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Title: The True Ministers of Christ Accredited by the Holy Spirit: A Sermon

Author: Philip Gell

Release date: May 2, 2017 [eBook #54645]

Language: English


Transcribed from the 1842 J. Hatchard and Son edition by David Price, email










ON THE 21st JUNE, 1842










p. iiiTO






Derby, June 21, 1842.


2 Cor. ii. 17, and iii. 1–6.

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.  Do we begin again to commend ourselves?  Or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?  Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us; written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.  And such trust have we through Christ to Godward; not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

To “speak the same thing,”—to “be of one mind in the Lord,”—to be altogether one in the Father, and in the Son, as they are one, is the proper habitude of all the members of the church, and especially of all ministers of the word, of God.

p. 2Because, however, of human imperfections, differences have arisen in the church, even from the earliest and holiest days.  Wherefore controversy in the present day need not surprise us; nor should we shun it as if it were necessarily unchristian; nor is any man obliged to take part in it with any other feelings than such as are holy and benignant.  With good will may we withstand or intreat one another, or earnestly contend for the faith against an adversary.

Did not the apostle Paul withstand Peter to the face, with feelings anything but personally hostile, because he was to be blamed for his dissembling example: and does not the silence of the story most eloquently speak the silent and affectionate concession of the brother who was blamed?

Do not the words, which I have just read, bring before us another early conflict in holy times: when “many” teachers of the word of God “corrupted” it, and the apostle had to maintain the truth against them as “false apostles[2] appealing in his own behalf to sanctions given to him by God Himself?  And are we not safely to conclude that his zeal and charity in the contest obtained a blessed recompense in the preservation of many from those ruinous corruptions.

p. 3Now it is observable that the apostle concentrates the strength of his defence, in this particular passage, in an appeal to the work of the Holy Spirit of God attending his ministrations.  Whatever might be the truths or errors brought into question,—whether concerning the Holy Ghost Himself, or other subjects of a different nature,—there were such effects of his labours to be seen, as would prove the presence of that Divine Spirit with his ministry, and not with the contrary.  And hence we may infer, that though all teachers among Christians will assert their possession of the Spirit, all may not possess Him; and the teaching of some may want this remarkable and distinguishing evidence of being from God.

We need not dissemble that our own Church is Corinthian in this respect in the present day.  We clergy are so.  We cannot—(and in my heart I feel deeply what I say)—we cannot all be right.  And it is my honest and heart-rending conviction, that some of our differences are such, as will separate us for ever, if we die in them.

But come now, and let us reason together.  We have all, by our outward vocation, one common interest in one common and most momentous work.  We have to save our own souls, and the p. 4souls of them that hear us.  Our responsibilities reach into eternity!  May we by love so serve one another that we may all be workers together with God in the immense design, for which His Son our Saviour died upon the cross; that in the great day of His appearing many converted souls may be our “epistles of commendation” before His throne in glory!

Concerning the great controversy, which at present pervades our church, some things relate to the Holy Ghost Himself, some more especially to the Lord Jesus Christ, some to the Holy Scriptures, some more particularly to the church.

Whatever of these I may notice, I wish to keep the Holy Spirit prominently in our view, and to make our truth or error, as bearing upon Him, the main matter of our discourse.  The general subject will be The sanction of that Divine Person in the Holy Trinity, attending one sort of doctrine and ministry, and not another, and the evidences to be observed of the fact: and it will involve this question, namely, Who are the true ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, accredited by the Holy Ghost?

If I state things which some of us well know, I feel confident that they will admit the importance of my bringing them before others, who may not be aware of the position at which p. 5we are already arrived in the matters we have to speak of.


I.  The first thing which I have to propound is this: That the Holy Ghost is the essential Agent in the right administration and reception of divine ordinances.  In this, taken generally, we are all agreed.

None of us doubts that the words of the apostle to the presbyters of Ephesus would now apply to all true presbyters of Christ: “Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” [5a]  So, the seven deacons were “men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” [5b]  The word also is said to be “preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven:” to come to those hearing it aright, “in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance;” [5c] and to be received with “joy of the Holy Ghost;” and “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” [5d]  And so, both in regard to ministers and members of the church, it is declared, that “to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit;”—all these more p. 6ordinary gifts, as well as those which were miraculous, “worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” [6a]  And when it is also solemnly declared—“I give you to understand, that no man can say (aright) that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” [6b]—and that “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His;” [6c]—how clear and unquestionable is the conclusion, that the Holy Ghost must be the essential Agent in the right administration and reception of divine ordinances; and that in fact there can be none without Him, in the minds both of ministers and people.

Hence it was that, in the words before us, the apostle declared his “sufficiency to be of God;” that it was of God that he ministered the word without corrupting it, as some did; and that the beautiful lineaments of the living christian character, which he had been the means of producing in them, were actually produced by the Holy Ghost, thus divinely authenticating the office and instrumental ministrations of the apostle.  Here was the writing of his recommendatory letters.

This view of things carries in it the point, that no man can be a true minister of Jesus Christ, unless the Spirit of Christ be with him.  And p. 7so general is the conviction of this as a fact, that strange indeed would it be to find a single bishop, priest, or deacon of our church, who should not feel it essential to his integrity to lay claim to this holy authentication of himself from God to men.

Now here is the question!  Let us calmly and seriously examine it.  Can we all have the Holy Ghost, who lay claim to His presence and power with us?  I propose to meet this question negatively, and therefore,


II.  My next position is the following: That it is impossible to suppose that we ALL have the Holy Ghost, who lay claim to his presence and power in our ministrations.

1.  The awful ungodliness of some of us too plainly proves the truth of this, believe it who will.  It is fearful to think of their standing as they are in the sanctuary of the Most Holy God!  “To the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do, to declare my statutes, and to take my covenant in thy mouth?  Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” [7]

2.  But, alas!  It is not only the unholy beyond dispute that may fail of the Holy Ghost.  What say the habits of vain conversation in many; their ease and pleasure in worldly occupations and amusements; their constraint under sacred employments, p. 8their gladness when such works are done?  Must their hearts be the temples of the Holy Ghost?  Will He make the word to be “the power of God,” to honour their preaching of it; or the sacraments means of grace, to own their administration?  May He not, does He not refuse to do so?  Where is the fruit of their labour?

3.  But even were we questionable in nothing but points of doctrine and religious practices which we teach, this were enough, not only to raise the question, whether we minister by the Holy Ghost, but also to determine it.  For the Spirit cannot testify to both of two systems differing from one another in many fundamental points.

