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means of others, must be considered as Minister. In this determination, you acting for himself; and it is in vain to are correct; but as to the Catechism, I say that the commission did not in di- might have cited from it more than that rect terms acknowledge the prince on alluded to. When you were questioned the throne, when the very purpose for as to the performance of the promises which it was granted, that of giving ef- made for you by your sponsors, you fect to his mandate, unavoidably impli- answered with a determination to that ed a direct acknowledgment of his au- effect; and you combined with it thanksthority. At the same time, it is always giving to God for having called you found that a wide difference is made as to this state of salvation,” and with a to the feelings of a person concerned, prayer for divine grace, that you might whether he personally and directly per
is continue in the same to your life's forms an act, or whether, remaining end:” which would have been absurd, aloof himself, he merely acquiesces in and it may even be said profane, but its being performed by others. In the on the supposition of your having been present instance too, although the Arch- put into a state of salvation by baptism. bishop did not choose himself to ac Parishioner. In my late review of knowledge the reigning authority, he the instrument, this language appeared may have felt unwilling directly to op- to me very strong: but it has been sugpose himself to it; which would have gested to me, that the recited sayings been done by his refusing to consecrate. are grounded on the promises so made It has been stated,* that the nonjuring by the sponsors, as that the infant is party afterwards complained of him for supposed to promise in their persons. granting this commission; and that, in the promises are contemplated as sinconsequence, after the transaction was cerely made by the infant, and eventuover, he contrived to have it withdrawn ally performed. On this, the state of from the registrar's office."
salvation is predicated. (To be continued.)
Minister. This is like a fiction in law; to which the exigency of human
affairs gives occasion; but which it were For the Christian Journal.
irreverent, to introduce into a transacConversations of a Minister with a tion between God and his subject crea
Parishioner, on Baptismal Regene- tures. Besides, there is no analogy beration.
tween what lies on the sponsors, and
what is done for the infant. If it were CONVERSATION 2d.
a future benefit, predicated on future Parishioner. In our last interview, performance, it would be a different you alluded to an answer in the Cate- matter : but here, a present grace is chism, in which I acknowledged my pronounced, on the faith—you sayhaving been made, by baptism, “a of promises relative to distant time, and member of Christ, a child of God, and which may never be performed. The an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” charge to the sponsors explains what The impression of your remark, and they are to do, in virtue of their promy reflections induced by it, have made mises. But independently on the perme wish to converse with you on the formance of promises, either of the sponformer subject, as it relates to the doc sors or of the infant, the latter is protrines of our Church. For although I 'nounced to be in a state of salvation; consider Scripture as the ground, on from which he may fall, in the event of which I must finally settle my opinion, non-performance. It is probable, you yet it would grieve me to leave the bo- have been taught to account, in the som of the Church in which I was born
same way, for the expressions used in and educated. This, however, is a the baptismal service for infants; sacrifice which I would make; rather wherein we pray for their regeneration, than continue in it, under the weight of and afterwards, give thanks for its acmaterial error.
Parishioner. The interpretation * “ See Birch's Life of Tillotson." holds, as much in the one case as in the
other; and besides, it may be said to might excuse him, and throw the blame be the judgment of charity.
of deception on the Church. Minister. The plea is barred by the Parishioner. You reject the notion form of private baptism ; in which of a moral change; which we think thanks are given for the regeneration called for by the nature of the transacof the infant, without the stipulations of tion, according to your theory. Does sponsors. But besides it would be a
not the service speak of being “ born in strange kind of charity, to presume con- sin?” and consequently requiring such cerning the person on whom it is exer a change? cised, that he is, what he cannot be by Minister. Yes, we are born in sin, any effort of his own, and what there is as being subject to the penalty threatenno reason to consider as even probable, ed to Adam of temporal death, with by any act done for him: and this, in the appendages of disease, of wants, devotional exercise at an interesting and of dispositions tending to sin, in crisis.' On the part of those who deny consequence of the deterioration of our baptismal regeneration, although it is nature; agreeably to what is said" in believed that there may be a moral Adam all die.” change on the mind of the infant; yet Parishioner. Do we not pray, in they deny, that this always or even of- favour of the infant, for the remission of ten happens, and that divine veracity sin; or, as it is in the form of the is pledged to the effect. For my own Church of England, the best interprepart, I know of no moral change of the tative of the sense of the compilers, “of powers of the mind, in the case of in- his sins;" with which agrees what we fants.
