« PreviousContinue »
to the rite of baptism, then future sins, subsequent to baptism, even to the time of confirmation at least, are forgiven at baptism. This prayer is offered ' after the renewal of the baptismal vow,' and assumes that the profession and vow personally made by those who come for confirmation, of those things, which were promised in their name at baptism, is sincere and cordial; they are considered as true be. lievers; and, on that supposition, God is thanked in their behalf, as having regenerated them by water and by the Holy Spirit, and as having · forgiven
them all their sins.' But, supposing the vow and profession insincere, will any say, that they are regenerate and forgiven all their sins?
P. xc. 1. 17. In the collect, &c." This collect does indeed suppose, that the persons, who use it, as the desire of their hearts in prayer, have been regenerated, and made the children of God by adoption and grace: but it is totally silent as to the time or manner of their regeneration and adoption. Baptism is neither mentioned nor alluded to; and there. fore something subsequent to it, and of a far more spiritual nature, than the mere rite of baptism, may be, and doubtless is, meant.
P. xci. l. 3. · Whence, &c." The eulogium on our reformers meets our full consent: but surely the quotations already made from some of them, shew that the subsequent proposition is by far too large and unqualified : and probably this will appear still more clearly in the sequel.
''In the collect for Christmas-day, again in allusion to our Christian baptism, and to a passage of Scripture aiready quoted, 'we pray to Almighty God, that 'we, being regenerate and made his children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by his Holy Spirit ;''here, “ being regenerate,” is a translation of regenerati, having been regenerated by baptism.' 1. Whence we may conclude, that our reforme who were • perhaps more accurately acquainted with the doctrines and lan
P. xci. 1. 13. . In the ninth, &c.". Those who are regenerated, and those who believe and are baptized, are mentioned in this article: and doubtless all, who believe and are baptized, are regenerated; but it does not follow, that all who are baptized are regenerated. The article determines nothing, as to regeneration, as attending infant-baptism; but is rather unfavourable to the sentiment: and as to adults receiving baptism without true faith, it certainly does not intimate, that there is no condemnation for them. In the fifteenth article, being bap
tized and born again in Christ,' are spoken of, at least, as distinct things; and if so, a man may be baptized, who is not born again; and a man may
be born again, who is not baptized.
P. xci. 1. 24. In the homilies, &c." There is nothing in these quotations, at all different from the sentiments of those, who allow baptism with water to be the sacrament of regeneration,' or the outward pledge, or recognition of it; but not regeneration itself, or inseparably connected with it. Baptism is not at all mentioned in the last of them: but merely the fountain of the new birth.” It is remarkable, and indeed much to be regretted, that there is no homily expressly on the subject of baptism: and it does not appear, on what account this was onnitted.
guage of the New Testament, than the divines of any other age
or country since the days of the apostles, did not think it con• sistent with the principles of the Gospel to require regeneration « from those who were already baptized. Nor do they ever apply
the word regeneration to any operation of the Holy Ghost, except at the time of baptism.'
I'In the 9th article, those that are regenerated'' and those ** that believe and are baptized" are mentioned as the same per
The 15th article speaks of all Christians as being " bapa so tized and born again in Christ.”
* In the homilies we find the following passages; in speaking
. Where the Holy Ghost worketh, there nothing • is impossible, as may further appear by the inward ' regeneration and sanctification of mankind. When ! Christ said to Nicodemus; “Unless a man be born
anew, of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter “ into the kingdom of God," - he was greatly • amazed in his mind, and began to reason with : Christ, demanding how “a man might be born
of churches, wherein be ministered the sacraments and mys
teries of our redemption, it is said, the fountain of our regene. • ration is there presented unto us; the partaking of the body
and blood of our Saviour Christ is there offered unto us, * (signifying baptism and the Lord's supper :) Our Saviour Christ
altered and changed the same [the practice of frequent washing among the Jews] in his church into a profitable sacrament, the
sacrament of our regeneration or new-birth, (that is, baptism.) ! He saved us by the fountain of the new-birth, and by the rea
newing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that we, beiug once justified
grace, should be heirs of eternal life, through hope and • faith in his blood.'
1 Tit. iii. 4-6.
of when he was old." “ Can he enter," saith he, “ into his mother's womb again, and so be born “ anew ?” • Behold a lively pattern of a fleshly and carnal man. He had little or no intelligence of • the Holy Ghost, and therefore he goeth bluntly to ' work; and asketh how the thing were possible to • be true; whereas otherwise, if he had known the great power of the Holy Ghost in this behalf, that it is he which inwardly worketh the regeneration,
and new-birth, of mankind, he would never have • marvelled at Christ's words, but would rather take 'occasion thereby to praise and glorify God.'--The Father to create, the Son to redeem, the Holy 'Ghost to sanctify and regenerate : whereof the last, "the more it is hid from our understanding, the
more it ought to move all men to wonder at the secret and mighty working of God's Holy Spirit, 'which is within us. For it is the Holy Ghost,
and no other thing, that doth quicken the minds sof men, stirring up good and holy notions in their hearts, which are agreeable to the will and com
mandment of God; such as otherwise of their own corrupt and perverse nature, they should never « have.
“ That which is born of the Spirit is “ spirit.” “ As who should say, man of his own * nature is fleshly and carnal, corrupt and 'naught, 6 sinful and disobedient unto God, without any spark of goodness in hiin, without any virtuous or godly | motion, only given to evil thoughts and wicked
decds. As for the w:rks of the Spirit, the fruits 6 of charitable and godly motions, if he have any at all in him, they proceed only of the Holy Ghost,
who is the only worker of our sanctification, and
maketh us new men in Christ Jesus. Did not * God's Holy Spirit work in the child David, when
of a poor shepherd, he became a princely prophet? • Did not God's Holy Spirit miraculously work in · Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom, when of
a proud publican, he became a humble and lowly evangelist ? And who can choose but marvel to consider, that Peter should become of a simple
fisher, a chief and mighty apostle? Paul, of a cruel and bloody persecutor, a faithful disciple of • Christ, to teach the Gentiles ? Such is the power * of the Holy Spirit to regenerate men, and, as it
were, to bring them forth anew, so that they shall be nothing like the men that they were before. Neither doth he think it sufficient inwardly to
work the new and spiritual birth of man, unless he • also dwell and abide in him." In this long quotation, baptism is not once mentioned, or so much as alluded to ; nor yet in the context; nor indeed in the whole homily, except as the baptism of Christ by John, with the descent of the Holy Gliost, and the voice from heaven; and the form of Christian baptism, are adduced, in proof of the doctrine of the Trinity.
P. xcii. xciii. Note from Secker. “Though inculcating, &c."? As far as the Scripture is concerned,
Homily on Whitsunday. 2 . Though inculcating perpetually, that without “holiness no man shall see the Lord,” 'is indispensably needful ; vet preach.
ing the necessity of being regenerated, as a thing still absolutely * wanting to a great part of those who call themselves disciples of