페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

from this oral teaching. Hermas first "rightly" hears, that there is "no other repentance," but at baptism: then he learns that it was "not repentance for sin, but remission," which was enjoyed at baptism. He is further informed, that there is "one repentance," after baptism!!

We confess we do not understand Dr. Pusey's instruction here. He says these "writers" refer "to the oral, as we to the written teaching of the apostles." And yet after making his quotations, the substance of which is given above, he calls them "apostolic sayings," and considers them the foundation upon which the church afterwards raised its practice of admitting penitents once only to reconciliation after baptism. (66, 7.) Thus, was introduced one claw of the cloven foot of Popery: namely, LIMITING VERY AWFULLY" the gospel way of salvation, and closing in great measure, the door of mercy, which Christ and his apostles, in their "WRITTEN teaching," have set wide open to every repentant sinner. We may painfully ask, can Dr. Pusey find any rest to the sole of his foot, now, until he resorts to the infallible guidance and relief of PENANCE and POPERY? We conceive not.

66

Now we have got into the third century, and have found nothing favourable to Dr. Pusey's interpretation of "water and the Spirit," and have withal reached the regions of tradition, from which he begins somewhat boldly to limit, mutilate, or contradict the Scriptures. We may well be pardoned for paying less attention to individual writers: for henceforth we need not doubt but man's word will be referred to for authority, as Clemens Alexandrinus referred to the writings of Hermas, "whom he regards as having received inspiration only second to Scripture." (69). And with such sentiments once imbibed, respecting writings so manifestly absurd, we may soon expect to find that they will not scruple to "make the word of God of none effect by their traditions.”

TERTULLIAN, the first Latin Father.

We once thought of leaving this celebrated author as an impracticable character, in the hands of modern advocates for unscriptural inventions: but on reconsideration we think it better to make a stand at the very outset, and with one of the most rugged writers, both in phrase and

sentiment, of all antiquity; feeling assured that if this author can be made at all conformable to a scriptural rule, and one diametrically opposed to that of the Oxford advocates, our work will subsequently become more satisfactory.

Before Dr. Pusey and his associates can be allowed to quote Tertullian to correct the Bible or give a traditionary interpretation to it, we must expect him and those who quote him, to exhibit common sense, and common fairness. Dr. Pusey quotes this father as follows, (44, 5):

"There is nothing," says Tertullian, "which so hardens the minds of men, as that the Divine works appear in act so simple, while the effect promised is so magnificent ;a man let down into the water, while a few words are uttered, arises again not much, or not at all cleaner, it appears incredible that he should thereby have obtained immortality. Miserable unbelief, which denies to God his properties, simplicity and power. The first waters were ordered to bring forth living creatures, lest it should seem strange that in baptism waters should give life." (45.)

The "effect PROMISED [i. e. to baptism] is so magnificent!" Here the delusion begins. This we are to embrace as Scripture, or as the intention of Scripture, and Scripture baptism! Hitherto, we believe, we have not met with a sentence or sentiment, like the above. Tertullian, therefore, we must confess to be the genuine father who gave currency to the evil we, in this discussion, deplore. Not a word is added in, or about this extract, in order to explain, modify, or correct the impression which the language necessarily produces in the reader's mind. That is,

1. There are no graces, conditions, accompaniments, or qualifications specified, as attendant on the persons baptized.

2. No Scriptures are referred to by which are "promised" the effects produced. Still,

3. Those effects promised, are "magnificent." In baptism the "waters" have given "life." Yea, the baptized "have obtained immortality," by being "washed" therein! And we are charged with "miserable unbelief" if we do not concur in such sentiments. Now, for our parts, we not only disbelieve, but we abhor them with all our heart, as the womb out of which have sprung all the abominations of ancient superstition and modern popery. There is not

in Scripture the shadow of a "promise" to baptism thus simply administered, and without internal qualifications, thus received, not one in all the word of God! Yet this is the deception which, like a concealed viper, secretly poisons the whole discussion,-the baseless theory is involved in these isolated, mis-stated references and cases.

If, however, it should be said that Dr. Pusey, Bishop Bethell, Bishop Mant, and Archbishop Lawrence, &c. when they make such extracts as attach these “ magnificent effects" to baptism, simply, as baptism, are aware that something else must necessarily be understood, though it be not expressed by the authors in the text where they are recorded, and whence they are taken; and that it will be only honest towards Tertullian to suppose that he means, in this place, respecting baptism, what he has expressly recorded of it in others: viz. as he expresses it, "That bath is the sealing up (obsignatio) of faith, which faith begins, and is recommended by the faith of repentance," (Pusey, 213) we would ask, are we then to understand that such is an explanation to which our opponents will abide? And that, in short, Tertullian, and by consequence other Fathers, must be understood to MEAN, whether they so express it or not, that "faith and repentance" are qualifications required, and supposed to be possessed by every person whom they speak of as being regenerated and saved by baptism? If this be consistently embraced, and consistently borne out in the discussion, we do not see for what purpose any controversy is carried on.

