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mately connected with either the welfare or the ruin of the Christian church.
2. The Bishop of Lincoln has published his views of this Christian doctrine in a manner sufficiently explicit, and I shall give him credit for not being displeased with a candid examination of those views. His Lordship maintains, that baptism conveys justification--that faith without good works will not justify—that simply to profess faith in the Trinity, and to promise future obedience, is sufficient for justification. His assertions, on the first of these points, are: Baptism, administered according 'to the appointed form to a true believer, would convey justification; or, in other words, the baptized person would receive remission of ' his past sins, would be reconciled to God, and • be accounted just and righteous in his sight. Baptism would not only wash away the guilt
of all his former sins, both original and actual, ' and procure to him acceptance with God, but • it would also communicate a portion of divine grace, to counteract the depravity of his ' nature, and to strengthen his good resolutions.
Baptism was invariably the instrument, or "external form, by which justification was * conveyed.* ' It is the doctrine of our church,
* Refut. pp. 132, 133.
that baptism duly administered confers justifi'cation.'*
§ 3. The sentiment that baptisin washes away the guilt of sin, and communicates grace, has been examined before. We have now to consider its efficacy to convey justification. The expression itself is remarkable, ‘would
convey justification.' Elsewhere his Lordship very properly observes, "Justification is a * forensic term—to be justified before God,
signifies to be declared and accounted as just and righteous in his sight.'t Justification then is an act or declaration of God respecting a person; for, as St. Paul observes, “ It is God that justifieth.” To baptize is an act of man: but how the act of man can convey a future act of God, it is difficult to conceive. The prophets and apostles 'conveyed to the people, as a matter of testimony, what God had done, or was about to do; but when they performed miracles, or when miraculous effects followed certain acts or declarations of theirs, there would be, I conceive, no propriety in saying that the appointed sign conveyed the effect.
Even supposing baptism were invariably followed by justification as a consequent, it would be an erroneous mode of expression to say, that the
* Refut. p. 147.
+ Ibid. p. 98.
former conveyed the latter. And if it be said, that not the act of God is conveyed, but the privilege resulting from that act; then it is not justification itself, according to his Lordship’s own definition of it, but some other idea to which the term is vaguely applied. This, however, is of small moment compared with the sentiment here controverted.
§ 4. His Lordship requires, that baptism be * administered according to the appointed form.' Here it is but an act of justice, not to say liberality, to suppose, that the appointed form? refers not to hunian but divine legislation; not to any “form” drawn up and enjoined by men, but to that which is contained in the New Testament. It would be reflecting unmerited reproach on his Lordship's character, to suppose he insinuates, that none can administer baptism according to the form appointed in the New Testament, but those who administer it according to the form contained in the book of Common Prayer. Let it however be in any “ form” his Lordship pleases. It is of greater moment, in the present argument, that he supposes the adult candidate for baptism to be • a true believer;' a requisition, which, of course, excludes all hypocritical pretenders from a participation of spiritual blessings communicated by the ordinance. Let us now, with his
Lórdship, suppose a person to have been educated as a Jew or a Heathen, and suppose him, which was the case of every Jew and of every Heathen, to have been guilty of a variety of sins; and suppose him, by attending to the evidences of the truth of the gospel, to have been convinced that Jesus was the
Messiah, the promised Saviour of the world; 'such a person could not but feel contrition ' for the wickedness of his past life, and be ' anxious to avoid the punishment to which he ' was liable.'* It is not our province to say, here he must stop, until he is baptized. No: many, very many, among ‘Jews and Heathens, upon hearing revealed truth, have gone much further. There are many Christians who regard the baptism of infants as unscriptural, and of course their children grow up under Christian instruction, and attend the public ministry of the word, while unbaptized. We may then suppose what fact has often verified, that an unbaptized hearer of the gospel is brought to feel deep contrition, on account of his sins; to be truly penitent, so as to hate all sin; sincerely to deny himself, to take up
pluck out the right eye, and cut off the right hand” that offend; to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only and all - sufficient
* Refut, p. 132.
Saviour; to trust in him for salvation, as the prophet, priest, and king of his church; to believe with the heart unto righteousness; and to confess with the mouth unto salvation; to obey from the heart the heavenly call, and to resolve, by the assistance of divine grace, to render unreserved obedience to what God's word requires. We suppose
person not yet baptized; but only a candidate for baptism. He is not yet“ born of water,”—but is he therefore not "born of the Spirit?” In the face of so much evidence, so many merciful declarations, that God will pardon the penitent, accept the returning sinner, justify him that believeth in Jesus, who shall affirm, that this man lies in the pollution of sin, and under the load of guilt; that he is not accepted, but condemned, though he has fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before him; and that he is in this dreadful situation because he is not baptized, though made willing in the day of God's power to submit to every ordinance of divine appointment! One might think it impossible, not to say for a Christian divine, but for any one reading the scriptures, unattended with corrupt glosses, with a sincere desire to be rightly informed, to harbour any such thought
5. It is farther asserted by his Lordship,