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ration, which appear to be involved in Baptism. Be this as it in iy. it must we think be conceded, that Baptism, as practised by the Apostles in obedience to our Lord's command, had, from the circumstances of the case, a very different meaning1, answered a different end, implied a very different change in the subject, from what are involved in the performance of the same rite in a professedly Christian country. It was, then, not only the appointed mode of profession, but an evidence of discipleship, universally recognised. In a Christian country, a compliance with the rite forms no sort of evidence of real faith. It may still be the law of Christian profession; but that profession will in too many cases amount to no more than a vague recognition of the gencnil truth of the national religion. Baptism can be no longer considered as an expression of character: the disciples of Christ must be distinguished by some other outward sign. We do not mean to insinuate that this forms any argument against the permanent obligation of the rite of Baptism; but the consideration has some weight in ascertaining the grounds of its importance.
It is agreed on all sides, that Baptism is the rite of initiation into the Christian Church. The real question between the Paedobaptists and the Autipxdobaptists, is, whether children, and, among Psdobaptists themselves, what children, are to be considered as capable of, or entitled to, initiation into the visible Church. The latter point must be determined by the views they respectively take of the ordinance, as expressive of a simply external, or of a spiritual relation to the Church of Christ. But, confining ourselves to that general definition of Baptism, on which all parties are agreed, it must be acknowledged, that the initiation of Jews and of Heathens into the visible Church, then existing in the form of a real voluntary association of true believers, and the initiation of nominal Christians, either on their presentation by Christian parents, or on their profession of faith, into a particular congregation, or a national establishment, considering either as a part of the visible church,—though the term Baptism be allowed to designate both transactions with equal propriety, cannot be considered as identical.
The importance of Baptism must ultimately rest either on its claims as a duty, or on its efficacy as a privilege. Viewedjunder the former aspect, it is generally supposed to rest on a positive law, by which every intelligent subject of that law is bound to implicit obedience. In this case, it should seem to admit of no relaxation on the ground of immaturity of character, in the professed or nominal Christian. And indeed, not to urge the practice of the fore-runner of our Lord, the Apostles appear to have received to Christian Baptism, whoever offered themselves, whether umler the influence of conviction, or that of fear; and though, as in the instance of the eunuch, they doubtless endeavoured to secure an intelligent compliance with the ordinance, as an expression of faith and obedience, we do not read that in any case they refused to admit a person to Christian Baptism. They could have instituted no inquiry into the individual character of the three thousand converts of one day. Nor does it appear that they ever intimated to Simon Magus, or to any other insincere or unconverted person, that his Baptism was invalidated by a want of real repentance or of faith. If these had been requisite to constitute Baptism a duty, or to render its performance valid, surely iteration of Baptism would, in the case ofsuch unhappy discoveries, have received the sanction of apostolic direction or precedent. But if Baptism relates principally to the profession of Christianity, the nature of the duty becomes materially modified. It will then remain to examine with what propriety the tenns law and command, as founded simply on our Lord's direction to the Apostles in evangelizing the Heathen, can be used in their absolute sense, as importing a universally binding obligation of fearful importance, when the original institution is neither couched in the form, nor attended with the sanctions of a law; unless that sanction is included in the promise of our Saviour's presence with his faithful ministers to the end of the world. As a law, Baptism seems only to be directly imposed on the Christian minister, or still more so on the evangelist, or missionary, who, in carrying the Gospel into heathen lands, is fulfilling the letter as well as the spirit of his Saviour's commission, and is occupying the very office and attitude of the Apostles themselves.
Let us then consider Baptism with respect to its efficacy as a privilege, in which light it appears to be primarily regarded by the Church of England, as a means of grace; or, to adopt Hooker's words, as a means conditional which God requireth in them unto whom he imparteth grace. We incline to think that the perpetual obligation and real importance of the Christian institute, must ultimately rest on its sacramental character. In this point of view, it may be claimed alike by all men, though, in its spiritual efficacy, the true believer, or the children of true believers, may be the only participants. It may then be considered as legitimately performed, like other ordinances of religion, in a melancholy number of instances in which the effectual benefit is lost. It would seem to be valid in every case in which it served to admit to a profession of Christianity, while yet the character of that profession would materially affect the availing efficacy of the rite as a means conditional on the part of those who were engaged in its performance.
In thus divesting Baptism of the stern attribute of positive
Jaw, Qs weU is of that'great store' of strange and wondrous properties which have been attributed to it by the superstition of darker ages; we are not aware that we detract any thing from its true scriptural importance. We are gwilty only of reducing it to a level, in point of authority and conditional efficacy, with the other ordinances of Christianity. 'Wherefore,' says Calvin, 'let us abide by this conclusion, that the office of the sacraments 'is precisely the same as that of the word of God.' Surely, upon this basis it may safely rest. \V'e cannet, we dare not believe, that the child of a profligate parent, thoughtlessly presented at the baptismal font, and—it is not satire, but fact—as thoughtlessly sprinkled and crossed by the Romish priest, or, it may be, irreligious Protestant minister, is one whit the purer in soul, or the safer in condition, for the ecclesiastical rite; or that the pious Quaker, or the individual who conscientiously believes that the obligation of Baptism is not perpetual, is left to the uncovenanted mercies of God! What but bigotry and horrible delusion can result from such a belief, in the minds of an unintelligent multitude! Christianity is not a code of positive laws, or a system of ceremonial observances: its whole message is Christ; its import, salvation. We believe, in regard to Baptism,that it will prove availing, just so far as those dispositions of which it is employed as the outward expression, are found to have a real existence in the individual. To those who, upon repentance, "were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission "of sins," we believe it was effectual, so far as that repentance of which it was the sign, was genuine, and no farther. The Baptist who now employs this rite as significant of a death unto sin, and a burial unto this world, will surely be accepted only as he is the subject of that sentimental change which it bespeaks: while in the case of the pious member of the Established Church, or of a Padobaptist congregation, who regards Baptism no less than circumcision formerly, as the seal of a covenant in which his children are included,—the sign of a relation in which they stand to the visible Church, in consequence of the faith or religious profession of their parents, and who in this view dedicates hisoffspring to God in Baptism, as a means conditional of securing his promised grace; it will, surely, prove no less availing, in proportion as that faith is intelligent and sincere from which the outward expression derives all its value and significance. For Sacraments, we again repeat the words of Hooker,' contain in 'themselves no vital force or efficacy; they are not physical, but
*moral instruments of salvation, duties of service and of wor
*ship. All receive not the grace of God which receive the sa'craini'iits of his grace.' Like all the other ordinances of religion, they are ' moral instruments, the use whereof is in our
Voi. II. N. S. N a
'hands, the effect in his; for the use whereof we have his er'press commandment, for the effect, his conditional promise.'
