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ture to think, have been disputed, had of the baptismal service which strongnot men been anxious to remain in her ly rebut your accusation. No sooner communion, and yet to make her for has the church pronounced the infant mularies square with their own private regenerate, than she asks the prayers notions. The words put into the mouth of the people, that "this child may of the officiating minister, immediate- lead the rest of his life according to ly after every baptism, " Seeing now, this beginning”-evidently intimating dearly beloved, that this child is rege- her belief, that, though regenerate, the nerate," seem too distinct to be ex. child may possibly not go on to that plained away, and too general for any renewal of nature, which alone can seof those limitations by which some cure godly living. And what are we to would restrict them. You may tell me say of the appointment of sponsors, that the church speaks only in the judg- parties from whom the church requires ment of charity, on the supposition vows in the name of the child, and to that there has been genuine faith in whom she commits the instruction of those who have brought the infant to the child, is not that the church feels, the font. But, even on this modified that, whatever the benefits conferred view, the church holds baptismal rege- by baptism, they remove not the neneration : she holds, that, if not invari- cessity for the use of all those means, ably, yet under certain circumstances, by which sinners may be brought nigh infants are regenerate, only because to God, and upheld in a state of acbaptized. We cannot, however, admit ceptance ? The church then holds that that the language is only the language baptism regenerates: but the church of that charity which hopeth all does not hold that all who are thus things.” Had the church not designed regenerate, can never need any further to go further than this, she might have moral change in order to fitness for said, " Seeing that we may charitably heaven. believe,” or,
Seeing that we may And we freely own that we know charitably hope that this child is rege- not how, consistently with Scripture, nerate:” she could never have ventur- the church could do otherwise than ed on the broad unqualified declaration, maintain, that what is called the sea declaration to be made whensoever cond birth is effected at baptism. Our the sacrament of baptism has been ad- Lord's words are very explicit, "Exministered, " Seeing that this child is cept a man be born of water and of regenerate;" and then have gone on the Spirit, he cannot enter into the to require of the congregation to ex- kingdom of heaven.” It can hardly be press their gratitude in such words as disputed that the being "born of wathese, "We yield thee hearty thanks, ter” refers to baptism-any other in. most merciful Father, that it hath plea- terpretation must be so strained, that sed thee to regenerate this infant with to mention would be to refute it. But thy Holy Spirit.” We really think that if we are "horn of water” in baptism, no fair, no straightforward dealing can do you mean to say that it is at some get rid of the conclusion, that the other time that we are "born of the church holds what is called baptismal Spirit ?" Then there is a third birth, regeneration. You may dislike the doc- as well as a second; and of this I do trine : you may wish it expunged from not think we read in any part of Scripthe prayer-book ; but so long as I sub- ture. The water and the Spirit seem scribe to that prayer-book, and so long compared to two agents which meet as I officiate according to the forms in order to the production of a new of that prayer-book, I do not see how creature. The birth spoken of is not I can be commonly honest, and yet de- from the water by itself, neither is it ny that every baptized person is, on from the Spirit by itself: the simile that account, regenerate.
