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we be made Christ's members, to live contrary to the same, making ourselves members of the Devil."
These statements seem to agree with a remarkable one of Cranmer's, which I find in his Work on the Lord's Supper, p. 366, Parker Society's edition.
"In baptisin we must think that as the priest putteth his hand to the child outwardly, so we must think that God putteth to his hand inwardly, and wash eth the infant with the Holy Ghost. Moreover that Christ Himself cometh down upon the child and apparelleth him with his own self."
Becon also advocates this view of regeneration with the water, and deliverance from wrath in the ordinance of water baptism; but his statements seem confused and contradictory as regards infants. However he is very plain on the point that the gift of regeneration may be lost by following the evil concupiscence (still left after the new birth, to try us and prove us) and so displease God here, and come short of the inheritance of obedient children hereafter. Bp. Burnet was of opinion that sufficient grace in the baptism was given to infants for salvation, if they died without actual sin, and that this was the Church's teaching. His words are as follows;—
"The office carries on this supposition of an internal regeneration, and in that helpless state the infant is offered up and dedicated to God, and if he dies in that state of incapacity, he being dedicated to God, is certainly accepted of Him; and by being put in the second Adam, all the bad effects of his having descended from the first Adam, are quite taken away.". Burnet on Art. xxvii.
I have come to the conclusion that no one can read the baptismal formularies with a proper understanding of their statements, and with a full persuasion of their truth, and so with a good conscience, unless he really believes that the water in holy baptism is as much ordained as an instrument by which God's Spirit inwardly cleanses the proper recipient, as it was ordained that the waters of Jordan should wash away Naaman's leprosy, after he had seven times dipped himself therein at God's bidding. In that case the water was a means to an end
by the appointment of God. According to our service the end of the washing of an infant in baptism, or of a penitent and faithful adult, is the regeneration of his spirit, that regeneration without which our Saviour declares no man can see, no man can enter the kingdom of God; and so Hooker implies that it is a means ordained of God for giving a new birth to His elect, and says that in an ordinary way that new birth cannot be had without the water, though he allows under certain circumstances God may dispense with His ordinary manner of working, and work extraordinarily.
He leads us to think that God accomplishes the work of the new birth not with the Spirit alone, but with water thereunto adjoined; and while he seems to limit the effect to the elect, he seems also to think that in a judgment of charity we ought to consider all infants of that number,"We receive Christ Jesus in baptism, once, as the First Beginner; in the Eucharist, often, as being by continual degrees the Finisher of our life."
I have been long on this subject, because I feel that the meaning of our baptismal formularies is very imperfectly understood.
Hence we find so many pamphlets, &c., written in defence of them, while the writers are really most hostile to their real meaning. I have read with some interest Mr. Ryle's Treatise on Regeneration, and fully agree with your remarks respecting it. He quotes a Homily to shew that the Church does not hold baptismal regeneration, and I quite agree that the quotations he makes therefrom shew that the writer was not of opinion, that wicked adults were regenerate. Whether he thought they might have been in their baptism, and lost the gift, I think we cannot tell. It seems foolish to refer to the Homilies as almost infallible interpreters of the baptismal or other services, or as standards of truth. In one of the Homilies the Apocrypha, at least the Book of Tobit, is termed Scripture. The one to which I allude is the Homily on almsgiving, in the second part, "The same lesson doth the Holy Ghost teach in sundry places of Scripture, saying, Mercifulness and
almsgiving purgeth from all sins, and delivereth from death; and suffereth not the soul to come into darkness," see Tobit iv. I have quoted from the Homily, the words in our present translation are rather different. seems to me a great pity, that really well-meaning and enlightened men like Mr. Ryle, should labour hard to justify the words of a service which connects the right reception of baptism with the new birth, while they themselves deny it to be the necessary or even ordinary means of communicating it. I feel a difficulty in assuming that an infant is necessarily in wrath till baptized, and necessarily in grace because baptized; for who can tell what God has done for the infant
previous to its being brought to the font? This may be the case or not.
But, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury," the Scripture nowhere declares the effects of infant baptism,' on this subject it does not speak definitively." Now if this be true, how can we feel satisfied of the positive declarations in our Services, that we as ministers are obliged to make, and call upon the people to join in; and it becomes us in all things to seek to live honestly, and to remember that whatever is not of faith is sin,-and that our only ground of faith is the written Word of God.
A PRESBYTER OF THE CHURCH OF
Dec. 19th, 1851.
Reviews, and Short
REMAINS OF THOMAS BYRTH, D.D., Rector of Wallasay, with Memoir of his Life. By the Rev. G. R. MONCREIFF, M.A. 8vo, pp. 444. Hatchards.
THERE is much that is very interesting as well as highly instructive in this Memoir. Dr. Byrth has furnished his biographer with a great portion of his work in the shape of a very complete autobiography of his early life,
written for the use of his children. There are some circumstances in the
life of this good man, of so interesting a character, from the nature of his position in early life, and there are passages of such value in the appendix to the biography,—that we wish we could give a few extracts both from the Memoir and the Remains.
