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TERTULLIAN, ETC., HOW TO BE UNDERSTOOD.

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comprehend them as Dr. Pusey does, and insists upon it that they ought to be understood. Such writings are precisely of that character, that a captious and ingenious man may turn them to anything, and make of them what he pleases. Thus, Dr. Pusey. Thus, the papists. We shall here make a few remarks.

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1. How can we fairly and honestly reconcile these apparent contradictions, respecting regeneration and holiness, for instance, for which Tertullian makes the "water and the Spirit" necessary? Why in those early times the TERMS "Saints," "Believers," Elect," "Holy Brethren," &c. were ascribed and confined, technically, to those who had entered into "Christ's holy Church" by belief and BAPTISM? And for the enjoyment of that holy society BOTH the SPIRIT'S sanctification and its representative, BAPTISM, were required. Thus the contradiction disappears. Faith was universally required, and a "holy," a most holy faith," too, before baptism. But a person was numbered among the saints only by baptism; and as such, was reputed and called a saint or a believer, and not before.

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2. Again. Tertullian, as above, says that the simplicity of the means, compared with the sublimity of the effect, greatly hardens "the minds of men." But does not this sound grievously absurd, and is it not like charging God foolishly? To whom are these simple things foolishness? Not to the Christian. They are the joy of his heart; but to the pride and philosophy of heathenism, which, like modern Romanism, esteemed things great inproportion to the pomp and display attending them; and thus measuring the effect by the apparent magnificence of the cause. This was what led those philosophising Fathers to conceal the simplicity of the Christian sacraments; and, to conciliate their heathen neighbours, and indeed to imitate them, they called them 66 mysteries."

3. Thus also, with due candour, we may judge of the "VISIONS" of even Hermas, and of the " PISCINA," and "FISHES" of Tertullian, which "could not live out of the waters." These "WATERS" figuratively represented "the wells of salvation," those divine truths which are laid open

• See Bingham, sect. 1, &c.

in the Christian Church to all believers; they are entered by baptism, and lived upon by faith through life; they did indeed involve, under this mystic and childish form, the "doctrines which are according to godliness," without which a Christian man would, like a "fish" taken from the water, die. This is no invention of ours; the historians of ancient usage give us this very explanation.

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And upon this account, (viz.) because the Christian LIFE took its original from the waters of baptism, and depended upon the observance of the covenant made therein, the Christians were wont to please themselves with the artificial name Pisciculi, fishes, to denote, as Tertullian words it, that they were regenerate, or born INTO CHRIST'S RELIGION by water, and could not be saved but by continuing therein;" (Bing. Ants. c. 1 and 2.) that is, by "CONTINUING" in that RELIGION.

This is doubtless the common sense of the thing. And thus the mysticism and allegory of this obscure writer become intelligible and scriptural. And thus we find that our Lord's words, "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," or into the spiritual society of true believers in the Church of Christ, become a genuine key by which to understand not the Scripture only, but the sometimes not very intelligible language of the Christian Fathers.

The attentive reader will readily perceive that our direct object here is more particularly to search out the truth, than to overthrow the forced and unnatural constructions of Dr. Pusey; though probably the exhibition of truth may most effectually confront error as well.

4. Hence we may further explain what is meant by keeping the seal of baptism, which Dr. Pusey takes so much pains to darken; and instead of guiding the reader "into all truth," by going first to the Scriptures to prove his point, and then coming down through the authorized and legitimate Fathers and their writings, to shew their coincidence with the same, he deludes and beguiles him by referring, not to the earliest Fathers and to their genuine productions, but to the most obscure writers, and to works as theirs which they never wrote. For this purpose he quotes even Hermas, and the apocryphal epistle ascribed to Clement of Rome, which the Professor, for the sake of gaining the good opinion of his

readers towards it, chooses to consider as the "probable" production of that first apostolic Father; and when he has done all, he has done nothing. That writer, as quoted by Dr. Pusey (70), says, " Of such as have not kept the seal (baptism), he saith, their worm dieth not.' He obviously means that the man who has not " kept the faith" of the gospel which he professed to believe, and to which at baptism both God and the believer set to their "seal," must perish.

We beg the reader to remark here again how Dr. Pusey has failed to prove his sense of John iii. 5, by tracing it from the Apostles to our Reformation. We have not discovered a single veritable instance, not even including Tertullian, which makes out his meaning of it.

Infants.

