A LETTER, &c.
MY LORD ARCHBISHOP,
I ADDRESS your Grace under circumstances the most unusual, and with feelings the most painful. In the whole history of the Church of England I am not aware that anything of a similar kind has ever before occurred;—that the Primate of all England has ever before thrown himself upon the judgment of the world as the writer of a controversial book: if he have, the statements contained in it must have been so manifestly accordant with the doctrines of the Church, that they carried with them the universal assent of Churchmen. Your Grace has been pleased to descend from the exalted position in which your predecessors were wisely, I think, content to stand. You have deemed it your duty to deal publicly with "a subject," of "which" you say that it "has recently become a matter of distressing controversy"—and you will not think it strange if one of the parties in that controversy shall animadvert on the manner in which you deal with it. Furthermore, you say that you "think it right, therefore, to call attention to what you have written concerning the grace of Baptism."
My Lord, I obey your call. I am about to give my attention to what you have written on this great subject—and as, in executing your purpose, you have detailed only certain statements "concerning the grace of Baptism," which are to be found in a single book—the book recently re-published by you—not including statements on the same subject made by you in other works, since you have been a Bishop—I shall endeavour in part to supply this deficiency: but, meanwhile, I shall give my first attention to those matters to which your Grace specially invites it—the statements contained in your new book, from p. 150 to p. 165. They are indeed statements not new to me. For more than thirty years I have been accustomed to regard them not only with full assent—but also with great, though of late melancholy, gratification—melancholy gratification, I say, for they present a noble contrast to the lower views on the same high subject which your Grace has for some years adopted.
Of this change your Grace does not seem to be conscious; and so I may hope, that although you have been in some way led to use uncertain and perplexing language on this great doctrine, you still hold the same faith which you once enunciated in such clear and instructive statements. I say that your Grace does not seem conscious of any change; for you make no allusion, in your new edition, to the additions and omissions which render the general tone of the chapter "on Grace," in which these statements occur, very different from that which it exhibited in your original work. That work, when it first came out in the year 1815, excited very general attention, and obtained not less general applause. But no part of it gave more general satisfaction than this very chapter iv. "on Grace"—because in it you presented the Church with certain plain, strong, and edifying declarations of your sentiments on Holy Baptism. Some of those statements, I repeat, still remain: but others of them are, in this new edition, materially altered—others altogether omitted—so that of the whole, the effect is greatly impaired, not only by these omissions, but far more by the insertion of much additional matter, whose whole tendency unhappily is, to dilute and weaken what was originally a strong and uniform expression of Catholic Truth. I cannot adequately express my regret, that now, in your advanced years, and exalted station, you should materially impair and almost contradict the sounder teaching of your earlier years—teaching, through which your Grace's name would have gone down as a benefactor to the Church. The change must have been unconscious; else, with your Grace's known candour, you would have noticed it. If it be said that five and thirty years are a very long time for the opinions of any man to remain altogether unchanged on any subject, I would readily assent—excepting only one single subject—the fundamental articles of his creed. The efficacy of Baptism is such an article.
In your preface to this new edition of your old work, you speak of it as if it were still substantially the same as when it first came from your pen. It will be my painful duty to remark on some most important changes, which, had your Grace been conscious of it, you could not but yourself have pointed to your readers notice.
And yet I rejoice to begin my extracts with a most valuable passage, which still remains nearly as it stood at first:—
"It is indeed a sufficient confutation of the doctrine of special grace, that it [absolutely nullifies the Sacrament of Baptism."] (These last words are omitted in 1850—still we continue to read—and rejoice to read—what follows.) "It reduces Baptism to an empty rite, an external murk of admission into the visible Church, attended with no real grace, and therefore conveying no real benefit, nor advancing a person one step towards salvation. But if Baptism is not accompanied with such an effusion of the Holy Spirit towards the inward renewing of the heart, that the person baptized, who, of himself, and of his own nature, could 'do no good thing,' by this amendment or regeneration of his nature is enabled to bring forth; thirty, or sixty, or a hundred fold, 'giving all diligence to make his calling and election sure,'—if the effect, I say, of Baptism is less than this, what becomes of the distinction made by John, 'I indeed baptize with water, but He who comes after me shall baptize with the Holy Ghost?' What becomes of the example of Christ Himself? After his Baptism the descent of the Holy Spirit in a visible form was surely intended to confirm His followers in a belief, that their Baptism would confer upon them a similar gift: and besides the washing away of their sins, and the remission of the penalty entailed upon the posterity of Adam, would bestow upon them a power enabling them to fulfil the covenant laws of their religion."
Now here we have a goodly array of catholic truths on the efficacy of this blessed Sacrament.
1. Its distinctive blessing, that which separates it from all preceding Baptisms—even that of John, which was a Baptism unto repentance—namely, that it is accompanied with such an effusion of the Holy Spirit towards the inward renewing of the heart—that the baptized person has his nature amended—that he is regenerated by the Spirit.
2. The evidence afforded of this great truth by the Baptism of our Lord Himself: for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him, after His Baptism, was intended to confirm our belief in this great article of our Faith, that Baptism confers on us a similar gift—and bestows on us a power enabling us to fulfil the covenant laws of our religion.
3. Baptism gives [though not as its principal gift] the washing away of our sins, and deliverance from that wrath of God to which, as descendants of Adam, we are all liable by our natural birth—in other words, it gives us justification.
These truths, in full accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church from St. Paul's days to the present, and in particular of our own Church, as a most pure and apostolic branch of the Catholic—these precious truths, I say, we rejoice still to see thus plainly, clearly, strongly enunciated by your Grace.
We rejoice also to see your Grace state these truths, not merely as held and maintained by yourself, but likewise as required by the Church to be held and maintained by all her ministers and all her sons.
Thus we read at p. 160—
"On the authority of this example (that of St. Paul, Rom. vi. 3, via. 15; Gal. iii. 26,) and of the undeniable practice of the first ages of Christianity, our Church considers Baptism as conveying Regeneration, instructing us to pray before Baptism, that the infant 'may be born again, and made an heir of everlasting salvation;' and to return thanks, after Baptism, that it hath pleased God to regenerate this infant with his Holy Spirit, and receive him for his own child by adoption."
At page 179, after citing, "Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them," &c.—
"No preacher, therefore, is authorized either by our Church, or by St. Paul, to leave a doubt on the minds of his hearers, whether they are within the pale of God's favour; but, on the contrary, is bound to enjoin them to seek boldly at the throne of grace' for power to confirm their faith, and work out their repentance, and live worthily of their high calling."
At page 183, after citing certain texts from St. Paul—
"I do not pretend, that these passages are strong, or clear, or numerous enough to decide the question; and even if they were more in number, or clearer to the point, it might still be argued, that such exertion or co-operation was the effect of the renewed will. The matter is of less consequence, since it is of the positive doctrine of our Church, that such renewal and such extent of power belongs to all who are baptized in the name of Christ."
At page 153—
"How is this fact of Regeneracy, on which no less than eternity depends, to be discovered? The Apostle enumerates the works of the flesh, and the fruits of the Spirit: but his Test is insufficient; for the two lists are here mixed and confounded. The hearers appeal to the Church, an authorized interpreter of Scripture. The Church acquaints them, that they were themselves regenerated, and made the children of Grace by the benefit of Baptism."
My Lord, I would gladly think that this is still your Grace's belief. It would be reasonable to hope that they are, since we find them thus put forth by you, under circumstances of no common character, and in a manner of more than common solemnity. But unhappily, they are accompanied with other matter which makes it not less reasonable to fear that they are no longer practically yours, in the fulness and strength in which they are stated above.
The assertion of the first great and distinctive gift in Christian Baptism—so plainly stated by your Grace in the passage which I have cited, the gift of the Holy Spirit—becomes unhappily much obscured, if not absolutely contradicted, by what we read in the very commencement of the new matter in page 166 of your new edition:—
"I do not deny that there may be a danger in addressing a congregation collectively, as regenerate, since the term has neither been accurately defined in Scripture, nor restricted to one sense in the common language of divines. It is therefore very possible, that they should imagine something more to be included in that metaphor, than the change of state, in which they were placed by Baptism, and so be lulled into a fallacious security, without examining themselves as to the important fact, whether they have really those marks, which accompany a 'new creature.'"
In this brief passage there is more than one startling intimation of your Grace's altered view. First, you remark on "the term regenerate not being accurately defined in Scripture." Now Scripture is not much in the habit of giving "accurate definitions;" it for the most part addresses itself to the good sense and good feelings of faithful readers, avoiding everything like a dry, technical, scholastic expression. Yet it does so happen, that in respect to the term regenerate, it goes far towards a definition; for it tells us that to be born again—that is, to be regenerate—is to be born of water and of the Spirit. If your Grace had said, that Scripture does not fully describe, instead of saying that it does not "accurately define," the term regenerate, you would have been much nearer the truth. And yet, even in description, it goes further than you seem to be now willing to recognize: for it says, "That which is born of the Spirit"—as is the regenerate—"is Spirit" Now surely these words describe a spiritual change as taking place in the new birth; especially when they are placed, as they are placed by our Lord, as stated by St. John, in contrast with the first, the natural birth—"that which is born of the flesh is flesh." But while Scripture thus clearly and distinctly speaks of the new birth as spiritual, and of the new born as spirit, and although this was quite clear to you when you first published your book, you now are silent as to this—"the trumpet gives an uncertain sound"—you speak of nothing more than "the change of state" in which men are placed by Baptism.
The next passage which we meet with in your new matter is as follows:—
"Happily for our Church, the framers of its rituals took their doctrine from the general tenor and promises of Scripture, and by a providential care extending over a church so framed," (rather whose rituals were so-framed,) "the succeeding believers in Calvin" (thus negativing, we rejoice to see, the assertion made by the Archbishop of York, that the framers of our rituals were Calvinists) "were never allowed to introduce their subtleties into her intelligible and rational formularies. Therefore we are instructed to declare, that those who are devoted to Christ, as infants, by Baptism, are regenerate, i. e. accepted of God in the beloved; and dying without actual sin" (original sin being remitted in baptism) "are undoubtedly saved."
In this passage you say "regenerate, i. e. accepted in the beloved." Shall I be forgiven if I avow my regret that your Grace did not express what you mean by the phrase "accepted in the beloved," when you use it in explanation of "regenerate"—a term which many of your readers may think not less clear than that by which you explain it? I trust that you did not mean—what the preceding passage might make us apprehend—a mere "change of state;" but 'that you wished your readers to understand by the words "accepted in the beloved," what is to be understood when they are used by St. Paul—"accepted," because they are "in the Lord"—that is, inserted by Baptism into the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby made "partakers of the divine nature," according to "exceeding great and precious promises given unto us" in Baptism, that we should be therein "born again of water and of the Spirit."
My Lord, it is as much my desire as it is my duty, to put the most favourable construction possible on everything which may be doubtful; and I, therefore, in spite of whatever may appear to be of a contrary tendency in the context, gladly conclude that such is the real, as well as the sound, sense of your Grace's words.
Would that every thing which we read there equally admitted a similar construction!
In page 169, you say:—
"Many, who have been once pronounced regenerate, have revolted from their baptismal vows, and lived to all outward appearance 'without God in the world.'"
My Lord, I am very far from charging this passage as actually unsound; but, writing as you are, of "persons devoted to Christ in infancy by Baptism," I cannot but regret the absence of every word which indicates the great spiritual change wrought within them in that Sacrament. I cannot but ask, why is all this shrinking from the expression of the great, and, as you, in other days, were wont to characterize it—the distinctive property of Christ's Baptism—that it "is accompanied with such an effusion of the Holy Spirit towards the inward renewing of the heart; that the baptized person has his nature amended, and is regenerated by the Spirit? Why, instead of language like this, do you now neutralize the sound doctrine which you once taught, by the adoption of phrases which cast a doubt upon the grace of the Sacrament of Christ?
But the words in the note which immediately follows (p. 171) are not merely neutralizing:—
"How many more of them might be saved, if parents and sponsors universally made the baptism of infants a spiritual service, and accompanied it with that prayer of faith, which be expected and taken for granted by the Church."
I would gladly hope that your Grace meant by this, that greater grace might be given to infants at baptism through their parents' prayers; and that, through those prayers, they might persevere to the end, and so be saved. But another of your Grace's works, points to a different sort of efficacy of prayer, an efficacy unknown to Holy Scripture; whereby the efficacy of vicarious prayer is substituted for that of the Sacraments, "which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise" (Art. 26). In your Commentary on the Gospel by St. John, ch. iii. 5, we meet with the following passage (after speaking of the acknowledgment of the need of renewal and Justification of every infant brought to Baptism, which is made by those who bring him):—
"It were well if every child which is presented in the temple for the outward ceremony of baptism were brought with this intelligent conviction, with a sense of the necessity of this spiritual regeneration, with an earnest desire and prayer that it might be obtained! The Lord approved of the zeal of those parents who brought their young children to him that he might touch them. It was done in faith that he was a prophet; it was done in hope that a prophet's blessing might avail. It was done in earnestness and full purpose of heart; for when his disciples rebuked those that brought them, they still persevered till Jesus 'laid his hands upon them and blessed them.' And so there is reason to believe that he will hear and favour the prayers of all parents who concur in like simplicity of heart and faith; who feel that they have bestowed upon their offspring an earthly corrupt nature, which would lead not to life, but to death; 'for that which is born of the flesh is flesh;' and who, therefore, present their children to Him who can change and renew that nature, and make it like unto his own. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
"Would to God, my brethren, that this truth were better understood, and this primitive, this Scriptural, this reasonable baptism more generally practised. Then we should not find so many who, though born of water (!), as far as concerns the baptismal rite, are evidently not made new creatures by the Spirit, who renews and sanctifies the soul."
My Lord, I have already said that to require as necessary to the efficacy of the Baptism of Infants that there be faith on the part of those who present them, is little short, if indeed short, of heresy. It is to make the first moving of God towards them—the Grace annexed by Christ to his Baptism—contingent on the intention of man; and that not of the baptized, who in this case is incapable of it, hut of others. It is, in truth, a near approach to, or absolute identity with, an error of late charged—whether justly or otherwise—on the Roman Church. Still worse than this: it is to provide another intercession than that of Christ,—other mediators; it is to declare that, although our blessed Lord has said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God;" and although our Church has in the most direct and absolute terms applied those words to the Baptism of Infants, saying, that our Lord commanded the young children to be brought unto him, blamed those that would have kept them from him, exhorteth all men to follow their innocency: thus making their innocency—that is, the absence of actual sin in themselves—to be their one sufficient qualification:—although, too, our Church declares in its Article that "the Baptism of young children is in anywise to be retained, as most agreeable with the Institution of Christ"—that is, more agreeable with it than the Baptism of others—ut qui cum Institutione Christi optimè congruat—which it could not otherwise be than because they by "their innocency" are the best qualified for it—yet your Grace flings to the wind these declarations of Scripture, and of the Church interpreting the Scripture, and makes "the prayer of Faith" of their parents to be necessary to their beneficial reception of the Sacrament.
My Lord, there is one observation which is forced upon the mind by this your teaching. It is rank Popery—and worse than Popery. The Council of Trent makes recourse to other intercessors and mediators with God, than Christ, to be no more than a "pious and useful" practice: your Grace makes it to be necessary to salvation—for you make it necessary to the right and beneficial reception of that Sacrament, which is acknowledged by your Grace to be "necessary to salvation." My Lord, I stand aghast when I hear such teaching from such a place; and certainly the shock is not lightened by reading what your Grace has written in the concluding sentence of the passage which I have just cited:—
"Would to God, my brethren, that this were better understood, and this primitive, this Scriptural, this reasonable Baptism, more generally practised."
