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would have called vials of wrath filled for destruction, let the author shew it: to our understandings his system seems to be marked with the errors of Calvinism, without possessing it's consistency.
The second class of persons whom he describes are those, who though they know the will of God through the help of the Holy Spirit, yet “ derive no pleasure from paying obedience to it, and are not interested in its precepts as they could wish to be.” (p. 9.1..) “ Their condition,” he adds,“ is doubtless uncomfortable, but yet very far (I apprehend) from being dangerous." P. ge.
We certainly believe that there are many such persons; and that the uncomfortable state in which they are placed, arises. principally, if not entirely, from their having been taught to judge of their spiritual condition from their feelings, rather than their conduct. When they hear others describe rapturous sensations, to which they are strangers; and are taught by some more zealous than discreet pastor, that when the Holy Spirit, really operates upon the human soul, that soul will be as seno sible of his presence as the body is: of the air which blows upon it; they naturally begin to fear that they are as yet devoid of that spiritual influence which is essential to their salvation';, and are thus cut off at once from that source of joy and comfort, which the testimony of a good conscience would otherwise prove to them.
Such persons certainly require.comfort; and it becomes those, who have unwisely awakened such unprofitable doubts and . uufounded alarms in their minds, to allay them as speedily as they may, even though the consistency of their own doctrine may suffer from the attempt. We shall therefore make no objection to the consoling exhortation with which this chapter is concluded. The author doubtless knows, whom he is ad. dressing; and we trust that he feels it his duty to pour oil and wine into the wounds, which such a system as he has undertaken to advocate must too often inffict.
In the fourth chapter. Mr. Faber treats of the “ influence of the Holy Spirit upon the will;" and this-gives him an opportunity of discussing the doctrine of regeneration, which, in common with Mr. Simeon and other divines of his persuasion, he considers to be a process.'separate from and wholly independent. of baptism ;: a work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, which takes place at an indefinite time, and isi evidenced by great. internal struggles and emotions, ending at last in the prevalence of good, resolutions over evil desires, and a consequent change both in the disposition and conduct: We would willingly place
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the author's view of this important. doctrine clearly before our readers; but so much confusion and ambiguity prevail throughout the chapter, that we scarcely dare to hope that we have succeeded. :. He first asserts, in the words of Archbishop Tillotson, that
when this good resolution does effectually prevail, aud makes a real change both in the temper of a man's mind, and in the course of his life, then, and not before, he is said to be regenerate." (p. 105.) But aiter having thus, as it appears, clearly defined the tine, at which regeneration may be said to take place; he tells us that there is a never cousing conflict in the bosom of every true Christian, between two principles diametrically opposite to each other;” (p. 111.) and to illustrate and confirm this postion, he appeals to the language of St. Paul, (Rom. vii. 15.) which we have already proved to bear no reference at all to the case of the Christian at any period of his life. Again, in page 320, we are told, that this conflict “ affords to every man a very usefut test of his regeneracy.” First then, regeneration is representated to be the result of the effectual prevalence of the good principle over the evil one; secondly, it is declared that the conflict between these two principles will never cease; in which case, we presumé, the good can never effectually pretail, nor regeneration, the result of this prevalence ever take place: thirdly, this never ceasing conflict is to be considered as a cery useful test of regeneracy. Quorsum hæc tam putida ? Can the struggle, which must cease before a particular effect be produced, be itself unceasing? Or can its very continuance be a test of the existence of an effect, which cannot take place until it ceases? We gladly escape from such endless inconsistencies and contradictions,
“Qua signa sequendi “ Falleret indeprensus et irremeabilis error." . We have already fully proved in our review of Mr. Simeon's pamphlets, that regeneration, in the sense of the Church, takes place at baptism ; Mr. Faber's view of it therefore cannot be reconciled with that doctrine which she teaches, and which he is engaged to exhibit. It is unnecessary to dwell upon his quotations either from Tillotson or Hopkins. We are well aware that the term regeneration has been very loosely and unguardedly used by many divines, who were yet as far from holding the opinions of Mr. Faber and Mr. Simeon upon the subject of baptism, as any of those writers, who, with a view of resisting such errors, have endeavoured to confine the word to its precise technical meaning. Whether this was the case with the writers he has referred to, is a question which we are not concerned to an
swer, and we should here dismiss the subject, did we not find the author, in a note appended to page 106, attempting in rather a novel manuer to prove, that his opinions do not differ from those of the Church. His first argument is drawn from the language used by our reformers in the Homily for Whit-Sunday, where, because he finds the following passage, “ Such is the power of the Holy Ghost to regenerate men, and as it were to biing them forth anew, so that they shall be nothing like the men they were before," he rather hastily concludes that they “clearly speak of regeneration as taking place in adult subjects, and therefore do not attach it necessarily and in the way of cause and effect to baptism.” To this it might be deemed a sufficient answer, that the reformers were speaking of the tirst converts to christianity, who were baptised when adults, and therefore regenerated when adults. But when we consult the Homily itself, it appears at once evident, that the author of it here uses regeneration in the strict and proper meaning of the terın, as the spiritual grace of baptism. For the whole passage which Mr. Faber.quotes is used by the author of the Homily as an illustration of our Saviour's language to Nicodemus, and forms a part of his reflections upon the hesitation with which this doctrine, concerning the regeneration. of man by the inward working of the Holy Ghost at baptism, was received by the Jewish ruler. Having described the effect pro. duced by the introduction of a new principle into the heart when a man is born again of water and the spirit, the Homily proceeds;
“Such is the power of the Holy Ghost to regenerate men, and as it were to bring them forth anew, so that they shall be nothing like the men that they were before. Neither doth he think it suffi. cient inwardly to work the spiritual and new birth of man, unless he do also dwell and abide in him.”
