any reader of this essay can be, to find such a cloud of witnesses to the truth, and importance of the views offered.
Though we had, many years ago, read most of these documents, We read them as many of our readers read the Bible; without attending to what is read, or feeling the import of it. We can sympathize with those who have this doctrine in their own creeds unregarded, and unheeded in its import and utility; for we exhibited it fully in our debate with Mr. M'Calla, 1823, without feeling its great importance, and without beginning to practise upon its tendencies for some time afterwards. But since it has been fully preached and practised upon, it has proved itself to be all divine.
We now press it upon all persons to believe the gospel, and to be immersed for the remission of their sins; that seasons of refreshment from the Lord, may come to them. Every one who has so much faith in the mission and character of Jesus Christ, and so much attachment to his person as to submit to his absolute government, we invite, command, entreat, to receive the bounty, and enlist during the war; to put on his regimentals, to stand in the ranks, and to fight the good fight of faith. We discover, in practice, that this change of state, this seal of remission, changes the affections still more and more, and reforms the lives of all who honestly submit to  it. It produces more peace, love, joy, righteousness, and more holiness of heart and life, than we ever witnessed to result from the Calvinian, Arminian, or mixed gospels of the day. We love the ancient gospel for its fruits, its holiness of heart, and righteousness of life. None, but those who have frequently witnessed it, can form any adequate idea of the impulse which is given to the mind by a believing reception of this washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Like a strong impulse given to a ball which puts it in motion, immersion for the forgiveness of sins, carries the mind forward, far beyond all the experiences formerly demanded as preparatory to immersion. A change of state so great, so sensible, so complete, so sudden, operates more like the ancient cures, than the cold, dark, and tedious mental regenerations of the philosophizing theologues. He, that passes from Virginia into Pennsylvania, passes over a mere imaginary geographical line, without scarcely perceiving the transition; but he that passes from Virginia into the state of Ohio by swimming the river, the natural and sensible boundary, immediately realizes the change. Still greater, and more sensible is the change from the state of condemnation to the state of favor.
But to return to the argument. The propositions now proved, and illustrated, must convince all, that there is some connexion between immersion, and the forgiveness of sins. What that connexion is, may be disputed by some; but that such a connexion exists, none can dispute, who acknowledges the New Testament to contain a divine communication to man. With John Wesley we say, it is "'to the believing the means and seal of pardon for all previous offences;" and we not only say we think so, but we preach it as such, and practise it as such. Those who think of any other connexion, would do well to attempt to form clear ideas of what they mean: for we are assured there is no meaning in any other connexion. To make it a commemorative sign of past remission is an outrage upon all rules of interpretation, and a perfect anomaly in all the revelation of God. To make it, prospectively, the sign of a future remission, is liable to the same exceptions. Nothing remains, but that it be considered, what it is in truth, the accompanying sign of an accompanying remission; the sign and the seal, or the means and the seal of remission then granted through the water, connected with the blood of Jesus by the divine appointment, and through our faith in it.
We have heard some objections, and we can conceive of new objections which may be presented to immersion for the remission of sins. Some of them are anticipated and attended to in the preceding remarks. We could wish that we had them all drawn up numerically, that we might examine and refute them. There can be objections made to any person, doctrine, sentiment, or practice, natural, moral, political, or religious, which ever existed. But notwithstanding all the objections made to every thing, there are thousands of matters, and things we hold to be facts and truths indubitable. Amongst those certain and sure things, not to be shaken, is this christian institution, 
We will state and examine some objections partially notices already; but, because they are the most common, or may become common, we will bestow upon them a formal statement, and a formal refutation.
Objection 1.--'To make the attainment, and the enjoyment of present salvation pardon, justification, sanctification, reconciliation, adoption, dependent upon the contingency of water being present, or accessible, is beneath the dignity And character of a salvation from God.'
And to make the attainment, and the enjoyment of present salvation, pardon, &c. dependent upon the contingency of faith being present or accessible--upon the blood of Jesus Christ being heard of, or known, is equally objectionable:--for what is faith but the belief of testimony? Or what is it in the most popular sense but something wrought in the heart, a compound of knowledge and feeling, of assent and consent? And what was the blood of Jesus shed upon Mt. Calvary but matter, and a few pounds of matter, viewed by itself abstractly as some view water; I say, what was it but matter? And are not both blood and faith less accessible to mankind than the element of water? How much more water than faith, or candidates for immersion? And is there not as much power, wisdom, and goodness of God in creating water, as in creating air, words, letters, faith, &c. Is not water more universal than language, words, books, preachers, faith, &c. This objection lies as much against any one means of salvation as another; nay, against all means of salvation. When ever a case shall occur of much faith and little water; or of a little faith and no water, we will repel it by other arguments than these.
Objection 2.--"It makes void the value, excellency, and importance of both faith and grace." By no means. If a man say, with Paul, we are justified by faith; does it follow that grace is made void?' Or, if one say we are justified by grace; does it make the blood of Christ of none effect? Or, if, with Paul, a man say we are justified by his blood; does it make faith, repentance, and grace of no effect? Nay, indeed, this gives to faith its proper place, and its due value. It makes it the principle of action. It brings us to the water, to Christ, and to heaven. But it is as a principle of action only. It was not Abel's faith in his head, or heart; but Abel's faith at the altar which obtained such reputation. It was not Enoch's faith in principle, but Enoch's faith in his walk with God, which translated him to heaven. It was not Noah's faith in God's promise and threatening, but his faith exhibited in building an ark, which saved himself and family from the Deluge, and made him an heir of a new world, an heir of righteousness. It was not Abraham's faith in God's call, but his going out in obedience to that call, that first distinguished him as a pilgrim, and began his reputation. It was not faith in God's promise that Jericho should fall, but that faith carried out in the blowing of rams' horns, which laid its walls in ruins, &c. It is not our faith in God's promise of remission, but our going down into the water that obtains the remission of sins. But any one may see why faith has so much praise, and is of so much value. Because, without it, Abel would not have offered more sacrifices than Cain; Enoch would not have walked with God; Noah would not have built an ark; Abraham would not have left Ur of the Chaldees, nor offered up his son upon the altar. Without it, Israel would not have passed through the wilderness, nor crossed the Jordan; and without it, none receive the remission, of their sins in immersion. And, again, we would remind the reader, that when he talks of being saved by faith, he should bear in mind, that grace is not lost sight of; nor blood, nor, water, nor reformation, discarded.
We enter the kingdom of nature by being born of the flesh. We enter the kingdom of heaven, or come under the reign of Jesus Christ, in this life, by being born of water, and the Spirit. We enter the kingdom of eternal glory by being born again from the earth, and neither by faith, nor the first regeneration. Neither by faith, nor baptism; but by being counted worthy of the resurrection of the just. "I was hungry, and you fed me," Not because  you believed, or were born of water; but, because "I was hungry, and you fed me," &c.
There are three births, three kingdoms, and three salvations. One from the womb of our first mother, one from the water, and one from the grave. We enter a new world on, and not before, each birth. The present animal life, after the first birth; the spiritual, or the life of God in our souls, after the second birth, and the life eternal in the presence of God, after the third birth. And he, who dreams of entering the second kingdom, or coming under the dominion of Jesus, without the second birth--may, to complete his error, dream of entering the kingdom of glory without a resurrection from the dead.
Grace precedes all these births--shines in all the kingdoms, but will be glorified in the third. Sense is the principle of action in the first kingdom; faith, in the second; and sight spiritual, in the third. The first salvation is that of the body from the dangers and ills of life, and God is thus "the Saviour of all men." The second salvation is that of the soul from sin. The third is that of both soul and body united, delivered from moral and natural corruption, and introduced into the presence of God, when God shall be all in all.