My Lord, you here speak of primitive Baptism. I ask your Grace, in the name of the Church which is thus addressed by its Primate, what single Council—what single Father—what single Catholic writer of the Primitive Church, taking the term in its widest comprehension, has given to your Grace any sanction whatsoever for such an assertion?
What your Grace will answer this question I cannot doubt. Meanwhile, as you have invited a consideration of the doctrine of the Primitive Church on Baptism, you will not consider it irrelevant if I present you with a Canon of the Fourth Council of Carthage—a Council, as I need not remind your Grace, received generally, and one whose Canons were adopted by the general Council of Chalcedon. The 1st Canon of the Fourth Council of Carthage, which is thus seen to have had the authority of the whole Catholic Church, in giving "rules for the examination of one elected to be a Bishop," directs, among other things, as follows:—"Quaerendum etiam ab eo si credat., &c., si in Baptismo omnia peccata, id est, tam illud originale contractum, quam illa quae voluntariè admissa sunt, dimittantur." Thus it appears that no one in the Primitive Church could properly be ordained a Bishop, without its being first ascertained that he believed original sin to be remitted in Baptism. I hope that your Grace, when you were made a Bishop in 1828, did hold this doctrine, as you certainly did in 1815, when you first sent forth your work on 'Apostolical preaching,' but which you seemed to deny in 1841, when you published your Charge of that year to your clergy, in which Charge, or, strictly speaking, in the Appendix, pp. 78-9, is the following startling sentence:—
"Lest silence should be misconstrued, I think it needful to say, that in my judgment a clergyman would be departing from the sense of the Articles to which he subscribes, if he were to speak of justification by faith, as if Baptism and newness of heart concur towards our justification."
My Lord, I know not how to understand this sentence. Baptism and newness of heart cannot "concur towards" the first act of our "justification." For "newness of heart," as well as justification, is a fruit of Baptism, since Holy Scripture calls Baptism "the washing of regeneration, and of the renewal by the Holy Ghost;" and it is said to St. Paul, "Arise, wash away thy sins." Justification and newness of heart are contemporaneous gifts in Baptism.
But your Grace cannot mean that "a clergyman would be departing from the sense of the Articles" in saying that "Baptism concurs towards Justification," since your Grace says Baptism "confers the washing away of their sins, i.e. Justification. It were heretical to deny that Baptism concurs towards the remission of sins, or, "the being accounted righteous," as your Grace has in your book, p. 199, truly affirmed; for it would distinctly contradict that Article of the Creed which has just been cited, "I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins."
The writings to which you refer as containing the tenet thus strongly condemned by you, distinguish the manner in which Baptism concurs towards Justification from that in which Faith so concurs: following almost in words the teaching of Waterland on this very subject—a writer whom even your Grace will not lightly say, that in your judgment, he by so teaching is a clergyman who departs from the Articles to which he subscribes.
I proceed to consider the second claim made by your Grace for your statement of the necessity of the prayers of faithful parents to the efficacy of the Baptism of their children, namely, that it is "scriptural." My Lord, I hope I shall not be deemed to write with needless discourtesy, if I call upon your Grace to produce any text of Scripture which justifies this statement. The text, which you have produced in the passage I am considering, has been, I grieve to be obliged to say, perverted by you, and "added to" most awfully. You speak of our Lord's "approving of the zeal of those parents" who brought their young children to Him, that he might touch them,—as if this were the moving cause of his blessing them. Now, this representation rests solely on the dictum of your Grace: it is not said, is not in any way implied, in the narratives of the Evangelists. On the contrary, they concur in representing our blessed Lord as not even alluding to "the zeal of the parents who brought them"—as confining himself altogether (as our Church expressly interprets it) to the innocency of the children.—"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God, as a little child, he shall not enter therein." To "receive the kingdom of God," your Grace will agree with me, is to be admitted into the true Church of God; and thus we see why our Church, following the guidance of Scripture, teaches that "the Baptism of young children is most agreeable with the institution of Christ;" because (as was said before) their innocency, their guilelessness, their freedom from all actual sin, and infidelity, makes them a pattern of the mind which ought to be in all those who seek to be made one with Christ by the New Birth in Baptism.
[Waterland's words are:—"There is yet another very observable text. I chose to reserve it to the last, for the winding up of this summary view of Justification.
"1 Cor. vi. II—'Such were some of you. But ye were washed; but ye were sanctified; but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' I think it better to render it were, or have been, as best suiting with the original, and with the were just going before; but the sense is much the same either way.
"Here are three concurrent causes of Justification (together with Sanctification) mentioned together, viz.; the meritorious cause, 'the Lord Jesus;' the efficient and operating cause, 'The Spirit of our God;' and the instrumental Rite of Conveyance, Baptism.
"From these several passages of the New Testament laid together, it sufficiently appears, not only that Baptism is the ordinary instrument in God's hands for conferring Justification, but also that ordinarily there is no Justification conferred either before or without it. Such grace as precedes Baptism, amounts not ordinarily to Justification, strictly so called. Such as follows it, owes its force, in a great measure, to the standing virtue of Baptism once given."—Waterland on Justification, p. 27.]
Before I quit this point, I must not omit to remind your Grace of the implied decision upon it by our Church itself. When the second Book of Common Prayer in the time of Edward VI. was in preparation, Bucer, of whose influence on that occasion we have lately heard so much, objected to the phrase in the second Collect of the Office of Baptism, "that they coming to thy Holy Baptism," and required it to be expressed "brought to thy Holy Baptism," as being the truth. Notwithstanding this reason, which our Reformers would not willingly undervalue, they adhered to the phrase "which least recognized the agency of man in this heavenly work. They retain "coming," applied even to babes.
There remains another, and the crowning characteristic of your Grace's notion of Baptism—it is "this reasonable Baptism." My Lord, in dealing with the great mysteries of our religion—such as the grace of our Lord's Sacraments most undoubtedly is—I am not in the habit—and pardon me when I say that others ought not to be in the habit—of referring the judgment of them to human reason. "To the Law and to the Testimony," and to the Church's interpretation of that Law and Testimony when it be doubtful—is the rule by which I hope always to direct myself in such matters. The rationalizing process I leave to the schools of modern Germany and Geneva; and in the hideous consequences which have resulted from it there, I see a fresh and stronger warning to shun so corrupting a practice.
But, even if I looked to reason as my guide in 'these inquiries, there are one or two objections to your scheme, which my own reason would be unequal to encounter. Perhaps your Grace's may be more successful.
1st. I would object the miserable uncertainty respecting the efficacy of his Baptism, which, on your scheme, every one baptized in infancy must feel when he comes to the age of reason. That efficacy, according to you, rests on "the prayer of Faith" poured forth by his parents at his Baptism. Can he be sure that such prayer was then indeed poured forth by them? If not, what to him was the efficacy of that Baptism, which, however, the Church tells him was "necessary to his salvation?" Can he be assured of anything so utterly uncertain as the state of his parents' or sponsors' souls towards God—and the sincerity, fervency, or even faith of their prayer ten, twenty, thirty years ago?
2nd. I would object the dreadful cruelty of a scheme, which would make the one only opportunity of our "being born again"—"born of water and of the Spirit"—and so "entering into the kingdom of God"—to be dependent solely on the qualities of others, when outward Baptism was performed on them. There is "one Baptism" by Christ's institution—one only—"One Baptism for the Remission of Sins." If the one opportunity of their receiving that "one Baptism," to their salvation, was flung away by the faithlessness or heedlessness of those to whom their infancy was confided, what, on the terms of the covenant of Christ, any longer remains to them? I shudder at the answer. Thus, then, my Lord, if the soundness of your teaching is to be tried by reason (your Grace's test, be it remembered, not mine), I apprehend that the result would be not more favourable to you, than if, with me, you would appeal "to the Law and to the Testimony,"
There is yet one part of your added matter which I have read with more surprise and concern than any other. Your Grace seeks support to your argument from the notorious 20th chapter of Gibbon, which tells us, you say (p. 166), of "the abuse of Baptism itself by some mistaken Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries,"
My Lord, why do you have recourse to such a record of the sins and follies of some early Christians? Why do you send your readers to the pages of an infidel historian, and to that very portion of his work of which almost every sentence is a sneer against our holy faith? Why give authority to his second-hand exaggerated statements by making them your evidence for a fact, which the Fathers of the Church sufficiently avouch, while they deplore, reprobating it with the pious zeal which became men charged with their high commission? Your Grace speaks of this "abuse of Baptism"—the deferring it to the end of life—because it would then clear men of the guilt of the sinful cause, in which meanwhile they were resolved to run. My Lord, this abuse of the doctrine of the full remission of sins conferred by Baptism, proves that such was the doctrine of the age in which it was thus abused—proves, that that Sacrament was and is a great "reality." How, then, can you permit yourself to say, that it is a "lamentable evidence of the facility with which mankind run away from realities to ceremonies, and content themselves with the shadow of the spiritual substance"? My Lord, what you thus write of Baptism may be as truly said of Repentance. Reliance on delayed repentance, in these times, is just as "absurd," just as like "reliance on the virtue of the opus operatum" (to which neither one nor other bears any resemblance at all, as reliance on deferred Baptism. We warn our people against the sinful foolishness of hazarding their salvation on so rash a venture as death-bed repentance. And in like manner holy men of old warned their people against the danger of trusting to death-bed Baptism. The Church itself—contrary to the statement of your chosen witness Gibbon—marked its reprobation of the practice, by prohibiting those who had received "clinical Baptism" from being admitted to holy orders, if they should survive the sickness during which they were baptized. What reasonable ground is there, then, for apprehension that telling men the truth—namely, that they were regenerate in Baptism, however they may since, by wilful sins, have lost that state of salvation, and thereby incur "greater damnation"—"should lull them," as your Grace assumes that it will, "into a fallacious security"? My Lord, I have been permitted to attain to years beyond the ordinary term of man's life, and your Grace is not, I believe, far short of it. Both of us have, during many of our past years, been engaged in the pastoral charge of populous parishes. Now, I solemnly aver that, during the whole of that time, during all my intercourse with any portion of my own people or others, among the many beds of sickness and of death by which I have stood, endeavouring, however inadequately, to instruct the ignorant, to awaken the indifferent, aye, and to restrain the confident, I never met with a single instance of that "fallacious security" in the "regeneration" of Baptism, which your Grace deems so likely to "lull" the sinner, and make him heedless whether "he have really those marks which accompany a new creature." Of that heedless ness, too many were the instances I met with, but not one proceeding from the abuse of the doctrine of Baptism. Will your Grace forgive my asking, whether your experience has been materially different?
My Lord, from the new matter introduced into the body of your book, painful as it is, I turn with still greater pain to what you say in your Preface. At p. vii., after referring to the old and sound statements of your old edition—and a passage already cited from your new books—you thus proceed:—
"It is scarcely necessary for me to add, that I have nowhere insinuated a doubt which I have never felt, whether a person may be a consistent minister of our church who holds a different opinion concerning the effect of Baptism from that which is advanced in this volume: and believes that the grace of spiritual regeneration is separable, and, in fact, often separated, from the sacrament of Baptism."
In the case of adults baptized, no one would question this. But your Grace proceeds:—
"Unquestionably there is much difficulty, much mystery in the case, as regards the Baptism of infants:—a difficulty which has more or less perplexed the Church in, every age, since the Baptism of infants has been the general practice, and which many divines have solved by supposing that the spiritual benefit of Baptism, 'a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness,' is only received where there has been an antecedent act of grace on the part of God."—P. ix.
"Without concurring in these opinions, I cannot doubt that a minister of our Church may justly maintain them, sanctioned as they have been by some of her worthiest members, and relating to a subject upon which, confessedly, Scripture does not speak definitively."
Why, my lord, your Grace has said, at p. 160, that "on the authority of the example of St. Paul, our Church considers Baptism as conveying Regeneration," and requires all its ministers to teach accordingly. What are we to say, what are we to think, of this? It is, doubtless, very amiable on the part of your Grace to forbear from "insinuating a doubt, whether a person may be a consistent member of our Church, who holds a different opinion" from your own: but the question is, whether such a person may hold a different doctrine from that of the Church. You have strongly and repeatedly declared what is the doctrine of the Church, and what she requires her ministers to hold, and you will surely abide by those declarations. In your Grace, personally, we admire courtesy, modesty, and charity; but courtesy, modesty, and charity have no place as to the truth of Almighty God, or the "good deposit" of faith committed to the Church, and especially to the keeping of her Bishops. What you have before said, you now continue to say. I appeal to the book which you now publish, from the preface which you prefix to it. You tell us, that "the Church considers Baptism as conveying regeneration;" that "the Church declares" to her members, that "they were themselves regenerated, and made the children of grace by the benefits of Baptism." You say that "it is of the positive doctrine of our Church that such renewal belongs to all who are baptized in the name of Christ." Your Grace cannot mean, that the Church allows her ministers to deny what is her own "positive doctrine;" that her ministers may declare that not to be, which you say that the Church declares to be, her doctrine; that "whereas no preacher is authorized, either by our Church or by St. Paul, to leave a doubt upon the mind of his hearers, whether they are within the pale of God's favour," her ministers are allowed by her to declare that her baptized infants are "out of the pale of God's favour," unless there have been "an antecedent act of God's favour," (not "authorized by our Church or by St. Paul"), whereby, not by Baptism, they were (if at all) regenerated.
My Lord, we next come to an assertion of yours scarcely less startling than that which has just preceded. You say, p. 11:—
"Scripture declares the general necessity of Baptism, without determining the actual effect of infant Baptism."
Your Grace has often yourself declared in God's house to God's people, as the condition on which you were permitted to minister to them in that house, that you give your unfeigned assent and consent to the Book of Common Prayer, &c., and to all things contained therein; and you are in the constant habit of requiring that the same declaration be made before you by every one whom you ordain or license to any spiritual function, or institute to the cure of souls. In that Book, to all things contained in which you have thus solemnly and repeatedly declared that you give your unfeigned assent and consent, this, besides many other matters of similar import, is contained: "It is certain by God's word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved."
My Lord, does this Rubric, or does it not, say, that "Scripture," while it "declares the general necessity of Baptism, determines not the actual effect of infant Baptism?" Will your Grace say that it does not? I should be sorry to deem it possible that you will. True, it may be thought that you have already said so, by implication, for you have consented to the judgment of the Judicial Committee, and thereby have consented to the strange comment by which that Tribunal disposed of the plain statement in this Rubric, and to which I must' advert more particularly before we have done. Meanwhile I will not hold you to such an inference, whether it be just or not: from no quarter, but your own lips or your own pen, will I listen to the avowal, that such is your interpretation of that Rubric. And yet, if it be not, how can you, in open defiance of it, declare, as we have seen you declare, that "Scripture determines not the effect of infant Baptism?" My Lord, I wait for your answer, which will, I am sure, be given, and given plainly. You will recognize the right of the Church, in which you hold so high a place, to expect such an answer; and you will give it with the frankness which belongs to you.
But, if self-contradiction were all that I had to object to your Grace's book, I should not think it necessary to trouble you or myself, much less the Church at large, on the matter-My complaint is of a much graver character. My Lord, you were summoned to attend the hearing of the late cause before the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Council, in order that you might assist them in dealing with the questions of doctrine which were involved in that cause—and I grieve to think, that, instead of leading, you must have misled those whom you were to instruct, not only by mis-stating the matters on which you advised, but also by misquoting all, or almost all, the authors cited by you in confirmation of your statement.
