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ON THE WORD FOR “BAPTIZE” | man and hound. Now, in Hebrew, the IN THE SYRIAC VERSION OF
word âmad signifies to stand. In the Syriac THE NEW TESTAMENT.*
New Testament the word ámad is used
of being baptized. Moreover, the word “If stubborn Greek refuse to be his friend,
ámoodo, a pillar (an object standing erect), Hebrew or Syriac shall be forced to beud; is evidently from the Hebrew amood, which, If languages and copies all cry, No,
also, means a pillar. Quite clear it would Somebody proved it centuries ago.
seem, then, that the Syriac translator used Like trout pursued the critic in despair,
a word for baptizing which means, in the Darts to the mud, and fiuds his shelter there."
Progress of Error.
neuter form, to stand, and in the causative
declension (which these languages have), to Thus wrote our christian poet Cowper, make to stand. Well, but how came he or more than half a century ago; and it cer the Syrians to call baptism standing ? tainly appears as if he had been inspired to Some tolerably rational account must be foretel the last desponding refuge of Anti given, or impartial critics will not accept it. immersion criticism. Utterly driven from Some, therefore, suggested, 1st, to stand, the clear waters of well known Greek, i.e., to stand in the river, and to be imno scholar being now willing to risk his mersed in it; the standing being that from credit by rejecting the Baptist interpretation which the ordinance was named; this was of the word baptize, escape has been sought the suggestion of critics who were really in the obscurity resting on the etymology perplexed, and tried to account for it as of the word by which the Greek baptizo is they best could; it is obvious to every one, translated in the venerable Syriac version that it is inconceivable that the ordinance of the New Testament. This translation is could liave been named from a circumstance indeed a most valuable one, characterized which, according to their own shewing, is by remarkable fidelity to the original, older, merely accessory. 2ndly. Dr. Henderson, in probably, than any manuscripts now in ex this country, adopted an idea better adapted istence, and, therefore, highly and justly to sprinkling adults, but very unlucky for a prized by all who are acquainted with the baptizer of infants; his was, that the term language. Now, the combination of Hebrew meant to stand at, or in the water, in order with Syriac (the two languages are sery to be sprinkled or poured upon! Great closely allied) is made to yield the notable trouble this to take for such an application conclusion, that the author of the Syriac of water; but how did the Doctor's infants version did not use a word expressive of stand ? 3rdly. According to Moses Stuart, immersion, or, as some will have it, of the in his treatise on the word baptize, in mode of performing the ceremony at all. which, having given up Greek, he takes We have ample reason to know that many refuge in Syriac, standing meant to establish of our readers like a paper of the kind now or confirm; and the allusion is to the rite before them, or we would not attempt to of confirmation, which followed baptism; give a sketch, in mere English, of an but proof wholly fails that confirmation articlet which can be fully appreciated was closely connected with baptism at the only by one acquainted with alphabets and early time the word in question was first languages which few understand. We will used, and then the difficulty of squaring do our best, however, to give the kernel of this explanation with the grammatical forms the subject to our intelligent readers.
of the Syriac word is so great as to render Syriac and Hebrew are, as we have ob it all but impossible. Our readers could served, very closely connected; the roots not comprehend it without Syriac characof by far the greater part of the words in ters; suffice it, therefore, to remark, that both are as closely connected, for instance, Dr. Murdock, on whose paper, in a previous as the German Mann and Hund with our | number of the Bibliotheca Sacra, Dr.
# An Investigation in Syriac Philology. By the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Davies, Montreal, from the Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1851.
+ Our readers who are acquainted with the ancient languages, beside the articles in the Bibliotheca Sacra, would be much interested in a valuable small work entitled, “A Critical Examination of the Rendering of Baptizo, in the Ancient and many Modern Versions of the New Testament." By R. W. Gotch, A.M. (aow Classical Tutor at Bristol College). Loudon, 1841.,
Davies is commenting, himself refutes this suggestion, and proposes another, 4thly, namely, that it meant to stand, because christians associated with it the idea of “coming to a stand, or of taking a public and decisive stand on the side of christianity:" as Dr. Davies remarks, this original suggestion is set forth in a very pleasing manner, and is, theologically, very acceptable; but yet it is, philologically, beset with difficulties in common with the foregoing theories. Nor is it easy to see how it could apply to infant baptism. Could tender babes and little children be supposed to take a decisive stand on the side of christianity ?
We must now try to give the simple truth as briefly and clearly as possible.
