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the other. We have also to consider the important fact, that we can discover no difference between a baptized infant and one unbaptized; and that a Quaker may be a better man than a member of the Church of England. Then we must submit to be alarmed with a lamentable cry of "danger to the souls of men;" see Biddulph, p. 118.-to be frightened with a fancied resemblance to Popery, with a revival of the opus operatum, and even with the accusation of Antinomianism. Ibid. p. 126. Scott, ch. v. also ch. xii. and note, p. 225. All this is indeed very serious and very alarming, if it were not, at the same time, very silly and very irrelevant. The Deist tells us, You pretend to prove the truth of Christianity by an appeal to prophecy and miracles. I do not see the force of the argument from prophecy. I do not understand the particulars. The application is not only doubtful, but it is various; nor do I think it worth my while to estimate the sum: if there is much virtue in IT, it is made up of varying details, the sum can neither be accurate nor important. I reject miracles as an idle pretence, an odious imposition. I never saw a miracle. You never saw a miracle. The laws of nature are uniform. EXPERIENCE is against miracles, therefore no testimony can proye them. "The probability of the continuance of the laws of nature, is superior, in our estimation, to every other evidence, and to that of historical facts the best established." Edin. Rev. No. xlvi. p. 327. Therefore my experience being opposite to your history and convictions, I am right and you are wrong. We think we have made here no bad defence for the Deists, with the aid of a worthy Edinburgh reviewer of that truly candid and enlightened school. They probably will not thank us for our aid, for being already determined, they do not require it. It is of some value, however, and may still be useful, inasmuch as the same mode of argument, mutatis mutandis, is adopted by the party who deny the connection between baptism and regeneration. Expe rience especially is the grand criterion of judgment.
"But now, in point of fact, is any such striking difference of character to be generally or frequently traced between our children, who are baptized, and those children of dissenters, who grow up without baptism? Does any marked distinction between them appear, which we are warranted to ascribe to the enjoyment of baptism among one party, or the want of it in the other? or is it consistent with the avowed principles of Scripture to believe, that, among a number of persons, some are children of wrath,' and the others children of grace and heirs of eternal happiness,' while no perceptible difference can be pointed out in their spirit and character? Is this agreeable to the maxim, In Christ Jesus. neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a
new creature,' but faith which worketh by love? Is this exhi biting God as 'no respecter of persons?" or rather is not this falling precisely into the errors which proved fatal to the Jews?"Scott, p. 224.
We trust our statement will be found to be correct, and that it is evident that the experience of Mr. S. (applied in the same rambling and irregular manner as the experience of Deists is applied in reference to the evidence of miracles) is deemed sufficient to prove that there is no such connection between baptism and regeneration, as the Scriptures indicate and the Church asserts. Had the principles which we maintain any tendency to promote antinomianism, or to fix the confidence of our converts in the mere opere operato, an accusation which we shall do more than deny by and bye-still might we justly exhibit this rash use of experience as altogether inapplicable and delusive, and nothing were more easy than to shew that, as it has been applied to spiritual influence, it has led not accidentally but of necessity to the grossest errors in principle, and to the grossest immoralities in practice. In a note on the passage which we have quoted, Mr. S. asserts, that Dr. Mant's
"Doctrine respecting one Sacrament, a good deal resembles that of the Papists, respecting the other, or indeed respecting both.First, as transubstantiation requires us to believe contrary to the evidence of our senses, so this doctrine, concerning the great and wonderful changes produced in the very nature of those who are baptized, requires us to believe contrary to experience: and in both cases, the demand seems to be made upon us, equally without au thority of Scripture."
It does indeed strike us with no common astonishment, that Mr. S. does not perceive the immeasurable distance between the two things which he so confidently compares. The senses in the ordinary circumstances of perfect sanity cannot possibly deceive' us. Their report is true as the voice of God; for the arrangement by which they convey to us the knowledge of external objects is his work. (See an admirable, and, we presume, a new argument against transubstantiation in the article SUPPER of the Lord, in the Encyclopædia Britannica, third edition, written, we believe, by Bishop Gleig.) It betrays an almost incredible confusion of thought, to compare and consider as equivalent, the senses reporting on two pieces of bread or other matter; and the experience of Mr. Scott operating on, or examining two young persons, the one baptized and the other not; or any number of per sons of any age, and presuming to determine from his observa tion which he calls experience, the spiritual influence to which they have been or are subject.
If the baptized youth, or other person has been neglected in
his Christian education, or, through the force of temptation and of the seductions that are in the world, has fallen away from his Christian duty, his baptism, while he continues in that state, is of little value to him. It increases his guilt and his danger. But it is taking the subject matter in dispute for granted, to say that this person was never regenerated. It is, if possible, still more rash, and it is infinitely more unjust, on such a comparison as we can possibly make of two persons of regular lives, the one baptized and the other not; to venture to determine from our pretended experience how far either or both may or may not be subject to spiritual influence. The Gospel is at once plain and practical. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.Faith and baptism infer of necessary obligation purity of heart, and propriety of conduct. It is better to teach this simple lesson, than to dote about questions, and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings, &c. 1 Tim. vi. 4. 5. Let us instruct the baptized to add to their faith, virtue, &c.: He that believeth not, and whom, therefore, in the natural course of things, we cannot expect to be baptized, shall be damned;—let us warn him of his danger; instruct him, if we have opportunity, in his duty, and bring him, if we can to faith, and to baptism. In this way we have a rational and a Christian ground of procedure; and in the humble exercise of our duty, have every reason to expect the aid and the blessing of Heaven; but the presumptuous questions and endless distinctions respecting spiritual and baptismal regeneration and experience are in effect nothing better than mere fables ministering questions, rather than godly edifying. How often do they operate on heated imaginations, producing a mere form of godliness; aye, truly, (by their own acknowledgement we have the frequent proof) a mere form of vain words and groundless imaginations? How often do such presumptuous men creep into houses, and under the false form of mere verbal holiness, lead сарtive silly women, laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth? 1 Tim. iii. 5, 6, 7.
