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real Spiritual birth had taken place in Baptism, and following the hint given in St. Paul's language, some of the Fathers do not shrink from calling the restoration through the Church, by a hearty and complete repentance, "a sort of second Regeneration," or the like, which might express the greatness of the gift, without trenching upon Baptismal grace. Thus St. Chrysostom', paraphrasing the Apostle's words : " Seest thou his fatherly

tenderness? seest thou a trouble worthy of an Apostle ? seest “ thou what a bitter cry he uttereth, bitterer far than of a woman “ in travail? Ye have corrupted, he saith, the image: ye have “ lost your kindred character; ye have perverted the form (im"printed on you). Ye have need of another regeneration, and “ re-formation : and yet you, abortive and outcast fruit though

ye be, I call children. Yet he doth not say this, but in other

terms, for he spares them.” And St. Jerome ? : “ This also “ must be considered, that he who, through sin, had ceased after

a way to be a man, through repentance is conceived again by “ his instructor, and it is promised that Christ may again be “ formed in him. This," he adds, “ against the Novatians, “ who deny that they whom sin has once broken in pieces,

can be re-formed."

To the like effect is the glowing language of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons, with respect to those, who in the heat of persecution had denied Christ; " through their (the mar

tyrs') endurance, the immeasurable mercy of CHRIST was “ displayed. For, through the living the dead were made

alive; and the martyrs procured mercy for those who were no martyrs. And there was much joy in the Virgin Mother (the Church), receiving alive those whom she had cast out

For through these (the martyrs), most of those “ who had denied were received again into the womb, and “ conceived, and re-quickened, and learned to confess; and now “ being alive and new braced, approached the judgment-seat :


as dead.


1 Ad loc. t. x. p. 708. ed. Bened.
2 Ad loc. t. vii. p. 467. ed. Vallars.

3 Ap. Euseb. H. E. L. 5. c. 1. See the whole translated Tracts, 1834, Records of the Church, No. VI.

“God, who willéth not the death of a sinner, but'dealeth gra

ciously towards repentance, pouring a healthful juice within “ them." In like manner St. Clement of Alexandria'?, relating the restoration of the robber-chief through the self-devotion and earnestness of the aged Apostle St. John, (already referred to,) describes him"as asking pardon, as he could, with groans,

and baptized a second time with tears:" St. John " solemnly

declaring, that he had obtained pardon for him from the “ Saviour, and kissing his right hand as having been cleansed " by repentance [it had been stained with blood), brought him “ back to the Church; and interceding with abundant prayers, " striving with and for him, by constant fastings, and charming " his mind with various words [of Scripture], departed not until “ he had restored him to the Church : having given,” says St. Clement, " a mighty pattern of true repentance, a mighty proof “ of re-generation, a trophy of the hoped-for resurrection, when, " at the end of the world, the angels shall receive the 'true "penitents into everlasting habitations.” And this history St. Clement relates, “ in order that men may see, that a good hope " of salvation yet remains, on true repentance :” and this repentance he describes, in contrast with the complete gift at Baptism? “ God gives remission of the former sins : of subsequent, each

must obtain it for himself. And this is to repent, -to condemn " the past, to beg oblivion of them from the Father, who alone " is able to make things done undone, and by His mercy and the “ dew of His SPIRIT, to efface former sins. He who hath lived “ill, having repented, may afterwards overpower the evil inter

course of a long season, by the season after repentance. But “ much diligent care is needed, as careful diet and greater heed are “ for bodies which have laboured under a long disease.” And so again, when shewing, that the law which commanded the death of the adulteress was an image of the Gospel which slays the sin, he says, "the law agrees then with the Gospel; for the adulteress * liveth to sin, but is dead to the commandments ; but she, who “ hath repented, having been, as it were, born again by the change of her mode of life, hath a new birth of her life;

| Quis dives salvetur, vers. fin.: also ap. Euseb. H. E. L. iii. c. 23. 2 § 40.

3 Strom. L. ii, fin.

the “ former adulteress being dead, and she who has been born by

repentance coming again to life.” Since he does not directly speak of Baptism, (which gives in deed a new life,) but of repentance only, he uses a qualifying and lower expression, corresponding to the lower degree of restoration, “ being, as it “ were, born again.” The

very fewness of the passages ', (for I am not aware that there are any more), in which the Fathers, even in this limited way, venture to speak of restoration upon repentance, as a sort of new birth,--the very diffidence with which they speak of it in itself,--the immensity of the mercy, which they view in it, might well be an admonition to us to beware how we familiarize ourselves to consider it as the ordinary course of God's dealings ; the general rule, and a sort of ordeal, which every one or most must go through. There was more piety, more holiness, more gratitude, more reverence, more loyalty, in the view of our forefathers, who seized upon it as a plank, left in the shipwreck of men's souls, to save them that they perish not; but still took shame, that the voyage, presumptuously entered upon, contrary to God's command, had been “ with hurt, and much damage, not only of the ship and lading, but also of their lives."

