[This is taken from the second main part of The Token of the Covenant, a booklet by Rev William MacIntyre, republished by Free Presbyterian Publications in 1984. The first main part can be found at this link: Subjects of Baptism.]
We now proceed to the second of the topics we proposed to consider, the mode of baptism; and let us first determine the state of the question. Some, then, maintain that immersion is the only legitimate mode of baptism; in opposition to these, we hold that baptism is scripturally and validly administered not only by immersion, but also by sprinkling or affusion. We do not deny that immersion is a legitimate mode of baptism; our opponents hold that it is, and we agree with them. But we hold that sprinkling or affusion is also a legitimate mode of administering the ordinance, and this our opponents deny. The question, then, is, is sprinkling or affusion a legitimate and valid mode of baptism; this question presents for determination the only point at issue.
It may be remarked here that, though it so happens among us that those, who hold that infants are not to be baptised, hold also that sprinkling or affusion is not a legitimate mode of baptism, still there is no connection between the two positions; and, accordingly, there have been persons who held the former but rejected the latter of them. The antipaedobaptist dogma, therefore, and the dogma that baptism is not legitimately administered by sprinkling or affusion are not to be regarded as so connected, as parts of one system, that what affords support to the one affords also support to the other. On the contrary, they are so entirely detached from each other, logically, that the establishment or refutation of either would leave the claims of the other to belief wholly unaffected.
Those who deny that sprinkling or affusion is a legitimate mode of baptism maintain that the Greek words for Baptise and baptism signify respectively, immerse, plunge, dip, and immersion, plunging, dipping, and are so restricted to those significations, that the use of them to denote the administration of baptism and baptism itself proves that the only proper mode of baptism is immersion. They make a similar assertion with respect to the meaning of the Greek word bapto, from which the word for baptise baptizo is derived.
Let us examine what ground they have for this restriction of the meaning of these words, and for the argument which they found upon it: and let us begin with bapto as the primitive or parent word. Our examples of the use of it we shall give only in literal translations, putting the corresponding word or words in italics. This will be most convenient for most readers; for the passages in Greek would interrupt their progress, like so many fences across their path, while they would yield them no compensating advantage.
The following then are examples of the use of bapto (See Ewing’s Greek Lexicon under the word):
- “Being pressed, it stains the hand.” Here there is no plunging, nor the least approach to it.
- “The pool was stained or tinged with blood.” Here again plunging is out of the question; or, if there be plunging, it is the “blood,” with which the operation is performed, that is plunged in the “pool,” on which it is performed, and not the “pool” in the blood, as, according to the meaning to which our opponents restrict the word, ought to be the case.
- “Staining or smearing (his face) with tawny colours.” The person doing this would not dip his face in those colours, but would apply the colours to his face.
- In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament this word is used in Daniel 4:33, (Greek 30), “His body”, Nebuchadnezzar’s, “was wet with the dew of heaven”; and again in the next chapter, verse 21, where the same words occur. This “wetting” was, of course, affected by the descent of the “dew” upon Nebuchadnezzar’s “body,” and not by the immersion of his “body” in the “dew.” Whatever the dew wets, it wets by falling on it. From its entire economy there can be no immersion in it. If it were collected in some bath or cistern so that immersion in it could take place, it would assume the character of water and would be divested of that of dew. But it was not by immersion in such dew-water that Nebuchadnezzar’s body was wet. “He was driven from men and did eat grass as oxen; and,” of course, in the circumstances into which the divine judgement thus degraded him, “the dew of heaven” fell on him, and “his body was wet” with it, or from it, as it is expressed in the Greek, that is, from the action of the dew upon it.
From the parent, which clearly will not accept immerse as its distinctive and exclusive meaning, we proceed to the offspring, the Greek word for baptise. Our opponents maintain, that the distinctive and exclusive meaning of this word is immerse, and argue that, therefore, as it is the word employed in the scriptures to denote the administration of baptism, the scriptural mode of administering baptism is immersion. It wholly vitiates this argument, whatever force it might otherwise have, that the alleged fact on which it is founded is not the actual fact in the case.
Immerse or plunge is not the distinctive and exclusive meaning of the word in question.
