Alexander Campbell: By "the bath of regeneration" is not meant the first, second, or third act; but the last act of regeneration, which completes the whole, and is, therefore, used to denote the new birth.

This is the reason why our Lord and his apostles unite this act with water. Being born of water, in the Saviour's style, and the bath of regeneration, in the Apostles' style,

in the judgment of all writers and critics of eminence, refer to one and the same act - viz.: Christian baptism.

Hence it came to pass, that all the ancients (as fully proved in our first Extra on Remission) used the word regeneration as synonymous in signification with immersion. In addition to the numerous quotations made in our Essay on Remission, from the creeds and liturgies of Protestant churches,

we shall add another from the Common Prayer (?) of the Church of England, showing unequivocally that the learned doctors of that church used the words regeneration and baptism as synonymous.

In the address and prayer of the minister after the baptism of the child, he is commanded to say, -

"Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's church, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits, and with one accord make our prayer unto him that this child may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning."

"Then shall be said, all kneeling, -

"We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy church.

And humbly we beseech thee to grant that he, being dead unto sin, and living unto righteousness, and being buried with Christ in his death, may crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the whole body of sin; and that as he is made partaker of the death of [231] thy Son, he may also be partaker of his resurrection; so that finally, with the residue of the holy church, he may be an inheritor of thine everlasting kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Eusebius, in his life of Constantine, page 628 (Life of Constantine, Book, IV, CHAPTER LXII) , shows that St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, and, indeed, all the Greek Fathers,

did regard baptism as the consummating act;
and therefore they call it teliosis, the consummation.

These authorities weigh nothing with us; but, as they weigh with our opponents, we think it expedient to remind them on which side the Fathers depose in the case before us.

By these quotations we would prove no more than that the ancients understood the washing of regeneration, and indeed used the term regeneration, as synonymous with baptism.

But were we asked for the precise import of the phrase washing or bath of regeneration, either on philological principles, or as explained by the apostles, we would give it as our judgment, that the phrase is a circumlocution or periphrasis for water.

It is loutron, a word which more properly signifies the vessel that contains the water, than the water itself; and is, therefore, by the most learned critics and translators, rendered bath, as indicative either of the vessel containing the fluid, or of the use made of the fluid in the vessel.

It is, therefore, by a metonymy, that water of baptism,
or the water in which we are regenerated.

Paul was a Hebrew, and spoke in the Hebrew style. We must learn that style before we fully understand the apostle's style. In other words, we must studiously read the Old Testament before we can accurately understand the New.

What more natural for a Jew accustomed to speak of "the water of purification," of "the water of separation," [NOTE: See Numbers viii. 7; xix. 9, 13, 20, 21; xxxi. 23]

than to speak of "the bath of regeneration"?

If the phrase "water of purification" meant water used for the purpose of purifying a person - if "the water of separation" meant water used for separating a person - what more natural than that "the bath of regeneration" should mean water for regenerating a person?

But the New Testament itself confirms this exposition of the phrase. We find the word loutron once more used by the same apostle, in the same connection of thought. In his letter to the Ephesians,

he affirms that Jesus has sanctified (separated, purified with the water of purification) the church by a loutron of water - "a bath of water, with the word" - "having cleansed it by a bath of water, with the word." [NOTE: Ephesians v. 26]

This is still more decisive. The king's translators, so fully aware that the sense of this passage agrees with Titus iii. 5, have, in both places, used the word washing, and Macknight the term bath, as the import of loutron. What is called the [232] washing or bath of regeneration, in the one passage, is in the other, called "the washing" or "bath of water." 

        What is called saved in one is called cleansed in the other; 
        and what is called the
renewal of the Holy Spirit  in the one is called the word in the other;

because the Holy Spirit consecrates or cleanses through the word. For thus prayed the Messiah, "Consecrate them through the truth: thy word is the truth." And again, "You are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you."

To the same effect, Paul to the Hebrew Christians, says, "Having your hearts sprinkled from a guilty conscience, and your bodies washed with pure water" - the water of purification, the water of regeneration: (for the phrase "pure water" must be understood, not of the quality of the water, but metonymically of the effect, the cleansing, the washing, or the purifying of the person) - "having your bodies or persons washed with pure water," or water that purifies or cleanses.

No one, acquainted with Peter's style, will think it strange that Paul represents persons as saved, cleansed, or sanctified by water; seeing Peter unequivocally asserts that "we are saved" through water, or through baptism, as was Noah and his family through water and faith in God's promise. "The antitype immersion does also now save us."

Finally, our great prophet, the Messiah, gives to water the same place and power in the work of regeneration.

