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done in scripture; it would then have been less liable to be misunderstood, and misapplied, as it is at this time.

It has, indeed, been asserted even by Bishop Pearson, that “ forgiveness of sins is promised to all who are baptised in the name of Christ :” and he refers, in confirmation of this, to Mark i. 4.-Acts ii. 38; xxii. 16.-Eph. v. 26. But it is clear, that baptism was not alone in these cases : for, that in the two first references, repentance is expressly mentioned. St. Paul's conversion attends the third; and the sanctification of Christ's church, by “the washing of water by the word" believed, accompanies the fourth. That learned divine, it is true, has in the paragraph alluded to, introduced the consideration of " qualifications,” in order to the due effect of baptism ; and when he says, “ in the name of Christ,” we must, as we think, understand faith in his name. He has not, however, made out the point, that forgiveness of sins is any where in scripture promised to baptism, unless connected with a renewed heart, and spiritual affections: and when he speaks of performing “all things necessary,” he must, as we conceive, mean faith and repentance, which are the very things in question. Indeed, the language " that forgiveness of sins is promised” to baptism, is not only unscriptural, but the sentiment is so. For if baptism

convey” the forgiveness of sins, it must do this either without any holy disposition preceding baptism, – or else, though repentance and faith go before, as pre-requisites, yet not as ensuring pardon, that being connected with baptism, which follows after them.

This is, indeed, the doctrine of Bishop Bethell, and Professor Pusey. For they boldly assert, that St. Paul was neither regenerated, nor pardoned for the three days on which he fasted and prayed, after Christ came from heaven to convert him, from a sanguinary persecutor, to an apostle of the Gentiles. This is highly unscriptural. For, independent of our Lord's declaration to Ananias, “ He is a chosen vessel unto me,” it is quite clear that Saul's heart was changed from rebellion to obedience, from a violently hostile to a teachable and praying spirit, and from unbelief to faith—a faith devout, humble, and submissive,--graces which always bear the stamp of salvation.

When our Lord mentions “ water," as introductory to

his kingdom, it is in connexion with the “Spirit.” And when, after his resurrection, he joins baptism with being saved, it is in connexion with believing. And it is so in every instance recorded in the New Testament; some grace, indicative of a renewed and believing mind, is manifested or professed. And if we depart from that divine standard, as it may seem but a little, in a matter so important as this, we cannot know, or even guess how extensive the error may become, and how irreparable the evil. But will it be asked, What 'then is the scriptural connexion between baptism and regeneration, pardon and salvation ? and, What is the use of baptism at all, and why is it in any way joined with salvation, if the true mode be so difficult to be comprehended, and error so easy and so dangerous ? The spiritual key to this difficulty has been already given, – a difficulty, however, which is made such by our own natural blindness and perversity. Before we are spiritually taught of God, we have no right conceptions of “the kingdom of God :" And having, therefore, formed merely external, or carnal notions of its character, we pervert divine truth to comport with our errors, or fritter down the exalted character of scriptựral religion, to a level with our own standard - We shall now, therefore, consider briefly,

IV. The SCRIPTURAL USE of Baptism. We have previously stated, that baptism is represented in scripture as a sign-seal-pledge—token, or, as an introduction into the covenant of grace. Yea, God himself calls circumcision “ the covenant.” He so calls it as our Saviour calls the “ bread” his “ body;” not that it is so, in fact, but because it is intended to represent his body. Thus baptism, inasmuch as it encircles the kingdom of God, is appointed to represent both the real character of its members, and the blessings which belong to them; or, in other words, it shews that this kingdom consisted of God's people, and that he, the King thereof, is their God. According to the interpretation given of John iii. 5. it evidently appeared, that the regeneration of the Holy Spirit forms the individual character of Christ's servants, and that baptism forms them into a visible body. A visi- . ble church of Christ was quite necessary, that there might be a “pillar and ground of the truth," a body authorised

to carry his gospel, and plant his religion in the world; and that there might be a corporate society into which individual converts might flee from the power of Satan unto God, in which they might“ build up themselves in their most holy faith," to the glory and praise of Him who called them out of this sinful world, and planted them in “the kingdom of his dear Son.” This kingdom, though enclosed by a visible “ token” of character, is nevertheless the pure spiritual undefiled spouse of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is drawn together by the love of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Baptism, therefore, bears an office inconceivably important. It incloses and represents every thing that is most valuable on earth, and that is ripening for the glory of heaven. It embraces God's children in their respective generations, as they are successively renewed, and brought to a spiritual state of mind and faith in the Saviour. The portal of scriptural baptism has this superscription on it-" The name of the Lord is as a strong tower ; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” This is what we conceive to be the scriptural object and design of baptism. It is the tuken of God's love, and it marks and signalizes the sanctified and elect people of God.

