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ever may choose to undertake it; and he himself was in doubt about the first institution of this sort of baptism; for he afterwards says, "We acknowledge that circumcision was of divine institution; but by whom baptism, that was inseparable from it, was instituted, is doubtful." Certain it is, it has no foundation in what Jacob did or ordered to be done, when he was about to go to Bethel, and worship there; previous to which he ordered his family to put away the strange gods that were among them, which they had brought with them from Shechem; and he likewise ordered them to be clean, and change their garments; which cleanness, whether to be understood of abstaining from their wives, as some interpret it; or of washing of their bodies, as Aben Ezra, as a purification of them from the pollutions of the slain, as the Targum paraphrases it, and after that Jarchi; and which change of garments, whether understood of the garments of idolaters, which the sons of Jacob had taken and put on, when they stripped them; or of their own garments, defiled with the blood of the slain; or of their meaner and more sordid garments, for more pure and splendid ones. All that can be concluded from hence is, and is by the Jews concluded, that when men come before God, they should come with clean bodies, and with clean garments; as an emblem of the more inward purity of their minds, which is necessary to every religious service and act of devotion, such as Jacob and his family were now about to perform, and which the very heathens themselves had a notion of; Casta placent superis, pura cum veste venitof. But not a word is here of any covenant Jacob and his family entered into, and much less of any proselytes from Shechem and Syria being brought into it with them, by baptism, or dipping, as is pretended.

I have met with another learned man, who carries up this custom higher still; and asserts, that Jacob did not feign out of his own brain this practice of washing the body, and of change of garments; but took it from the history of Adam, and from his example; and he supposes that Adam, at the solemn making the covenant with him, was washed in water, before he put on the garments given him of God; and that as he was the first who sacrificed, he was the first who was baptized by the command of God; and so baptism was the most ancient of all the sacred rites. But let the history of Adam be carefully read over by any man, and he will never find the least hint of this, nor observe the least shadow of appearance of it; but what is it that the imagination of man will not admit and receive, when once a loose is given to it? Pray, who baptized Adam, if he was baptized? Did God baptize him? Or did an angel baptize him? Or did Eve baptize him? Or did he baptize himself?

Since then this rite or custom of admitting into covenant, whether Israelites

Pfeiffer. Antiqu. Ebr. c. 1. s. 5. & addit; uti et ejusdem collationem; quam inter bune proselytorum baptismum & sacramentum initiationis christianorum instituit cum magno grano salis accipiendam putamus. Tibullus, 1. 2. eleg. 1. Rhenferd. Orat. de Antiqu. Baptism,, p. 954. ad Calcem Oper. Philolog..

or proselytes, by baptism or dipping, has no foundation but in the Talmuds ; and the proof of it there so miserably supported from scripture, surely it cant never be thought that christian baptism, was borrowed from thence; or that it is no other which is continued in the christian church, being taken up as it was found by John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles; the folly and falshood of which will be evinced in the following chapter.



HAVING traced the admission of the Jewish proselytes by baptism, or dipping, to the spring-head of it, the Jewish Talmuds; I shall now proceed to give reasons, why christian baptism cannot be thought to be taken from such a custom ; nor that to be a rule according to which it is to be practised.

First, The Talmuds are of too late a date to prove that such a custom obe tained before the times of John and Christ, since they were written some centuries after those times, as has been shewn; and besides, there is in them a plain chronological mark, or character, which shews that this custom took place! among the Jews since they were driven out of their own land, and scattered among the nations, and suffered reproach and persecution; for among the in terrogatories put to persons who came to them to be made proselytes, this ques tion was asked, “What dost thou see to become a proselyte? dost thou not know, or consider, that the Israelites are now at this time, in sorrowful circumstances, driven about, and scattered, and loaded with reproaches and afflictions? If he says, I know this; and I am not worthy (that is, to be joined to them) they receive him immediately." Many are the surmizes and conjectures of learned men concerning the original and rise of this custom. It is scarce worth while, to take notice of the notion of Grotius', that this custom was taken up on account of the flood, and in commemoration of the world's being purified by it nor of Sir John Marshaun's, that it was taken up by the Israelites, in imitation of the Egyptian's manner of initiating persons into the mysteries of their goddess Isis, by washing them; for which he cites Apuleius. A goodly pattern of christian baptisin this it is much it never entered into the thoughts of these learned men, or others, that the Jews took up this rite of dipping their prosely es, as they found it among the Medes and Persians, when they lived in: their countries, and so brought it into Judæa, some hundreds of years before the coming of Christ, and his forerunner John the Baptist; since of the eighty rites. the Persians used in the initiation of men into the mysteries of Mithras, their chief deity, the first and principal was baptisin. They dipped them in a bath, T. Bab Yebamot, fol. 47. 1. i Annot. in Matt. iii. 6. Chronic, secul. g. p. 200.


