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here unite,-reference is made to something which is, or is supposed and allowed to be, real.

1. Relative regeneration, then, will thus appear to be only the IMAGE or REPRESENTATIVE of REAL regeneration; and not, therefore, another regeneration independent of it: but a regeneration professing to be, and so far allowed to be, the real one. Every person, according to the doctrine of the Scriptures and the church of England, professes in his baptism, a real sanctity-a spiritual regeneration. But if he come short, his holiness or regeneration is not real, but only professed. What, however, does this profession relate to ? Doubtless to that of which profession is made; viz. real regeneration. Then "relative regeneration," we consider is, or ought to be, so called, because of its relation to real regeneration; and not because of any relation it "immediately" bears" to God."

2. Again. It is likewise, on this ground, as we understand it, that God calls persons professing his holy covenant, "holy," "saints," 29 66 spiritual," "regenerate," &c. It is very common in Scripture for the Almighty to speak of persons according to their profession, and not according to their character, and every one does and must do the same when addressing men as a body, and when not discriminating the difference by which they are individually distinguished.

These are not two regenerations, properly speaking, a relative and a real; but one real, true, and spiritual regeneration, with the profession of it, in those who do possess it; and a profession only, of real regeneration, in those who do not possess it.

This appears to be the obvious meaning of the language of the Scriptures (a subject to which we must particularly attend hereafter); where "circumcision" is called God's" covenant." Not because it is so literally, and in fact, but because it represents his "covenant," and distinguishes those who are included under it. Our church also expressly conveys to us the same idea when she informs us that " baptism doth represent unto us our profession." Our "profession" is, to "believe in God and to serve Him." This implies a new heart," or, in other words, "spiritual regeneration." Baptism, therefore, represents this profession; or, the "new-birth," which was at baptism professed.

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3. Baptism among the early Christian Fathers was sometimes called by names which give an extravagant notion of their opinions respecting it and its effects. Not only do they (as St. Austin) allow "the sacraments, because of the resemblance between them and the things represented by them, to carry the names of the things represented;" but (as Bingham informs us) they designate baptism, indulgence," "absolution," "regeneration," "unction," "illumination," "seal of the Lord," "seal of the Spirit," "the gift of the Lord," "the viaticum,' "the consummation,' 66 salvation. Common sense assures us, that those holy men did not intend all this in a literal sense. They wished by these magnificent words to show what exalted blessings baptism represented or signified and what Christian profession embraced.

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Hooker argues that “ sacraments represent or signifythat grace available to eternal life," and "are what they signify." (B. 5. s. 57.) This, however, must be intended to mean not in fact, but in name and intention; otherwise the sacraments would themselves be "eternal life," or, at least, " grace available" thereto.

A modern writer+ asserts, that "the identity of baptism and regeneration is a doctrine which manifestly pervades the writings of the Fathers." But it is clear he can only mean, by "identity," the sacrament, sign, or representative of regeneration. For he immediately adds, "That they did not imagine that baptism produces any saving effects in adults without faith and repentance, or, in other words, without some previous renewal of the inward frame." (16.) But were baptism and regeneration"

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We do not wish to anticipate too much any future notice which we may find it desirable to take of the Fathers. But we will make two remarks. Either the ancients did, or they did not mean such language, as we have quoted above, to be understood literally and without modifica tion. If literally and without modification, it is plain we cannot defer to the language of the Fathers, as a sure guide to the true meaning of rege. neration. It is visibly unscriptural, enthusiastic, and unjust. If not literally, then we must seek elsewhere for the true way in which we are to understand their expositions; and ultimately we must resort to the Scriptures and to common sense for an interpretation of the Fathers, instead of accepting, implicitly, the Fathers as literal and canonical interpreters of the word of God! We are bound to set up some mode of understanding and modifying their language, which would, if literally taken, lead us astray. But we suppose that few of the above titles were given to bap tism in the first two centuries.

Bishop Bethell.

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"identical," and regeneration included "forgiveness of sin, adoption, and a covenanted title to everlasting life, as his lordship says, a "saving effect" must unavoidably have been produced whenever "baptism" was received.

The Fathers manifestly supposed that the heart of the baptised concurred in the ordinance; and that a real and spiritual contract and divine union took place, at baptism, between the soul and God,-that the person was really what he professed to be; and thus the sacrament of baptism, sealing and representing, his new birth, came to be called the new-birth itself. Reference was made to baptism as regeneration, because a "New Creature" was thereby considered as brought forth into the spiritual world.

