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which is insisted upon? Is not this character? And if it was not engaged and promised, could the baptised be pronounced regenerate? By no means; and when itis not exibited, can such be viewed as regenerate? If the evidence of regeneration fails, how can regeneration itself be considered as having taken place?

We are not bound, therefore, by our church, to go one step farther than fact and Christian character will conduct us. Nay, if we would show ourselves honest and faithful sons, we are bound not to go farther. Our church, as we have seen, pronounces all her blessings upon a profession of faith and practice, which she supposes to be real; yea, upon a pledge and prospect of character. Had this pledge and prospect been withheld, she could not, she would not have pronounced her blessings. Hence then arises an argument, which seems to be irresistible,—That as she HERSELF ACTS, so she expects and requires all her sons to act. And as she suspends her blessings on CHAKACTER, her faithful ministers must do the same. They must not, they ought not, they are bound not, to buoy men up with hopes and expectations which their church does not warrant. The baptised lay before the church their testimonials of character; and by these they gain admission among her sons, and are called by their name, saints of God. But it is the minister's duty and office to examine their future conduct, and to probe their character. If he finds a defect of character, a want of what has been promised and professed, he is bound by his office to withhold the blessings promised, until he sees some evidence of the character to which the promises were hypothetically made. The promise from the first was attached to character, made up of "repentance, faith," and "a holy life;" and a lack of character is a lack of blessings : -if no character, no promise, they stand or fall together.

It does not, indeed, belong to a private minister, by his own authority alone, to excommunicate, or to do many other things respecting the discipline of the church: but that minister, who allows persons to assume and appropriate to themselves the privileges of true Christians, without affording evidence of a Christian spirit and conduct, violates the principles, neutralizes the intentions, and well nigh razes the very foundation of his own church. He evidently handles the word of God deceitfully, and acts

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unfaithfully to the church and to the souls committed to his charge, by suffering them to build their hopes on a false foundation; for it is surely a false ground that people build upon, when they attach blessings to profession and not to character. What a monstrous thing it would have been in Peter, had he said to Simon Magus, 66 you have been baptised, and you are therefore become, in the view of the church, a regenerate person, a child of God by promise,' however improper your present temper and spirit may be!" But, instead of doing this, Peter instantly denounced his hypocrisy, and withheld the hypothetically promised blessings,-"Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter." And why? His character was rotten,-"Thine heart is not right in the sight of God." The "heart" then, we see was demanded: it was expected, required, and pledged; but being found absent Peter told him at once, that a curse, and not a blessing, rested on him.

A variety of opinions will, of course, be held by ministers, as to what constitutes a satisfactory evidence with respect to character. But though a difference here be unavoidable, it is yet very necessary to be aware, and to be convinced of this,-that he who preaches peace to vicious or worldly persons, on the footing of their "baptismal privileges," forsakes the very first principle on which his own church is built. These privileges were awarded to them at their baptism, not absolutely, but conditionally; on the condition of faith, repentance, and a holy life. If, then, the condition on which the whole was at first suspended, be subsequently found wanting, all is wanting. Since, then, the church unites her admission of regeneration in baptism, with professed repentance, faith and holiness, we act the part of traitors, and not of faithful administrators of her duties, when we sever these two things, which she has united. But if it be said,Since hypocrites and worldlings profess a holy religion, though they do not practice it, are we not to allow them still to be holy and regenerate, and so to call them? We answer, certainly not. The church did not admit them as hypocrites, nor as worldlings, but as penitent and believing persons, resolving to lead a godly life: and as such, and as such only, she acknowledges them. If, therefore, we allow men to assume privileges under a false character, we entirely depart from and subvert the

principle of our church, which is, that she always attaches privileges, and always confines them to a true one.

It is to no purpose to object here that ministers are not constituted judges. They are constituted judges by Christ himself. In public instruction and general addresses, it belongs to their office to encourage and to denounce, to hold forth God's promises and to proclaim his threatenings. Yet this is done hypothetically; that is, on the supposition of men having or not having a Christian character, a life and spirit corresponding with their profession. So much most clearly belongs to their office; and nothing more in this respect is needed. As ministers they speak in Christ's name, and stand, as it were, in his place, and in his stead beseech men to be reconciled to God and they declare and pronounce in his name, what belongs both to the penitent and impenitent. And thus what they "bind" and "loose" on earth is bound, and loosed in heaven.

