baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ? ? as the ark whose sides were immersed in water saved Noah, so the immersion of believers typically saves them, that is, the answer of a good conscience, the turning of the soul to God, which baptism symbolizes. ?Oil, blood and water were used in the ritual of Moses and Aaron. The oil was poured, the blood was sprinkled, the water was used for complete ablution first of all, and subsequently for partial ablution to those to whom complete ablution had been previously administered? (Wm. Ashmore).
(e) From the testimony of church history as to the practice of the early church.
Tertullian, De Baptismo, chap. 12 ? ?Others make the suggestion (forced enough, clearly) that the apostles then served the turn of baptism when in their little ship they were sprinkled and covered with the waves, that Peter himself also was immersed enough when he walked on the sea. It is however, as I think, one thing to be sprinkled or intercepted by the violence of the sea and another thing to be baptized in obedience to the discipline of religion.? Fisher, Beginnings of Christianity, 565 ? ?Baptism, it is now generally agreed among scholars, was commonly administered by immersion.? Schaff, History of the Apostolic Church, 570 ? ?Respecting the form of baptism, the impartial historian is compelled by exegesis and history substantially to yield the point to the Baptists.? Elsewhere Dr. Schaff says: ?The baptism of Christ in the Jordan, and the illustrations of baptism used in the N. T., are all in favor of immersion, rather than of sprinkling, as is freely admitted by the best exegetes, Catholic and Protestant, English and German. Nothing can be gained by unnatural exegesis. The persistency and aggressiveness of Baptists have driven pedobaptists to opposite extremes.?
Dean Stanley, in his address at Eton College, March, 1879, on Historical Aspects of American Churches, speaks of immersion as ?the primitive, apostolic and till the 13th century, the universal mode of baptism, which is still retained throughout the Eastern churches and which is still in our own church as positively enjoined in theory as it is universally neglected in practice.? The same writer, in the Nineteenth Century, Oct. 1879, says that ?the change from immersion to sprinkling has set aside the larger part of the apostolic language regarding baptism and has altered the very meaning of the word.? Neander, Church Hist., 1:310 ? ?In respect to the form of baptism, it was, in conformity with the original institution and the original import of the symbol, performed by immersion, as a sign of entire
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