Objection 3.--"It is so uncharitable to the Paidobaptists!" And how uncharitable are the Paidobaptists to Jews, Turks, and Pagans!! Will they promise present salvation from the guilt, pollution, and the dominion of sin, with the well grounded hope of heaven, to Jews, Turks, Pagans, or even Roman Catholics? Or will the Roman Catholics to them!! How uncharitable are they who cry "uncharitable" to us! Infants, idiots, deaf, and dumb persons, innocent Pagans wherever they can be found, with all the pious Paidobaptists, we commend to the mercy of God. But such of them as wilfully neglect this salvation, and who, having the opportunity to be immersed for the remission of their sins, wilfully neglect or refuse, we have as little hope for them as they have for all who refuse salvation on their own terms of the gospel. While they inveigh against us for having a scriptural and rational stress upon immersion, do we not see that they lay as great, though a scriptural and rational, stress upon their baptism or sprinkling; so much so, as to give it without faith, even to infants, so soon as they are born of the flesh?
Objection 4.--"But do not many of them enjoy the present salvation of God?" How far they may be happy in the peace of God, and the hope of heaven, I presume not to say. And we know so much of human nature as to say, that he that imagines himself pardoned, will feel happy as he that is really so. But one thing we do know, that none can rationally, and with certainty, enjoy the peace of God, and the hope of heaven, but they who intelligently, and in full faith are born of water, or immersed. For the remission of their sins. And as the testimony of God, and not conceit, imagination, nor our reasoning upon what passes in our minds, is the ground of our certainty, we see and feel, that we have an assurance which they cannot have. And we have this advantage over them, we once stood upon their ground, had their hopes, felt their assurance; but they have not stood upon our ground, nor felt our assurance. Moreover, the experience of the first converts shows the difference between their immersion, and the immersions, or sprinklings, of modern gospels.
Objection 5.--"This has been so long concealed from the people; and so lately brought to our view, that we cannot acquiesce in it."
This objection would have made unavailing every attempt at reformation, or illumination of the mind, or change in the condition and enjoyments of society, ever attempted. Besides, do not the experience of all the religious--the observation of the intelligent--the practical result of all creeds, reformations, and improvements--and the expectations, and longings of society, warrant the conclusion that either some new revelation, or some new developement of the revelation of God, must be made, before the hopes and expectations of all true christians can be realized, or christianity save and reform the nations of this world. We want the old gospel back, and sustained by the  ancient order of things: and this alone, by the blessing of the Divine Spirit is all that we do want, or can expect, to reform and save the world. And if this gospel, as proclaimed and enforced on Pentecost, cannot do this, vain are the hopes, and disappointed must be the expectations of the, so called, christian world.
As christian faith rests upon, and christian practice proceeds from, the testimony of God, and not from the reasonings of men, in this recapitulation I will only call up the evidences on one single proposition, assumed, sustained, and illustrated in the preceding pages--and that is the ninth proposition, as sustained by the apostolic testimony. We wish to leave before the mind of the diligent reader the great importance attached to christian immersion, as presented in the Evangelists, the Acts, and the Epistles.
1. In the Evangelists--It is called the forgiveness of sins. Matthew and Mark introduce the Messiah in his own person in giving the commission. Luke does not. Matthew presents Jesus, saying, "Go, convert the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you." This, of course, in order to salvation. Mark presents him, saying, "Go into all the world, proclaim the glad tidings to the whole creation: he who believes, and is immersed, shall be saved; and he who believes not, shall be condemned." Luke, however, does not introduce the Lord in his own person in giving the charge; but records it, in his own conception of it, in the following words.--That "reformation and forgiveness of sins should be announced in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." No person, we presume, will question but that Luke thus records the commission;--and, if so, then it is indisputable that, as Luke neither mentions faith nor immersion, he substitutes for them the received import of both, when and where he wrote. Metonymically he places repentance, or rather reformation, for faith; and remission of sins for immersion. In Luke's acceptation and time forgiveness of sins stood for immersion, and reformation for faith--the effect for the means or cause. In the commission salvation is attached by the Lord Jesus to faith and immersion into his name. He that believes, and is immersed, shall be saved. Thus immersion is taught in the testimonies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
2. In the Acts of the Apostles--Sermon 1. Peter says, "Reform and be immersed, every one of you, into the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Sermon 2, he says, "Reform and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out; that seasons of refreshment from the presence of the Lord may come, sad that he may send Jesus," &c. In the same discourse, he says, "God having raised up his Son Jesus, has sent him to bless you, every one of you, turning from his iniquities. In his 3d Sermon, recorded Acts x. he says, "To him all the Prophets bear witness, that every one who believes in him shall receive remission of sins by his name. Paul at Antioch, in Pisidia, declares, that through Jesus was proclaimed the remission of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things. Ananias commanded Paul to arise and be immersed, and to wash away his sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. Thus it is spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles.
