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solemn mockeries which tell you that truth changes with times, and that principles must be altered to meet altered circumstances; that you must bow to the voice of the million, and hold public opinion for truth. Learn here, from your Lord's word, to confess Hím and His truth, and maintain principles, and so prepare yourself for the conflict that awaits you. The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household.'
“Expect, therefore, if you will maintain truth, to be hated of men ; but know for your comfort that so, and so only, can man be aided, and his good promoted; so, and so only, can God be glorified and His cause carried on." -(pp. 35, 36.)
How then have these high pledges been fulfilled ? Let Mr. Newman answer for his brethren. He teaches us that our faith in patristic traditions “must be decided by the same principles which guide us in the conduct of life, which determine us in war, politics and trade, which lead us to accept revelation at all, for which we have but probability to show at most, nay, even to believe in the existence of an intelligent Creator." We, for our part, have been taught to consider that faith in its degree as well as conduct, must be guided by probabilities, and that doubt is ever our portion in this life; we are but striking a balance between difficulties existing on both sides." Again : "Faith has all it needs in knowing that God is our Creator and Preserver, and that he may, if it so happen, have spoken; and doubt may even be said to be implied in a Christian's faith. If we will not go by evidence, in which there are, so to say, three chances for revelation and only two against, we cannot be Christians; we shall miss Christ.”
And this teaching, in Mr. Watson's view, is to “infuse earnestness” of faith into the Church ! These doctrines, one faint remove only from downright infidelity, are to teach the rising Clergy “the inestimable value of truth, the solemn duty of speaking it in the light, the glorious privilege of preaching it upon the housetops !” In short, we are to learn “the solemn duty of proelaiming” Catholie traditions as certain, while we are in doubt of the very existence of God; and to use “ the glorious privilege of proclaiming on the housetops” that perhaps we have three chances out of five that our blessed Lord is not an impostor, and that his holy religion "may, if it so happen,” be something better than a wicked fable of cunning men ! Could any topic have been more unhappily chosen than that whieh Mr. Watson has selected for the subject of his praise.
If there be one thing more than another which would quench all generous confidence in religious truth, it is the reasoning which the Tract-writers have adopted in their zealous advocacy of tradition.
But we hasten to the body of the pamphlet. And here we must JULY, 1842.
confine ourselves to the first subject, THE DOCTRINE OF THE EngLISH CHURCH UPON BAPTISM AND REGENERATION.
Let us first endeavour to gain a clear view of the term Regeneration. Dr. Pusey, Mr. Watson, and most writers of the same school, rush at once into the proof of regeneration in baptism, without one syllable to explain the sense in which they understand the phrase. If there were an evident and universal agreement in the sense ascribed to it, this might be excusable; as the case now is, it leads to endless perplexity and confusion. There are three distinct ideas which different parties attach to the phrase. First, an admission into the high privileges of the Christian covenant, a change of state or relation, answering to that which passed upon Jewish infants by circumcision, or upon the whole nation, when they were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and the sca. Secondly, an internal gift or deposit of divine and spiritual grace, but committed to the keeping of man's free-will, and its self-determining power; so that according to the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of that natural will, the gift may be lost, and regained, and lost again, and the final salvation of the receiver depends on the particular stage of these various alternations in which he is called away to his final account. Thirdly, a vital and internal change in the heart and will itself, by which, being made willing in the day of God's power, it becomes partaker of a divine nature, a nature which is imperishable, because it is divine; the seed of God, which is incorruptible, and remaineth in those who receive it, as the sure pledge of their own incorruption and future glory; in short, nothing less than eternal life already begun within the soul.
The term regeneration is actually applied, by different classes of divines, to each of these three distinct ideas. And, supposing that each of them were a Scripture truth, there seems no ground from Scripture reason or theological usage, why any of them might not be denoted by the phrase. In our version of Scripture, the term occurs only twice-Matt. xix. 28, and Titus iii. 5, and the word so translated occurs in no other passage. In the former, it is used in a sense which is foreign to the subject, and applied to the future time of restitution. In the second, there is little or nothing to decide whether it means an admission into covenant privileges, or an internal change of heart, or some intermediate position. If, again, we refer to its derivation, it may fitly denote à change answering to natural birth, whereby one who is spiritually alive enters into a new world of covenant privilege, or one who is spiritually dead enters upon a state where, if life were present, he would equally experience new perceptions and enjoyments. Or it may denote the reception itself and the first
manifestation of spiritual life, whereby those who once were dead in trespasses and sins, obtain a living faith, and enter, with renewed affections, into the service of God in spirit and in truth. Theological usage is also divided; for whichever of the three ideas we adopt, there are many divines who disown its very existence as a Scripture doctrine, and much more as the exclusive and proper sense of the term regeneration.
Now herein lies the first sophism of Dr. Puscy, Mr. Watson, and of most who adopt their views. They assume that the second idea, and no other, is the true sense of the word ; and on the strength of this ipse dixit, which they do not even attempt to prove, they would brand their adversaries with the charge of distorting and perverting the formularies of the Church. Regeneration in the third sense, of a vital, deep, and permanent change, "a new creation in Christ Jesus,” they entirely deny; while the first sense of covenant-privilege is either denounced as unmeaning, or merged in their own peculiar opinion.
