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powerfully and clearly put, that we cannot but earnestly hope that the sincere and thoughtful among the “Evangelicals" may be induced to read it. It is difficult to conceive of their withstanding its forcible and scriptural statements.)-Other objectors to the doctrine of Grace, who allow that the new birth is sometimes given in Baptism, though not always, are not only shown to be in opposition to the Church's teaching herein ; but to “dero. gate, however unconsciously, from the reality of our Lord's incarnation ;” in the same way as those who deny grace altogether. The essential heresy indeed of those who advocate occasional regeneration in Baptism-(the Calvinism, i. e. of those who limit regeneration then to God's decree-the Pelagianism of those who explain such limit by man's faith, or holiness foreseen)—is so clearly explained, and so reiterated in page after page, , that we must anticipate the most perfect conviction to ensue, with every religious and competent reader.
This extract and references, brief though they are, will at once explain the connection between this treatise and that on the Incarnation; and will at the same time illustrate the deep, scholastic view of the doctrine of Regeneration which the Archdeacon brings so prominently forward, as it stands distinguished from that more popular view which has been usual with our later English writers, such as Bethell and Waterland.
Nothing can be more useful in its own way than Bishop Bethell's Essay; but a quarter of a century has elapsed since the Bishop of Bangor addressed the public mind. It is we hope no disparagement to his work to say that it was suited to that phase of the religious world which then presented itself. It has relation not only to the controversies, but to the mode of thinking, of the day. The Archdeacon Wilberforce's Treatise, on the contrary, while meeting the controversy of our time, directs men's minds into another channel, and in a manner compels them to a new exactness of thought. It is this which will make it so unpalatable, unintelligible, and unanswerable, to the hackneyed writers of a worn-out Puritanism, who will find in the storehouses to which they are wont to resort no weapons either of attack or defence at all available.
We believe that the mind of the Church was unprepared in the last generation for a Treatise like this. The deeply seated Calvinism of the religious spirit of England, from the rise of Wesley to the times of the Archdeacon's respected father, rendered hopeless, for the time, any recurrence to a consistent and Catholic theology. The courageous efforts of Bishop Bethell, Bishop Mant, and others, were nobly directed, and not without saccess, to such a defence of the truth as the times admitted ; but the external vindication of Baptismal Grace, while it reassured and satisfied the orthodox, and arrested the further spread of Calvinism, only astonished and aroused the sincere Evangelicals of the day. We can remember the time when the name of one, truly venerated among Churchmen, identified with the defence of Sacramental Grace, was a proverb with those who in their own circle were regarded as “the spiritual”-the true “ children of God." That venerable man outlived indeed the ignominy attached to his calm and timely defence of Baptism-outlived the generation which had been trained to regard him as a monstrous instance of the “carnal mind” intruding into the things of God: but he did not live to witness the total overthrow of the pietism which had so long troubled the Churchits overthrow from its vaunted position of spirituality, and its identification with the other forms of worldliness which, bereft alike of intellectual and spiritual life, cling to the political parties of the day for a precarious support. We have lived to see this; and not only this; but such a stirring up of the hidden life of the Church, that a tone and direction of thought is possible now, which would have been impossible then. Religious minds, taught by experience the hollowness of the old Evangelicism, may now be led to see the vital connection of the whole Sacramental doctrine with the essential system of the Gospel. Baptism will no longer be now defended as if an independent doctrine-by reasonings or "evidences”—as “capable of being harmonized” with other doctrines ;- but apprehended as an integral part of the Revelation of God in Christ—the “janua sacramentorum," "janua vitæ,” an epitome, rather than a portion, of the “Faith delivered to the Saints." If it were not this, deeply religious minds would not learn to sympathise with it—if it were not this, it were unfit for the struggle of solemn controversy in times like ours.
