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Baptism-An Excursus

                    BAPTISM-AN EXCURSUS.

                  BY BISHOP B. T. TANNER, D.D.

  The possession of five senses can scarcely be said to more
certainly pertain to human nature, than does the  tendency to
worship  As no race has ever yet. been discovered, the indi-
vidual members of which did not possess what is known as
the five senses, to wit: the sense of hearing, of smelling of tast-
ing, touching, and seeing, even so, no race has ever been dis-
covered destitute of the tendency to worship and, we might
say of some phase of worship.  The one is quite as univer-
sal as the other. As it relates to what has just been said, the
additional remark may be made, that the possession, both of
the senses and the tendency to worship, are really required to
prove the full or complete unity of the race; and one quite
as much as the other. Physical unity, of itself, would not
suffice; for, supposing such unity to exist, while as it relates
to the spirit or soul the most radical difference were found,
the great doctrine of man's unity and brotherhood could scarcely
be said to be more than half proved. But when both soul and
body unite, and as with one voice speak the same word, and
affirm the same truth, belief is absolutely required; for, as
saith the Scripture:" * * * in the mouth of two or three
witnesses, every word may be established." (Matt. xviii, 16.) Nor
does this tendency to worship ever remain dormant, as the fact
of its cognition argues; for, how were it otherwise to be known or
discovered? No sense of the body, no faculty of the soul, is
more active, than that which leads to the worship of God (or
gods.  Races may be sleepy in regard to the various phases
of life's activities; they may be only half awake to conquest
and war; but as it relates to religion, the high-noon of wakeful-
ness may be said ever to rest upon them.
  It is only in the line of a plain statement that we allude to
the multitude of religious forms, found to exist among the
peoples of the earth, be they of whatever race or grade of de-
velopment.  The fact of religion calls for forms of some kind.
A  tendency of the soul, a passion, a genuine force is only
when it manifests itself that its existence can be detected, as
is the case with all that is spirit. That that is spirit, can only
be cognized when, from the blacksness of the darkness of "things
not seen," its voice is heard to say: "Here I am."
  Chief among religious forms, is Baptism, or the application
of water to the body. So universal is it, that the question of


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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 06, Num. 3

Baptism-An Excursus


Volume:  06
Issue Number:  03
Page Number:  262
Date:  01/1890


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