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and his capacity for religious instruction generally known. It is presumed, no doubt can exist on these points amongst any persons, but those to whom his discourses are particularly addressed.
Eripitur persona, manet Res.
THE SIGNS AND PRIVILEGES OF REGENERATION IN'SISTED ON BY METHODISTS.— NOT ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, NOR WARRANTED BY HOLY WRIT.-THE IMPORT OF THE ASSURANCES WITH RESPECT TO DIVINE GRACE DELIVERED BY THE EVANGELISTS. THE TRUE CRITERION OF A RENEWED LIFE, AND THE DANGEROUS FOLLY OF SUPPOSING IT TO CONSIST IN SENSIBLE EMOTIONS.
THE opinions maintained by the Methodists with regard to the signs and privileges of regeneration, are calculated to perplex and confound the sober-minded member of thc church of England. He has been taught, that being brought to Christ in baptism, and admitted by that holy sacrament into his church, he thence became “regenerate, dead unto sin, and capable by God's grace of living unto righteousness; of crucifying the old man, and utterly abolishing the whole body of sin.”* “ Baptism,” says the article, “is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of regeneration or new birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive
* Service for the public baptism of infants.
baptism rightly are grafted into the church : the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God, by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed ; faith is , confirmed, and grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.” *
This is the language of the church, and consonant, as we believe, both to the language and spirit of the gospel. The position of the Methodists bears another character. In a pamphlet published a few years ago, with this magnificent title, “ An Apology for the Church of Christ and the Church of England,” + this principle is asserted.
* Article XXVII. ...iiii ,
+ This work bore the name of a Mr. Willat, but was generally attributed to a more learned writer. The Rev. Mr. Cecil, late preacher at St. John's chapel, Bedford Row, and author of the Life of the Hon. and Rev. William Bromley Cadogan, was supposed to have been the real editor or chief contributor to this work. That zealous minister is now numbered among those whose probation is past, and whose sentence is yet to come. May the Father of Mercy extend to him, and all who embraced his doctrine, that blessing, which is not limited according to their narrow conception of that divine attribute, but is as infinite as God himself !---It was addressed to the rector of St. Giles's, Reading, and contains a series of remarks on a sermon preached by him at the Bishop's visitation, 1798. It was deemed a weighty performance by the Methodists, and may be considered as a standard of their faith. It carries with it some shew of Christian knowledge, but none of its substance; misapplying the terms, and misinterpreting the sense of scripture; and is calculated,
« In order to ascertain my election, I must first prove that I am effectually called out of darkness into the marvellous light of the gospel; so that through an efficacious supernatural call by the Holy Ghost, termed regeneration, I might manifest to the world that I am one whom the Lord has adopted into his family.*
We had been led to consider baptism as the sign and pledge of this regeneration, whereby the promises of the spirit are visibly signed and sealed ; and having been instructed, that these privileges of grace and salvation were vouchsafed to us in the baptismal covenant, we did not contemplate the necessity of any other “supernatural call by the Holy Ghost, termed regeneration :” but being persuaded, that we were thereby enabled “ to lead a godly and a Christian life,” we have sought no other “ proof of an effectual call,” than this ; viz. “ to bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”
If that essential duty were performed, then, with all humility, conscious of our own imperfections, yet trusting in the atonement of our blessed Saviour, we hoped to be justified by his grace, which alone can sanctify us, and all the
like other treatises of the same description, to perplex the ignorant, to disturb the diffident, and embolden the wicked, by raising its own scheme of grace on the ruins of true religion, reason, and morality.
* Willat's Apology, p. 51.
elect people of God. But this by no means corresponds with the creed of Methodism; this will not support their doctrine of the divine decrees, nor warrant them to set the seal of election on whom they please.
Yet to those members of that sect, who profess the doctrines of the church of England, the argument drawn from its articles and liturgy must, upon their own principles, be conclusive.* Now, if the baptismal service do not
* The Bishop of Lincoln has shewn the scriptural doctrine of regeneration in its true light by such undeniable evidence, drawn both from the New Testament, and from the articles and liturgy of our church, supported by the primitive fathers, that it is sufficient to refer the reader to his exposition of this subject.* The result, as he states it, is, 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;" t-"that regeneration of those who are already baptized by the forcible operation of the spirit, is one of the doctrines by which the weak credulity of unthinking persons is imposed upon in the present times;"I and that.“ regeneration, in its true sense, signifies an inward effect produced by the Holy Ghost through the means of baptism, whereby the person baptized exchanges his natural state in Adam for a spiritual state in Christ,” &c. § Yet a minister of the church of England avows a different opinion: “ It hardly need be said that the ordinance of baptism, however administered, is not the regeneration by the spirit.”“No doubt,” he adds, in order, it may be supposed, to ob
* See “ Refutation of Calvinism, chap. ii. on Regeneration.” † P. 92. 94. § 95.