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to be of the highest antiquity, and which he proves was adopted by the other two great branches of the Reformation, (i.e. by our own reformers and by Luther,) in preference to the Swiss system, which was heard of for the first time from the school of Zuingli. The system, thus restored, he applies to the clearing up of sundry difficulties in the New Testament, and marvellous are the results; we rise from the work convinced that we have at last got the key whose wards exactly fit the intricacies of the lock, and which enables us to avail ourselves of the rich treasures concealed within. St. John's declaration that the Christian doth not commit sin, and St. Paul's still more awful declaration, that it is impossible to renew unto a second repentance those who have once fallen away, no longer seem inexplicable or irreconcilable with the other portions of holy writ. God grants us one great remission of sins in baptism; and although there is every encouragement for repentance at all times, yet we are not to apply the full promises of God in baptism to every subsequent act of repentance. His learned investigation into the real meaning of what was at first intended to be understood by the phrase "ex opere operato," and the great abuses of this expression in modern times, so that it is come to be a mere phrase of contempt; with his equally learned inquiry into the celebrated saying of Augustine,“ Verbum Dei accedit ad elementum, et fit sacramentum,” well deserve the closest attention. He shows that (however the doctrine may have been abused) it was designed to make the sacraments themselves the means and channels of grace, to the exclusion of all merit on the part of the human administrator or of the recipient; that although faith, and repentance, and charity, were requisite to enable the recipients to receive the benefits of the sacraments, yet that neither did that faith, any more than that repentance and charity, constitute the sacraments themselves. In short, however necessary for the due reception of the sacraments be certain moral and spiritual qualifications in the recipients, the sacraments themselves derive their efficacy solely from the word of God and his promises, not from the merits or qualifications, moral or spiritual, of those who administer them, or of those who receive them. “Without faith the human soul was like a closed vessel, so that the influences to be poured therein through the sacrament, could not enter; but by faith only the obstacle was removed, the grace came fully and entirely (ex opere operato) from the work wrought by God, not in any way (ex opere operantis) from the quality or merit of the receiver :" and we may add, neither from the holiness or sanctity of the administrator (see p. 193). We shut our eyes, and cannot see the light, yet the light exists all the time, ihough unperceived by us; should we then, when we open our eyes and behold it, declare that it existed only in our eyes, and not externally and out of them, and independently of them? With a few extracts from the Preface prefixed to these “ Scriptural Views of Holy Baptism,” as illustrative of some of the foregoing points, we will now close our notice of this important undertaking.
With regard to the main texts relating to baptism, until the unhappy innovation of Zuingli, in the sixteenth century, the whole church knew but of one sense belonging to them. The whole church of God, from India to Britain, as expressing itself by the Fathers or its Liturgies, for fifteen centuries, took in ove sense the words of our Redeemer, “ Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit.” But when a man arose, to whom circumstances, and talents, and zeal against error, gave extensive influence, and with a new theory of the sacraments, introduced a new exposition of our Redeemer's words, thenceforth a new path was formed; and this too having been tracked by men of great name, and trodden by others of deep piety, those who are ignorant of antiquity, or of the value of its universal agreement, are perplexed which to choose. They have now to decide between two beaten tracks, instead of following simply the footsteps of their fathers.—No. 67. p. v.
Again :— Rationalism is taking a subtle turn, or rather its author, the author of evil, has been subtly applying it: in the days of our Deists it openly attacked Christianity, and was defeated; now it appears as the ally and supporter of the faith, which it would undermine : it supports our evidences ; reconciles our ditficulties; smooths down the bard sayings" of the word of God, and steals away our treasure. The blessed sacraments are a peculiar obstacle to its inroads, for their effects come directly from God, and their mode of operation is as little cognizable to reason as their Author: they flow to us from an unseen world : what we see has as little power to heal or strengthen our souls, as the clay and the spittle to give sight to the blind man, or the waters of Jordan to cleanse the leper : those who use them in faith have life and strength; yet it is vot their faith alone which gives this life, any more than faith would have cleansed Naaman, but for Him who gave the Jordan power to make his “flesh as a little child.” The blessed sacraments then are a daily testiinony to our faith: we are strengthened, we hold onwards: how we obtained our strength we can give to reason no account : suffice that we know whence it cometh. This then has become a main point of attack.-P. ix.