For when speaking of being born again - when explaining to Nicodemus the new birth, he says, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." May not we, then, supported by such high authorities, call that water of which a person is born again, the water or bath of regeneration?

B. W. Johnson in The People's New Testament notes in:

Titus 3: 3-7. For we ourselves. We Christians. Were sometimes. Once we were just as foolish, disobedient, turbulent and sinful as others.

4. But after that. That we are not so now is due, not to ourselves, but to the love of God shown in the gospel.

5. He saved us. Not by our righteousness, but by his mercy. The means chosen by his mercy to place us in the state of salvation are next spoken of. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Two elements enter into the saving; these are referred to in John 3:5 as the birth of water and of the Spirit. God's spirit effects the renewal of the spirit of man by bringing him to faith and repentance through the preaching of the gospel; thus the renewal of the Holy Spirit is begun, and the gift of the Holy Spirit is promised as a sequence of baptism. Rom. 6:1-8 shows that the sinner dies to sin, is buried by baptism, rises to a new life, and is a new creature. Washing of regeneration. Literally, "Bath of regeneration." All commentators of reputation refer this to baptism, such as Meyer, Olshausen, Lange, Plumptree, Schaff, Canon Cook, Wesley, etc.

Regeneration is due to the Holy Spirit, but baptism is an outward act that God requires to complete the fact. The term "regeneration" only occurs here and in Matt. 19:28.

6. Which. The Holy Spirit. Shed on us abundantly. On the church. On some even in miraculous measure. See Acts 2:1-10.

7. That being justified. Our sins all forgiven, that through God's grace, we might be accepted as his children.

We have already seen that the consummation of the process of generation or creation

is in the birth of the creature formed.

So it is in the moral generation, or in the great process of regeneration. There is

a state of existence from which he that is born passes;
and there is a state of existence
into which he enters after birth.

This is true of the whole animal creation whether oviparous or viviparous. Now the manner of existence, or the mode of life, is wholly changed; and he is, in reference to the former state, dead, and to the new state, alive.

So in moral regeneration. The subject of this great change, before his new birth, existed in one state; but after it he exists in another. He stands in a new relation to God, angels, and men.

He is now born of God, and has the privilege of being a son of God, and is consequently pardoned, justified, sanctified, [233] adopted, saved.

The state which he left was a state of condemnation, what some call "the state of nature." The state into which he enters is a state of favor, in which he enjoys all the heavenly blessings through Christ: therefore, it is called "the kingdom of heaven."

All this is signified in his death, burial, and resurrection with Christ; or in his being born of water.

Hence the necessity of being buried with Christ in water, that he may be born of water, that he may enjoy the renewal of the Holy Spirit, and be placed under the reign of favor.

All the means of salvation are means of enjoyment, not of procurement.

Birth itself is not for procuring, but for enjoying, the life possessed before birth. So in the analogy: - no one is to be baptized, or to be, buried with Christ; no one is to be put under the water of regeneration for the purpose of procuring life, but for the purpose of enjoying the life of which he is possessed.

If the child is never born, all its sensitive powers and faculties can not be enjoyed; for it is after birth that these are fully developed and feasted upon all the aliments and objects of sense in nature.

Hence all that is now promised in the gospel can only be enjoyed by those who are born again and placed in the kingdom of heaven under all its influences.

Hence the philosophy of that necessity which Jesus preached: - "Unless a man be born again, be can not discern the kingdom of heaven," - unless a man be born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter into it.

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Matthew 13:13

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: Matthew 13:14

Perceive: From Strong's "see" which is derived from g3708 meaning to discern clearly, to attend to, to experience, to perceive.

Peter showed the connection between baptism and becoming a co-perceiver in the kingdom: 

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 3:21

Suniemi (g4920) soon-ee'-ay-mee; from 4862 and hiemi , (to send); to put together, i.e. (mentally) to comprehend; by impl. to act piously: - consider, understand, be wise

The "clear conscience" offered only by request at the time and place of baptism means:

Suneidesis ((g4893) soon-i'-day-sis; from a prol. form of 4894; co-perception, i.e. moral consciousness; - conscience.

Suneido (g4894) soon-i'-do; from 4862 and 1492; to see completely; used (like its prim.) only in two past tenses, respectively mean. to understand or become aware, and to be conscious or (clandestinely) informed of: - consider, know, be privy, be ware of.

Mandaeands Sabians Iraq Christians

"Sabian" is a word derived from the Aramaic-Mandic verb "Saba" which means "baptised" or "dyed", "immersed in water". "dMandaeans" is derived from "menda" which means in the mandiac language "knowledge".

Thus, "Mandaean Sabians" means those who are baptised and who know the religion of God.