The well-known scholar, Michaelis, long ago stated in his Syriac dictionary, that the word â mad was nowhere to be found in Syriac, in the sense to stand; and that to him it appeared far more probable that, though similar in spelling to the Hebrew word to stand, it had in reality no connexion with it; but arose, by a slight change, from another root found in Arabic, a language closely connected with both Hebrew and Syriac, which root had the signification of submerging. His honest and natural conjecture must now be recognized as the truth; for, Ist, while the word â mad is never used in Syriac in the sense of standing, it is found more than ten times in the Syriac Bible in the sense of immersing, when the ordinance of baptism is not referred to, and when, therefore, it must be used in its ordinary and non-ecclesiastical sense. 2ndly. The testimony of the native Syriac lexicographers. Dr. Davies has examined their most celebrated dictionaries (those of Bar-Ali and Bar-Bahlul), which lie in manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and their evidence is clear and unambiguous. Neither to the word âmad, nor to its derivatives, do they give the translation to stand at all; baptism, immersion, diving, are the only meanings given, unless we regard as any exception the noun which means “a pillar,” and which, no doubt, follows the Hebrew word for pillar mentioned above. The evidence from the old Syriac liturgies is also very strong; into further details, however, it is impossible to enter in “The Church.” Suffice it to add, that we think it is clear by all the instances which we have of the use of the word, and
by the testimony of native lexicographers, that the word meant immersion in Syriac, and nothing else; nor can we hardly imagine that this will be again called in question.
No; we do honestly think that our brethren who advocate sprinkling will find in Hebrew and Syriac no better friends than in Greek. The "mud” stirred over this poor word has at last subsided, and all can see to the bottom. They have, it appears to us, but two friends; one, the practice of the last five or six centuries,-another, “their christian (?) liberty to alter the form of ceremonies, provided they do but retain the spirit."* If they are satisfied with such guides in attending to the ceremonies instituted by Christ, we cannot be. We are bound to believe them sincere; but we do not feel ourselves at liberty thus to play fast and loose with the supreme authority of our Master. We think the letter of his ordinances no infringement on our christian liberty; nor can we accept the general practice of a few hundred years, or of the present time, as a sufficient plea for consigning to oblivion the rite which He deemed most appropriate to express the views with which we should enter upon our service to Him.
THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE.
We have just met with the following extracts from an address delivered at the opening of the New College last month, by the Rev. Dr. Harris. We think them quite interesting enough to warrant our preseuting them to our readers :
“In answer to the question, "What is inspiration ?' Dr. Harris submitted the following particulars, each of which he illustrated and enforced with his characteristic lucidity and beauty :-). Inspiration is something distinct from, and additional to, revelation. 2. Inspiration is different in kind from all the phenomena of mere natural excitement and of genius. 3. Inspiration is not to be confounded with the clear perceptions of Divine truth resulting from superior piety. 4. Apostolic inspiration, like apostolic authority, of which it was an element, and for which it was a qualification, appears to have been continuous and abiding. 5. The inspiration of the sacred writers relates pre-eminently to their thoughts. 6. The sacred writers appear to
* Dr. Harley and Moses Stuart.
have spoken and written under the distincts the truth ; afterwards, the truth comes to consciousness of their inspiration.
throw a halo around the miracle. If, again, “ What then," continued the lecturer, "is the spirit in question only went the length the amount of deference due to an author of affirming that the mind can receive only ity which thus comes before us with a rev such, and so much, truth, however authenelation, an inspiration, and evidence, the ticated, as it is prepared to receive, the promiraculous character of which proves both position would be undeniable. This is a to be from heaven? It must be plain that scriptural doctrine, and leaves the mind itwe have no alternative. Necessity is laid self responsible to the God of truth, for not on us.' For us, the Bible is not only true, being in a higher state of moral preparation. but supremely authoritative. It may, in But the objection seeks to discharge the deed, be the fashion of the day to disparage mind from this responsibility, and to sumthe miraculous and historical evidence of mon the objective to the bar of the subjecrevelation, as if it had lost, or were losing, tive-to substitute our spiritual tastes and its applicability and force. And it is true impressions for the doctrines of the word of that this particular branch of evidence may God. Or if the objection only implied that have had more than the due proportion of man has certain spiritual intuitions, or inregard claimed for it by some parties. But stincts, and that nothing which contravenes what wise man would, on that account, these can be accepted as coming from the either deny its permanence or question its author of those instincts, it must be held as authority ? Robbed of its supernatural self-evidently true. The objection, howseals, the Bible must not only consent to ever, as we understand it, besides providing take its place among the human theories of no criteria for determining those instincts, the day, it must be branded with this mark erects the human mind, despite its changeof degradation, that it has forged the signa ful phenomena, into a test and standard of ture of Heaven, while owing only an earthly Divine truth. origin. But, entrenched within its munition “ But for us, I repeat, the Bible is not of miracles, it stands alone and impregnable, only true, but of Divine authority. It challenging the homage of a message sent comes, not merely to be admired, but befrom God; and surrounding itself, in that lieved. On all subjects within the range of very homage, with the loftier evidence still, its decisions it has the right of dictation. that the gospel is the power of God unto Here, it admits of no compromise, and salvation to every one that believeth.' if, shares its throne with no rival. It is not indeed, this characteristic of the day only merely a guide to truth, but a discoverer. implied a preference for the