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the clergy could not fail of being “ In all these statements, I flatter
myself, Right Rev. sir, that I shall
I select this topic because, so far as
place, and the catechumen partakes,
in the liturgical sense of the word, “ Besides, in the present circumof a new life. When, therefore, we stances of the church, it is chiefly speak strictly and ecclesiastically, of infants that the sacrament of the being born again will include the baptism and its benefits are preincipient change of heart, the admission dicated. With regard to adults, the to all the privileges of the church, case is clear. They come to bapand the washing with water. To this tism with repentance and faith ; that language I fully accede. The Scrip- is, with a divine life begun ; and on ture leads the way; I follow. The their profession of faith and washing same Scripture, also, more commonly with water, they are pronounced in speaks of the change of nature, with the ecclesiastical sense regenerate or out reference to baptism ; I follow born anew. The difficulty is with again. For if I refuse to do this, infants; and it is natural it should be and confine the meaning of the term It has pleased God to say little regeneration, or new birth, to outward or nothing explicitly of infant bapprivileges, then I take out from the tism: it is a doctrine of inference scriptural word its most important from the practice of the Old Testaingredient; I use the word in another ment church from the general nature and much lower sense, and I am of the covenant of grace, the condebound in consistency to allow it also scending conduct of our Saviour to to be used in its more full interpre- children, the comprehensive lantation as comprehending a change guage of the New Testament, and of heart. If, on the other hand, I the uniform custom of the Christian understand the word regeneration as church. Our formularies, therefore, including the beginning of the moral seem to view children as a part of transformation of man, then I must their parents : they charitably take employ it, as the Scripture does, them from the world and insert them both in connexion with the water of in the church-they consider the probaptism as the visible sign and seal fession of their sponsors as the answer of it, and also more generally without of a good conscience towards God any immediate connexion with it, as made by themselves—they offer debeing conveyed by the word and vout prayers on their behalf-and Spirit of God to baptized persons at they then baptize them with water, various periods of their lives. Thus, and pronounce them regenerate: cerunder any supposition, the use of the tainly as to the washing of water, and word in its popular and general sense, all the privileges of the church, (inas well as in its ecclesiastical and cluding all that you, Right Rev. sir, sacramental sense, is scriptural, and seem to me to include in the meanincludes the two obvious and most ing of the term), and charitably, hyimportant uses of it as found in Holy pothetically (or whatever else you Writ.
may call it), as to the communication “I conceive this to be more im- of a divine life, and a principle of portant, because, allowing the single incipient holiness. Under such cirword regeneration, maliyyeveola, on cumstances, then, the common use of account of its use Titus iii. 5, to be the words 'new birth, regeneration,' more properly used in connexion &c., as applicable to the commencewith baptism; yet the terms 'new ment of a holy state of heart and birth, the being born of God, born life, or, as you would call it, converagain,' &c. &c.-expressions, as I sion, whenever it takes place, is peconceive, precisely similar-must not culiarly important, because the danger be so restrained, if we would fairly of mistaking a form of knowledge be guided by Holy Scripture; and for genuine piety is peculiarly great, because all those persons who object and the actual knowledge of the to the general use of the word rege- moral state of the heart is only to be neration, object also to such a use gathered by subsequent proofs. of its synonymes.
The two uses, of the word are harmonious and intelligible in this adversary, the established language sacrament, just as' communion with of theology, authorised by Holy Christ,' and the ‘eating his flesh and Scripture, consistent with the forblood,'are expressions used in a simi- mularies of our church, and conlar manner in the other sacrament. firmed by all our first writers. On The sign and seal of these spiritual the great doctrine of the Holy Triblessings are the visible elements; nity, a surrender of intelligible and and the communion we hold with precise terms of divinity, even though our dying Lord includes, indeed, not in so many words Scriptural, has in its ecclesiastical and sacramental always been most justly deprecated, sense, the use of the appointed sign; as either proceeding from, or involvbut is spoken of in Scripture as main- ing, some compromise as to the doctained also in other methods of grace. trine in dispute. Much more, then, The two meanings are intelligible and should terms ipso facto in Scripture important, and not inconsistent with be used as they are used there; each other.
