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press the subject farther. We are indeed conscious, that we have already trespassed too long upon the patience of our readers; but we hope that the importance of the topics which it has been our duty to discuss, will plead our excuse for the length to which our remarks have been extended.
In our examination of this Treatise we have certainly found more to censure than to approve; we trust however that, in expressing our opinions, we have not overstepped the bounds of candour and respect; it bas been our wish to give them firmly, but not harshly; to warn our readers against the errors of the volume, without unnecessarily wounding the feelings of its author. We have a public duty to perform, and from that duty we shall never shrink. The author is a man of unquestioned talent, and literary reputation; he stands forward, not as an unknown individual, but as placed by his character, and his advancement in the Church, upon an eminence. Many will look up to him, aud receive bis opinions as stamped with the seal of unquestionable authority; and when he declares that “ they exhibit to the best of his judgment the doctrine of the Church of England," and that they are not hastily sent forth into the world, but have the sanction of twelve years experience and study in his profession ; what can be expected but that many will bow to them with im. plicit deference, and be content to mould their sentiments, l'especting some of the most important points of Christian faith, upon his representations. It becomes then an obvious duty to protest against the errors of such a work; to warn the unwary reader not to mistake the dogmas of a party, for the de liberate voice of that Church, of which he is a member; and to assure him, that he will find in Mr. Faber's Treatise nothing more than a repetition of arguments, which have been often tried in the balance and found wanting ; of doctrines, which the Church of England, speaking by her ablest and best supporters, has long ago publicly and repeatedly disclaimed.
. Such is our unbiassed judgment of the general character and tendency of this volume; a judgment by no means given in the spirit of hostility to its author, but pronounced under a deep conviction of the necessity of counteracting, as far as may be, the dangerous effects of those doctrines, which he has unhappily lent himself to support,
ART. VII, The Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration con'trasted with the tenets of Calvin. A Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, at Christ Church, Jan. 29, 1815. By Richard Lawrence, LL.D. Regius Professor of Hebreceni 8c. Parker, Oxford; and Rivingtons, London. Would we cut off one of the most fatal sources of fana. tical error and restrain the wanderings of idle and unholy pre. sumption, it will be a point of the utmost importance to fix the exact time when that regeneration, which is declared so essential to the Christian state, actually takes place. Scripture, indeed, has most clearly and unequivocally marked the season when we are born again, and become children of light, namely, at Bap. tism, when we are initiated into the Christian Covenant by "i the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
In discussing this important point, Dr. Lawrence has given a short history of the rite of baptism according to the Jewish customs. He gives us the authority of the Talmud for stating that without this ceremony no man could be considered a proselyte, even though he were circumcised: and that when thus admitted into the Jewish Church he was considered, in their own words, as an infant newly born, or in other words, regenerated, ." In conformity then with the prevailing idea of Regeneration, at the æra of the promulgation of Christianity, appears to be that, which was established by our Saviour and his Apostles. One was considered as an admission to the rights and privileges of the Jewish Church, the other as an admission to the rights and privileges of the Christian. The former entitled to all the blessings of the old, the latter to all the blessings of the new covenant, and both to the high appellation of the elect people of God.
" In every age of the Church of Christ, from the first to the sixteenth century, Regeneration was always regarded as a necessary result of Baptism. Indeed the early writers of the Christian Church perpetually use it for Baptism itself. Regeneration then and Baptism, until the writings of Calvin grew into esteem, were universally deemed things inseparable. Nor does it seem requisite to prove this by a minute detail of quotation, because it is impos. sible for any one, who is in the slightest degree acquainted with the history of Christian opinion for a moment to doubt it.
“ Calvin, whose productions in early life marked him out for a reformer of no common talent, who seldom was disposed to think, and as seldom to express himself, like other men, was the first who separated, what had ever been before united, Regeneration and Baptism. Regeneration was with him, a renovation of mind, a conversion of the heart to God, appropriated solely to certain per. sonal favourites of Heaven.” P. 6.
This opinion then of Calvin, with all the absurdities which his followers have erected upon the foundation of their master, Dr. Lawrence combats with much success. We can strongly recommend this Sermon to the attention of all, particularly of those, who are the victims of a painful solicitude, always bordering upon melancholy, and too often degenerating into despair ;. waiting for assurances of the Holy Spirit, or according to the more violent enthusiasts, expecting the agonies of the view birth. Most fatal indeed, is that doctrine of assurance to the peace of individuals, and most destructive is it to the wel. fare of the Church. We earnestly hope that discourses such as they are before us, may have their due influence in chasing this unhallowed phantom from the walls of our earthly Jerusalem. We shall with pleasure present our readers with the con-. clusion of this excellent Sermon, as expressing in a clear and spiritual style the doctrines of our Church upon this vital question, and of scripture, upon which that Church is founded.
