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several texts of Scripture have been misinterpreted to uphold this doctrine; nor can I even pretend, in these limits, to consider all those passages on which the Church founds her doctrine of baptismal regeneration. I shall rather principally endeavour to prove the countenance which this doctrince receives from the text, and to shew that our Saviour therein represents Baptism as a rite of importance, adequate to the solemnity with which he finally established it as the initiatory rite of his religion.

Previously, however, to my entering upon the Scriptural arguments in support of this doctrine, it may be expected that I should not assume, that it is the doctrine of our Church",

In the Appendix a few texts are considered, which appear to be much relied upon by those, who deny baptismal regeneration. The remarks upon them are loosely thrown together, being merely extracts from notes, which the writer of these Sermons had collected, with an intention of taking a general view of this controversy. A perusal of Bishop Bethell's work, however, shewed him, there was little or nothing left to be said upon the subject. Some will perhaps smile at the idea of beginning to collect materials on such a subject, without having seen this comprehensive treatise. But they should remember, that a country curate has not ready means of access to modern books, and is not much in the way of hearing the character, and contents of the literary productions of the day.

u I shall however offer a few observations on the collect for this day. Its obvious import would, I am persuaded, lead any unbiassed man, to understand that the congregation are

but offer some proofs of its being so. But upon this head, in my opinion, little need be

therein taught to speak of themselves as already regenerate, and to pray that they might daily be renewed. Some passages, however, have been set forth, in which the word "being," coupled with other terms, is used prospectively, and, it is argued, may therefore in the phrase, "being regenerate," by analogy be construed in the same sense. The utmost, that these passages could prove (even were the language of our baptismal offices less explicit) would be, that "being" does not necessarily refer to the past. However, a passage may be adduced, which incontrovertibly decides the sense of the Church in the phrase "being regenerate," or " born again." In the office for the public baptism of infants, the third collect, (which is then offered before baptism) has these words; "Give thy Holy Spirit to this infant, that he may be born again, and made an heir of everlasting salvation." In the office for the private baptism of infants, the same collect is appointed to be used, but with a very remarkable alteration in the above passage, because here the collect is used after baptism. Instead of praying, that the child "may be born again,” we are now to pray that "being born again he may continue," &c.

It is the same collect, with the alteration of these words to adapt it to the change, which has taken place in the situation of the child.

If words can make any thing intelligible, the framers of our offices use the words, "being regenerate," in a past sense, and distinctly teach us to pray for the Holy Spirit after baptism, that "being born again, he may continue thy servant," &c. In like manner, in the collect for Christmas-day, every baptized person is directed, to pray that, "we, being regenerate," &c. may daily be renewed," to enable us to continue God's servants, and attain his promises.

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The Bishop of Winchester, in his refutation of Calvinism, (page 95) has given an important caution to students in divinity respecting the extended and less accurate sense, in which some writers, whose tenets were not Calvinistic, have used the

urged. Let any impartial man only read the offices for baptism and confirmation, and ask himself whether, according to the plain tenor of them, the Church does not consider regeneration as accompanying baptism rightly administered. After having attentively considered the attempts which have been made

term regeneration. This incautious application of the word has probably led our excellent Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, to denominate the collect for Christmas-day, a prayer for regeneration. It appears, however, to be rather a prayer for renovation; and that our liturgy and articles, plainly speak of baptism as the means of regeneration, has been demonstrated by Dr. Laurence, in his Bampton Lectures, and particularly in his two tracts; in the latter of which, the Rev. John Scott is exhibited in a most disastrous attempt to enter the lists against Dr. L.

The late Rev. Thomas Scott, indeed, adverting to these tracts, has the following observation, "Nay, I think he, Dr. Laurence, has, on his principles, acted judiciously: for something plausible (though not convincing) may be advanced, in support of his doctrine, from the words of our forms skilfully managed."

Now I cannot, for my part, see any skill requisite, to discover, that the Church refers to a benefit already received, when she teaches the Minister to say, 66 seeing that this child is regenerate, let us give thanks," and also, accordingly directs the congregation to return thanks "that it hath pleased him to regenerate," &c. To prove the contrary does, according to the common mode of interpretation, seem to require some skill, and I think more skill, than falls to the share of any man, who cannot prove that black is white.

The term plausible, appears to me applicable to Dr. L.'s work, in almost the same degree, as it is to one of Euclid's axioms. If any man can doubt the sense of our Church let him read that plausible work.

to explain away the clear and obvious sense of these formularies of our Church, the impression produced upon my mind has been, that they must have come to the consideration of the question with a very strong bias upon their mind, who could expect their cause to be supported by the distortion of the perspicuous, simple and forcible language in which the compilers of our liturgy have there expressed themselves. The following observations of Bp. Marsh, will, I think, harmonize with the conclusions of any man, who reads the offices of baptism with no other view, than that of seeking their obvious meaning.

"There is no possible artifice, by which the words of our baptismal services can be distorted from their real meaning. In the words of our public baptism of infants, the priest thus addresses the congregation, immediately after the baptism is completed. Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is by baptism regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's church, &c.' And the thanksgiving, which immediately follows, begins thus, We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit.' Unless therefore the expression, it hath pleased God to regenerate is synonymous with the expression, it shall please


God to regenerate,' unless the past is the same with the future, it is impossible to deny, that they, who wilfully and deliberately detach regeneration from baptism, impugn it in one of our Holy Sacraments*."

Let us now proceed to the consideration of

our text.

Upon comparing the two verses, in which the phrases, "born again," and "born of water and of the Spirit," occur, we shall discover strong indications, that our Saviour spoke of " being born of water and of the Spirit as connected, and contemporaneous events, that is to say, contemporaneous in the degree of cause, and effect'. For "born of

* Marsh's Lectures, Part 1st, Lecture xix. p. 12.

'It may be thought barely necessary to guard that expression; but such captious advantages have been taken in this controversy, that it may be as well to state, that I do not mean to speak of water as the efficient cause of regeneration, but merely as the appointed means of its conveyance. I observe in Scott's remarks upon the Refutation of Calvinism, several attempts to affix this error upon the Bishop of Winchester. No man whose candour is not affected by the eagerness of controversy, can read his lordship's work and seriously believe that he attributes regeneration to water as the efficient cause, or in other words to the opus operatum. With what degree of fairness it has been attempted to charge his lordship with this doctrine, let the following extract from his work declare.

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Regeneration, then, in its true sense, signifies an inward effect produced by the Holy Ghost, through the means of bap


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