After the passage respecting the senses and experience, Mr. Scott adds a dash of very unbecoming odium on the priestly presumption of his opponents, which is falsely applied, and has, really, nothing to do with the question at issue; and he finishes his note with the sneering regret " that the practice once prevalent, has not been retained, of deferring baptism till the very article of death; that the receiver of such inestimable benefits may not be allowed the opportunity of forfeiting them again." We know no language sufficiently strong to reprove these unworthy, these scandalous arts of controversy. The
best reproof, perhaps, is that his opponents have never given the slightest ground for his calumnious insinuations, nor any occasion whatever to his odious sneers.
"Those who in the primitive Church put off their baptism till the time of their death, knew that baptism was a profession of holiness, and an undertaking to keep the faith, and live according to the commandments of Jesus Christ; and that as soon as ever they were baptized, that is, as soon as ever they had made profession to be Christ's disciples, they were bound to keep all the laws of Christ : and therefore that they deferred their baptism, was so egregious a prevarication of their duty, that as in all reason it might ruin their hopes, so it proclaimed their folly to all the world. For as soon as ever they were convinced in their understanding, they were obliged in their consciences. And although baptism does publish the profession, and is like the forms and solemnities of law; yet a man is bound to live the life of a Christian, as soon as ever he believes the doctrine and commandments of Christianity; for indeed he is obliged, as soon as he can use reason, or hear reason." Jer. Taylor's Ductor Dubitantium, book 2, chap. 3, rule xvi.
How different is the language of this venerable Bishop, when contemplating and confuting the very error with which Mr. S. falsely reproaches his brethren, from the petulant flippancy of the modern ministers of spiritual religion.
We have not yet heard the worst:
"To extinguish all true and spiritual religion among us; to reduce Christianity to a system of external distinctions; and to substitute for its humble, holy, vital spirit, that compound of selfrighteous pride and antinomian licentiousness, which characterised the Jewish Church, in its last and worst days; is to my apprehension, the direct tendency of such doctrines as we are contemplating." Scott, p. 226.
This bumble, holy, and vital spirited man proceeds to address those members of our Establishment, whom he thus outrageously insults; and to exhibit to their view the Jewish Church in the period of her approaching and well-merited dissolution, as, beacon to us (to them he doubtless means) to warn us (them) against the fatal tendency" of a false confidence, like that which those doctrines tend to generate in us (them), with a long tirade to the same effect. We should have much more respect than we have for men and ministers of a vital spirit, did we remark more frequently in their character, conduct and writings, that charity which thinketh no evil, and some portion of that meekness and modesty which are meant to distinguish the children of God. Mr Biddulph runs much the same course, not quite so riotously, with his coadjutor; and he too remarks with singular modesty,
The great day which is approaching, will show who are the true and best members of the orthodox apostolic Church of England." P. 137. The attack of Mr. Scott is rude, unchristian, calumnious to the most extravagant degree, and altogether without ground or provocation. The challenge of Mr. Biddulph is in the highest degree awful. We fear, and we deeply regret that it is not made in a Christian spirit.
It is indeed scarcely possible to consider it in any light, without feeling that the mind which conceived and uttered such an appeal in such circumstances was under the temporary dominion. at least of very gross and carnal presumption. Serious conviction there should be; we respect it in all men, however much they may differ from ourselves. We are persuaded, however, that we see here combined with it a spirit of reproach, and something like the triumph of certain superiority; never unquestionably more miserably misplaced than at the period of issuing a challenge so solemn, which will be so certainly fulfilled, and so unalterably decisive. With sentiments of the most solemn awe, with all the seriousness and sincerity of which we are capable, but not without fear and trembling; we accept his challenge, first for ourselves, unworthy as we feel ourselves to be, secondly for our calumniated brethren, for whom we feel the full glow of that Christian confidence which we dare not extend to ourselves, and lastly, for our principles, of the moral rectitude and Christian spirit of which we are certain. The meeting is indeed inevitable, even though Mr. B. had not entered his awful appeal.→ We shall all meet together on the appointed day. Let us not in the mean time cherish an uncharitable spirit. Let us not enjoy, even in the most silent anticipation, the sentiments of a carnal triumph; the poor and paltry triumphs of party will have no place there. Such feelings we cannot carry with us into the awful presence to which Mr. B. has ventured to cite us, or we carry them thither to our eternal loss. It is right that we be confident in our principles. Let it be our constant care to repose our confidence rightly. However great it may be, and however securely fixed, it ought also to be humble and meek; and humility and meekness instead of leading us to anticipate a carnal triumph (of no value in time, impossible in eternity) in the day of final retribution over those with whom we have contended in this our day of trial, will lead us to adopt, as our own, with all the energy of Christian feeling, and with all the glow of Christian charity, the admirable prayer of the greatest Prelate and Divine. of our day on a similar occasion, and with a similar reference to the awful period, when
"The last trumpet shall summon us to stand before our God