Ayain :-Our modern system, founded, as it is, on the virtual rejection of baptism as a sacrament, contounds the distinction of grievous sin before and after baptism, and applies to repentance, after falling from baptismal grace, all the promises which, in Scripture, are pledged, not as the fruit of repentance simply, but as God's free gift in baptism. Yet our reformers thought differently; for had their theology been like our's, there had been no occasion for an article on “Sin after Baptism” (Art. 16), or for denying that “every such sin is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable.” It had been a matter of course. The possibility or efficacy of such repentance I have not denied ; God forbid: but that such repentance is likely, especially after a relapse, or that men, who have fallen, can be as assured of the adequacy of their repentance, as they might have been of God's free grace in baptism, daily experience, as well as the probable meaning of Scripture, forbid us to hope. Had repentance been so easy a thing as men would persuade themselves, how is it that there are so very many hardened sinners, who never apparently repent; so many, of whose repentance one can hardly hope that it is real; so many half-penitents? Again, the pardon in baptism is free, full, instantaneous, universal, without any service on our part: the pardon on repentance for those who have forfeited their baptismal pardon, is slow, partial, gradual, as is the repentance itself, to be humbly waited for, and to be wrought out through that penitence.-Pp. xii. xiii.
Mau desires to bave, under any circumstances, certainty of salvation through Christ: to those who have fallen, God bolds out only “a light in a dark place,” sufficient for them to see their path, but not bright or cheering as they would have it: and so, in different ways, man would forestall the sentence of his Judge; the Romanist by the sacrameni of penance; a modern class of divines by the appropriation of the irerits and righteousness of mur blessed Redeemer; the Methodists by sensible experience: our own, with the ancieut church, preserves a reverent silence, not cutting off hope, and yet nor nurturing an untimely contidence, or a presumptuous security.-P. xiv.
The trust what has been thus introduced to our readers, will le::d them all, and especially the younger Clergy and candidates for the ministry, to bestow an early and deep attention on these very interesting, learned, and important Tracts.
Art. III.-- 1. A Sketch of the Church of the First Two Centuries after
Christ, drawn from the Writings of the Fathers down to Clemens Alexandrinus inclusive, in a Course of Sermons preached before the University of Cambridge, in January, 1836. By the Rev. JOHN J. Blunt, late Fellow of St. John's College. Cambridge: Deightons.
London : Rivingtons. 1836. Pp. 218. 2. The Primitive Doctrine of Election : or an Historical Inquiry into the
Ideality and Causation of Scriptural Election, as receired and maintained in the Primitive Church of Christ. By George STANLEY FABER, B.D. Master of Sherburn Hospital, and Prebendary of Satisbury. London: Crofts.
1836. Pp. lvi. 442. These are two exceedingly valuable and well-timed works; they are in many respects of a similar character; and, on the subject discussed in the latter, Mr. Faber may be regarded as taking it up almost from the point where Mr. Blunt drops it, and bringing it down to a recent period. Both authors have several times been before the public, by whom they have been (as they truly merited) most favourably received. Mr. Faber's writings are numerous, and have made very wide excursions in the great field of theological discussion ; whilst Mr. Blunt also has rendered the most essential benefits to sacred literaturę. In an early work, and one of great interest, he traced with skilful hand the resemblances, or rather exact identity, between sundry parts of the religions of pagan and of papal Rome ; a work often attempted, but never, either before or since, so admirably performed. In his pages it is shown that the holy water of the latter is but the lustral water of the earlier superstition, which was also placed at the entrance to the temples; that the splendid fans of peacock's feathers, which are borne before the pope, and shade the high altar of St. Peter's, where none less than the pope himself ever says mass, during the solemnity of that service, are but a continuance of the fans with which the inferior ministers of heathen Rome stood by to drive away the flies from the slaughtered victims of the altar ; that the ancient statue of Jupiter is now, under the name of St. Peter, an object of similar veneration ; and that the festival of the Madonna in Sicily is the very counterpart of that of the “ Mater Deúm " in the same classic land, the image of each being drawn about on an enormous and towering chariot by many oxen. In another work Mr. Blunt, with great labour and patient research, pointed out, in the manner of Paley's " Hore Paulinæ," the undesigned coincidences existing between sundry parts of the Pentateuch and the other historical books of the Old Testament. And again, in the series of publications forming "The Family Library," his “ History of the Reformation" stands conspicuously forth, and in a short space gives probably the very best and most impartial account of that momentous change. In the present work the reader will find the same excellencies, and the same qualities of solid learning and real usefulness. The subjects of the five sermons here submitted to the public are as follow : I. On the Orders of Ministers in the Primitive Church, II. On the Discipline and Unity of the Primitive Church. III. On the form of Worship of the Primitive Church. IV. On the Doctrines of the Primitive Church. V. The Doctrines of the Primitive Church, continued.
