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can be conscious of a fact, unless that fact, or thing done, be one of his own mental acts; that our author uses perception for conception or apprehension; that the fact of regeneration in others is not cognizable by our senses, because by them we merely perceive external objects; that spiritual regeneration cannot be sensibly perceived by one in himself, but must be known in some other way; and that he would have done the Church of England a very important service, could be have proved, that her Liturgy means nothing more than that all baptized persons are symbolically regenerated by the Holy Ghost, who, through the officiating minister brings them into a new, visible, ecclesiastical state. The XXVIIth Article would admit of such a construction, for it teaches that baptism is a sign of a regeneration, or new birth
, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly, are grafted into the visible church. It is the external sign of their being born into the church on earth; and it is also a visible sign or seal, to all the congrega. tion, of the truth of the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of the adoption of all the sons of God by the Holy Ghost; but to make it appear, that the forms of prayer used on the occasion of baptizing an adult or an infant
, either in public or in private, do not imply the papal doctrine, that baptized persons, generally at least, are spiritually regenerated in baptism, would be a Herculean labour indeed. . We wish the Liturgy were rendered consistent with the Articles and Homilies.
Our author's ninth sermon, or treatise it should be called, is on the nature of baptism. He begins by asserting, that “the rite of baptism by water had been instituted by our Lord from the very commencement of his ministry; though, after himself baptizing his earliest followers, he committed to them the task of similarly initiating into his religion those who should subsequently become his disciples.” All this is assertion without any proof from the scriptures or profane history; and Mr. Faber immediately after teaches, that “ the autho, ritative appointment of it, as an ordinance of perpetual and universal obligation, did not take place until after
the resurrection, when Jesus was on the eve of ascend. ing to the right hand of his father in heaven," p. 295. That Jesus baptized any of his apostles is not recorded, nor has it been proved, so far as we know, that they ever were baptized at all. They may have been baptized by John, and they certainly did baptize, but we think it was with “ John's baptism,” before the ordaining of the Christian rite. It was reported to the Baptist, John iii. 26, that Jesus baptized, and that all men came to him; but in John iv. 2, we are informed that Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples; which explains the record in John jii. 22, that “after these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized;" by his disciples.
Upon a profession of belief that the kingdom of Messiah was at hand, and of repentance as a preparation for it, John baptized the multitudes; and the disciples of Jesus for a time administered the same rite; but some thus baptized were again baptized, in consequence of the commission given by Christ after his resurrection. See Acts xix. 146. “ John's baptism,” was indeed, designed to show the necessity of being made holy, or of being regenerated, that a sinner might receive Christ; but it was of temporary use, and mainly intended as a rite introductory to the new dispensation of the covenant of redemption, under the Messiah actually sacrificed. We deem it a mere presumption of our author, and not a very probable one, that Christ himself baptized the traitor Judas. p. 300. Bishop Burnet, whom he
quotes, we think too, erroneously supposed that the apostles laid men down in the water as a man is laid in the grave, when they baptized them; but we are not disposed now to contest his doctrine, any more than our author's opinion that Anglican Episcopacy is an apostolical institution; or an equally incorrect one, that every baptized infant should have sponsors distinct from its parents. We quote with pleasure his exposition of our Saviour's declaration, that he that believeth and is bap
tized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.
“ Thus does our Lord assign its due prominence to FAITH, making it the turning hinge of future happiness or misery: but, while he places it thus high as the cardinal Christian grace, the fruitful mother and living fountain whence every other grace originates, he assigns likewise its own due rank to the ordinance of BAPTISM. This he does by making a marked difference in the form of the two propositions, which he lays down to his disciples. He, that BELIEVETH and 18 BAPTIZED, shall be saved: in this proposition Faith and BAPTISM are both specified. But he, that BELIEVETH NOT shall be damned: in this proposition UNBELIEF alone is specified; nothing is said respecting THE OMISSION OF BAPTISM. It appears then, that, while every one who belIEVETH and is BAPTIZED sh be saved, UNBELIEF, viewed as producing a long train of baneful effects, is that ALONE which will exclude us from the king. dom of heaven. Our Lord does not say, He, that BELIEVETH NOT and is NOT BAPTIZED, shall be damned; but only, He, that BELIEVETH NOT, shall be damned; thus studiously vary. ing the form of the two propositions, which respect our final happiness or misery. Now, as we may be sure that Christ neither says nor omits any thing without ample reason, we may be sure that THE DEFECT OF BAPTISM is not accidentally omitted in the second proposition: we may be sure, that it is omitted for very sufficient cause: and the cause I take to be this. Our Lord wished to point out a radical difference be. tween FAITH and BAPTISM, in regard to their importance: accordingly, he defines FAITH to be so vitally essential to salvation, that a man cannot possibly be saved without it; but, though he commands that every believer should be baptized, he lays not the same stress upon BAPTISM, he carefully refrains from intimating that without it no man can be saved. Every one that BELIEVETH and is BAPTIZED, shall be saved: but only every one that belIEVETH NOT, shall be damned. Provided a man have REAL FAITH, which he assuredly may have before Baptism; THE OMISSION OF THE BAPTISMAL RITE, provided that omission be not the result of a contemptuous neglect of Christ's commandment (a sin, which no real believer would be guilty of,) shall be no bar to his entrance into the kingdom of heaven. His faith shall save him, even though he may not have been outwardly baptized.” p. 311, 312.
