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is the express and open profession. . Whether any allusion was intended to immersion, as the mode of baptism, or not, it is manifest, that neither outward baptism, nor any thing inseparably attending it, can be exclusively meant i unless all who are baptized with water are so “ dead to sin,” and buried from it, and so “ risen with Christ,” that they can “live no longer in sin ;” but must and do “ walk in newness of life;" “ being alive to “God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” and “made “partakers of true faith.”\ If the profession made by adults in baptism were indeed “ the answer of
a good conscience towards God,” they would “ thenceforth walk in newness of life," but not otherwise ; nor would baptism otherwise save or profit them.2 Yet even true Christians need exhortations, frequent earnest exhortations, “ to walk
worthy of God, who hath called them to his
kingdoin and glory;" and it is by these, that their "
pure minds are stirred up in a way of re“ membrance." 3 Much more then is it needful to address such exhortations, admonitions, warnings, and even expostulations, to collective bodies of professed Christians; which, in the purest times, have ever contained some tares among the wheat.
When the apostle in another place says, “ As many of you as have been baptized into Christ “have put on Christ;" “Ye are all one in Christ “ Jesus: and, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abra“ ham's seed, and heirs according to the pro
Col. iii. 12, 13.
? 1 Pet. iii. 21. • 1 Thess. ii. 11, 12. 2 Pet. i. 12--15. j. l.
“ mise;"I did he mean to include baptized formalists and hypocrites, as the children of believing Abraham, “and heirs according to the promise ? or did he not rather intend to express the same thing as when he said, “By one Spirit we are bap“ tized into one body?”? The outward baptism admits men into the visible church, but the baptism of the Spirit alone constitutes them living members of Christ's mystical body on earth, and members of “ the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven.”3
It has already been stated, that circumcision was, under the old dispensation, the sacrament of regeneration, and of introduction into the visible church, in the same sense as baptism is under the New Testament, with only circumstantial variations. If then all baptized persons are regenerate, and need no other regeneration, and indeed are capable of no other ; by parity of reason all circumcised persons, from Abraham to Christ's ascension, were regenerate, and needed no other regeneration, and were incapable of any other. If there be a fallacy in this reasoning, let it be fairly exposed. Yet it is as certain as the express and repeated testimony of God can make it, that immense multitudes of circumcised persons were “ uncircumcised in heart," and consequently unregenerate. And let it be remembered, that Nicodemus, to whom Jesus so particularly and emphatically preached the necessity of being “ born again,” and “ born of the Spirit,” had this sacramental regeneration, and was instructed by
Gal. iii. 27-29.
'1 Cor. xii. 13.
• Heb. xii. 22, 23.
our divine Teacher in this manner, before the Christian sacrament of regeneration had been appointed, or even intimated to his disciples. Indeed the apostles afterwards never varied their instructions on such topics, in addressing circumcised or uncircumcised persons: their meaning constantly was this, “ Ye must be born again.”
I shall here conclude the argument from scripture concerning regeneration. I have laboured it the more, because it is of peculiar importance in the controversy excited against modern Calvinists and the evangelical clergy: because on other subjects more concessions are made to them than on this head; especially in that publication on which I venture to make these remarks : and because it appears to me, that this is the very hinge on which the whole controversy turns. If such a regeneration as has been insisted on be indispensably and universally needful in order to salvation, then fallen man must indeed be altogether depraved, and “ dead in sin;" salvation must be wholly by grace, as an act in God, not only of free mercy, but also of omnipotent agency, of “ new creation,” strictly speaking ; this grace must be through Christ alone, and by “the Spirit “ of life in Christ Jesus ;” faith itself (true faith) must be the gift and work of God; and the whole must be devised, begun, and accomplished, “ac“cording to the purpose of him who worketh all
things after the counsel of his own will.”] Thus the great apostle of the gentiles viewed, and
'Eph. i. 5, 10. iii. 11.
viewing admired and adored, the gracious, stupendous, but mysterious design, with ineffable gratitude ; while he was inspired to teach all succeeding Christians, that the angelic hosts joined in this admiration and adoration. But, if no such regeneration be needful; nothing but what always attends baptism ; (let the lives of baptized persons in general declare what that is ;) then our other doctrines lose much of their support; an opposite system may have semblance of truth ; and, as far as I can judge, in this case Christianity must degenerate into dead faith, dead works, and formal worship
THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM AND REGENERATION AS
DELIVERED IN THE WRITINGS OF THE CHURCH.
Remarks on the Fathers.
'The word Regeneration is in scripture solely ' and exclusively applied to the one immediate 'effect of baptism once administered ; and is never ' used as synonymous to the repentance or refor
mation of a Christian ; or to express any opera'tion of the Holy Ghost upon the human mind ' subsequent to baptism. And the Christians did in all ancient times continue the use of this name for baptism ; so as that they never use the word regenerate, or born again, but that they mean or * denote by it baptism.?!
I trust, it has been demonstrated that both “re“ generation,” and “ born again,” and “ born of “God,” are used in scripture in a meaning distinct and remote from the one immediate effect
of baptism :' and, though not 'synonymous to 'the repentance and reformation of a Christian ;'-