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lation to it, which have been summed up by the Roman Catholic bishop Hays, in his Abridgement of the Christian Doctrine, approved by archbishop Maucal ; and some of them are as follows : “Baptism brings to the soul sanctifying grace-washes away the guilt of original and actual sin—gives a new and spiritual birth—makes us Christians—entitles us to actual gracepreserves the sanctity gotten at baptism,—and gives a right to eternal happiness.” We
e are not sure but Mr. Campbell must also yield to another claimant. One of our missionaries some time ago meeting an old Brahmin, aged eighty, asked him : “Do you know how your sins are to be pardoned, and what will be your state after death ?" He replied: " My hope is in the Ganges.” And when further pressed, he confessed that “ If the Ganges could not take away his sins, he knew not what could.” See Miss. Her. Vol. XXIX. p. 97. It would be amusing to speculate upon the manner in which a Campbellite would have treated the subject with the aged priest.
We should be sorry to take away from Mr. Campbell all merit of originality in relation to his illustrious discovery ; but as he has so boldly ventured bis claim, it may be proper to introduce to his acquaintance one other old gentleman, who, previous to Mr. Campbell's having advanced his pretensions to originality, published the same discovery in a work entitled “A Refutation of Calvinism.” The reader can compare the following extracts, and then decide for himself, to whom belongs the palm. “Those who are baptized are immediately translated from the curse of Adam to the grace of Christ. They become reconciled to God-heirs of eternal happiness,—acquire a new name, a new hope, a new faith, a new rule of life. This great and wonderful change in the condition of man is as it were a new nature, a new state of existence; and the holy rite by which these invaluable blessings are communicated is by St. Paul figuratively called regeneration, or new birth. The word regeneration, therefore, is in Scripture solely and exclusively applied to the one immediate effect of baptism once administered,” etc.
These, then, are the great fundamental, or distinctive doctrines of Campbellism. If we have been prolix in our citations, it was to avoid misrepresentation, and because we wished to hold up the systein in every point of view, in which it is presented by its advocates.
As the remaining sentiments of this sect, which it is our intention hereafter to notice, are not so strictly distinctive as the foregoing, we shall treat them in a historical, and not a controversial manner. We propose, however, first, to subject the foregoing principles, and especially those relating to regeneration, to a somewhat thorough examination. The views entertained of this last subject, especially, constitute the difference between this sect and other sects of Unitarians, as we shall show hereafter. Mr. Campbell himself admits that these views of faith, forgiveness, and regeneration, are essential to the very existence of his system. Hence, if they are proved to be erroneous, or destitute of support, this whole theological fabric, confessedly, falls to the ground.
The foregoing Views Examined. We observe, 1. That the faith which the Campbellites contend for, bas, confessedly, no connection whatever, with regeneration. They are truly separate. A man may exercise this faith truly, and properly, and yet be entirely unregenerated; as much a child of hell as the vilest infidel. The proposition, therefore, that “we are justified by faith” is to this sect intrinsically absurd.
2. They teach that faith has no real connection with the pardon of sin. For a man may exercise it in the fullest manner, and yet be unpardoned.
3. From the preceding extracts it further appears that, agreeably to Campbellism, a sinner believes to the saving of the soul, without the agency of the Spirit of God; by his own unaided efforts alone. In fact Mr. Campbell repeatedly ridicules the idea of the agency of the third person of the Trinity either in the exercise of saving faith or in regeneration.
How very opposite all this is to the whole tenor of the gospel will be seen by a mere allusion to such passages as the following. “He that believeth hath everlasting life," John 5: 24. 3: 16, 36. “ With the heart man believeth unto justification,” Rom. 10: 10.“ By grace ye are saved, through faith," Eph. 2: 8. “Sirs, What must I do to be saved ? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” Acts 16: 30, 31. “ Being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ : by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we
stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” Rom. 5: 1, 2. “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham?” Gal. 3: 7. - The blood of Jesus Christ bis Son cleanseth us from all sin," 1 John 1: 8. With multitudes of kindred passages which will immediately occur to the memory of all who are familiar with the word of God.
The folly of the Campbellite view of this subject might be further exhibited, by entering into a discussion of the nature of faith. But this is not here called for. And we pass on, for the present, to consider the leading or distinctive principle of the sect-regeneration by immersion into water.
From the foregoing extracts we learn, 1. That Mr. Campbell and bis sect believe that no person can be saved unless regenerated or born again.
2. That immersion in water is essential to regeneration.That no person can possibly be regenerated without being immersed.
