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• formed by the renewing of your mind; • inward man is renewed day by day;" which in• dicates a progressive improvement, and not a * sudden conversion. The restoring those who ' had departed from the truth as it is in Jesus is 'not called regenerating them, but “ renewing ' them again unto repentance.” St. John, in the * Revelation, commands the churches which held

unsound doctrine, or were guilty of immoral prac* tices, not to be regenerated, but to “repent.'

It might be supposed from this statement, that the apostles, and primitive teachers of Christianity, were used in general to exhort unbaptized persons, Jews or gentiles, 'to regenerate themselves ;? but that they carefully avoided this exhortation, in addressing the baptized, even when · fallen into

error, or relapsed into wickedness. But where do we, in their writings, meet with the least trace of any thing that favours this opinion? Where is there one exhortation, in any part of scripture, to men' to regenerate themselves?' And, we add, where does this expression occur in the writings of modern Calvinists? The exhortation, as to the true meaning of it, and as far as it can properly be used, is contained in such words as those of the Lord by the prophet, “Make you a new heart, and “ a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of “ Israel?”? and in those of our Lord, “ Make the “ tree good and his fruit good.”3 But many Calvinists shun the use even of these scriptural addresses ; so far are they from exhorting persons, . baptized or unbaptized, toʻregenerate themselves!'

! Ref. 86.

? Ezek xviii, 31.

Matt. xi. 33.

They who attempt exactness in discrimination consider regeneration as the immediate work of God's preventing grace; and conversion as the subsequent effect : and on this ground they would maintain, that the 'exhortation to regenerate * themselves' is unscriptural, but that the call

repent and be converted” is scriptural. God by regeneration works in us the will; then, by his adjuvant grace working in us the power, we“ work “out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” They who do not approve or attend to these exact distinctions call on sinners to “repent and be con“ verted,” to “repent and believe the gospel," and not ‘to regenerate themselves:' and they address the baptized and the unbaptized, those who never seemed to be converted and those who have relapsed, in exactly the same manner. Thus St. James, without intimating any discrimination between Christians and such unbaptized Jews as might see his epistle, says, “ Submit yourselves,

therefore, to God: resist the devil, and he will .“ flee from you: draw nigh to God, and he will “ draw nigh unto you : cleanse your hands, ye “ sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double “minded: be afflicted and mourn and weep; let

your laughter be turned into mourning, and

your joy into heaviness : humble yourselves in “ the sight of God, and he shall lift you up."

It is not meant that any, here vindicated, think no exhortations respecting regeneration ought to be used. Parents should be exhorted to present their children for baptism ; and earnestly to pray

66

James iv. 6-10.

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that they may receive, not only the outward sign, but also the thing signified in baptism, namely, a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness ;' in which prayers other Christians should fervently join them. And, as the children become capable of instruction, they ought to explain the need, and nature, and effects of regeneration to them; using every means, on which they can hope for the divine blessing, to bring them acquainted with it. Many similar duties are required, as of the most indispensable obligation, from sponsors, ministers, and teachers in this respect. Nay, such persons as become convinced, that regeneration is absolutely needful to salvation, should be taught to use diligently all those means by which God ordinarily effects regeneration; and to pray continually to him to “create in them a clean heart," to " turn them that they may ue turned.” None should be taught or left to 'wait in a passive state ' for regeneration of the Holy Ghost.'-What respects that progressive renewal, of which we judge regeneration to be the beginning, will fall under our consideration in another part of this book."

1

See also Book 1. c. ii. $ 15: On Sudden Conversion.

CHAPTER II.

CIRCUMCISION, AS THE INITIATORY SACRAMENT OF

THE OLD DISPENSATION, CONSIDERED IN RELATION
TO THIS ARGUMENT.

It is generally allowed, (at least by those who oppose us in this controversy,) that circumcision, under the old dispensation, was analogous in many respects to baptism under the New Testament: and indeed our most conclusive, and, I am apt to think, unanswerable arguments for the practice of infant-baptism arise from this analogy. —Was circumcision an intended intimation that man, as sprung from fallen Adam by natural generation, was depraved; and that his natural depravity must be mortified, in order to his becoming the covenanted and accepted worshipper and servant of God? Even so baptism shews that we are naturally unclean and polluted ; and must be cleansed from that natural pollution, in order to be admitted among the covenanted people of God. Was the circumcision of the flesh an outward sign of the « circumcision of the heart to love the Lord ?”2 Baptism is the outward and visible sign of the baptism, or regeneration, of the heart, by which we are brought to love God and his holy truth and will.3 Was circumcision, to believers, “ the seal

· See Notes, Family Bible, Gen. xvii. Matt. xxviii, 19, 20. Rom. xi. 16–21. I Cor. vii, 10–14. · Deut. xxx, 6.

Rom. iv. 11.

3

“ of the righteousness of faith?” So confessedly is baptism, when rightly received. Were the infants of God's professed people circumcised, by his express appointment? All Pædobaptists contend that the infants of Christians ought to be baptized; and that otherwise a restriction would have been requisite in the command to “make disciples of “all nations, baptizing them in the name of the “Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Did some, as Abraham, receive circumcision subsequently to faith ; and others believe subsequently to circumcision; and were others indeed circumcised, but without ever believing, without ever receiving the circumcision of the heart? So it is in the case of baptized Christians. Were even the men of Abraham's household circumcised, because a part of the visible church? We judge that the outward baptism also belongs to all members of the visible church ; the inward baptism, to true Christians alone. Were many circumcised in the flesh, but uncircumcised in heart? Many Christians also are baptized outwardly, but unbaptized in heart. And will not the whole argument of the apostle, about the Jews and circumcision, in the second chapter of Romans, equally apply to nominal Christians ? To be unbaptized, as to outward baptism, and yet to have the heart renewed unto holiness, will still be far better than to be outwardly baptized, but not regenerated by the Holy Spirit: “For he is not a Christian who is one “outwardly, neither is that baptism which is out“ ward in the flesh; but he is a Christian who is

1

Art. xxvii.

· Jer. ix. 25, 26. Rom. ii. 28, 29.

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