would hardly have been drawn from But then, if you charge on the church, a birth, had there not been agencies that because she holds this, she holds which might be said to combine, and that every baptized person has so un- which might therefore be likened to dergone, that he must retain, all the parents. Hence, if it be in baptism that moral change necessary for admission we are "born of water," it must also into heaven, you overlook other parts be in baptism that we are " born of the Spirit”-otherwise you make Christ I labored under great moral sickness, a speak of two births, where he mani- sickness which was even unto death; festly speaks only of one; and you re- and they went therefore to Jesus, and present him moreover as using a simile besought him to make them whole. which is scarcely in place, unless two And, by command of the great Physiagencies unite to effect a result. cian, were the children sprinkled with
We believe then, in accordance with the waters of baptism, and thus made the doctrine of our church, a doctrine members of his church, and heirs of of whose agreement with Scripture we his kingdom. Here was miracle: the are thoroughly persuaded, that every child of wrath became a child of God: baptized person has entered, in virtue the guilt of original sin was removed; of his baptism, on a condition so dif- and a right acquired to all those gra ferent from his natural, become enti- cious privileges, through which, dilitled to such privileges, and endowed gently used, the life may be preserved with such grace, that he may be de. which is imparted in baptism. We bescribed as regenerate, or born again lieve of these baptized children, that, from above. He may fail to be finally had they died ere old enough to be advantaged by this adoption into God's morally accountable, they would have visible family. He may not be trained been admitted into heaven; and, thereup as a member of that family should fore, do we also believe that they passbe trained: there may be no attempt ed, at baptism, from death unto life, so at making use of his privileges, none that, in their case, baptism was instruat acquiring or cherishing the disposi- mental to the recovery of the immorta. tions which should characterize God's lity forfeited in Adam. But when Christ children, none at consolidating and had thus wrought a miracle, wrought perpetuating that membership which it through the energies of the Spirit was derived to him by his initiation brooding on the waters, he issued the into the church. But this is only say. same command as to Jairus, and desired ing, that, having been made a child of that meat should be given to those God, he may fail at last to be an heir of whom he had quickened. So long as the kingdom, through failing to con- the children were too young to take form himself to the known will, and to care of themselves, this command imimprove the offered mercies, of his Fa- plied that their parents, or guardians, ther in heaven. He may be reckoned were to be diligent in instilling into their with the sons, because he has been re- minds the principles of righteousness, generated, and nevertheless be disin- instructing them as to the vows which herited at the last, because he has ne- had been made, and the privileges to ver labored after, and therefore never which they had been admittedat baptism. acquired, that thorough moral renewal, So soon as the children had reached of which his regeneration was at once riper years, the command implied that the pledge and the commencement. they should use, with all earnestness,
Let us pause for a moment, and en- the appointed means of grace, and esdeavor to explain how it comes to pass pecially that they should feed, through that there is so little of visible effica- the receiving another sacrament, on cy, in the sacrament of baptism. We that body and blood which are the suswould illustrate from the account of tenance of a lost world. And we quite the restoration of the daughter of Jai- believe, that, wheresoever the comrus: Christ raised her from the dead mand is faithfully obeyed, the life, comby miracle; but immediately command- municated in baptism, will be preserved that means should be used for sus- ed as the infant advances to maturity. taining the life thus supernaturally com- But unhappily, in far the majority of municated. "And her spirit came again, instances, the command is altogether and she arose straightway; and he disobeyed. The parents give the child commanded to give her meat.” We no meat; and the child, when it can can gather the history of the uncon- act for itself, attends to every thing verted amongst you from this simple rather than the sustenance of the spinarrative. Whilst they were yet young, ritual life. Even religious parents are too young to feel or act for themselves, often to blame in this matter: for, not their parents were conscious that they duly mindful of the virtues of baptism, they address their children, as though formed into the likeness of God as to they were heathens, in place of admo- be sure of a place in that city into nishing them, as members of Christ, to which shall enter nothing that defileth. take heed how they let slip the grace We have only maintained, that, by the they have received. And as to irreli. operation of the Holy Spirit in and gious parents, who are not careful of through baptism, the child is brought their own souls, but live in neglect of into such a relation to God, so purged those means through which is to be from the guilt of original sin, so gamaintained the membership with Christ thered within the covenant of forgivewhich baptism procures-what can we ness, so consigned to all the blessings expect from them, but that they will of adoption, that it may be declared suffer the principle of life to languish impregnated with the elements of spiin their children, so that we shall have ritual life, elements which, if not wila multitude with no signs of moral ani. fully crushed, shall shoot into effloresmation, although they have been" born cence and vigor beneath the creative again of water and of the Spirit ?" word of the Gospel of Christ. Thus the When, therefore, we are told, that, not- parallel is perfect-there being only withstanding the use of the sacrament this difference, that inanimate matter, of baptism, the great mass of men have prepared by the Spirit, was sure to ofevidently undergone.no renewal of na- fer no resistance, but to resolve itself, ture; and when it is argued from this, at divine bidding, into the appointed that there cannot necessarily be any forms; whereas the human soul, though regeneration in baptism; our answer similarly prepared, may withstand the is simply, that God works by means quickening word, and refuse to bring as well as miracle ; that means are to forth the fruits of righteousness. But sustain what miracle implants; and, this is the only difference, a difference that, therefore, the same appearance which necessarily follows on that bewill be finally presented, if means tween matter and mind. For as the be neglected, as is miracle were not rude and undigested chaos, unapt for wrought.