Such are the two systems at present in agitation.  That of Protestant Evangelical Christianity on the one hand, and that of Anglo-catholicity on the other: the one rejecting Romanism in all its peculiarities; the other sympathizing with it, and avowedly rejecting the principles of the Protestant faith. [8a]  The controversy is not new, though it has seldom been so vigorously conducted on either side as now.  The same spirits were in active warfare some forty years ago. [8b]  But, in fact, it has p. 9been fairly said by one of the chief writers on the Anglo-catholic side, that there have ever been these two principal parties in the Church of England, whom he calls the Apostolical and the Puritan; introducing a third also, (not now in the controversy,) namely, the Latitudinarian. [9a]

In point of doctrine, the terms Apostolical, Laudian, Orthodox, and Anglo-catholic, have more or less of connexion with each other; and the terms Evangelical, Puritan, Calvinistic, and Protestant, have a similar affinity.

a.  Now it has often been acknowledged by the opposite party, that the compilers of our Articles were not only Protestant, but Calvinistic, and what we now call Evangelical, in their religious views.  It has often been felt and allowed, that, in the plain and full meaning of these Articles, according to their literal and grammatical sense, which the royal Declaration peremptorily claims for them, without admitting of any new sense whatever, they favour less the Laudians and the Arminians, than the Puritans and Calvinists. [9b]  In this p. 10sense they are freely and confidently appealed to by the latter; and the appeal is ever most happily and strongly sustained by other appeals to the writings of the Reformers, in proof of what they meant.  The true Protestants, therefore, are perceived to have always had the best of the controversy, p. 11when conducted by sustaining the full and literal sense on the one hand, and softening it down on the other:—wherefore it is now attempted, with a determination never shown before, not merely to incline the Articles to speak a softer Protestantism; but at once to seize them violently, and force them to an absolute recantation; or, to stifle them under the reiterated pressure of directly antagonist opinions; affirming, against evidence, that those opinions were intended by the compilers to be admissible into the meaning! [11]

p. 12They thus, in purpose, completely take away the old, and substitute a new confession of faith, whatever care may seem to be taken to retain the form of words.  And, casting out the Writings of our Reformers also, as a Court of Appeal, and proposing extraordinary additions to our Formularies, and various ceremonial innovations, they declare it to be their intention to unprotestantize [12] the Church of England altogether, and to re-unite her, in due time, with the Church of Rome.  And they are steadily and gradually advancing.

While they are labouring with most devoted assiduity at this achievement, we, on the other hand, are firmly maintaining our old Church of England ground, standing by our old appeals as resolutely as ever, and humbly believing that the same God, who has for years been gradually and steadily increasing our numbers and our strength, will still go on to increase them, until the Church of England shall stand in the full and undisputed possession of the sons of her reforming fathers; and true Anglo-catholicity shall be the share which the English Protestant Church shall enjoy in Catholic Christianity throughout the world.

But now, the question is, how can we possibly imagine that the Holy Ghost can accredit both these opposing systems, and the advocates of both, so essentially differing from each other?  For, either the whole system of the Protestant Reformation, p. 13and of our Church as Protestant, is one enormous, awful, and tremendous error; or Anglo-catholics are doubly dishonest, first to the Church of England, which they still subscribe to; and secondly to the TRUTH of God according to our confession of faith.  The decision of the question may be suspended for a moment.

b.  The more we inquire into this subject, the wider will the difference appear to be.  There is one most vital part of it, on which I will not say much; because it is so generally heard of, and amongst ourselves so easily understood.  I mean the union, by the Anglo-catholics, of tradition with Holy Scripture as the Rule of Faith, [13a] in direct contradiction (as I think) to our sixth Article.  It is contradictory also to testimony upon testimony from their own favourite Fathers and Divines, [13b] as well as the Reformers; and even to the plainest testimony of Holy Scripture itself.  p. 14“From I child,” says the Spirit of God by St. Paul to Timothy, “thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation though faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be PERFECT, THOROUGHLY FURNISHED unto all good works.” [14]

Here, in particular, an opposition of sentiments appears upon a vital point, in which the Holy Ghost, in the very nature of things, can only take one side.

But they want the tradition, and therefore they must have it.  It supports superstitions, which Scripture will not.  And the difficulty of explaining ignota per ignotiora aggravates the importance of a present priesthood to explain both, as may seem good to them, without the possibility of popular private judgment being exercised on their interpretations and conclusions.

c.  Again; their doctrine of mystery in religion, putting, (by a strange mutation,) the most obvious things for the deepest, is made particularly to produce a comparative silence respecting the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is remarkable that they should choose for the example of this mysterious reserve, the very subject concerning p. 15which the Apostle St. Paul declares to the Corinthians, “I am determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified:” “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord:” “We preach Christ crucified!” [15a]  But then, their Christ crucified, by a painful perversion, is shown to be self-crucified; tears, and penances, and mortifications constituting their substitution for sin, (atonement I cannot call it;) while Christ is kept back, chiefly for mere sacramental exhibition. [15b]

That glorious name of Jesus, “the Lord our righteousness,” they almost veil from our sight, as far as His obedience to the law for us is concerned; and His sole justification, wrought for us, they actually displace by another thing.  The Lutheran doctrine upon the subject, which is that of our eleventh Article, is called radically and p. 16fundamentally monstrous, immoral, heretical, and antichristian. [16a]  And justification, instead of being by the works and deserving of Christ accounted unto us, and received by faith, is said to consist in the “habitation of Christ in us,” or “of God the FATHER, and the WORD incarnate, through the Holy Ghost:” “the Spirit’s work, not Christ’s:” “an imparting of righteousness;” [16b] “not imputation merely, but the act of God imparting His divine presence to the soul through baptism, and so making us temples of the Holy Ghost.” [16c]  But something also is said about our being able to “obey unto justification,” [16d] in opposition to Luther; which intimates clearly that human works, resulting from this indwelling, are to be the substantial justifying material; and faith is to be the first of those works.  For when they refer to the Article, asserting that “we are justified by faith only,” they say, “Faith, as being the beginning of perfect or justifying righteousness, is taken for what it tends towards, or ultimately will be.  It is said by anticipation to be that which it promises; just as one might pay a labourer his hire, before he began his work.” [16e]  And thus, their Christ justifying p. 17seems to be made much like their Christ crucified in us; self imitating Christ in another part of His work.  A more complete removal of the Saviour out of His place in the great work of redemption, with a specious introduction of the Holy Ghost to aid in the removal, that man may do the work of his own justification, it is not easy to conceive.  Whether this be right or not, judge ye.  But that the Holy Ghost should testify both to this justification, and to that which is by faith only in the righteousness of Christ, which is the justification of the Protestant Reformers and their Evangelical descendants, it is clearly impossible to suppose.

d.  The Holy Ghost himself, and all that religion which consists in spiritual experience, are expressly removed from full and ordinary teaching,—the glory and excellency of them being consigned to reverential reserve! [17]

The new birth of the soul by the Spirit, (except as in baptism,) the fruits of the Spirit in holiness, the comfort of the Spirit, the witness of the Spirit, the seal, the earnest, the fellowship, the indwelling, the anointing of the Holy Spirit,—His work as a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and the deep things of God,—a Spirit of intercession, a Spirit of adoption, a Spirit of p. 18glory, and all other subjects of Christian experience, are to be said little about,—while it is the very fear of others that they should grieve and dishonour this glorious Person in the ever-blessed Trinity by not fully declaring them.  They are deeply impressed by the fact that His work is equally essential to their salvation with that of Jesus Himself, and full of consolation and delight.  And some perhaps may be the more intent upon preaching all that ever appertains to Him from a spirit of holy jealousy, knowing that it is a subject in which so many of us halt.

