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upon London; and another person the next minute comes up to you and says-I stood upon the top of the Column and looked down upon London. It would be absurd to argue that because the former was an hypothetical assertion, that therefore the latter was too; because in the former case the speaker saw that you were at that moment sitting on your chair in a drawing-room, and therefore could not possibly be understood as meaning to assert literally that you were at that moment standing on the top of the Column near London Bridge. Notwithstanding the frequent use of the figurative assertion in books and in society, a very clear line of demarcation separates it from the literal one, and the largest and most uninterrupted series of the former class would leave the very next instance of the latter as free from possibility of an hypothetical construction, as if there were no such form as the figurative one in use at all. The same line of demarcation, and the same reason for it, separate the assertions in the Burial Service and in the baptismal office for adults, quite clearly and unanswerably, from the assertion in the baptismal office for infants. In each of the two former there is something in the very circumstances of the case which shows that the assertion was not intended as an absolute one. It is impossible that we can know for certain whether this or that person is saved or not; and therefore if we assert that this or that person is, our assertion must be taken as an hypothetical, and not an absolute one. In the same way it is impossible that we can know for certain whether this or that adult is a fit and worthy recipient of baptism or not, because no one mind can penetrate into any other ; and therefore if we assert this or that adult absolutely to be a fit and worthy recipient, or which is the same thing, assert him to have derived that effect from his baptism, which a fit and worthy recipient alone does, the assertion must, in the nature of the case, be taken not as an absolute but as an hypothetical one. But in the case of infant baptism, this reason for giving an hypothetical construction to the absolute assertion does not apply; because we know that all infants, brought to the church to be baptized, are fit and worthy recipients of baptism; and therefore the absolute assertion made respecting them has not this opening to an hypothetical construction.
As yet, therefore, the absolute assertion of regeneration made in the service for Infant Baptism, stands on the same ground on which ordinary absolute assertions do, and requires to be understood in the way in which ordinary absolute assertions are,—viz. as meaning to assert what it does assert. And upon this ground it must stand, and with this meaning it must be taken until some reason in the circumstances of the case is discovered, why it should be taken otherwise. Such
a reason is professed, however, to have been discovered, in the course of the recent controversy on this question, and a very simple and summary one, in the shape of one particular article of theological opinion or belief, alleged to have been held by the school of reformers, under whose care and supervision the baptismal office was compiled: an opinion, it is asserted, which necessarily prevented those who held it from believing that regeneration did accompany baptism, in the case of all baptized infants; and which, therefore, in their case necessarily attached to the absolute assertion of it in the baptismal service, an hypothetical meaning; which hypothetical meaning having been thus attached by those persons to the assertion, must be considered to have been attached by the Church to that assertion, thus making it then, once and for all, an hypothetical one--a charitable expression of hope, and not a statement of a fact. The theological article we refer to, is that of Predestination. It is stated that the divines under whose care our liturgy was composed, held the doctrine, that from all eternity some individuals were predestinated to eternal life, and others excluded from that predestination, or reprobated; the inference is made that those who held such a doctrine could not possibly believe that all infants were regenerated in baptism; and the conclusion drawn out as above, that if they did not believe it, the Church did not impose it.'
We extract the following passage from the Archbishop of York's Charge:To this brief remark on one of the Sacraments I would add a few words on the other Sacrament of our Church. As to the effect of adult baptism, there is little or no dispute among rational men. But the question of the effects of infant baptism seems destined to interminable discussion. It has been proved, however, we think, beyond contradiction or doubt, that our Reformers, almost without exception, both in the reign of King Edward VI., and especially in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, held and advocated what are now usually called the peculiar doctrines of Calvin as to election, and predestination, and final perseverance. Hence they taught that spiritual regeneration in baptism could only result in the case of those who had been from all eternity elected to everlasting life by the free and sovereign grace of God.
