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• Lord, God of God, Light of Light, Very God
of Very God;' and, to crown all—' Of one fub
fance with the Father. When these honours were going ; the Holy Ghost was not forgotten, but is stiled- The Lord and giver of Life, who • proceedeth from the Father and the Son; and • who with the Father and the Son together, is ' worshipped and głcrified. Then comes the Athanafian, or rather the Anti-Christian Creed, thus prefaced Whosoever will be saved : before s all things it is necessary that he hold the Catho
lic faith. Which faith except every one do I keep whole and undefiled ; without doubt he • fhall perish everlastingly, and thus concluded - This is the Catholic faith, which except a
man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.' And what is this Catholic Faith, upon which our falvation depends ? That there is a Father ; a Son ; and a Holy Ghost : all Gods, co-eternal and co-equal: and yet there is but one God. I do not find in myself any powers of reasoning to comprehend this.-- A belief is not in my own power, nor can it be enforced by human authority ; more especially where reason does not suggest the neceffity, or expediency of even a cool afsent or submission to the dogma. Can it be supposed that the God of truth and knowledge is pleased, when the creature he hath forined with a limited understanding, pretends to believe he knows not what? Much less can it be supposed that he re
quires such professions. If he does not pity the weakness; he must despise the duplicity of those, who, in so folemn a manner, make the second, third and fourth responses in the Litany; or the declaration and prayer contained in the Collect upon Trinity Sunday. And how is it, that to accompany the last, two portions of Scripture are chosen, Revelations ch. iv, and John ch. iii, neither of which have the least affinity to the subject? The first speaks of twenty-four crowned elders ; four itrange beasts ; and seven stranger lamp spirits, &c. the last records the story of Nicodemus, upon which I have already commented pages 216 and 218; and this, incourse, brings on the subject of baptism. Having invented original fin, (the absurdity of which I have thewn pages 244 and 245) they, upon this unfounded opinion, have founded the necessity of baptism. Being, they say, ' born in fin, and the children • of wrath : we are hereby made the children of ' grace. The ceremony begins~ Dearly beo loved, for as much as all men are conceived and s born in fin, and that our Saviour Christ faith,
None can enter into the kingdom of God, ex• cept he be regenerate, and born a new of water • and of the Holy Ghost, &c. Upon this introduction, I have two observations to make. If all men are conceived in fin, and we reason by analogy ; all men are begotten by the devil : Mary was conceived and born in fin; she, at a
proper proper age according to nature, was told by at angel, that she should conceive and bare a Son! and when she asked- How shall this be, seeing "I know not a man?' She was answered—-The 6. Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the S power of the Highest shall overshadow thee : " therefore also that holy thing which thall be "born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.' Here we find the analogy doth not hold, and in course the axiom is defective. The second obfervation is; that all quotations of words spoken by Jesus, ought to be literally exact; for if your premises are untrue ; yộur deductions from those premises will be false in course. In the present case, Jesus uses neither the words regeneration, or Holy Ghost : neither doth it appear that baptism was meant; had it been so, the use of that word would have cleared part of the ambiguity, and Nicodemus would have éomprehended something. As it stands, (page 216) he appears to have been left in total ignorance of what Jesus meant by saying 'Except a man be • born of water and of the spirit, he cannot en' ter into the kingdom of God. I apprehend the word born, milled him ; and that he could not divest himself of the idea it first conveyed. Upi on the whole; this baptismal prop, if it is one, appears weak and insufficient: and how Noah and his family in the ark swimming on the water; or the Israelites walking on dry land between the sea
walls, were figures of baptism ; I know not. The poor Egyptians, who were so effectually drenched in endeavouring to recover what had been fraudently taken from them; were fomething nearer the matter. In the introduction aforesaid, the priest requests his audience to call upon God. That he will grant to this child that ' thing which by nature he cannot have, that he "may be baptized with water and the Holy ' Ghost, and received into Chrift's holy church, :S and be made a lively member of the saine.'
By this we might be led to suppose that the child was to be baptised with water and the Holy Ghost, or at least with water, by the priest : but to our fure prise we find, in the following joint prayer, the priest and people requesting that • God would
look upon this child, wash him, and fan&tify • him with the Holy Ghost, that he being de' livered from thy wrath, &c. modestly conclud. “ing--that finally he may come to the land of • everlasting life, there to reign with thee, &c.' An unbeliever might exclaim-Holy, holy, holy impudence!
In the following prayer, we find these words 6 We call upon thee (God) for this infant, that he • coming to thy holy baptism may receive re• miffion of his fins by spiritual regeneration.' This, if it means any thing, must mean fins committed in a former state, agreeable to the doctrine of pre-existence. Original fin it cannot mean' ;
as in that cafe the fin was not bis : and an infánt, being incapable of committing fin, in course it could not be bis, how then could he, but in a preexistent state, have incurred the wrath of God, from which, it seems, he is, in this ceremony, released by God himself. The two following prayers introduce and apply (not very happily) the story recorded by St. Mark relative to the young children who were brought to Jesus that he might touch them. His disciples, not seeing the utility of this; rebuked those who brought them ; upon which their master said Suffer the little * children to come unto me, for of such is the
kingdom of God, adding-Verily I say unto o you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of • God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.' By this it appears that those children were 'not born in fin, or under the wrath of God; for in that case, of such could not be the kingdom of God. It cannot be pretended that they coming to a holy baptism, had received remission of their fins by spiritual regeneration; as in that case the ceremony would have preceded the speech ; but it followed it, thus And he took the u • his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed
them.'. Not a word of baptism, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, is here mentioned; had the first been intended, the others assuredly would have been introduced to establish a precedent of the form · which, Matthew tells us, he afterwards com