And what is their substitute?  Mere morality with some: devotions, fastings, and almsgiving, with our brethren who are more in earnest; all busy in suspending fruits upon the evil tree, to make it good; instead of “first looking to the Spirit of God to make the tree good, that his fruit may be good also.” [18]

e.  The sacraments are a subject in which the difference and the controversy exhibit remarkably strong characteristics.  Our Anglo-catholics, it is p. 19evident, use the very term sacrament as if the spiritual grace signified thereby constituted the substantial meaning of the term: but our twenty-ninth Article shows at once that our Reformers applied it to the outward sign; “The sign OR sacrament of so great a thing:” and they there apply the term to the bread and wine, in contra-distinction to the body and blood of Christ.  In the twenty-fifth Article the sense is carried out, and the term is applied to the ceremony, still having reference to that, which is ordained of God indeed, but perceived by the outward senses.  And these are essential matters: for there is no sacrament, by the same article, where there is no visible sign or ceremony ordained of GodBaptism is called a sign of regeneration, whereby they that receive it rightly are, as by a significant process or instrument, not regenerated, but visibly “grafted into the church,” as already regenerated; [19] and “have the promises of forgiveness and adoption,” not then first brought home to their souls, but “visibly signed and sealed” to them;—“faith,” not first imparted, p. 20but “stirred up”—and “grace,” not first given, but “increased, by virtue of prayer to God.”

And if the Liturgy and Catechism speak of the inward and spiritual grace signified as part of the sacrament, or seem to say that the sacrament of baptism, as much as that of the Lord’s Supper, is a mean of receiving that particular grace which is signified,—they should be explained so as to harmonize with the Articles, which do already harmonize with Holy Scripture.  It is a part, not as tied to the Form in time and place, but as the distinct reality, on which all the value of the formal representation is founded, and which therefore should always be steadily eyed in it. [20]

p. 21It is evident that our twenty-seventh Article contemplated, in the body of it, the baptism of adults, spiritually born.  And though our ritual prefers to pray for the Holy Spirit, that they may then surely have His regenerating grace, to presuming on the previous certainty of its experience; yet the certain answer to this prayer is assuredly taken for granted as the ceremony proceeds; inasmuch as the acts of living souls are forthwith required of the subjects before they are baptized; namely, that they can speak spiritually, and deliver “the answer of a good conscience before God” in the exercise of repentance and faith, and the avowal of them.  And so it is observable, that though our form of infant baptism prefers to implore regeneration then, to presuming certainly that the infant is regenerated ere he comes, yet the fact is presumed to be granted previously to the answers being made; for they are the answers of a new-born soul.  Charity afterwards hopeth all things, though often disappointed.  And thus our church uniformly goes upon the apostolic rule, given in answer to the question, “What p. 22doth hinder me to be baptized?” viz., “If thou believest with all thine heart, (which is the fruit of regenerating grace, [22a]) thou mayest.”  A heart, even in infants, that would show faith, if organs served, is presumed to be; for “except they be born again, they cannot see the kingdom of God.” [22b]  The law has no exception.

The terms baptize and baptism are used in Scripture to express the spiritual regeneration as well as the mystical.  On the one hand, we hear of “the Baptism of John;” “I indeed baptize you with water;” “he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved;” “Christ sent me not to baptize;” “there is one baptism;” “they were baptized in the name of Jesus;” “baptizing them p. 23in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” and many other instances, having reference only to baptism with water.  On the other hand, we read, with reference to spiritual baptism, “He shall baptize you,” saith John, concerning Jesus, “with the Holy Ghost and fire;” [23a] where water is not contemplated: “By one Spirit are we all” “baptized into one body.” [23b]  “So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death.  Therefore we are buried with Him by the baptism unto death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed;” and that we should “yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead.” [23c]  And St. Peter, speaking of the salvation of Noah through the flood, says, “The antitype, or counterpart, of which, even baptism, doth also now save us; not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” (which is of water baptism,) “but the p. 24answer of a good conscience towards God,” (which is of spiritual baptism,) “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  You have it [24a] also, where the apostle speaks of the Colossians as “circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,” and “buried with Christ in baptism, wherein also they were risen with Him through faith of the operation of God, and quickened together with Him.” [24b]

Now, whether this latter baptism is, or is not, ever without the former, and the washing of the Spirit only synchronous, or not, with that of water; it is unquestionably evident that the two things are perfectly distinct, the one from the other.

Proceed, however, a step further, and observe that it is not water baptism which the Holy oracles speak of as the mean, instrument, or channel, of spiritual baptism or regeneration, but the Holy Scriptures themselves without it; and immediately the general separation of the two is as clear as the distinction between them.  “Of His own will,” saith St. James, “begat He us with the word of truth.” [24c]  “Being born again,” saith St. Peter, “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”  “And this is the word, which by the Gospel, (not water-baptism,) is p. 25preached unto you.” [25a]  And add to this, concerning the thousands of outwardly baptized sinners, the testimony of St. John, that “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; in this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil, whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God;” [25b] and the proof is conclusive, that in the formal baptism of these thousands upon thousands, who do so commit sin, no regeneration of God was ever experienced at all.  The separation is clear.  Men are born, without water-baptism, by the Spirit and the word; multitudes have it, and are never born of God at all. [25c]

Against all this, however, the system of the Anglo-catholics speaketh on this wise:—“The Scriptures, the Church, and the Fathers declare, with united voice, that regeneration takes place at baptism.  But they go farther; they tell us very p. 26definitely what regeneration is; they tell us that it is an engrafting into Christ; a new creation in Christ; and by consequence, that all the gifts of grace are actually and really imparted to us in baptism; that in short we are justified, sanctified, quickened, crucified with Christ, planted together in the likeness of His death, risen with Him by the power of His resurrection, and seated with Him in heavenly places; and that all this is effected by baptism.” [26]  This is in a sermon entitled “Nehushtan, or an Attempt to break the Trifle of Brass.”  And this Nehushtan is the doctrine of justification by faith; concerning which I refer you to the glory of our Articles, the eleventh; and then I close this point with the plain question, Who are the true members of the Church of England; and with whom is the Spirit of the Holy Scriptures, the Spirit of the martyrs of the Reformation, the Spirit of the living God, the Holy Ghost?  He cannot be with both.

