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“Christ that the elect do never utterly fall away ' from the faith.' “ For, if, when we were enemies, “ we were reconciled to God, by the death of his “ Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be “ saved by his life.”] “Who is he that condemneth? “ It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen “ again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall “ separate us from the love of Christ ? 2 “ There“fore he is able also to save them to the uttermost “ who come to God through him, seeing he ever “ liveth to make intercession for them.”3. But this topic belongs to the fourth chapter; in the remarks on which the subject will be more particularly considered : as well as what his Lordship has urged against it from the sixteenth article. This hint, however, may suffice to shew, that all modern Calvinists do not approve of the unscriptural term indefectible grace. : The point which his Lordship labours to establish in the second chapter is this, that baptism is either regeneration itself, or inseparably connected with it: for it is not always easy to perceive which of these distinct propositions he purposes to establish. Let the following quotation speak for itself.
Those who are baptized are immediately translated from the curse of Adam to the grace of Christ; the original guilt which they brought into the world, is mystically washed away ; " and they receive forgiveness of the actual sins " which they may themselves have committed ; they
. Rom. v. 10.
Heb. vii. 25.
? Rom. viii. 34, 35.
. Ref. 63, 64.
'become reconciled to God, partakers of the
· Holy Ghost, and heirs of eternal happiness; they .' acquire a new name, a new hope, a new faith, a
new rule of life. This great and wonderful change in the condition of man is as it were a new nature, a new state of existence; and the holy rite, by which these invaluable blessings are communi
cated, is by St. Paul figuratively called “regen-eration," or new birth. Many similar phrases
occur in the New Testament, such as, “ born of water and of the Spirit ;" “ begotten again unto a lively hope ;" “ dead in sins, and quickened together with Christ ;" “ buried with Christ in baptism ;” “ born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible :” these expressions all relate to a single act once performed upon every 'individual—an act essential to the character of a
Christian, and of such importance that it is declared to be instrumental to our salvation :<“ Baptism doth now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;" “ According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of · God."']
If this be the doctrine of protestants, in what does it, as to this point, differ from that of the papists, concerning the opus operatum ? Nay is it not, for substance, the very error which St. Paul combats in reasoning with the Jews ? “He is not “a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that cir“cumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he " is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision
“ is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the “ letter; whose praise is not of men but of God.”! -Circumcision was the form and seal? of admis
sion into the religion of Christ,'3 before his coming; as baptism has been since: and can any one object to the words, if read with the terms Christian and baptism, instead of Jew and circumcision ? Indeed the introductory clause against the tenet
of instantaneous conversion,' but ill accords to this account of the most instantaneous conversion, which perhaps can any where be found.-The clause, a single act'once performed upon each in
dividual,' evidently means the act of him who administers baptism aright, not the concurrent operation of the Holy Spirit, and clearly denotes that the very form itself is regeneration.
In the preceding chapter the matter is thus stated :
"“ Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of
sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy ? Ghost,” without which, your present belief can'not be improved into that true and lively faith
which is essential to salvation. The rite of bap'tism was ordained by Christ himself; and its
twofold office is here described by his apostle, namely, that it washes away the guilt of former sins, and imparts the Holy Ghost to those who shall previously have repented and believed.'' The case of the converts on the day of Pente
* Rom. ii. 28, 29. Rom. iv. 11.
, Ref. 29.
cost, has been already considered. It is not said by the sacred historian, that they had faith, when Peter addressed them : but perhaps it is inferred from their question, “Men and brethren, what “ shall we do?" Yet dead faith does not produce such earnest and teachable inquiries, and the readiness to comply with the answer given to them. The apostle exhorted them to “ repent," especially of their sin in “ having taken, and by " wicked hands having crucified and slain,” the promised Messiah.3 Now had they any faith in Christ before they began to repent of having crucified him 24 or, would baptism improve an impenitent faith into that true and lively faith
which is essential to salvation? The, profession required in baptism implied true faith in Christ, and must have been insincere without it. “See “ here is water,” saith the Ethiopian treasurer, "s what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip “ said, If thou believest with all thine heart thou “ mayest. And he answered and said, I believe “ that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”5 Is this at all like improving a common, notional, faith into saving faith? But, in establishing a favourite hypothesis, a few things may be supposed or overlooked ; and the whole made to appear plausible, nay conclusive, not only to partial readers, but eyen to the writer himself. “ He that is first in “ his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour “ cometh and searcheth him.” 6
Sect. on Sudden Conversion. ? Acts ii. 37, 38, v. 28-32. 3 Acts. ii. 22–24.. · Zech. xii. 10. • Acts viii. 36, 37.
Prov. xviii. 17.
The commission to the apostles stands thus:“Go “ and make disciples of all nations, (UCDUTEUTATE,) “ baptizing them in the name of the Father, and “ of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The adults must profess themselves disciples before they were baptized : of this the instance of the Ethiopian is a case in point. But how were the Jews “made dis“ ciples,” before they repented of crucifying the Messiah ? Might they be baptized, without so much as professing to “ believe with all their “ heart, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God?"The command given in Mark, stands thus: “Go “ ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to “ every creature ; he that believeth and is bap“ tized shall be saved, and he that believeth not “shall be damned.”] Here believing goes before being baptized : and was the faith intended that of the Ethiopian, or that of Simon Magus ?2 Or how was it, that' the single act' of Philip, in baptizing Simon, did not improve his faith into that true ‘and lively faith which is essential to salvation?" Surely the history gives no intimation of any such efficacy attending it.—St. Luke records, that our Lord said to his apostles, “ It behoved Christ to “ suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third "day, and that repentance and remission of sins “ should be preached in his name among all na“ tions, beginning at Jerusalem.”3. Here baptism is not at all mentioned; but repentance and remission of sins in the name of Christ must be preached to all nations.-" To him," says Peter, “ give all the prophets witness, that through his
Mark xvi. 15, 16.
? Acts viii. 13.
Luke xxiv. 46, 47.