Dr. Byrth tells us that he was born in 1793, at Plymouth, or rather that part now called Devonport; his father was a native of Ireland, and his mother was a Cornish woman. father although brought up as a High Churchman, and intended for the ministry, yet from the adoption in part of the revolutionary principles of that day, his old Church principles were not only uprooted, but he went to the very opposite extreme, and be
Notices of Books.
came a Quaker. Dr. Byrth's mother was, to use his own language Wesleyan in the ancient and now obsolete sense of the word;" that is, she was a good Churchwoman in heart, and only united to the Methodists, because the Gospel was not generally either preached or loved by the clergy of the Establishment. Her father had been an early convert of John Wesley's, who seems to have distinguished him by personal friendship.
From this curious stock sprang the future Rector of Wallasey, who, as Mr. Moncrieff remarks, retained in after life the peculiarities of his early religious training, "there running through the whole texture of his latest views, a fine thread of connection with each theological school."
The following further statement of his origin is well worthy of attention:
"My father's occupation was that of a But although he kept a shop, grocer. he carried on business on such a scale, as would in the last century, in all the subordinate towns of the country, have placed him in the standing of a merchant. I must ask my children to believe that I do not write this from any silly sense of shame that my father kept a shop, but that they may be in possession of the truth as to their origin.
The right appreciation of the foregoing sentence would prevent many ministers, themselves perhaps sprung from a similar origin, from indulging foolish pride of a station only high and exalted, inasmuch as its possessors abase themselves and exalt their Master; would also save many a humble Christian from experiencing that chilling dignity which often repels them from approaching their pastor.
First at a dame school, and then at the parish school of Callington, Dr. Byrth received his earliest education; and afterwards wasted, as he terms it with bitter regret, 66 eight precious years" with a person of the name of Guest, where the late John George Breay, of Birmingham, was his schoolfellow, who, Dr. Byrth says, "left behind him a name beyond any literary distinction-a faithful and successful minister of Christ." He was removed from this school, and from that time appears to have picked up from various individuals some further elements of those acquirements in which he was destined to perfect himself with much of severe midnight labour and perseverance.
After finally leaving school, young Byrth was bound apprentice to a firm carrying on the business of a chemist and druggist, and resided with the junior partner, where he says that he "not only learned to hate Quakerism, but unhappily to doubt the truth of revealed religion altogether." A sudden disgust which he took against this business, resulting from a rather ludicrous accident, which happened in the course of some of his stolen experiments, made him abjure chemistry for ever, and turn his attention to literature.
"As I sat brooding over my hard destiny by the light of my little candle, I perceived my school box of books, which I had brought with me from home. It contained Homer, Virgil, Horace, and many others. A thought flashed across my mind, that I would devote myself to literature, instead of science. No expense but that of a candle would be necessary; and from that night until now-thirty five years ago-not a day has passed, except I have been travelling or disabled by sickness, without a Greek or Latin book being in my hands.
While I was at Cookworthy's there happened other circumstances which diverted my mind from merely scientific pursuits, and directed my thoughts to metaphysical and theological disquisitions. Among the numerous persons in their employment, there were more than one professing great knowledge of doctrinal religion. With these, although they were persons of little education, I was continually maintaining disputations. One of them was a man of very superior natural powers, and not without very extensive reading in polemics. He was the working chemist in the laboratory, and was, when I first became acquainted with him, a lay-preacher among the Baptists. Of course, then, his views were Calvinistic. Against the doctrines of the Reformer of Geneva, I had imbibed, both from Quakerism and from Wesleyanism, the most unmitigated hatred. And these matters were the subject of everlasting contention between me and Daniel Shepheard, till they ended in his coming over to the Arminian system, leaving the Baptists, and becoming a local preacher among the Methodists."
While at this chemist's, his father's failure took place, and he then felt most keenly the sudden coldness which the world pours upon those who can no longer mingle with the more fortunate in the affairs of life. Upon the expiration of his apprenticeship, he formed the determination to
become a teacher. Under circumstances apparently the most disadvantageous, did Dr. Byrth struggle on in his attainment of knowledge; and as Mr. Moncreiff remarks, "He was allowed to be the architect of his own
honours, and seldom has the uphill battle of life been more unflinchingly fought."
In the spring of 1814 Mr. Byrth secured an engagement, or rather entered into a kind of partnership, with Mr. Southwood, in a school at Ridgway, near Plympton, where he acted as tutor in the Greek, Latin, and French languages. This engagement was not of long continuance; its abrupt termination being caused by a heartless reference to a natural infir
mity in Dr. Byrth's vision. He then opened a school on his own account, where he was happily successful, and ultimately, as he says, "The blessing of Providence rested upon my la
We have here only given a slight sketch of the early life and difficulties of Dr. Byrth; the whole history will well repay the perusal of those who may, like him, be struggling to escape from situations uncongenial to their tastes. If they would do so, like Dr. Byrth they must labour long and hard. In 1818 or 1819 he applied for membership with the society of Friends, but only on the score of birthright; and as was said, by "probably being desirous of being identified with some system of Christian doctrine." The brethren disallowed the claim, and Dr. Byrth relinquished Quakerism, and became a member of the Church of England. Of course his religious feelings were at this time of a most unsettled character, and it was not until his attendance at a meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society, that it is supposed his personal convictions of the importance of religion were riveted, and the speeches he there heard also helped to decide him as to the bearing of his future life.