read in the exhortation to the sponsors; Parishioner. This judgment of cha- it being in the English form-"ye have rity, seems to derive countenance from prayed that God would *** release St. Paul's addressing of whole Churches him of his sins." as saints, as elect, and under the like Minister. How do you reconcile expressions; although he could not this with what is said in the address to have supposed that the description ap- the congregation, when, with reference plied to all; and indeed, intimates the to our Saviour's reception of infants, it contrary in some instances. In like is noticed,“ how he exhorteth all men manner St. Peter (i. 2,5) addresses all to follow their innocency?” And how the dispersed Christians of the circum- will you reconcile it with what is said cision, as a spiritual house and holy at the end of the English service_“it priesthood."
is certain by God's word, that children Minister. The cases are different. which are baptized, dying before they It is common to address a collective commit actual sin, are undoubtedly body, as if all the members were what saved ?" general profession comprehends, and Parishioner. Do you think then so what the several individuals ought to irreverently of our venerable reformers, be. But in our service, regeneration as to suppose that they have fallen into is supposed by you to be predicated of inconsistency on the subject? each individual infant, without warrant
Minister. I have no such thought; of the word of God, and even in con but this is one of the points, on which, trariety to what is generally to be ex- for the right understanding of the depected. To add to the danger of the cisions of our Church, it is necessary ungrounded expectation, it is put -into to have recourse to the state of controthe mouth of the child, to its extreme versy at the time of the reformation. danger, as soon as it can lisp the Cate- The Roman Catholics contended, that chism. If we could grant, that the lan- the habit of sin, or a tendency to it, is guage used by the Church is the judg- not in itself sin: which they applied in ment of charity; the plea would not various ways, to lessen the malignity extend to the same language, put into of those sins which were the result of the mouth of the baptized catecumen. habit. On the contrary, our reformers From him it would be arrogant boast- held sinful disposition to be in itself ing; any further than his tender years sin; and under this apprehension, they
speak in the 9th article of “ the fault conversed, whom he has found posand corruption of the nature of every sessed of a sufficiency of knowledge, man,” which they affirm to “deserve in whose conduct he knows no cause of God's wrath and damnation:” meaning repulsion, and who is to take on his not that which is eternal; for this would tongue the solemn professions and probe inconsistent with what is elsewhere mises exacted by our service. But the said of infantine innocency; but the same interpretative charity does not incondemnation due to contrariety to his duce me to believe, that our reformers holy nature. The Scriptures never extended it to what they were not warspeak of eternal damnation, as inflicted ranted to expect; or that when they otherwise than for sin in act or in in- adopted the collect for Christmas-Day, tention. Concerning the properties of they intended it to be affirmed, in adhuman nature we may perceive, that dresses to Almighty God, that the perhowever adjusted to their legitimate sons praying were regenerate in any objects, they will assuredly issue in sin- other sense, than as applied to their ful practice, unless properly directed baptism. and governed by divine grace; or else Parishioner. I hear, that in some kept under restraint by prudential con- books of devotion, written by eminent siderations. This is what St. Paul men of the Church of England confessmeans by “the carnal mind” which is edly orthodox, the collect is entitled “ enmity against God:" not that the “ A Prayer for Regeneration." man possessing it hates God, as this Minister. This is to be lamented, text is erroneously brought to prove; and has probably been from inadverbut because the carnality, thus personi- tence. Certainly, the Church does not fied, is in opposition to his holy law. so name it. Such a sense is inconsistApply this to the present subject; and ent with the grammatical construction: you will perceive the ground on which and indeed it would have been highly the Church of England distinguishes incongruous, to have required twelve between sin in act, or even in thought thousand congregations, which is about having the property of act; and sin in the number in England, to be praying disposition, which, unless directed by for regeneration; to which, as would grace otherwise than as it would be put be implied, none of them had attained. in motion by the temptations of the Parishioner. We
pray for various world, will produce sin both in thought blessings temporal and spiritual, aland in act. This latitude in the use of though living in the possession of them. the word, is familiar both in the Old Minister. Yes; where they are not Testament and in the New: the He- limited to precise points of time, but brew and the Greek words answering continuance and increase in them are to it, being often applied to legal im- desirable. purity, and to imperfection or defect. Parishioner. May not the compilers
Parishioner. As you object to the have contemplated regeneration in the interpretation of charitable judgment, latter point of view, and as a work carapplied to the regeneration of infants; ried on throughout the Christian state? perhaps you will do the like, in regard Minister. It would have been a to that of adults.
