« הקודםהמשך »
(unto him by faith; that he will grant them remis
sion of their sins, and bestow upon them the Holy • Ghost; that he will give them the blessing of ! eternal life, and make them partakers of his ever* ļasting kingdom? The portions of Scripture, introduced into this exhortation, have been considered, and certainly are highly appropriate. Baptism, as being “ born of water," is very necessary, where it
may be hadi' but being born of the Spirit,” is indispensably necessary. The great benefit derived "to adults by baptism,' is spoken of as connected with their truly repenting, and coming to the Lord by
faith: but, if they do not truly repent, and come
to the Lord by faith ;' if they be hypocrites, or have only a dead faith ; are we not to doubt, but that he favourably receives them, and not only at présent, grants them remission of sins, and bestows
on them the Holy Ghost; but that he will give them the blessing of eternal life, and make them
partakers of his everlasting kingdom? They who come to baptism, in this manner, beyond all controversy, were not previously regenerate; no intimation is given in the exhortation, concerning baptismał regeneration, especially of those who have not true repentance and faith: and hence, it may be fairly concluded, that if they live and die, without subsequent regeneration, they cannot enter into " the kingdom of God."
Then follow the questions proposed to the persons to be baptized; and he, who can answer them sincerely and intelligently, has “the answer of a good
conscience towards God;" he who can only answer
them hypocritically or ignorantly, has no more, “ than the washing away of the filth of the flesh.”
After the adults have been baptized, it is added
Seeing that these persons are regenerate, and “ġrafted into the body of Christ.”. Upon the supposition, that they approached to baptism truly
repenting, and coming unto him, by faith,' no doubt they are regenerate; but it is not said that they were regenerated in baptism. The expression
being now born again,' does not necessarily imply that this was effected at the very moment of their baptism ; but that now, at the time, when the thanksgiving is offered, they are numbered among the regenerate. The language is so gerjeral, that persons of rather different sentiments may use it, without scruple : it is certain, however, that this office does not say that baptism is regeneration, or uniformly attended by it.
The subject of baptism, as administered to adults, in the established church, having been thus far considered ; it may be proper to examine, in this place, the doctrine of our articles, respecting baptism.? Baptism, is not only a sign of profession, and mark
of discrimination, whereby christian men are discerned from others that be not christened: but it ' is also a sign of regeneration, or new-birth, where.
by as by an instrument, they that receive baplism rightly, are grafted into the church: the promises
of forgiveness of sins, and of adoption to be the ! sons of God: by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed * and sealed; faith is confirmed, and grace increased by virtue of prayer anto God. The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the • church, as most agreeable with the institution of « Christ." : It is evident that all this article, except the concluding sentence, refers to the baptism of adults. Baptism is said to be the sign of regeneration ; but the sign, and the thing signified, are not the same, no nor even inseparably connected. “The
promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adop* tion, are visibly signed and sealed, not efficaciously bestowed. The expression, “they that receive bap• tism rightly,' refers, not to the right administration of baptism by the priest, but the right reception of it by the baptized person. As faith is, in this case confirmed, and gruce increased; faith and grace must have been previously possessed, by those who receive baptism rightly:' for if they had no faith, or grace, the one could not be confirmed, nor the other increased. And this is, not merely by the opus operatum of baptism, but by the virtue of prayer.'
"Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness,' (that of the priests,) . nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such, • as by faith, and rightly, do receive the sacraments ministered unto them.': The distinction is here clearly made, between the ministering, and the receiving aright, the sacraments; and the receiving aright, is confined to those who do it by faith. To those, then, who have not faith, they are null and void. The case of infants is distinctly spoken of, in
1 Art. xxvii.
? Art. xxvi.
other places: but why should not faith be as necessary in adults, to a right receiving of baptism, as to a right receiving of the Lord's supper ? . And in such only, as worthily receive the same, they have Sa wholesome effect and, operation : but they that
receive them,'. (baptism and the Lord's supper,) Sunworthily, purchase to themselves damnation.' Does this make baptism and regeneration one and the same, or inseparably connected ?
• The supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love, that christians ought to have among them. selves, one towards another : but rather, it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death : • insomuch, that to such, as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the bread which we
break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and • likewise the cup of blessing, is a partaking of the • blood of Christ." The receiving rightly, worthily, and with faith, not the external orderly adıninistration, is connected inseparably with the benefit: and, as far as adults are concerned, why should it not be so, in baptism?
Numerous passages might be adduced from our venerable reformers and martyrs, on this subject : but hunan authority, beyond that of the Prayerbook on ministers of the establishment, I would disclaim. Yet, as these reformers and martyrs laid, the foundation of our articles and liturgy, which have not subsequently received any material alteration; a few testimonies from them may not be wholly foreign to our subject.
1 Art. xxv. of the sacraments,
2 Art. xxviii.
QUOTATIONS FROM THE Reformers' CONCERNING
BAPTISM AND REGENERATION.
• This outward sign doth neither give us the Spirit of God, neither yet grace, that is, the favour of "God. For if, through the washing of the water “the Spirit of grace were given; then it would
follow, that whosoever were baptized in the water . should receive this precious gift: but that is not
so, wherefore I must needs conclude, that this 'outward sign, by any power or influence that it
hath, bringeth not the Spirit and favour of God. "That every one receiveth not this treasure in baptism it is evident: for put the case, that a Jew or an infidel should say that he did believe, and • believe not indeed; and upon his words were baptized indeed, (for no man can judge what his “heart is, but we must receive him unto baptism,
if he confesses our faith with his mouth, albeit his • heart be far from thence,) this miscreant now 'thus baptized, hath received this outward sign and
sacrament, as well as the most faithful man believe . ing.' Howbeit, he neither receiveth the Spirit of * God, neither yet any grace, but rather condem-' S nation, '- It followeth that the outward sign giveth 'no man any grace. Moreover, if the Spirit of • God and his grace were bound unto the sacra
ments, then where the sacraments were ministered, there must the Spirit of gracę wait on; and where
Should it not be living ?