3. In the Epistles--The Romans are said to have been immersed into Christ Jesus--into his death; to have been buried with him, and consequently to have risen with him, and to walk in a new life. The Corinthians are said to have been washed, justified, and sanctified by the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. The Galatians "were immersed into Christ, and had put him on." The Ephesians were married to Christ by immersion, as brides were wont to be washed in order to their nuptials. The assembly of the disciples, called the congregation of the Lord, making the bride of Christ, were said to be cleansed by the bath of water and the word. The Colossians were buried with Christ, raised with him, and are said to have been forgiven all trespasses when they were raised with him, (chapter ii. 11, 13, 14, where  their resurrection with Jesus and their having all sins forgiven are connected.) All the saints are said to be saved by immersion, or "the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit."--Titus iii. 5. The believing Jews had their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and their bodies washed with clean water, or water which made clean. Peter taught all the saints in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, that the water of baptism saved them, as the water of the Deluge saved Noah in the Ark; and that in immersion a person was purged from all his former sins. And John the Apostle represents the saved as having "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," and all the baptized little children as "having their sins forgiven." Such are the evidences found in the Epistles. How numerous! how clear! and how unequivocal! Are we not, then, warranted to say, Except a man be regenerated of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God? and that all who, believing, are immersed for the remission of their sins, have the remission of their sins in and through immersion?
A word to the regenerated.--You have experienced the truth of the promise, and being induced by that promise, you have become, like Isaac, the children of promise. You heard the testimony of God concerning Jesus of Nazareth, and you believed it. You were, in consequence of your faith, so disposed towards the person of Jesus, as to be willing to put yourselves under his guidance. This faith and this will brought you to the water. You were not ashamed, nor afraid to confess him before men. You solemnly declared you regarded him as God's only Son, and the only Saviour of men. You vowed allegiance to him. Down into the water you were led. Then the name of the Holy One upon your faith, and upon your person, was pronounced. You were then buried in the water under that name. It closed itself upon you. In its womb you were concealed. Into the Lord, as in the water, you were immersed. But in the water you continued not. Of it you were born, and from it you came forth, raised with Jesus, and rising in his strength. There your consciences were released; for there your old sins were purged away. And although you received not the gifts of the Holy spirit, which confirmed the testimony to the first disciples, you felt the powers of the world to come, were enlightened, and tasted the bounty of God: for seasons of refreshment from the presence of God came upon you. Your hearts were sprinkled from evil consciences, when your bodies were washed in the cleansing water. Then into the kingdom of Jesus, you entered. The King of righteousness, of peace, and joy, extended his sceptre over you, and sanctified in state, and in the Spirit, you rejoiced in the Lord with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Being washed, you were sanctified, as well as acquitted. And now you find yourselves under the great Advocate, so that sin cannot lord it over you; for you always look to the great Advocate to intercede for you, and thus if sin should overtake you, you confess and forsake it, and always find mercy. Adopted thus into the family of God, you have not only received the name, the rank, and the dignity; but also the Spirit of a son of God, and find, as such, that you are kings, priests, and heirs of God. You now feel that all things are yours, because you are Christ's; and  Christ is God's. The hope of the coming regeneration of the heavens and the earth, at the resurrection of the just, animates you. You look for the redemption, the adoption of your bodies, and their transfiguration. For this reason; you purify yourselves even as he is pure. Be zealous, then, children of God; publish the excellencies of him who has called you into this