sometimes, indeed, in connexion “ Nor will your argument derived with the sacraments, but by far more from the supposed degradation of commonly with no such limitation. the sacrament of Baptism, by con- “For it is not merely the case of a sidering the full spiritual grace not few devout and pious persons which invariably conveyed by it, have any is to be considered. These, if they weight, till it is shewn that the ac- object conscientiously, however er. knowledged separation of the grace roneously, to this or that Scriptural sealed by the sacrament of the Lord's term, may do it perhaps without Supper tends to degrade that sacred material injury, whilst the great ordinance.
principles of piety remain in healthy “There was, moreover, less reason operation. But in the case of the for the relinquishing this popular immense majority of mankind, and use of the words regeneration or even of divines, the tendency to sink new-birth, at the time when Dr. into mere formality is so great, that Mant made his appeal, because the the surrender of the terms new birth, long and established language of our regeneration, born again, &c. except best divines had authorized it. It in connexion with baptism, would was no invention of the divines whom rapidly bring on a departure from Dr. Mant opposed. They found it the spiritual and holy faith of the in the writings of the Reformers Gospel. Indeed, when worldly men of our church. They objected not conceive a dislike of religious actito the ecclesiastical and sacramental vity and decided holiness in others terms employed by those writers. (departed sanctity is less irksome), They followed them in the use of they commonly begin by objecting to them. They followed them also in terms and phrases—so it is as to the their more general language, in which doctrine of justification, so as to the regeneration, renovation, conversion, doctrine of separation from the follies &c. were employed indiscriminately, of the world, so in the truth of comor nearly so, for the great and com- munion with God. Conscience premanding truth of a radical change vents men from openly impugning of heart. On this point I believe the doctrines of grace and holiness : no question has been raised. I have, they manage their attack, therefore, myself, looked into the writings of under cover of some particular exabove a hundred of our first divines pression and practice. from the Reformation downwards, Such are some of the reasons and can safely say I have found the which have induced me to adhere to practice which I am now speaking what I conceive to be the good old of very general. It would have divinity of our forefathers, the foundbeen a dereliction, then, of truth to ers and defenders of our church. have relinquished to a precipitate But, independently of these consiCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 361.
derations, the controuling motivecessity and suitableness of this truth with me is the clear line of Scripture of our new birth : and this source of language. Other arguments may holiness is the spring of all his efforts, have their weight; this is a para- prayers, acts of self-denial, benemount and overwhelming consider-ficence, humility, and love. Conation. If the Scriptures had always nected with this, the discovery of connected the new birth with bap- the glory of the Redeemer is ever tism, I would have done the same. dependent on a real transformation As they appear to me decidedly not of heart. Nature knows nothing of to do so, I must beware of putting Christ. All the doctrine in the world human explications in the place of will never lead a man to a right view divine.
of our mysterious Lord and his stu“At the same time, allow me, again pendous sacrifice. To the unawakand again, to repeat (without any ened mind Christ has no beauty nor reference to yourself, Right Rev. sir, comeliness. But the man who is whom I now beg leave, for a moment, born of God, and has learnt, in a peto put out of the question), that I netrating and effectual manner, the would never enter upon controversy holiness of the law, the heinousness with a person who merely objected of sin, the impotency of man, the to the single term regeneration, and entire depravity and corruption of cordially admitted the necessity of every power of his soul, and the inbeing born of God, made a new finite purity, justice, and truth of creature, turned from darkness unto God, is prepared for the salvation light, raised from the dead, begotten by grace which the Gospel reveals. again, made partaker of a Divine Light is not more adapted to the eye nature,' &c. &c. Nay, I should es- than the truth of a crucified Saviour teem such a person just as highly as is to the faith of the quickened heart. if he entirely agreed with me. Where He finds pardon and justification by I take my stand is on the footing of the gift of righteousness ;' faith that grand and fundamental truth of is counted to him for righteousness;' the necessity of a thorough change he' works not, but believes on him of heart and life, which, now the that justifieth the ungodly.'