Surely, then, those laws which exclude the body of an unbaptized believer from the decent rites of sepulture, or would debar an unbaptized apostle himself, from the fellowship of the Church, must be wholly abhorrent to the genius and spirit of that religion, whose Divine Autliorhas declared, " I will have "mercy, and not sacrifice."
Art. III. Cathedral Antiquities of England; or, an Historical, Architectural, and Graphical Illustration of the English Cathedral Churches.—The History and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury; illustrated with a Series of Engravings, of Views, Elevations, Plans, and Details of that Edifice: also Etchings of the Ancient Monuments and Sculpture: including Biographical Anecdotes of the Bishops, and of other eminent Persons connected with the Church. By John Britton, F. S. A. pp. 114. 31 Engravings, and 3 Wood Cuts. Price, Medium 4to. 31. 3s. Imperial *to. 51. 5s. Longman and Co. 1814.
TT^OR a number of years past there has prevailed, and there -*- continues to prevail, in the literary world, a most extraordinary, and what sober men may deem a most excessive, passion for bringing back upon us every thing belonging to times long since gone by. It is not from the grand and venerable features alone of antiquity that this zealous passion has laboured to disperse the deepening shade, but every mark, and point, and blemish, every quaintness or deformity, every cut and cast of costume, every button,orloop, or tatter, has been explored with anxious, and erudite, and solemn industry; and never did the prophets of Baal more earnestly invoke the descending fire, than our devout antiquaries have looked and panted and almost gasped for a few more vouchsafed rays of light to bless their eyes with the very last invaluable miuut ia% of spots and hairs and particles of dust. And what words can describe the exultation as one more, and still one more, of these precious matters has become discernible!
This prevalence of antiquarianism is rather a strange thing for times like these. Is it that there has been such an ebullition and effusion of mind that all the sweepings of the older world are become necessary to stop and absorb the overflowing element? Is it that our mortification at having been baffled and falsified in all our schemes and ventures of predicting the future, has thrown us, by a kind of impulse of resentment, back upon researches into the past? Or is it that, suspecting we are chargeable with many absurdities, we seek a kind of refuge among the greater absurdities of our forefathers?
Whatever be the explanation, the fact is obvious that, for some time past, there has been a widely-extended and most industrious zeal for recovering all the worthless trifles that had beeu lost in the dust and darkness of past ages, as well as those matters which may fairly be adjudged to belong to general knowledge and cultivated taste. And this zeal has hadpolicy enough to bribe the fine arts to its assistance, and the pencil and the graver have wasted their labour and refinements on a vast variety of utter rubbish; rubbish heraldic, monumental, sculptural, architectural, and of sundry other kinds.
At the same time, there is the consent of all persons of liberal mind, that to some certain extent, and that bounded by no contracted line, antiquarian study is on the level of the more dignified order of our intellectual occupations. There is some certain proportion of the contents of old records, and of the legends of old monuments, which it is desirable we could have abstracted and assigned to the proper places in the great body of history. And there are on the surface of the earth, and beneath it, avast number of objects, the result of the design and labour of its departed inhabitants, which deserve to be accurately investigated and described, and to have their forms imitated and multiplied by the graphic art, in order to preserve their resemblance when many of them shall have perished, and to gratify innumerable inquisitive persons who will never be able otherwise to obtain images of them to be placed among the pictured forms in their imagination.
Mr. Britton stands conspicuous among the labourers on the more liberal and pleasing tracts of antiquarianism. He has long been contributing largely to the gratification of a ra-* tional taste for what may be called the monuments of past ages. In saying this, it is not necessary we should be of opinion that every object on which he has bestowed his labours has deserved them, or could be made, even by those labours, to deserve the attention of persons of taste. It is probable there is an absolute impossibility of devoting the mind so zealously, so uninterruptedly, and so long, to antiquarian pursuits, as Mr. B. appears to have done, without losing somewhat of the power of discriminating impartially what objects are deserving of the labours of thought and art, and what are not. Such habits shall generate a propensity to find something interesting in any very old construction of stones, or piece of chisel-work upon them; a reluctance therefore to let so large a portion of old relics go to the account of mere rubbish as ought in all reason to be so consigned. But certainly few antiquaries by profession have sustained so little injury from this perverting influence as Mr.B.; and on the whole he has very worthily served the cause of liberal antiquarianism, and elegant taste.
He has now, after so long a preparatory exercise, commenced a work which, if he shall live to complete it, (a*»d we cordially wish he may,) will surpass every work relating to English an