and signed them in their foreheads, and had a sort of an Eucharist, an oblation of bread, as Tertullian has it,' and an image of the resurrection (that is, in their baptism); promising the expiation of sins by the laver; and also had an imita◄ tion of martyrdom'. Some say ", this custom of the Jews was taken up by them out of hatred to the Samaritans, and was added to circumcision, to distinguish them from then: but if so, it is very much that Symmachus the Samaritan, when he came over to the Jews, was not only circumcised again, as he was, but also baptized, or dipped; of which Epiphanius, who gives an account of his becoming a proselyte to them, and of his being circumcised, but not of his being baptized, as before observed. Dr. Owen thinks this custom was taken up by some Antemishnical Rabbins, in imitation of John the Baptist; which is not very probable, though more so than any thing before advanced. To me it seems a clear case, that this custom was framed upon a general notion of the uncleanness of heathens, in their state of heathenism, before their embracing the Jewish religion; and therefore devised this baptism, or dipping, as a symbol of that purity, which was, or ought to be, in thein, when they became Jews, of whom they might hope to gain some, they being now dispersed among the nations; and of some they boast, even of some note: and this was first introduced when they digested the traditions of the elders into a body, or pandect of laws; and were finishing their decisions and determinations upon them, to be observed by their people in future time.

Since I wrote the preceding chapters, I have met with a quotation; for I will not conceal any thing that has occurred to me in reading, relative to this custom of dipping Jewish proselytes; I say, I have met with a quotation by Maimonides, out of a book called Siphri, an ancient commentary on Numbers and Deuteronomy, which has these words: "As the Israelites did not enter into covenant but by three things, by circumcision, dipping, and acceptation of sacrifice; so neither proselytes likewise." Now if this is the ancient book of Siphri, from whence this passage is taken, as may seem, which is a book of an uncertain author and age; and is allowed to be written after the Misnah P; yet if it is the same that is referred to in the Babylonian-Talmud, it must be written before that was published, though it might be while it was compiling, and it may be, by some concerned in it; since the rite referred to is expressed in the same words in the one as in the other; and is founded upon and argued from the same passage of scripture, Numb. xv. 15. and seems to be the lariguage and reasoning of the same persons. However, if the passage quoted by Maimonides stands in that book, which is a book I never saw, though printed; if, I say, these several things can be made plain; it is indeed the earliest

m Schick. Ebr. c. 1. s. 5. vid. Selden. de Syned. I. 1. c. 3 P Mabo Hagemara Beracot, fol. 47.

• Præfat. ad Seder Kodashim. T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 49. 2.

I Witsii Ægyptiaca, l. 2. c. 16. s. 10. vid. Tertullian. de Præscript. Hær. c. 40. ard. & Mayerus, apud Pfeiffer. Autiqu. Ut Supra & Theologoumen. p. 447. ad Calcem Halicot Olam, p. 223. T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 9. 1.

restimony we have of this custom; especially if the book was written before the Jerusalem Talmud, which yet is not certain : but be it as it may, it is a testimony of the same sort of persons, and of no better authority than what has been before produced, and serves to confirm, that this custom is a pure device of the Jewish doctors, and is merely Rabbinical; and besides, at most, it can only carry up this custom into the fifth century, which is too late for John Baptist and Christ to take up the ordinance from it; and on account of these testimonies not being early enough for such a purpose, the late Dr Jennings' has given up the argument from them, in favour of infant-baptismu, s insufficient His words are," After all, it remains to be proved, not only that christian bapism was instituted in the room of proselyte-baptism; but that the Jews had any such baptism in our Saviour's time: the earliest accounts we have of it, are in the Mislina (but in that we have none at all) and Gemara." And again he says, "There wants more evidence of its being as ancient as our Saviour's time, than I apprehend can be produced to ground an argument upon it, in relation to christian baptism."

