baptism into the Holy Spirit, of being entirely penetrated by the same. It was only with the sick, where exigency required it that any exception was made. Then it was administered by sprinkling. Many superstitious persons imagined such sprinkling to be not fully valid and stigmatized those thus baptized as clinics.?

Until recently, there has been no evidence that clinic baptism, i . e., the baptism of a sick or dying person in bed by pouring water copiously around him, was practiced earlier than the time of Novatian in the third century. In these cases there is good reason to believe that a regenerating efficacy was ascribed to the ordinance. We are now, however, compelled to recognize a departure from N. T. precedent somewhat further back. Important testimony is that of Prof. Harnack, of Giessen, in the Independent of Feb. 19, 1885 ? ?Up to the present moment we possess no certain proof from the period of the second century in favor of the fact that baptism by aspersion was even then facultatively administered; for Tertullian (De Punit., 6, and De Batismo, 12) is uncertain, and the age of those pictures upon which is represented a baptism by aspersion is not certain. The ?Teaching of the Twelve Apostles? however, instructed us in that already. In very early times, people in the church took no offense when aspersion was put in place of immersion when any kind of outward circumstances might render immersion impossible or impracticable. But the rule was also certainly maintained that immersion was obligatory if the outward conditions of such a performance were at hand.? This seems to show that, while the corruption of the N. T. rite began soon after the death of the apostles, baptism by any other form than immersion was even then a rare exception, which those who introduced the change sought to justify upon the plea of necessity. See Schaff, Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 29-57, and other testimony in Coleman, Christian Antiquities, 275; Stuart, in Bib. Repos., 1883:355-363.

The ?Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,? section 7, reads as follows: ?Baptize in living water. And if thou have no living water, baptize in other water and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. And if thou have neither, pour water upon the head thrice.? Here it is evident that ?baptize? means only ?immerse,? but if water be scarce then pouring may be substituted for baptism. Dr. A. H. Newman, Antipedobaptism 5, says that ?The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles? may possibly belong to the second half of the second century but in its present form is probably much later. It does not explicitly teach baptismal regeneration but this view seems to be implied in the requirement, in case of an absolute lack of a sufficiency of water of any kind for baptism proper, that pouring water on the head

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment