Images de page
PDF
ePub

as shewed that the maintainers of world of grace and blessedness.... Before regeneration in baptism could not the principle of ill hath gotten a hold, deny the necessity of another quasi wrestle

with and strangle it in the cradle.”

the principle of good is also implanted, to regeneration, at least where the sup- “ I mean always by baptism, not a sign, posed grace of baptism was consi. but the thing signified also ; not a shell, dered to have been neglected and lost. but a shell with the kernel in it.” But then came a third step; for baptized as to men pardoned, who have

“ Is it not my part to speak to the while the majority of those who as- right to have the blessedness of those serted baptismal regeneration dwelt whose sins are forgiven, and whose inilittle upon the need of a radical re. quities are covered ; and this not only of newal of heart; and while those who the pardon of sin, but of all the other bless

ings therein sealed to us?” dwelt upon the latter often expressed “ Put me in no ifs, no conditionals of it by the term regeneration or new- any sort; there are no such words in the birth, irrespective of the grace of bap- decrees of God; ! tell you it was not tism, other pious persons were found only worded in baptism, (that is, the death

warrant of the natural man, &c.) but it to symbolise with the second in their was done, if only ye have faith to believe general viewsof doctrine, yet to agree it; therefore go about the work of life with the former in the annexation of and holiness, of resurrection life and horegeneration to baptism. Mr. Budd's bered of the clayey tabernacle, with all

liness, as mighty men who are disincumwork may be referred in a good burdensome weights'—these being wholly measure to this head. The result done away in baptism.” has been so far remarkable, that Mr. Irving, indeed, limits these baptismal regeneration is now no effects to the elect; but as the church longer a badge of what was wont to cannot know who are elect, sheought, be called “ orthodoxy;" for some of he adds, to believe them of all. Thus, the most zealous five-points men are however wickedly the child may turn among the most zealous sticklers for out, whatever his conduct may be in it: and as if extremes must ever after life, still “ the parent is never meet, its warmest defenders at this to doubt that a spiritual substance is moment are not what are called the in his child after baptism, and he is high-church, but the new sect of the never to cease to pray, to hope, to Morning-Watch school, the “Social. speak, to act towards bis child as duties" school, the Irving school, one who so believeth; and whatsothe Miracle school. Mr. Irving is, ever perversity, and obstinacy, and or at least was when he published malice, and wickedness, he may dishis “ Homilies on the Sacraments," cern in it, he

may
still
pray

and the Coryphæus of what used to be hope and act in the same holy called orthodoxy in this matter. spirit, because God hath no where We copy a few passages from that said at what time of life he shall wo point.

effectually call his own elect." He “ The sealing is the last act of every gets over this difficulty as follows :covenant, and maketh it fast and sure.

“ Where is the faith of the church, if Now there are two seals connected with our salvation, Baptism and the Lord's she cannot believe in the covenant of Supper; and therefore there must be two baptism made with a person, because that distinct things which they seal up, con

person seems hitherto to have been barren, clude, and determine. These two things think that she shall have the end of the

and at present to be dead? or doth she are our justification and our sanctification; the former of which we came to the promise upon the instant of its being inheritance of in right of our fathers' faith, given, as if she could trust God for a day, the latter of which is a work accomplished

or a year, but not for ten, or twenty, or in and upon ourselves, in virtue of which thirty years? or must she have sight to we may transmit the holy seed to our

help out faith ?" children also.”

Our answer is,

· By their fruits “ Here, then, is the mystery of bap- ye shall know them.” If a man at tism revealed unto all believers, and a most

thirty years glorious mystery it is, that no sooner is a reprobate, it seems to us not“ faith,”

is living as an utter child born into this world of sinfulness and sorrow, by natural birth, than by a but utter absurdity to account that spiritual birth it is born into a spiritual man a • believer,” a man whose

on

nature was actually, and not merely dox, not truly Church of England, in in hope or in judgment of charity, their views respecting baptismal recrucified to sin in his baptism. Mr. generation; it might as justly be Irving proceeds:

said that they were not disciples of “ It is the duty of the church to believe Mr. Irving. The link by which most surely of every baptised child, that such extremes have been brought in the fulness of time fixed in his own counsels, God will fulfil his own cove

to meet seems to us to be, that nant engagements to it.”

whereas some intended opponents True, if it can be proved, that of fanaticism resolved regeneration God really did make such a covenant into baptism in order to get rid of engagement on his part in baptism, what they considered the enthusiwhere there was no faith in the adult, astic notion of the Holy Spirit's influor the faith charitably presumed byences in conversion ; so the members the sponsors for the infant never of the new school of fanaticism have takes place.

The writer continues : advanced to a yet higher grade of “ Baptism is the most solemn act, the same sentiment, because it so whereby a soul is introduced into the full strongly coincides with their enthuinheritance of Christ's purchased redemp- siastic propensities, by making the tion.”_“ Though the persons who presented us at the laver of regeneration, and

new birth, which, according to the the priest who washed us therein, and the interpretation of such men as Mr. people who were witnesses thereof, had Simeon, is a doctrine as rational as been all faithless and idolaters, and the it is scriptural, a mystic operation, little one made but a cold, unfathered, unbefriended entrance into the church; yet unaccountable in its origin, unseen within the covenant it is now found."- in its effects, and visionary as to any “ The baptised person must be believed to spiritual and practical purpose. be a justified person, otherwise the bap

Mr. Simeon next goes on to shew tism is a hollow false bood.”_“ If any one say, I am sure I had no faith till such what the Holy Spirit will work in or such a period of my life, (my conver

us“ in order to our being Christ's ;' sion to God,) and without faith there is namely, that he will convince us of no gift of the Spirit ; I answer, But art sin; eveal Christ to us as the apthou sure, thou boaster in thy shame, (we do not perceive any boasting in the above pointed and only Saviour; and lead remark,] that thy father had none, or thy us to an unreserved surrender of mother, or the church which received thee ourselves to God; in other words, as her child?"_“ Baptism joins us to he will work in us repentance, faith, Christ, and bestows upon us the Holy and obedience. This notification of Spirit.”_" This solemn covenant apprehends us altogether sunk in sin, and des- what the Holy Ghost does in us titute through every infirmity; and appre- “ in order to our being Christ's," hending as thus, doth, of free grace, endue us with the forgiveness of sins, and the us“ when we are Christ's;” under

is followed up by what he does in powers of the Holy Ghost.... To doubt (after baptism) of our forgiveness at any which head, also, we find a tripartite time, or for any sin (except the sin against division ; he will teach, sanctify, and the Holy Ghost), is to doubt the covenant comfort. The author's meaning is of God.... The faith of a baptized person evident, and the two heads which he is, that he himself is forgiven, and every thing short of this is to make void the uses to convey it flow from the covenant."

wording of his text; but when folWe have quoted these pas- lowed out into a discussion they sages as a striking example of the soon begin to run into each little dependence to be placed, in other; for how can there be repentjudging of men's sentiments, upon ance, faith, and obedience, without the supposed school to which they some portion of Divine teaching may he considered to belong, or and sanctifications and how can upon any imagined cognate train of sanctification be a new work when doctrinal views. It used to be said, obedience has been already in opewhen these matters were not so well ration? It seems to us that it understood as at present, that such is hazardous to attempt to define men as Mr. Simeon were not ortho- with over accuracy exactly what is requisite as preliminary to our Under each of the divisions and being Christ's, as distinguished from subdivisions will be found a strain of what follows when we are Christ's; remark, faithful, spiritual, discrimi. for call the turning point what we nating, and scriptural, and well calmay, whether election, adoption, culated, by the blessing of that Divine regeneration, or conversion, no mo. Agent to whose glory these discourses ment can be pointed out in which are dedicated, to shew the Christian there exist repentance, faith, and his high privilege, not only of having obedience, without some measure the Spirit,” but of“ being filled with of Divine teaching, sanctification, the Spirit." The author has followed or comfort: nay, we should almost a practice which was very rare have felt disposed to transpose two, some years since in academical at least, of the terms, obedience and sermons, and is not now so common sanctification; making the latter, as is desirable, of inserting a distinct if we must distinguish them, ante. pointed application to the hearts cedent to the former rather than and consciences of his hearers, in posterior, just as life precedes action. each of his discourses. We might But the instruction intended to be quote with much satisfaction from conveyed is so clear and scriptural these and other portions of these that we readily pass over what valuable addresses; but we have may not be perfectly accurate in already written and extracted suffi definition; especially as the inaccu. cient, we doubt not, to incite our racy, if it be one, arises from the readers to peruse the whole for nature of the subject, which does not well admit of the nice line and Sometimes the understanding, sometimes

the will, sometimes the affections, seem plummet of technical theology *.