f.  The assigning of regeneration and remission of sins to outward baptism gives immediate occasion to many other errors: but to one in particular, of a very lamentable character.  I mean the deplorable, and all but hopeless condition of those, who sin away their regeneration, and their plenary remission received in baptism; as innumerable multitudes are held to do.  “The great majority,” p. 27say the Anglo-catholics, “die under the bond of their sins;” yet so far “under God’s favour,” that if they pray, and fast, and give alms, and confess, mourn, and judge, humble, afflict, and abhor themselves, they may peradventure obtain pardon somewhere, plenary pardon; though it cannot be granted them any more in this life! [27a]  And that somewhere, is Purgatory, plainly avowed! [27b]

All this ministers strongly to the authority of a priesthood, in confessions, partial absolutions, and penances; [27c] but our Church (Art. 22) seems to us to say that it is plainly repugnant to the word of God: and so we believe.  Certainly, therefore, the Holy Ghost is not with one portion of us in this matter.  We know of no condition, except that of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost, in which, “if we confess our sins, God is” not “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness;” and, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins.”

g.  I shall not go over the same ground again, p. 28with reference to the sacrament of the holy Communion, as I have done with respect to Baptism, but state little more than that the way, in which the Anglo-catholics treat it, is precisely similar.

Spiritual communion in the body and blood of Christ, which we hold that believers always may enjoy by faith in the living words of Christ, the Anglo-catholics bind inseparably to the sign or sacrament thereof; namely to the bread and wine, and the sacred ceremonial.  Their body and blood of Christ is the bread and wine made so by their priests, and given only by their means to the people.  “The sacraments,” to the exclusion of other ordinances, “are (with them) the sources of divine grace.” [28a]  One is the very and only womb of regeneration itself; the other the only breast that nurses the child of God with the very body and blood of Christ.  These forms their clergy can handle and talk about, and they reservedly hint at the work of the Spirit of God in them: howbeit of spiritual life and spiritual communion, as things distinct from them, and much more large, and of other times and places, and means also, they profess to believe nothing.  They hold the Spirit of God mostly within their own sources; and the body and blood of Christ quite at their own disposal. [28b]

p. 29Now, when our Saviour says, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood ye have no life in you,” and it is held that the baptized have life, though they have not come to the table of the Lord; it will needs be granted that eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ is a thing previous to coming to that holy table: therefore it may be, as no doubt it is, after coming thither also; of course in other places and by the use of other means.  Jesus says, therefore, “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life:” and when He would save them from the delusive idea of eating His carnal body and blood, He tells them “it is the Spirit,” that is, the Holy Ghost taking of the things of Christ, and showing them unto us spiritually, “that quickeneth,” ministereth life; and then he refers them for the means, not to any contemplated sign or sacrament, but to His words attended by His Spirit: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  In them believers have their constant food.

The very flesh of Christ itself, if they could have it in a literal sense, would profit them nothing; all that is effective being the “ministration of the Spirit.”  Even in the sacrament, the Word, thought of, and received by faith of the operation of the Holy Ghost, is that medium by which the Spirit most properly conveys the Saviour to the soul.  The bread and wine have no more in them than the p. 30character of the most beautiful, significant sign or sacrament of so great a thing: just as the king’s letters, and not his picture, even in the most affecting transactions of his life or death, would really convey the presence of his mind and attributes to his people.

It is, however, habitually true of this sacrament, though not so of the other, that it is A means (not THE means) whereby the inward and spiritual grace signified is received by the faithful.

But if the same precision were used in a review of our Liturgy and Catechism, as was exercised in the framing of our Articles, we might avoid asserting anywhere, as well as in the latter, that the sacraments are means of the grace signified, without the loss of anything essential; and so we should be saved from predicating that in the definition of a thing, which is proved not to be universally true of it.  We might be saved from seeming to affirm that we are made children of God spiritually by formal baptism, when in fact it is only formally that we are thereby made so; or by baptism are regenerate.  That sacraments are signs and seals to the faithful of the inward and spiritual grace signified is universally true, and therefore proper in a definition of them: that they are means thereof, or pledges, [30] is not universally true, and therefore p. 31improper in a definition, though true in part.  And our conflicts upon the subject will never be put an end to until our church clearly expresses herself agreeably to the distinction and separability between things spiritual and things formal. [31a]

It does not appear that any of the principal Protestant Confessions of faith affirm the sacraments to be means of the special grace signified by them, except the Augsburg, which is the Lutheran.  And if it is generally to this that the English articles are to be traced, the difference of the latter from the former upon this particular point can scarcely be otherwise than purposely intended. [31b]

When our Anglo-catholic brethren seem as if they would “not oppose anything existing,” [31b] or touch so much as an iota of our Anglican Confession in verbal alterations, and yet hesitate not deliberately to sharpen their weapons, and at a few gashes to p. 32embowel it of its vitals; (I allude to the ninetieth Tract;) if they describe our church as “teaching with the stammering lips of ambiguous formularies,” and as “incomplete in her formal doctrine and discipline,” and would totally change her Protestant character by introductions from the Roman Breviary and Missal;—with all this havoc of change before us, it is a small matter to desire merely a clearer distinction between formal and spiritual things, or any other sanatory touch of like character, which would fulfil the work of the Reformation, instead of thoroughly undoing it, [32a] as they design to do.

In such a process we should be casting off the last frontlet of our ancient grave-clothes, and putting a crown of pure gold upon our head.  Rome would have done with us for ever, and we with Rome; and our separated brethren of other communions would see the way opening for re-union to an unlimited extent.

g.  The essentials of the OFFICE and WORK of the ministry, as propounded on either side, constitute another very material ground of difference. [32b]

We are, I suppose, agreed that the first essential p. 33of the OFFICE is, that we be clearly called to it, and effectually sustained in it, by the Holy Ghost.  But when we come to the outward and visible proofs of this call and this supporting power, then we differ.  The Anglo-catholics consider it essential to be ordained by bishops receiving their appointment in regular succession from the apostles; as that, without which no benefit of sacraments or other ministrations can be imparted, nor, in fact, any church exist.  The Anglo-protestants, on the other hand, attach not the same importance to the apostolical succession of bishops; and will say with Melancthon, “When bishops do not teach the truth, an ordinary succession avails nothing to the church;” [33a] and they hold that the appointment of a bishop by presbyters among themselves is valid.  They consider the laying on of the hands of a bishop and others of the presbytery, to be the most scriptural Ordination of presbyters, and best for their own church; [33b] yet not so essential to p. 34the being of a church but that Ordination without a bishop may be valid, and is so in other churches, and has scriptural succession in its Presbytery.