In his first discourse he thus opens his subject and explains his design :
It is my intention to set before you in the sermons I am about to deliver in this place, a rough sketch of the construction of the primitive Church; meaning, by this, the Church of the first two centuries after Christ: a subject certainly demanding greater latitude of inquiry than a course of serinons will allow me, but still one which may be handled, in its principal features, at least, even within limits like these. I choose it because there is a disposition abroad, and especially amongst those who do not bear the Church of England any great good will, to retreat upon early times in their argument; as though those times presented a Church very loosely put together, with little in it of arrangement or restriction, and whatever of that sort is to be found in our Church now is of recent growth and spurious authority; whereas, I think it will be discovered that though the gradual progress of society has, no doubt, given a shape to the Church in some matters indifferent, yet that the platform is of very early date; and that, even in the details, it is built upon very ancient foundations. I choose the subject the rather, because I would fain impress it upon my younger hearers, who are about to go forth into ibe world to sustain in it positions of influence, whether as ministers of God, or as members of the commonwealth, and who will be called upon as a matter of duty, from the character of the times in which they live, io make themselves masters of the great question of the Church, and the claims it has upon their regard. I would fain, I say, impress it upon them, that the Church of England will bear investigation, and courts it at their bands; and that a fair reference to ecclesiastical antiquity is so far from being unfriendly to it, that it will prove its best ally, by showing that a primitire Church, rightly understood, is not a community of Christians without oryanization, or discipline, or stability, but a body, well jointed and knit together in its members, of a grave aspect, and uniform plan. I choose it still the more, because I believe that even amongst Churchinen themselves there is less soundness than there might be, for want of greater research into the early records of the Church; that there would be hereby created in them a disposition to pause before they condemn practices and forms, of which the elements may be discovered, perhaps, in the very purest ages of the gospel; and to think that there VOL. XVIII. NO. XI.
might be a reason for doing what they find done, though that reason may be lurking in a hiding-place sixteen or seventeen hundred years deep; and though I cannot but feel that the minister of God is in bis highest and happiest vocation when he is preaching repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and nothing else; yet I cannot but feel too that the vitals of the gospel are intimately concerned in its ordinances; that if the life is more than the meat, meat must be supplied; if the body more than the raiment, raiment must not be cast away; and that whilst St. Paul laboured so hard and so earnestly in dispersing the great doctrines of the cross-doctrines for which I also in these sermons shall find a prominent place—his spirit stirred within him at the spectacle of wickedness the world presented, and the great remedy confided to him, still he took occasion to attend to the economy of a congregation, the regulations of a household, or even the ordinary and almost indifferent habits of the individual minister.
In prosecuting this subject I shall cleave to original authorities, and to those only; pursuing my way through the writings of the fathers, down to Clemens Alexandrinus inclusive; as well thuse which have descended to us more entire, as the fragments of others of the same period, which have been gathered out of various quarters by the valuable researches of Dr. Routh ; and though I might have entered into the labours of others upon this question, for of course I cannot pretend to make discoveries in a department of knowledge which has been so often and so ably investigated ; yet my statements may gain in freshness what they lose in learning, by being derived from my own application of what I have myself read, and be thus likely to produce a more lively impression than essays of greater and more ponderous worth.
I will begin, therefore, with the orders of the ministers of the primitive Church, with a view of showing that this Church was, like our owu, episcopal.- Pp. 1-6.
The following account of the “Vindiciæ Ignatianæ," and the whole controversy connected with that important subject, is thus clearly stated by Mr. Blunt:
Once admit the epistles of Ignatius to be genuine, and the question of episcopacy is set at rest. Nothing was left then for the impugners of that ordinance but to deny their authority; and accordingly the argument for episcopacy at this point shifts its ground, and from the interpretation of doubtful testimonies of accredited authors, passes to the investigation of the credit due to an author whose testimony is clear.
You will well believe that the time does not permit me to enter minutely into this long controversy, nor, perhaps, is the occasion convenient; but the outline of it at least I may give, and indeed the use I shall make of these letters requires it. Certain epistles, some, as it is proved, forgeries, the rest greatly interpolated, had long circulated under the name of Ignatius. It was remarked, however, by Archbishop Usher, that the earliest quotations on record from the epistles of Ignatius did not always agree with the text in circulation, nor yet the notices taken of these quotations by the primitive English divines. He was thus led to suspect that the current text was at any rate corrupt, and that England must contain somewhere a better; and on searching the libraries for this, he found in that of Caius College in this University, a Latin translation in manuscript of several of the epistles, and on a comparison of the quotations contaived in the fathers of the first five centuries with this translation, the passages were perceived to correspond. Accordingly he reprinted these epistles, sitting out the interpolated paragraphs, which be was enabled to detect by the check which the trauslation afforded, and distinguishing them by red ink. Meanwhile Isaac Vossius discovers a Greek copy of the epistles in the Medici library at Florence, and on collating this with the Latin version already published by Usher, the two were perceived on the whole to respond to each other, as the parts of a cloven tally--a coincidence of evidence enough in itsell, it might be