marvellous light and bliss. Be diligent, that you may receive the crown that never fades, and that you may eat of the tree of life which grows in the midst of the Paradise of God. If you suffer with Jesus, you will reign with him. If you should deny him, he will deny you. Add, then, to your faith, courage, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, and universal benevolence; for if you continue in these things and abound, you shall not be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But should you be deficient in these things, your light will be obscured, and a forgetfulness that you have been purified from your old sins, will come upon you. Do, then, brethren, labor to make your calling and election sure; for thus practising, you shall never fall; but shall have an easy and abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
A word to the unregenerate.--Amongst you are sundry classes of character. Some of you who believe the gospel, and are changed in heart, quickened by the Spirit, are not generally ranked amongst the unregenerate. In the popular sense of this term, you are regenerate. But we use it in its scriptural acceptation. Like Nicodemus, and like Joseph of Arimathea, you believe in Jesus, and are willing to take lessons from him in the chambers. You have confidence in his mission, respect and venerate, and even love his person; and would desire to be under his government. Marvel not that I say to you, You must be born again. Pious as you are supposed to be, and as you may think yourselves to be, unless you are born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Cornelius and his family were as devout and as pious as any of you. "He feared God, gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God continually." Yet, mark it well, I beseech you, it was necessary "to tell him words by which himself and his house might be saved." These words were told him: he believed them, and received the Holy Spirit; yet still be must be born again. For a person cannot be said to be born again of any thing which he receives; and still less of miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. He was immersed, and into the kingdom of God he came, he was then saved. You need not ask how, or why, these things are so. Do as Cornelius did, and then you will think of it in another light--then you would not for a world be unregenerate. To have the pledge, the promise, and seal of God of the remission of all your sins, to be adopted into his family, and to receive the Spirit of a son of God, be assured my pious friends, are matters of no every day occurrence; and when you feel yourselves constitutionally invested with all these blessings, in God's own way, you will say, that "his ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher  than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts." It is hard to make a slave feel and act as a freeman. As difficult, we often find it, to make the unregenerate feel and know the value and importance of regeneration. But the regenerate would not be unregenerate for the Universe.
God has one way of bestowing every thing. We cannot gather grapes off thorns, nor figs off thistles. The reason is, there they do not grow. We can tell no other reason why they cannot grow there; but that they do not grow there. We cannot have any blessing, but in God's own way of giving it. We cannot find wool save on the back of the sheep, nor silk save from the worm which spins it from itself. Corn and wheat cannot be obtained, but from those plants which yield them. Without the plant, we cannot have the fruit. This is the economy of the whole material system. And in the world of spirits, and spiritual influences, is it not the same? Moral law is as unchangeable, as the laws of nature. Moral means and ends are as inseparable as natural means and ends. God cannot bestow grace upon the proud, and cannot withhold it from the humble. He does not do it, and that is enough. He could shower down wheat and corn, and give us rivers of milk and wine, were it a question of mere power. But taking all together, his wisdom, power, and goodness, he cannot do it. So neither can he give us faith without testimony, hope without a promise, love without an amiable object, peace without purity, nor heaven without holiness. He cannot give to the unborn infant the light of the Sun, the vivacity which the air imparts, nor the agility and activity which liberty bestows. He does not do it, and, therefore, we say, he cannot do it. Neither, can he bestow the blessings of the Reign of Heaven upon those who are children of disobedience.
