Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
369
BAPTISTE

i. 2), here used of children and parents, we realize how far off was St Paul from the positions of Augustine.

The question arises whether Jesus Himself instituted baptism as a condition of entry into the Messianic kingdom. The fourth gospel (iii. 22, and iv. 1) asserts that Jesus Himself baptized on a greater scale than the Baptist, but immediately adds that Jesus Himself baptized not, but only His disciples, as if the writer felt that he had too boldly contradicted the older tradition of the other gospels. Nor in these is it recorded that the disciples baptized during their Master's lifetime; indeed the very contrary is implied. There remain two texts in which the injunction to baptize is attributed to Jesus, namely, Mark xvi. 16 and Matt. xxviii. 18-20. Of these the first is part of an appendix headed "of Ariston the elder" in an old Armenian codex, and taken perhaps from the lost compilations of Papias; as to the other text, it has been doubted by many critics, e.g. Neander, Harnack, Dr Armitage Robinson and James Martineau, whether it represents a real utterance of Christ and not rather the liturgical usage of the region in which the first gospel was compiled. The circumstance, unknown to these critics when they made their conjectures, that Eusebius Pamphili, in nearly a score of citations, substitutes the words "in My Name" for the words "baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," renders their conjectures superfluous. Aphraates also in citing the verse substitutes "and they shall believe in Me"—a paraphrase of "in My Name." The first gospel thus falls into line with the rest of the New Testament.

14. Analogous Rites in other Religions (see also Purification).—The Fathers themselves were the first to recognize that "the devil too had his sacraments," and that the Eleusinian, Isiac, Mithraic and other mystae used baptism in their rites of initiation. But it is not to be supposed that the Christians borrowed from these or from any Gentile source any essential features of their baptismal rites. Baptism was long before the advent of Jesus imposed on proselytes, and existed inside Judaism itself.

It has been remarked that the developed ceremony of baptism, with its threefold renunciation, resembles the ceremony of Roman law known as emancipatio, by which the patria potestas (or power of life and death of the father over his son) was extinguished. Under the law of the XII. Tables the father lost it, if he three times sold his child. This suggested a regular procedure, according to which the father sold his son thrice into mancipium, while after each sale the fictitious vendee enfranchized the son, by manumissio vindicta, i.e. by laying his rod (vindicta) on the slave and claiming him as free (vindicatio in libertatem). Then the owner also laid his rod on the slave, declaring his intention to enfranchise him, and the praetor by his addictor confirmed the owner's declaration. The third manumission thus gave to the son and slave his freedom. It is possible that this common ceremony of Roman law suggested the triple abrenunciatio of Satan. Like the legal ceremony, baptism freed the believer from one (Satan) who, by the mere fact of the believer's birth, had power of death over him. And as the legal manumission dissolved a son's previous agnatic relationships, so, too, the person baptized gave up father and mother, &c., and became one of a society of brethren the bond between whom was not physical but spiritual. The idea of adoption in baptism as a son and heir of God was almost certainly taken by Paul from Roman law.

The ceremony of turning to the west three times with renunciation of the Evil One, then to the east, is exactly paralleled in a rite of purification by water common among the Malays and described by Skeat in his book on Malay magic. If the Malay rite is not derived through Mahommedanism from Christianity, it is a remarkable example of how similar psychological conditions can produce almost identical rites.

The idea of spiritual re-birth, so soon associated with baptism, was of wide currency in ancient religions. It is met with in Philo of Alexandria and was familiar to the Jews. Thus the proselyte is said in the Talmud to resemble a child and must bathe in the name of God. The Jordan is declared in 2 Kings v. 10 to be a cleansing medium, and Naaman's cure was held to pre-figure Christian baptism. Jerome relates that the Jew who taught him Hebrew communicated to him a teaching of the Rabbi Baraciba, that the inner man who rises up in us at the fourteenth year after puberty (i.e. at 29) is better than the man who is born from the mother's womb.

