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" that when thou deservedst perdition, but obtainedst salvation “ and honour, as if thou hadst done excellently,-how couldst “ thou be baptized again? In two ways then he shows the " thing to be impossible, and places the strongest last. First, " that one upon whom so great things had been bestowed, and “ who treacherously abandoned what had been given him, is
unworthy of being again renewed: secondly, that it is not “ possible that He should again be crucified: for this would be “ to put Him to an open shame. There is then no second
Baptism, none. But if there is, there is a third also, and a " fourth; and the former Baptism is annulled by each successive
one, and so on to infinity. And when he says, ' and having “ tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to
come,' he does not conceal this, (that there is no second Bap
tism) but almost expressly says it. For to live as Angels,“to stand in need of none of these earthly things,-to know " that our adoption guaranteeth to us the enjoyment of future
ages—to look to enter into that unapproachable sanctuary, “ this we learn (then) from the Spirit. But what are 'the powers " of the world to come' ? Life eternal, or an existence like the
Angels : of these things we received the earnest through faith “ from the Spirit. Tell me then, hadst thou been brought into “the royal palace, entrusted with all things therein, and then betrayed all, wouldst thou again be entrusted with them ?” • What then?” he asks, “is there according to the Apostle, no repentance? There is repentance, but there is no second Baptism.” And he then describes the repentance whereby Christ might again be formed in us, a repentance,-far different from the easy notions of many in modern times,-through “ condemnation of sin, confession, deep and abiding and abased “ humility, intense prayer, many tears by night and day, much
almsgiving, abandonment of all anger, universal forgiveness, “ bearing all things meekly”—so that, beyond the ordinary Christian graces, he seems to think that one who after falling from Baptismal grace, should ever be restored, should not look upon himself as in the rank of those who had kept the white robe of Baptism undefiled, but should live continually the life of Penitents. And this is not Chrysostom's opinion only, but that of the ancient Church, that one who shall have fallen grievously after Baptism, though he may " by God's grace arise again and "amend his life," (Art. 16.) cannot be in the same condition, as if he had never so fallen. So also in Scripture. Two great branches of our Blessed Saviour's office are set forth to us, His death and His intercession-His death, the merits of which are applied to us in Baptism, as containing the remission of all past sin, the death of the old man, the imparting of a new nature, the quickening and renewing our souls, the placing us in a state of salvation, as saith St. Paul "God hath set forth Christ Jesus “ to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His "righteousness for the remission of the sins that are past," the former sins' (Tv apoyeyovórwv åpaprnudrwy) (Rom. ii. 25,)" the sins of the times of ignorance :” (Acts xvii. 30.) His intercession for sins into which through the infirmity of the flesh, though Christians, we may yet fall. " For these," St. John, who is manifestly speaking of the sins of true believers, saith, “ we have an “ Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He “is the propitiation for our sins ;" but we have no account in Scripture of any second remission, obliteration, extinction of all sin, such as is bestowed upon us by " the one Baptism for the " remission of sins." And that such was the view of the antient Church, appears the more from the very abuse which we find derived from it; that many, namely, delayed continually the Sacrament of Baptism (much as persons now do the other Sacrament), because, after they should have received it, they should no more have such full remission. And this unholy frame of mind the Fathers endeavoured to correct, not by denying that they therein held truly, but by setting forth the uncertainty of life, (that so perchance persons who thus neglected Baptism might miss it altogether, the unworthiness of such a frame of mind, which would desire merely to escape punishment, not to obtain reward or a Father's love,—the ungodliness of thus shrinking from labouring in God's vineyard; but they do not deny, nay they urge as a ground of very careful and wary walking, that the Baptismal purity, if once soiled, cannot be altogether restored : “ for that there is no second regeneration'” (i. e. no second Baptism,) " no re-formation, no restoration to our former
1 Comp. 2 Pet. i. 9, “ having fallen into a forgetfulness of the purification of his old sins” (tūv zálai aŭtoũ å papriūv). ČEcumenius paraphrases, (comparing St. James i. 22.) “ For such a man, having known that he was washed from a multitude of sins, in that he was cleansed by Holy Baptism, ought to have known, that having been cleansed he received holiness also, and so should watch always to preserve that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.' But he forgat it.” Justin Martyr, Apol. 1. $ 61. p. 80. ed. St. Maur. “ That we may not remain subject to slavery of the will and ignorance, but may have free choice and knowledge, and may in the water obtain remission of the sins, which we have before committed, (αφέσεώς τε αμαρτιών υπέρ ών προημάρτομεν τύχωμεν εν τω ύδατι) the name of God is named over him who wishes to be egenerated, and hath repented (ueravonoavtı) for his misdeeds.”
