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sign of the cross in token of his new profession, he proceeds to say, “ Seeing now that this child is regenerate (1) and grafted into the body of
Christ's (1) “ There have been, says Dr. Nicholl's on Common Prayer, some very unreasonable exceptions taken against this expression : as if all persons who are baptized were truly regenerate, whereas several of them prove afterwards very wicked. But this objection is grounded upon a modern notion of the word Regeneration, which neither the antient Fathers of the church, nor the compilers of our Liturgy, knew any thing of. Indeed some writers of the last century run into this new fangled phrase, to denote conversion, or a returning from a lapsed state, after a notorious violation of the baptismal covenant, to an habitual state of holiness. But no antient writer that I know of, ever expressed this by the word Regencration. Regeneration, as often as 'tis used in the Scripture books, signifies the baptismal Regeneration. There is but one word which answers to this in the New Testament, and that is lany levegia, and that Ilaryleveria refers to baptism, is plain, by having the word 28 por joined with it, “ According to his mercy he Saved us, διά λετρά ΠαλιγΓενεσίας by the washing of Regeneration.'-Tit. c. 3. v. 5. Our Saviour indeed made use of the like expression before the Apostle to Nicodemus, • Except a man yevmañ ãvwbev be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'—John, c. 3. v. 3. But what he means by being born again, he explains, verse 5, by directing it positively to baptism; · Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Regeneration in the language of the Fathers constantly signifies the participation of the sacrament of baptism:" in proof of this he quotes passages both from the Greek and Latin
Fathers, Christ's church.” And in the concluding prayer, the priest returns“ thanks to God that it hath pleased him to regenerate this infant with the Holy Spirit, and to receive him for his own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into his holy church ; ” and it is added, that “ God for his part will most surely keep and perform his promise of releasing him from his sins, sanctifying him with the Holy Ghost, and giving him the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life.”—In the service of Private Baptism, immediately after the baptismal words are pronounced, it is said, “ this child being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now by the laver of regeneration, in baptism, received into the number of the children of God, and heirs of everlasting life.” And the service of Baptism of such as are of riper years, begins thus': “ Forasınuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but live in sin, committing many actual transgressions; and that our Saviour Christ saith, None can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost; I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord
Jesus Fathers, and adds, that the language of the schoolmen, and of “ the inost eminent divines of the Reformation,” is exactly the same, the word keeping “ the antient sense for 1600 years.".
Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous goodness he will grant to these persons that which by nature they cannot have; that they may be baptized with water and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ's holy church, and be made lively members of the same.” And after the baptismal words are pronounced, the persons baptized are declared to be "regenerate and new-born again." --It is impossible for language to be more explicit and decisive than these passages quoted from our three Forms of Baptism.
In the Catechism it is said, that the inward and spiritual grace of baptism is “ a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace.”
In the office of Confirmation, the Bishop, after the renewal of the baptismal vow, but previous to the laying on of hands, prays thus, “ Almighty and everlasting God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given them forgiveness of all their sios,” evidently referring to the rite of Baptism. And in the Collect for Christmas-day, again in allusion to our Christian Baptism, and to a passage of Scripture already quoted, we pray to Almighty God, that “we being regenerate and made his children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by his Holy Spirit;" here, “ being regene
rate,” rate,” is a translation of regenerati, having been regenerated by baptism (m). To these positive proofs we may add an argument of a negative nature, namely, that in all the numerous passages of our Liturgy, which suppose the sinfulness of Christians after baptism, and enforce the duty of repentance and amendment, the word Regeneration is not once used. Whence we may conclude, that our Reformers, who were perhaps more accurately acquainted with the doctrines and language of the New Testament, than the Divines of any other age or country since the days of the Apostles, did not think it consistent with the principles of the Gospel to require Regeneration from those who were already baptized. Nor do they ever apply the word Regeneration to any operation of the Holy Ghost, except at the time of baptism.
In the 9th Article, those “ that are regenerated” and those “that believe and are baptized ” are mentioned as the same persons. The 15th Article speaks of all Christians as being “ baptized and born again in Christ.” And the 27th Article says, that “ baptism is a sign of Regeneration or new-birth,” meaning, that the external form is a sign of the internal effect. These are the only instances, in which the word'Regeneration, or any ex pression of the same import, occurs in the Articles. In the Homilies we find the following passages ;
in (m) Vide Nicholl's Preface to the Supplement.
in speaking of Churches, “ wherein be ministered the sacraments and mysteries of our redemption,” it is said, “the fountain of our Regeneration is there presented unto us; the partaking of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ is there offered unto us (n),” signifying Baptism and the Lord's Supper : “Our Saviour Christ altered and changed the same [the practice of frequent washing among the Jews] in his church into a profitable sacrament, the sacrament of our Regene, ration or new-birth (0),” that is, baptism. “He saved us by the fountain of the new-birth, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that we, being once justified by his grace, should be heirs of eternal life, through hope and faith in bis blood (p).”
Hence it appears, that neither Scripture, nor the writings of our Church, authorize us to call upon those who have been baptized, whether in their infancy, or at a mature age, to regenerate themselves, or to expect Regeneration through the workings of the Holy Ghost. It is highly proper to exhort them to repent and to reform (9), to
(n) P.229. (0) P. 243. (P) P. 345.
(9) “ Though inculcating perpetually, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord, is indispensably needful; yet preaching the necessity of being regenerated, as a thing still absolutely wanting to a great part of those