Peace Sacrifice of the Cross has been offered, with God, adoption, hope, joy, now appears to me the turning point in succeed each other; and appear in Christianity. There, as I conceive, their proper fruits, humility, meekthe world and the spiritual church ness, righteousness, sobriety, truth; divide. There the formal and the and by these fruits the genuine work real, the outward and the inward, of new-creating grace
is distinthe nominal and the sincere profes- guished from every counterfeit. Thus sor of the Christian faith, separate the doctrine of a divine birth runs from each other. The cold and through every part of Christianity; worldly, with all their subterfuges, and this is the doctrine which God deny at last the necessity of an en- will own with the broad seal of his tire and spiritual transformation of blessing. This is the doctrine which fallen man by the power of the Holy actually produces an effect on men. Ghost; and the doctrine of the sa- The law convinces them of sin; the crament is only a step (not perhaps Gospel brings them consolation; the in their apprehensions, but in fact) Holy Spirit renews and sanctifies to this further end. On the other their whole nature, using the law hand, the sincere and devout Chris- and the Gospel as instruments in tian who feels and laments the power his hand for producing repentance of inherent evil, and who struggles and faith, and then communicating to love and obey God, sees at a perpetual supplies of grace from the glance the nature and supreme im- fulness which is in Christ Jesus. On portance of the quickening operations this doctrine the church is built, the of the Holy Ghost; he feels the ne- • foundation of apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief relates to the term regeneration, may
“DANIEL WILSON *."
interesting to our Reverend corresponis amongst us. In the Church of culars respecting the deceased prelate. Scotland, the case, I am told, is the We shall state them in the words of one same. The Protestant and Lutheran who knew and highly esteemed him, and churches on the continent of Europe those differences of opinion which have
who espoused his views in regard to are in a similar state. The num
at times greatly divided the clergy of ber of real and spiritual Christians Maryland, and generated very painful is, in general, comparatively few- controversies ; so much so that after the • strait is the gate and narrow is decease of Bishop, Kemp, in 1827, no
bishop was elected for three years, the the way which leadeth unto life
clergy being too discordant in opinion to whilst the crowd of worldly and ensure the requisite majority of votes for vain persons, both amongst clergy any one candidate. At length however Dr. and laity, is immense. These, having affairs of the diocese, we are happy to
Stone was unanimously elected, and the numbers on their side, drown the learn, proceed in much peace and mutual voice of truth by noise and clamour, forbearance and good will. We have not stifle remonstrances by a spirit of before alluded to these circumstances, party, and have the rulers and great which have harassed the infant Episcopal
or to various other painful controversies and many of the learned on their church in the United States, as our interside. The spiritual church still protests ference might appear officious, and could against declines from Scripture doc- only tend to keep up irritation ; and we trine : she prays, she waits, she hopes; only allude to them now as matters of and at this time more especially, time to come.
history and solemn admonitions for the
We have endeavoured to because there is a wide diffusion of act in the spirit of a pledge which we gave Scriptural truth and feeling, and the to Bishop Chase and Bishop Hobart, that younger clergy are reading and ex- if we could in any way assist the great
cause in which our American brethren are amining for themselves. These are the
engaged, we should rejoice to do so, but salt of our church, the light of our that, as regarded vexatious controversies, country, and the best hope of our we must say, in the well-known words of preservation amidst the conflicting Bonaparte, “Cleanse your soiled garments
at home." sentiments and controversies of our We do not make ourselves responsible free and enlightened nation.
for the remarks or sentiments in the fol“ But I have proceeded beyond all lowing notice, which, for the sake of im. apology. My pen has run on with- partiality, we give in the words of a friend
of the bishop's, though they partake too out my perceiving it, into a long much of the partizanship which he blames. train of contemplation on the state He might surely, without any superfluous of England as to religion and the extension of charity, bave attributed to progress of truth. I can only plead from not approving of his sentiments bet
those who opposed Dr. Kemp's election as an excuse, a desire to be candid ter motives than those which he is pleased and explicit on all the bearings of to impute. But we have no wish to rethe doctrine of regeneration, as it vive controversy; we only copy the statepresents itself to my mind. I fatter
ment as furnishing a suitable accompani
ment to Mr. Wilson's letter, and, we think, myself that most of what I have ad-. to those who look beneath the surface, an vanced, with the exception of what instructive comment upon it.