- That word occurs in the following passage in which plunge cannot well be the meaning of it. “She, Judith, went out in the night, into the valley of Bethulia and washed (baptised herself) in the camp in (or rather, at – the preposition used is “epi,” of which the primary meaning is “upon.” It is here followed by the genitive) the fountain of water.” Though we retain the translation, “in the fountain” it does not at all follow that the operation performed was that of plunging in it. She might be said to perform it “in the fountain,” though she only stood at the side of the fountain, and took from it with her hand or otherwise the water which she used in performing it. And, while the language does not necessarily denote, if it at all denotes, plunging, it does not appear that the circumstances would admit of it. We at once meet with the difficulty that she could not well plunge in a fountain; and, though it were practicable, it would have been improper to have plunged in a fountain from which water was drawn for drinking, the only fountain apparently available for the purpose. Besides, it would have been necessary for her to undress in preparation for plunging; but how could she undress, with any propriety or decency, at a fountain in a camp occupied by some two hundred thousand soldiers? No modest woman would undress or perform an operation that required undressing in such circumstances, and we may rest assured that Judith did neither. Whether her nightly lustrations were intended to promote personal cleanliness or to secure ceremonial purity, plunging was not necessary to accomplish her object; and are we gratuitously to suppose that she performed an unnecessary operation, which, supposing it practicable, would have been grossly indecent in a crowded camp? Such a supposition cannot for a moment be entertained. Here then is an instance in which the Greek word for baptise does not signify plunge or immerse. The circumstances will not permit us to attach that meaning to it, and we doubt much if the construction in which it occurs will; while the use of the preposition epi with the genitive is in perfect harmony with the view that she stood on the side of the fountain and took from it the water used by her in the operation which she was performing. (See Winer’s Gram., Sect. 51, Donaldson’s Greek Gram., Sect. 483. a.)
- In Ecclesiasticus 34:30, the word under consideration is applied to one “that is washed (Greek baptised) from the pollution of a dead body;” now was the washing in such a case as this affected by plunging? The answer to this question is furnished by Numbers 19:13. There we read “Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel; because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.” We are thus taught, in the plainest manner, that it was by sprinkling and not by plunging that one who had contracted uncleanness by touching a dead body was purified; and one thus purified is viewed in the passage which we have quoted from Ecclesiasticus as being baptised. In other words, according to the phraseology of that passage one is baptised being sprinkled.
- Referring to this and other instances and modes of purification, the apostle, Heb. 9:10, calls them “divers baptisms,” the word rendered “washings” in our translation being the Greek word for baptism. We have just seen that, according to the usage exemplified in Ecclesiasticus 34:30, he that was sprinkled with the water of separation, and thus purified was baptised; and in the passage now before us, this purification, by sprinkling and not by plunging, is called a baptism, for it is included in the “divers baptisms” spoken of, and is, indeed, mentioned as one of them in the immediately succeeding context, verse 13.
- It is a similar baptism, baptism not by the application of the baptised to the water, but by the application of the water to be baptised, that is intended in Luke 11:37-38. We are informed in that passage that our Lord, having been invited by a Pharisee to dine with him, “went in and sat down to meat;” and that, “when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed (Greek baptised) before dinner.” He did not expect that Christ would baptise by plunging or immersing his whole body in water. The traditions and customs of his sect and nation did not require such a baptism under the circumstances. What they required, and he accordingly expected, was that his guest would “wash his hands” before “he sat down to meat,” for “the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders;” and it was customary among them to wash the hands by pouring water upon them. We have thus the most conclusive proof that, according to Luke’s phraseology, for it is clearly in the evangelist’s own words that the cause of the Pharisee’s wonder, namely, that Christ had not “first baptised before dinner,” is stated, a person has been “baptised,” when water has been applied, for the purpose of purification, even to a small part of his body, as, for example, to his hands, and thus applied by affusion. But leaving out the view the mode of application, let it be distinctly observed that the fact is in evidence, that, according to the evangelist’s phraseology, a person has been “baptised” when, for the purpose of purification, water has been applied even to his hands. Now, clearly, a person thus baptised has not been plunged, he has been baptised without having been plunged. Even though it may have been by plunging that his hands have been washed, still he himself, the subject of the baptism effected in the case, has not been plunged; he has been baptised without having been plunged, water having been applied only to his hands. Here, again, the assertion of our opponents, confident as it is, and, of course, it is very confident, is flatly contradicted by usage and by scripture usage too. The evangelist informs us that the Pharisee marvelled that the Saviour “was not first before dinner baptised” by washing his hands; but if baptising were just plunging and nothing else, he would not be baptised, that is to say, he would not be plunged, however often he washed his hands and in whatever way he washed them. But baptising is not plunging exclusively; it is the application of water, in whatever way, for the purpose of purification, and therefore he to whose hands it has been applied for this purpose has, according to the Scripture mode of viewing the matter, been baptised.
