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itself. We need not remind the Archdeacon, that Morinus is somewhat too prone to decry “distinctions," and would be far from satisfied even with getting rid of such discussions as we now refer to. It is too much the manner of that learned writer to disparage the accuracy of the later in comparison of the earlier theology: he more than hints his preference (as it seemed to us on reading him some time since,) for a less definite theology than that of the later Church.* But even taking Morinus's representation as a fair one-which we are reluctant to do
- let us bear in mind that it is 200 years since he published, and 220 since he wrote a great part of his Commentary on the Penitential Discipline : and it is not too much to say that the course of controversy, on the subject of Baptism in particular, may have demonstrated the wisdom of distinctions which he may pardonably have treated as refinements. If we mistake not, this has been remarkably seen in the recent discussions as to the doctrine of Regeneration in our own Church.
As the consideration of this point will call our attention to that part of the subject where the Archdeacon's treatise leaves off, we must postpone the remarks we had intended to make on the chapters concerning Predestination and decrees; and occupy the little space at our disposal with a few words on the whole doctrine of Baptism, and of that “Habitual Grace” which holds so important a place in the Great Theological controversy now pending among us.
The Church's doctrine of Holy Baptism has been practically settled since the days of the Pelagian controversy. The fathers of Carthage and Milevis (Mila in Numidia, in conjunction with Innocent, (who, according to Tillemont, called a council also at Rome,t) condemned the distinctive heresies of Celestius and Pelagius, and defined the ancient faith as to this sacrament. Minor questions arose indeed in subsequent days, among the doctors of the Church ; but they did not mingle in the disputes between ourselves and Rome in the sixteenth century. Before the great outbreak of those disputes, the council of Florence defines carefully the exact faith of Christendom as then understood, (a. D. 1439). Having declared that the Christian Sacraments confer grace on those who worthily receive them," ("dignè suscipientibus,'') the Council says:
“Primum omnium Sacramentorum locum tenet Sanctum Baptisma, quod vitæ spiritualis Janua est: per ipsum enim membra
* As when he suggests that the “ Forum internum " was not distinguished in “ primitive times” from the “ forum externum ;'' and that the early fathers did not make distinctions as to different sins, as we do. + Of which however there seems to be no record.
Nor even in the 17th ; the disputes for example of Usher, and Laud, with Jesuits, scarcely allude to Baptism.
Christi, ac de corpore efficimur ecclesize. Et cùm per primum hominem mors introierit in universos ; nisi ex aquả et Spiritu renascimur, non possumus, ut inquit Veritas, in regnum cælorum introire. Materia hujus Sacramenti est aqua vera et naturalis : nec refert frigida sit, an calida. Forma autem est, ' Ego te baptizo in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritûs sancti.'-Non tamen negamus, quin et per illa verba— baptizatur talis servus Christi in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti':* vel 'baptizatur manibus meis talis in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritûs sancti; verum perficiatur baptisma. Quoniam cum principalis causa, ex quâ Baptismus virtutem habet, sit sancta Trinitas ; instrumentalis autem sit Minister qui tradit exterius Sacramentum, si exprimitur actus, qui per ipsum exercetur Ministrum, cum sanctæ Trinitatis invocatione perficitur Sacramentum, Minister hujus sacramenti est sacerdos, cui ex officio competit baptizare. In causa autem necessitatis non solum sacerdos vel Diaconus, sed etiam Laicus vel Mulier, immo etiam Paganus et Hereticus baptizare potest, dummodo formam servet Ecclesiæ, et facere intendat quod facit Ecclesia. Hujus Sacramenti effectus est remissio omnis culpæ originalis et actualis; omnis quoque penæ quæ pro ipsâ culpâ debetur. Propterea baptizatis nulla pro peccatis præteritis injungenda est satisfactio : sed morientes antequam culpam aliquam committant statim ad regnum cælorum et visionem Dei perveniunt.”
