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- Go wash seven times in Jordan--and Naaman went down, and dipped,” say our translators, (bap-tized) “ himself seven times in Jordan, according to the word of Elisha." The reader will please to notice, that if the baptizing here should be understood of immersing, it would form no objection to my theory on the meaning of Battisw, which admits immersion to be one of its meanings. It is not therefore for the sake of the general question, but for the illustration of this particular passage, that I say, I do not understand it here to signify immersion. It expressly says, that Naaman baptized himself, “ ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF ELISHA ;" that is, he did as Elisha bade him. But Elisha bade him " WASH.” In baptizing himself therefore Naaman WASHED. But, it will be said, is not washing one's self in a river, and immersing one's self, the same thing? By no means. If a physician prescribe cold bathing, it may be naturally understood by the patient that he should plunge overhead, in order to produce the salutary revulsion ; although on this point physicians are not universally of the same opinion. But to apply water for washing, especially washing in a symbolical sense, as a religious ceremony, or as the means of obtaining miraculous aid, leads to no such conclusion. I have no doubt that Naaman washed every part of his body, and for this good reason, that the leprosy covered every part of his body ; but I am persuaded he did not plunge overhead. I believe he did what Livy describes, when he tells us (I. 45.) how the Roman high-priest outwitted the Sabine, who wished to be the first who
should offer a sacrifice to Diana. Quidnam tu hospes, paras ?" inquit.“ Inceste sacrificium Dianæ
“ facere ? Quin tu ante vivo PERFUNDERIS Aumine. Infima valle præfluit Tiberis.”
« What are you going to do, stranger ?” says he.“ Would you offer a sacrifice to Diana in an impure manner ? Go first and WASH YOURSELF ALL OVER with running water (pour running water all over you). The Tiber flows before you in the bottom of the valley." A similar operation may be intended by Virgil, when he represents Æneas as saying, Æneid. II. 717-720.
Tu, genitor, cape sacra manu, patriosque Penates :
“ Do thou, father, take in thine hand the sacred things and our country's gods. For me, come from so great a battle and such recent slaughter, it is impiety to handle them, till I shall have WASHED AW my defilement with running water.” I believe it was because they understood the passage to speak of this ceremonial perfusion and ablution, that the Vulgate translators used the word Lavo, as the Geneva translators did the corresponding word “wash," in both clauses. We have reason, however, to believe that the ablution of Virgil signifies nothing more than the washing of the hands. It is well known that Virgil imitated Homer; and in the parallel passage of Homer, the purification referred to as necessary to a warrior after fighting, is expressly limited to the hands. Declining her invitation to drink wine, Hector says to his mother Hecuba,
ΧΕΡΣΓ Δ' 'ΑΝΙΠΤOΙΣΙΝ Δt λείβειν αίθουσα δίνον
'IA. Z. 266-268.
I dare not pour, WITH UNWASH'D HANDS, to Jove
Cowper's Iliad, vi. 301-304.
We shall see afterwards, that this corresponds with the mode of ablution used before officiating in the sacred service of the Jews. But I shall be told that the word bew, used in 4 Kings. v. 14. settles the point. Does not it signify to dip, immerge, plunge ? I believe Parkhurst hits on its true meaning, when he mentions, as derived from it, the English word, Dabble. A better word for “throwing the water all over one's self” could hardly be desired.
The only other passage in the Old Testament in which the word in question is used is Isa. xxi. 4. dvouía de Barriţel, "iniquity overwhelms me.” Here, the idea of plunging into is excluded. The subject of Baptism is viewed as having something poured or brought upon him. He is not popped into the baptizing substance, but it pops upon him. In this figurative application, the word does not retain its natural
sense, of small operations of a gentle nature, but is used in that secondary, exaggerated, hyperbolical sense, which was formerly noticed..
In this sense of pouring upon and pouring into, till mind and body are overwhelmed, impregnated, intocicated, and the circumstances are oppressive, or even destructive, the word is very frequently used in profane writers. Thus, βεβάπτισθαι τε τω ακράτω, « to have been drenched with wine.” Athen. Deipnos. lib. 5. και γάς αυτός είμι των χθες βεβαπτισμένων, myself also am one of those who were yesterday drenched with wine” Plato. Conviv. oίνω δε πολλά 'Αλέξανδρον βαπτίσασα, «καυing made Alexander drunk with much wine.” Cono. Narrat. 50. βεβαπτισμένον είς ανασθησίαν και ύπνον υπό της μεθής, « drenched to insen. sibility and sleep by intemperance." Joseph. A. X. 9. 4.
δυνάμεις βεβαπτισμένη εν τω βάθει του σώματος, ε force infused into (or diffused in) the inward parts of the body.” Αlex. Aphrod. Problem. lib. 2. ώσπερ γαρ τα φυτά τους μεν μετρίοις ύδασι τρέφεται, τοις δε πολλούς πνίγεται, τον αυτόν τρόπον ψυχή τους μεν συμμετροΐς αύξεται πόνοις τοις δε υπερβάλλουσι βαπτίζεται, « for as plants are nourished by moderate, but choked by excessive watering, (literally waters,) in like manner, the mind is enlarged by labours suited to its strength, but is overwhelmed (Gr. baptized) by such as exceed its power." Plutarch de lib. Educ. The reference here to the nourishment of plants, indicates pouring only to be the species of watering alluded to in the term βαπτίζεται. τους δε ιδιώτας, διά την έκ τούτων ευπορίαν, ου βαπτίζουσι ταϊς εισφοραίς, “on account of the abundant supply from those
sources, they do not oppress (or overload, Gr. baptize) the common people with taxes.” Diod. Sic. lib. 1. c. 73. οι δή και δίχα της στασέως ύστερον εβάπτισαν την πόλιν, “ those, indeed, even without (engaging in) faction, afterwards overburthened or oppressed (Gr. baptized) the city.” Joseph. de Bello. IV. 3. QÚtos siul Tây Bsβαπτισμένων υπό του μεγάλου κύματος εκείνου, «I am one of those who have been overwhelmed by that great wave of calamity.” Liban. Epist. 25. TETANIOXINí
πεντακισχιλίων μυριάδων οφλήμασι βεβαπτισμένοι, « oppressed by a debt of 5000 myriads." Plutarch, Galb. rai rñ ouue pogó B:βαπτισμένον, Barriolévov, “and overwhelmed with the calamity.” Heliod. Athiop. lib. 4. . ο δε μόλις ά νύν φέρει φέρων υπό μικράς αν βαπτισθείη προσθήκης, «he who bears with difficulty the burthen he already has, would be entirely overwhelmed (sunk or crushed, Gr. baptized) by a small addition.” Liban. Epist. 310.
But to return to the gentler applications of the word. Although the Apocryphal writers are no authorities for doctrine, they may be usefully consulted as writers in the hellenistic style, that is, a style resembling that of the Septuagint and New Testament. There are two passages in the Apocrypha, both which confirm our explanation of Burtilw. Judith xii. 7. και εβαπτίζετο εν τη παρεμβολή 'ΕΠΙ' της πηγής του ύδατος, anys rou idaros, “and washed (baptized) herself in
WASHED the camp at the fountain of water.” In this case, the washing could not have been by immersion, being done at a spring or fountain of water. The other passage is in Sirach xxxi. 25. or xxxiv. 25. Battisóuevos από νεκρού, και πάλιν απτόμενος αυτού, τι ωφέλησε τη λουτρα