to take the lead. The graces of love, joy,

faith, zeal, humility, vigilance, knowledge, It is remarked in one of the St. Da- though co-existing in the heart of every vids' Prize-Essays, “In tracing the origin true Christian, do not always unite in and progress of religion in the human soul, equal proportions, or follow each other at it is impossible to reduce it to a series of accurately defined intervals. They muprecise and invariable operations, and to tually act and re-act, augmenting each allot to each of our faculties and powers other by their reciprocal influence; so its definite share in the general process. that what was originally an effect, becomes It seems indeed to be the ordinary course in its turn a cause, and gives birth to new of the Holy Spirit, in his agency on the causes and effects in perpetual succession. heart and mind of man, first to illuminate “ These remarks apply in an especial and convince-then to convert then to manner to the three Christian graces of sanctify; or, in other words, first to lead knowledge, faith, and obedience. Strictly men to a perception of their natural con- speaking, there must be some degree of dition, and of the character of the Gospel; knowledge before there can be faith: he to teach them their sinfulness and spiritual that cometh to God must first know that inability; and to pour into their hearts he exists, and that he is a rewarder of them the grace of contrition and penitence; that diligently seek him.' There must then to guide them, as conscious trans- also be faith before there can be genuine gressors, to the Great Sacrifice of Calvary, obedience; for faith is the only true source to repose by faith in the death and merits of Christian virtue. Yet, on the other of the Saviour alone for pardon and ac- hand, our Lord teaches us, that “if any ceptance with God; and then to bestow man will do the will of God,'—that is, upon them that peace which accompanies will commence a course of humble and a true and lively faith--to sanctify them ingenuous obedience, he shall know of by his gracious influences and to render the doctrine :' his practical attention to them fruitful in every good word and work, duty shall prove the harbinger of new acas becometh those who being bought with cessions of spiritual information : and not a price are not their own, but are bound of information only, but of faith also; for in point of duty, and are also anxious in the Scriptures accurately trace up the conformity with their renewed nature, to want of faith to a moral as well as merely live no longer unto themselves, but unto mental obliquity: they speak of an evil Him who loved them, and gave himself heart of unbelief,'—an expression which, for them. But the successive stages of however peculiar it may seem, will, upon this spiritual process do not always follow investigation, be found perfectly philoeach other in the strict order assigned to sophical, and consistent with the phenothem by artificial systems of theology. mena of daily fact and experience.”

1

themselves. Were this much-vene- sion of schools of every class, and
rated Christian instructor—to whom the general features and demands of
so many successions of students have the age, as well as the just expec-
looked up with reverence and affec- tations of pious and well-informed
tion, and who has effected more, minds, all require high professional
under the blessing of the Holy Spirit as well as spiritual competency in
of whom he writes, towards pro- the clergy of the Established Church.
moting truly scriptural piety in the And yet to this hour there is no ap-
Church of England, than, perhaps, pointed seat of theological training
any man now living,-never more to for our clerical candidates. The
preach or pen a single line, these universities afford the basis of a solid
discourses, in connexion with his education, and require such a general
former publications, would remain knowledge of sacred literature as
an honourable and valued testimony may be expected from lay as well as
to his soundness of doctrine, his professional students; but they go
judicious discrimination, and his no further, and the graduate must
truly scriptural moderation of state- glean, where and how he best can,
ment, combined with the most ardent the great mass of what is necessary
zeal for the glory of God and the to the efficient discharge of his sacred
souls of men. We understand that function. The word of God says,
these discourses have excited much “not a novice;" but novices, so
attention at Cambridge, not only far as respects any public provision
from their great intrinsic value and for instruction, must be not a few of
seasonable adaptation to the circum- our candidates for holy orders; and as
stances and inquiries of the times, the bishop can ordain only the best he
but from the peculiar fervour and can get, novices are every day thrust
unction which characterised their into our parishes to take the oversight
delivery, and rivetted in breathless of souls, and often with less scriptural
attention an overflowing academical information even to compose a ser-
auditory. May they be abundantly mon, or to follow up the detail of pas-
blessed to a still larger number in toral duties, than falls to the share of
their present form, and add to those many a well-taught national-school
seals and testimonies of his ministry boy. True it is, that to the blessed
which are the highest reward of influences of the Holy Spirit we
those who, like our revered friend, must trace up all that is beneficially
covet souls for their hire.