Had Mr. Faber added this latter sentence to that with which he has closed his quotation, it might not have answered his purpose so well; but it would have given a clearer view of the doctrine of the Homily, and one reconcileable, without the need of any casuistry, to the language of our Church in her authorized forms.
For there is a careful distinction between the first reception of the Holy Ghost by the Christian, when he is born of water and the spirit, and those subsequent effects produced by the continual indwelling of the same spirit in his heart. But whatever seeming support he may derive from detached passages of the Homilies, which, when separated from that chain of reasoning of which they form a part in the original, inay easily be made to favour opinions never in the contemplation of their writer; yet, so definite and clear is the language of the Liturgy, that it is not
susceptible of such a process. In order therefore to prove, that our reformers could not possibly mean what they have therein plainly, positively, and repeatedly asserted; the author employs the following argument, built upon the declaration in the Catechism, that the two sacraments are “ generally necessary to sal, vation.” .
« Since our Lord asserts that regeneration is absolutely necessary to salvation, if our reformers had believed that the inward spiritual grace was altogether inseparable from the outward visible sign, they must have maintained that baptism was not merely generally, but indispensably, necessary to our entering into the kingdom of hea yen.” P. 107. note:
The Church defines a sacrament to consist essentially of two parts, the outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace: when then she declares that baptism is a sacrament, 'she asserts that both these parts are always to be found in it.' Our reforma ers must therefore have, believed that the inward spiritual grace is inseparable from the outward visible sign; so that the latter, when duly adininistered, and faithfully received, will always convey the former. Viewing baptism in this light, as a sacrament conveying the inward and spiritual grace of regeneration, she teaches us that it is generally necessary to salvation ; that is, the regular established mode of conveying that great privilege, being by means of baptism, it must never be neglected,
She does not declare that it is absolutely necessary, because from hence it would follow, that none could be saved without . it; and that all, whom unavoidable circumstances have precluded from partaking in it, must be lost: but she certajuly, means that it is indispensably necessary, when it can be had; and, that he who can be baptized, and will not, has no more reason to look for regeneration, than he has to expect the production of any other effect, independently of its proper cause.
The sacrament necessarily conveys the inward Grace of which it is the outward sign, when properly administered, unless the unworthiness of the recipient prevent it; and then to him it becomes no sacrament at all. In the case therefore of infants, regeneration is infallibly conveyed by baptism ; and the Church feels justified in asserting of them, that, if they die before the commission of actual sin, they are undoubtedly saved. In the case of adults she presumes not to determine so positively, because the secrets of the heart are known to God alone, and He only seeth the real intention of the baptized party; but, unless this be hypocritical or sinister, she doubts not that the full spiritual benefit of this sacrament is in every case conveyed.
When then she teaches in her catechism, that the sacraments
are generally necessary to salvation, her object certainly is to im press upon the mind of the catechumen his obligation to receive them, not to weaken its force: and the only reason that can be given for her use of a qualified term is, that she contemplates a case, where the valid 'sacraments may not be to be had ; and she wishes neither. to lay a stumbling block in the way of weak consciences, nor to open a door for the continuance of that error, which has induced the Romish Church to adınit the strange unscriptural anomaly of lay baptism.
And now we would offer a few words upon the attempt to set the language of our Saviour in opposition to that of our Church, for the purpose of making the latter mean what it cannot, by any fair interpretation, be brought to signify: "Qur reformers were too well instructed in the Scriptures to draw up their formularies in such a way as to become obnoxious to the charge either of talking nonsense, or of teaching for doctrines what our blessed Lord did not teach. Such is the dilemma. to which this author would reduce them, in order to force their support of his own system. But the net which he has privily laid for others, will unless we mistake catch himself. He admits that our Saviour asserted regeneration to be absolutely necessary to salvation. Where then did he make this assertion? Where he said, except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Either therefore our Saviour, when he declared both water and the spirit to be necessary in producing the new birth of a Christian, meant that water was not necessary; or Mr. Faber is convicted of having garbled his words, and misrepresented his meaning. Utrum horum mavis? Having, as we think, satisfactorily shewn, that neither the words of the Homilies, nor of the Catechism, will fairly bear, the meaning which Mr. Faber attempts to attach to them, the. conclusions which he has drawn from them must fall of course. But even if the language of the Homilies had been ambiguous; even if the phrase quoted from the catechism was less clear than it is, still, as the doctrine of the baptismal offices is so precise, we conceive that Mr. Faber is better acquainted with the rules of interpretation than to suppose, that documents convey, ing by themselves a clear and intelligible sense, are to be understood by comparing them with those which are of more doubtful; meaning. We have heard of obscurum per lucidius; but obscu. rum per obscurius is, we presume, a rule which will find advocates in that school only, to which Mr. Faber has attached him. self. However, by the application perhaps of this notable rule to the present subject, he has discovered that the Church, has made a distinction between sacrumental regeneration and real regeneration, and that in her baptismal service the former is,