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oppose, or misunderstand, the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, may before, or at least when, they come to lie upon their deathbeds, renounce · their own merits, and cast themselves naked into the arms of the Saviour!'
STATEMENTS CONCERNING BAPTISMAL
‘As the term regeneration, or new birth, is ' frequently used by modern Calvinists, when speaking of their favourite tenets of instantaneous conversion and indefectible
proper to explain the application and true meaning of this word in scripture, and in the public formularies of our church.'1
Regeneration is indeed a term ' frequently used by modern Calvinists,' and by many who do not think themselves Calvinists. It is also found continually in the writings on theology, which have been preserved to us from preceding ages, even from the primitive times; whether it be used in a scriptural or unscriptural meaning. It is therefore, no peculiarity of modern Calvinists ;' though essentially a part of their system. But is it not also an essential part of scriptural Christianity ? And do we not all derive our phrascology, in this respect,
· Ref. 83.
from the New Testament; whether we adhere to the doctrine of that sacred book or not?
Instantaneous conversion' has been considered; and it has been shewn that it is not a ' favourite * tenet of modern Calvinists :') and certainly it has no connexion with the tenet of indefectible
grace;' for they, in whose writings sudden conversions are most frequently related, decidedly oppose
the doctrine of the final perseverance of all true believers. The words indefectible and indefectibility occur very rarely, if at all, in the writings of modern Calvinists, with reference to this topic. Indeed they do not precisely convey their meaning. When the word grace is used to signify a new creation to holiness, producing unequivocally “ the fruits of the Spirit;" it is not deemed indefectible in its own nature, at least by many modern Calvinists. Adam lost “the image of God” in which he was created; he lost divine life, and became “ dead in sin:” and we may do the same, if there be nothing in the covenant of peace to secure us against the fatal event. Calvinists think there is ; and that this security is intended, when it is said, “ Our life is hid with Christ in God;" 2 and in many other scriptures. Our Lord said to Peter,“ Simon, Simon, Satan “ hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as “ wheat; but I have prayed for thee that thy faith « fail not." 3 His faith was indefectible, not in its own nature, but through Christ's intercession. Thus Beza says, “It is through the prayers of ' Sect. on Sudden Conversion, Book I. Col, iii. 3,
Luke xxii. 31, 32.
- Christ that the elect do never utterly fall away • from the faith. “For, if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God, by the death of his “Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be “saved by his life.”] “Who is he that condemneth ? “ It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen “ again, who is even at the right hand of God, « who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ ? 2 “There“fore he is able also to save them to the uttermost “ who come to God through him, seeing he ever “ liveth to make intercession for them." 3 But this topic belongs to the fourth chapter ; in the remarks on which the subject will be more particularly considered : as well as what his Lordship has urged against it from the sixteenth article. This hint, however, may suffice to shew, that all modern Calvinists do not approve of the unscriptural term “indefectible grace.'
The point which his Lordship labours to establish in the second chapter is this, that baptism is either regeneration itself, or inseparably connected with it: for it is not always easy to perceive which of these distinct propositions he purposes to establish. Let the following quotation speak for itself.
• Those who are baptized are immediately trans·lated from the curse of Adam to the grace of " Christ; the original guilt which they brought into the world, is mystically washed away ;, ' and they receive forgiveness of the actual sins 'which they may themselves have committed ; they
* Rom. v. 10.
3 Heb. vii. 25.
Rom. viii. 34, 35.
' become reconciled to God, partakers of the
Holy Ghost, and heirs of eternal happiness; they acquire a new name, a new hope, a new faith, a 'new rule of life. This great and wonderful change
in the condition of man is as it were a new nature, a new state of existence; and the holy rite, by
which these invaluable blessings are communi"cated, is by St. Paul figuratively called “regeneration," or new birth. Many similar phrases occur in the New Testament, such as, “ born of water and of the Spirit ;" “ begotten again unto a lively hope;" “dead in sins, and quickened 'together with Christ ;" “ buried with Christ in baptism ; “ born again, not of corruptible
seed, but of incorruptible :” these expressions all * relate to a single act once performed upon every
individual-an act essential to the character of a • Christian, and of such importance that it is de
clared to be instrumental to our salvation : <“ Baptism doth now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;” “ According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” “Except a man • be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."'1
If this be the doctrine of protestants, in what does it, as to this point, differ from that of the papists, concerning the opus operatum ? Nay is it not, for substance, the very error which St. Paul combats in reasoning with the Jews ? “He is not “a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that cir" cumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he " is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision
Ref. 83, 84.