The defenders of the doctrine of Grace in the last generation boldly asserted and maintained the fact of our new birth, "of water and of the Spirit;" they shrank not from the use of the strongest Scripture sayings concerning our baptismal life in Christ; still they scarcely did justice to the doctrine they defended, because they seemed to isolate it, (as their opponents thought,) from the other great truths of redemption. This isolation, apparent or real, while it was certainly one great stumbling block to religious minds of the Puritan party, was probably a reflex result of the spirit of the times. Every one was too much in the habit of regarding Christianity as a series of “ doctrines” rather than a Divine institute, a heavenly life on earth. Even the defenders of the truth fell, partly, into the manner of their opponents, and of their age. The new birth of water and of the Spirit was but vindicated against fanatical interpretations. The theory of extatic influences was confronted by the Baptismal Gift ; but of the Gift itself comparatively little
was said. That spiritual Birth which was pretended by the Calvinists to result from hidden causes, was truly assigned by the orthodox to its Divine, sacramental origin; but the religious language and theories of the times had made it difficult (perhaps impossible) to put forth with clearness the whole connexion and dependency of this and the cognate Catholic doctrines. Not indeed that such men as Bishop Bethell were unacquainted with the scientific statements of theological truth, which have so greatly formed the language and educated the mind of modern Christianity ; but they were jealous of them, and hoped to be able sufficiently to vindicate the doctrines of Grace without the dreaded subtilties of “schoolmen.” And the charitable extent to which even the venerated Bishop used the expressions of those whom he combated, [" conversion,” “renovation," &c.,] contributed, doubtless, not a little to increase the apparent difference between his own phraseology and that of the schools.
As an example of this sensitive fear of the distinctions of the old Theology; and at the same time an ample justification of that recurrence to more scientific language, of which we have now a beginning; we may quote from the Bishop's Ninth Chapter of the “ General View of the Doctrine of Regeneration :"
According to the schoolmen, man, when he is baptized, is en. dowed with a Habit of justifying Faith, containing in it the Habits of faith, hope, and charity, and of all Christian virtues.” (p. 156.) “ This scholastic notion of a Habit of grace involves two innovations on the known and received use of words.” (p. 158.) “The ancient moralists make a just and reasonable distinction between Faculties or dispositions, and Habits. Faculties or dispositions are potential principles of action which must be elicited by education or opportunities, and formed into habits by use and exercise. Habits are the same principles in a state of activity, and of readiness and aptness for use. But, according to the scholastic divines, those principles which are said to be infused into the soul when it is regenerated, do not follow the order of moral causes, but are at once in a state of activity, and produce free acts as soon as they have an opportunity of exerting themselves.But there is no ground in reason or Scripture for supposing that spiritual causes differ from moral, in the order of their operations, or in the manner in which they produce their practical effects.
The other innovation upon language consists in the sense which they have affixed to the word Grace, as a habit, or quality, inherent [indwelling) in the soul of man." (p. 158.)
Now as to both these supposed " innovations upon language, it will not be difficult to show that the schoolmen were right; and in fact that they were no innovations at all; while this disposition
to think them so, can itself only be accounted for by the disuse among us of the old theological accuracy, and the introduction of new modes of thought even among the orthodox. It is quite true, as his Lordship observes, that the ancients (i.e. Aristotle, &c.) in describing the order of moral causes would place faculties before habits, and attribute the latter to the action of the former. But the scholastics perceived that to assert this of spiritual causes might favour a subtle Pelagianism, and confound, if not identify, the operations of Grace and Nature. They therefore took a middle course, and spoke of the grace infused in Regeneration as a “Habit,” but a passive habit. It would be for those who deny this to explain* how the Grace of Baptism could be “ Justifying Grace,” if it be no more than a faculty or “ potentiality,” and not a real virtual presence of that "faith, hope, and love,” which is all that the term "passive habit” is meant to convey.—And as to the other alleged innovation, viz., in using the word Grace to describe a Gift really dwelling in the Christian, surely the learned prelate himself is as much accustomed so to use the word Grace as any schoolman from Peter Lombard to Gabriel Biel. But neither his own frequent assertions of the “grace given us” in our Baptism, the “grace bestowed," and the like; nor the Apostle's "let this grace abound in you,”—the “grace that is in you,” &c.; nor the schoolmen's “gratia gratum faciens et gratis data ;” are intended as descriptive of the gift itself: only that there is a gift ; and since it comes to us freely from God, it is called “ Grace."