Second, This custom, though observed as a religious action, yet has scarce any appearance of religion and devotion in it; but looks rather like a civil affair, it being in some cases under the cognizance and by the direction of the Sanhedrim, or court of judicature. There was no divine solemnity in the performance of it. It was not administered in the name of the God of Israel, whom the Jews professed; nor in the name of the Messiah to come, expected by them, as was the baptism of John; nor in the name of the Three divine Persons in the Trinity, which yet the ancient Jews believed. They dipped their proselytes indeed, according to their account in the name of a proselyte, or as one; and a servant, in the name of a servant, or on account of servitude; and a freeman, in the name of a free-man; but neither of them in the name of any divine Person, or with the invocation of the name of God; so that it had no appearance of a religious solemnity in it. To which may be added, that this custom gave a licence to things the most impure and abominable, things contrary to the light of nature, and not to be named among the Gentiles, and which must make it detestable to all serious persons. According to the Jews, it dissolved all the ties of natural relations, which before subsisted among men; for according to them, "As soon as a man is made a proselyte, a soul flies out of a (celestial) palace, and gets under the wings of the Shechinah, (or divine Majesty) which kisses it, because it is the fruit of the righteous, and sends it into the body of a proselyte, where it abides; and from that time he is called a proselyte of righteousness; so that now he has a new soul, and is a new man, another man than he was before;" not a better man, but, to use our Lord's words, he is made two-fold more the child of hell. For, according to them, all his former connections with men are broken, and all obligations to natural relations are dissolved;


Jewish Antiqu. vol. I. p. 136, 138. VOL. III.

↑ Zohar in Numb. fol. 69. 4. Ed. Sultzbach. 30

and he may, without any imputation of crime, be guilty of the most shocking incest, as to marry his own mother or his own sister. But hear their own words, "When a Gentile is made a proselyte, and a servant made free, they


are both as a new-born babe; and all the relations which they had when a Gentile or a servant, are no more relations to them;" or their kindred and relation by blood is no more; as brother, sister, father, mother, and children, these are no more to be so accounted; insomuch, that, "when one becomes a proSlyte, he and they (his quondam kindred) are not guilty, by reason thereof, on account of incest, at all; so that it is according to law (the civil law of the Jews) that a Gentile may marry his own mother, or his sister, by his mother's side (his own sister) when they become proselytes." But though they allow it to be lawful, they have so much modesty and regard to decency, or rather to their own character, that it is added; "But the wise men forbid this, that they (the proselytes) may not say, we are come from a greater degree of holiness to a lesser one; and what is forbidden to-day is free to-morrow; and so a proselyte who lies with his mother or his sister, and they are in Gentilism, it is no other than if he lay with a stranger"." Now can any man, soberly thinking, judge that the New Testament-ordinance of baptism was taken up by John and Christ from such a wretched custom, which gave licence to such shocking immorality and uncleanness; or that christian baptism is built on such a basis as


Third, To suppose that John took up the practice of baptizing as he found it among the Jews, and from a tradition and custom of theirs, greatly detracts from the character of John, his divine mission, and the credit of baptism, as administered by him; and is contrary to what the scriptures say concerning him. They represent him as the first administrator of baptisin, and, for a while, the sole administrator of it; for, for what other reason do they call him the Baptist, and distinguish him by this title, if it was then a common thing and had been usual in time past, to baptize persons? The scriptures say he was, a man sent of God, and sent by him to baptize with water, John i. 6, 33. But what need was there of a mission and commission to what was in common use, and had been so time out of mind? The Jews hearing of John's baptizing persons, sent messengers to him, to know who he was that took upon him to baptize; who asked, Why baptizest thou, if thou art not that Christ, nor Elias nor that prophet? As if it was a new thing; and that it was expected he should be some extraordinary person who baptized. But why should such questions be put to him, if this was in common use, and if any ordinary person, however, any common doctor or Rabbi, had then, and in former times, been used to baptize persons"? The scriptures speak of John's baptism as the counsel of

u Maimon. Issure Biah, c. 14. 3. 11, 12. Schulchan Aruch, par. 2. Yore Dea. Hilche Gerim, Art. 269. 3. 1. Annon plane innuunt (verba Joan. 1. 25.) nullum fuisse baptismi usum, & receptam fuisse opinionem inter ipsos (Judæos), nullum debere esse, usquedum veni. Tet Christus, vel Elias, vel propheta ille? Knatchbul in 1 Pet. iii. 21.


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