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they deduce from scripture usage.* In order to form that “ new man" which consists in knowledge, faith, hope, and love, humility, meekness, patience, and all holy tempers exercised by true Christians--the word and ordinances of God, as well as his Holy Spirit, are necessary. But these means are not like mechanical instruments, producing an effect on the human mind irrespective of its own choice; since it is a plain fact, that means identically the same, produce effects directly opposite. Properly speaking, the means are objects proposed to the view of the mind, and occasions afforded to excite and draw forth into exercise the divine life. And thus baptism may be (but not without the voluntary concurrence of the subject) the means of this regeneration; because it may
be the occasion of forming knowledge, faith, charity, &c. in a mind born of the Spirit. But then, on the same ground, this kind of regeneration may also immediately succeed the use of the Lord's Supper, preaching, reading, or any other means of grace.
§ 10. The Calvinists do not confound Regeneration, in any sense of the term, with indefectible grace.' If at any time they use the word indefectible' as a property of grace, they
* Col. iii. 10.
distinguish between the act of generating grace as a principle of life, and its continuance without defection, by divine support.-It is time, however, to advert to some other
adduced by his Lordship to prove that regeneration means baptism-' a single act performed upon every individual.'
§ 11. “Begotten again unto a lively hope." These words of Saint Peter, according to his Lordship, relate to baptism. Why he should think so, it is difficult to say; since there appears nothing either in the words themselves or in the context to support that conclusion. « Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power
of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.”+ In scripture, the word Hope is used to express either an exercise of mind in reference to some future good promised, or the object itself which is hoped for, or the ground on which that hope rests; and, if I mistake not, in every place where the word
i i Pet. i. 3.
+ Ver. 2-5.
is used, it may be naturally referred to some one of these acceptations. The words of Peter, however," lively hope," seem very clearly to express an exercise of mind, without a figure. For the epithet “ lively” is inapplicable to any other; and the ground of hope immediately follows, “ the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Then is expressed immediately the object of hope, an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, &c.” And he who had “begotten them again,” or regenerated them, to this lively hope, was God. In short, Saint Peter blesses God for preparing an inheritance in heaven for such Christians as are kept by his power through faith unto salvation; and for revealing to them the foundation on which they may confidently rest their expectation of it, the resurrection of Christ; and finally, according to the order of end and means, that he had regenerated them to a lively expectation of obtaining the inheritance.
§ 12. Regeneration, the immediate effect of which was “a lively hope,” was from “ the abundant mercy of God” principally in three
respects. In the first place mercy prepared the blessing hoped for; secondly, mercy afforded the pledge, which is contained in the gospel; and, thirdly, mercy bestowed the principle which is begotten in the heart. And in each of these respects it
is “ abundant.” The blessing is of inestimable worth; an inheritance, a kingdom, an eternal weight of glory. The pledge is inconceivably precious, the son of God in his humiliation and exaltation, accompanied with the ordinances, the promises, and the oath of that God who cannot lie. And the principle is abundantly efficacious, when the mind contemplates the blessings and the pledge, the object and the foundation, to beget in it a lively, vigorous hope, that maketh not ashamed; unto which hope the soul is thus regenerated.
§ 13. According to his Lordship’s interpretation, however, these expressions,“ begotten again unto a lively hope,” relate to baptism! True indeed, a man may be said, figuratively, to be born of water, or regenerated by water, into a relation to God and Christ, and his church, to new privileges and obligations. True indeed, baptism is a sign and seal of the New Testament: but are not millions of human beings regenerated in this figurative sense, without a lively hope?” Were not many adult converts actually possessed of it before they were baptized? Did they not previous to their baptism contemplate the object and the basis of their expectation, which excited in them a.“ lively hope?” Did they not profess, as candidates for baptism, that they had
renounced, as well as that they would continue to renounce, all earthly and sensual expectations inconsistent with that blessed hope which they possessed? And as to baptized infants, how can they be said, without perverting the use of language, to be regenerated by baptism to a lively hope? They have no knowledge of those objects and foundations whereby this hope is excited, --- and are
and are as destitute of Christian hope, as of Christian knowledge, of faith in Christ, or of the fear and love of God? That they are capable of regeneration, indeed, is admitted, as well as of remission, justification, holiness of nature, and heavenly blessedness: and we reflect with pleasure, that the holy scriptures afford many encouraging intimations relative to the salvation of dying infants-whether baptized or not. Though they have no hope, we have hope concerning them.
« Dead in sins, and quickened together with Christ.”* These expressions, his Lordship asserts, relate also to baptism. Let the context be examined, that peradventure baptism may be found. “ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together
* Eph. ii. 5.