« PreviousContinue »
thing; and if allowed, such liberties may prove just any thing they please.
Surely Dr. M. will not here say, that the article does not say any thing about regeneration. Is not regeneration then taught by Dr. M. to be an "effect” of the sacrament of baptism? And is it not whereever perforined a wholesome or saving ellect? It our church language have any meaning in any place, this language teaches, that the sacraments may be, yea sometimes are perforı aed without their wholesome effect; yea with a bad ellect. “ The duly use them. And in such only as worthily resacraments were ordained of Christ,---that we should ceive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation. But they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation.”
As this language annihilates Dr. M.'s doctrine, and cannot be contradicted, so it canuot be evaded. There can be no pretence for saying; that as the church applies the language of St. Paul, respecting the Lord's supper only; that the Lord's supper only is intended. I say there is no rooin for this evasion; as the article respects both the sacraments indifferently; both the sacraments are mentioned throughout; and as both the sacraments have the same authority, and have the same spiritual desigus, the same dispositions are required, in order to the wholesome effeot. Beside, it is quite certain that this article and the next, (26) are descriptive of the sacraments conjointly and equally, and must necessarily be so; because there are two other articles, (27 and 28) which state individually, and respectively, the nature, reception, and effects of the sacrawents of baptism and the Lord's supper, in their
separate and single character. These words then, fairly stand their ground; but it is impossible that Dj'. M.:s system can stand with them.
But this reasoning will appear to be coufirined, in considering the two next articles, (26, 27) wbove language, though not so strong or explicit, corresponds with this 25th.
The 20th, is entitleri, “Of the mworthiness of Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the sacra. ments. The sacruments, not the sacrament, ob
In this article we are instrucied, thai “ may use their miuistry, both in hearing the woril of God, and in receising of the sacraments : neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away liy their wickednesss, nor the grace of God's gilis diminished from such, as by fuith and rightly do receive the sacraments ministered unto them, which be effectual because of Christi institutution and promise, although, they be ministered by evil mea." We need not dwell upon the words of this article. Only we must observe that the uniform tenor of the church doctrine is that a truly gracious disposition, and pious design, is made absolutely the linge upon which all pretentions to the “inward and spiriíual grace" of each of the sacraments turns.
In this article we see precisely the same rule, and the same condition. The wholesome effect is here also ascribed only to “ such as by faith and rightly do receive the sacraments.” There is one thing I would beg the reader particularly to notice in the words we have quoted from this article. I wisli it to be attended to with great care, as it will shew us the whole fallacy of Dr. M.'s reasoning upon the " spiritual grace of baptism."
The idea in this, the “sacraments” are saiil by the church to be “s effectaal, because of Chrit's institution and promise.” But observe, their efficacy is wholly confined to “ such as by faith and rightly receive" them."' Dr. M. however makes the ellicacy to depend totally upon “ Christ's holy ordinance of baptism,” (23, 51, anil passim.) But wholly omits the necessary restriction in its appli·cation. He never once suspends the effect upon the character of the receiver, This indeed, would utterly abolish his whole book, and render negatory his writing at all. Because no one ever denies the effects of the sacraments to such as worthily reccive them. But they do (and so most assuredly does our church, as we see,) deny the good effects of the sacraments to such as “ receive them unworthily.” Now till Dr. M. has proved that unworihy receivers do truly partake of the “inward and spiritual grace of the sacraments;, he had better have been silent, than try to bewilder and confound his readers, by words without meaning. But if he should again take up lis pen ; and should succeed in proving that the sacraments have their due effect upon the receivers, “ whatever be their character," then we must be content to burn our liturgy, and go back to the church of Rome.
But we have not exhausted our subject. In the next Artiele (27) entitled “ of baptism," the effect is again restricted in the same way, though not with so much particularity, as in the preceding. The efficacy is here again suspended upon a proper reception ; and it is only acknowledged that they who “receiev baptism rightly," are grafted into the church, in a truly spiritual manner. It is further said, that "faith is confirmed, and grace increased in this oritinance, “ by virtue of prayer to Gul." “ Grace then and fuith" are here again supposed to have a previous existence in the heart of the receiver, or they could not be confirmed or increased.
Here let us note, once more, the disagreement of Dr. M. with his church. He says
rightly administered;" the church says rightly received." This disagreement is very essential; and in short, the turning point of the whole controversy. If no regard is had to the disposition of the receiver, then 23 Dr. M. observes, - of course” the effect is produced. But if regard he had to the disposition, then wherever a good disposition is not found; there, as the church declares, no good effect can follow.
I shall, before I leave this subject, quote one passage out of the Hornilies, expressive of the same idea that we have said so much upon from the air ticles; namely, that persons may receive the sacraments without effect : without the inward and spiri. tual grace accompanying the outward sign. “Whereof” (that is from the true Christian faith) “ doth follow a loving heart to obey his commandments. And this true Christian faith, neither any devil hath, nor yet any man, which in the outward profession of the mouth, and in his outward receive ing of the sacraments, in his coming to church, and in all other outward appearances, seemeth to be a Christian man, and yet in his living and deeds sheweth the contrary. Homily on salvation. With a great deal more to the same purpose, shewing us the impossibility of mere outward attendance upon, and reception of the rites and ordinances of God, being effectual for salvation. Indeed the true
spirit of the passage quoted above, would render abortive the whole essence of these two tracts of Dr."M. on regeneration and conversio..
We have now proved, I hope very satisfactorily, what we engaged with respect to our church; namely, that she does not, as Dr. N. does, make baptism, and regeneration inseparable. We have proved that our church teaches this in two respects : first, that baptism is not absolutely necessary to salvation or regeneration. Second, and when administered is not necessarily productive of it. And that with regard to the admission, in the baptismal office of regeneration, it is grounded upon the supposition that the person to be baptised is rightly disposed in the engagement lie makes on receiving baptism.
The Language of the Baptismal Office accounted
for, and reconciled with the other Documents of the Church, and with the Scriptures.
THE language of the church, in her office of baptism, as interpreted by Dr. M. and the language of her articles, &c. which we have pow collated, appear to be inconsistent with each other. And indeed were we to understand the words of her office with the rigidness of Dr. M. there would very