sense not agreeable to usage, and not Minister. In our first conversation, warranted by Scripture language. ReI told you of my abhorrence of the sup- novation has a greater latitude of meanposition, that a person undergoing ing; for St. Paul speaks of being “rebaptism in hypocrisy, is thereby re- newed day by day.” Customary lana generated : and I must repeat my sur- guage is correct in this particular; reprise, that so much should have been generation being generally considered said in conversation and in print, to as limited to initiation into the Chrisrefute an opinion not held by any, so tian covenant. But there are many far as I can learn. But as to charita- other matters in our Church service, in ble judgment, I think it may fairly be unison with the said prayer. The alextended by the officiating minister to ready noticed declaration concerning an adult, with whom he has previously deceased infants, said to be founded ou
the word of God, is to the point. So those of the children of whom our Sais the circumstance, that when young viour said-suffer them to come unto persons are presented for confirmation, If you and I did not receive worthe whole construction of the service thily at our baptism, we have not since speaks the sentiment, that it is presum- received worthily; and never shall ed to be a continuation of a state of without rebaptization. For otherwise, grace. In like manner, in the visita- if we should be fit recipients hereafter, tion of the sick, the exhortation pre we come not within the meaning of the pared for the occasion is exceedingly expression; which speaks of worthy defective; except on the presumption, reception at the time of baptism. that any sins which may have been Parishioner. The 27th Article, committed are a departure from grace which is expressly on baptism, associformerly given. In short, our whole ates it with prayer to God; by which, system is erroneous, according to the it is said, “ faith is confirmed and grace notions which you have imbibed. increased."
Parishioner. Not the articles; in Minister. Yes; confirmed and inwhich there have been given to me creased, but not begun. On the consenses, not agreeable to the opinions trary, we read of baptism, that it is “ which
you have elicited from the other sign of regeneration or new birth, whereinstitutions. It is in the articles, that by, as by an instrument, they that rethe compilers must be supposed to have ceive baptism rightly are grafted into aimed at the setting down of the truths the Church : the promises of the forof the Gospel, with the greatest care giveness of sin, and of our adoption to and circumspection.
be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, Minister. This I concede, without are visibly signed and sealed.” The the apprehension of loss to my argu- like expressions had been used in the ment.
25th Article, concerning sacraments Parishioner. In the 25th article, it generally : which are defined " is said concerning the sacraments, that witnesses and effectual signs of grace by them “God doth not only quicken, and God's good will towards us, by the but strengthen and confirm our faith in which he doth work invisibly in us." him." Does not this imply, in regard It will not be said here, as concerning to each of the two sacraments, that the baptismal services, that the strong there must be the possession of faith, expressions are suggested by hypotheor at least capability of it, previous tical interpretation and by charitable to the strengthening and confirming judgment; being decisions on the subspoken of?
ject considered abstractedly. Neither · Minister. The position applies, ac can they be foreign to the case of incording to the properties of the two sa fants; since the lawfulness of infantine craments severally. By the energy of baptism is affirmed immediately after grace given, they may quicken, that is, in the Article; which, therefore, conexcite or bring into action; and the ex- templates them in connexion with the ercise of this principle, as of every beneficial effects before described. other, confirms and strengthens, that is, While we are on the Articles, I will rerenders stable and continues. Now a
that the 11th, entitled “ Of baptized infant, subsequently instruct- Justification,” refers to a certain homied, may have faith rendered both actively, known to have been composed with and stable, under the operation of grace extraordinary care. In the third part stipulated in the ordinance.