- In the following passage cases of baptism are referred to, that were of very frequent occurrence amongst the Jews at the time of which the evangelist writes. “When they come from the market, except they wash (Greek baptise), they eat not. And many other things there be which they have received to hold, as the washing (Greek baptisms) of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.” The “brazen vessels” intended were probably such as were used for culinary purposes; and the word rendered tables means properly couches, beds, and it is the couches on which they reclined at table, large enough to accommodate several persons, that seem to be particularly meant. Now such brazen vessels could not be conveniently “washed” or baptised by being plunged in water, and plunging could still less be resorted to in “baptising” couches. Such a mode of treating such articles of furniture, as any one on the least reflection must perceive, would be quite impracticable among ourselves, and, though not impracticable, would in many instances be open to grave objections; and it was equally impracticable and objectionable among the Jews in the time of our Lord.
- In Mark 1:8, we read that one of the declarations that John the Baptist made, as he preached, was, “I indeed have baptised you with water, but he (Christ) shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost.” The idea of being plunged in the Spirit seems gross and irreverent, and certainly receives no countenance from Scripture representation, but is, indeed, inconsistent with it. The Bible teaches us to conceive and speak of the Spirit as being “poured forth” upon those to whom he is communicated; and we have the clearest evidence that when it was predicted and promised that Christ should “baptise with the Holy Ghost,” what was intended was, that he should “pour forth” the Spirit on the subjects of that baptism. Christ himself, immediately before his ascension reiterated and renewed the announcement of the Baptist. “John truly baptised with water,” he said to the apostles, “but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Acts 1:5. And, when this promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, Peter testified with respect to the fulfilment of it, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit.” Acts 2:16-18. Thus, we have express testimony that Christ “baptised them with the Holy Ghost” by “pouring out on them of his Spirit;” he baptised them by affusion. And here the inquiry suggests itself, when John said “I baptise you with water, but he that cometh after me shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost,” is it to be supposed that the mode of the baptism which he administered was different from that of the baptism which it symbolised. The baptism symbolised was by affusion, and is it to be supposed that the baptism which symbolised it was not by affusion but by immersion? This want of correspondence would be wholly inconsistent with the relation which they bore to each other; and we shall by-and-by find that there are strong grounds for concluding that John’s baptism, the symbolising baptism in the case, was by affusion.
It is thus evident that the assertion of our opponents with respect to the meaning of the word for baptise and of the kindred word for baptism is as baseless as it is confident, and that the application of those words to the ordinance under consideration affords no countenance whatever to the doctrine that the legitimate mode of administering it is immersion.
And neither do the prepositions, rendered into, in, out of, from, that are used in connection with the words in question.
Thus when it is stated that Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch “went down into the water,” and that, when Philip had baptised the eunuch, they “came up out of the water,” (Acts 8:37, 39), the language does not at all require that we should regard the eunuch as having been baptised by immersion; for the prepositions rendered into and out of may be rendered with equal propriety unto or to and from.
- The former is used in the narrative of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, “Jesus, therefore, again groaning in himself, cometh to the grave,” John 11:38. Here clearly the meaning of the preposition is not into but to, as our translators have rendered it; for the Saviour only came to the grave, he did not go into it.
- The latter of these prepositions is used in John 6:23, “Then came other boats from Tiberias.” They had not been on dry land in the city, so that they came out of it; they only came from it.