" Let the Calvinist afflict himself with tormenting surmises res. pecting those peculiar symptoms of Regeneration, those indescribable sensations of a heavenly call, which if he feels not distinctly at some precise period of his life, his conviction is, that he must perish everlastingly. Let him secure himself, as he can, on the dreadful precipice, where presumption points forward upon one side; upon the other, horror and despair. If the Garden of Eden be before him, still does he behold it, guarded in every direction from voluntary approach by the flaming sword of predestination ; and behind him extends a waste and howling wilderness.
6 Qur creed is less aspiring and more consoling. We ascend not with gazing eye towards the inaccessible light, to scrutinize that mysterious will of the Godhead, which the very angels tremble at while they adore, Upon us has the glory of the Lord, distinctly manifested in his revealed will, already arisen. Confessedly « Regenerated, and made God's children by adoption and grace," no personal decree of reprobation excludes us from the Tree of Life. Confessedly to our grasp is its vivifying fruit consigned; and nothing on the part of heaven prevents us from tasting it and living for ever. Thus, therefore, happily assured, never let us contemplate Baptismal Regeneration as an ideal and shadowy conceit, but as a real and substantial blessing; always remembering, thạt to rea
son upon the nature of a Divine Will, abstracted from Christianity, and controling our eternal destiny, is to reason upon we know not what, to argue from a principle, of which we possess not the slightest experience, and to defy the terrific creation of our own distempered fancy.” P. 21. * In the notes will be found much curious matter, tending to illustrate the regeneration of the proselyte, when admitted by baptism into the Jewish covenant.
Art. VIII. A popular Survey of the Reformation, and Fun
damental Doctrines of the Church of England. By George Custance. Svo. 12s. pp. 571. Longman.
A very well meaving book, but rather too comprehensive in its contents, not more than one.fourth of it being dedicated to the subject implied in the title. The lawfulness, the expediency, of the established Church come into consideration; succeeding to these are two chapters on the Trinity and on original sin ; then come three upon justification, and one upon sanctification; after which moderate parenthesis the Author returns again to “the spirit," and the “utility of the Church of England.” And all this is entitled a History of the Reformation.' Mr. Custance is doubtless a very worthy man, and a very worthy son of the Church ; but such a heterogeneous mass of matter, equally rambling and confused, can be of very little use to the cause which he would defend. Mr. C. is clearly one of that party in the Church, who assume to themselves the exclusive privileges of the Gospel; the whole volume, indeed, is more like an extempore sermon, delivered from one of their pulpits, than a regularly composed treatise, being an incoherent mixture of truisms and ábsurdities. An idea of the Author's style may be taken from the following specimen: ." The seraphic Zechariah saw “ Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, the Lord rebuke thee, O Satan ; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And unto him he said, behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment *." Let no man then presume to stand before the Divine Majesty in the filthy rags of his own righteousness; he must be arrayed in the garments of
* * Zechariah, iii. 1-4,"
salvation, which the Redeemer himself has wrought, before he can be fit to appear in the celestial court of the King of kings. “I counsel thee," saith our Lord, “ to buy of me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear*.” The same elegant figure is employed by the Apostle when he exhorts the Romans to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, “ for as many of you," saith he to the Galatians," as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” And all such are supremely blessed, “ God now looking on them," says Mr. Locke, « there appears nothing but Christ; they are as it were covered all over with him, as a man is with the clothes that he hath put on.” Thus adorned they sing:
But lest the shadow of a spot
Should on our souls be found,
And cast it all around.” P. 391. These gentlemen can do nothing without a little bit of a hymn, which is introduced in this place with peculiar felicity, after a citation from Mr. Locke.
As we have no doubt that Mr. Custance is a well-meaning, though a mistaken man, we shall conclude, with recommending him to remain contented with what is already done in the way of divinity, to think a little more, and to write a great deal less.
ART. IX. A New Covering to the Velvet Cushior. 12mo.
pp. 180. 58. 6d. Gale and Fenner. 1815. Of the Velvet Cushion in its original state we spoke with much freedom, because the principles which it was designed to inculcate were such as we considered worthy of animadversion. We approved neither the slippery surface,nor the camelion colours of the original: of its new covering we shall say but little, excepting that it is coarse calimanco, ill-coloured, cross-grained, and full of old holes, which we have neither time nor inclination to rip up at present. All the old dissenting arguments are urged in the spirit of ancient bitterness, but moulded into the new shape of a religious novel. The whole system of ecclesiastical discipline is run down, because it is possible that the care of a parish may possibly be confided to a fox-hunter, or a debauchee. To such an extreme case as the following who can answer? We might as well argue against all government because a Nero reigned, and against all law because a Jeffreys was once judge.
* Revelation, ii, 18."