3. That immersion in water is the medium through which sins are remitted.
4. And, however inconsistent with the foregoing, that immersion is regeneration itself. Being born again, and being immersed, are, in the apostles' style two names for the same thing."
Hence nothing can be clearer, than that, according to the Campbellites, immersion in water is indispensably necessary to salvation. It follows syllogistically, thus :
1. Regeneration is essential to salvation. But immersion in water is essential to regeneration, inasmuch as no one can be regenerated without being immersed: therefore immersion in water is essential to salvation. Or thus :
2. “Immersion and regeneration are, in the apostles' style, two naines for the same thing:" so that being immersed, is itself being regenerated. But no one can be saved without being regenerated. Therefore no person can be saved without being immersed.
COROLLARY. Infants who die in infancy, are either lost, or if saved, they are saved without being regenerated. Even the infants of the Campbellites ; for they do not baptize their children.
3. The same conclusion follows in another way. Immersion is essential to remission of sins. But no one can be saved without remission of sins. Therefore, no one can be saved without being immersed.
COROLLARY. All mankind, therefore, according to the Campbellites, who are not immersed, perish forever.
This, then, is the ground occupied by the foregoing views. And our object here, is merely to give a plain and compendious summary of them, for the convenience of reference ; and not to prove them false by their consequences. Mr. Campbell and his friends appeal to the Bible to sustain their views; and if that fairly sustains ther, it is in vain to talk of consequences. Our next step will therefore be, to take up and consider the passages on which they profess to rely.
Argument founded on John 3: 5. This passage has ever been regarded by Mr. Campbell and his friends as containing a complete, and unanswerable argument in favor of their position, that baptism is essential to regeneration, and consequently to salvation : « Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” On this verse, with Tit. 3: 5, there has been more controversy with this sect, than on any other texts of Scripture.
To avoid the force of Mr. Campbell's argument, it has been observed, that the phrase “ kingdom of God” does not refer to heaven, but to the invisible church on earth. Others have supposed that it referred to the visible church. Both positions, however, have been swept away simply by the Campbellites asking, · Whether the objector did not believe that many were members of the invisible church who had never been baptized with water ?' and whether there were not members of the visible church, who, though they had been baptized with water, had not been baptized with the Spirit ? As both are admitted by all evangelical Christians, the objectors could not, in consistency with their own sentiments, maintain such a view of the subject. And thus their false exposition has been refuted, and Campbellism has triumphed.
It is in vain that some have maintained that baptism is not here enjoined as essential, but merely as obligatory when it can be attended to. The Campbellites have triumphantly answered, that · Being born of water is placed by our Saviour upon an equal footing with being born of the Spirit. If, therefore, the one may, under any circumstances, be dispensed with, the other may be likewise under the same, or similar circumstances.'
But as no Christian could admit such an inference, the position sustaining it must be abandoned.
Thus the Campbellites, from this passage conclude, that to be born of water is equally essential to salvation as to be born of the Spirit ; for the text says, “Except a man be born of water and Spirit.” But all Christians admit that to be born of the Spirit is essential ; and therefore agreeably to this admission, baptism is essential to salvation. This is the argument of Mr. Campbell and his friends; and the above is their method of wielding it.
Now to attempt to answer an argument of this kind by sneering at it, as bas been already too often the case in this controversy, only betrays the utter imbecility of bim who makes the attempt. However ridiculous an argument may appear, it is puerile to undertake its refutation by a witticism, when we know that our opponents rely upon it in support of opinions which they profess to believe to be as worthy of veneration and regard as we consider any of our own to be. If solid reasons cannot be given for dissenting from its conclusions, the argument will be deemed unanswerable, and its conclusions true, no matter whither they may lead.
Mr. Campbell and his friends have frequently avowed their conviction that this argument is unanswerable. We do not agree with them, however; for
1. They take for granted the very point in dispute. Without offering one particle of proof, they assume that üdwo, water, is here to be understood of the element water. But this is by no means so clear as might be thought. The same word is constantly employed in the New Testament in a sense quite the reverse. E. g. see John 4: 10. Eph. 5: 27. Rev. 22: 1, 17, and John 7: 38, 39. “ He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he spake of the Spirit.” The argument is therefore of no value, unless it be shown that üdwo refers to the element water.
Of course Mr. Campbell will not plead in support of his argument that many divines have understood water here to refer to baptism ; for in matters of this kind he professes to place no reliance on human authority.
But though Augustine and some other eminent men have understood the word in this manner, there are very great authorities, (and it is not iinproper here to refer to them,) on the other side. Basil understands it very differently. See his book on