2. I deeply grieve that you have given the sanction of your authority, which ought, from your station, to be very great, to a judgment marked by the most palpable misapprehensions, and therefore mis-statements, of doctrine—and by omissions, unparalleled in any other similar document, of the true grounds on which justice required that the judgment should be founded.
Lastly, and above all, I grieve exceedingly that you have concurred in the false, destructive declaration, that the Church of England has not a positive doctrine on the efficacy of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, but permits her ministers to deny that any of her infants are in Baptism made members of Christ, the children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven; and to state of many infants, baptized "for the remission of sins," that they remain-afterwards, as before, children of wrath, and so to make the statement which our Church's Catechism puts into their mouth a delusion and a lie. If it were uncertain, whether they had been made children of God, it would have been presumptuous and deceitful in the Church to make them affirm it as certain and true. Since it is certain, it is to rob parents of their comfort, children of their hopes, the Church of its faith, to allow it to be taught that it is in any case untrue. But what does he, who sanctions a legal decision that the Church does not hold part of the Faith? My Lord, as far as in him lies, and as far as the effect of that sentence goes, he sanctions a decision that the Church, over which he presides, is no part of the Church of Christ. Would that I was not obliged to add, that your Grace has (I believe, unconsciously) done all which a declaration of yours could do to cut off the Church, of which you occupy the highest place, from communion with the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of all ages, by ascribing to Her the contradiction of an article of the Creed: "I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins."
My Lord, these are grave charges, not to be hazarded lightly by any man—least of all, by one of your Grace's com-provincial Bishops—they are charges, which carry with them a vast weight of responsibility on him who makes them—charges which, if he fails to establish, will fasten on himself the guilt not only of calumny, but of schism. It is under a deep sense of this responsibility, that I proceed in my task—invitus, dolens, coactus.
My Lord, I enter on my proofs:—
Your Grace says (Preface, pp. vii. ix.):
"Unquestionably there is much difficulty, much mystery in the case, as regards the Baptism of infants—a difficulty—which many divines have solved, by supposing that the spiritual benefit of Baptism, 'a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness.' is only received where there has been an antecedent act of grace on the part of God."
Now, I must here express my extreme surprise that your Grace should have made this statement, in reference to the case of Mr. Gorham; in other words, the "subject which, unhappily, has recently been a matter of distressing controversy," p. iv, Mr. Gorham, instead of saying, as your Grace implies that he says, that—
"'A death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness' is the spiritual benefit of Baptism, but is only received in Baptism where there has been an antecedent act of Grace on the part of God"—
expressly, repeatedly, emphatically says the very contrary.
In his Answer 19, p. 85, he says:—
"If such infants die, before they commit actual Sin, the Church holds, and I hold, that they are undoubtedly saved; and therefore they must have been regenerated, by an act of grace praevenient to their Baptism, in order to make them worthy recipients of that Sacrament."
In Answer 60, p. 113:—
"That filial state" (the becoming sons of God), "though clearly to be ascribed to God, was given to the worthy recipient—before Baptism, and not in Baptism."
Such are Mr. Gorham's statements: and if it was on the supposition of his concurring with the Divines, of whom your Grace has just spoken, that you advised the Judicial Committee to decide that I was not justified in refusing Institution to him, it is my painful duty to state that your advice was founded on grounds which I forbear to characterize, but which, even if they were true, were nihil ad rem—they had nothing to do with the case of Mr. Gorham.
This might be enough to say on this point; but your Grace has given a string of authorities for the tenet "that the spiritual Grace of Baptism, 'a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness,' is only received where there has been an antecedent act of Grace on the part of God."
To these your authorities I beg leave to call the especial attention of yourself, and of all who take an interest in the Inquiry.
The first is Hooker (E. P. v. 60); of him your Grace says:—
"Hooker alludes to this when he speaks of Baptism as 'a seal, perhaps, of the Grace of Election before received.'"
My Lord, it is very true that Hooker uses these words: but in stating that he did use them your Grace forgot that it is but a scrap of a sentence written by him in answer to a statement of Cartwright's which was identical in meaning with Mr. Gorham's:—
"He which is not a Christian before he come to receive Baptism," says Cartwright, "cannot be made a Christian by Baptism; which is only the Seal of the Grace of God before received."
So wrote Cartwright. In answer to this Hooker says:—
"Predestination bringeth not to life without the Grace of external vocation, wherein our Baptism is implied. For, as we are not naturally men without birth, so neither are we Christian men in the eye of the Church of God, but by new birth, nor, according to the manifest ordinary course of divine Dispensation, new-born, but by that Baptism which both declareth and maketh us Christians. In which respect we justly hold it to be the door of our actual entrance into Christ's house, the first apparent beginning of life, a seal, perhaps, to the Grace of Election before received; but to our Sanctification here, a step that hath not any before it."
These, my Lord, are Hooker's words; he does not, as your Grace affirms, "allude" to the opinion of the Divines of whom you speak—he expressly controverts and disproves the statement of one of them, that there must be an act of praevenient grace; and I heartily wish, that before you made the statement, your Grace had read the whole of the sentence, of which you quote a very small part. In short, my Lord, you might have justly claimed the authority of Cartwright, if you had thought fit, but you could not claim that of Hooker.
Your Grace's next witness is Archbishop Usher.
"Usher says: 'The Sacrament of Baptism in Infants is effectual to all those, and to those only, who belong to the Election of Grace.' '
My Lord, if Usher had used the words which your Grace cites as his, he would not thereby have said what Mr. Gorham says, and what you imply that Usher said, that the new birth of the Spirit is "given not in Baptism, but before Baptism;" for the very words say, as plainly as words can say anything, that the "Sacrament of Baptism is effectual to all those infants who belong to the Election of Grace," though "to them only."
But, my Lord, the words are not Usher's. He said no such thing, and there is some strong evidence (as I will presently show) of his having said the contrary. But there is no evidence of his having said what your Grace ascribes to him. The book, which you cite as his, he absolutely disclaimed, as will appear from the following statement in his Life, by the late Dr. Elrington—a name which none who knew him can recall without deep emotion:—
"During the Primate's residence in Wales, a book was published, under his name, by Mr. Downham; entitled 'A Body of Divinity, or the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion.' The Archbishop lost no time in writing to the editor, and sent him the following letter disowning the work:
"'SIR,—You may be pleased to take notice that the Catechism you write of is none of mine, but transcribed out of Mr. Cartwright's catechism, and Mr. Crook's, and some other English Divines, but drawn together in one method as a kinde of commonplace book, where other men's judgments and reasons are strongly laid down, though not approved in all places by the collector; besides that the collection (such as it is) being lent abroad to divers in scattered sheets, hath for a great part of it miscarried; and one half of it, as I suppose (well nigh) being no way to be recovered, so that so imperfect a thing copied verbatim out of others, and in divers places dissonant from my own judgement, may not by any means be owned by me; but if it shall seem good of any industrious person to cutoff what is weak and superfluous therein, and supply the wants thereof, and cast it into a new mould of his own framing, I shall be very well content that he make what use he pleaseth of any the materials therein, and set out the whole in his own name; and this is the resolution of
'"Your most assured loving friend,
"'May 13, 1645.'
"When the Primate thus positively declared that the book was in divers places dissonant from his own judgement, and that it could not by any means be owned by him, it might have been supposed that it would never have been republished with his name, or quoted as his work; yet the fact is far otherwise. Many editions have been published by those who were aware of this letter, and yet affixed the Primate's name; and every advocate of supralapsarian doctrines quotes in his support the opinions of Archbishop Usher as put forth in his 'Body of Divinity.' I understand that several persons have expressed their disappointment at my not having published the 'Body of Divinity' among the works of the Archbishop. Had the authorship been a matter of doubtful evidence, there might be a plausible ground for such complaint; but there can be none for not publishing among the works of Archbishop Usher what Archbishop Usher declared was not his work."
["Dr. Bernard, who could not have been offended by the extreme doctrines contained in the work, says of it, 'Being so unpolished, defective, and full of mistakes, he was much displeased at the publishing it in his name." An edition was published in London so late as the year 1841, and the attention of the editors was drawn to the letter of Archbishop Usher. They promised to prefix the Letter to the Work, but they never fulfilled the promise."]
Thus, the two first of your Grace's witnesses, bearing the illustrious names of Hooker and Usher, are no other, when the mask is withdrawn, than Cartwright, the notorious leader of the Nonconformist party in Queen Elizabeth's reign. But I have promised that of the second of them—of Usher—I would adduce some evidence that he held a doctrine the very contrary to what you ascribe to him. I say some evidence; for I should be very sorry to overstate anything. A volume is now before me, printed in London, in 1660, soon after Archbishop Usher's death, entitled "Eighteen Sermons, preached in Oxford, 1640, by the Right Rev. James Usher, late Bishop of Armagh, in Ireland. Published by Jos. Crabb, Will. Ball, Tho. Lye, Ministers of the Gospel, who writ them from his mouth, and compared their copies together. With a Preface concerning the Life of the pious Author, by the Rev. Stanley Gower, some time Chaplain to the said Bishop."
These sermons are included by Dr. Elrington in his edition of the works of Archbishop Usher.
From the 13th of these (page 448) I cite what follows:—
"There is such an opposition and antipathy between the flesh and the Spirit, that, did not God refresh the Spirit now and then, it might be overborne by the bulk of our corruptions. Now God's ordinances are appointed to keep it in heart, and refresh it, as the sick spouse was 'staid with apples, and comforted in flagons.' And God hath appointed his Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to strengthen and continue that life which we received in Baptism, as by spiritual nourishment. In Baptism our stock of Life is given us, by the Sacrament is confirmed and continued. If a child be born only, and after birth not nourished, there is none but will know what a death such a soul will die. So it is here: unless Christ be pleased to nourish that Life which he breathed into me by Baptism, and by his ordinances to give me a new supply and addition of Grace; I am a dead man, I am gone for evil."
Turn we to your third witness, another very illustrious name, Bishop Jeremy Taylor. Your Grace will be glad to hear that he really wrote what you cite from his "Baptism of Infants:"—
"Baptism, and its effect, may be separated, and do not always go in conjunction. The effect may be before, and therefore much rather may it be after its susception: the Sacrament operating in the virtue of Christ, even as the Spirit shall move."
These words, I repeat, were really written by Bishop Taylor; yet this witness will help you less than either of the others, for he shall be proved to bear testimony directly against you.
Your Grace, I need not say, would always be sorry to cite any writer as authority for a statement which he contradicts. Yet such is the fact in the present instance. You have been seduced by an unhappy confidence in some most untrustworthy informant, to quote Bishop Jeremy Taylor as one of "many Divines," who hold "that the Spiritual benefit at Baptism, 'a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness,' is only received where there has been an antecedent act of Grace on the part of God." This bears upon the matters charged by me against Mr. Gorham, although a mis-statement of his special distinctive heresy. Surely, therefore, it was the duty of Your Grace to be the more cautious before you gave to the Judicial Committee the high authority of your sanction to any statement whatever on this particular point. Yet your citation of Bishop Taylor which you have so unsuspiciously received, is absolutely, palpably fraudulent. That eminent Prelate, in the very commencement of the very same paragraph of his work, from which your citation is made, gives this plain, distinct, unmistakable contradiction of the doctrine for which you have adduced him as your witness—the doctrine of Mr. Gorham:—
"Baptism is the first ordinary current in which the Spirit moves and descends upon us—and where God's Spirit is, they are the sons of God; for Christ's Spirit descends upon none but them that are his."
He then proceeds shortly to deal with the case of Cornelius, as an exception; and it is thus that he is brought to the statement which your Grace has quoted. These are your Grace's witnesses—a sample of the "many Divines" of our Church (for of these we must understand you to be speaking) who "have solved the difficulty by supposing that the spiritual benefit of Baptism, 'a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness,' is only received where there has been an antecedent act of grace on the part of God." You have ventured to identify this position with the doctrine of Bishop Jeremy Taylor on the efficacy of Baptism to infants. With what success, we have just seen.
But your Grace waxes still bolder—and at length declares, "Indeed at one time this doctrine was authoritatively taught in our Church." We will look at your evidence for this position. It is summed up in the following statement:—"For it is uniformly laid down in the Decades of Bullinger, that 'in Baptism that is sealed and confirmed to infants, which they had before;' so that 'the first beginning of our uniting and fellowship with Christ is not wrought by the Sacraments.' And in the year 1586, it was ordered by the Queen and the Upper House of Convocation, that those Decades of Bullinger should be studied and taken as a model by every minister who has not passed the Master of Arts' degree."
My Lord, before I examine the evidence of the fact here stated, I beg leave to trouble you with a few remarks respecting Bullinger himself.
The truth is, that Bullinger, as well as Calvin and others of their school, made two sorts of statements, which, taken in their plain meaning, flatly contradict one another. They had parted with the truth, but they tried to persuade themselves and others that they had not. The theory which they had adopted from Zwingle did make the Sacraments "empty signs;" but they shrunk from owning to themselves or the Church that they did so. They frequently protest that they do not. They make statements, which express that the grace of the Sacraments is conveyed through the Sacraments. There is evidence to show that our Divines, even down to a late period, took those better passages in their plain meaning, and so quoted the writers as agreeing with the doctrine of the Church of England. It was charitable to take words in their best meaning; it was natural that, in their common conflict with the Church of Rome, our early writers should overlook the real differences in the statements of those engaged so far in one common cause, neglecting the passages which constrain us to admit that such was not their meaning. This we must believe to have been the case with the Divines in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. For, taken in their real meaning, those passages which you cite, really contradict the very articles and formularies which those Divines established.
I would now draw your attention to some passages which declare that the grace of Baptism is actually bestowed in Baptism. In the context of the passage which you quote, he declares, "to be baptized 'Into the name of the Lord,' is to be sealed into his virtue and power (for the name of the Lord signified power), into the favor, mercy, and protection of God, yea, to be grafted, and as it were to be fastened, to be dedicated, and to be INCORPORATED INTO GOD." Is this a real act, or is it a shadow? Is it a spiritual truth, or are they mere words? To be "incorporated into God"—can it be a mere outward thing, a name, a visible representation, a picture, an outward admission into an outward body? You would think it profane and deceiving to use words so awfully great of a mere outward act. Again, you well know what Holy Scripture means, by being "grafted into Christ," made members of His mystical body, branches of the true Vine. Again, "to be sealed into His virtue and power," "into the favour, mercy, and protection of God." Surely such a sealing is not a mere outward act. Bullinger seems, in this passage, to labour for words to express the greatness of what he means, to rise from one to another, "grafted," ''as it were fastened,", until he ends, "to be incorporated into God."
Again, in another place, he says, "truly Baptism is called a cleansing or washing away of sins." It cannot be "truly" so, unless sins are really washed away by it.
Again, he adopts the strongest language of Holy Scripture and of the "old doctors of the Church," as to the reality of God's gift in Baptism. "We read," he says, "that they are purged from their sins, and regenerated into a new life, which are baptized in the name of Christ, and that Baptism is the washing away of all our sins. And after this manner speaketh the Scripture, and this form of speech kept the old doctors of the Church, whom, for so doing, none that is wise can dispraise, neither can any one discommend any man which speaketh after this manner, so that he also abide in the same sincerity wherein it is manifest that those holy men of God did walk" (quoted by Mr. Goode, p. 245.) These words he receives with the limitation only, that "they used words significatively, sacramentally, mystically, and figuratively."
Certainly our Divines might well be slow to think that, although Bullinger joins the word "figuratively," he meant that Sacraments were only figures. For Bullinger himself says that "Sacraments are effectual, and not without force." "If by bare, they understand things of no force, we openly profess that we have Sacraments which are holy, and not profane; effectual, and not without force; garnished from above, not naked; and therefore full, not void nor empty" (quoted by Mr. Goode, p. 24?).