No word or phrase of this whole, and most exact, exposition has ever been denied by the Church of England. And yet this alone, if considered by those who would really weigh its precise meaning, would by its so clearly defining, be enough to settle most of the disputes which have arisen among us now, rect the painfully loose ideas prevalent both as to what the Church holds, and what she does not hold. In defining this Sacrament, the council for instance, makes no more distinction than scripture itself, as to the age of the recipients; but quotes as a universal truth, the statement of S. John, of the necessity of being “born of water and of the Spirit.” The “principalis causa” is declared to be the Holy Trinity ;-the “instrumentalis causa,” the minister: in connexion with the former phrase arises the doctrine of the “ impressed character;" and the latter implies the “ opus operans et opus operatum," so grievously misunderstood among us. The doctrine of Intention is simply affirmed to be, “facere quod facit Ecclesia ;" —the effect of the sacrament, “remissio plena,” and (if there be not subsequent sin,) salvation. And finally, (as if to cut off all excuse for disputes such as the present) here is the "dignè suscipientibus of the council of Florence before our eyes,—the very last hope
* This is said in order to include the Greek Church. VOL. IX.
of our modern sacramentarians ; for they surely have been persuading themselves that the phrase "them that worthily receive the same " is a Protestant qualification of the doctrine of the Sacraments unknown of old I-Will they cast it away, as Luther did, on finding its catholic origin?
To what purpose is it, we would ask, that because we condemn the errors of the Church of Rome, we should exaggerate the distinctions between us on all points? And yet unhappily, even our mature Theologians have been so carried along by the ani. mus of this antagonism, that they have sometimes been betrayed into this unfortunate mistake, to call it by the mildest name. What but the unconscious action of the spirit of the past generation, on his own higher spirit, could have produced from the thoughtful prelate (from whom we have already quoted) such a passage as the following, intended to describe the “ pernicious doctrine ” of the “opus operatum?"
"The doctrine of the Church of Rome was, that Sacraments operate upon the soul by a divine virtue communicated to the elements, and that where there is no obstacle of wilful sin they confer grace
any corresponding act on the part of the recipient.” (Bethell, p. 136.)*
Now what is the doctrine of “opus operatum ?” and how did the expression arise? The case is simply this; the Sacraments
; of the old law, (circumcision and sacrifices,) were contrasted by the Church with the Sacraments of Christianity. “ Circumcision,” (as said the apostle) was “the seal of the righteousness" of the faithful; nothing more than a “sign" and "seal" of that righteousness, for example, which Abraham had “ being yet uncircumcised.” (Romans iv. 11.) So also Sacrifices could only typify to the eye of faith, the future atonement, and could do nothing to “take away sin." As to the Christian Sacraments
” on the contrary, S. Peter says “ Baptism saves us," i. e. instrumentally; and S. Paul, “ as many as are baptized do put on
r Christ.” “And we are members of Christ's one body," " for
• we all partake of that one Bread.” The Christian Sacraments are not then “signa inania,” they are “ instrumenta.” The doctrine of the “opus operatum
opus operatum” simply expresses this. The “tanquam per instrumentum” of our 27th article is exactly equivalent to the “opus operatum."
” Then why (we again ask) try to make out a difference between the Churches on this point, even though some schoolmen might be found,—(though we know none)—who would seem to confer on the water in Baptism an independent sanctity and regenerating virtue?
* Other examples even in this valued author might easily be adduced ; (see preface, p. xviii.,) but an unfeigned respect for his services induces us to rest here.
The objections again pretended, at times, to any “intention” on the part of the Minister being required to validate a Sacrament are positively suicidal considering the quarter from which they come. Would any but the most unspiritual and superstitious say that a pretended Sacrament, celebrated in profane mockery, was valid because a real Priest had performed it? This is denied by the Church of Rome. And will our modern Sacramentaries affirm it?-Yet all the outcry about Intention is unjust unless they will so affirm. The Latin Church simply requires in the Minister of a Sacrament such intention as is required in all transactions of life even between man and man. The doctrine of Catharinus seems to demand even less than that; and that doctrine is allowed.
In professing our agreement with the Roman theology in the main as to Holy Baptism, we surely should be careful to state the doctrine clearly, in fairness to all sides.