II. The EVILS of the hypothesis respecting relative regeneration, which we oppose, will appear if we further

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1. That it will make two regenerations necessary-one, a "relative regeneration," always accompanying the administration of baptism; and another, a spiritual and real regeneration, which may occur at any period of life. But this doctrine of two regenerations, independent of and unconnected with each other, we consider as a very dangerous thing. It would introduce confusion and uncertainty into the language of theology in this most important article of our creed; and teachers, hearers, and readers, would be in constant danger of mistake and error. notion that two essentially different and unrelated regenerations, involved under the same terms, and yet not accurately, or at all, described in the Bible, as it respects the real qualities by which they are distinguished from each other, and by which they may be known, would make it, we should think, impossible for a considerate and pious mind to believe that two regenerations are taught in the word of God.

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2. Further, the Scriptures and the Church of England never require, or approve of, any relative holiness or dedication in baptism, independent of real and spiritual dedication.-1. We infer this respecting the Scriptures, from their constant reproof of the frequent attempts of the Jews to separate the profession from the reality. Ps. li. 16; Isa. i. 10—15. 24; Jer. xi. 2. 22; viii. 34. 18; Ezek. xvii. 15-19; Hos. vi. 4. 7; viii. 1; Mal. ii. 8,9; and from the Almighty's treatment of their wicked

assumption that they were the Lord's peculiar people, while, in fact, they violated His "covenant," and cast His word behind them.-2. The same proof may be derived respecting the church, even from Bishop Hopkins's own arguments, that "the best deeds of unregenerate persons (as the 13th Article teaches), are no better than sins," (418). That dedication, then, being unaccompanied with any thing good, is no better than "sin." But, as God requires not "sin," he requires not that; but rather says to all such hypocritical formalists, "Who hath required this at your hands?"

3. We have shown what is the relative regeneration implied in the Scriptures and the Church of England, and wherein it differs from that above proscribed. And we do not consider that view of the case to be interfered with, although we admit that the Scriptures, as well as the church, may imply, and occasionally speak of a holiness, which is, in its nature, only relative; still it may be in a different sense to that before explained; as, when it is said, "The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband-else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." (1 Cor. vii. 14).

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If, in the first place, we interpret this somewhat obscure passage, with many of the ancient fathers, and consider the "holy" state here as the "spiritual grace derived from baptism, we must contend that true, not relative regeneration, is meant, except "relative" in the sense which we have just been explaining. If, on the other hand, we here apply holy" in the sense of "clean," under the law, we may obtain a relative holiness indeed; but it is a holiness derived from a natural relationship, and not from baptism, and, therefore, has no application to our present case.

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4. Relative regeneration, then, is a useless and inadequate device. Baptism most clearly symbolizes real spiritual regeneration; it aims at this, represents this, and seals this. This design of baptism, could we suppose it to be professedly objected to by the candidate, would oblige the church not to admit him. The very essence of baptism is to baptise persons in the name, that is, into faith in the name of the Sacred Three. Any thing short of this is not Christian baptism-it is, in fact, nothing:

Should any person say, "No, I will not be baptised into the belief of the Trinity, my design is only to be baptised into the 'visible church." " In that case the church could not baptise him; she must needs say, "No, such a thing cannot be, lest it should be said, that the church baptises in her own name, as St. Paul argues in his own case. But what if such a candidate should reserve his faith, or profess his faith falsely? He would then be baptised, as all others are, in the profession of a right faith. The consequence would be, that the blessings of a right faith would be declared; but, without a right faith, they would be declared only, and not enjoyed.

III. These two systems compared with respect to their utility.

"Two systems," that is, respecting what may be called "relative regeneration :"-the one, the view which Bishop Hopkins and many others advocate; namely, that baptism introduces us into a state of "relative holiness" before God, and which is the work of man; leaving another a spiritual regeneration-to be performed by the "Spirit of God:"-while we, on the other hand, consider that there is only one-a real spiritual regeneration -taught in the Scriptures and by our church. Though the profession of that regeneration at baptism has been called regeneration, not because it is truly such, but because it represents it :—we, therefore, call it baptismal, or "relative regeneration," because it is thus related to, or stands as a pledge for, real spiritual regeneration. 1. We believe that ours has greatly the advantage, because it allows the word of God its own literal, genuine, and intelligible meaning.

Our interpretation of the meaning of words in the ordinance of baptism, &c., is straight forward, plain, and easy to be understood; because we take the language there in the usual meaning which it every where else has, both in Scripture and in the church documents. We only take a little liberty, as we shall ere long explain, with respect to the time of the occurrence of regeneration.

Our doctrine, as it respects the all-important matter of regeneration, is both explicit and unincumbered. It is the one grand essential truth, which, like the sun of the system, should not only be cloudless, but allowed its deserved place and sway among the luminous doctrines

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