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We shall not attempt on the present occasion, to make a general appeal to the Fathers, on the subject of baptismal regeneration. But we cannot suffer Dr. Pusey and his allies, to shield their notions of this doctrine, under the sweeping assurance that for fifteen centuries, the whole Church of Christ, held only one sense of John iii. 5. and that sense his own. We have in a previous Number thrown out a few hints, by which the reader may perceive the difficulty or danger, of generally expecting to adopt the Professor's canon of interpretation, and have by an exposition of those important words "water and the Spirit," which we conceive more consonant with Scripture, shewn that with respect to such canon of interpretation, it is quite erroneous. We at the same time alluded to the way in which the early Fathers, might easily be led to speak in the way they have done, without warranting us to conclude from their very general language, all, or even half which moderns palm upon them.

The chief point we particularly aim at on the present occasion is the following, i. e. to shew the impracticability of the attempt, to make the instruction given us by the Fathers, a general canon of interpretation.

If the Professor's interpretation is to guide mankind in their best and surest interests, it must at any rate,

-Speak the plain and obvious meaning of Scripture generally, and not the sense of one verse extracted from its context.

-It must be a sense both explicit and intelligible, as well as universal.

-It must come down to us in a line of evidence, uniform as well as uninterrupted.

-It must justify its pretensions, both for consistency and right of authority to the Church of England before it can claim any regard from her members.

The PROFESSOR'S POSITION is the following," it is confessed that the Christian Church uniformly, for fourteen centuries, interpreted this text of baptism; that on the ground of this text alone, they urged the necessity of

baptism, that upon it mainly they identified regeneration with baptism."


If, as the Professor maintains, the "whole Christian church" held the same doctrine with himself, and a part of that church, for one thousand years, be the Church of Rome, that church will be a good testimony of the whole; and as She has explained herself to believe that baptism conveys grace ex opere operato," the whole church for 1400 years, must have done the same. Dr. Pusey would not, in all probability, wish to release his “ sense" from this dilemma, but for the embarrassment arising from the circumstance, that our church has rejected it.


In our preceding Numbers we have shewn that spirituality of mind is of the essence of regeneration; that faith and repentance are essentially of the same nature; that the Scripture and our church do not view this holy change as being necessarily confined to baptism; but that where there is sufficient evidence of these graces, regeneration is admitted and salvation promised, though baptism could not be attained :

That such is likewise the doctrine of the early Fathers of the Christian Church.

We are aware that this position goes a step further than merely to shew that such learned authors as Dr. Pusey, Bishop Bethell, and Archbishop Lawrence, &c. have derived an erroneous doctrine from the Fathers; it goes to shew that they have wronged the Fathers in so doing. We do not deny that such an interpretation may be put upon their language, which has assuredly given too much occasion for it, but, this we contend for, that if an interpretation MAY be put upon the language of the Fathers, in consistence with the Scriptures and with truth, we are bound by every obligation of regard to truth and character, both their's and our's, to allow them the benefit of such interpretation. This is what every judge upon the civil bench is in the constant habit of doing, where character and opinions are to be decided, and it will reflect disgrace upon the Christian Church if justice and equity are allowed to shine in earthly courts with brighter -beams than in the "courts of the house of our God."

Do not let the reader mistake us. We are not about to become advocates for the Ancients, they are already in the presence of an infallible Judge: but neither would we

condemn them rashly or unadvisedly. We are decidedly of opinion that a stream of Divine truth does actually flow down, from the circumcision of Abraham, through the Old Testament, into the New: and that our Saviour has recognised the essence, changed the form, and transmitted down to us, the Sacrament as a genuine admission into "His spiritual kingdom :" and that, ever since our Lord's command became practicable, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved;" the reception of baptism has become an ostensible sign of faith; and an essential requisite for the legitimate admission into the Christian Church,-the society of the "elect and sanctified people of God."

The above statement we consider to be an undeniable Scripture truth, as we believe was adequately shewn in the Third Number, under the interpretation of John iii. 5. That instruction of our Saviour, we view as the key to the whole scheme of baptism and regeneration throughout the word of God. And we think that the earliest Fathers were perfectly aware of this. For making baptism, therefore, an essential ingredient for an entrance into the kingdom of God, we blame them not, our Lord did the same. But we conceive the error originated in these two points, the one from misapprehending the true bearing of this Divine appointment, the other a marvellous display towards the first Christians, of Divine grace.

