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was shocked at the offence against common sense, would now pronounce the service full of beauty and propriety: he would probably be now impressed by sentiments of devotion, if he had never felt them before; or, still with a reference to the words of St. Paul in the passage already alluded to, it would not be won. derful, if he were to fall down and worship; and report that God is among you of a truth.”
If the prayer of the heart were the only, as it is indeed the principal matter to be attended to, it is impossible but that sensibility must be excited, by what would thus be taken on the tongue; as well from the natural connexion between them, as by our thus inciting of one another. As to prayer's being a reasonable service, the liturgy of our Church can never be consistently used in any other way. And what aggravates the frequent abuse is, that they are the best parts and properties of our service, which are thus misrepresented by the negligent manner of exhibiting them.
The result is, that however demonstrable the use of a liturgy in general; one necessary expedient for the vindicating of ours in particular, is so to join in its sacred offices, as that there may not be withholden from them their proper grace and ornament. The Psalmist, inciting to publick worship, has noticed the beauty of holiness," as a circumstance which should adorn it. And in another place, where the divine mer. cies in particular are the subject of his exhortation, he gives as a reason of the duty in prospect—" It is pleasant and praise is comely.” [See Dissertation XIII.]
END OF THE LECTURES.
SELECT SUBJECTS IN THE LECTURES.
OF BAPTISMAL REGENERATION.*
Passages of Scripture,Jewish Proselytism.-Other. Pas,
sages.-Passages objected.--Conversion.-Fathers. This Church.-Ground of Defence of Infant Baptism.-Objec. tions.--Novelty and Origin of the opposite Opinion.
importance of this subject, induces a further illustration of it.
The word "regeneration"t is used in two places in the New Testament those quoted in the lecture from Tit. jii. 6; and Matt. xix. 28.
The former speaks of “ the washing of regeneration:" and the original word, being a case either of a noun signifying the vessel in which washing is per. formed, or of another noun denoting the water used in washing; it has been contended, that there is no dependence on the former, as the sense of the place. It was intimated in the lecture, that the word may be translated the laver." But whether the vessel or the water be intended, the difference does not essentially affect the argument.
The other place mentioned-"ye that have followed me in the regeneration”-is here conceived to have no
relation to the present subject. The verse is generally improperly pointed in our Bibles. The true sense of it is thus given correctly and eloquently by Dr. Dod. dridge, in his Family Expositor" In the great renovation of all things, when all the children of God shall as it were, be boru anew from their graves; when created nature shall put on its fairest forms to receive them; and the Son of Man, presiding over that august assembly, shall sit on the throne of his glory, exalted above the highest angels of God; you also, my faith. ful apostles, shall sit around me upon twelve radiant thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The expression “ born again,” is used in two passages of Scripture4John' iïi3; 7; and i Pet. i. 23. The latter of these places has no bearing on the sub. ject, being not especially connected with initiation to grace. But the former, in the expression of“ born of water and of the spirit,” creates a connexion between the operation of grace on the heart, and the rite of baptism--the appointed way of making a profession of faith in the Redeemer; in contrariety to the false shame, which had brought Nicodemus to him under cover of the night, and was the fault to be reproved.
Uuless this had been the matter, to which there was to be opposed the necessity of a new birth, no reason can be given for recording the circumstance of night; much less for its being again introduced in chapter nineteenth, verse thirty-eighth, For Nicodemus being mentioned again, he is recognized as the person at first came to Jesus by night:” perhaps to show the great change of character which had now taken place, in this meinber of the, sanbedrim,
The association thus affirmed to be made, between the baptism of the spirit and the baptism of water, is much sustained by a custom anciently prevailing among the Jews, of applying the term “ born again, to the receiving of a proselyte from heathenism; and of superadding baptisın to circumcision, on such an occasion. And this explains what is said in the tenth verse'Art thou a master of Israel, and knovest not these things?” Independently on the said custom, there seems to have been nothing in the Jewish law, demonstrating faulty ignorance in Nicodemus.
That there was the custom referred to, is thought to be manifested by its being expressly testified in the Talmuds of the Jews: And in particular, their great doctor Maimonides is appealed to on this point. Some learned men, however, have denied that there is any evidence of a custom, interfering so essentially with their theological system.
The reasons of adopting the opinion thus denied, shall be concisely given. It explains the tenth verse of the chapter—"Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” The ground of which does not otherwise appear. The same may be said of the twelfth verse-"If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things.” Further, it accounts for the gospel's opening with the narrative of John's baptizing, under circumstances indicating that it was no novel practice; although nothing of the kind is to be found in the Jew. ish ritual; or had obtained during the times to which the history of the Old Testament is confined. And yet, the priests and the Levites-sent, it would seem, by the sanhedrim--demanded of him—"Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, neither Elias, neither that prophet?” impliedly admitting, that there would be nothing unexpected, if his baptism were the admission of proselytes to the dispensation of the Messiah, according to their own ideas of it. It is admitted on the other side, that this appendage to Jewish proseiytism, if not known in the evangelical age, came into use afterwards: so that the Jews must have taken it from the Christians; than which nothing is less likely.
There are not wanting in the classicks one or two references to the Jewish custom in question. Arrian, a stoick philosopher, in his notes on Epictetus,* distin
* Lib, ii, chap. 9.