I know how reluctant men are to submit to God's government; and yet they must all bow to it at last. "To Jesus every knee shall bow, and to him every tongue must confess." But they will object to bowing now, and torture invention for excuses. They will tell me all that I have said is true of natural and moral means and ends; but immersion is not a moral means, because God forgave sins and saved men before immersion was appointed. "It is a positive, and not a moral institution." And is there no moral influence connected with positive institutions? A written law is a positive institution: for moral law existed before written law. But because it has become a positive institution, has its moral power ceased? The moral influence of all positive institutions is God's WILL expressed in them. And it matters not whether it be the eating or not eating of an apple, the building of an altar, or the building it with, or without the aid of iron tools; the offering of a kid, a lamb, a bullock or a pigeon, it is, just as morally binding, and has the same moral influence, as, "You shall honor your father and mother;" or, "You shall not kill." It is THE WILL OF GOD in any institution, which gives it all its moral and physical power. No man could now be pardoned as Abel was--as Enoch was--as David was--as the thief upon the cross was. These all lived before the second will of God was declared. He took away "the first will,"  says Paul, "that he might establish the second will," by which we are sanctified. We are not pardoned as were the Jews or the Patriarchs. It was not till Jesus was buried and rose again, that an acceptable offering for sin was presented in the heavens. By one offering up of himself, he has perfected the conscience of the immersed or sanctified. Since his oblation, a new institution for remission has been appointed. You need not flatter yourselves, that God will save or pardon you, except for Christ's sake; and if his name is not assumed by you, if you have not put him on, if you have not come under his advocacy, you have not the name of Christ to plead, nor his intercession on your behalf--and, therefore, for Christ's sake you cannot be forgiven. Could Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, think you, if living now--could they, I ask, find forgiveness at the altar? And will you imagine, that he, who honored every institution by Moses, by connecting rewards and punishments with the obedience or disobedience of his commands, be less jealous for the honor of the institution of his Son? And will that Son who, for no other purpose than to honor his Father's institution, was immersed in the Jordan, bestow pardon or salvation upon any who refuse to honor him, and him that sent him? He has been graciously pleased to adapt means to ends. He has commanded immersion for the remission of sins, and think you that he will change his institution, because of your stubborn or intractable disposition. As well, as reasonably might you pray for loaves from heaven, or manna, because Israel eat it in the desert, as to pray for pardon while you refuse the remission of your sins by immersion.
Demur not because of the simplicity of the thing. Remember how simple was the eating of the fruit of that tree, "whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe" How simple was the rod in the hand of Moses when stretched over Egypt and the Red Sea. How simple was looking at the brazen serpent. And how simple are all God's institutions. How simple the aliments of nature; the poisons too, and their remedies. Where the will of God is, there is omnipotence. 'Twas simple to speak the universe into existence. But God's will gives efficacy to every thing. And obedience ever was, and ever will be, the happiness of man. It is the happiness of Heaven. 'Tis God's philanthropy which has given us something to obey. To the angels who sinned he has given no command. 'Twas gracious to give us a command to live--a command to reform--a command to be born again--to live for ever. Remember light and life first came by obedience. If God's voice had not been obeyed, the water would not have brought forth the earth, nor would the sun have blessed it by his rays. The obedience of law was goodness and mercy; but the obedience of faith is favor, and life, and glory everlasting. None to whom this gospel is announced will perish, except those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of his Son. Kiss, then, the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish for ever.
To the unregenerate of all classes, whose education and prejudices compel them to assent to the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude.--You own the mission of Jesus  from the bosom of the Eternal--and that is all you do! Each of you is living without God and without hope in the world--aliens from the family of God--of various ranks and grades among men; but all involved in one condemnation, because light has come into the world, and you love darkness, and the works of darkness, rather than the light. To live without hope is bad enough; but to live in constant dread of the vengeance of Heaven, is still worse. But do you tremble not at the word of God?
If you can be saved here, or hereafter, then there is no meaning in language, no pain in the universe, no truth in God--Death, the grave, and destruction have no meaning. The frowns of Heaven are all smiles, if you perish not in your ways.
But you purpose to bow to Jesus, and to throw yourselves upon his mercy at last. Impious thought! When you have given the strength of your intellect, the vigor of your constitution, the warmth of your affections, and the best energies of your life, to the world, the flesh, and the Devil; you will stretch out your palsied hands, and turn your dim eyes to the Lord, and say, 'Lord, have mercy upon me?' The first fruits, and the fatlings for the Devil, and the lame and the blind for God, is the purpose of your heart; and the best resolution you can form!