Much less has he succeeded in proving, for the two full centuries which have now passed over us, his assertion that "born of water and the Spirit" applies to infants, according to the fathers, "most effectually, directly, and universally;" when the truth is, we have never yet met with that text in application to the case of infants at all. There cannot be the least doubt but that infants were, from our Saviour's time, a part of his " kingdom," and that they, as well as adults, were introduced into it by baptism. But for a writer to put an unwarrantable "sense" upon a text of Scripture, and then boldly and roundly to declare that such has been always held to be its meaning in the Christian Church, from our Lord's days, and that his words, "water and the Spirit," apply "most effectually, directly, and universally," to infants, though no author has so applied his words for some hundred years, is really a liberty taken with the confidence of his reader which becomes no man living who is not infallible!

The reader, we presume, will think with us that it is unnecessary to pursue the interpretation of the Fathers, individually, any further. 1. Because the pursuit would

be interminable; and 2. Because we should only arrive at the same conclusion with each as we have arrived at with respect to Tertullian.*

1. The reader knows that the "conclusion" above spoken of is, that when the Christian Fathers speak, as they often do in very extravagant language, of " regeneration," "illumination," and "immortality," as blessings conferred by baptism, they must always mean, even when they do not say so, that "repentance whereby they forsake sin and heathenism," and "faith whereby they believe the promises of God made to them in that sacrament,” are implied and possessed by every person on whom they pronounce those blessings. And that,

2. Wherever repentance and faith are known or believed to exist, to such the aforesaid blessings attach, though baptism could not be attained.

3. Thus, therefore, attaching salvation, regeneration, and every gospel blessing, where the Scripture and our Church place them, i. e. on the internal change of heart to God, whether found at baptism or elsewhere.

To most of this even Dr. Pusey himself, however destructive it may be to his labours, gives his reluctant assent, when he admits that "baptism without faith un

We might very properly inquire here, why we should give this writer implicit confidence when he speaks as we have seen respecting the waters of baptism, while we are obliged to set aside his judgment respecting various other particulars? For instance, second marriages, which he, in mistake of Scripture, considered nearly as adultery;-his tradition respecting the unlawfulness, though he admitted that no Scripture forbad it, of a Christian soldier's wearing a crown of laurel. And, notwithstanding his singular talents and learning, his first joining the weak and illiterate Montanus, and when he had forsaken him, setting up a sect which was called after his " own name;"-a sect which the great Augustine afterwards tore up by the roots.

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But why should we talk of talents? For Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen, were men of the first-rate learning and abilities in their day, yet all of them, more or less, corrupted "the word of God" by their learning and philosophy, falsely so called ;" and thus gradually laid the foundation upon which subsequent writers, growing in corruption and decreasing in scriptural piety, built the Babel of "Anti-christ;" for the support of which, and to prevent or suspend its predicted, and we trust approaching downfall, Dr. Pusey and his brethren, we fear, are constructing a buttress, and wishing to base it (which God forbid !) on Protestant ground.

DR. PUSEY ANSWERED FROM HIMSELF.

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doubtedly will save none; and faith also without charity profiteth nothing.'

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The above are not isolated cases. Dr. Pusey argues the matter considerably at large, in more places than one; and either does not perceive, or hopes his reader will not perceive, that it digs up by the roots all his cant about regeneration" as " conveyed by baptism," and by baptism "exclusively;" when it turns out that by baptism he does not literally mean BAPTISM; but as his explanation implies he means "repentance from dead works" AND "faith," (issuing in baptism) "in the living God." Is it to be tolerated that writers should thus systematically delude their readers by terms which do not convey the genuine and true meaning which they appear, and seem intended to bear?

In explanation also of 1 Pet. iii. 21, baptism, in figure, like Noah's ark, "saveth us; not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God;" Dr. Pusey writes, "i. e. baptism, not an outward rite, but accompanied with faith, the baptized person answering with a good conscience to the inquiry made into his faith." (44.) That is, we are to understand when he professed to "believe in Christ to the saving of the soul" at his baptism.

And in note K. p. 220, in further pursuit of the same idea, he writes:

"This reference to the rite of interrogating candidates at baptism, as to their faith and their purpose in coming to holy baptism, appears to have been recognized by the Fathers generally, as St. Peter's meaning as questioning appears to imply some more formal interrogatory as

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* We may learn from the above admission that the Professor is obliged to leave it to be implied, that "baptism without faith" may be received. And he asserts that faith without charity profiteth nothing." It will then inevitably follow from the author's own words, that every baptism received without faith," yea, and a faith which "worketh by love," is " PROFITABLE" for " nothing."

Hence, also, forasmuch as Simon Magus's faith, which Dr. Pusey says he possessed, was not attended by charity, his " baptism” grounded upon it profited him "nothing ;" as St. Peter told him.

In the same place, where the Professor claims faith for Simon Magus, he again declares, that "the unbelieving adult could of course derive no present benefit from baptism." (171, 2.) And in p. 173 he speaks respecting such, that they "receive baptism to their hurt."

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