state, yea, though we seek this most earnestly, with many
groans and tears; whence there with difficulty (as I at least “judge) comes over a certain healing process, which leaves a
scar. For this healing does come over (and would that we could “ efface the scars also ! since I too need much mercy), yet is it “ better to stand in need of no second purification, but to abide by " the first, which is, I know, common to all and without toil"(common as the breath of heaven, and diffusion of light, and s changes of the seasons, and contemplation of God's works) " and imparted with an equal portion of faith. For it is a fearful
thing to bring upon ourselves a laborious for an easy cure; “and having cast aside God's pitying grace, to indebt ourselves
to chastisement, and set reformation against sin. For how “ great tears shall we bring before God, that we may equal the “ fountain of Baptism”? This, I am aware, will appear to many in these days a novel doctrine ; to some it perhaps may even seem to trench upon the efficacy of our Saviour's Death : one should be much grieved to perplex any one on such a subject as this: yet better were some temporary perplexity, than that we
1 Ουκ ούσης δευτέρας αναγεννήσεως, ουδε αναπλάσεως, ουδε εις το αρχαίoν αποκαταστάσεως. . St. Gregory of Nazianzum. Orat. 40, de S. Baptismo, t. i. p. 641. ed. Paris. add Cæsarius Arelat. Hom. xlii. quoted by Bp. Taylor, Effect of Repentance. Sect. 5. § 58.
should go on, teaching people to lean on those merits, in a way unauthorised by God. Since then assuredly we have no Scriptural authority for such views, it may be useful, in order to remove some of the prejudice which lies against a forgotten doctrine, to adduce some passages of other Fathers, men who loved and reverenced their Saviour, who were engaged in defending the truth of the Gospel, and the first of whom was one of the greatest instruments whom God ever raised up
pure and holy transmission. St. Athanasius' then says on this same passage: “ The Apostle saith not. it is impossible to repent;' “ but impossible on the ground of repentance to renew us.
And “ these are very different. For he who repenteth, ceaseth indeed “ from sinning, but retaineth the scars of his wounds : but he who “ is baptized, puts off the old man, and is renewed, having been " born again by the grace of the SPIRIT." St. Cyril of Jerusalem has the same metaphor and the same doctrine. In opposition to the heretics, who spoke of the body as of a mere outward garment, whose defilements affect not ourselves, he says , As a wound " which has made deep progress in the body, though it be healed,
yet the scar remains, so sin also wounds the soul and body, “ and the marks of the scars remain in all: they are removed “ wholly from those only who receive the bath.'
Former “wounds then of soul and body God heals through Baptism, but
as to the future let us keep ourselves with all diligence ; that “having preserved this garment of the body pure, we may not, by “ a little defilement and self-indulgence, or any other sin, forfeit “everlasting salvation.” And in like manner Epiphanius', even when writing against the error of the Novatians, still insists, “ In truth it is impossible to renew those who have been once “ renewed and have fallen away. For neither can CHRIST be “ born again that He may be crucified for us, nor may any one
crucify again the Son of God, who is not again to be crucified, nor can any one receive a second Baptism, for there is one Baptism and one renewal. But immediately afterwards the
" holy Apostle, healing the Church, and caring for its members, “ subjoins the cure of these things, saying 'I am persuaded better " things,' &c. (Heb. vi. 9.) You see how absolutely he declared " that the renewal cannot take place a second time: but still “ did not exclude from salvation those who yet repented ; but “ declared that they were yet allied to it, and had God as the “ helper of their good deeds, when they repented most thoroughly “ of their offences, and turned and forsook them.” And not in the case of gross sin only, but of the infirmities of good Christians, they held that the scar still remained, even towards the end of life; to be effaced only by continued repentance to the very last. “ I think,” says Basil', " that those noble combatants of “God, who have during their whole life wrestled thoroughly “ with the invisible enemies, after they have escaped all their
persecutions, and are come to the end of life, are examined by “ the ruler of this world, that if they be found to have wounds “ from their contests, or any stain or mark of sin, they may be
a while detained [in life]; but if they be found unwounded " and unstained, as being invincible and free, they have their
rest given them by Christ.”
The Fathers urge the difficulty of the cure of sin after Baptism, at the same time that they urge men to seek it: they set side by side the possibility and the pains of repentance : they urge against the Novatian heretic, that there is still “ mercy with God, that He may
be feared :" they urge this truth against our own fears, and the insinuations of the evil one, who would suggest hard and desponding thoughts of God, in order to keep in his chain those more energetic spirits, who feel the greatness of their fall, and would undergo any pains whereby they might be restored : but the Antient Church consulted at the same time for that more relaxed and listless sort, (of whom the greater part of mankind consist) who would make the incurring of eternal damnation, the breaking of Covenant with God, the forfeiture of His Spirit, the profanation of His Temple (ourselves) a light thing and easy to be repaired. Therefore, while they set forth the greatness of
| Hom. in Psalm vii., t. i. p. 99. ed. Bened.