vegetation, untraversed by lise, became, But, to recuir to our text: if we have beneath the broodings of the Spirit on rightly expounded the church's views the overspread waters, enabled for ferwith reference to baptism, we may well tility, and pregnant with vitality, so agree with the ancient fathers, who that yet wilder and more unshopen found the waters of baptism in those thing, a fallen man, passing through waters which covered the solid matter these mystic waters on which the Hoof this earth, and on which the Spirit ly Ghost moves, is made a fit subject of God moved, or brooded, with vivi- for the renewing word of the Gospel, fying energy. You are not told, that that word which clothes with moral by this moving or brooding on the beauty, and nerves with moral strength. waters, the Spirit actually produced He may resist the word which comthis present globe, wrought it into the mands that the earth bring forth the structure, and clothed it with the orna- green herb, and that land and water ments, which fitted it for the residence teem with proof that the voice of the of man. All that seems to have been Lord has been heard. Nevertheless, he done, was the infusing such properties has been put at baptism into such a into matter, or the bringing it into condition, there has been communicatsuch a condition, that it stood ready ed such an aptness for hearkening to for the various processes of vegeta the word, and obeying its injunctions, tion and life, but still waited the word that the very globe, with its fields and of the Almighty ere the trees sprang forests, and varied tenantry, shall witforth and animated tribes moved re- ness against him at the judgment, provjoicingly on its surface. And what is ing itself less senseless and obdurate, this but a most accurate representation seeing that it arose from its baptism, of what we suppose effected in bap- ready, at God's command, to be enatism? We have not so described to melled with verdure and crowned with you the virtues of this sacrament, as to animation. And, on the other hand, lead you to believe that the child, on when we see an individual growing up emerging from the waters, is so trans-i' in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” steadily acting out the vows, / alludes when he speaks of the deep claiming the privileges, and exhibiting waters as having come in, even unto the benefits of baptism; so that life his soul. And when these waters are is, from the first, a progress towards poured upon the christian, how often spiritual perfection ; we think it not may it be said that the earth is" withstrange if he cannot tell us the day of out form and void,” and that darkness his conversion, if he can only describe is "upon the face of the deep.” All an acquaintance with God, and a love seems a blank: on every side there is to his name, which have been deepen- gloom. But is not God's Spirit upon ing as long as he can recollect; we the waters ? Surely, if it be true that should indeed marvel that a fallen crea: the believer in Christ comes forth puriture could thus seem set apart, from fied by affliction, stronger in the graces his very infancy, to holiness, as though of the Gospel, and more disposed to he had been born a child of God and the yielding those fruits which are to not of wrath, if we did not remember, the glory of God, it is also true that that, whilst the earth was yet "with the Spirit, who is emphatically styled out form and void," waters had suffused the Comforter, has moved upon the it, and that on the face of those waters waters, exerting through them a myshad moved the Spirit of God.
terious influence on the disordered fa. These then are the two great senses culties; so that there hath at length in which, as we think, our text should emerged, as from the surges of the earbe understood; the one literal, the ly deep, a fairer creation, with more of other allegorical. In ordinary cases we the impress of Deity and the earnest of object to the giving a typical mean- heaven. And if sorrows may be likening to an historical statement, unless ed unto waters, certainly death may, on the express warrant of other parts which cometh in as a deluge, and overof Scripture. But though in this case whelms the generations of men. This we have no such warrant, yet, foras. is a flood beneath which the earth much as the work of the Holy Spirit becomes literally " without form and upon man is described as the extract- void.” The body, fashioned out of the ing a new creation from the ruins of dust, is reduced to its elements: all the old—the very work attributed to that was comely, and strong, and exthis agent in our text-we can hardly cellent, departs; and a darkness, fearthink that we deal fancifully with Scrip- fully oppressive, is on" the face of the ture, if, in imitation of early writers, deep.” But the Spirit of the living God we suppose a designed parallel between is moving on the food. These our bothe natural and spiritual operations. dies, like the globe from which they And though we will not say that what have been taken, and into which they we have, in conclusion, to advance, must be resolved, are to pass from an may be equally defended by just laws inferior to a nobler condition; they are of 'interpretation, it is perhaps only to be broken into a chaos, only that such an application of the text as may they may be reconstructed in finer be pardoned for the sake of its practic symmetry, and with loftier powers. cal worth.