If "faith and repentance" (we mean, of course, scriptural faith and repentance, with which salvation is uniformly, there, attached, and not a "repentance" divided into "three" sections, Pusey, 64); if faith and repentance are to be supplied from one part of the Fathers, to complete what is lacking in another, respecting qualifications for baptism, and that baptism must be added to these "previous qualifications," in order to form the complex character of that "regeneration" by which we "enter into the kingdom of God," we certainly have no objection to make to the statement thus explained. We believe it to be exactly coincident with Scripture in general, and with our Saviour's discourse with Nicodemus, in particular. We believe, and firmly maintain, that the true

and genuine admission into Christ's Holy Catholic Church, has always included “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and baptism into faith, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

This explanation or apology the early Christian Fathers do not require; and it is due to the subsequent pious ones, who have written so loosely upon this subject. But we are not aware that any author, before Tertullian, has fairly laid himself open to such mischievous interpretations as Dr. Pusey puts upon the Christian Fathers, without exception, for near fifteen centuries! And we admit that even modern writers, when hardly pressed with the consequences of their opinions, make something like the same explanations and admissions. But they only do it to escape from present danger, and make no use of it in their instruction generally; so that the uniform effect is, and is intended to be, that "regeneration is conveyed by baptism, and by baptism exclusively."

If the above explanation be admitted on behalf of the Fathers, it would be a mere war of words to dispute whether "faith and repentance" include, or are essentially the same with, spiritual" regeneration." Of course we contend that they are the same, and are always connected in Scripture with the blessing of salvation; and, therefore, to deny, or withhold the term, regeneration, from "faith and repentance," would be only to withhold what is not essential to eternal glory. But we at the same time insist upon the necessity of baptism to enter into the Church of Christ, though it is not, in all cases,

essential to salvation.

THE FOLLOWING POSITION we hold, not as consistent with, and taught by, the Scripture alone, but by the general body of the Fathers of the Christian Church: i. e. that "faith and repentance" were not only necessary to regeneration in baptism, but that when THOSE GRACES were adequately exhibited by any other evidence, (as martyrdom, for instance,) independent of baptism, they were considered as a sure way to eternal salvation, though baptism could not be obtained. From which will follow this necessary conclusion: viz. that it is "FAITH and REPENTANCE" which essentially constitute the regeneration of baptism; because where faith and repentance can be

legitimately ascertained, they constitute regeneration, viz. spiritual, saving regeneration, wITHOUT baptism.

If Dr. Pusey insist upon the apparent literal construction of Tertullian's language, he should have made his readers acquainted with all that author says on the subject of baptism, and then they might have judged better respecting its scriptural propriety. Why did he not tell us that Tertullian considered that an angel came down to give efficacy to the waters of baptism!—that the Spirit brooded on the waters as the most approved* element!-that Christians are fishes which cannot live out of the water! If he has overstepped the Scriptures in these matters, how can we in others accept him as a sure guide? And as he is admitted to be the most obscure of writers, how can "all persons, everywhere, and at all times," be supposed to understand "born of water and the Spirit," in the same "sense" as he does? But this Dr. Pusey's system makes necessary. Yet this is rendered the more improbable, rather impossible, when we consider that in the only place (we believe) in which Dr. Pusey has quoted from Tertullian any direct exposition of water and the Spirit, without which we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven," he interprets it thus; i. e. "Shall not be HOLY." (279.)

66

This exposition, received literally and without modification, would directly contradict both Scripture, the other Fathers, and Dr. Pusey himself. For he views the Old Testament Fathers as eminently holy, and particularly insists upon the prayers and almsgiving of Cornelius as constituting "his previous holiness," which he says was "the fruit of faith in God, and of the guidance of his Holy Spirit," before he was baptized. (137.) Besides, all the philosophers who embraced Christianity, even as early as Justin Martyr, as well as Dr. Pusey, esteemed such heathens as Socrates and Plato "holy men." How then are these things to be understood? It is quite impossible that every inquirer should comprehend them in the same light. And it is perfectly certain that all do not

* How strange, then, must it seem that man, the lord of the creation, was not created out of this" most approved element ;" while “ birds," including sparrows, probably might be so. "Yet are ye (men) not more valuable than many sparrows?" How very unwise the conceits of many of these learned fathers!

« 이전계속 »