Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Observer, April 1, 71.

[ocr errors]

literature; or, how to make the Sunbeam shine more brightly into many more little hearts ; how to distribute prizes, conduct examinations, social meetings, teacher's prayer meetings, bands of hope, &c., &c.

To work then, brethren, and fill up the above outline as it seems good in your sight; and may the Lord grant that a Sunday School Union in body and in spirit may soon be realized in our midst. Leicester.

J. ADAM. THE SUNBEAM." This subject is one that should interest all who are busily engaged in teaching the young in our Sunday schools. We are sure, from our own observation, that this little work is entirely neglected by some of our school friends; and the sale of other school papers, not published by our own brethren, is encouraged. True, the Sunbeam does not contain all the elements necessary to attract the mind of the child, or to enable the work to compete with other publications of the same kind; but we think the sale of it might soon be increased to such an extent as would enable the editor to add other desirable features to it, in picture illustrations, which might give it a wide circulation. We hope ere long to see this worthy little volume illustrated with such pictures as would tend to enforce the lesson taught therein from time to time. But we cannot expect this unless an effort be made to extend its circle of readers in our Sunday schools. How is this to be done? In answer to this, we propose to give an account of what has been done in the school, with which we are connected, in Summer Lane, Birmingham. During the past year we had no regular subscribers in the school for the Sunbeam. The secretary purchased a number each month and disposed of them as the scholars required; but at the close of the year, out of eighteen purchased monthly by the secretary, we had twenty-six odd numbers left on hand, thus entailing considerable loss, spoiling the volume purchased by the scholars and also what we had left. During some months all would be sold and in others only four to five. Now, for the present year we have agreed to supply a volume of the Sunbeam, neatly bound in cloth, at the close of the year, to every scholar paying one half-penny per month-the price of the work as already sold without the binding, that being given gratis. The result of this has been to obtain over fifty subscribers, and we doubt not that next year this number will be largely increased. But there are other advantages, besides in the increase of the sale, instead of the child taking the paper home every month, and getting it dirty and spoiled in less than a week, he will receive, at the close of the year, a neat little volume that he will prize and take care of. Thus the scholars who attend school and are regular subscribers to this work will, in a few years, have a nice little library, which, doubtless, will have a blessed influence upon their minds as they grow to maturity. We hope our friends in the Sunday schools will carefully consider this, for we feel sure that the extra outlay will be amply repaid by the good results obtained.

Thos. SHAW. We do not at all conclude that the little we do in Sunday school work is owing largely to indifference. Many of our Churches are small and so circumstanced that Sunday school work is next to impossible. Still there is room to move on, and it is time to look out.

ED.

BAPTISM IN THE APOSTOLIC AGE.

BY A. P. STANLEY, D.D., DEAN OF WESTMINSTER.

What, then, was baptism in the Apostolic age? The fewest words will most reverently tell what indeed it requires but few words to describe. We must place before our minds the greatest religious change which the world has seen or can see. Imagine thousands of men and women seized with one common impulse—abandoning, by the irresistible conviction of a day, an hour, a moment, their former habits, friends, associates, to be enrolled in a new society, under the banner of a new faith. Conceive what that new society was—a society of " brothers ”; bound by ties closer than any earthly brotherhood-filled with life and energy such as fall to the lot of none but the most ardent enthusiasts, yet tempered with a moderation, a wisdom, and a holiness such as mere enthusiasts have never possessed. Picture that society, swayed by the presence of men whose

Observer, April 1, 71.

very names seemed too sacred for the converse of ordinary mortals, and by the recollections of One, whom, not seeing, they loved with love unspeakable! Into this society they passed by an act as natural as it was expressive. The plunge into the bath of purification, long known among the Jewish nation as the symbol of a change of life, was still retained as the pledge of entrance into this new and universal communion-retained under the express sanction of Him, into whose most holy name they were by that solemn rite “baptized.” The water in those eastern regions, so doubly significant of all that was pure and refreshing, closed over the heads of the converts, and they rose into the light of heaven, new and altered beings. Can we wonder if on such an act were lavished all the figures which language could furnish to express the mighty change. " Regeneration," "Illumination," "Resurrection," "A new creation," “

” " Forgiveness of sins," "Salvation ?"

” Well might the Apostle say, · Baptism doth even now save us,” even had he left his statement in its unrestricted strength to express what in that age no one could misunderstand. But no less well was he led to add, as if with a divine prescience of coming evils, “Not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God.”