That all the baptized should be spiritually regenerate was in their view utterly impossible; and, therefore, they could not intend, in the formularies they drew up, to require or to express such a belief, unless we unfairly attribute to them that shameless effrontery, that gross and scandalous dishonesty, which, to the reproach of our times, has been openly avowed by some, that men may teach what they do not believe, and that they may believe what is contrary to their teaching. With the knowledge of this historical fact before us, we cannot insist on it as a ruled doctrine of our Church that all baptized children are, as such, spiritually regenerate. For such was not the doctrine of our Reformers themselves. Nor is such doctrine laid down in the Thirty-nine Articles. And those very expressions in our baptismal service, which have been interpreted in modern times as exclu. . sively admitting the sense of the universal regeneration of infants in baptism, are borrowed from a service in which the known sentiments of the author will not allow such a meaning to be affixed to them.
•Whatever, then, our own particular views may be, we must be content, so far as concerns our judgment of the doctrine laid down by the Church, to leave the question open, as the Reformers left it; and with the different notions which we justly and honestly, I hope, may entertain of the Divine method of procedure in
Now the first objection to this argument is to the last step in it, or the conclusion. For the question certainly immediately occurs, supposing it ever so true that the reformers themselves, few or many of them, did not personally believe in the regeneration of all infants in baptism, and so gave, in their own personal use of the words, an hypothetical meaning to that assertion,how far the Church is committed to the private opinions of individuals, however distinguished and influential a part they may have taken in the changes of that era, provided they did not introduce them into her public formularies. And therefore the reply might be made at once to this argument, that the Church was committed only to her public acts and formularies, and that her meaning must be decided by them: the reply which Sir Herbert Jenner Fust made in his clear and able judgment.
Waiving, however, the legal ground, and going straight to this objection itself as it is put, we may meet it with one very easy and summary answer. If by predestinarianism the objector means such a predestinarianism as denies the doctrine of the regeneration of all infants in baptism; in that sense it is quite true, that predestinarianism is inconsistent with a belief in that doctrine. But if by predestinarianism he means simply the doctrine legitimately included under that term, in that sense predestinarianism has been held for ages in the Church by large schools of theologians, who, beyond all doubt or question, did hold the full doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration. It was held by S. Augustine, and set out in the strongest and most pointed form by him, in his triumphant contest with the Pelagians. His teaching was received without any protest by the whole Catholic world of his time, with the exception of a very small party, whose voices were finally suppressed by a council a hundred years after his death. He then reigned with a kind of monarchical influence over the theology of the whole Western Church for a period of nearly a thousand years. The greatest luminaries of the middle ages were content to sit under him as their master; to take his dicta for their text, and to expound him as if it were the design and function of theological science to expound S. Augustine. They occasionally ventured on a liberal interpretation of his language, but nobody dared to contradict the language itself; and whatever differences of opinion were indulged were maintained under an Augustinian title and cover, and accommodated to the external Augustinian mould. S. Bernard, Peter Lombard, S. Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas, in succession preached and expounded him. The latter rose above the position of a disciple, and became in his
the work of redemption, we are at liberty to judge diversely of the operation of the sacrament in the case of infant recipients; taking especial care, lest, in our dread of carrying too far the free electing grace of God, we carry beyond just and scriptural limits the efficacy of the grace of the sacrament.'
turn a monarch in the theological world, still handing on, however, the dicta of his teacher. For five hundred years the school of Thomas Aquinas, though not without rivals which modified some of its positions, was supreme in Europe. As the Reformation dawned and showed that some of these positions, which assigned so conspicuous a place to the Divine acts of grace and predestination in the work of individual salvation, were made to act on the reforming side, this portion of mediæval theology became unpopular with Roman divines; and the dicta of S. Augustine were thrown aside, when Luther and Calvin quoted S. Augustine, and exchanged for positions more expressive of the human share in the work of salvation, and the powers of free will. But up to the era of the Reformation, the theology of the Western Church was in all its leading statements on the subject of grace and predestination, mainly Augustinian; from which theology proceeded our 17th Article, of which we shall say more hereafter.