Clement of Alexandria in Stromata notes that co-perception is not automatic:

Here he terms the Babylonians wise. And that Scripture calls every secular science or art by the one name wisdom (there are other arts and sciences invented over and above by human reason), and that artistic and skilful invention is from God, will be clear if we adduce the following statement:

"And the Lord spake to Moses, See, I have called Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Or, of the tribe of Judah; and I have filled him with the divine spirit of wisdom, and understanding, and knowledge, to devise and to execute in all manner of work, to work gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and in working stone work, and in the art of working wood," and even to "all works." [Ex. xxxi. 2-5.] And then He adds the general reason,

"And to every understanding heart I have given understanding; " [Ex. xxxi. 6.] that is, to every one capable of acquiring it by pains and exercise. And again, it is written expressly in the name of the Lord "And speak thou to all that are wise in mind, whom I have filled with the spirit of perception." [ Ex. xxviii. 3.]

Those who are wise in mind have a certain attribute of nature peculiar to themselves; and they who have shown themselves capable, receive from the Supreme Wisdom a spirit of perception in double measure.

For those who practise the common arts, are in what pertains to the senses highly gifted:

in hearing, he who is commonly called a musician;
in touch, he who moulds clay;
in voice the singer,
in smell the perfumer,
in sight the engraver of devices on seals. (marks)

But let no man think that in the act of being born, either naturally or metaphorically, the child purchases, procures, or merits either life or its enjoyments.

He is only by his birth placed in circumstances favorable to the enjoyment of life, and all that makes life a blessing.

"To as many as receive him, believing in his name, be grants the privilege of being children of God, who derive their birth not from blood, nor from the desire of the flesh, nor from the will of man, but from God."


"He has saved us," says the apostle Paul, "by the bath of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his favor [in the bath of regeneration] we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

Thus, and not by works of righteousness, he has saved us.
Consequently, being born of water and the
renewing of the Holy Spirit are not works of merit or of righteousness, but only the means of enjoyment.

But this pouring out of the influences, this renewing of the Holy Spirit,

is as necessary as the bath of regeneration to the salvation of the soul,
and to the [234] enjoyment of the hope of heaven, of which the Apostle speaks.

In the kingdom into which we are born of water, the Holy Spirit is as the atmosphere in the kingdom of nature; we mean that the influences of the Holy Spirit are as necessary to the new life, as the atmosphere is to our animal life in the kingdom of nature.

All that is done in us before regeneration, God our Father effects by the word, or the gospel as dictated and confirmed by his Holy Spirit.

But after we are thus begotten and born by the Spirit of God - after our new birth -
the Holy Spirit is shed on us richly
through Jesus Christ our Saviour; of which the peace of mind, the love, the joy, and the hope of the regenerate is full proof;

for these are among the fruits of that Holy Spirit of promise of which we speak. Thus commences

Further notes about A holy spirit

There yet remains the phrase "sanctification of the Spirit." This understood, I presume the whole New Testament phraseology on the subject of the Spirit will be easily understood by every attentive reader. The original phrase is hagiasmos pneumatos, and is found only in II. Thess. ii. 13; I. Pet. i. 2. In both places it appears to refer to the sanctification of the spirit of believers. 

It is literally rendered "sanctification [or holiness] of spirit." There is no article in the original and no epithet that suggests the Holy Spirit in either passage. 

God has chosen men to salvation through (or by) holiness of spirit;
not through the holiness of his Spirit,
        but through the holiness of their spirit.

When Jesus prayed (John xvii.) for the sanctification or holiness of his disciples,
          it was through the truth: "Sanctify them through the truth; thy word is truth."
The belief of the truth is, therefore, by Paul associated with this holiness or sanctification of spirit.

The Spirit of God is frequently denominated in these days, "the Sanctifier." Let it be granted that it is the Spirit that sanctifies or sets apart men to God, still it must be argued from the Record  
        that he sanctifies them only through the truth or gospel believed.
A sanctified unbeliever is inconceivable;
        and, as "without holiness [or sanctification of spirit] no man can see the Lord;
        so, without faith, there can be no holiness, and no action acceptable to God.

All persons sanctified to God to any high office or function, were anointed, and thus consecrated to his special service. So all Christians, being priests, 

        are anointed or sanctified by the Holy Spirit 
        [135] through the obedience of the truth,
        and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus,
        cleansing their consciences from dead works to serve the living God.

In this we find the secret of the most usual epithet of the Spirit. It is the Spirit of holiness, because it is the Spirit of truth. It is the Holy Spirit, because by its influence it makes us holy; and these influences which sanctify are always by and through the truth. When God chose men to salvation, it was through sanctification of spirit; and as a means to this, it was through the belief of the truth.

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