Theologians make a distinction between “Sacramentum," and “rem sacramenti.” A Sacrament, being God's gift, has grace in it, whenever, and under what circumstances soever, it may be received. The fulness of its grace is what is understood, however, by "rem Sacramenti.” This is general.* In the Sacrament of Baptism there is impressed on the soul of every receiver, infant, or adult, in every case the indelible “ character Christi,” which is Regeneration. In opposition to those who said that this impressed “character was unaccompanied by grace in the case of infants, S. Thomas says; "hoc patet esse falsum dupliciter. Primo, quidem, quia pueri sicut et adulti, in Baptismo efficiuntur membra Christi: unde necesse est quod a Capite recipiant influxum Gratiæ et Virtutis. Secundo; quia secundum hoc, pueri discedentes post baptismum non pervenirint ad vitam eternam ; et ita non profuisset eis ad salutem baptizatos fuisse !”+ Even adults, who receive the Sacrament “ ficte,” he declares (art. 9,) to receive this indelible character. “Ad primum ergo dicendum: quod baptizari in Christo potest intelligi dupliciter. Uno modo in Christo id est in Christi conformitate; et sic quicunque baptizantur in Christo Ei conformati per fidem et caritatem induunt Christum per gratiam. Alio modo dicuntur aliqui baptizari in Christo inquantum accipiunt Sacramentum Christi : et sic OMNES induunt Christum per configurationen characteris, non autem per conformitatem gratiæ ; (i. e. plenæ).” Duns Scotus says the same, “ Omnis baptizatus induit Christum quantum ad hoc quod Christi
Our own Twenty-ninth Article makes the same distinction; the “ wicked" receive the “ Sacramentum ' in the Eucharist, and not “res Sacramenti.”
† Sum. Theol. 3a. Qu. 69. art 6. * An "indelible character," we may observe has in like manner been assigned to Holy Orders, by the judgment of our own ecclesiastical courts.
familiæ ascribitur ; sed non induit Christum semper per charitatem vel gratiam.”—Dist. IV. lib. iv. 6 q. The Master of the Sentences had taught the same.
And this “ character pressed on the soul, is defined as “ Signaculum spirituale quo anima insignitur ad suscipiendum :
ea quæ sunt divini cultûs.” Again it is described as “character Christi,” “character Sacerdotii Christi" "character quo distinguuntur fideles Christi a servis diaboli,” &c. And without further quotations, we may add, that all infants and sincere adults were considered to receive both “ Sacramentum,” and “rem Sacramenti ;”—and insincere adults “ Sacramentum solum.”
This being admitted as the Church's doctrine, the inquiry next arises, How can infants be said to receive "rem Sacramenti” as the Church affirms?-receive it for justification, -receive it for salvation so long as they remain infants? In the case of adults, the “rem Sacramenti," the full grace received, implies, on their part, (according to "the order of moral causes”) faith and repentance.*
Can the 56
rem Sacramenti," the full and justifying effect be possessed by infants without any grace of faith in them? The Doctors of the Church felt the difficulty of so concluding, and therefore just as they attributed a moral nature to a child though incapable of moral action) they perceived and defined that the regenerated child had the Habitus fidei," as a gift from God, from the firstwhich Habitual faith being a heavenly Gift, is perfect, and capable of spiritual action in future life. The consequences of any contrary conclusion might, if closely pressed, be fatal to the whole doctrine of the new-birth in Baptism. Baptized infants would be “ membra Christi,” justified without faith and Baptized adults, “membra Christi, fide justificati!”-It would be impossible even to conceive of two such classes of members, as pertaining to the one Mystical Body. If there be no“supernatural quality,” (to use the Archdeacon's term)-no“Habitual grace," infused, --regeneration is not the same among all the children of the Second Adam, not even among all the "undoubtedly saved!” A distinction would be set up which the Church has ever denied. But when we identify the “rem Sacramenti," with an infused Gift of God in all cases, (which being perfect when given is termed a Habit and not a mere potentiality,) we assign the whole work of our salvation, from the first, as the Church has taught us,
* The question in the Catechism, “Why are infants baptized when by reason of their tender age they cannot perform faith and repentance ?” is answered by say. ing that “they promise,” by their sureties to perform “ them both”-a promise at once intelligible, if the baptized have the “ Habitus fidei,'' whereby he may hereafter “ perform” the “ actum fidei.” The answer given (it may be added) in the Catechism is not intended to assign the Church's reasons for baptizing infants ; but only to remove that one objection to the practice, which the question brings forward.