And when I find it declared that "he On the waters of the chaos brooded that raised up Christ from the dead, the Spirit, in order that from the undi. shall also quicken your mortal bodies gested mass might springa noble world. by his Spirit that dwelleth in you”On the waters of baptism still broods the resurrection being thus atiributed that same Spirit, in order that from the to the Spirit-I feel indeed that it may midst of a fallen race may rise the again be said, that the Spirit of God church of the living God. But there moves on the face of the waters;" it are other waters, of which Scripture moves as the guardian and vivifier of speaks; and it is most comforting to every particle submerged in the dark remember that on these too may God's flood of death; and its agency shall be Spirit rest. There are the waters of attested, attested as magnificently as affliction, waters to which reference is by new heavens and a new earth springmade in the promise, "When thou ing from the wreck of the old, when passest through the waters, I will be this mortal shall put on immortality, with thee;" and to which the Psalmist I this corruptible incorruption.
We cannot detain you longer, though of the Lamb.” The waters flow from fresh illustrationscrowd upon the mind. the throne of two persons of the TriniLiving waters, we read, are to go out ty; then on these waters must be the from Jerusalem, " till at length the Third Person, who proceedeth from earth shall be filled with the knowledge the other two. Yea, even in heaven of the glory of the Lord, as the waters may this Spirit act on that which hath cover the sea.
.” The Spirit of God will been earthly, fitting us to pass from be on these waters; the flood of evan- one stage to another of glory and blessgelical truth would avail nothing unless edness, so that futurity, like antiquity, accompanied by this agent; but foras- shall be full of splendid changes, each much as the Gospel shall be preached being a progress towards Deity, though " with the Holy Ghost sent down from Deity will ever remain unapproachheaven,” the desert will blossom, the able. God grant-this is all we can say waste places rejoice, and the globe be in conclusionthat none of us may transformed into one glorious sanctu- quench the Spirit;" Oh, though he ary. There is a river, moreover, in the can sit majestical on the flood of death, heavenly city,"clear as crystal, pro- he may be actually quenched by the ceeding out of the throne of God and flood of unbelief.
THE PROPORTION OF GRACE TO TRIAL.
" And as thy days, so shall thy strength be."-Deuteronomy, 33 : 25.
It is of great importance, that, in assuredly the affection and the power, considering the present condition of under a better aspect and with a holier our race, we neither exaggerate, nor aim, must have belonged to our nature extenuate, the consequences of the before as well as since the transgresoriginal apostacy. We believe it pos- sion of Adam. We are not to think that sible to do the one as well as the other; an entirely new set of energies and pasfor though it may not be easy to over- sions was communicated to man, when state the degree of our alienation from he had fallen from innocence; for this God, or our inability to return unto would be to represent God as interferhim from whom we have revolted, we ing to implant in us sinful propensities. may speak as though certain passions When a man is converted, and thereand affections had been engendered in fore regains, in a degree, the lost image us since the fall, having had nothing of his Maker, there are not given him correspondent in man as first formed. powers and affections which he posAnd this, we believe, would be a great sessed not before; all that is effected mistake; for we do not see how any is the removal of an evil bias, or the part of our mental constitution can proposing of a new object; the faculhave been added, or produced, since ties are what they were, except that we turned aside from God: we may they are no longer warped, and no have prostituted this or that affection, longer wasted on perishable things. and perverted this or that power; but And if that renewal of human nature,