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maziletly be a real contradiction betwee! tie:. The church admits regeneration in the baptised. So far then, Dr. . is rigut. Dat he makes her to say, or says for her, that we are always regenerate in baptism. But here he lias left the church. She never says this, even in the ofice itself; and in her articles she expressly implies the direct contrary. “ In such only as worthily receive the sa ne, have they a wholesome effect or operation.".--Again, Dr. M. makes the church to teach the ubsolute, and universal necessity of baptisin to salvation. But she really teaches only the “general" necessity, and “where it may be had.” Her article makes it the sign, and not the substance. Supposing tien, Dr. M.'s interpretation of her office to be just, it would be in direct inconsistence with the articles, and other documents which we have adduced evi, dence from. But, as the articles are capable of no possible reconciliation with Dr. M.'s gloss of the offices, (I take it for granted, that Dr. M. who could not well be ignorant of the circumstance, would have effected a reconciliation, lad he been able) it would admit of persons both believing with Dr. M. and holding against him; and yet euch might be right. If the church be inconsistent with herself; her Ministers might differ from each oilier, but still both parties might claim the church as their giide. They miylit be at complete war upon this great subject; and contend, that ba; tisin is always necessary to salvation, and that it is not always necessary: that all baptised persons are regenerate in baptism, aul that all baptisod persons are not r venerate is baptism : yel bath plead the church as
says, no other
their authority; and both be sincere, and “fair enquirers” (20) notwithstanding.
What then are we to say? Is the church thus absurd and inconsistent, both with herself, the scriptures, and common sen:e? Before we acknowledge this, let us ask again; whose doctrine and interpretation is it which makes the church inconsistent with herself? Is it theirs, who make baptism always necessary to salvation ? (Dr. M. than baptismal regeneration is possible in this world.") Or theirs who make it only “generally" necessary? Is it theirs who make baptism always convey regeneration ? (Dr.M.says we are“ regenerate in baptisın and in baptism exclusively.") Or theirs who make “ only the worthy receivers” to enjoy the "wholesome effects” of baptism ?---These questions answer themselves. Dr. M, and Dr, M, alone, is accountable for the inconsistence which his doctrines would produce.
How then is the church doctrine to be accounted for? Or is she inconsistent or irreconcilable? I conceive she is not either the one or the other. Her language indeed is strong, and made under a deep impression of the importance of the ordinance of Christ, and of the benefits accruing to the worthy receiver. But no language can be more express than that of our church ; that it is not the outward observance of any rite hower necesssary, or however correctly administered; but the “ hidden man of the heart," tùat she requires and grounds her expectations upon. The established ritual endeavours, to come as near the literal interpretation of scripa tre as she conveniently can; but she takes especial care to obviate, in other parts, and indeed by
manifest i:nplication in this office itsell, a'iy construction unfavourable to her general, and spiritual intention.
The Office of baptism compared with the other
Offices of the Church, and shown to be greatly analogous to them.
I. First, the baptismal service, as well as the liturgy in general) was made for the use of the church of Christ.
This nocion allowed, will account for effects being admitted generally, which are peculiar to the true spiritual members of Christ. For she professedly and willingly admits none but such, to receive her initiatory ordinance.
That this service was intended only for the use of the church of Christ, is manifest, from the nature of the ordinance, and the express instruction of her formalaries. “ How many sacraments hath Christ ordained in his church ?” Catechism : two, • baptism, and the supper of the Lord.”
This consideration will help us to the true understanding of this office. It is very manifest, upon av attentive consideration of the subject; that the language here used was not intended to explain the nature and effects of baptism in their most simple and abstract form, nor was this intended to be done even in the articles : but to exhibit its eharacter when duly performed, according to Christ's appointment, both by the officer and recipient. It is not speaking of its effects in all cases; but under
the cases of such, and “such only as receive baptism rightly.” The office was not constructed with a view to abuse, but that " we should duly use it." The whole office we have largely shewn, had in view what it required; and to suppose that the office requires a thing to the performance, which it did not contemplate with a view to the effect, would be als surd. I have not a shadow of doubt
the sub ject, but that the church is speaking of the effects of baptism, not as it may be used, but as it ought to be used: not as corrupt and hypocritical pretenders may receive it, but as persons disposed, as she has required them to be, will receive it.
This will be more clearly manifest by considering the character of the persons she made her office for.---They “are the church of Christ, as we have
But what is the church of Christ ?---Tlie 19th Article says, “ the visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men.” Of fuithful men.--How then outght such people to be taught respecting the effects of the sacraments of Christ's church, when duly uscd by them? Certainly, not as infidely and hypocrites ought to be instructed. They arę faithful men.
She makes her ofiices for their use : and, though persons previous to baptism, are not properly members of Christ's church, yet slie most elearly (as we have largely proved), requires them to be " faithful and penitent" also, in order to their being grafted into the church.” (27th Artiele.)
This idea being steadfastly kept in view, we shall not only be able to account for the church office acknowledging the due effects of baptism; but we shall see the propriety and necessity of her doing so.
She is all alone speaking of Christ's institution; to Christ's Church of " faithful men,” and of tie. promise which Christ hias maile to those who, with a right spirit, wish to enter into it: and although it be too true, that, “ in the visible church the evil be ever mingled with the good; (26th Article.) Yet the church knows then not.----She owns them not, they are not the persons she is taking by the hand anil leading into the church of Christ. It is true that she contemplates the likelihood of such persons coming to her sacraments: but then she warns them to be aware, lost they “purchase to themselves damnation.” She expects that unhallowed hands will be laid on her altar; but she makes no service for their peculiar use; nor can she then speak of. the effects, in such services, as received by such unworthy participants. She knows that hypocrites will use her rites and offices; but she gives them no authority to do so. She has no design of making offices suitable to the use of hypocrites. She disowns them: and if she knew them, she would exclude them altogether. She only had a spiritual service in her mind; and therefore we must, without doubt, consider her as speaking of "such as by faith and rightly, do receive the sacraments :" when she acknowledges the “inward and spiritual grace" to be received.
II. As all her offices were composed for the same description of persons, they are all of them constructed in much the same manner : that is, they connect the end with the due use of the means.
First, we shall observe that this is very manifestly the case with regard to the sacraments as explained in the catechism.