To say that the minister has no right to undo what the church has already done, has no application. For the church has in fact done nothing but pronounce blessings dependent on character. We mistake and pervert the whole case, if we consider the church as pronouncing her blessings on baptism, independently of the profession of character made at baptism. The truth is, she does not, any more than the Scripture, pronounce salvation, or any of its concomitants, on persons as being baptised, but on them as believing and being baptised. Nor does she at any time allow her "ministers to declare and pronounce" "absolution and remission of sins," on the supposition of persons merely professing to be God's people; but only upon those who truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel." She does indeed, as all must, accept on some occasions the profession of repentance and faith, as a charitable evidence of their reality; but she never pronounces peace but on them in whom she conceives them to exist.


The homilies which some writers consider as an exception to the general meaning of regeneration, afford a very fair and suitable illustration of our subject. These homilies are sermons; they therefore regard regeneration, not in the abstract as we do in baptism, but in the concrete, or as it is found or claimed by those who have been baptised. And how do these faithful monitors deal with

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persons of this description? Do they refer them to baptism for their saintship and regeneration, and allow their claim, and defend it on that ground? No, surely. They often, indeed, address the body of professors, as every one does and must, by the name which they bear, as persons who "profess and call themselves Christians:" but they go to character and spirituality of mind to seek for regeneration, as all faithful instructors ought to do. So that instead of the homilies affording an "exception to the general" rule," respecting the use of the term regeneration, as pleaded for by some, and thereby exhibiting an anomalous kind of instruction, they actually pursue the very plan we are advocating. They afford a striking illustration of it: they show us clearly how we are to deal with people under similar circumstances. And it appears to us evident, that we should depart from the principle, upon which regeneration, in our church and in the Scripture, is built, were we to act otherwise.


Persons, it is true, are called "saints, and faithful brethren," both in the Bible and in our Prayer Book, who are professors of Christianity in common:" but that does not affect our present argument. If we, like St. Paul, were writing to a Corinthian church, we should consider it no inconsistency to address the whole church as a body of saints, or faithful brethren, even were we intending to carry on the severest scrutiny as to character that could be exercised. Nor should we hesitate

to address our congregations as " dearly beloved brethren," were we at the same time purposing to enter on the discussion of such principles and doctrines as would exclude nine out of ten of them from the faith they professed, and from the privileges they might wish to claim; yea, were we obliged, after describing such characters as "extortioners, sensualists, and infidels," in fidelity to say, that they were of their father, the Devil, instead of being "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

DISCIPLINE is mentioned by our author as necessary to "protect his principle from abuse." The principle itself, as we have shown, is misapplied. "The judgment of faith and charity" ought not to be exercised, in our instruction, one jot further than truth and conduct warrant. If we keep not to this perfect rule, the only rule sanctioned by Scripture and our church, we shall open the door to licentiousness and antinomianism. Surely that charity,

which judgeth favourably, when character is professed or asserted, must and will judge according to truth, when the actual conduct gives the lie to the profession. And what about discipline? We hold it impracticable to protect such a principle from abuse, if consistently carried out. Were the minister absolute as to discipline, how could he make it work without violating his own principle? He speaks of the church as needing "efficiency to divide the professed communion of saints from the community of natural men." These natural men are, we suppose, in the church, but deserve to be excluded from it. Are they to be separated by excommunication, and not by doctrine? Where would be the charity in banishing those from the church, who had not been first taught and warned, while there, that they were no better than "natural," that is, unregenerate men, notwithstanding their profession and their baptism?

Were our brother, or any one else, to follow the advice he gives, and try the experiment of "excommunication" on his own principle, he would, we suspect, find, that no minister could exercise discipline christianly, who, in his instructions, does not enter into such "nice distinctions" as would be sufficient to convince "natural men" that they are not "spiritual men ;" and that though they had thrust themselves in among the saints, they had yet no communion with them, were not of them, and deserved to be cast out. No man, certainly no wise and pious man, would himself exercise, or wish others to exercise, discipline in such a way as would be a standing reproach to his own instruction. And doubtless, every person so excommunicated, would have great cause to complain, that he had been grievously deceived; for, as he had been baptised, and had not renounced the Christian name; and as the minister had always taken great pains to teach him, that, as such, he is a "child of God by promise," what will he think when he shall, on his banishment, be told, though not a single sermon intimated any such idea before, that he is viewed as a child of the Devil, and, as such, must be cast out "from the communion of saints."

Again, would our author expel "regenerate" souls from his communion of saints? Will he justify the "banishing" of these "regenerate" persons, because they are not "converted?" Will he not then explain at large from

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