moral and in Its value lies, not merely in its corroboraternal evidence of the gospel over the mira tion of truths already known, nor in its misculous and external, it might plead the war sion merely to strengthen our ordinary rant of that gospel itself. Because thou principles of morality; but to publish hast seen me, thou hast believed (said our truths which it had not entered into the Lord to the doubting disciple); blessed are mind of man to conceive. Even its mysthey that have not seen, and yet have be teries have been disclosed in the benevolent lieved.' The faith which is independent of act of exploding the absurdities of human external evidence is here assigned a higher | religions, and in enlightening our ignorance place than that which waits for such visible on subjects on which ignorance would have proofs ; implying that the faith which springs been fatal. Every other teacher of religion up from a meeting between the conscious is correct only as he approaches this standness of religious want and the perception of ard. Having found, by comparison and inChristian truth-from the mind's spontane vestigation, that it is the temple, not of a ons recognition of its Saviour-is peculiarly false god, but of the very spirit of truth, blessed. It is the heroic faith which sum what remains but for reason devoutly to mons the miracle compared with that which enter and consult the oracle? Henceforth the miracle has to summon. And in pro the sublimest office of reason is to receive portion as the range of Christian truth en the Divine testimony as the highest demonlarges in a community, and its transferring
stration. In honour of the Christian repower and moral authority become recog velation these halls have been reared, and nised, the necessity for its direct authenti to the training of suitable men for its excation by miraculous evidence diminishes. position and diffusion, they are from this At first, the miracle lends its sanction to day to'be dedicated. Literature, and sci
ence, and philosophy, are to be valued here Christ), will draw all men unto me. Are only as the handmaids of that theology our places of worship filled chiefly with which is the haven and rest of all man's nominal Christians, persons to whom relicontemplations,' and whose aim is to ex gion is almost entirely objective, and its hibit biblical truth, as the mind of God, in operations mere charms and magic ? they its grand organic unity, and the mind of the must preach conversion, aiming directly at church in advancing reconciliation and har their conversion, warning them that there mony with it. It is the distinction of Chris is no alternative between it and their detianity that it is the only form of religion struction. Are there loud calls around us which has what can properly be called a for a new advent of truth, and a higher form theology or system of doctrines. And it is of excellence, and a more ennobling method the honour of Christian theology to attempt of attaining it ? and are there those who to comprehend in one sublime whole all its undertake to give utterance to these cray. diversified truths; to receive verse after ings, and to interpret and encourage this verse from the hands of a wise and pains dissatisfaction ? pandering to an appetite taking criticism--and fact after fact from a they cannot appease, stronger to demolish slowly-formed creed-and doctrine after than to construct ? For as many of such doctrine from ages of prolonged discussion, cravings as are genuine, the gospel is exand to rear the whole into a temple more quisitely, divinely, adapted. It seeks to accordant with the Divine mind than even kindle high aspirations. It is comparatively that whose model was shewed to Moses on unknown for the want of them. Did they the Mount. High is the aim of the philo exist, half of heaven might be foreknown on sopher in essaying to generalize all the phe earth. Let our young ministers so preach nomena of nature into a principle, a grand the gospel as to shew men that, if enlarged fact, which shall proclaim the unity of the views can delight them, or models of high whole, and so reveal a personal and en excellence win their admiration, or lofty throned God. But sublimer still is the aim motives inspire them to action, we need not of the theologian in adding to this melody as yet call for a new dispensation. Are our of nature the more magnificent harmony of young religious enquirers met with the asrevelation; in realizing for the mind the surance that their own intuitions are inspinoblest visions of Patmos, in which truth ration, that their noblest guide is within ? shall be seen in hierarchal order-thrones, and is their natural impatience of authority principalities, and powers-and the Lamb gratified by the assurance that nothing obin the midst of the throne,' receiving the jective must control them? We must myriad-voiced homage of the whole. The preach as the ministers of Him who hath bare conception lists the soul. The actual said, Preach the gospel to every creature; attempt, disdaining to accept the mere ser he that believeth shall be saved, and he vice of a leisure hour, of an occasional effort, that believeth not shall be condemned.' or of a single power, demands the consecra "The word that I have spoken, the same tion of the man. God hath spoken ; what shall judge him in the last day.' And is it less can man do, than summon all that is true that, for a healthy personal piety, they within him' to meet the greatness of the are in danger of substituting a vague emooccasion ? Even this theology looks above tional mysticism-a weak solution of reliand beyond itself to the perfecting of the gious feeling and poetic sentiment? The saints, the work of the ministry, the edify men of God we desire to see issue from ing of the body of Christ.' In vain will the these walls (let your prayers, dear brethren, gospel itself be the text of all our teaching co-operate with our aims that their number and theologizing here, if it be not so taught may not be small) are such as shall be preas to be the means of sending forth a suc pared to shew them, from deep self-expericession of men of God,' 'mighty in the ence, that there is a world without no less Scriptures.' And comparatively in vain real than the world within a revelation of will even that be, if they are not suited to mercy addressing them-a personal God, at preach, not to the past, but to the men of whose bar they are standing, as sinners the present day. Is the age drawn by a needing atonement, forgiveness, and a new strong attraction to a material centre ? they heart. 'Brethren, pray for us, that the must bring forth the only counter magnet ; I word of the Lord may have free course, and and I, if I be lifted up from the earth (said be glorified.'”.