And in this impression they might be confirmed by observing some statements to which Bullinger objects:—1. That "Sacraments justify and save: yea, and that of themselves," i. e. not God by them. And 2nd. To those which "attribute the receiving of grace to our work, whereby we receive the Sacrament," (Goode, p. 245;) i.e., not to Christ's mercy in and through them—statements palpably false, and abhorrent from all Christian truth. He adds—"They are instituted of God, and for godly men, and not for profane persons; effectual and not without force; for in the Church, with the godly and faithful, they work the same effect and end whereunto they were ordained of God." All must, of course, believe that to "profane" persons Sacraments must be pernicious (as the Article teacheth.) But Bullinger cannot here be speaking of infants; for infants can neither be "profane" nor "godly" when they come to Baptism.
Now the above passages cannot be explained away, except on the supposition that Bullinger used language awfully great of what is simply outward. The question is not whether the Sacraments are efficacious in a certain class of persons only, but whether God conveys through them inward grace. This Bullinger really denies. And we may be slow to believe that our Divines so understood him, in the face of those his other Statements, since he would thereby contradict the Articles themselves.
The real theory of Zwingle and his followers is, that the Sacraments are mere outward signs.
This is so important, that I may digress for a moment from Bullinger to his master Zwingle, in a work which Bullinger speaks of as one of his very best.
In his Fidei Christianae Expositio, then, Zwingle says that "the benefits of Sacraments are, that they are instituted by Christ, attest his history, set before us the things which they signify; signify great things, are fitted to represent the things signified, aid faith to contemplate divine things, are an oath to bind Christians together;" in all which there is no mention of Divine Grace. [P. 555, v. sqq. quae Sacramentorum virtus.]
In like way, he speaks of the benefits of Infant Baptism, that Infants are therein dedicated to God, grow up in the same doctrine, are educated as Christians, and listlessness in teaching is removed. He often urges against the Anabaptists that they were unreasonable in objecting to Infant Baptism, since it is "an outward and ceremonial thing."
In like way Bullinger also does often represent the sacraments as mere pictures and outward seals. His definition of a sacrament does not contain one hint of an invisible grace.
"Sacraments are holy actions, consisting of words, promises, or of prescript rites or ceremonies, given for this end to the Church of God from heaven, to be witnesses and seals of the preaching of the Gospel; to exercise and try faith; and, by earthly and visible things, to represent and set before our eyes the deep mysteries of God; to be short, to gather together a visible Church or congregation, to admonish them of Him and duty."
Let anyone contrast this explanation of a sacrament with that of our Articles, and he will not dare to say that it is in accordance with them.
In a word, my Lord, either Bullinger means that Sacraments are God's instruments by which He confers the grace signified by them on those who receive them worthily—and so he sustains the principle that the grace of the New Birth is conferred in and by Baptism—or he denies that the Sacraments are such instruments of God, and so contradicts the 25th Article, which says that Sacraments are effectual signs of grace and God's good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us (efficacia signa, per quae.) Your Grace will choose which part of the alternative you may prefer; if the former, Bullinger is a. witness to the Regeneration of Infants by Baptism—if the latter, you make Archbishop Whitgift and the other Bishops of that day require, that a doctrine, which contradicts the 39 Articles, should be "authoritatively taught." It is to me a matter of perfect indifference, as far as concerns our present discussion, which of the two you may choose.
But this is not, and cannot be, a matter of indifference, on higher grounds. Archbishop Whitgift's name, not to mention others, is too exalted for us willingly to concur in branding him as a favourer of Heresy. The truth seems to be, that in setting out the "Decades of Bullinger," as a book for the instruction of the more ignorant of the Clergy, he and his comprovincials looked only to the general character of Bullinger's volume—a volume containing fifty Sermons, of which four only were on the subject of the Sacraments. The volume, in the main, may have been an useful Manual, and may have afforded a good sample of Sermon-writing,—a matter much wanted in our Church in those days, when the paucity of our Homilies was much deplored—and, so far as I am aware, there was no attempt made by any English Divine to supply the deficiency.
But, be the doctrine of this volume good or bad, what is the evidence of its having been authoritatively taught in our Church? Your Grace says, "In the year 1586 it was ordered by the Queen and the Upper House of Convocation, that these Decades of Bullinger should be taken as a model by every minister who had not passed the Master of Arts' degree;" and you cite, as authority for this assertion, Strype's Life of Whitgift, i. p. 131.
My Lord, I have looked to this Book, and into Wilkins's "Concilia," but can find no authority at all for the Queen's having had anything to do with such an order; and as to any order, made by the Bishops, I am equally at a loss to find it. Wilkins (iv. 321,) giving the Register of the Acts of Convocation in 1586, tells us no more than what follows:—"1586. In 13ma Sessione (Dec. 2) statuta de progressu in studiis ab inferiori Clero faciendo ab Archiepiscopo (quas statim sequuntur) exhibebantur." Afterwards, "In hâc Synodo ab Archiep. Cantuar. introducebantur ordines," &c.
Strype (Whitgift, App., B. III., No. 32) says, "Orders," &c., adding, "agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops"—which seems to be correct; for he further says (i. 499,) Sess. 7, March 10, 1586, "Then the Prolocutor prayed that the Articles agreed upon by the Bishops formerly mentioned should be read, which was done. And then the Archbishop exhorted all the Clergy to do their duty."
Nothing further in the matter was done. Convocation was dissolved on the 24th of the same month. There is not a trace of the consent of the lower House having been given to the measure. No Canon, no Act, whatever, relating to it, appears in the Acts of that Convocation. Therefore, that this book was "authoritatively taught," seems a mere gratuitous dictum. True it is, that Archdeacon Aylmer, son of the Bishop of London (seemingly on his own authority), at his Visitation in the year 1587, did make inquiry about the use of this book by the inferior Clergy; but the Articles of Inquiry at the Visitation by Archbishop Whitgift, of the Diocese of Canterbury, of Salisbury, and of Rochester, though very minute, make absolutely no mention of it at all.
It is not a light confirmation of the improbability that the book was ever "authoritatively taught," that it is one which is now of extreme rarity—a copy of it cannot, without great difficulty, be procured. Considering that it is a quarto of above 1000 pages, this could hardly be the case, if every one of the thousands of Clergy who, in those unlearned days, had not "passed his Master of Arts' degree" had been obliged to procure it.
The only copy I have been able to find is in English, printed in 1577; and I am assured by an excellent authority in such a matter, that no subsequent edition of it was published in England during that century—none, therefore, at the time when the demand for the book, if your Grace's statement be correct, must have been greatest. I have made inquiry at the British Museum, and find that the only copy there is in Latin, printed at Zurich, in 3 vols. folio, "Tiguri," 1557. I have also made inquiries at Oxford, and I find that there is no copy of the book in English in the Bodleian, or the Christ Church, Magdalene, New College, Balliol, Oriel, Jesus libraries. In the Bodleian there is one copy only, in 3 vols. folio, Tiguri, 1676, and one in New College, exactly like the other, but bearing the date 1666. [Corrected. See Supplementary Letter.]
My Lord, I am really incredulous concerning the order by the Queen and Upper House of Convocation in 1586.
But your Grace says, there is nothing in "such opinions," as deny the saving grace of Baptism of infants, "to prevent the honest use of the formularies of the Church." My Lord, I will not go through the passages in those formularies which notoriously affirm that saving Grace—passages on which, at page 160 of your own book (as I have already shown), you found an assertion, that "on the authority of this example" (the example of St. Paul as deduced from several texts of his Epistles), "and of the undeniable practice of the first ages of Christianity, our Church considers Baptism as conveying regeneration, instructing us to pray before Baptism, that the infant may be born again, and made an heir of everlasting salvation;" and to return thanks, after Baptism, that it "hath pleased God to regenerate" (the Italics are your own) "the infant with His Holy Spirit, and receive him for his own child by adoption."
Such is the declaration in your Book; but a new light has burst upon you, it seems, while preparing a Preface for it. You have now descried a new principle, which was before hidden from your eyes. You not only say, "all our formularies are framed," but you add, "and must be framed, on the principle of charitable presumption."
My Lord, without at present dealing with this, I turn to the writers whom you cite as vouchers for it.
The first is a greater than any of the very great men to whom you have before appealed, Bishop Pearson, the most judicious, the most accurate, and one of the most learned, of all the theologians of whom our Church can boast. He says, what you cite; but he says it of adults, and of the actual state of adults, whose lives are before the world. His words are these:—
"When the means are used, without something appearing to the contrary, we presume the good effect."
He says nothing of infants here; nothing of the effect of Baptism to them. But it is with the effect of Baptism of Infants that we are now concerned, and I will present your Grace with an extract from another work of his, a formal Determination of his, as Divinity Professor, on Baptism of itself, Baptism simpliciter—Baptism, therefore, of infants, who cannot either place a bar against the Grace annexed in Christ's institution to the Sacrament itself, by unworthily receiving it, nor forfeit that Grace, as adults may, by subsequent sin. Bishop Pearson's words are as follows:—
"Nihil in Christianâ Religione certius est, quam vis ilia Baptismi ad bonum spirituale maxima certissimaque. Est quidem signum externum et visibile; id autem quod illo significatur est invisibilis gratia; et signum ipsum ideo institutum est, ut eam gratiam conferat." Bp. Pearson, Minor Theol. Works, ii. 313, Determinatio VI.
Your Grace, therefore, will perceive that Bishop Pearson taught what is absolutely inconsistent with the notion that we must speak of the effect of the Baptism of Infants, "on the principle of charitable presumption." On the contrary, he tells us that—
"Nothing in the whole compass of our religion is more sure than the exceeding great and most certain efficacy of Baptism to spiritual good; that it is an outward and visible sign indeed, but by it an invisible Grace is signified; and the sign itself was instituted for the very purpose that it should confer that Grace."
My Lord, you again cite Hooker in confirmation of your present position, as saying "We speak of infants as the rule of charity alloweth."
It is very distressing to be compelled to scrutinize every citation which you make, and still more distressing to be obliged to remark on all of them as most incorrect—on some as most fallacious. In the present instance I have to tell your Grace that in the three editions of Hooker, which only I have been able to consult, the folio of 1705, Hanbury's and Keble's, the word is not Charity, but Piety. Whether your Grace's edition of Hooker has Charity I know not; if it has (which the context makes scarcely credible), it is quite plain that he uses it merely ad hominem. I will present your Grace with that context.
Cartwright, whom, I need not say, Hooker was answering, had said—"'
"If children could have faith, yet they that present the child cannot precisely tell whether that particular child hath faith or no; we are to think charitably, and to hope it is one of the Church; but it can be no more precisely said that it hath faith, than it may be said precisely elected."
"Were St. Augustine now living, there are which would tell him for his better instruction, that to say of a child 'it is elect,' and to say 'it doth believe,' is all one; for which cause, sith no man is able precisely to affirm the one' (that it is elect) "of any infant in particular, it followeth that 'precisely' and 'absolutely,' we ought not to say the other" (that it believeth.). "Which precise and absolute terms are needless in this case. We speak of infants as the rule of Piety alloweth both to speak and think."
Now the "rule of piety" is, according to the doctrine of Augustine and of Hooker, "to speak and think" of baptized infants as having faith, because they have had the Sacrament of Faith (S. Aug. Ep. 23 ad Bonifac.). But Hooker proceeds with an argumentum ad hominem (I repeat):—
"They that can take to themselves in ordinary talk a charitable kind of liberty to name their own sort God's dear children (notwithstanding the large reign of hypocrisy,) should not, methinks, be so strict and rigorous against the Church for presuming as it does of a Christian innocent."
Such would be the answer to your Grace's representation of Hooker's words, if it were correct, which it glaringly is not. Let me now tell you, in two sentences of Hooker's, what "the Church presumes" according to him, not merely charitably, but absolutely, of a baptized infant.
In his 57th section (on "the necessity of Sacraments unto the Participation of Christ,") after speaking of other properties of Sacraments, he says,—
"But their chiefest force and virtue consisteth not herein so much as in that they are heavenly ceremonies, which God hath sanctified and ordained to be administered in His Church, first, as marks whereby to know when God doth impart the vital or saving grace of Christ unto all that are capable thereof; and, secondly, as means conditional, which God requireth of them unto whom He imparteth grace."
And in Section 60,—
"Baptism, therefore, even in the meaning of the law of Christ, belongeth unto infants capable thereof from the very instant of their birth."
My Lord, in the midst of the distasteful work in which necessity had engaged me, it is refreshing to be reminded, and to have occasion to remind others, of these noble statements of Catholic doctrine in the words of one of the most illustrious of English divines.
My Lord, I proceed to your citation from Bishop Carleton. I have not access to his work, but I doubt not, that it is correctly exhibited in Mr. Goode's book:—
"All that receive Baptism are called the children of God, regenerate, justified; for to us they must be taken for such in charity, until they show themselves other."
This is very apposite to the immediate purpose for which you cite it; but then the context directly contradicts the doctrine of Mr. Gorham, on whose account it is cited, for, in the same page, we read—
"We following the ancient Fathers, follow the Church. I pray you, what did antiquity teach? That young children baptized are delivered from original sin. We teach the same."
My Lord, Mr. Gorham teaches not the same: he teaches that original sin, in itself, and unless removed by "an act praevenient grace," makes children unworthy recipients of Baptism.
There remains, I rejoice to say, but one other evidence for your Grace's principle of charitable presumption, the Defence of the Services of the Church by the Bishops at the Savoy Conference.
The complaint of the Nonconformists was—
"That whereas throughout the several offices the phrase is such as presumes all persons (within the Communion of the Church,) to be regenerated, converted, and in an actual state of grace (which, had ecclesiastical discipline been truly and vigorously executed, in the exclusion of scandalous and obstinate sinners, might be better supposed; but there having been, and still being, a confessed want of that, as in Liturgy is acknowledged, it cannot be rationally admitted in the utmost latitude of charity,) we desire that this may be reformed."—Cardwell Conf., 308.
The Bishops answered—
"Our prayers and the phrase of them surely supposes no more than that they are saints by calling, sanctified in Christ Jesus, by their baptism admitted into Christ's congregation, and so to be reckoned members of that society till either they shall separate themselves by wilful schism, or be separated by legal excommunication; which they seem earnestly to desire, and so do we."
The Bishops, in another place, explain what they mean by "charitable presumption," i. e., that it relates to adults, not to infants; to those who can, by their own will, retain or lose the grace of God, not to those who are incapable of any will, either to receive or reject it, but upon whom our Saviour Christ confers it. In defending the Confirmation Service, they assert positively that the grace of Baptism was conferred upon infants, but say that the Church "presumes charitably," not that they have received it, but that, when they come to be confirmed, they have not "totally lost" it.
"And it is charitably presumed that, notwithstanding the frailties and slips of their childhood, they have not totally lost what was in Baptism conferred upon them, and therefore adds, 'Strengthen them' &c."—Ib. 359.
My Lord, I entirely agree with your Grace that on this principle all common prayer must be framed; for common prayer is no other than the united prayer of all who are gathered together in Christ's name. But the bearing which this may have on the charitable hypothesis on which you say that the words which declare children to be regenerate in their Baptism must be construed, will come more properly under consideration in dealing with the Judgment of the Judicial Committee, to which I now proceed:—
The nature of that judgment will become clearer if I state the two chief heresies of Mr. Gorham.
I. Whereas the Nicene creed declares that there is "one Baptism for the remission of sins," and since infants have no actual sins, this would not be true of them unless original sin were remitted to them in Baptism; and the Church has anathematized those who so teach, "ut in eis forma Baptismatis in remissionem peccatorum non vera sed falsa sit" (Cod. Eccl. Afr., can. 110); and the whole Church has ever believed that original sin is remitted to all infants in Baptism, Mr. Gorham denies that it is remitted in Baptism to any. For he holds, that where it exists it is a hindrance to the right reception of Baptism, and that those infants only who receive Baptism rightly, i. e. having had an act of praevenient grace, receive any benefit from it. So then whereas the Church teaches that original sin is remitted by Baptism, Mr. Gorham teaches that it is either remitted before, when God bestows this act of praevenient grace, (a limitation of the mercies of God to infants which Holy Scripture does not warrant,) or not remitted at all to the infant when baptized.
This is clearly stated in the following passages:—
ANSWER 15. p. 83.—"Our Church holds, and I hold, that no spiritual grace is conveyed in Baptism, except to worthy recipients; and as infants are by nature unworthy recipients, 'being born in sin, and the children of wrath,' they cannot receive any benefit from Baptism except there shall have been a prevenient act of grace to make them worthy."
QUESTION LXX., p. 123.--
"In your Answer No. 15 you say,—'The Church holds, and I hold, that no spiritual grace is conveyed in Baptism, except to worthy recipients; and as infants are by nature unworthy recipients "being born in sin, and the children of wrath" they cannot receive any benefit from Baptism, except there shall have been a prevenient grace to make them worthy.' [See p. 83.]
"Do you there mean that a prevenient act of grace is necessary, to enable infants, being born in sin, and the children of wrath, to receive any benefit from Baptism?"
ANSWER 70.—"I do."
ANSWER 71, p. 125.—"Secondly. I hold, and have again and again maintained, that Article 25 dogmatically declares that the Sacraments 'have a wholesome effect or operation on such ONLY as worthily receive the same.' This dogmatical teaching shuts us up in the conclusion, that 'the child of wrath,' if the wholesome effect of Baptism was absolutely wrought in it, must have been made 'worthy' (that is, have been qualified for the blessing) by a prevenient act of grace. If we deny this conclusion, we allow that 'the child of wrath,' and 'born in sin,' is in that state 'worthy;' or we must deny its sinful condition by nature, and so fall direct into the Pelagian heresy."
ANSWER 74, p. 131.—"I recur, however, finally to the position—which I early took up, and have so often occupied in this Examination—from which I think neither this nor any other indirect consideration can dislodge me,—that the 'wholesome effect' of Baptism in this, because in every case, is rigidly declared by Article 25 to be limited to due reception, and therefore to an act of grace prevenient to the administration of the Sacrament."
II. The gifts which the Catholic Church, and in it our own, has ever taught and does teach to be given by God in and by the sacrament of Baptism, Mr. Gorham teaches to be given before Baptism, whenever Baptism is received rightly, ascribing these gifts either to the praevenient act of grace, which, as to infants, he has adopted from the inventions of men, not from the word of God, or to faith, which our Church declares that infants cannot have.
These gifts are "remission of sins," or justification; being "born again," or regeneration; being made "the child of God," or adoption.
Of these, Mr. Gorham declares that regeneration takes place before Baptism, through the act of praevenient grace, in direct contradiction to our Lord's words (according to the sense of the whole Church and our own Baptismal office), "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit." Thus he separates regeneration wholly from Baptism, as in no way an effect of it, since, according to him, it precedes it.
ANSWER 19, p. 85.—"If such infants die before they commit 'actual sin,' the Church holds, and I hold, that they are 'undoubtedly saved;' and therefore they must have been regenerated by an Bet of grace prevenient to their Baptism, in order to make them worthy recipients of that Sacrament.''
And without reference to that act of "praevenient grace," he states that the new nature is given before Baptism:—
ANSWER 27, p. 88.—"In fact, the new nature must have been possessed by those 'who receive Baptism rightly;' and therefore possessed before the seal was affixed."
And in Answer 23, p. 86, he speaks, in the past, of the "new nature" having been implanted, and faith possessed before, as contrasted with the gift (as he supposes) in Baptism-the confirmation of faith, of which he speaks in the present.
"According to this doctrine of the Church, is Baptism a sign of anything else?"
"It may be, and very often is, a sign of nothing more; but if it be received 'rightly, worthily, and by faith,' it is an 'effectual sign' of God's 'grace' bestowed, which implanted a new nature and produced the faith, both professed and possessed; and it is also a sign of 'God's good-will towards us,' by which he 'strengthens' and confirms our 'faith' in him."
In like way, as to adoption. Whereas our Church from Holy Scripture declares that the child was "therein made a child of God," &c., Mr. Gorham declares that all who receive Baptism rightly have been made children of God before, and in Baptism that is attested which they were made before.
These are his words:—
ANSWER 59, p. 111.—"The Church holds, and I hold, that the worthy reception here [i.e. in Question 59] recognised, implies Faith (see Article 27, and see the requirements from the sponsors in the Baptismal Service), but as the stipulation of 'Faith' goes before Baptism, and as the condition of 'being the child of God' is a blessing conferred by: Faith' (John i. 12, 13; Gal. iii. 26),—hence the blessing of 'adoption' also precedes Baptism in its essence; but it is declared, attested, and manifested by that sacrament, as [ordained to be] a seal or sign of the gift."
ANSWER 60, p. 113.—"That 'faith,' and that filial state, though clearly to be 'ascribed to God,' was given to the worthy recipient (-for we are here all along assuming this worthiness-) before Baptism, and not in Baptism."
ANSWER 97.—"If adoption were not co-existent with, or instantly consequent on, Faith,—but were relegated to the period of Baptism,—then the believer would be 'born of the will of the flesh,' &c., 'of will of man;' since man can will to select the time."
In like way, again, as to "remission of sins," or justification, he says that it must "precede beneficial Baptism:"
ANSWER 125, p. 197.—"As Faith must precede beneficial Baptism, and as Justification is invariably consequent on Faith, therefore Justification also precedes beneficial Baptism, and cannot be equivalent to it."
And this last statement I could not at all suppose to be qualified by the statement which follows:—
"Justification, like Faith, and Adoption (three graces which always are co-existent, or at least immediately consequent to each other), is so far from being equivalent to Baptism, that it may take place before, in, or after that sacrament."
His system admits of justification "before" Baptism, or "after" Baptism, but not in Baptism, except by a miracle. Those who receive Baptism, receive it worthily or unworthily. There is no third class, and Mr. Gorham insists on these two. But of these, he had just stated that those who receive Baptism worthily must have been justified before Baptism. "Justification precedes beneficial Baptism." In those who receive Baptism unworthily, if God gives them repentance, justification would take place after Baptism. There is absolutely no place, according to him, for justification in Baptism, unless it should please Almighty God, by a miracle, at the moment of Baptism, to convert one who had come to it unworthily.
The heresies, then, my Lord, which came out in my examination of Mr. Gorham, and for which I refused him institution, are these: 1st. That by declaring original sin to be a hindrance to the benefit of Baptism, he denied the Article of the Creed, "One Baptism for the remission of sins;" 2nd. That he separated entirely "the inward and spiritual grace" from the Sacrament, inasmuch as he stated "regeneration" to precede Baptism, when Baptism was rightly received.
I can hardly describe with what amazement I found these heresies glossed over, or almost unnoticed in the judgment. I cannot, indeed, be surprised that highly respectable common law judges should not understand theological statements, and this does but illustrate the utter unfitness of such a court for the very responsible office put upon it, to decide upon appeal whether a Clerk, charged with unsound doctrine, was fitted for the cure of souls. But, my Lord, I cannot understand how even your wish to see everything as favourably as you can, can have betrayed you into countenancing such entire mis-statement of unsound doctrine.
The heresy which I first named, that original sin is stated by Mr. Gorham to be a hindrance to the right reception of Baptism, instead of being remitted by it, is only noticed in the Judgment in these terms:—
"That in no case is regeneration in Baptism unconditional;" and
"What is signified by right reception is not determined by the Articles. Mr. Gorham says, that the expression always means or implies a fit state to receive,—viz., in the case of adults 'with faith and repentance,' and in the case of infants 'with God's grace and favour.' "
"With God's grace and favour," my Lord? Who can deny this? Who could imagine the Sacrament of Christ administered healthfully without "God's grace and favour?" But these words, although quoted in the Judgment as Mr. Gorham's, I do not find in his answer. What Mr. Gorham does often and emphatically insist upon, are not "the grace and favour" of Almighty God, "the good will of our Heavenly Father, declared by His Son Jesus Christ," which our Prayer Book speaks of with regard to each infant brought to Baptism; it is not "the grace and mercy" which our Church teaches that "our Lord Jesus Christ doth not deny unto such infants;" but "an act of praevenient grace" which he supposes (without any authority of God's word or the Church's teaching) to be given to some infants and denied to others; and that upon this, and before Baptism, and wholly independent of it, regeneration is conferred, and that it is denied to all besides, although baptized. The attention of the Judges had been called to this subject; some of them had commented upon it; yet in the Judgment, it, the very heresy, is dropped out of sight, and words are substituted which do not represent Mr. Gorham's doctrine, and which might even be used in a sound sense-"with God's grace and favour." What would any one of these Judges have thought, if, in the case of any libel against a man, one set of words had thus been substituted for another; or if a man were charged with wilful murder, and the Judge were, in summing up, to omit noticing any evidence, beyond such as established manslaughter?
The other class of false doctrine is wholly unnoticed. The only phrase bearing upon it which is selected out of Mr. Gorham's answers is just that one which might, if pressed in one way, become sound, but which would thereby contradict what he so repeatedly and emphatically states. The selection made by the Judges of passages to represent Mr. Gorham's doctrine is remarkable. They mingle together-1. Statements of our formularies, which Mr. Gorham adopts simply (there are two of these). 2. Statements from the Articles, which, from the context, apply plainly to adults alone, but which Mr. Gorham applies so as to restrain God's mercies towards infants. 3. Statements which either are not Mr. Gorham's or do not express his general meaning, or not clearly. A fourth class they wholly omit-those which do unequivocally and plainly express that he separates wholly the inward spiritual grace, which the Church declares to belong to Baptism, from that Sacrament. I must crave your Grace's attention to the statement of Mr. Gorham's doctrine, which, in sanctioning his acquittal, you have admitted to be correct.
I will first recite the whole. The Judicial Committee says:—
"The doctrine held by Mr. Gorham appears to us to be this:—That Baptism is a sacrament generally necessary to salvation; but that the grace of regeneration does not so necessarily accompany the act of Baptism that regeneration invariably takes place in Baptism; that the grace may be granted before, in, or after Baptism; that Baptism is an effectual sign of grace, by which God works invisibly in us, but only in such ns worthily receive it; in them alone it has a wholesome effect; and that, without reference to the qualification of the recipient, it is not in itself an effectual sign of grace. That infants baptized and dying before actual sin are certainly saved; but that in no case is regeneration in Baptism unconditional."
Now to consider it, sentence by sentence. It begins with words of the Catechism.
"That Baptism is a Sacrament generally necessary to salvation;" Then;
"But that the grace of regeneration does not so necessarily accompany the act of Baptism, that regeneration invariably takes place in Baptism."
Certainly, it is true that Mr. Gorham "supposes that the grace of Regeneration does not invariably take place in Baptism," since he says that it invariably does not, when Baptism is rightly received. "They must have been regenerated by an act of grace prevenient to Baptism, in order to make them worthy recipients of that Sacrament" (Ans. 19). "The new nature must have been possessed by those who receive Baptism rightly" (Ans. 27).
"That the grace may be granted before, in, or after baptism."
"The grace," as it stands in the Judgment, would seem to be "the grace" of regeneration, since this had been spoken of just before. The words, as they stand in Mr. Gorham's answer, are spoken, not of "regeneration," but of "justification." Now, as to regeneration they would have been manifestly unsound, separating the inward spiritual grace of the Sacrament from the sign, so as only not to deny that Almighty God may, without any promise on His own part, but by His Sovereign Will, unknown and unrevealed to us, make the grace of regeneration coincide with the act of Baptism. But used of justification (with which it stands grammatically connected in Mr. Gorham's statement), it might, as an abstract statement of what in the nature of things is possible, have a sound sense. It is at least so explained, that Jeremiah and St. John Baptist were sanctified from the womb, and "the Holy Ghost fell upon Cornelius" before he was baptized; those who come to Baptism rightly receive remission of sins in Baptism; and adults who come to Baptism feignedly, without faith, or from worldly motives, receive only the Sacrament then, and if God gives them repentance, the Sacrament which they had received unworthily, profits them after Baptism. A sound sense might thus be given to the passage, if restrained to an abstract statement how justification has been wrought, and applying in part to extraordinary, and even miraculous cases. For as a practical statement as to God's present workings it would be self-contradictory. Justification, if understood of God's first acceptance of one unbaptized, who turns to God in true faith with the desire of Baptism, would in an adult be uniformly before Baptism; if understood of that act whereby God washes away his sins, it would be in Baptism. "Those which actually do sin after their Baptism, when they convert and turn to God unfeignedly, are washed from their sins by the Sacrifice of Christ," as our homily saith. And so these are anew justified after Baptism. Justification, then, in those who "after they have received the Holy Ghost, depart from grace given," and by the grace of God, arise again, is both in and after Baptism. But it cannot, ever in the same sense, be according to God's revelation and promise, both before and in Baptism.
However, this one vague sentence is selected; and that just before it, in the same answer of Mr. Gorham, in which he declares that "justification precedes beneficial Baptism," as also all the other emphatic statements in which he asserts the same of "regeneration" and "adoption," are ignored.
The Judgment proceeds:—
'That Baptism is an effectual sign of grace, by which God works invisibly in us, but only in such as worthily receive it; in them alone it has a wholesome effect."
This is, of course, true in itself, being in fact the words of different parts of Art. 25-"of the Sacraments." It is true as to adults, to whose case my examination had no reference, since adults are but seldom baptized now. But the Judgment again ignored the fact, that the only graces which Mr. Gorham supposes God to "work invisibly" in Baptism, are graces which, according to our Church, infants cannot have. That "faith is confirmed," which our Church says infants "cannot" have; and "grace increased," which infants, before Baptism, have not, "being by nature children of wrath." Mr. Gorham states one other thing, which "God works invisibly in us by this external pledge, an assurance that He has adopted us," (Ans. 39,) of which, again, infants are manifestly incapable. But those graces of which infants, by God's mercy, are capable, and which our Church teaches that God does "work invisibly in" them, "remission of sins by spiritual regeneration," "sanctification by the Holy Ghost," "regeneration with the Holy Spirit," "adoption as His children," "a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness"-these Mr. Gorham states to have taken place before, wherever Baptism is "rightly received." The Judgment, however, uses the general term, "by which God works invisibly in us," omitting to state that Mr. Gorham supposes God to work by it, what our Church says infants have not or cannot have, and denies that He works then what our Church teaches that He then always works. This, again, may be very natural in common law judges. I regret that it escaped your Grace.
The Judgment continues:—
"And that without reference to the qualification of the recipient, it is not in itself an effectual sign of grace."
Most true, as it has ever been held by the whole Catholic Church, and must be held of all those capable of "qualification."
But when, as in infants, there can be neither faith nor repentance, then God requireth not what He doth not give. "Though," says St. Augustine, "the little one have not yet faith formed in his mind, yet at least he puts no bar of any thought opposed to it; whence he receives the Sacrament beneficially."--Ep. 99, § 10.
And then, at last, mention is made in the Judgment of that upon which the whole does turn-the case of infants: and, first, the words of the Rubric to which Mr. Gorham expressed his assent are repeated, "That infants baptized, and dying before [they commit] actual sin, are certainly saved;" and so, at the close, all that is said of Mr. Gorham's unsound doctrine is wrapped up and veiled in the few words, "but in no case is regeneration in Baptism unconditional." And in this statement, meagre as it is, Mr. Gorham's special error is not simply omitted; it is, by implication, denied. The Judgment states Mr. Gorham's doctrine "in no case is regeneration in Baptism unconditional." Mr. Gorham's doctrine is, in no case is regeneration in Baptism, but when Baptism is rightly received, before it.
So much suppression of the truth converts a formal absolution of Mr. Gorham into a virtual condemnation of his doctrine. Grave charges thus glossed over are tacitly acknowledged, while the individual is acquitted. My Lord, truth does not usually thus shun the light.
My Lord, after this (which may by many be thought tedious and minute) inquiry into Mr. Gorham's heresies, and the manner in which the Judgment deals with them, I turn to other matters. And here it is impossible not to be struck with the absence of certain things, which it were natural to expect in such a document. We find no statement-or very little-of the arguments of Counsel, and, what is still more extraordinary, absolutely no notice whatever taken of the grounds of the Judgment of the Court below. The fact that there was such a Judgment, and that it was appealed from, is indeed mentioned, but that is all. Now, with every possible feeling of respect for the learning, the acuteness, and the other high qualities of the Judicial Committee, I must say, that when both Judgments are read and compared, few will be disposed to think that the learned persons who pronounced the final Judgment had any right to treat the Judgment of Sir Herbert Jenner Fust with disrespect.
But these omissions are of much less moment than that on which I must next remark.
Will it be believed-is it to the honour of the Judges that it can be said-that two main laws, one of the Church, a Canon of 1604, the other, no less a statute than "the Act of Uniformity"--though they have the most direct, palpable, aye, and I will add conclusive, bearing on the matter in issue -were passed over by the Judges as if no such laws were in existence? But was the attention of the Court called to them by the Counsel? My Lord, even if it were not, I must think that such a law as the Act of Uniformity, one of the fundamental laws of the land, (so we have a right to call it, for it is so called in the Articles of Union with Scotland,) ought not, in such a case as this, to have been, as it was, absolutely ignored.
But the truth is, that both those laws had been pressed on the Court's attention by the Counsel for the Respondent-the Canon by Mr. Badeley, the Act of Uniformity by Dr. Addams. Of their importance in the decisions of the cause, we shall be better able to judge if we first look at the grounds taken by the Court, on which its judgment was founded.
"If there be any doctrine on which the Articles are silent or ambiguously expressed, so as to be capable of two meanings, we must suppose it was intended to leave that doctrine to private judgment, unless the Rubrics and the Formularies clearly and distinctly decide it. If they do, we must conclude that the doctrine, so decided, is the doctrine of the Church. But, on the other hand, if the expressions used in the Rubrics and the Formularies are ambiguous, it is not to be concluded that the Church meant to establish indirectly, as a doctrine, that which it did not establish directly, as such, by the Articles--the Code avowedly made 'for the avoiding diversities of opinions and for the establishing of consent touching true religion.' "
My Lord, no one will dispute the soundness of the principle here laid down. Let us look to the manner in which it was carried out.
In examining the Articles, the Court does not apply itself to a consideration of the terms in which they are expressed, hut does little more than institute a comparison between them and the Articles of 1536, and King Henry VIII.'s Book entitled a "Necessary Doctrine," &c.
Now this is not a very usual, nor, I must take leave to say, a very satisfactory way of dealing with such matters. The ordinary course, of first examining the doctrine itself which is to be construed, and afterwards, if its language be ambiguous, having recourse to other documents to explain, would, I submit, have been more likely to lead the Court to a right interpretation. But such was not the method adopted in the present instance. The Judicial Committee, caught apparently by the sound of "Articles of 1536," jump to the conclusion that this was the document which must afford them the best means of ascertaining the meaning of what may be doubtful in the Articles of 1552 and 1562, because, as they were pleased to assume, the articles of 1536 were the foundation of those of the latter date.
My Lord, I must express my astonishment that neither your Grace, nor either of the Prelates associated with you, corrected so very unfounded an imagination of the learned Judges. It is unfortunate that you did not tell them, that the Articles, so called, of 1536, were framed altogether alio intuitu from those of 1562. The former were of a popular character, drawn up, as is distinctly expressed, for that purpose.
The latter were merely for the clergy-conceived in language of a technical, theological character-well known, at the time in which they were framed, to have reference to the words of other Confessions of Faith of other reformed communions, especially of the Confession of Augsburgh; to which, in their general tone of doctrine, and often in words, they bear a very close resemblance. Now, it is to these Confessions of Faith, unknown, probably, to the Judicial Committee, but well known to the advising Prelates, that attention ought to have been given in the first instance, in order to interpret what may be doubtful in the language of our Articles. The twenty-fifth, that of "Sacraments," is, in some of its main terms, identical with that of Augsburgh; but with a most remarkable insertion, proving irresistibly the high and Catholic tone of doctrine which our own Church assumed and declared on this main particular of Christian Faith.
My Lord, your Grace knows that the Article "de usu Sacramentorum," in the Confession of Augsburgh, is content with saying, "Quod Sacramenta instituta sint, non modo ut sint notse professionis inter homines, sed magis ut sint signa et testimonia voluntatis Deierga nos, ad excitandam et confirmandam fidem in his, qui utuntur, proposita:" whereas our own twenty-fifth Article, adopting these very words, inserts a clause which expresses the special, the essential, the distinctive characteristic of Catholic teaching on this point, as held by all antiquity, and by every branch of the Catholic Church, from the times of the Apostles to the sixteenth century. Sacraments are not merely "signa et testimonia," as described by the Article of Augsburgh; but they are "certa quaedam testimonia et efficacia signa Gratiae atque bonae in nos voluntatis, per quae invisibiliter ipse in nobis operatur, nostramque fidem in se non solum excitat, verum etiam confirmat."
The same great truth is set forth in our Catechism, which, being an expression of our Church's teaching, equally authoritative with the Articles, and of a later date, was the most obvious, and would, I submit, have been incomparably the fittest document to explain what might be doubtful to the Judges in the Articles themselves. In that Catechism, the same great truth, I repeat, which distinguishes our teaching in the article "of Sacraments," is thus still more clearly expressed. A Sacrament is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us," (i. e. it is not a natural sign,) "ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same," (invisible grace,) "and a pledge to assure us thereof" (that is, of our receiving it)
This, my Lord, (as your Grace well knows,) is the doctrine of the Church of England, expressed in her twenty-fifth Article and in her Catechism, respecting the Sacraments. This is the doctrine which, as your Grace also well knows, Mr. Gorham expressly contradicted in respect to Baptism. By saying that the grace of that Sacrament, "a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness," is not received in or through that Sacrament, but must be received previously through a praevenient act of grace on God's part, he affirmed' an awful heresy, distinctly pronounced by the Church to be such; for which I rejected him as unfit-for which, had I not rejected him, I should have abandoned my duty, not merely to the Church, but to its divine Head. Will your Grace deny any one single portion of what I here say? If you will, deny it openly before the Church. If you will not, tell the Church, whose highest functionary you are, why you did not endeavour, at least, to correct the Lay Judges, whom you were summoned by your Queen to advise in matters of spiritual learning-tell us why you permitted them to deceive themselves so grossly tell us, above all, why you joined them in giving such judgment to the world.
My Lord, much remains to be said; but I have not time to say all. Some things I must notice.
I have charged the Judges with having wantonly, and in. spite of warning, omitted to give attention to a conclusive Canon of the Church on this matter--it is the fifty-seventh Canon of 1603. They were bound to notice it; they were bound to submit their own private opinions to it; they were bound to regulate their judgment by it; for they sate as an Ecclesiastical Court to administer the Ecclesiastical Law, of which this Canon is, in this cause, a most material part. For neglecting it--for deciding in contempt of it--I scruple not to say, whatever may be the legal consequences of so saying of such men, that they were guilty of a grievous violation of their plain duty.
The Canon says, "The doctrine of Baptism is sufficiently set down in the Book of Common Prayer to be used at the administration of the said Sacrament, as nothing can be added to it that is material or necessary." The Judges virtually say that there is no doctrine of Baptism in those offices by which it is administered. Till they can erase that Canon from the code of the Church, they must be content to hear that they have given a Judgment on grounds directly contradictory to the law of the Church.
My Lord, I have heard it said that although this Judgment is not absolutely conclusive, yet it is a precedent, which every inferior Court will be bound to follow, and which even the highest Court will be bound to respect, and not, except on the plainest grounds, hereafter to supersede.
I deny that it is a precedent; technically it may be called so, but morally and really it is not a precedent, but a warning-a warning to future Judges to be content with doing their duty as Judges, which duty is to administer, not to make, laws; to beware of listening to clamours from without, or timid caution from within, that the consequences of a strictly right decision would be to introduce confusion into the Church, and, it may be, into the State; to drive hundreds of conscientious men out of the ministry-to shock the feelings and oppose the prejudices of a large and valuable portion of the Laity of the Church.
My Lord, the Judges had no right to be moved by any such considerations. But, in truth, the danger was visionary; the cry, if honest, was unfounded. There are not, I venture to believe--for so it has, I understand, been publicly declared by one who was, at first, the loudest and most prominent in raising the cry--there are not probably six men, calling themselves Churchmen, who partake of Mr. Gorham's special heresy.
But I mast return to the consideration of one or two remaining points.
The first which I will notice is the following, I will not say contemptible, but (considering whence it proceeded) most amazing specimen of, I cannot call it, reasoning. After remarking that the article of "Baptism," in 1536, says, that infants receiving Baptism are saved thereby, it cites the first Rubric at the close of the office of Public Baptism: "It is certain by God's word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved;" and the Judgment thereupon gravely pronounces, "But this Rubric does not, like the Article of 1536, say that such children are saved by Baptism."
My Lord, where is this Rubric found? Immediately after the office, in which several portions of God's word had been cited: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." "Almighty God of His great mercy did save Noah and his family in the Ark from perishing by water, and also did safely lead the children of Israel His people through the Red Sea, figuring thereby His holy Baptism; and by the baptism of His well-beloved Son Jesus Christ in the river Jordan, did sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin." Again, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God; verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." It is, I say, after these citations of God's Word, and after the office itself had declared that the baptized child was regenerate, after, in the same office, the thanks of the Church are given to God, that it had pleased Him to regenerate this infant with His Holy Spirit, to receive him for His own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into His Holy Church-it is immediately after these words that the Rubric declares, "It is certain by God's word, that children," which have received such mighty promises and blessings, in other words, "which have been baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved." And upon this Rubric this Judgment remarks, that it does not say that children which are baptized, dying in their infancy, though undoubtedly saved, are saved by Baptism. How then, and by what, are they saved? But I cannot argue such a matter. Suffice it to say, and I say it with a bitterness of feeling which I will not dissemble, that such is "the Judgment" of the Lord Chief Justice of England, of the Master of the Rolls, of one of the most eminent Barons of Her Majesty's Court of Exchequer, of the Chancellor of the Diocese of London, and of a Right Hon. and learned man, whose name is more exalted than any title of officer or dignity could make it; and that this Judgment has been adopted and sustained by the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Archbishop of York.
I turn to something else; be it what it may, it must be a relief. It shall be the charitable hypothesis, on which we are told, that all the declarations of the blessed efficacy of Baptism in the Church's offices must be construed.
Then, my Lord, permit me to ask, what are the declarations in those offices on which the Rubric we have just read are founded? If all is a mere charitable figure, what is it to which you subscribe your "assent and consent" in that Rubric? on what, I repeat, do you found it?
True it is, as I have said already, all Common Prayer must be framed on the principle that those who join in it are in a state of acceptance with God. And why? Because Common Prayer is part of the Communion of Saints. Because the Congregation, be it large or small, is "gathered together in Christ's name"--that is, as members of Him. And when and how were they made His members? When and how were they entitled to admission to the Communion of Saints? In and by Baptism. And are we then to be gravely told, that the phrases which declare, in the most absolute terms which the wit of man can devise, that infants are in Baptism so made members of Christ, so born anew by spiritual regeneration, are mere words of charity and hope—and not of faith? This, too, I will not here argue: but I will refer to the argument (if courtesy require us to call it by such a name) of the Judicial Committee. It seems, that a portion of the Book of Common Prayer can be found in which all will agree that the Church speaks only in the sense of charitable hope-"at the burial of the dead." True, my Lord, but there is one slight distinction in the two cases. In the offices of Baptism of Infants the Church speaks in absolute, categorical, direct terms; in that of Burial, it professes to use the language of hope. Oh, but we are told, the hope there named is in one instance called "sure and certain hope"--and, therefore, the hope elsewhere spoken of in the same office, though it have not the same qualities of "sure and certain" expressed, must be understood to be the same. In other words, when the Church speaks, in the language of the Creeds, of the "sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life" of those for whom that blessed resurrection is "prepared of the Father"-it means nothing more sure and certain, than is meant when we pray "that when we shall depart this life we may rest in Christ, as our hope is this our brother doth." My Lord, this, too, is a point which I cannot argue. But I must express my utter astonishment that your Grace assented to the Judgment which declared it.
I am scarcely disposed to treat with more respect what, however, is characterised by the Judgment as "conclusive." "Forasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God to take unto Himself the soul of our dear brother here departed." My Lord, the noble and learned Judges seem to have seriously believed that this is thanking God for taking the soul of the departed to live forever in the beatific presence. Why did not your Grace undeceive them? why did you not tell them that this is merely the application of a text of Ecclesiastes, which says of every man, be he good or bad, that while the spirit of a beast goes downward to the earth, the spirit of a man goes upward-i. e. as our Church has explained it, it has ascended to Him who made it? But "we thank God for the death of the departed-though death, if he died an impenitent sinner, must seal his doom of everlasting damnation--a matter which cannot be an occasion of thanksgiving -it must therefore be understood as a charitable declaration, that the deceased died in a state of Grace." My Lord, I am sure your Grace agrees with me, that this is by no means a necessary consequence. If he departed in an impenitent state, we may and ought to think, that he was nevertheless taken away in mercy--that his case was lost--that if life had been continued to him, he would have added sin to sin, and so would have been sunk in deeper perdition.
My Lord, on this subject--on the terms in which the "order to be read at the Burial of the Dead" is conceived--one further word is necessary--not for the satisfaction of your Grace, but for the information of others. The Burial Service was designed by the Church, when she was able to exercise that discipline, the want of which we now solemnly deplore. That, being designed for such a state of things, it is often found incongruous in our present unhappy case, cannot surprise us. But surely it is most unreasonable to argue from such an incongruity to the disparagement of other services, where no such observation is applicable. I quit this subject--with one remark which makes the Burial Service more germane to the Judgment in this Cause, than any part of the Service itself. In the Rubric there is an express prohibition--as your Grace knows--of the use of that Service over the corpse of any who dies unbaptized: such a person is declared to be in the same class with those who are cutoff from the Church by sentence of excommunication-and those who have cut themselves off by wilful self-destruction. Can it be necessary for me to draw out the inference in words?
But to look a little more closely into "this Charitable Hypothesis." What is the object of Charity in judgment? Surely the actions, internal or external, of others--not what is done to them, but what may have been done by them. To say, "Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate," is to say of him that God has wrought a mighty work in him-has made him to be "born anew of water and of the Spirit." Whether God has wrought such a work is a question of fact, on which no serious mind would dare to speak thus positively without sufficient warrant. The Church declares that we have such warrant in the words of Scripture, which she cites in the offices of Baptism of Infants; and she requires us, therefore, to speak accordingly. Faith has here much to exercise it; but not Charity, except indeed in rejoicing at the great benefit thus given to the unconscious babe.
Again, let us look to the declarations to be made by the child in the Catechism: "In Baptism I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven;"-and "I heartily thank our heavenly Father that He hath called me to this state of salvation." Now, what has Charity to do with these declarations, to be made by the child concerning his own state? They are either true or false; if true, the Church does well in teaching him to know his high privileges, since they must carry with them corresponding duties-the first of which is humble thankfulness to the Divine Giver; but if false, the Church begins her education with teaching her children to use towards God the language, not of truth, but of falsehood, combined with the most hideous presumption.
I must now say something of the Act of Uniformity, of which, utterly disregarded as it was in the Judgment, your Grace will, I am sure, agree with me, that it contains a very main part of the law which ought to have guided that judgment. This statute is the acceptance by the laity, accompanied by a parliamentary sanction, of the Church's Canon which settled the present form of the Book of Common Prayer. It is therefore the law both of the Church and of the State; and the real import of that Act must be conclusive in all matters which fall within it. In seeking to ascertain the proper construction to be put upon it, the first consideration ought to be given to the statute itself. And there, in the recital, we are told, that "for settling the peace of the Church, and for allaying the present distemper, His Majesty had granted his Commission, under the Great Seal, to certain Bishops and other Divines, to review the Book of Common Prayer, and to prepare such alterations and additions as they thought fit to offer." We are next told that "His Majesty afterwards authorized and required the Convocations of both provinces to review the Book of Common Prayer, and after mature consideration to make such alterations and additions in the said Book as to them should seem most meet and convenient." It further says, that they had accordingly made some alterations--and His Majesty calls on Parliament to join him in giving legal sanction and authority to the same. The Act of Uniformity gives that sanction and authority accordingly. It does more; it requires every one admitted to the Ministry of the Church openly, publicly, and solemnly to read the Morning and Evening Prayer before the congregation in God's house assembled, and after so reading to declare his unfeigned assent and consent to the use of all things in said Book contained and prescribed, in these words, and no other: "I, A. B., do hereby declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the Book intituled the Book of Common Prayer," &c. The omitting for the space of two months so to read and so to declare assent and consent, is a forfeiture ipso facto of the benefice to which he has been inducted.
Now respecting this declaration it is necessary to make one or two remarks. It was required for the first time by this statute. Subscription to the book, with a declaration that it contained nothing contrary to the Word of God, had been required before. [It had been required and practised before the Canon of 1604.] But such subscription and declaration had been found ineffectual to secure a faithful adherence to the doctrine, and a loyal observance of the directions of that book. In a petition to King James I. on his first coming to the throne, presented with the names of a thousand Ministers (thence called the Millenary Petition), it was stated, inter alia, "although divers of us that sue for Reformation have formerly, in respect of the times, subscribed to the book, some upon protestation, some upon exposition given them, some with condition, rather than the Church should have been deprived of their labour and ministry."
This petition sufficiently shows the feeling of a powerful party among the Ministers of the Church towards the Book of Common Prayer, in the beginning of the reign of King James I. That the same feeling continued and extended itself during the remainder of that and the following reign-that it wrought a widespread disaffection towards the Church even among the clergy--and that it was among the most powerful causes of the disorders which, for a while, overturned both Church and State--is a matter of history so notorious that it requires only to be mentioned, as the reason for the introduction of the stringent form of declaration prescribed in the statute of which we are speaking. Fatal experience had shown the insufficiency of subscription, and of a mere obligation to use the book. The only security for the faithful use of it was "assent and consent" to all that it contained, and such security was given by the statute.
I have dwelt on this point because, as your Grace well knows, a construction has recently been put on this Declaration by persons who, in the ordinary intercourse of life, are probably honest men, which, I am quite sure, has been received by your Grace with the same disgust as by myself. It is said, "With respect to the Book of Common Prayer, there is required only subscription to a declaration that 'it containeth nothing contrary to the law of God, and may lawfully be used.' The words of the declaration required by the Act, standing alone and independent of the context, might seem indeed stronger than the words of the Canon. But the context entirely does away with such a notion, for it expressly restricts the meaning of the words (assent and consent,) to the use of the book."
My Lord, I here cite these words, not for the very idle purpose of exposing their weakness, no less than their wickedness, but-1st. As a proof that there is among the Ministers of our Church at this day a spirit which requires the faithful exercise of vigilance in all among us who have consented to undertake the high office of Bishops in the Church. But I have cited it, 2ndly and principally, in order to show that this party feels that the plain, the direct meaning of the Book of Common Prayer is opposed to some of their own favourite tenets.
This observation is most relevant to the matter on which we are now engaged-the doctrine of the Church, as expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, on the efficacy of Baptism. The Act of Uniformity gives full authority to that doctrine there expressed. Does it furnish us with any direction, as to any quarter to which we may resort, in case of any difficulty in the construction of any part of it? Yes; it enables us to ascertain the sense in which that book is sanctioned by the Legislature, by telling us by whom, after what consideration, and in what sense it was "made." It was made by Convocation, after having been "prepared" by twelve Members of the Upper House, and many leading Members of the Lower House, after a long and very minute discussion of many portions of it, with the heads of the Nonconformists who sought very important alterations in it. This discussion was holden with the authority of a Commission under the Great Seal; the terms of which Commission required that the Commissioners should "certify and present to the King, in writing, under their hands, the matters and things whereupon they shall so determine for his approbation."
This, my Lord, was done; and we have, as your Grace well knows, the result of their "resolutions and determinations," so presented to the King, in the document commonly called "the Savoy Conference." It would probably be impossible to produce another equally clear authority for the meaning of the Legislature, the animus imponentis, in the case of any other statute which can be named. Whatsoever particulars, therefore, are clearly laid down in the Acts of that Conference must be held to be an authoritative exposition of any words of the Book of Common Prayer on which those Commissioners have pronounced plainly, if the proper construction of such words shall be brought into question.
Did they so pronounce on any of the words in the offices of Baptism? If they did, what they pronounced must be taken as the proper construction of those words, and must, therefore, so far as they go, be held to declare the doctrine of the Church on Baptism, according to the Law of the Church in the 57th Canon.
It appears that the Nonconformists had desired—
1. That Ministers "may not be enforced to baptize the children whose parents are notoriously sinful, until they have made due profession of repentance."--Cardwell, Conf. 323.
The Bishops answered, and the determination was reported accordingly: "We think this very hard and uncharitable, to punish the poor infants for the parents' sakes, and giving also too great and arbitrary a power to the Minister to judge which of his parishioners he pleaseth atheists, infidels, heretics, &c., and then in that name to reject their children from being baptized. Our Church concludes more charitably, that Christ will favourably accept every infant to Baptism, that is presented by the Church according to our present order. And this she concludes out of Holy Scripture, as You may see in the office of Baptism, according to the practice and doctrine of the Catholic Church (Cypn. Ep. 69, Aug. Ep. 28, et de Verb. Apost. Serai. 14)."--355.
"2. The Nonconformists (324) excepted to the phrase, "May receive remission of sins by spiritual regeneration," in the 2nd prayer before Baptism.
The Bishops answered (356), "' Receive remission of sins by spiritual regeneration.' Most proper: for Baptism is our spiritual regeneration (St. John iii. 'Unless a man be born again of water and of the Spirit,' &c.); and by this is received remission of sins, Acts ii.: 'Repent and be baptized every one for the remission of sins.' So the Creed. 'One Baptism for the remission of sins.' "
3. In the prayer after Baptism, "That it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant by thy holy Baptism," the Nonconformists objected (325), "We cannot in faith say that every child that is baptized is regenerated by God's Holy Spirit; at least it is a disputable point, and therefore it may be otherwise expressed."
To this the Bishops answered (356), "Seeing that God's Sacraments have their effects, where the receiver doth not 'ponere obicem,' put any bar against them (which children cannot do); we may say in faith of every child that is baptized, that it is regenerated by God's Holy Spirit."
I strengthen these determinations respecting what is taught in the offices of Baptism, by reference to similar determinations as to the Catechism.
4. The Nonconformists (328) took exception to the 3rd answer, "In my Baptism, wherein I was 'made a member of Christ,' &c." saying, We conceive it might be more safely expressed thus, "Wherein I was visibly admitted into the number of the members of the children of God, and the heirs (rather than the 'inheritors') of the kingdom of Heaven."
Answer of Bishops (357), "We conceive this expression as safe as that which they desire, and more fully expressing the efficacy of the Sacrament according to St. Paul, the 26th and 27th Gal. iv., where St. Paul proves them all to be children of God, because they were baptized, and in their Baptism had put on Christ; 'if children, then heirs,' or, which is all one, inheritors."
5. To question 19, "What is required of persons to be baptized?" A. Repentance, &c.; and question 20, "Why then are infants baptized," &c., the Nonconformists said, "We desire (p. 326) that the entering infants into God's covenant be more warily expressed, and that the words may not seem to found their Baptism upon an actual faith and repentance of their own; and we desire that a promise may not be taken for a performance," &c.
The Bishops answered (357), "We desire that the entering of infants," &c. "The effect of children's Baptism depends neither upon their own actual faith and repentance (which the Catechism says expressly they cannot perform), nor upon the faith and repentance of their natural parents or proparents, or of their godfathers or godmothers; but upon the ordinance and institution of Christ. But it is requisite, that when they come to age, they should perform their conditions of faith and repentance, for which their godfathers and godmothers charitably undertook in their behalf."
My Lord, in these determinations, I affirm, for the reasons which I have given above, that we have a clear statement of what was the mind of the Convocation, and therefore of the Parliament (which simply accepted its decision), respecting the doctrine concerning Baptism, in the offices of Baptism, which is, I repeat, the doctrine of the Church, as declared by the 57th Canon. Now, this was the Law, which the Judicial Committee were bound both to recognise, and to carry out in their Judgment; and, because they absolutely shut their eyes against it (for, in this instance, nothing of Justice is seen but her bandage), I appeal from this legally supreme Court to another and a higher tribunal. But, my Lord, grievous as this sentence is to the Church of England, it would have been as nothing to the consciences of her members, had it not received the concurrence of your Grace.
Your Grace has doubtless, when studying the law of Moses, been struck by that remarkable law, "Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause." We should have expected laws against favouring the rich or powerful, against taking bribes, against oppressing the poor. These are gross sins, to which we are accustomed. Holy Scripture lays open to us a more subtle sin, which human laws do not provide against-an evil, into which men might fall through very tenderness of heart, wresting of justice in behalf of the poor. It sets before the judges His pattern in whose name they judge, whose name they bear. As in mercy, so injustice, it bids us follow Him who is "no accepter of persons." It bids us be merciful, as our heavenly Father is merciful, who "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." But it bids us also imitate his justice: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty; but in righteousness thou shall judge thy neighbour." So sacred is God's attribute of justice, that He will not have justice wrested, even in favour of those who are special objects of His bounty and tender care, to whom He bids us be compassionate, the poor. He warns us that we dare not, if we would obey and follow Him, allow even our better feelings and compassion to lead us to pervert justice. My Lord, I shall not be thought to impute wrong motives to your Grace beyond the common infirmity of our nature, if I aver my belief, that other motives, besides mere justice and truth, swayed this sentence, and your Grace in your advice upon it. I cannot imagine that English judges could have been betrayed into so grievous a perversion of justice, or your Grace into sanctioning it, had there not been some very powerful motive, which, through the kindly feelings of our nature, blinded their and your eyes to the evil of tampering with justice. Common report said that such principles were even avowed. It was feared lest, if a true judgment should be given, a large number of Clergymen would be driven to resign their offices, perhaps to leave the Church. And so a temporising measure was adopted, which, it was thought, would satisfy both parties, and leave the position of both untouched.
My Lord, I have already said that I do not believe that any such effect would have followed, had the judgment of your Grace's Court in this case been affirmed. It was not a common case of false doctrine in which I used the power committed to me by God, and which, before I was consecrated Bishop, I pledged myself to exercise. I was asked, "Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines, contrary to God's word; and both privately and openly to call upon, and encourage, others to the same?" My answer and your Grace's answer was, "I am ready, the Lord being my helper."
Mr. Gorham's was, I repeat, an extreme case. It was no case of perplexity arising out of a misuse of the word "regeneration;" it was no question of words, or of allowable and partial differences in stating the same Divine Truth. It was an essential, complete, denial and contradiction of the doctrine of Holy Scripture and the Church concerning Baptism; a complete separation of the special grace of the Sacrament of Baptism from the Sacrament itself. Unless it were to be conceded that the Church of England had absolutely no doctrine at all on that Sacrament, which is the threshold of the Christian life; unless it were entirely matter of indifference whether any truth whatever were taught as to that Sacrament, whereby we are made members of Christ our Saviour, such false teaching could not be passed over. There is, as I said, ho heresy on Baptism beyond this, none which involves a more complete denial of truth. It was a thorough, deliberate, systematic denial of all true Sacramental grace. They were not accidental expressions; there was no confusion, no uncertainty, no phrase which could leave a shadow of doubt. It was, alas! a clear, considered, decisive statement of uncompromising denial of the special grace of the Sacrament of Baptism. It was a form of heresy which, by God's mercy, very few have at any time held in the Church of England, either before or since the Reformation. It is mere naked Zuinglianism.
The way of truth is the way of safety. But "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Although I refused institution to Mr. Gorham, I did not prosecute him for heresy, hoping that he might be brought to a better mind, when he should be told distinctly that his doctrine contravened Holy Scripture, the Creed, and the formularies of the Church. His publication of the heresy which he maintained in private in his examination was a distinct offence. But I was content to remain on the defensive. A judgment condemning his teaching would have left to him a locus poenitentiae, and not, I am told, have affected above five or six clergy (if so many) in the Church of England. Even those, I trust, it would have led to amend their error, not to proceed to further error in abandoning the Church.
My Lord, our care and office is not limited to the Clergy; and the Clergy under us are Pastors, not to feed themselves, but "the flock of Christ, purchased by his precious blood." It is not a matter about which we dare to be indifferent, whether they to whom we commit the cure of souls teach true doctrine or false. We, through the authority given to us by Christ, are empowered not only to ordain his ministers, but, when ordained, to give them authority to fulfil that ministry within the dioceses which God has committed to our care, and of which we are to give account. We cannot escape from this responsibility. If, through our fault, our people are taught what is contrary to God's word, it is we who teach them. It cannot be matter of indifference, whether our people are taught that their children are in Baptism made members of Christ and children of God, or that they are not so made, but only those who were so before, were then "declared" to be so. It is said that they are "declared;" but how any can be then declared to be so, unless all are then made so, I know not. For there is no outward sign of the inward grace conferred, except that sign through which God confers it. It is not, then, a mere matter of discipline. As stewards, and keepers, and dispensers of God's truth, we dare not knowingly send into our flocks those who deny essential truth. For their false teaching, if we can hinder and yet allow it, is ours.
God grant, my Lord, that our children, and our children's-children, may not rue this violation of justice, committed for the sake (it was hoped) of peace. Nothing good ever came from the sacrifice of truth to peace. A false peace ends in more real trouble.
It was charitably hoped, doubtless, that such a judgment would leave things where they were before. It does not so on either side. Those who were in error, it confirms in their special error as to Baptism; and teaches them a more extensive and dangerous error, that there is no certain truth to be had. They to whom the grace of Baptism was part of their faith, as a fruit of the incarnation of their Lord, as a Sacrament which flowed from their dead Saviour's side, as the source of their own new birth, must hold it as a part of their own faith still. We cannot unlearn our faith. But how are they to teach it? They must teach it still as matter of faith; but whose faith? Their own? They have no-authority to impose their own faith upon others. They cannot teach authoritatively that it is a part of the faith, only because they individually believe it. On whose, then? On that of the whole holy Catholic Church at all times? But if it be part of the faith of the Catholic Church from age to age, what would the act of the Church of England have been, had she (as it is alleged in the Judgment) constructed her Articles so as to leave it open to her ministers to believe or disbelieve, to affirm or contradict, an Article of Faith? So to imply that it is at our option to believe it or no, would be to deny that it is matter of faith. On the faith of the English Church, too? Yes! God be thanked, it is part of the faith of the Church of England still, and nothing can rob us of it. Nothing but the Church has power to deny, in her name, that any doctrine is part of the faith of the Church.
Yet we cannot speak of any doctrine of Baptism, as matter of faith at all, without contradicting the recent Judgment.
"The Judgment denies that, from whatever source derived, whether from Holy Scripture or from the Primitive Church, or from our own formularies, there is anything surer, on this whole subject of the Sacrament of our Lord, than opinion; i. e., there is, according to it, nothing certain at all. Of opinions, one may be true, but only one. The rest must be false; but all are uncertain. Else it were not opinion, but truth or faith.
The Judgment says—
"Mr. Gorham's doctrine may be contrary to the opinion of many learned and pious persons-contrary to the opinion which such persons have, by their own particular studies, deduced from Holy Scripture-contrary to the opinion which they have deduced from the usages and doctrines of the Primitive Church-or contrary to the opinion which they have deduced from uncertain and ambiguous expressions in the formularies."
If any one, then, affirm that there is any certain doctrine on Holy Baptism; if any one declare that the sure word of God contains anything about it surer than human opinions; if any one believe that the Primitive Church derived any certain knowledge from the recent teaching of the inspired Apostles; if any believe that the Church of England teaches the same faith as the Scripture and the Primitive Church; he must set aside not only this sentence, but the whole Judgment. For the Judgment declares, that two or more opposed doctrines are tenable in the English Church; i. e., that the Church of England teaches neither, and nothing to be certain truth.
But, my Lord, it is no slight evil that they who teach the truth as indeed truth, must now maintain it against the authority of that Court (whatever that Court's authority may be,) and, unhappily, of your Grace. It is part of God's ordinance that we should all look up, the lower to the higher, and all to God. We are severally to act "under authority, having" others "under us." A state of protest against authorities, however constituted, is an unhealthy state. Law is, in itself, something divine. "The powers that be, are ordained of God. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God;" except in that one case, that the ordinance itself should be unhappily against God. Then we must "obey God rather than man." But this is, in fact, anarchy. An authority against which we must once protest, ceases to be any authority to us. Henceforth we obey it (if we obey it) on our own individual judgment. Our whole confidence is gone. If our guide, or our judge, in matters of faith, was wrong once, he may be always.
And, especially, to the people of England, in proportion as we love order, rule, and authority, and as our thoughts of the sacredness of the character of the judge and judgment, are bound up with the sanctions of our holy religion, it is a very sore evil to be obliged to slight them. It is the first stone, whose removal loosens the whole fabric. And yet we have no way of escape. We cannot maintain the Catholic faith as to Holy Baptism to be the faith of the Church of England, without maintaining that the Court which decided otherwise, decided contrary to the faith.
But, my Lord, there may be a far worse dislocation than that of any human ordinance, although ordained by the Providence of God, a dislocation of the faith itself. Those who have only had opinions, will have their opinions still. But the humble, teachable, gentle minds of the Church, "the poor of the flock," in what condition will they be? Hundreds of thousands, or millions, my Lord, have, from childhood, believed simply what was taught them in their Prayer-books. The teaching of the Catechism, and of the offices of the Church, which they drank in childhood, has been their instruction still. But now? Unless they thoroughly reject this whole Judgment, and the very principles upon which it is founded, there is an uncertainty thrown over everything. Plain statements of the Catechism, Offices, Collects, Thanksgivings, distinct doctrinal statements in the office of Holy Baptism, are not to be taken undoubtingly. However positively enunciated, they are to be construed as uncertain. My Lord, will not some, alas! be tempted to ask, "What is truth?" Some will be tempted to seek truth elsewhere, in the Church of Rome, which promises them rest from the search after truth. Some will be tempted to abandon truth altogether. The first doubt is a sore blight. The first entrance of uncertainty may be the destruction of all faith. Your Grace will recollect what a strong feeling there was, some years past, against a certain exposition of the Articles, because it explained their statements in a forced, a non-natural sense, not in their plain meaning. I myself felt it my duty to warn my clergy very strongly against it. But what is this Judgment, my Lord, but an application of the same principles to what is more sacred still, our devotions to Almighty God? There is not in the Baptismal office one expression on which to ground the slightest doubt that our Saviour Christ therein and thereby bestows His mercy, His regenerating grace upon all infants. Our people are exhorted "earnestly to believe" it. They are now told, by this Judgment, that they are not to believe what the Church bids them "believe earnestly; they are told that all this is matter of opinion: they are told of "opinions deduced from uncertain and ambiguous expressions in the formularies." If what is declared so earnestly to be truth is not, what is? Why are they not to doubt of any other Article of the Creed, if they are to doubt of this? If the Church is not in earnest in this which she teaches so earnestly, where is she earnest? When is she to be supposed to teach what she says? If these are "ambiguous" words, where are there any unambiguous? And what follows (except from God's mercy) but a general, hopeless scepticism?
It is of language the most positive and distinct, spoken in the most solemn way, in the presence of Almighty God, and while administering a Sacrament ordained by Christ Himself, that the Judgment says:—
"If the Articles which constitute the Code of Faith" [I thought, my Lord, the Code of Faith had been the Creeds], "and from which any differences are prohibited, nevertheless contain expressions which unavoidably admit of different construction, we may reasonably expect to find some differences allowable in the interpretation of the devotional services, which were framed not for the purpose of determining points of faith, but of establishing (to use the language of Queen Elizabeth) an uniform order of Common Prayer."
"An uniform order of Common Prayer?" but, alas! according to this Judgment, not with an uniform meaning; an outward uniformity, with inward hollowness and uncertainly.
It is used as an argument à fortiori, that since "the Articles which are the Code of Faith," "contain uncertain and ambiguous expressions," much more must the words, however positive, which we use in devotion to Almighty God.
The Judges did not apparently know that in the fourth or fifth century, from which, and probably from a still earlier period, some of the doctrinal prayers of the Baptismal Office have come down, the Church did not frame devotions to be understood in various senses, so that the congregation should utter discordant prayers before God in one outward form with different inward meanings. This were a confusion worse than that which St. Paul censures in the Church of Corinth. It were a strange contrast with the Day of Pentecost. Then the multitude wondered when "they heard, in divers tongues, the wonderful works of God," one and the same truth. Now the same words of prayer are to cover, not different truths (for different truths there cannot be), but conflicting opinions.
The Judges were reminded that these prayers in our office for Holy Baptism come from times when the "lex supplicandi" was the "lex credendi." Prayer expressed the belief of the Church, and her children believed what they prayed. Our Prayer-book, drawn from those same sources, had the same blessed privilege. Members of the Church believed what they prayed; and finding therein what expressed and contented their wants, they were, amid all the storms around, in peace and rest. This Judgment would take their treasure from them. For if these solemn prayers, and declarations, and thanksgivings be uncertain, what, which is certain, is left to them? The Common Prayer binds our people together and to the Church more than anything else. And now the very band is to be loosed.
Still stranger, and more amazing, this Judgment uses the very earnestness of these prayers at Holy Baptism as an argument for thinking that they are not uniformly granted. Why (the argument of the Judges seems to be) should we pray earnestly for that which God has promised to give unconditionally? I could scarcely have believed it possible that Christians could so have spoken. Yet the judgment does so speak.
"Those who are strongly impressed with the earnest prayers which are offered for the Divine blessing and the grace of God, may not unreasonably suppose that the grace is"-What? "given," surely, so at least our Church teaches us "not to doubt, but earnestly believe," that our Saviour Christ will most surely keep and perform His promise to grant those things that we have prayed for. But no! the Judgment says, "they may not unreasonably suppose that the grace is not necessarily used to the rite."
So, then, the very earnestness of the prayers of the Church is to be made a ground to think that God doth not always fulfil His promise. The Church, according to this Judgment, must not pray earnestly for what God has promised to give. Man is to be irreverent and lukewarm, else we are to suppose that the grace which God promises in his Sacrament depends upon our prayers. You, my Lord, have, I am willing to hope, in one place given another reason for this earnest prayer; you have implied your belief that although the gift of remission of sins be alike to all, larger grace may be given to some according to the greater earnestness of those who pray for them.
The Judges have ventured into one of the deepest mysteries of religion, why we are to pray earnestly for what God has promised to give, in order to turn the very fact of the Church's earnest prayers into an argument against the unconditional efficacy of Infant Baptism.
But, my Lord, not only peace, and rest, and quiet confidence have been broken by this Judgment, and the hands of those made to "hang down," who have laboured zealously for the Church, and men's hearts to faint; but very serious doubts have been raised in the minds of many, whether the Church, if she continued passive under this Judgment, would not forfeit her claim to be a portion of the Church of Christ.
My Lord, I have said that there is too much cause to fear that the effect of this Judgment, bearing, as it does, your Grace's sanction, will be to drive many from our Church-perhaps to Rome-perhaps to infidelity. Yet I trust in God's mercy that such will not be the issue. If my voice can anywhere be heard-if my wishes, my entreaties, my sufferings-for, indeed, my Lord, I have suffered much-not for myself,—but if my sufferings in mourning for the Church, and for the too probable results to her continuance as a sound Branch of the Tree of Life, can avail with any, I implore them to cling more closely, more faithfully, more lovingly, to her in this her hour of affliction; above all, to pray humbly to Him who can make all things work together for good, that He will be pleased to "correct us, but with judgment, not in his anger, lest He bring us to nothing;" that we may learn-practically learn-and feel how miserably weak we are, how great and good He is! The Church of England has hitherto been no ordinary branch of Christ's Church. Let us not rend, let us not weaken her. Let us hope, let us labour for better days; and we will not cast away the hope that your Grace will even yet not desert us. Call together your com-provincial Bishops; invite them to declare what is the faith of the Church on the Articles impugned in this Judgment. This, permit me to say, is the best, perhaps the only safe, course you can take.
Meanwhile, I have one most painful duty to perform. I have to protest not only against the Judgment pronounced in the recent cause, but also against the regular consequences of that Judgment. I have to protest against your Grace's doing what you will be speedily called to do, either in person, or by some other exercising your authority. I have to protest, and I do hereby solemnly protest, before the Church of England, before the Holy Catholic Church, before Him who is its Divine Head, against your giving mission to exercise cure of souls, within my diocese, to a clergyman who proclaims himself to hold the heresies which Mr. Gorham holds. I protest that any one who gives mission to him till he retract, is a favourer and supporter of those heresies. I protest, in conclusion, that I cannot, without sin-and, by God's grace, I will not-hold communion with him, be he who he may, who shall so abuse the high commission which he bears.
I am, my Lord Archbishop, with that "due reverence and obedience" which I have pledged you, and with earnest prayer that such reverence and obedience to you may never be forbidden by my duty to our common Master, your Grace's affectionate friend for nearly thirty years, and your now afflicted servant,
LONDON, March 20, 1850.
Since the foregoing sheets were printed, an error has been discovered in the date of the edition of Bullinger in the Bodleyan and New College Libraries.
The date ought to be in those instances 1576, not 1676.
SUPPLEMENTARY LETTER OF THE BISHOP OF EXETER. (From the English Churchman.)
To His Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury:—
My LORD ARCHBISHOP:—I feel it my duty to announce publicly to your Grace an error of my informant, who stated to me (see my published letter, p. 41,) that there was no edition of Bullinger's Decades subsequent to that of 1577, in the sixteenth century. I have had an opportunity this day of inspecting a copy of an edition in 1587, and I see, in Watts's Bibliotheca Britannica, that there had been an edition in 1584.
Whatever deduction ought to be made on this account from my arguments against the probability of the order, &c. of 1586 having issued, I hereby request your Grace and my readers to make. But in order that your and their judgment may be formed satisfactorily, I think it right to state that neither in the title page, nor in the preface, nor in any part of the book, so far as I can discover, is there the slightest notice of any such order. The preface, which is a reprint of that of 1577, merely recommends the book on the general ground of its own merit. The book is stated to have been (as was, I believe, very usual at that time, cum gratia et privilegio Regiæ Majestatis, which was not in the edition of 1577.
There is another matter on which I avail myself of this opportunity to correct a great misapprehension.
I understand that it has been said, that one of my Counsel, in addressing the Judicial Committee, stated that "the Bishop told Mr. Gorham, that if he would state he had no intention to publish the questions, answers, and correspondence, then the examination might cease at the point where they had arrived." If Mr. Gorham had said that he would plainly answer the questions and let the matter rest there, then their Lordships would probably never have beard of the present controversy, and Mr. Gorham would at that moment have been Rector of Bramford-Speke.
On the very day on which the learned Counsel was reported to have said this, or something to the same effect, I remonstrated with him as having said it without my instructions or authority, and contrary to my wish, as well as to what had really been intended by me. He assured me that what he had said had been greatly misapprehended, and very incorrectly reported to me.
What was really said by me to Mr. Gorham, on this matter, will be found in the following passages of Mr. Gorham's published account of the examination:—
At p. 114, immediately before Qu. lxi., is what follows:
"THE BISHOP.—I have no hesitation in saying that my reason for asking whether Mr. Gorham intends to publish what has passed in this examination, and for my stating that if there be such intention, or if the intention be not disclaimed, I must continue the examination, is this, that the matter is not sufficiently investigated to enable me, in that case, to take the course which I may be now prepared otherwise to take, without my seeming to have forborne to place before Mr. Gorham, several considerations which ought, in my judgment, to be weighed and answered by him."
At p. 145, is the following passage in a letter of mine to Mr. Gorham:
"To what you say of my avowed reason for continuing the examination on the fourth and subsequent days, namely, that I had the impression of your intention to publish what had passed, or might pass, I answer: that hoped to bring the examination to a close in a manner favourable to your making (as I expected that you would make) some general question of your statements; but that I felt it to be impossible to take course, on your declining to disclaim the purpose of publication.
I now solemnly aver to your Grace, that I had no intention, whatever, of instituting Mr. Gorham, unless on a fully satisfactory qualification of his sentiments. I am, my Lord Archbishop,
With great respect,
Your Grace's most dutiful
And faithful servant, Bishopstowe, March 28.
P. S. There is another matter on which I would say a word; it being my earnest wish to correct everything like mis-statement or over-statement.
The only copies of Your Grace's work on "Apostolical Preaching," to which I had access when I wrote my published letter to you, were the original edition of 1815, and the one recently set forth. I have since learned, that all, or almost all the additions, on which I have remarked as "new matter," were introduced in the second edition of 1820, or in subsequent editions, much earlier than 1850. I now understand, that the only alteration made, for the first time, in the new edition, was the striking out the strong statement, "it absolutely nullifies the Sacrament of Baptism," which had in every preceding edition followed the words, "It is indeed a sufficient confutation of the doctrine of special Grace, that it absolutely nullifies," &c.