But retaining the rendering of the authorised version, the narrative does not by any means necessarily convey that the eunuch was immersed. Though the water were only ankle-deep, if they alighted from the chariot and stood in it, it might be said that they went down into, and afterwards came up out of the water.
Whether we translate the prepositions by into and out of, or by to and from, I apprehend the narrative would not suggest immersion, except to a mind preoccupied with the idea of it or prepossessed in its favour. There is no hint, it will be observed, of any undressing and putting on bathing clothes, or of the subsequent and reverse process of putting off the bathing-clothes and then dressing; and yet, if there had been an immersion, such changing of garments could scarcely have been dispensed with.
And then it is a source of difficulty, on the supposition that the going down into the water implied immersion, that Philip went down into the water as well as the eunuch, that thus Philip as well as the eunuch was immersed, and that the eunuch, being immersed already, could not be immersed to be baptised, unless Philip, himself immersed, raised him bodily out of the water, and then plunged him into it, an operation that would require considerable strength, and, on certain not improbable suppositions, greater strength than the operator could exert. These are very awkward difficulties, which, however, all disappear if we take the view, that the Ethiopian treasurer was immersed neither before he was baptised nor during the administration of the ordinance, but that, having gone down into shallow water or gone down to the water, that is, to the edge of it, he was baptised by affusion.
There is still another preposition which our opponents have pressed into their service, and of which, therefore, we must take some notice, the preposition rendered in in the following passage, “They were baptised of him in Jordan” (Matt. 3:6). This preposition might with equal propriety be rendered at. But the statement “that they were baptised in Jordan,” taking it as our translators give it, conveys no intimation that in being baptised they were immersed in the river. This mode of expression is equally appropriate on the supposition, that John, standing with them at the side of the river, raised from it with his hand or otherwise the water with which he baptised them. In perfect harmony with this view of the circumstances, it is stated towards the close of the brief history of John’s baptism, given in this chapter, (verse 16,) that “Jesus, when he was baptised,” in Jordan, (see verse 6 and 13), “went up straightway from the water.” Our translators say “out of the water,” but the preposition here is not ek, the preposition rendered out of, on which we formerly remarked, but apo which means from. The impression which this representation conveys is, that our Lord was not in the water, but only at the edge of it.
In this connection, it is proper to refer to certain figurative expressions, employed to describe the effects of the inward spiritual baptism, which are adduced as favouring the view that the legitimate mode of baptism is immersion. One of these expressions, “buried with him in baptism,” occurs in a passage already quoted and examined, Col. 2:12. It is used also in Rom. 6:4. From this phraseology it is argued, that the mode of baptism must be such that it will impart to the ordinance a resemblance to burial, and that immersion alone fulfils this condition. But, in the latter passage, those who are said to be buried with Christ are, immediately afterwards and with reference to the same effect on their character and state, said to be “planted together in the likeness of his death;” and no one mode of administering baptism can impart to it a resemblance both to burying and to planting.
We are thus led to seek the source of those figurative expressions, not in the direct resemblance of baptism to what they denote, but in the connection of what they denote with what baptism primarily symbolises. Baptism thus symbolises union to Christ. Those who are baptised are “baptised into Christ.” Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27. And then, of course, being united to him, they are associated with him in all the great transactions of his mediatorial history. They are buried with him, they “are risen with him,” (Col. 3:1,) they “suffer with him,” they “will reign with him.” 2 Tim. 2:12. Thus it is because they are united to him in baptism, or, in other words, because outward baptism symbolises, and inward baptism, accordingly, implies union to him, that they may be said to be buried with him in baptism.
Thus all the arguments in favour of immersion fail, and the examination of them has afforded us ground for regarding as scriptural, if not exclusively scriptural, a different mode of baptism. We shall now advert to one or two considerations, that serve to render it certain, that, at least on some occasions, baptism was administered by the Apostles or with their sanction otherwise than by immersion.