1. They perceived that the first believers in Christianity were immediately baptized, as the Lord had commanded, in "Token" that they belonged to him, and believed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost "in whose name they were baptised."


2. They saw also that the general body of those who were thus baptised became actually new creatures" from thenceforth. Their baptism, therefore, became nearly coincident with their conversion, their faith, and their salvation. Their eyes were opened, their understandings were enlightened, their hearts were sanctified, and their whole soul converted from dead works to serve the living God:-they were adopted into the family of God, and by one Spirit, being all baptised into one body, their sins were forgiven them; and under a consciousness of Divine acceptance, they "rejoiced in hope of the glory of God." Forasmuch, then, as "Christ loved the church and

gave himself for it," forasmuch as we are introduced into this church by "water and the Spirit," forasmuch as baptism is oftentimes in Scripture placed in conjunction with the "renewing of the Holy Ghost," as that by which we are "saved;" Tit. iii. 5. And may, perhaps, be occasionally put as inclusive of the Spirit's operations also, under the figure of the Ark, by which God "doth now save us," 1 Pet. iii. 21; we may easily perceive how the corruption of human nature, when inspired instructors were no longer the infallible guides of the church, might turn truth into error, and a spiritual institution into a mere carnal ordinance. Though there be no necessary connexion between baptism and regeneration in their practical working, yet still as

1. They must, as we have proved, be, by Divine constitution, both united in the character of every true member of the church of God; and that,

2. They were, in fact, commonly united in the case of the great body of the first converts to Christianity:

It became an easy matter to consider them as being always, or generally united; at least so generally, that exceptions need not be regarded. And thus another error would be easily introduced; i.e. because our Saviour had made them both necessary to enter into his " spiritual KINGDOM," that all who professed to enter it, did actually, as well as professedly, enter it: and thus, they considered that baptism conveyed regeneration, when the real truth is, that regeneration was required before baptism, which was to be received as its "token and pledge."

We shall, before we proceed to the examination of the Fathers, make a remark or two. First, that we hope to find among those Fathers of the first ages, nothing whatever, which, when honestly taken according to the rules we have just noticed from Scripture, at all contradicts those rules. And, secondly, that when Dr. Pusey and many others try to make the later Fathers teach the inseparable connexion between baptism and regeneration, they have done great wrong to those Fathers; and have interpreted their writings in conformity with the corruptions of Popery, and not in consistence with the truth and facts of the case.

Here we must inform the reader that we except from the list, in which we often find arranged the names of what are called the apostolical Fathers, Hermas and Bar

nabas. Though we perceive nothing in the writings ascribed to Hermas, which may not be made quite conformable to the doctrines we have above laid down respecting the office of baptism, &c., we consider that this writer should either be placed some century, perhaps, later, than the apostle's time, or laid aside as a visionary not worthy of a reference.

To the epistle attributed to Barnabas we have more grave objections still. The scriptural Barnabas (Acts iv. 36; xii. 35; xiii. 24, &c.) was an apostle, accredited by the whole church, and especially by the Spirit of God. For, "C as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed." We have no desire here to be controversial or contentious. But we cannot allow ourselves to believe that an apostle, thus distinguished and thus endowed, the brother, fellow-labourer, and friend of the Apostle Paul, could ever be suffered either to teach or write anything unworthy of his high character and office, which we, after many wise and learned writers, consider the epistle of the pretended Barnabas to be. It is quite in character with after-ages both to forge names and doctrines; and this epistle, or else the name annexed to it, we consider of that order. We shall first notice


CLEMENT was the person mentioned by St. Paul, (Phil. iv. 3.) as one of his "fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life." The only epistle which we admit as worthy of this holy man, is the first he wrote to the Corinthians. This epistle was long read in the churches, and was highly deserving of that distinction. Its date is very uncertain, but may probably be placed, somewhere in the last quarter of the first century of the Christian era. Though we have no recollection that this epistle (which is, perhaps, the only genuine writing of the first century, except those of the apostles themselves, which has descended to our times,) has been adduced to prove Dr. Pusey's assertion, respecting all the Church of God for fifteen centuries, we cannot let it pass without regard. If this epistle do not, it is probable, that no author for more than a century to come, will aid Dr. Pusey in his proof.

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