Here, then, is the great issue of doctrine, which ought first to be decided, on the simple testimony of God's word. For ourselves, we believe that regeneration, in their sense of the word, instead of always occurring in baptism, never occurs at all; that it is a mere Pelagian figment of man's invention, and without any warrant in the lively oracles of God. We believe, further, that regeneration, both in the first and third sense, is a Scriptural doctrine, and that the term is scripturally correct as applied to either ; that the ideas, though distinct, are closely connected; and, though connected, far from inseparable; and that the Church formularies can only be satisfactorily explained, when both ideas are recognized, and both uses of the term are seen to be allowable; while their close connexion, and yet their momentous difference, need equally to be kept in view. Finally, we believe that this use of the same word, in a higher and a lower sense, not always logically distinguished, may almost be styled a law of Scripture phraseology, as in the terms “ Israel," "the children of God,” “the children of the kingdom," “the called," "the chosen,” “the saints,” and many similar expressions. It is even embodied in a divine type, in the outer and inner court of that sacred temple, which prefigured the Church of the living God.
Let us now trace Mr. Watson's reasonings, drawn from the church services to establish his own view. After an argument from the Lord's Prayer, he proceeds as follows :
“In her general exhortation in the daily service, she addresses the baptized as privileged to call the Almighty God their heavenly Father, and in her confessions she invites them to acknowledge to an Almighty and most merciful Father that they have erred and strayed from His ways. Now
Adam's race, unless born again, could never err and stray from God's ways, for in them they were not by birth. Then, as we have seen, the Lord's Prayer belongs to the regenerate, and at the suffrages following the creed the doctrine is most unequivocally asserted. We are taught to ask God that He will not 'take His Holy Spirit from us.' Now when was that Holy Spirit given us? So given us that we may pray against its being taken away from us? At our birth it came not, then we inherited Adam's curse ; it could only then belong to us in virtue of some new relationship to God: and as the Prayer Book is for members of the Church of England, and all persons lawfully baptized in England are ipso facto members of the Church of England, that relationship must have begun in Baptism."-(pp. 54, 55.)
We shall commence the inquiry earlier still. Why does our Church preface her services with that earnest declaration—When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive'? When she thus addresses her baptized members, clearly she teaches them that after baptism they may be wicked and spiritually dead, and that they must pass from a state of wickedness to one of righteousness, from spiritual death to spiritual life, before they can be partakers of eternal salvation. Why does she open her worship with the address of the Baptist, and of our Lord himself, to the unregenerate and unbelieving Jews, but to teach us that baptized Christians need the same great and vital change, the uetava—or inward turning of the heart from sin to holiness, which St. John describes in the phrase “to be born of God”? Or why does she put into our lips the language of the returning prodigal, but to impress a similar lesson? The opening sentences alone sweep away all those cobwebs of deception, by which the everlasting distinction between baptismal privilege and saving and internal grace are so fatally confounded and destroyed.
But the opening of the Lord's Prayer and of the Confession are alleged as a proof that all the baptized must have been spiritually regenerate, or else that the Church service is inconsistent. Both the premises, however, and the conclusion, are groundless. Houses are constructed for the use of the living; yet none but a madman would attempt to prove that a corpse was alive, from the mere fact of its being found in a human dwelling. The reasoning here is exactly the same. The services are constructed for living Christians, but it does not follow that none of the baptized can be lifeless professors. But the other premise of the argument is equally erroneous. If it were true, the unbelieving Jews, in the time of Malachi, must all have been regenerate ; for the prophet reasons : “ Have we not all one Father ? hath not one God created us?”
But “ Adam's race, unless regenerate, could not err and stray from God's ways; for in them they were not by birth.” Strange reasoning this ! let us test it by one or two instances. The Prophet Isaiah confesses for his people, “ All we like sheep have gone
astray; we have turned every one to his own way." Therefore the Jews, in Isaiah's time, were all regenerate. St. Peter tells the Christians of Asia—“Ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” He evidently alludes to their state before they became Christians. Therefore, by the same principle which is here laid down, these Christians were regenerate even when they were still Jews or heathens.
The other proof is from the suffrages, in the prayer " Take not thy Holy Spirit from us.” This, our author says, is a most unequivocal assertion of the doctrine. If so, then all who perished in the flood must have been spiritually regenerate; for God pronounced the threatening against them : “My Spirit shall not always strive with men.” When the solemn threat was fulfilled, the Holy Spirit was taken away from them; and if the reasoning of the
pamphlet were just, they must have been regenerate before.
We now turn to the Catechism and the office of Private Baptism, on which Mr. Watson reasons thus :
"The answer the Church gives to the question,—Why then are infants baptized, when by reason of their tender age they cannot perform them,' clearly shows that in the opinion of that branch of which we are members, the Church Catholic has received from her Great Head, the power to dispense with the exhibition of faith and repentance, in the case of infants. But this will be more abundantly evident from the office for private baptism. In that office there are no sponsors: baptism is antecedent to any ascertaining questions, to any sponsorial promises.”—(p. 56.)
The Church " has received power to dispense with the exhibition of faith and repentance in the case of infants." What an unscriptural and dangerous statement! Either Christ has required faith and repentance in infants previous to their baptism, or he has not. If he have required them, the Church, by dispensing with them, is breaking his commands, and guilty of rebellion against him. If he have not required them, how can the Church dispense with what Christ has never enjoined ? The assertion embodies in itself the worst error of the darkest ages of the Church, when the Pope claimed a power to dispense with all laws, human and divine.
The words of the service for private baptism are then quoted, and the remark subjoined—“This needs no comment, and leaves room for no sophistry.” We are sorry to say, it leaves room for a good deal of sophistry, as the reasonings of our author upon it may clearly prove. "The Church affirms that the child born in original sin and under the wrath of God, by the laver of regeneration in baptism has the curse of original sin reversed, and is received among the children of God. And this she rests upon the words of our Saviour, in which He “ blamed those who would have kept them from him, and exhorteth all men to follow their innocency,