On the day of Pentecost, “they that gladly received the word were baptised and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41. Thus, on one day, and probably after mid-day, about three thousand persons were baptised, and thus added to the church. Peter began his address about nine in the morning, (Acts 2:15), and the sacred historian, after giving a summary of the apostle’s address, adds, “and with many other words did he testify and exhort.” (v. 40). The other apostles also, we may feel assured, took part in the proceedings. It would have ill comported with the zeal with which the Holy Spirit had just inspired them, and with the encouragement afforded them by the awakened curiosity of the assembled multitude, and by the profound earnestness of so many of those who composed it, if they had remained silent and inactive. There was, doubtless, much of what Luke calls testifying and exhorting, and we may warrantably conclude that the baptising of the converts could not well have been begun before noon. Now, when all the circumstances of the case are considered, it must, we think, appear incredible that some three thousand persons were baptised by immersion under those circumstances between mid-day and nightfall.
Of course, the idea will not be entertained for a moment that they were immersed in their ordinary apparel. Neither will it be supposed that they had bathing clothes with them. They must therefore have gone home for them. Much time would thus be lost, and such an episode would ill agree with the solemnity and earnestness of the proceedings which it would interrupt. But overlooking this, and we must overlook a great deal, if we would make baptism by immersion fit into the history of the Pentecostal revival, we presume they would not put on their bathing clothes at home, walk in them to the place of baptism, and after they were baptised, walk home in them wet. They would take them with them, doubtless, to the place of baptism; but, having taken them there, where would they put them on? Can our opponents inform us? We apprehend not. It would be no easy matter to accommodate three thousand persons with dressing rooms, in the immediate neighborhood of a place where they could be immersed, and that too in a city to the inhabitants of which everything connected with the intended baptism was very generally offensive. But suppose, for we may suppose anything, and may therefore suppose this, that the converts found ways and means of putting on bathing dresses, would there be nothing unseemly in men and woman appearing in such dresses in the presence of each other and of numerous spectators, some of them, we may presume, not remarkable for the friendliness of their feelings or the delicacy of their deportment?
But, passing from the preparation for immersion to the immersion itself, how was water obtained in Jerusalem for the immersion of three thousand persons against whom as apostates from the national religion and cause, the rulers and the great bulk of the people were incensed? Jerusalem was supplied with water chiefly from cisterns, in which, from their construction, though there were no other obstacle, the converts could not be immersed. There were, indeed, some pools or reservoirs, but these were public property, and though it were not improper to use them for such a purpose, and we conceive it would be improper, is it at all likely that the apostles would be allowed to use them for the immersion of their converts? Besides, they were so deep that they did not admit of the operators going down, like Philip, into the water with those to be baptised; and, even though this part of the rubric of immersion were violated, and the operators remained on dry ground at the side, immersion in them particularly the immersion of so large a number of persons in rapid succession, would be attended with extreme danger. Baths would afford the only remaining resource, and evidently, they would afford a very insufficient one.
But let us make our escape from the difficulties of procuring water for immersion, and contemplate the difficulties of the operation itself; and these, certainly, are very formidable. The state of the case is this, there were three thousand persons to be immersed by some twelve operators, or two hundred and fifty by each operator, between mid-day and nightfall, that is in seven hours. (We might have deducted an hour spent in procuring and putting on bathing dresses.) Now seven hours for the immersion of two hundred and fifty persons by a single operator, would afford only one minute and rather less than forty-one seconds for the immersion of each. But would this time be sufficient? And, if we allow for interruptions, the time for each immersion would be still less, not more than a minute and a half, and probably not so much. Now, though a vigorous active man might, perhaps, immerse one person in this time, or a few at the rate of one in a minute and a half, could even such a man immerse without intermission, two hundred and fifty persons at this rate, that is to say, could he immerse at this rate without rest or intermission for seven hours?
Let us realise the process. The operator stood in the water, or, rather he took the candidate for baptism, and both went into the water; he then immersed and immediately raised to an erect attitude such candidate, encountering, in some instances, in the first part of the operation an instinctive, involuntary opposition, and having, particularly in the case of females, to guard against unseemly mishaps; and immersion having been effected, both came out of the water. All this, we are required to believe; the operator did without intermission two hundred and fifty times, and each time in a minute and a half. But was it practicable? Could it have been done?