In a Paris papyrus edited by Albr. Dieterich (Leipzig, 1903) under the title of Eine Mithrasliturgie, an ancient mystic describes his re-birth in impressive language. In a prayer addressed to "First birth of my birth, first beginning (or principle) of my beginning, first spirit of the spirit in me," he prays "to be restored to his deathless birth (genesis), albeit he is let and hindered by his underlying nature, to the end that according to the pressing need and spur of his longing he may gaze upon the deathless principle with deathless spirit, through the deathless water, through the solid and the air; that he may be re-born through reason (or idea), that he may be consecrated, and the holy spirit breathe in him, that he may admire the holy fire, that he may behold the abyss of the Orient, dread water, and that he may be heard of the quickening and circumambient ether; for this day he is about to gaze on the revealed reality with deathless eyes; a mortal born of mortal womb, he has been enhanced in excellence by the might of the All-powerful and by the right hand of the Deathless one," &c.

This is but one specimen of the pious ejaculations, which in the first centuries were rising from the lips of thousands of mystae, in Egypt, Asia Minor, Italy and elsewhere. The idea of re-birth was in the air; it was the very keynote of all the solemn initiations and mysteries—Mythraic, Orphic, Eleusinian—through which repentant pagans secured pardon and eternal bliss. Yet there is not much evidence that the church directly borrowed many of its ceremonies or interpretations from outside sources. They for the most part originated among the believers, and not improbably the outside cults borrowed as much from the church as it from them.

Authorities.—The following ancient works are recommended: Tertullian, De Baptismo (edition with introd. J. M. Lupton, 1909); Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses; Basil, De Spiritu Sancto; Constitutiones Apostolicae; Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. 40; Gregory Nyss., Oratio in eos qui differunt baptismum; Sacramentary of Serapion of Thmuis; Augustine, De Baptismo contra Donatistas; Jac. Goar, Rituale Graecorum (gives the current Greek rites); F. C. Conybeare, Rituale Armenorum (the oldest forms of Armenian and Greek rites); Gerard G. Vossius, De Baptismo (Amsterdam, 1648); Edmond Martene, De Ant. Ecclesiae Ritibus (gives Western rites) (Bassani, 1788). The modern literature is infinite; perhaps the most exhaustive works are W. F. Höfling, Das Sacrament der Taufe (Erlangen, 1859): Jos. Bingham's Antiquities (London, 1834), and W. Wall, On Infant Baptism (London, 1707); J. Anrich, Das antike Mysterienwesen (Göttingen, 1894), details the corresponding rites of the Greek mysteries, also A. Dieterich, Eine Mithras Liturgie (Leipzig, 1903); J. C. Suicer, Thesaurus, sub voce βάπτισμα; Ad. Harnack, Dogmengeschichte (Freiburg im Br. 1894); L. Duchesne, Origines du culte chrétien (Paris, 1898); Mgr. P. Batiffol, Etudes historiques (Paris, 1904); J. C. W. Augusti, Denkwürdigkeiten (Leipzig, 1829-1831); Monumenta Ecclesiae Liturgica by Dom Cabrol and Dom Leclercq (Paris, 1902) (a summary of all liturgical passages given in the early Fathers); Corblet, Histoire du sacrement de baptême (2 vols. Paris, 1881-1882).

 (F. C. C.) 


BAPTISTE, NICOLAS ANSELME (1761-1835), French actor, was born in Bordeaux on the 18th of June 1761, the elder son of Joseph François Anselme, a popular actor. His mother played leading parts in tragedy, and both his parents enjoyed the protection of Voltaire and the friendship of Lekain. It was probably under the auspices of the latter that Nicolas Anselme made his first appearance as de Belloy in Gaston et Bayard; and shortly afterwards, under the name of Baptiste, he made a contract to play young lover parts at Arras, where he also appeared in opera and even in pantomime. From Rouen, where he had three successful years, his reputation spread to Paris and he was summoned to the new theatre which the comedian Langlois-Courcelles had just founded, and where he succeeded, not only in making an engagement for himself, but in bringing all his family, father, mother, wife and brother. They were thus distinguished in the playbills: Baptiste, aîné, Baptiste père, Baptiste cadet, Madame Baptiste mère, Madame Baptiste bru. This resulted in the pun of calling a play in which they all appeared une pièce de baptistes. Nicolas soon obtained the public favour, specially in La Martellière's mediocre Robert, chef de