This section contains aa investigation of my opponent’s gloss on 1 Pet. 8, 20, 21.
This text being quoted in my treatise, my opponent also quoted, p. 35, a part of my comment on the same: viz.
“Mr. H. p. 35, says: “The flood in which the antediluvians perished, was a figure of baptism. ‘Eight souls were saved in the ark by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.’ The flood consisted of water so does baptism. The water upheld the ark, so that eight souls could swim on it, and be saved ; the Holy Ghost moves on water in baptism, and Christ is put on thereby &c.”
On this Mr. M. observes, p. 36: “If the flood is a figure of baptism, then baptism must also be a figure of the flood; because the apostle says, baptism is a like figure. So then, here would be one figure representing another figure ; which would not be correct.”
Answer. That baptism is called the like figure, does not prove it to be a figure of the flood. Neither does the apostle say, that baptism is a figure of the flood, but the like figure. What is here in English called the like figure, is in the original, ἀντίτυπον, which is an antitype, or a type corresponding. But is an antitype, a type of a former type? By no means. An antitype is not emblematical, but is the corresponding substance of a former type, or figure.
My opponent proceeds ; “Agreeably to Mr. H’s doctrine, the flood is but a very poor figure indeed of his holy baptism; for that was a destroying flood, or flood of divine wrath, as well as a flood of water, by which all the wicked were destroyed! But his holy baptism is a saving flood, or flood of divine grace, by which all the ungodly, who receive it, are saved from sin and divine wrath!”
Answer. Can a flood of destruction, not also be a flood of safety? Although, the antediluvians perished in the water; nevertheless, by it the eight souls were saved. If baptism be a flood of salvation, it must also be a flood of destruction. The apostle says ” Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin,” Rom. 6, 6. Again— “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live. ” ch. 8. 13. These texts shew, that if the body of sin be not destroyed we must die; but otherwise we shall live. Through the spirit the body of sin must be destroyed, which as I have already proved, is administered by baptism, which destruction will prove our ultimate felicity. Although, the flood was destructive ; notwithstanding on that account, it is a proper figure of baptism ; for if baptism be a means of salvation, it must also be that of destruction, as the old man in us must perish, before the new can finally be triumphant.
I deny this to be the truth, what my opponent says, that my holy baptism saves all the ungodly, who receive it, from sin and divine wrath. There is no such an idea exhibited throughout my treatise ; but the contrary is asserted. See p. 83, 84, 35. Neither, have I ever preached any such doctrine. Mr. M. you ought not to accuse me falsely!
“But” continues Mr. M. “As the Apostle says that baptism is a like figure, it proves 1st, that baptism is a figure; therefore, a sign, or emblem.”
I answer: Every figure (much less an antitype) is not an emblem : that is a mere allusive picture, which is the meaning of an emblem. Eight souls were saved in the ark by the flood, which truly was a figure ; but was it therefore, a mere emblematical flood ?—and were they only emblematically saved? It destroyed the wicked. But was it only an emblem of destruction? No—the flood was real—the eight souls were really saved—the wicked destroyed : and yet, it served as a prefiguration of baptism. Now, if the flood and its effects were real, which was a figure, how much more must baptism its antitype, or the like figure, be real with respect to its properties and effects!
My opponent adds ; “2. It proves that there was another figure to which the apostle referred. Now the question is, what was the other figure like? My answer is, it was the ark. For the eight souls were not saved by water; but were saved in the ark, from perishing by water: hence a figure of Christ, and the salvation that we receive from the flood of divine wrath by being in him. So baptism is a like figure; i. e. a figure of the baptism of the spirit, by which we are saved and cleansed from all sin, ‘by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;’ or by the power of that spirit which raised Christ from the dead.”
Answer. Mr. M. positively contradicts the apostle Peter, when he asserts, that the eight souls were not saved by water. This will appear plainer, by fully quoting the words of the text:—”Which (the spirits in prison v. 19) sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 3, 20, 21. What is the antecedent to the phrase “the like figure?” Ans. Water—and the text positively says, “eight souls were saved by water.” Now what authority has my opponent, for asserting, that they were not saved by water? Whom shall we believe ?—him ?—or, St. Peter ?,
What he alleges from Heb. 11, 7—is no proof, that the eight souls were not saved by water. It simply proves, that Noah prepared the ark to the saving of his house ; for in the ark, as St. Peter says, eight souls were saved ; not by the ark, but by the water. If there had not been a flood of water, what use would there have been for the ark? Surely not to swim on, and be saved by dry land! Indeed the ark was necessary ; but without the water it would have been prepared in vain. As there would have been no destruction without the water ; neither could the eight souls have been saved ; because they would have been in no danger.
When he asserts, that “baptism is a like figure i.e. a figure of the baptism of the spirit,” he violates the rules of sacred criticism. The apostle does not say so. If Mr. M’s gloss were correct, the text would have read : “wherein few that is eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us, which baptism is the like figure of the baptism of the spirit, by which we are saved.” This last phrase, is no part of the text, but the most uncouth addition, and contradicts the apostle’s words. For he only speaks of one like figure, that is baptism, which is properly the antitype of the flood ; but my opponent makes this antitype, or substance of a former figure, that is the flood, a type of the baptism of the spirit. It appears, because he hates the idea, that baptism should be the means of salvation, and yet, this text is so much against him ; in order, that he may be right, he forces into it another antitype, and thus perverts the scriptures. I do not deem it necessary to say more on this subject, as any person, who reads his gloss may see, that he has contradicted the apostle.