Imatges de pàgina
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their part: for all this is no other but what the Scripture says of baptism, and ascribes to it, when it calls it the laver of regeneration-when it declares the Spirit to be conferred in baptism-and when it says, that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God, and that the sons of God are heirs of eternal life. So that I cannot see that our church, in her highest expressions concerning the benefits and effects of baptism, says any thing but what is very agreeable both to the expressions and sense of Scripture. And thus not only the ancient fathers spake of this matter, but so likewise do all the liturgies of the reformed churches, in the offices and forms appointed by them for the administration of baptism; so that it seems a very affected singularity to take exceptions at such expressions as have constantly been, and still are, generally used in all Christian churches."*

It thus appears, beyond the possibility of cavil, that these two distinguished divines maintained precisely the same ideas of the efficacy of baptism with those who apply to this sacrament the term regeneration. From a want of precision, indeed, in the use of terms, these divines, in common with others who entertain the same sentiments with respect to baptism, use the term regeneration as synonymous with sanctification and renovation; and thus afford an opportunity to the adversaries of baptismal regeneration of enlisting them in their cause, by quoting those passages in which the word regeneration is used in its popular but erroneous signification.

Archbish. Tillot. vol. iii. p. 290, fol. ed.

You will now perceive that they who assert the doctrine of baptismal regeneration are supported by the authority of Scripture, of the primitive church, and of the most distinguished divines of the Church of England. But do they therefore deny or undervalue the necessity of the sanctification and renovation of the heart by the influences of the Divine Spirit? God forbid that they should thus undermine the very foundation of the Christian system, and reject or undervalue a doctrine essential to man's establishment in holiness and virtue, and to his present and everlasting peace. I proceed, therefore, to the third topic of discussion.

III. To point out the distinction between regeneration and renovation, and the mutual consistency of these doctrines.

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You have seen that baptism is a mean and pledge to those who rightly and worthily receive it, of all the blessings of the Gospel covenant; that it confers on them the forgiveness of their sins, the grace of the Holy Spirit, and a title to everlasting life. This most important change in the spiritual condition of the recipients of baptism, is styled by our church, adhering to the language of Scripture and antiquity, REGENERATION.

But the benefits of baptism and its final efficacy are suspended on conditions, which may be all summed up in the two of repentance and faith. All baptized persons, therefore, must exercise repentance and faith, or they forfeit the privileges of baptism. Repentance and faith consist in forsaking all sin, and in believing the promises of the Gospel, so as obediently to keep its holy precepts. Now this renunciation of sin, and this lively faith,

producing holy obedience, constitute that spiritual change which our ehurch enforces, particularly in the baptismal office, when she prays concerning those who are baptized, that "the old Adam may be so buried, that the new man may be raised up in them;" that "all sinful affections may die in them, and that all things belonging to the Spirit may live and grow in them;" that "being dead unto sin and living unto righteousness, and being buried with Christ in his death, they may crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the whole body of sin." The necessity of those holy tempers, and that holy life, in which this spiritual renovation consists, is also enforced in the offices of baptism, where the church prays that those who are dedicated to God in baptism may be endued with heavenly virtues; and where, at the the signing the baptized person with the sign of the cross, she declares that this marks him to the service of the Lord, and signifies to him his duty, "to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end." Not satisfied with these, she still further urges the necessity of this renovation, in the baptismal exhortation, declaring that "baptism represents unto us our profession, which is to follow the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto him; that as he died and rose again, so should we, who are baptized, die unto sin and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all our evil and corrupt affections, and daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness of living."

It is worthy of remark how admirably, on this

subject, the church employs and amplifies the language of Scripture in which this spiritual change is denoted, " by being transformed by the renewing of the mind; by crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts; by walking, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;* by putting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created him; by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and walking soberly, righteously, and godly in the world." This is the change of heart which is called, in Scripture, the "renewing of the Holy Ghost," becoming "a new creature;" and, in the correct language of systematic divinity, renovation, or sanctification.

The distinction, then, between renovation and regeneration, and their mutual consistency, are apparent.

REGENERATION is the regular commencement, in baptism, of that spiritual life of which RENOVATION is the progress and consummation.

Regeneration is the conferring, in baptism, of certain privileges, on certain conditions; in the fulfilment of which conditions renovation consists.

Regeneration is the instrument, renovation the grace conveyed; baptism conveying to all who worthily receive it, "a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness."

Regeneration confers divine grace to enable us to work out our salvation: renovation is the actual employment of that grace in this important work.

In regeneration the quickening power of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon us, by which we

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receive the means of spiritual life: in renovation this spiritual life is called into holy energy and activity by the sanctifying power of the Divine Spirit.

Regeneration is a change of our spiritual condition, a translation into a state in which our salvation is rendered possible: renovation is that change of heart and life by which salvation is finally attained.

Now there is surely a plain distinction between the commencement of the spiritual life and its progress and consummation-between the reception of spiritual privileges, on certain conditions, and securing of these privileges by the actual fulfilment of these conditions-between the grace which enables us to work out our salvation and the employment of this grace in this spiritual work-between that power of the Divine Spirit which merely quickens the spiritual life and that which gives it full activity and mature vigour-between an external state, in which salvation is possible, and a moral change which secures that salvation. Thus marked is the distinction between regeneration and renovation, But though distinct, they are perfectly consistent; nay, the latter is powerfully enforced by the former.

Baptism conveys, seals, and enforces, to those who worthily receive it, the renewing of the mind; or as our church, in the answer to the catechism, expresses it," a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness." Regeneration is at once the lively excitement and the powerful mean of reno

vation.

Our spiritual life having commenced in baptism, we are powerfully impelled to cherish and perfect

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