of it, the word “ baptized,” is introParishioner. Does not the article duced as synonymous with justified;" proceed to say, that the sacraments and thus there is recognized the truth have a wholesome effect, on those that the state of justification, nearly only who worthily receive them ?”
synonymous with regeneration, takes Minister. It does; but the distinc-place in baptism. tion can have no effect on the condition Parishioner. The comments which of infants. They receive worthily, if you have made on the services and on they are in similar circumstances to the articles, shall receive my most seri
Gus consideration. And yet, so much and 16th sections of his fourth book, does your opinion differ from that of uses the language of antiquity on the other denominations, that even on this present subject; amounting to the pointa account, I hesitate to settle down in a that in baptism there is implanted å system, which implies error in the great principle of grace, to which he gives mass of my fellow Christians.
the name of regeneration. But in my Minister. If you mean the religious estimation, the testimonies of all these denominations, with the members of Churches are of less weight than that which we are immediately conversant, of the primitive Church; which is acyou are perhaps correct : but if you knowledged to have preserved the include the Christian world in general, Christian faith entire, for at least threç the matter is quite otherwise. This be- hundred years. During all that time, ing a question of fact, we need not what I contend for as truth, was held take much time to settle it.
and taught without contradiction. This Parishioner. I know that the Ro is an acknowledged fact. man Catholics are in your favour, al Parishioner. I understand it to be though they go further than you seem so; but have heard it accounted for disposed to follow them in the theory. from the good lives of Christians in The corruptions which they have en
those early ages.
have been grafted on Christianity, induce me to safely supposed, that their Christian put them out of the account.
state commenced with their baptism Minister. To them you might have but the same notion, it is said, must be added all the Greek Churches, which very pernicious in the present day; include immense numbers of professing when we witness the degeneracy of so Christians. In regard as well to the many, who were dedicated to God in Greek as to the Roman Churches, I lay their infancy. little stress on their holding of any doc Minister. There never was a time, trine; unless, as in the present case, when tbere was not abundance of disa they professed it before the rise of their honour of this sort, 'on the cause of corruptions. But of this, something Christ. We have sufficient evidence shall be said bye and bye. To all these of it, in what it especially fell in with Churches, you must add the Lutheran, the views of ecclesiastical writers to comprehending large kingdoms and mention-the heresies infesting the
principalities; and the ancient and very early Church, and the vile deeds of the ļ respectable Church, known by the inventors of them; who had generally
name of “Unitas Fratrum.” Again, been born and educated in the bosom you must add the Calvinistic Churches of the Church. There is a fact conspion the continent of Europe; all of cuously to the purpose. Towards the which hold to the confession, which you middle of the third century, there took may find professed by that body of place the persecution of the Emperor Christians in this country, who derive Decius--more severe than any which their descent from the Church of the had preceded. The Churches had enNetherlands. In that instrument, as joyed peace through a long tract of also in the Heidelburg Catechism in time; and when the reverse of their use by the same Church, and in the condition began, it was considered as service for the administering of baptism, the judgment of God on abounding our doctrine is as explicitly declared, wickedness, described in as glowing as in the articles and the services of our colours as could be given of the manChurch. We need not wonder at this;
Church in Christendom at when we find Calvin, on whose princi- the present day. There remains espea ples those Churches were modelled, cially an Epistle of Cyprian, the celea teaching the same doctrine.
brated Bishop of Carthage, in which he Parishioner. I have always suppos- sets forth in very strong terms the prea ed, that the doctrine is inconsistent ceding sinful practices of professors. with the tenets of Calvin,
About half a century afterwards, there Minister. To me, it seems so; and ensued the persecution of the Emperor yet this celebrated man, in the 15th Dioclesian. Eusebius, a cotemporary VOL. VI,