By the former, it is assumed, that the Holy Ghost is given in ordination to all who are thus ordained, for the custody of the good deposit, the fundamentals of doctrine and practice, and all other parts of their office; and that through these ministers alone the people can derive sacramental grace; and if this ordination once be given, it is of itself the grand, essential, and sufficient proof of a true minister, and of the abiding of the Holy Ghost, with him continually.

Now, it is true that we hold, that an evil minister, incurring even deposition by our discipline, does not necessarily prevent the communications of divine grace to the souls of men in the ministration of the word and sacraments.  But we hold also that he is to be deposed, and that there is something vastly contrary to the true system of things in his being where he is; though God has acted with inscrutable wisdom in having suffered it.  But unless ministers continually prove by all the “fruits of the Spirit,” that the Spirit of God is with them, their ordination does nothing for p. 35them in our esteem, but load them with extraordinary sin and guilt.  It is expected, that they be “not of the world;” though it is not by monasteries that they are to go out of it; but by keeping themselves unspotted from the sins and vanities and pomps of it; while their light shines before men in doing good in it, for the glory of their heavenly Father.  Their love of souls dictates zeal and labour and self-denial and holy co-operation.  They weep and pray and wrestle with God for blessings on their unworthy ministrations; they reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine; they humble the proud to penitence without penance; they comfort the feeble-minded, and heal the broken-hearted, without the unhallowed domination of confessionals, or absolutions other than declarative or merely ecclesiastical; [35] and they are conscious of maintaining, (without forced explanations,) an honest consistency, in doctrine and practice, with the plain meaning of their own articles and of Holy Scripture.  These and all other fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering p. 36gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;—these are their essential proofs of office; without which the form of Ordination would be nothing but a heavy grief to them.  It always has been, moreover, and I believe it ever would be, did circumstances lead to it, the blessedness and glory of these men to die as martyrs for their faith.  The love of Christ would constrain them to do it joyfully.  Few indeed are the clear instances of any other kind of religious persecutions unto death; while the thousands upon thousands of those who have been the usual martyrs for Christ, have been, not of the Anglo-catholic, but of the Evangelical faith.  The Reformers are granted to us: the Huguenots, the Waldenses, the Lollards and Hussites, the Paulicians, the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, &c., have all been of the same confession of faith and the same character.  But, alas! if the likeness of the Anglo-catholic creed and practices to Popery be considered, how near are the professors of that creed most fearfully coming to the character of the accusers of the brethren, the persecutors of the saints, the very crucifiers of the Lord of Glory!  With whom then is the Holy Ghost to be supposed to be?

So, with respect to the essentials of ministerial WORK, they say that “the Church,” i.e. the Clergy, and her sacraments, are the ordained and visible p. 37means of conveying to the soul what is supernatural and unseen. [37]  “The sacraments, not preaching, are the sources of divine grace.”  We do not disparage the sacraments; but we say that in holy Scripture preaching has the pre-eminence; preaching the Gospel of Christ, “the everlasting Gospel,” “the Gospel of salvation,” “the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.”  And I am anxious that we should all feel this, understand it well, and study to be “able ministers of the New Testament.”  The Anglo-catholic doctrine of the wonderful importance of sacramental grace and of the mysterious dignity and power of the priesthood in connexion with it, is a comparative nullifying of the great commission of Christ, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Christ also sent the apostle Paul, “not” with a commission, “to baptize,” though he did baptize; “but to preach the Gospel.”  And his triumphant argument for preaching, as the grand mean of grace, and faith, and salvation, will never be overcome.  “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed; and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard; and how shall they hear without p. 38a preacher; and how shall they preach except they be sent?  As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” [38a]  Of regeneration itself as produced by the special instrumentality of the word, we have already heard: and so also the remission of sins; for “be it known unto you,” says St. Paul to the people of Antioch in Pisidia, “that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” [38b]  The Acts of the Apostles, in fact, are full of it.  By the foolishness of preaching it has always pleased God to save them that believe, incomparably more than by any other means.  And forasmuch as the ministers and stewards of God’s mysteries “cannot,” (as our Ordination Service speaks,) “by any other means compass the doing of so weighty a work, pertaining to the salvation of man, but with doctrine and exhortation taken out of the Holy Scriptures, and with a life agreeable to the same,” the assiduous study and preaching of the Holy Scriptures have been the main subject of the charge given to them, from the days of Timothy to the present.  With ministering “the Holy Sacraments” they have been most solemnly intrusted; but with preaching the word CHIEFLY: p. 39and to this has the “success” of their ministry been consigned. [39a]  This is that which, (as Anglo-catholic teachers affirm,) “to say the least, Scripture has never much recommended;” an assertion very much to be blamed, as very untrue. [39b]

Now they who are not sensible of the inconceivable importance of preaching, will not seek the Spirit of preaching, neither will they have Him, if they do not ask for Him to be given them.  The word, to be “the power of God unto salvation,” must be “preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,” [39c] “not in the words of man’s wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” [39d]

I feel convinced, that after all this, my main position will be generally admitted to be extremely probable, if not certainly proved; that we cannot on both sides, have the Holy Ghost in the ministrations I have described, though both lay claim to His presence and power in them. [39e]


p. 40III.  I now, therefore, intreat your permission briefly to press a third position on your serious consideration, namely, that whoever of us have Him NOT, they are under most FEARFUL GUILT in PRETENDING to His presence.

We all make the pretension.  We are guilty therefore, it is to be feared, on one side or the other: deeply guilty!

a.  The guilt is that of being false; of lying in some things concerning the Holy Ghost, and in some things unto Him, when false before His saints in whom He dwells.  Are we incurring then the very guilt of Ananias and Sapphira?  Let us fear their condemnation.

b.  Our guilt is also that of resisting the Holy Ghost, in His truth, in His work, in His people.  If we have not known the ways of God aright, we have erred in our hearts and hardened them,—against what the Holy Ghost saith, “Harden not your hearts;” and hereby He is grieved: and the result is that God swears in His wrath, that we shall not enter into His rest. [40]

c.  Our guilt is that of substituting another spirit for Him: the Anti-spirit in league with Anti-christ.  It may be said that I go nigh to affirm that our work may possibly be the working of Satan, if it be not of the Holy Ghost.  My brethren, I mean quite to say it.  For of all evil p. 41men, who are instruments of Satan for seduction, false apostles and ministers are the most so.  And the more apparently holy they are, the more diligent to put on the form of godliness when they have not the power,—the more they imitate the love, the meekness, the humility, the self-denial of Christ,—and profess, at the same time, that it is by the Holy Ghost that hereunto they have attained; the more awful is their reception of Satan for the Holy Ghost.  Am I not right in saying, that errors in principle and in doctrine are quite as full of guilt in the sight of God as sins of the flesh?  They are sins of the mind, it is true: but are the sins of purely intellectual evil spirits less than the sins of men, because they are sins of minds and not of fleshly bodies?  And is Satan to be gently dealt with, and not rather the more indignantly repulsed, when, and because, he comes as an angel of light?  He is the very best imitator in the universe, and will be amiable in commending heresies to men.  And you may take him to your hearts in the very resemblance of the Spirit of God Himself, and assume that you possess the holy anointing of that blessed Spirit; and hence may issue the most deadly perversions of the truth of God, under the most amiable guise.  You may be making an unction to yourselves, like unto the holy anointing oil, under that curse of p. 42God, that you “shall be cut off from His people.” [42]  Consider the guilt and danger!


IV.  We are now prepared to come to the consideration of our fourth point; That the possession of some accrediting proofs of the presence of the Holy Ghost is essential to our most important interests.

Am I a true minister of Jesus Christ, or am I not?  And if I am, is all as it should be with me?  Have I full proof that my ministry is a participation in the “ministration of the Spirit,” or have I not?  Is He present with me at all?  Is He present with me in all that fulness and power, that is most justly and rationally and earnestly to be desired?  What are the most certain credentials or proofs of this?

Two are all that I shall refer to: one is in my text; the other, which I advert to first, is elsewhere found; I mean the scriptural Character of the true minister of Christ.  You find it concisely expressed in 2 Tim. iv. 1–5, “I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and His kingdom,—Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering p. 43and doctrine.  Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”  And in 1 Tim. iv. 12, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine: continue in them: for in so doing, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” [43]

As to integrity in doctrine, enough has been said, we should imagine, to prove the true servant of Christ from the false, the Holy Scripture in its plainest sense being taken for our guide.

And who, you ask, is to say what the standard of Scripture doctrine is, and so to determine what we ought to teach?  You must decide for yourselves.  “I speak as unto wise men; judge ye what ye say.”  “Wisdom is justified of her children.”  Nothing can possibly be plainer than Holy Scripture.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to be your guide in understanding it.  We shall soon see, if we have Him indeed, “who is the Lord’s, and who is holy,”—without his judgments to convince us.

We must do the same with regard to ascertaining who have that true consistency of ministerial p. 44character and conduct which is laid down in Scripture, and are therefore those, whom we should “follow; considering the end of their conversation, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”

Consider, brethren, what and where the power of godliness really is, and where the form; what and where is the most honest self-abasement, and where, on the other hand, the exaltation of man by means of office:—consider whether it be right to say, where the human commission is, there, and there only, all is right as to the Spirit; and not rather, where the Spirit is vitally proved to be, there, and there only, all is right as to the human commission: consider what is that dominion over the people’s faith, which is to be unselfishly repudiated; and who is their true servant, for Jesus sake, and the fellow-helper of their joy.  Think whether it is indeed and beyond a doubt the fact, that you have yourselves “passed from death unto life,” and know what a wounded spirit is, and what the godly sorrow of a broken and contrite heart, and the agonizing conviction of being a sinner deserving eternal condemnation.

I will add nothing concerning the happier experience of a sure interest in Christ, of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord,—and all the work of the Spirit in the soul of the believer; and of the love of Christ shed abroad in the p. 45heart.  But such as this, is the personal character of the true minister of Christ, which ought to be a discriminating credential of the presence of the Spirit of God with us.  O that we may have it in all its fulness and excellency!

2.  The other point, which St. Paul appeals to in the text, is the effectual blessing of God upon ministerial labours.  “Ye,” says the apostle, speaking of souls brought out of death into life by his means, “Ye are our Royal letters, which we carry out in our hearts, as ambassadors for Christ, to be read by, and spoken of unto, all men.  Jesus ordained them on my behalf; I was the ministering hand by which He wrote; the Holy Ghost was with me, and indelibly impressed them on the tablets of your hearts; the character, and language are those which pourtray the new creature, the children of the living God, the heirs of everlasting glory.”  He disclaims all sufficiency, not only to write, but even to conceive, what was written, except as it was given to Him by God, (a point they would readily admit,) and thus, in their conversion by his means, he had the clearest and strongest evidence that God was with him of a truth.  So he says in another place, “The seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord: are not ye my work in the Lord?”  And it is evident that this is a most essential, decisive, and therefore desirable, proof of our ministry p. 46being of God.  I do not think we should by any means rest and be satisfied without it.  I know that a minister may be a true prophet without always having this testimony; and though the Israel of God be not gathered by his means, his work is with the Lord, and his judgment with his God; and Isaiah says, “Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”  But this is the exception and not the rule.  What are pastors and teachers for?  Truly “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; opening men’s eyes, turning them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among all them which are sanctified, by faith that is in Christ.” [46]  If these holy and heavenly purposes be not evidently answered by us, what are we better than others?  If they be but feebly and equivocally answered, why are we not afraid, and put upon inquiry as to the cause, and upon prayer, most earnest prayer, that we may not be disowned both of God and man?  What letters have we to show that we are not thus disowned?  O that our gracious Lord and master may give us all imperishable seals of our apostleship in great numbers!  Let us earnestly see to it that we obtain them.  The double testimony p. 47of scriptural character, and of such seals given to our ministry, is irresistible.


But it may be asked, have not even false apostles their disciples, and sometimes many; Theudas, four hundred; Judas of Galilee, much people? [47]  They have: but not of such sinners converted into saints, as evidently prove the operation to be of God; not such as would glorify God on the racks of persecuting torture; not such as would die martyrs in the flames, if called to it; nor such as, in peaceful departures, could triumph through faith in the Son of God, and rejoice in the certain hope of a glorious immortality.  The happy and heavenly deaths of those who had lived upon the doctrines of Evangelical Protestantism are immortal and irresistible testimonies in favour of that sort of Christianity, as the truth of God.  They constitute an evidence, which Anglo-catholics will never be able to produce.  What were the latter days of Froude, their modern proto-saint, if not their proto-martyr?  Where are their dying witnesses?

What do they in the formation of such characters as I speak of?  Here, my honoured fellow-labourers in the Church of God,—the questions which I would put concerning them, allow me to put pointedly to you all.  What are you really doing in the work of the ministry you have received p. 48of the Lord?  Are you answering the purposes for which you were called to it?  What can you do, by the grace of God?  Can you convert a sinner from the error of his way?  Can you give me the heart of stone broken down and melted into the humble and contrite heart?  Can you display a compassionate and crucified Saviour, till men love Him fervently, and mourn for their sins which pierced Him?  Can you heal a wounded spirit?  Can you beautify disciples with Christian graces?  Can you help the saints of God in their preparations for death and eternal glory, when Jesus shall come and receive them to Himself?  Shall you then have any, of whom you will be humbly able to say, “Behold, I and the children whom Thou hast given me!  These are my letters of commendation!  These are my joy and crown of rejoicing: while all the supreme and sovereign glory, O Christ, is thine!”

Thus let us examine and prove both ourselves and our work.  And may God indeed make us able ministers of the New Testament; that we be not ashamed, but may rejoice before Him, at His appearing and His kingdom.






[2]  2 Cor. xi. 13.  See also Rom. xvi. 17.  Gal. i. 7, &c.  Phil. i. 16, iii. 18.  Col. ii. 8.  1 John iv. 1.

[5a]  Acts xx. 28.

[5b]  Acts vi. 3.

[5c]  1 Thess. i. 5, 6.

[5d]  1 Cor. ii. 4.

[6a]  1 Cor. xii. 1, 8, 11.

[6b]  1 Cor. xii. 3.

[6c]  Rom. viii. 9.

[7]  Ps. l. 16.

[8a]  Tracts 71, 77, and 86; Froude’s Remains, i. 322, 380, 394, 425, 433; British Critic, July 1841, p. 45, 69.

[8b]  See Overton’s True Churchman Ascertained.  See also Goode’s Divine Rule of Faith, Preface, p. 16, referring to two centuries ago.

[9a]  Newman’s Lectures on Romanism, &c. p. 23.

[9b]  See Overton, p. 71, 72, 82, 92.  Robertson observes, in his History of America, p. 163, “Of all the Reformed churches, that of England has deviated the least from the ancient institutions . . .  Though the Articles to be recognized as the system of national faith were framed conformable to the doctrines of Calvin, his notions with respect to church government and the mode of worship were not adopted.”  See the same testimony in Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. vol. iv. p. 87, 88.  Bishop Burnet says, “In England, the first Reformers were generally in the sublapsarian hypothesis; but Perkins and others asserted the supralapsarian way.”—Exposition of the Articles, p. 151.  Dr. Heylin, a zealous Arminian, has the following testimony.  “Of any men who publicly opposed the Calvinian tenets in this University” (Oxford) “till after the beginning of King James’s reign, I must confess that I have hitherto found no good assurance.”  Buckridge, tutor to Abp. Laud, and Houson, are all he can name.  Quinq. Hist. Works, p. 626.  When Laud preceded about suppressing Calvinistic doctrines, he could not “venture the determining of those points to a Convocation,” so general was the disposition of the bishops and clergy in favour of them.  Heylin’s Life of Laud, p. 147.  Bishop Burnet’s honest observations, in the close of his discussion of the Seventeenth Article, will not be forgotten.  “It is not to be denied, but that the Article seems to be framed according to St. Austin’s doctrine.”  . . .  “Since the Remonstrants do not deny but that God, having foreseen what all mankind would, according to all the different circumstances in which they should be put, do or not do, He upon that did by a firm and eternal decree lay that whole design in all its branches, which He executes in time; they may subscribe this Article without renouncing their opinion as to this matter.  On the other hand, the Calvinists have less occasion for scruple; since the Article does seem more plainly to favour them.”

[11]  Tract 90, p. 82.  They affirm that their interpretation of the Articles was intended to be admissible, though not that which the authors took themselves.  This is the old way of putting darkness for light further carried out.  Dr. Powell, Archdeacon of Colchester, and Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, preached a sermon some forty years ago to instruct the University in the matter of subscribing to the Articles.  And he says, “Where the original sense is one, and the received another, the subscriber is at liberty to use them in either.”  But he never went so far as to say that the subsequently received sense was intended to be admissible by the compilers.  And Dr. Hey, the Norrisian Professor, speaks of “a religious society changing its doctrines, and yet retaining the expressions by which they were defined;” and says, “In whatever degree the Articles grow obsolete, the Injunction, (that is, the Royal Declaration,) must grow so,” notwithstanding it commands interpretation in the literal sense; and “that a man, by speaking according to the literal sense, may speak falsehood.”—Lectures, vol. ii. p. 68, 72, 74.  This mode of dealing with the Articles, when strongly carried out, as in the present case, issues, of course, in a total change.  See Overton, p. 22–26.

[12]  British Critic, July, 1841, p. 45.

[13a]  Tracts for the Times, No, 71, p. 8, No. 78, p. 2.

[13b]  Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Cyprian, Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom, Jewel, Hooker, Morton, Hall, Laud, Ussher, Taylor, Stillingfleet, and many others.  See Goode’s Divine Rule, ii. 484, &c.  The importance of this question, according to the testimony of Roman Catholics themselves, is evident from such passages as the following from Lumper, Hist. Theol. vol. iii. p. 362.  “If Protestants would admit that the complete Rule of Faith is Scripture joined with Divine Tradition, all the other controversies between us and them would soon cease.”  See Goode, i. 103.

[14]  2 Tim. iii. 15–17.

[15a]  Cor. ii. 2, and i. 23.

[15b]  In Tract 81, p, 75, adverting to expressions including the terms Christ crucified, they say, “It may be seen by an attention to the context in all the passages, where these expressions occur, that it is a very different view, and in fact the opposite to the modern notion, which St. Paul always intends by it.  It is the necessity of OUR being crucified to the world; it is OUR humiliation together with Him; mortification of the flesh; being made conformable to His sufferings and death.  It was a doctrine which was foolishness to the wise, and an offence to the Jew, on account of the debasement of the natural man which it implied.”

[16a]  Brit. Crit. for April, 1842, p. 446.

[16b]  Newman’s Lectures on Justification, p. 160, 236, 247.

[16c]  Pusey’s Letter to the Bishop of Oxford, p. 71.

[16d]  Newman’s Lecture on Justification, p. 68.

[16e]  Tract 90, p. 13.

[17]  Tract 80 and 87.

[18]  That Aristotle should teach that we are to become right-minded by acting rightly, is not to be wondered at.  He knew nothing of the work of the Spirit of God, or of the love of Christ, or of the impossibility (see Acts x. and xii.) of our acting rightly without the grace of the Holy Spirit to give a right mind first.  But that Oxford Divines should teach so is to be wonderfully “dark amidst the blaze of noon!”

[19]  To be grafted into the church is to be outwardly admitted into the enjoyment of church privileges and ordinances.  Rightly means, not as hypocrites, but with the repentance and faith of the regenerate.  The wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, do receive the sacrament of so great a thing as regeneration to their condemnation.  Not receiving baptism rightly, they have no true part in the privileges and ordinances of the church, which are thereby sealed to the faithful.

[20]  When the invitation is received, “Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” (Acts xxii. 16,)—our church has guided us at once to say, it is the mystical, that is, the significant, washing away of sins, that is then accomplished; but so signifying the true, that a lively recollective enjoyment of it is excited in the mind.  When we are called to obtain the true remission of sins, it is thus,—“Repent,” (there is the spiritual operation,) “and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ,” (there is the outward sign) “for the remission of sins;” or, without any notice of the sign at all, “Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”  But repentance, and faith, and conversion, are the fruits of regeneration.  Baptism was no more intended to impart the spiritual cleansing from sin, than was the offering of the blood of bullocks and goats; and yet the people are spoken of as purged by that blood, and remission of sins as received by it.  It was only a mystical ceremony.—Circumcision was the same: the thing itself was mystical: And Baptism is its counterpart; and both of them are significant of the remission of sins, “the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh,” a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness in Christ Jesus, effected by the Holy Spirit of God implanting the seed of the Word of Christ in the soul and vivifying it; before even it is proper that baptism should be administered.

[22a]  1 John v. 1.  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

[22b]  “Except a man be born of water and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  Of the Holy Ghost comes the spiritual birth, and thereby the entrance into the spiritual kingdom or church of God: if the water of baptism be meant, then also figurative birth, and concurrently the visible kingdom or church to which baptism is the only door: a proper parallelism of idea being sustained.  But probably, as the expression “baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” means, baptize with the Holy Ghost as a spirit of burning, so “born of water and of the Holy Ghost” means, “born of the Holy Ghost as a Spirit of washing,” the real “washing of regeneration.”  This last expression is most frequently understood, and by Archbishop Whitgift and Bishop Hopkins amongst others, to refer to the sacramental washing, not the spiritual.  But why the force of the term regeneration should not preponderate over that of washing, I cannot see.  So “the washing of water by the Word,” wherewith Christ sanctifies and cleanses His church, is the ablution, like as of water, that is by the Word, when the Holy Ghost uses that Word in the hearts of men.

[23a]  Matt. iii. 11.

[23b]  1 Cor. xii. 13.

[23c]  Rom. vi. 3, 4, 6, 13.

[24a]  1 Pet. iii. 21.

[24b]  Col. ii. 11, 12, 13.

[24c]  James i. 18

[25a] 1 Pet. i. 23, 25.

[25b] 1 John iii. 9, 10.

[25c]  See Scott’s Remarks on Bishop Tomline’s Refutation of Calvinism, vol. ii. p. 197.

“There may be in divers cases,” says Hooker, “life by virtue of inward baptism, where outward is not found.”  B. v. 60.

The same may be argued concerning the real “forgiveness of sins,” and the mystical forgiveness.  There is one spiritual baptism for the actual, and one sacramental baptism, significant of the same thing, for the significant remission.  Equally distinct and separate, and even more so, if possible, is justification; of the possession of which by means of baptism the Scriptures say not a word, neither the Church of England, nor any other church, but the Church of Rome.

[26]  Sermons for the Times, p. 29, 30.

[27a]  The revival of “stations” for confession, of “the rod of discipline,” and “the robe of shame,” with other matters of penance, is wishfully inquired after, and may possibly ere long be brought about.  See Wordsworth’s Sermon on Evangelical repentance.

[27b]  Tract 79, p. 5.

[27c]  Wordsworth’s Sermon, p. 42.

[28a]  Tracts, vol. i.  Advt.

[28b]  Tract 4, p. 5.  Theirs is stated to be “the only church in this realm, which has a right to be quite sure that it has the Lord’s body to give to His people.”

[30]  A pledge has respect to a thing future.  The proper order of regeneration is to precede baptism, which cannot correctly therefore be a pledge of it?  Where does Scripture so represent it?  Circumcision was not a pledge to Abraham of the righteousness he had: a “seal” it was.

It is easy enough to state and explain the sound meaning belonging to our ritual and catechism.  But it should be quite clear and obvious at the first glance, without explanation.  The verbal expressions should be such, as that the right meaning only should present itself to the mind of the reader.

[31a]  Where our twenty-fifth Article says, that by the sacraments God doth not only quicken, but also confirm our faith in Him, “the Latin has nostramque fidem in se non solum excitat, (not vivificat) verum etiam confirmat.”—See the Latin Articles in Burnet.

[31b]  Pusey’s Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, p. 51.

[32a]  Tract 90, p. 3.

[32b]  The sermon is printed almost entirely as it was written; but in preaching, the whole of this section, to the end of the second head, was omitted, on account of the time.  A few other paragraphs were also shortened in the delivery, but the sense universally preserved.

[33a]  Melancthon, Loci. Com. Sig. de Monstr. Eccles.

[33b]  St. Paul adverts to the laying of the hands of the presbytery upon Timothy, and the laying of his own hands upon him; most probably referring to the same thing.  St. Paul, himself a presbyter, possessed an actual superiority, like other apostles, among many presbyters; which, by Divine Providence, was continued in the church: and they who were advanced to it had the name of Bishop (once general among the presbyters) assigned and limited to them.

In the ordination of Deacons, our Church appoints the laying on of the hands of the Bishop only.  For more of her views respecting ordination, see Burnet on the twenty-third Article.  And note the liberal style of the article itself.

[35]  Hooker, (Book VI.) shows that with respect to sin generally, the Church, or the ministers thereof, can only declare the divine absolution of the truly repenting sinner believing in Jesus.  She actually remits only such outward sins as she can take ecclesiastical cognizance of, and can retain and censure until openly repented of and confessed.  Our Church expresses herself better in her Liturgical Absolution, than in that for the Visitation of the Sick, which might be improved.

[37]  Tracts, vol. ii.  Advt.

[38a]  Rom. x. 13, &c.

[38b]  Acts xiii. 38, 39.

[39a]  Collect for the Ordering of Priests, “Most merciful Father,” &c.

[39b]  Tract 87, p. 75.

[39c]  1 Peter i. 12.

[39d]  1 Cor. ii. 4.

[39e]  I have said nothing of many other grounds of revived difference asserted by the Anglo-catholics; such as the Eucharistic sacrifice for the quick and dead, the invocation of saints, the worshipping of images and relics, and the spiritual supremacy of the Pope: it is enough to mention them.  If those who assert all these things have the Holy Ghost, those who deny them have Him not.

[40]  Heb. iii. 7–11.

[42]  Exod. xxx. 31–33.

[43]  See also Col. i. 28, 29.—“Christ—whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.”

[46]  Ephes. iv. 12.  Acts xxvi. 18.

[47]  Acts v. 36, 37.