Many perhaps will be ready to say, If this be so, do we not undergo a loss, in that Baptism is administered unto us, while we are Infants, before the commission of actual sin ? and had it not been better for uś, that it had been delayed until we had come to ourselves, and resolved for ourselves to serve God? so might we have obtained, at once, a complete remission of all our actual sins, without this careful and ever-to-be-renewed repentance ! If by this is meant, that it had been better, when any one was living in heathenish sins, not living to God, but “ living “ in pleasure,” and “dead while he lived,” and “ without God in “ the world,” that he had been in fact, as well as in life, a Heathen,

1 It is observable, that Suicer, who would be well inclined to find passages speaking of regeneration as distinct from Baptism, and even puts this as the primary meaning of walıyyevegia, quotes this last instance only.


this is true : for he would have been sinning against less light, less powerful influences of God's SPIRIT ; he would have done less despite to the Spirit of Grace, and not wilfully have broken his Covenant with God. But if by this complaint, a person means to throw the blame off himself upon his Parents who brought him to be baptized in Infancy, or the Church, which has commanded Infant-Baptism, then he knows neither himself nor the ordinance of GOD :--not himself; for what ground has he to think that if he had not been put thus early in possession of the privileges of Baptism, and so been entitled to God's Spirit struggling within him, checking him, goading him, recalling him to himself, setting before him a broken Covenant, and God's wrath, how does he know that he ever should have repented ? and not rather have gone on, (as many thousands of those who have at any time not been admitted into Christ's Church by Baptism as Infants,) still putting it off until “ a more convenient season,” still wishing to reserve this complete remission to cover the sins which they had not yet resolved to part with, until the Devil should have so tied and bound him with these habits of delay, that he could not extricate himself, but died at last in sin, unbaptized, and so without the Covenant of God or the seal of pardon? Such was the case formerly, when timid and unbelieving and worldly parents did not bring their children to Baptism, and when half-converts admitted the truth of the Gospel, but would not undertake its obligations. “ This delay," says St. Basil 1, utters no other “ language than this, 'Let sin first reign in me, then, at some “ future time, the Lord also shall reign : I will yield my members “ instruments of unrighteousness unto iniquity, then will I yield “ them instruments of righteousness unto God! Just so did “ Cain also offer sacrifice unto God.'” “ If," again says St. Gregory of Nazianzum? “ constantly passing by 'to-day,' you

reserve for yourself 'to-morrow,' deceived into these petty “ delays by the evil one, as is his wont : • Give me the present, “ to God the future: to me youth, to God old age : to me the “ time of pleasures, to Him that of imbecility :' how great is " the danger around thee, how many unexpected accidents

| Homil. Exhort. in $. Baptismo g 5.

2 Orat. 40 in S. Baptismo § 14.

may destroy thee !" St. Gregory had then to exhort persons' “ to trust their old age at least with this purifying (of Bap

tism). Why fearest thou the sins of youth, in advanced age “ and at thy last gasp

? or waitest thou to be washed as a corpse (then not an object of pity, more than of disgust)? or longest " thou after the relics of pleasure, thyself a relic of life?" And do men,

who have fallen into the devil's snares in the one way, think that they should have escaped them in the other ? that they, who have sinned against the means of

grace, should, without those means of grace, have recovered from sin ? that they who have broken the Covenant, which God would have enabled them to keep, would, if they had not been brought into it, have willingly put themselves under its yoke? They may see the result, either in these cases of the antient Church, or, in this very day, among that sect, which delays Baptism. How many among those who are educated in this sect, (for I speak not of those, who, having been baptized as infants, join it in mere ignorance,) how many still delay Baptism year by year, until they die, still strangers to the covenant of promise, and so, as they were ' by

nature, children of wrath ? !" St. Ambrose well and concisely speaks upon this point : “ Repentance then is a blessing, and but " for it, all would put off the grace of Baptismal washing to old

age, to whom it were a sufficient answer, that it is better to “ have what I may repair than not to have wherewith I may be


1 Orat. 40 in S. Baptismo, § 16. 2 “ If Christ himself, which giveth salvation, do require Baptism, it is not for us, that look for salvation, to sound and examine Him, whether un

baptized man may be saved, but seriously to do that which is required, and “ religiously to fear the danger which may grow by the want thereof. Had “ Christ only declared His will to have all men baptized, and not acquainted

us with any cause why Baptism is necessary, our ignorance in the reason “ of that He enjoineth, might perhaps have hindered somewhat the forward

ness of our obedience thereunto; whereas now being taught that Baptism is

necessary to take away sin, how have we the fear of God in our hearts, if “ care of delivering men's souls from sin do not move us to use all means " for their Baptism ?” Hooker Eccl. Pol. v. $ 60.

3 De Pænitentia L. ii. c. 11.

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