Such was the Apostolic baptism. It is startling to witness the abrupt descent from the first century to the third, the fourth, the fifth. The rite was, indeed, still universally, the great change from darkness to light, from evil to good; the “second birth of men from the corrupt society of the dying Roman Empire into the purifying and elevating influence of the living Christian church. Nay, in some respects the deep moral responsibility of the act must have been impressed upon the converts by the severe, sometimes the life-long preparation for the final pledge, even more than by the sudden and almost instantaneous transition, which characterized the baptism of the Apostolic age. But gradually the consciousness of this

answer of the good conscience towards God” was lost in the stress laid with greater and greater emphasis on the "putting away the filth of the flesh." Let us conceive ourselves present at those extraordinary scenes, to which no existing ritual of any European church offers the slightest likeness; when, between Easter and Pentecost, the crowds of catechumens poured into the baptistries of the great basilicas; let us figure to our minds the strange ceremonies handed down to us in the minutest details by contemporary documents; the exorcism and exsufflation—the torch-light of the midnight hour—the naked figures, plunging into the deep waters of the bath,—the bishop, always present to receive them as they emerged,the white robes,--the anointing with oil,—the laying on of hands. Among the accompaniments of those scenes there were practices and signs which we have long ago discarded as inexpedient or indifferent, but which were then regarded as essential. Immersion, was then, even on death-beds, deemed all but absolutely necessary, The whole modern Church of Western Europe, according to the belief of those times, would be condemned

unbaptized,” because it has received, without the excuse of a sick-bed, nothing but the clinical or sick-bed aspersion." (Essays on Church and State, pp. 33–34).

The Rev. Dr. Malcolm, now resident in Philadelphia, thus writes in the National Baptist :

"Some years ago, while travelling in Europe, I visited Milan, the most famous city in Northern Italy; and of course went to see the Duomo, or catheral, a building inferior only to St. Peter's at Rome. It is 500 feet long, 300 wide and 356 high to the top of the dome. It has about 100

as

Observer, April 1,71.

handsome spires, and is built entirely of marble. On the outside of the walls are 4,000 niches, each containing a statue. The interior is exceedingly grand; 50 huge pillars support the arches of the naves, and the windows, of stained glass, are superb pictures. While surveying the splendid interior, my attention was drawn to the entrance of a group of well dressed persons, bringing six or seven infants. I found there was to be a baptism; and drawing toward one of the recesses, to which the group were approaching, I observed a beautiful marble baptistry, standing on castors, looking like a high-post bedstead with crimson curtains. It was large enough for the baptism of an adult, and the water was about three feet six inches deep. Each infant was held by its nurse, while the priest, a noble-looking young man in canonicals, stood beside the font, book in hand, reading the ceremony. This done he extended his hands to receive a baby, when an attendant loosened the child's robes at the neck, and stripped them entirely off at a stroke. There it was-wrapped from neck to feet in white linen, stiff as mummy. It was laid on the hands of the priest, who gracefully laid it in the water, pronouncing the usual formula. Not one of the little things cried, and of course they could not struggle. As the company retired, I ventured to approach the priest, and inquired if he spoke French-for I knew nothing of Italian. On his replying in the affirmative, I inquired how it was that he baptized thus. He replied that it had ever been so, and that for centuries that part of Italy bad refused adhesion to the Pope of Rome, on account of infant sprinkling. At length it was conceded that they might retain the mode which they had practised from the first, I was of course highly gratified to witness this, to me, new evidence that immersion was the early and only mode of Christian baptism."

Freeman.

Biblical Criticism, Queries, &c.

4

FELLOWSHIP AND THE FELLOWSHIP.No. I.

[ocr errors]

The word fellowship, in the New Testament, comes to us as a translation of KOLVwvia. In the authorized version it is rendered thus

Acts ii. 42.-"And in fellowship and in breaking of bread.” 1 Cor. i. 9.-" Called unto the fellowship of his Son." 2 Cor. viii. 4.—" And take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints." Gal. ü. 9.—"The right hands of fellowship.Eph. iii. 9.—“Which is the fellowship of the mystery." Phil

. i. 5.-"For your fellowship in the gospel.' Phil. ii. 1.-“If any fellowship of the spirit.” Phil. iii. 10.-" The fellowship of his sufferings.” 1 John i. 3.-"Have fellowship with us : and truly our fellowship is with." 1 John i. 6.-—"If we say we have fellowship.

1 John i. 7.- -“We have fellowship one with another.” The above are all the occurrences of the word fellowship in the common version of the New Testament. But had the rendering of kolvwvia been uniform it would appear in eight other instances, in which it is translated thus11 Cor. 2. 16. .“ Is it not the communion of the blood."

“Is it not the communion of the body." 2 Cor. vi. 14.-—"What communion has light with darkness." 2 Cor. xii. 14.-" The communion of the Holy Ghost." 2 Cor. ix, 13,-"For your liberal distribution."

9

Observer, April 1, '71

Rom. xv. 26.-"To make a certain contribution."
Philem. 6.-" That the communication of your

faith.” Heb. xiii. 16.—" And to communicate forget not." It then appears that koivwvia is found twenty times in the New Testament, and is translated twelve times fellowship, four times communion, and communication, communicate, distribution and contribution once each.

What, then, is the signification of the word thus variously rendered? Was it needful to have it represented by half a dozen words? Is there not one word in the English language which could stand for it in its every occurrence? In this diversity of rendering we can find neither necessity nor utility. Turning to the lexicons, it appears that Kolvwvia is related to koivoscommon, belonging equally to several ; as in Acts ii. 44. Hence the term common is used to designate land free alike to the district generally, so that all may use it. Accordingly, Webster has

Common, no. A tract of land belonging to two or more.

