Page images
PDF
EPUB

esse

he was scrupulous of directly urging. In the following passages he collaterally introduces it: “ At quo“ modo, inquiunt, regenerantur infantes, nec boni nec “ mali cognitione præditi? Nos autem respondemus, “ opus Dei, si captui nostro non subjaceat, non tamen

nullum. Porro infantes qui servandi sunt, (ut 56 certe ex ea ætate omnino aliqui servantur) ante a “ Domino regenerari minime obscurum est.” Cap. xvi. sect. 17. • Et sane ideo a prima infantia sanctificatus “ fuit Christus, ut ex ætate qualibet sine discrimine elec6 tos suos in seipso sanctificaret.” Ibid. sect. 18. “ Quos 66 clectione sua dignatus est Dominus, sic accepto regene“ rationis signo, si præsenti vita ante demigrent, quam " adoleverint, eos virtute sui Spiritus nobis incompre66 hensa renovat, quo modo expedire solus ipse provi“ det..... Quare nihil plus in pædobaptismo præsentis efficacia requirendum est, quam ut fædus cum illis “ Domino percussum obfirmet. Reliqua ejus Sacramenti sanctificatio, quo tempore Deus ipse providerit, postea

consequetur.” Ibid. sect. 21.

Hence appears the important difference between the sentiments of Luther on this point, and those of Calvin. The former contended for the certain salvation of all infants, born of Christian parents; the latter of those only, who are discriminated by an inscrutable decree of divine election; a discrimination, which seems to have been painfully contemplated, and reluctantly avowed.

Page 72, note (17). The liberality of the sentiments entertained by the Reformers in general, respecting the salvation of infants dying before baptism, originated not with the Lutherans. Zuingle was the first who asserted it; and it should be added, that his assertion was made without restrictions of any kind : “ Ista in hunc usum

argumentati sumus, ut ostenderemus toto errare celo,

H

“ etiamsi sint non modo magna, sed vetera quoque no“ mina, qui damnationi æternæ solent adjudicare Christianorum infantes, cum non sint baptismo tincti..... “ Hoc enim qui non crediderit, condemnabitur,' nul“ latenus est absolute intelligendum, sed de his, qui, au“ dito Evangelio, credere noluerunt. Unde infantes, et qui non audierunt Evangelium, hac lege non tenentur." De Peccato Orig. Declar. Zuinglii. Opera, vol. ii. p. 118. Ed. Tig. 1581. It is impossible to mistake his object even here; but in the following quotations be explains himself more fully : “Atque hic non immerito quæ“ ritur, An vero Christus genus universum restituerit, an fidelium Ecclesiam tantum ? Quamvis ergo ad hanc “ quæstionem paucis respondere potuissemus, Christum

prorsus sanando tantum profuisse, quantum nocuit Adam peccando; porro Adam infecit universam conspersio“nem peccato originali, ergo Christus universam re“ stituit ; noluimus tamen sententiam istam proferre, “ cum quod nonnulla videntur obstare, tum quod non “ videam, an aliqui eam tenuerunt; sed hoc modo “ dixi, Christianorum liberos damnare non posse pecca66 tum originale, hac ex causa, quod, etsi peccatum se“ cundum legem quidem damnaret, tamen propter re- medium per Christum exhibitum damnare non potest, “ hos præsertim, qui in co Testamento sunt, quod cum Abrahamo pepigit. Nam de his alia quoque firma et " clara testimonia habemus; de aliis, qui sunt extra Ec« clesiam nati, non habemus aliud quam præsens testi“monium, quod ego sciam, et similia hoc quinto “ Rom. capite, quo probari possit eos, qui extra Eccle“ siam nascuntur, mundos esse ab originali contamina" tione. Quod si quis de his quoque dicet probabilius

esse, ut Gentium liberi per Christum serventur, quam ut damnentur, jam certe minus evacuabit Christum, quam

hi, qui intra Ecclesiam natos damnant, si citra lavacrum baptismi moriantur; et plus auctoritatis ac

6 fundamenti habebit in Scripturis, quam hi, qui hoc “ negant. Nam is nihil aliud assereret, quam Gentilium quoque liberos, dum teneri sunt, propter vitium originale non damnari, id autem beneficio Christi ; adultis “ autem nihil gratiæ reliquum esse eo, quod non fide“ rent Christo. Si vero operibus ostenderent legem in “ cordibus suis esse scriptam, neque falleret hypocri“ sis, jam satis auditum est eos inter circumcisos com“ putandos esse, ubi enim opera fiunt Deo digna, isthic dudum fuit in Deum religio. Probant hoc Jethro, " cujus pectus sic cælesti sapientia imbuerat, ut etiam “ Mosi, qui coram cum Deo loquebatur, in condendis

legibus esset auxilio; et Cornelius Centurio, cujus “ Deus eleemosynas orationesque respexit, antequam

Evangelium ei esset expositum. Diceret igitur aliquis per Christum naturam esse restitutam, jam ea sequerentur, quæ diximus; si vero Ecclesiam tantum, jam sequeretur, non tam patere salutem per Christum, quam late grassatur morbus ex Adam.Ibid. p. 121. “ Iste locus, . quod sine fide impossibile sit Deo placere, “ synecdochicūs intelligi debet, de his modo, qui ver“ bum audiunt ac resiliunt, aut qui audiunt ac reci“ piunt. Qui vero per ætatem non audiunt, his uni66 versalibus non continentur. Apud illos nulla est

prævaricatio, cum nulla sit apud eos lex. Si vero ex “ Christianis prognati sunt, jam virtute testamenti filii “ Dei sunt: sin ex Gentibus, jam nihil decernimus. “Quanquam autem, ut ingenue fatear, mihi magis, arridet ea sententia, quæ virtute mortis Christi omnium innocentium salutem acceptam fert. Sic enim paria sunt, 66 ubi abundavit delictum, ibi exundavit gratia. Si

quæres, quomodo possunt hæc fieri ? Hoc modo. “ Quicquid uspiam mortalium nascitur salvum est per Christum.Epist. Urbano Regio, vol. i. p. 383. The tenet of Zuingle, with the argument upon which it was founded, seems to have been received by all his

[ocr errors]

followers. We find Bullinger, not long after his death, (viz. in 1535,) speaking thus unreservedly upon the subject, in a dialogue, which at the time was published against the errors of the Anabaptists : “ Joiada. Annon jamdudum audis pueros, etiamsi fateri fidem

non possunt, inter fideles tamen esse accensos ? Aut « Deus adultorum tantum Deus est? Et non puerorum ? “ An pro adultis duntaxat passus est Christus, non etiam “ pro pueris? Simon. Passus est pro expiatione omnium peccatorum totius mundi. Joiada. Puerine habent

pec“ cata? Simon. Originale peccatum habent. Quando“ quidem ergo Paulus per Christum instauratum dicit “ quidquid per Adam erat collapsum, nec adulti tantum, 6 verum etiam pueri in Adamo perditi sunt, consequitur et pueros per

Christum instauratos esse. Si restituti sunt pueri per Christum, Dei sunt.Adversus omnia Catabaptistarum prava dogmata, p. 57. " Simon. Ex hoc

consequens esset, infantes, qui sine baptismo decedunt, damnatos haudquaquam esse. Joiada. Plane consequitur.” Ibid. p. 59.

Upon the whole, Zuingle believed, that all infants, without exception, dying before the commission of actual crime, are admitted into the kingdom of Heaven; Luther, all born of those who are themselves within the Christian Covenant, leaving the fate of Heathen children to the revelation of God's mercies in a future life; but Calvin, only such as the Almighty has been pleased to distinguish by a mysterious decree of personal election.

Page 74, note (18). See note 10. Our own Reformers were so far from embracing every favourable opportunity of expatiating upon human depravity, that even where others had introduced it, and where, if ever, it should be displayed in its strongest colours, viz. in our addresses to the throne of grace, they designedly avoided all allusion

to it. I have pointed out in Sermon I. note 7. the source, from which the confession in our daily Prayer, at least the idea of it, was taken. The words in the original are these : “ Domine Deus, æterne et omni

potens, agnoscimus et fatemur ingenue apud sanctis“simam majestatem tuam, peccatores esse nos miseros, adeoque a prima origine, qua concepti et nati sumus, tam ad omne malum esse pronos, quam ab omni bono alienus, quo vitio tuas leges sanctissimas assidue trans

gredimur, eoque nobis exitium justissimo tuo judicio “conquirimus.” Totally silent upon the point of innate corruption, our Reformers, in their imitation of this passage, touched only upon that of actual transgression. “ Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred " and strayed from thy ways, like lost sheep: we have « followed too much the devices and desires of our “own hearts: we have offended against thy holy laws: “ we have left undone those things which we ought to “have done; and we have done those things which

we ought not to have done : and there is no health 56 in us.”

But in the confession of our Communion Service, this deviation is still more striking, because the resemblance in other respects is closer. I have remarked, that where our Offices vary from the ancient forms, they are in general modelled after a Liturgy compiled by Melancthon and Bucer, for the archbishopric of Cologne, and often literally translated from it. The original, in the case before us, commences thus: “ Omnipotens, æterne Deus, Pater Domini nostri Jesu “ Christi, creator rerum omnium, judex cunctorum “ hominum, agnoscimus et deploramus nos in peccatis conceptos et natos, ideoque ad quævis mala pronos, et « abhorrentes a veris bonis, sancta tua præcepta sine fide " et modo transgressos esse, contemptu tui et verbi tui,

U

« PreviousContinue »