We must occupy a few pages with quotations, in order to show that we have not made an unauthorized statement. And first we must quote some passages from S. Augustine. The following is from the book De Correptione et Gratia :
• Whoever therefore are separated by Divine grace from that original damnation, we doubt not but that there is procured for them the hearing of the Gospel; that when they hear, they believe; and that in that faith which worketh by love they continue unto the end: that if they even go astray they are corrected, and being corrected grow better; or that if they are not corrected by men, they still return into the path they left. All these things in them lle worketh, whose handiwork they are, and who made them vessels of mercy; He who chose them in his Son before the foundation of the world according to the election of grace:
« and if of grace, then no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.” These were not called so as not to be chosen, as those of whom we hear,
many are called but few chosen;" but they are called according to his purpose, and therefore elected according to the election of grace. Of such the Apostle saith, We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called according to His purpose. Of them none perish, because all are elect, and they are elect because they are called according to His purpose; and that purpose not their own but God's : of which he elsewhere saith, “ that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.”
If any of these perish, God is deceived; but none doth perish, for God is not deceived. If any of these perish, God is overcome by man's corruption; but none doth perish, for God is conquered by nothing. They are chosen to reign with Christ, not as Judas was chosen, of whom our Lord said, " Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" i.e. chosen for the work of damnation ; but chosen in pity, as he was in judgment, chosen to obtain their kingdom, as he was to spill his own blood. These it is who are signified to Timothy, where, after saying that Hymenæus and Philetus were subverting the faith of some, the Apostle adds—“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.” Their faith, which worketh by love, either never faileth, or if it does, is repaired before life is ended; and all intervening iniquity blotted out, perseverance unto the end is imputed to them.'--De Corrept. et Grat. c. vii.
'Such is the predestination of the saints, the foreknowledge, that is, and preparation of the Divine acts of grace, by which every one is infallibly saved, who is saved. But for the rest, where are they but in that mass of perdition, where the Divine Justice most justly leaves them? Where the Tyrians are, and the Sidonians are, who would have been able to believe if they had seen the miracles of Christ; but who, inasmuch as faith was not destined for them, were denied the means of faith as well. Whence it is evident that some have a divine gift of intelligence implanted in their natures, designed for exciting them to faith provided they hear or see preaching or miracles which appeal to that gift: and yet being, according to some deeper judgment of God, not included within the predestination of grace, and separated from the mass of perdition by it; have not those Divine words, and those Divine acts brought before them, and so are not enabled to believe. The Jews, who would not believe our Lord's miracles, were left in the mass of perdition; and why? The Evangelist tells us : "That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe because that Esaias said again, he hath blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I should heal them." But the hearts of the Tyrians and Sidonians were not thus hardened, for they would have believed if they had seen such miracles. That they were able to believe however was of no service to them, when they were not predestinated by Him, whose judgments are unsearchable and His ways past finding out; any more than their not being able to believe would have been of disservice to them, if they had been thus predestinated; predestinated by God to the illumination of their blindness, and the taking away of their heart of stone. With respect to the Tyrians and Sidonians indeed, there may be possibly some other interpretation of the passage: but that no one comes to Christ except it be given him, and that this is given only to those who are elected in him before the foundation of the world ; this must beyond all question be admitted by every one the ears of whose mind are not deaf when the ears of his body take in the divine oracles.'— De Dono Perseverantia, c. xiv.
"As for what I said “ that salvation was never denied to him who was worthy of it" (the Pelagians had taunted him with some things he had said in former works), if the inquiry be made what makes a man worthy, some say the human will, but I say grace and divine predestination. “Not of works, saith the Apostle, lest any man should boast.” · We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works;" this is grace: “Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them ;" this is predestination. Predestination is the preparation of grace. Grace is the giving; predestination the preparing of the gift. Predestination, that is, is foreknowledge and is something more, it is foreknowledge coupled with creation. God promised Abraham, through his seed, the faith of the Gentiles, saying, “ I have made thee a father of many nations.” The Apostle says, “Of faith that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be made sure to all the seed.” So then God promised not on the ground of our will, but of his own predestination. He promised what He was going to do, not what man was. Men do the things which pertain to the worship of God; but He causes them to do what He commands; they do not cause Him to do what He promised. Else the fulfilment of the promises is in man's