effected for the conversion of sin-
ners, and the edification of the faith-
ful; but this Divine Agentis pleased to

work by the means which he has him-
Remarks on Clerical Educatin. By self appointed: and how can we ex-

the Rev. H. RAIKES, A.M. Chan- pect his blessing if we systematically
cellor of the Diocese of Chester. neglect them, as we do in one most
1 vol. 12mo. 1831.

essential particularif we admit into the

sacred office those who having never The importance of specific clerical learned cannot be “apt to teach ?” education is becoming every hour It is not enough that a young man more extensively felt and acknow- is even pious and diligent—though ledged. Almost every Dissenting these are essential prerequisites, and community has its theological semi- by Divine grace will, in the end, lead nary; the various missionary insti- the way to larger measures of knowtutions have similar establishments ; ledge and ability,—he requires, beand the advanced state of public in- sides these, time to learn, and a formation, the progress of Socinian- suitable teacher to instruct him; and ism, Popery, infidelity, and literary these ought to be amply secured in irreligion, the inroads of extrava- the ordinary arrangements for the gance and fanaticism, and the exten- clerical function. Even were it neChrist. OBSERV. No. 361.

H

[ocr errors]

1

cessary to keep him some months with shewing, that though there have longer than at present, before he never been wanting in the Church receives holy orders, he would still of England, divines of the highest not wait so many years as his Saviour attainments, chiefly self-taught and did before he opened his Divine com- volunteers, who are an imperishable mission; but this delay would not honour to our communion, yet that be necessary if the whole course of there has been no regular system of his training at an earlier period were instruction for the great mass of specifically directed to his intended clerical candidates. A comparatively profession.

few have attained eminence, but a We do not mean to say that edu- large number have been lamentably cational training is every thing, or incompetent: scholarship has been that it will be any thing without abundant, and religion has found an higher qualifications. The main ample supply of public champions ; basis must be laid in the heart and but there has been a grievous defect the affections; and it is a mournful in carrying its truths and its consofact, that too many young men com

lations with zeal and efficiency to mence their ministry with a more our hamlets and cottages. slender stock of piety than even of To supply in some measure this theology; nay, many who really are deficiency, without a larger sacrifice in the main sincere servants of God of time and expense

than at present begin with very low and inadequate to the student, Mr. Raikes proposes views of the nature of the ministerial that the universities should permit office, and of the heights and lengths young men intended for the ministry, and breadths and depths of true reli- during the last two years of their gion. But without a basis of solid residence, to substitute studies more piety, a firm and sustained devotion, purely professional for the usual pur.a yielding of the heart to God, and suits of the place. This, he sugthe faculties to his service and glory, gests, would allow of their attaining there are no materials on which to such a degree of acquaintance with erect the superstructure either of the the original languages in which the Christian or the ministerial character. Scriptures are written, with ecclesiYet, even where this foundation is astical history, and with the prinlaid, helps and instruction are still ciples of exegetic divinity, as might desirable and necessary; and a sound give a character to their future latheological training should have re- bours, and greatly increase their spect to each class of qualification; usefulness. This plan, if left optaking in the offices of the heart and tional on the part of the student, the understanding, so that both may would not interfere with the pursuits co-operate to build up the well-fur- of those who wished to obtain uninished scribe in the kingdom of God. versity distinctions and rewards in

We have often invited the atten- the ordinary course, intending to tion of our readers to this important devote themselves to theological subject; it has also been touched reading after taking their degree ; upon times without number, in ser- but it would supply a useful employmons, charges, and pamphlets; and ment to others who had not the the public mind, we trust, at length, desire or ability to grasp at acadehas become fully ripe for its discus- mical honours, and wished simply sion: but to the pious and judicious to qualify themselves for usefulness author of the publication now in as parochial ministers. Of these, a our hands, are we indebted for bring- large number do little or nothing ing it before the friends of the church during half their college life; and a

in a detailed and practical form, and most beneficial thing it would be if with at least one feasible suggestion their studies were directed to what towards supplying what is needed. is infinitely valuable and profitable.

Mr. Raikes commences his work We confess that we still feel so

« PrécédentContinuer »