« הקודםהמשך »
no further remark. “Faith which worketh by love" must have its seat in the will and affections, and be an active principle of obedience.
* It is certain by God's word, that children which ' are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved. (Public Baptism of Infants.)'1
There is no ground of doubt of infants, the children of believers, devoted to God in baptism, and dying before they commit actual sin, being saved : but whether all infants who are baptized, and none else, dying before they commit actual sin, are thus saved, this involves questions of a very complicated nature, on which scripture gives no light. Our Rubric assumes that the profession and engagements made in the name of the baptized infant, and implied in the act of the parents who offer their child to baptism, are sincere: and therefore speaks of the infants as the children of believers ; but it is properly silent as to others. Yet, when we consider the various circumstances which may prevent the baptism of infants born of believing parents ; and that the children of believing Abraham, to whom circumcision was given as the seal of the covenant, by which the Lord engaged to be “ a God to him and to his seed," must not take place before the eighth day--previously to which many would die; we cannot be authorized to confine the salvation of those who die in infancy to such as are baptized. A few presumptuous, extravagant Calvinists have spoken shocking things of
Note, Ref. 140.
the damnation of infants : but to consign the innumerable multitudes of those, all over the world, and in every age, who die before they commit actual sin, and die unbaptized, to eternal damnation, is far more shocking. Even such Calvinists may suppose some of these children to be elect, and saved: but the sentiment that none dying when infants, except such as have been baptized, are saved, excludes them all. On both sides, however, it is a presumptuous intrusion into things unseen and unrevealed, and a practical forgetfulness of the words of God by Moses : “ The se“cret things belong to the Lord our God; but “ those things which are revealed belong to us “ and to our children for ever, that we may do all “ the words of this law.'1
* That many persons, duly baptized in their infancy, and confirmed in their youth, fall into • wilful and habitual wickedness, even while they · retain a belief of the general truth of the gospel, ' is a fact which will not be disputed; and it will
also be readily acknowledged that such persons, although 'baptized and born again in Christ,' do ' not remain in a state of justification. How then • is that state to be recovered ? By repentance and ' faith. They must feel“ godly sorrow which
worketh repentance," and a lively faith that their ' sins will be pardoned through the merits of • Christ: and God will then be pleased, for the • sake of his blessed Son, to accept their repentance
| Deut. xxix. 29.
and faith, and they will become again justified from all their offences.'1
The subject of baptism has been so fully discussed in the preceding chapter, that it is the less necessary here to resume it. The invariable union of baptism with regeneration, of which it is the outward and visible sign, has in no wise been proved : but the union of baptism with justification, of which it is not so much as the outward sign, is never mentioned in scripture, nor in express terms in our liturgy or articles. If conferred only in baptism, all who die unbaptized must die in an unjustified state : and, if baptized children shew no tokens of faith and grace as they grow up, it is a mere contest about words, to dispute, whether they never were justified, or whether they have fallen from a justified state. For, though it is not allowed by his Lordship concerning regeneration, it is concerning justification, that they
who do not remain in that state'must recover it; and that they must' become again justified, exactly in the same manner as if they never had been justified.—Justification in baptism' cannot in the case of infants be justification by faith, with which alone scriptures and our article connects justification before God.
Repentance, therefore, and faith, if sincere, will • in all cases procure justification ; but obedience 'must be added, to preserve the state of justification when obtained.'2
1 Ref. 141,
? Ref. 142.
True faith will always be accompanied with repentance ; but this cannot properly be said to ' procure' justification ; otherwise we should be justified as well by repentance as by faith ; which is not the language either of the Bible or the Prayer-book. Obedience must be added, to prove' our faith sincere ;' and for many other important ends : but “by faith we stand.” No faith can justify which cannot also continue the possessor in a justified state; unless it fail, or degenerate into a dead faith.
No one, by the evangelical covenant, obtained ' and ratified by the shedding of the blood of • Christ, can obtain remission of sins or justifi
cation, without faith and repentance ; no one can keep and preserve justification when received, without the fruits of faith and repentance.''
This note may at first seem equivalent to what has above been admitted. But it is Bishop Bull's doctrine, that repentance, faith, and works all justify alike, and none of them in any other sense than as a sine qua non : while we would maintain that neither repentance, nor works, in any degree or sense, help to justify; but only that repentance always accompanies justifying faith, and that the “ fruits of faith and repentance' always follow -even such as spring from a lively penitent faith, and by which it may as certainly be known as a tree by its fruits.' These are indispensably needful to prove the sincerity of our faith : to evidence that we are justified; and in order to our
Translation of Note from Bp. Bull, Ref. 142.
continuance in a justified state; not as added to our faith, as a distinct means of this continuance, but as manifesting our faith to be justifying and saving. “ Seest thou how faith wrought with his
works, and by works was faith made perfect :") -perfect as a tree is when covered with its valuable fruit. Though living and growing before, it was not in its perfect state.
"These adults are not required to perform any 'good works previous to baptism, but simply to profess their faith in the blessed Trinity, and to promise future obedience to God's holy will and * commandments: they are then baptized, and by this spiritual regeneration they receive remission of all their former sins, both original and actual. Here is an exact conformity to the practice of the primitive Christians. But, though an adult, when baptized, may have a firm belief in the • truth of Christianity, and a real intention to obey
its laws; yet, from the corruption of his nature, ' and the enticements to sin, he may afterwards 'not lead a life agreeable to the precepts of the
gospel ; he may “ for a while believe, and in · time of temptation fall away.” And in that case ' his faith, though at first it might deserve to be
called a true faith, afterwards loses that character; ' and, if he dies while he continues an impenitent
sinner, he will not be saved, although he once ' had justification in this world. Having failed to ' fulfil the conditions of the covenant, into which ' he had voluntarily entered and which he ex
Jam. ii. 22.