The thief upon the cross, had he done so, could not have found mercy. 'Tis one thing to have known the way of salvation, assented to it, and to have in deliberate resolution rejected it for the present, with a promise of obeying it at some future period; and to have never known it, nor assented to it, till the end of life. Promise not, then, to yourselves what has never happened to others. The Devil has always said, "You may give to-morrow to the Lord--only give to the to-day." This has been all that he has asked, and this is what you are disposed to give. Promise not to-morrow to the Lord, for you will be still less disposed to give it when it comes; and the Lord has not asked you for to-morrow. He says, TO-DAY, when you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts. But you say, you are willing to come to the Lord to-day if you knew the way, or if you were prepared! Well, what does the Lord require of you as preparation? He once said, "Let the wicked man forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." He says also, "Draw nigh to me, and I will draw nigh to you "Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you men of two souls;" "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings;" "Reform and be converted;" "Turn to the Lord;" "Be immersed for the remission of your sins;" and "Submit to the government of Jesus." "What! just as I am!" Pray, how are you? Have you such a persuasion in your heart of the mission of Jesus, as God's own Son, and the only Saviour; and have you so much confidence in his personal character as to be willing to surrender yourself to him for the present and the future--for time and eternity ? "I have." you say. As one that has heard his voice, I say then, Come and be regenerated, and seasons of refreshment from the Lord will come to you, 
"But I thought I ought to feel like a Christian first, and to have the experience of a christian, before I came to the Lord." Indeed! Did the Lord tell you so? "His ministers taught me so." It is hard knowing who are his ministers now-a-days. His commissioned ministers taught you not so. They were not taught to say so. The Master knew that to wait for health before we went to the physician; to seek for warmth before we approached the fire; too wait till we ceased to be hungry before ever we approached the table--was not reasonable. And therefore, he never asked, as he never expected, any one to feel like christian before he was immersed, and began to live like a christian. None but the citizens of any country can experience the good or evil of the government which presides over it. None but the married can experience the conjugal relation and feelings. None but sons and daughters can have the experience of sons and daughters; and none but those who obey the gospel can experience the sweets of obedience. I need not add, that none but the disobedient can experience the pains, the fears, and terrors of the Lord, the shame and remorse which are the first fruits of the anguish and misery which await them in another world. As the disobedient, who stumble at the word, have the first fruits of the awful destruction from the presence of the Lord, which awaits them; so the obedient have the first fruits of the Spirit--the salvation of their souls, as an earnest until the salvation to be revealed at the coming of the Lord.
And now let me ask all the unregenerate, What do you propose to yourselves by either delaying or refusing to come to the Lord? Will delaying have any tendency to fit you or prepare you for his salvation? Will your lusts have less power, or sin have less dominion over you by continuing under their control? Has the intoxicating cup by indulgence diminished a taste for it? Has the avarice of the miser been weakened or cured by yielding to it? Has any propensity been destroyed by gratifying it, in any other way than as it destroyed the animal system? Can you, then, promise yourselves that, by continuing in disobedience, you will love obedience, and be more inclined to submit when you have longer resisted the Spirit of God! Presume not on the mercy of God, but in the way that mercy flows. Grace has its channels, as the waters have their courses; and its path as the lightning of the clouds. Each has its law, as fixed as the throne of God; and think not that God will work a miracle for your salvation.
Think you that the family of Noah could have been saved if they had refused to enter into the Ark? Could the first born of Israel have escaped the destroying angel, but in houses sprinkled with blood? or could Israel have escaped the wrath of Pharaoh, but by being immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea? These things are written for our admonition upon whom the consummation of past ages has come. Arise, then, and be immersed, and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. The many who refuse grace will neither prove you wise nor safe in disobedience.
|"Multitudes are no mark
That you will right be found;
A few were saved in the Ark,
For many millions drown'd.
Obey the gospel call,
And enter while you may:
Christ's flock have long been small,
But none are safe but they!!!
[The Millennial Harbinger, 1 (July, 1830): 1-60.]
[Table of Contents]
Alexander Campbell, ed.|
The Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I, Extra No. I (1830)
Back to Alexander Campbell Page|
Back to Restoration Movement Texts Page