In 1818 Dr. Byrth entered at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, still continuing to carry on his school, which he managed to do by the kindness of Dr. Macbride and the other authorities of that Hall. This course was taken without any intention of entering the ministry. After the usual time had elapsed, Dr. Byrth passed a most creditable examination, and was placed in the second class, a position, notwithstanding his own keen disappointment, more than sufficient to establish his reputation, consider ing his having to combine the labours of his own school with the course of necessary reading for the University.
Shortly after this, he decided upon giving up his school and entering the ministry, to which he was soon ordained by Dr. Kaye, the present Bishop of Lincoln. We cannot follow the memoir further than to notice that shortly after his ordination an entire change came over "the spirit of his theology," and from that period his progress in real spiritual religion, and
devotedness to the pastor's office was steady. Decidedly evangelical in his views, he yet, as his biographer observes, did not consider himself tied to adopt the conventional technicalities of any system of men, but was one who eminently followed after truth wherever it was to be found. We must pass over his appointment to the rectory of Wallasey, and hasten to give one short extract on the subject of his union with the Evangelical Alliance.
"He earnestly believed that our church, with all her faults, had not her like on the face of the earth; and in joining the Evangelical Alliance, he did not give up one particle of his churchmanship; but he rightly considered, that he was not only a member of the Church of England, but also of Christ's Catholic Church, and, much as he loved the church of his country, he would at once have renounced
all connection with her rather than forget the paramount duty which he owed to that great body, of which we only form a part."
We regret to find that Dr. Byrth was at issue with his brethren in the Alliance, on the necessity of waging open warfare with Popery, and that he had kept aloof from Protestant associations and other similar bodies, under the deep impression of the danger to true Protestantism of mixing up the religious controversy with the political agitations of the day.
Viewed as merely auxiliary to the furtherance of any particular political opinions, the active support of Protestantism and consequent outcry against Popery never could be defended; but the experience of the past few years has abundantly proved, even to the most cautious in the ministry, that while we have been careless, or over timid, the Romanists have been sowing seed which has yielded a crop it is not easy to root up.
We have given at some length the history of Dr. Byrth's life, until his entrance upon the minstry, and, had we space, we should notice with sincere pleasure the continued energy and faithfulness with which his every gift was then consecrated to the service of the sanctuary. His christian
character is thus well described in one of the closing passages of the Memoir :
"Give the praise of this consistent walk to that holy principle which he cherished daily by close communion with the hearer of prayer. Truly, he walked by faith; his life-the real life of his soul-was out of sight-hid with Christ in God.' The stern integrity-the increasing self-control the unbounded liberality-the devotion of life and health unsparingly to the service in which he was engaged-these all told of inward sources of strength, and that strength was union with Christ, Living and dying, he bears this testimony-oh! may God make it effectual To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' To live was indeed Christ to him. He knew, as his comfort and his joy, that for him, a sinner, Christ had died. Long had his soul been tempest tost; but long ago the storm had been hushed. In quiet assurance of redeeming love, he lived, he laboured, he died. At the end of the days,' he shall stand in his lot,'-in the place which by faith he claimed as his own, while yet a pilgrim here."
We must abandon our intention to extract for this number, any portion from "the Remains." We could have wished that the compiler of this Memoir had given us a volume arranged in a somewhat better and more readable form, and which, with the materials he possessed and has used, he might have woven into a biography, if not as generally interesting, yet in many points as useful as that of Bickersteth.
HISTORY OF PALESTINE from the Patriarchal age to the present time. By JOHN KITTO, D.D. A. & C. Black, Edinburgh.
If our readers should not have already made their selection of gift
books for the new year, we strongly advise them to let Dr. Kitto's new work be one among the friendly offerIt is a ings at this festive season. beautifully illustrated History of Palestine in its geographical features;a full history of the Hebrew nation, in its origin, past history, and present aspect,-the habits of life, and the peculiar privileges, customs, and laws, which have ever made the Jews a separate people.
The work is written for our elder children, who having become interested by Scripture reading in the Jewish nation, may seek to know more about the country and customs of a people who have played a most important part in by-gone days, and shall again assume a position of no small moment in the future events of the world at large.
SEVENTEEN SERMONS on various Subjects. By CHARLES Kemble, M.A., Incumbent of St. Michael's, Stockwell, &c. London: Seeleys.
There is a beautiful simplicity and earnestness of tone in this volume of Sermons, which renders them eminently valuable for home reading, not only amongst the members of the author's own flock, but which will make the book a useful addition to a
far wider circle of sermon readers. Containing a variety of subjects, all bearing upon the most important topics of evangelical doctrine, and written in a plain, but way-making style, we can unhesitatingly recom
mend Mr. Kemble's "Seventeen Sermons as specimens of the treatment of truths which we should delight to know were delivered from every pulpit in England.