But the passage of Bishop Bethell, on which we are thus commenting, is of consequence, as exactly illustrating the point of the inquiry concerning Regeneration, where his interesting work is defective; and where the present work of Archdeacon Wilberforce partly supplies a want. His Lordship is admirable in demonstrating that the new birth, or Regeneration, takes place in Baptism; but of the Gift itself he gives but a slender account, and of the position thereof in the scheme of the Gospel he is nearly silent, as we suppose, through a fear of scholasticism.
It is the peculiar excellence of the Treatise now before us, that it tends to remedy this defect in our theology. For popular use the work of Bishop Bethell will always be invaluable. For pious reading and learned reflection and research, Dr. Pusey's Scriptural Views of Holy Baptism,” are still unrivalled. But for a theological statement of the doctrine and its position in the Christian Revelation, the present book of Archdeacon Wilberforce at least surpasses anything in our language, with which we have become acquainted.
• They would be bound to explain too how the Spirit (Who is Love) could be given and dwell in us, without “ Love,” which is the “ Law written in the Regenerate."
The Archdeacon is not so afraid of the schoolmen, as was the Bishop of Bangor. He has abundantly shown this in his exposure, of what he properly calls Mr. Goode's "startling assertion," that Peter Lombard is “ on his side.” (It is humiliating to think that a writer whose want of acquaintance with his subject is here (pp. 192—203,) so painfully
exposed should be regarded as their champion, even by an unlearned party in our Church; and more-should even have obtained in a high quarter the praise of erudition.)
It is observable, however, that the Archdeacon holds back from the school doctrine of Regeneration at the same point as Bishop Bethell, though not in so great a degree; which is the more to be regretted, as he almost shows an inclination to Augustinianism,* from which the Bishop is free. If we are to choose between Augustin and Aquinas, we certainly should not hesitate to prefer the latter as the expounder of a far more exact and critical theology; and most assuredly the doctrine of Habitual Grace, is not a portion of scholasticism which careful Theologians will willingly part with The passage in which the Archdeacon refers to this, and sympathises with Bishop Bethell, is the following:
"Inasmuch as light puts something into the illuminated body, and grace is a sort of light of the soul, it was held that in the soul of the justified there was a Habit of grace, or a supernatural quality, which was something distinct from the Spirit which infused it. On this arose the further question whether the gift of the Spirit at Baptism, implied the infusion of that Habit of grace which was supposed to be its consequence.” (p. 203.)
Upon this it is obvious to remark, that the presence of the Divine Spirit is spoken of in different ways. His Special Presence in the Divine Glory of the heaven of heavens ; His Omnipresence in the whole universe ; His conscious Presence in His Saints; His miraculous presence, with certain Gifts; His Sacramental Presence in the Regenerate. This last the Church, confessedly, believes to be a distinct Gift; and she has allowed it to be called “Habitual Grace."
The Archdeacon, however, refers to Morinus as having collected abundant proof that the doctrine of Habitual Grace is an open question "in the Church of Rome; and even goes so far as to say that the question itself“ arose only out of the reasonings of the schoolmen,”—a saying which we hope need not imply that the question has no reality in the nature of the Sacramental fact
• The Archdeacon slightly apologises indeed for S. Augustine's strong doctrine of divine decrees, by remarking on the unsettled character of the times in which he lived (p. 180): a similar reflection though of course with a very different animus is made by Dr. Hampden in his Bampton Lectures (p. 156): we do not see the force of the reflection in either case.