Tales and Sketches.
THE LITTLE BEGGAR-GIRL.
BY LUCY LINWOOD. It was upon one of those frosty, yet sunny days of February, when the favourite of fortane and the lover of ease is most likely to be found luxuriating before the warmth of his own cheerful fireside, that our story opens. As such a one reclines upon his velvet-cushioned couch, with an air of quiet satisfaction, with his table laden with luxuries, he seems too often to feel that all that is required of him is to make himself happy and comfortable !
Mr. D-- was one of those favoured few of whom we have spoken. He dwelt in the heart of New York. His family consisted of a wife and one child-a little boy two years of age, at the time to which we alhude. This gentleman was sitting before a brilliant coal-fire, with his feet resting lazily upon an ottoman ; he held a splendidly-bound volume in his hand, and was now awaiting the summons to dinner. He would occasionally look up from his book and cast a glance at the window. The jingling bells accompanying the merry sleighing parties as they went skipping past, and the bright snow glittering in the sunlight, seemed to give an air of gaiety to everything without ; and Mr. D— saw no reason why every one should not be as happy as he was himself,
As he sat thus alone in his private library, a little beggar-girl approached the door of his house and asked for bread. The servant gave her a few dry bits, and, noticing that she was very thinly clad and shivering with the cold, bade her come in to the fire and warm herself.
It was probably the first time in her life that the poor girl had been asked to a stranger's fire, and it seemed, if one could judge from the expression of her face, that it awakened in her mind a gleam of hope.
She thanked the servant for her kindRess, said she could not stop to warm herself, but desired to see the gentleman of the house.
“ Oh, that is out of the question,” said the servant, “ he would not allow me to shew a beggar to his room. I would risk my situation if I should do such a thing."
But the little girl was desperate, and was not to be put off. She begged the girl to
shew her to that part of the house he was in, and she would even run the risk of intruding without leave.
In another moment the distressed child stood before the great Mr. D , in his private sitting room.
She stopped and curtsied low; and, with a look of mingled hope and fear, waited for a word of encouragement from the gentleman. Mr.
D raised his eyes from his book, and with a stern look enquired : “ What do you want ?”
She immediately summoned courage, for she felt that that was her last chance, and replied:“Good Sir, will you be so kind as toto
lend me a few shillings, to get some wood to keep my poor mother from freezing tonight? She is very sick, and if she gets well, she will do some work to pay you; if she does not, I will try to repay it in some way myself.” Mr.
D a rose slowly, and pointing to the door, said to her : “ Go out, you little vagrant! This is the third time to-day that I have been annoyed by you, and with this same story. How long have you been learning that story? You repeat it well truly! You are not satisfied with disturbing me in my office, and accosting me in the street, but you have the impudence to enter my house without leave. Let this be the last time you intrude yourself in my presence, or, remember, I shall set the dog after you. Cæsar, here!”.
At this instant, a huge dog sprang from under the table, and stood waiting his master's orders. The little beggar fled for her life, and returned with a heavy heart to the miserable abode where lay her suffering mother, her only earthly friend, who she felt must soon be relieved of her misery ! But, for herself, the cheerless prospect was to struggle on alone with the coldheartedness of this world, an example of which she had that day been made acquainted with.
She now seemed to be impressed with the thought that that night was to decide their fate. She exerted her utmost energies to obtain something in the shape of fuel for that night, but without success. She gathered all the little clothing they had, to cover them with, and strove to en