This representation does not regard what baptism may become by the perversion, and ever deteriorating conduct

It has no eye to the influx of persons, who, from interested motives, when the kingdom of God becomes popular, may press for admission into it, “ without having on a wedding garment.” Such are not valued in the sight of God: and in the arrangement of his sacred ordinances, at least in their design and constitution, he has no regard to such characters. And it was on this ground we consider, that the primitive church was formed by the apostles; and after them, by the early fathers; who, nevertheless, soon admitted, as we have already instanced, a sort of language into their offices, which was not perfectly scriptural, and which their less spiritual successors perverted to the worst of purposes. But, we believe, that the apostles had, that the fathers had, and that our own reformers. had, their eye especially, if not exclusively, fixed on the holy members of the truekingdom of God.

of man.

If we are here asked the reason why the ancient christians, and the church of England, in its offices, have so apparently united baptism with regeneration, and salvation, when the fact does not justify what seems to be thus taught, we would answer,--that we have already replied to this question, in our last paragraph.

But we must here remark, that the truth of our theory has nothing to do with ostensible fact.

It does not extend, as we have repeatedly observed, to every thing which has the name or appearance of a church, but to the kingdom of God, and to that only, which is “ born of water and of the Spirit.” Every member of this body is holy. None can enter into it without being “born of water and of the Spirit.” Therefore baptism and the Holy Ghost are here always united. Where, as before expressed, you see the token (as nothing in this kingdom is deceitful,) there you see the believing and regenerate children of God. The only difficulty arises from the mixed nature of the operation, by which the kingdom of God is formed in the world. The whole plan is divine. The internal agency is divine. The general arrangement is divine. But the machinery, so to speak, is worked by man. He preaches the word. He administers the ordinances. He receives members into the kingdom of God by baptism : at least he supposes

he does so. But as he does not know the heart, he may

mistake. God “ knows them that are his :" and these only are the true members of the kingdom. But as man does not know, though he is officially employed in gathering this kingdom, a difficulty must needs ensue, which it will be quite necessary to guard against. We shall, therefore, here make a few brief observations on these two subjects,-the holy catholic church, and the professing church.

First, the holy catholic church.

We are not aware that we have any opinion on this point, different from that of Hooker and Bishop Pearson, or from the nineteenth article of our church, which

says, that it is “ a congregation of faithful men. It is, what our Saviour declares the kingdom of God to be, composed of such as are " born of water and of the Spirit.”. Baptism is the door of entrance into this holy church. All its members are holy. God calls them holy. His covenant is with them. His Spirit dwells in tņem. Baptism seals them as His. His divine image is impressed on their hearts; and his rite stands as a divine “ token ” to represent the internal image of God. They are all spiritual and regenerate souls. It is of this holy church that the scripture speaks, as we conceive, when it says such great things. This is the “peculiar people ” of God. This is the church into which the apostles baptised such as believed in Christ to “ the saving of the soul.” This is that holy body of saints and faithful brethren, to whom the apostles addressed their epistles, and whom they designate as being sanctified in Christ Jesus, justified in his righteousness, and made heirs of eternal glory.”

The only caution we would here suggest is this,-we should never confound this holy church, though all its members be holy, with “ believers," or the truly regenerate as such ; as if this church embraced them all, and at all times. Bishop Pearson, and many others, seem to do this. But we have already shewn that this never was the case, and that it never can be the case, while converts from the world are being made by the gospel. They must all be believers before they are admitted ; and there must be a time, greater or less, according to circumstances, during which professed believers, and therefore also true believers, must remain under the character of catechumens or probationers. Such are born of the Spirit, though not yet baptised, or “ born of water.". The scripture, as we have seen, teaches this.

“ He that believeth on him, hath everlasting life.” Baptism does not make a man a believer; it requires faith beforehand. But

Baptism designates believers or the regenerate. Before baptism they do not enter into the kingdom. They are, therefore, not of Christ's church, though they are believers, and would go to heaven as the crucified thief did, and many martyrs and sincere holy converts have done, who died without having ever entered into the church of God. The baptised, therefore, can alone be recognised by the church as believers, or regenerate, or heirs of heaven, though others may be members of the mystical body of Christ, and as such go to heaven.

Herice we see how the baptised and the regenerate came to be nearly identified :

1. They are so denominated in scripture. They are

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