Common, v. To use together; to diet together.

Commons, n., pl. Common land; food at a common table." Lexicons of the New Testament give-Koivwvía: fellowship, partnership, participation, communion, aid, etc. LIDDELL & Scott give as its meaningscommunion, community, intercourse, common gift, etc., with a variety of illustrations showing its radical idea to be-possession in common, partnership, participation on the ground of common right. SCHREVELIUS gives - communion, participation, society, benificence, alms-giving. With these authorities all others agree; and, therefore, kovovía is, participation in common, joint interest, or partnership. The nature, or quality, of the goods, conjointly possessed, is not even remotely indicated by the word ; nor does it give a shade of intimation as to the source whence the possession is derived whether by original right, purchase, or gift, must be known, if known at all, from information not contained in the word itself.

The next enquiry is, Have we a word in English which will fairly represent this Greek friend to whom we have given so much attention ? If we have, it should be used in every instance; and if not, then we should construct a phrase which will do it justice, and thus secure uniformity of representation. There are two words used in the common version open to our consideration,-communion and fellowship.

The first of these, in its radical idea, might meet the case ; but then it cannot be denuded of certain associations, which, by a mischievous lexicography, have been taken into the word as meanings. WALKER gives“ Communion, s. Intercourse, fellowsh

s Intercourse, fellowship, common possession ; a common or public celebration of the Lord's Supper ; union in the common worship of any church.Now these last two are not meanings of the word communion, which has nothing in it either of the Lord's Supper or worship. Communion is joint participation ; and whether that participation is the Lord's Supper, or church worship, or a possession of a wholly different character, the word itself can never determine.

Turning to the word fellowship, Johnson gives" Companionship; consort; equality; partnership; joint interest company; fitness and fondness for festal entertainment with goods prefixed ; that rule of proportion by which we balance accounts dependiug between divers persons, having put together a general stock." WALKER, with other meanings, gives—" Association ; equality ; partnership; an establishment in a college with a share in its revenue. MAUNDERS has—" Companionship; society; equality ; establishment in a college." Taking the soul of these words and phrases, we have a similar result to that obtained by an examination of Greek lexicons, i.e., purticipation in common; joint interest ; partnership; and, therefore, fellowship

6

Observer, April 1, 71.

[ocr errors]

66

may be accepted uniformly to represent KOLVwvia in the New Testament.

Going back to our first page will show, that in the four instances in which we have communion, the true sense will be well conveyed by fellowship. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Christ ? The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ ?" And so with the other two instances. So, too, where we have contribution and distribution. It will also take the place of communication and communicate, and thus give us uniform rendering. If it be said that in Rom. xv. Paul had specially the contributions in view, and that, therefore, contribution would better express his meaning, the answer is, that had Paul wished to say contribution, he could have done so, but as he was pleased to use koivuvia (fellowship), our proper course is to do the same. It may be quite true that he had in view the contributive aspect of the fellowship, as 2 Cor. ix. 13, he may have had its distributive side chiefly in mind. Though words have not figurative meanings, they are used figuratively, and by synecdoche the name of the whole is put to express a part, and the name of a part is given to the whole. Thus Paul, having in view the giving, or putting together, of funds in order to the participation of the needing brethren in the goods of this life, granted in more ample measure to others of the family of God, designated it by a term which in its completely literal application covers both the giving and the receivingthe contribution and the distribution. But this by no means proves that contribution is a meaning of the word fellowship, nor does it warrant its employment in translating κοινωνια.

A somewhat singular result is obtained by the American Bible Union, through departing from an uniform rendering of this word. In their preliminary issue of Acts of Apostles” (the work of A. Campbell), Kouvwvia, in Acts ii. 42, is represented by contribution, and in their “ Second Revision," by distribution. Thus the word is made to express two acts the very opposite of each other. But why substitute distribution for contribution ? The revisors were, no doubt, influenced by the context, for Luke immediately adds, “ And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done by the Apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common, and sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, as any one had need.” Now here the distribution is that which is most directly and prominently brought into view, and, therefore, if in translating verse 42 we do not retain fellowship, the context certainly requires distribution rather than contribution, and the revisors have improved upon the preliminary issue. But we accept neither the one nor the other; the verse tells us, that they steadfastly attended to the fellowship, and the immediate context declares the manifested results.

Having thus established the propriety of uniformly employing fellowship as the representative of the original term, we may notice its first occur. rence in the New Testament.

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts ii. 42.)

Here we have the doctrine and fellowship of the apostles ; but what to understand by the apostles' fellowship, we know not. An inspection of the original, however, shews the translation of the verse defective, inasmuch as in place of the several occurrences of the article, the common translation gives it but once. We, then, render the text thus

“And they attended constantly to the teaching of the apostles, and the fellowship, and the breaking of the bread, and the prayers.” Thus read, we have no longer the apostles' fellowship, but, THE FELLOWSHIP; the teaching is the apostles' teaching, but the fellowship is simply

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »