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an eminence, had he not been possessed of much both of speculative and practical wisdom. Ignorantly devout-for in those days, either the reality or the appearance of devotion was essential to a inan's reputation ; and Nicodemus was too honest to be devout merely in appearance; and yet his devotion was ignorant devotion, for he knew not the Gospel. But he was coldly orthodox. On all the great points debated among the Jews, he maintained the side of truth. His creed was accurate. He confessed the existence of angels and spirits; looked forward to the resurrection of the dead; and held with theological precision the doctrine of God's sovereignty. In short he was a Pharisee, and more than a Pharisee. He had learned even this, that Jesus was a teacher come from God, and that God was with him.
“ And yet, though he knew so much and was in many respects so excellent, the very first word that Jesus spoke to him was this, ' Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Let no man blunt the edge of this expression by the thought, that these words were spoken to Nicodemus in common with every enquirer, who wished to satisfy himself respecting the character of Jesus. Such was by no means the case. When Nathanael, full of prejudice, not even knowing that Jesus was a teacher sent from God, came for the same purpose, the Saviour's language was very different. • Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile ! Neither Nicodemus nor Nathanael could enter heaven without having been born again. But when they came to Jesus, Nathanael was already a true Israelite, a child of God, -Nicodemus was not so. Nicodemus knew that Jesus was a teacher come from God, but never having placed his trust on a coming Saviour, his heart remained unchanged. While Nathanael, by the exercise of faith in the Christ of whom Moses and the prophets did write, had been numbered among the people of God, even before he knew, that the Christ he was trusting in and loving was no other than Jesus of Nazareth. For conversion was no new thing, nor the necessity of it a new truth brought into the world by Christ. Ever since there were sinful men, there were also regenerate men. Else there had been no saved men, for, from eternity to eternity, 'without holiness no man shall see the Lord.'"(pp. 63-67.)
THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMAL REGENERATION, as it
is held by many at the present day : calmly Examined by the
Good not unfrequently comes out of evil, and to this, the setting forth of erroneous and strange doctrine, though among the most deadly evils, is no exception. The error of transubstantiation was the means of putting into our hands a mass of sound theology embodied in the writings of the Reformers, and the erroneous view of baptismal regeneration has drawn forth the powers of the right thinking men of our Church, whose principles are scriptural and protestant, first to examine and then to refute it. These are
storms which sweep our firmament, fearful and perhaps destructive of vital religion in their immediate effects, yet ultimately proving beneficial, just as a storm in nature may rend the trees of a forest, and yet will ultimately purify the air.
On the last-named subject it is difficult to select, from the numberless works which teem from the press, and we should feel some hesitation in recommending the work we have named above, were it not for the many claims it has to our approval.
Its portable size and moderate price are such as to bring it within the reach of the generality of readers, while the simplicity of its style is suited to the most ordinary capacity.
But its chief excellency is the soundness of its doctrine. The author writes like a Christian and a churchman. Assuming that our Church is scriptural, and knowing that her own appeal in her sixth Article is founded on the agreement of the Bible and the Prayer-book ; yet giving due pre-eminence to the former, he examines the doctrine he intends to refute, first by the Bible, and then by the formularies of our Church.
We have room but for one extract, which we offer as a fair specimen of his style. Speaking of John iii. 8, he remarks :
“Here we learn three things; 1st. That the bestowment of the Spirit is according to the sovereign will of God. The wind is not under the direction of man-it bloweth where it listeth.' 2nd. That the mode of its communication and operation is secret and mysterious,-thou 'caust not tell whence it cometh or whether it goeth ;' and 3rd. That its effects are open, visible, and easy to be understood,- thou hearest the sound thereof.' But if your statement of baptismal regeneration is true, the bestowment of the Spirit, the efficient cause of the change, is under the direction of man-of the officiating clergyman, who, if he were to deny the administration of the rite, would, thereby withhold the communication of the Spirit. If the mode in which it is received is by baptism, it is not secret and mysterious, but plain and palpable. And as in the very great majority of instances of infant baptism, no corresponding effects appear, it contradicts the third assertion also : hence your position cannot be true.”
We think it the more important to recommend a work like the present, because while many have become aware of the tendencies of open Tractarianism, there are many more, who, though claiming to be no Tractarians, yet both hold and teach a regeneration invariably following baptism. Such may do incalculable mischief in the Church, by leading their flocks down an easier slope, to the same level whither their Romanizing brethren have gone before.
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The HISTORY of the REFORMATION of the SIXTEENTH CENTURY. By J. H. Merle d'Aubigné, D.D. Vol. 4. 8vo. 12s.
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CHURCHMAN'S MONTHLY REVIEW
ENTIRE ABSOLUTION OF THE PENITENT ; a Sermon
preached before the University, in the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford, on the Fourth Sunday of the Epiphany. By the Rev. E. B. PUSEY, D.D. Oxford : Parker. 1846.
“ I NEVER meant to speak controversially;"—so says the author of this polemic discourse, which aims a blow at the root of our ecclesiastical system. On a previous occasion he had assailed one of the most distinguishing tenets of our Protestantism ; and now, after a period of banishment, he returns unrelentingly and with unabated vigour to the charge, to smite us on the other cheek also. What are we to think of such an assertion, from a man who, whatever be the suavity of his manner and style, labours incessantly with no little sophistry to establish views manifestly opposed to those of the Church in which he ministers, and to vindicate, by unfair quotations, practices which that Church has most deliberately and entirely repudiated ? And is not this controversy ? Is it not controversy of the worst kind ? Does not Dr. Pusey remain within our border, and knowingly controvert both our practice and our principles? Is he not advocating in a controversial spirit, dogmas which the Church both practically and theoretically condemns ? And if he is actively hostile to the declared views of his Church, and at the same time unsound in his argument, and unfair in his quotations, then, however bland, and specious, and externally calm the manner, his proceeding is not only controversy, but unjust and criminal controversy. The words may be smoother than oil, but the war of extermination is in the heart. Dr. Pusey knows