The tenth and last sermon in this volume, is a long, desultory dissertation on the predestinarian controversy,
of which we have already written something, in the begining of this article. Mr. F. would have no doctrines denominated Calvinistic but those which belong exclusively to Calvinism: a system however may, we should imagine, be denominated Calvinistic, to which doc. trines held in common with others are essential. Indeed no scheme of doctrine can be proposed in which every thing is peculiar and distinctive.
He says, p. 365, “ the system-loving Calvinist will very logically prove, or at least will seem to prove, that man is entirely passive in the work of salvation; in other words, that he is a mere machine in the hands of that God, who imparts his grace only to those whom he has purposed to save.” Such a Calvinist we have never known; nor will we acknowledge any such person to belong to our school. Calvinists believe, it is true, that God performs his own acts himself, without our aid; and that he wills, for some reason worthy of himself, to perform whatever he does. They judge regeneration, strictly so called, to be an act of God, which he performs by such means as he has chosen, especially by the gospel; and the effect of that act to terminate on the human mind, in such a way, that a man is active in apprehending, believing, loving, and obeying the truth as it is in Jesus. Regeneration is an act of Jehovah terminating upon an intelligent, sensitive, voluntary agent; and the change which is the effect of it, is the change, the spiritual vivification, of a reasoning creature. In regeneration the Spirit of God so enters into us, takes possession of us, and begins to influence us, that our intellectual, sensitive, and voluntary faculties begin to be rectified in their operations.
Justification, moreover, is an act of God, performed in and by his own divine mind; and so is adoption; but the effects consequent on them are a change of state, and the effects of that change of state on our minds, are such as might be expected from the nature of our minds, and not of a mechanical, passive agent.
In going on unto perfection in the work of sanctification, “ the system-loving Calvinist will very logically prove” too, that every child of God is free and active, while he acts from the new nature which God has given him, and under the gracious influences of the sanctifying Spirit; just as the natural man is free and active in performing the works of a natural man, while in the God of nature he lives, moves, and has his being.
There is no more difficulty in conceiving that God should have made us Christians, and free in all our spi. ritual actions; than that he should have made us men, and free in our natural thoughts, volitions, and actions. Mr. Faber shows that his mind is struggling in pursuit of truth, by a very singular note, which we extract.
« Much confusion and much controversial anger seems (seem] to me to have not unfrequently arisen from a want of accurately distinguishing between moral free-will and natural free-will. We certainly have it not in our power, without spe. cial assistance from above, to obey a commandment, which enjoins us to love what our corrupt hearts from the very
circumstance of their corruption bitterly hate: here then we have a defect in moral free-will, which can only be remedied by divine grace, and which without divine grace never will be remedied. But we assuredly have it in our own direct power to obey a commandment, which either enjoins us to ask assistance from God, or which forbids us to commit murder; for it is mere contemptible quibbling to go about to prove, that obedience is not in our own power in these particulars: here then we labour under no defect of natural free-will." p. 366, 367.
It would have been much better philosophy to have said, man has a mental faculty called the will, which in its operation is ever connected with some antecedent motive. Any thought, any feeling, which moves us to will, or which is the reason truly assigned by us, why we will in any particular case, is the motive to that volition. Now if a person wills at all, it is from such thoughts, or feelings, or both, as he has, and not from such as he has not: but an unregenerate man has no spiritually right thoughts or feelings, for our author has decided, p. 177, and correctly too, that “ a man cannot perform any spiritual acts ANTERIOR to his spiritual birth;" and therefore, an unregenerate man wills not