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allusively expressed `neration."

"the washing of rege

§ 24. So far is this text from countenancing the notion of baptism being called "regeneration,” and of its being 'instrumental to our salvation,' that there does not appear, on fair examination, even an allusion to baptism. It is well known that the conjunction (xa) is often used exegetically for even, or namely; and the nature of the subject requires it to be so taken in this connection: since, as I have already shewn, we cannot admit, without affronting the general tenor of Scripture, that God, according to his mercy, saves us by baptism-or that an external rite is an essential part of our salvation-or that the spiritual renovation is an immediate effect of it. And supposing the apostle meant to express baptism by the periphrasis "the washing of regeneration," how much more natural the idea, that he designed the thing signified rather than the sign itself; for the mercy of God, according to which we are saved, is manifested incomparably more by the former than by the latter. Thus, whether the term (xa) be used in a connective or an explanatory way, it does not follow that baptism is instrumental to our salvation. For, if "regeneration" be taken for

being born of God," or "born of the Spirit," or "born from above," the "renewing of the Holy

Ghost," may well express progressive sanctifying influence.

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25. Once more, we are told by his Lordship, that the following words declare baptism to be instrumental to our salvation.'

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."* Supposing "the kingdom of God" to mean the visible Christian church, we admit that no one can, according to the appointed rule, enter into it without being "born of water," or baptized: but if we understand by it the heavenly state, or future happiness in another world, is it probable, is it conceivable, that our Lord should mean, that no one can see it without baptism? Is it more probable, or even more conceivable, than the sentiment, that no one has spiritual life except he literally "eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of man?" And yet men of great name have espoused this last mentioned tenet. If, however, the phrase "born again,” be understood to signify a spiritual change, no difficulty remains; as it is at once rational, and perfectly conformable to other inspired declarations. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "If any man have not the spirit of

* John iii. 3.

.

Christ he is none of his." Beside, Nicodemus needed not to be told, that the baptismal purification was an ordinance of initiation into the Christian community; that being a matter of public notoriety, and a subject of conversation among the Jews: but there was great need of his being informed, that this alone was not sufficient; that a man must be also "born again," or "from above;" "born of the Spirit."

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§ 26. We concur with his Lordship when he states, that Christians have a double birth, namely, a natural birth from Adam, and a spiritual birth from Christ. There cannot be two natural births, neither can there be two spiritual births. There cannot be two first 'entrances into a natural life, neither can there 'be two first entrances into a spiritual life.

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There cannot be a second baptism, or a second ' regeneration.* And we cordially agree with Bishop PEARSON, to to whose words Bishop TOMLINE alludes, when he says, "A double birth there is, and the world consists of two, the first and the second man, And though the incorruptible seed be the word of God, and the dispensers of it in some sense may say, as St. Paul spake unto the Corinthians, I have begotten you through the gospel;' yet he is

* Refut. p. 85.

the true Father, whose word it is, and that is God, even the Father of light, who of his own will begat us with the word of truth.' Thus 'whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God;' which regeneration is as it were a second creation: for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.' And he alone who did create us out of nothing, can beget us again, and make us of the new creation,-Hence hath he the name of Father, and they of sons who are born of him; and so from that internal act of spiritual regeneration another title of paternity redoundeth unto the divinity. Nor is this the only second birth or sole regeneration in a Christian sense; the soul, which after its natural being requires a birth into the life of grace, is also after that born again, into a life of glory. Our Saviour puts us in mind of the regeneration, ' when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory. The resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth, and entering upon immortality, a nativity into another life."*

27. To be "born of God" is a second birth, and a second birth is surely regeneration: But "he that believeth that Jesus is the Christ,

*PEARSON on the Creed, Art. i. p. 27. 4th ed.

is born of God;" and therefore is regenerated, according to the plain testimony of scripture. Now according to the same testimony, adult converts were required to believe that Jesus is the Christ, before they were baptized; and the apostles consequently baptized them as regenerated persons; for, as believers, they were born of God. This is a plain fact, that appears on the face of the Christian history, and pervades the whole spirit and design of the Christian dispensation; and with this before him, let the impartial enquirer determine, whether the 'word regeneration is in scripture solely and 'exclusively applied to the one immediate effect of baptism once administered.'

§ 28. As the Holy Scriptures, in the rational estimation of Protestants, are the rule of faith and practice, to the exclusion of the decisions of ecclesiastical councils and fathers, and as we have the sacred text in at least equal purity with what the church had in their days, it is of little moment to us how they interpreted the text. They were as liable to err as those who succeed them; they had the same source of fallibility, and in many respects their advantages were inferior to our own. It may be worth while, however, briefly to examine whether this assertion be perfectly correct, viz.—That the ancient Christians never use the word regenerate

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