And, if it could have been done at all, could it have been done without great danger to the health of the operator? Suppose such an operator was Paul. The great apostle, it seems, was a very little man, and, from the abundance of his labours, and the extent to which they were prosecuted in cold and nakedness, in hunger and thirst, and amid multiplied privations and sufferings, his physical condition could not well have been such as would fit him for much muscular exertion. Could such an operator have immersed his two hundred and fifty in seven hours, going through the process we have described in the case of each of them? We believe no operator could have done it; and supposing it practicable, it would certainly have been extremely hard work, work so hard and so much of the character of “bodily exercise” and exertion, that the performance of it could scarcely present the aspect of the administration of a divine ordinance.
From this review of the case it does not appear that the Pentecostal converts could have been baptised by immersion; and we are, therefore, not only justified in concluding, but shut in to conclude that they were not thus baptised. And this conclusion, if it required, would receive confirmation from the fact that “immersion is liable to many incidents of a distressing kind, so that one wishes that no light minded, irreligious, profane person were ever present” when it is practised; and, doubtless, many such were present when the three thousand converts were baptised on the day of Pentecost.
All the considerations that have now been urged, as proving that the Pentecostal converts were not baptised by immersion, apply with undiminished force to John’s administration of baptism, except those derived from the circumstances under which in the former case water was to be procured. We would call, however, special attention to the expense of time, the labour, and the exposure on the part of the operator with which the administration of baptism by immersion is necessarily attended, as proving that John did not baptise by immersion. “There went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptised of him in the river Jordan.” (Mark 1:5).
Now, how could a single individual baptise such multitudes with a form of baptism that required so much time, that imposed so much labour, and that was attended with so much exposure as immersion. To imagine that a single individual could do this, or would attempt to do it, is really preposterous. It is not for a moment to be supposed that the crowds that resorted to him could remain for the great length of time he would require to baptise them by immersion; and for some at least of those crowds, it would have been necessary to have remained for the whole of that time, if immersion had been the mode of baptism adopted. We may, therefore, warrantably conclude, nay, we must conclude, that immersion was not the mode adopted by John. He could not have baptised by immersion the multitudes that resorted to him; and, of course, he did not do what was impracticable, he did not baptise them by immersion. There is nothing in the language employed by the evangelists in the history of his baptism, that in any way implies that he immersed the subjects of it; and the statistics of it are such that the idea of his having administered it by immersion is altogether inadmissible. He could not have done it.
But, though the statistics of the case leave us no escape from this conclusion, our opponents will not accept it. To accept it would be to surrender the exclusive claims they set up for immersion and that they will not do. John must have baptised by immersion whether he could have done it or not. And is it not evident that it was thus he baptised, when we read that he “baptised in Aenon, near to Salim, because there was much water there,” (John 3:2, 3), while, if he had baptised by sprinkling, he would not have required much water? No, he would not have required much water, but the multitude that “came and were baptised” would. No considerate person would assemble and retain for days such multitudes where water was scarce. And it may be observed here, although our argument does not need the support this observation may afford, that, according to the original, Aenon, afforded the advantage not of “much water” but of “many waters.” The word Aenon denotes fountains, and it may be inferred that a locality bearing such a name abounded in springs. There were thus “many waters there,” affording an abundant supply for man and beast of one great necessary of life, but, probably, no facility for immersion.
We now leave the doctrine that immersion is the only legitimate mode of baptism to those who are capable of holding or determined to hold it, not only without but against evidence. None else can hold it. It has, however, this advantage, such as it is, it enlarges and extends the external rite; it imparts body and bulk to it, and thus contributes somewhat towards satisfying that craving for the outward and the ritual in religious observances, of the existence and strength of which the past history and present state of the church furnish ample and melancholy proof. To the adaptation to the carnality of the human mind, by which it is thus distinguished, it owes, we are convinced, not a little of the limited acceptance with which it meets. To carnal apprehension a mere sprinkling with water is nothing, and, though you urge that it is the sign of spiritual blessings, this, to carnal apprehension, in no way redeems it; something more laborious is demanded, something that addresses itself more largely and powerfully to the senses, something more palpable, more impressive physically, in short the utmost in this direction of which the nature of the ordinance admits, immersion. Let us, however, acknowledge to the credit of those who now make this demand, that they have receded considerably from the demand of some of their predecessors, for these required trine immersion, not only that the subjects of baptism should be plunged over head in water, but that they should be thus plunged three times.