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those miraculous operations. But whilst we see no such works, all the pretensions of having received this Baptism, are nothing but idle dreams.
Others allege: the Apostle St. John in his first Epistle 5: 4, says: erthat all that are born of God overcome the world.” But is this the character of all baptized christians ? “Has their Baptism changed the disposition of their hearts, so that they do not love the world, nor the things of the world ?" &c. This point has been already touched in the beginning of this essay, and I shall add few words more in answer of it. Something can be a means, yet it may not have the same blessed effect upon all, to whom it is administered, but that is no proof, that it is not the means ; for if this be a good reason that Baptism is not a means of regeneration, because there are wicked & worthless people, who are baptized; then I may argue with equal propriety, the holy scriptures are not the word of God, because there are many, who read and hear them, yet are and remain infidels
prayer is a useless exercise, because there are many who pray, and yet continue hypocrites--the Holy Ghost himself, cannot be the means of regeneration or a divine energy; because the Jews and many thousands besides, with whom he strove, were not turned, nor regenerated. I would further ask, is it not possible for a regenerated Person to fall from his state of grace? 2 Peter 2: 20 21 if it were not possible, for what reason did Christ say to the Church of Ephesus Revelations 2: 5. “Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fal-. len and repent, and do the first works," and verse 7 "To him that overcometh, &c.” and Paul Hebrews, 3: 12. “Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” Many whose children have been baptized, bestow no labour upon them, when they arrive at the age of maturity, to instruct them with respect to the use and design of Baptism, hence, as the good seed receives no nourishment, how can it be expected to prosper? A regenerated person can spiritually die, hence lose his spiritual life, and alas, that is the case with many, and if they remain in such awful and dangerous state they will finally die forever, except they remember, how they have received and heard, and hold fast and repent; Revelations 3: 3, a godly life, a spiritua life is the blessed fruit of regeneration. There is another objection which is often alleged against this doctrine. If Baptism be the means of regeneration, then it must follow, that all those who are not baptized, will be damned. There are many thousands, who are unbaptized, now to suppose all such to be lost, is extremely uncharitable. In this way I might also prove that it is very uncharitable to teach, that whosoever does not believe in Jesus Christ shall be damned, because there are many thousands who do not believe, and many more have never heard his name. What Christian would presume to say, that faith in Jesus Christ, is not essential to salvation, because it would be uncharitable to suppose all such as lost, who are destitute of it ? Whatever dispensation God may have ordered to save Heathens through Christ does by no means interfere with the dispensation under which we live. We have no reason to expect he will dispense with the means where he has sent the light of the Gospel. Sundry other objections could be mentioned and refuted, many of them have their origin from the doctrine of absolute, unconditional election and reprobation and irresistible grace. If such who believe and teach these doctrines, would admit, that the Sacraments are means of grace and Salvation, then they would contradict themselves, by teaching those doctrines, and many adopt their sentiments concering the Sacraments, without examining from what source they flow. I shall now come to a conclusion by making a few remarks more on the subject.
Our Lord Mark 16 16 declares “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," when the Jailor asked Acts 16 30 31, “Sirs what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” and in verse 33, we read, “and was baptized he (the Jailor) and all his, straightway." It is evident, that he would not have received Baptism, without being informed by the Apostle, that it was essential, for they spake unto him the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, v.32, further Paul in his Epistle to Galatians Chap. 3 26 and 27 says "for ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized with Christ, have put on Christ.” Now our Saviour did not prescribe two different orders of Salvation, hence to believe and be baptized, must be the same, as to be born of water and of the spirit, if a man can be saved by faith and Baptism, if he is a child of God and puts on the Lord Jesus Christ by believing in Christ, and being bapfized in Christ, then nothing more is essential; a man that believeth and puts on Christ is a new creature and the blessed fruit of such happy state will be, that be walks not after the flesh, but after the spirit. The words which Christ told to Nicodemus imply the same, that he declares Mark 16 16. I admit that a person may receive Baptism and is not regenerated, for only a believer can receive what Baptism gives and benefits. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Without faith, Baptism will not benefit us, though in itself it is an invaluable divine blessing, “for what if some did not believe ? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid.” Faith worketh by love hence a person that really believeth shall discover it to God, by a simple dependence upon Christ, and to men by the practice of good works. I do sincerely agree with the learned author of the essay in the Intelligencer, vol.4 No. 8 (Influence of the holy spirit upon the soul,) that the whole work of
being born again” is made so dark, so inexplicable, that whilst it urges one inquiring soul to give up the task, another is unnecessarily and unnaturally driven into a state of despondency, and often delirium ; altogether foreign to what that religion requires, in which Christ and his Apostles, whilst on earth, required sinners to believe, in order to obtain salvation." Let us then rejoice in the glorious blessings which we have received in our Baptism, but let us strive to make a good improvement of them. Let us walk in newness of life Romans 6 3 &c. Let us hold that fast which we have, that no man take our crown. Let us not be backward and lukewarm in that which is good. As we have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord so let us walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as we have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving, and let us beware lest any man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
H. H. The above, may be considered as rather diffuse, by some of our friends, but it should be remembered that it is a subject of infinite importance. To afford to all, sufficient matter, to understand it, a more limited sphere, could not have been selected by the writer. We sincerely hope, that H. H. will favor us for the future, with dissertations upon some of the important articles of faith. He certainly has at heart, the advancement of the truth, and thinks as a Christian Lutheran.-Editor.
PLAN OF A NEW CATECHISM. Although our admiration of the character, talents and labours of the immortal Reformer, has always been of the very highest grade, yet we never thought him infallible in judgment or perfect in his writings. He lived amid the embarrassments and agitation of continual controversy, with a weight of duty and responsibility resting upon him, the magnitude of which we cannot conceive at the present day. Instead of wondering why he did no more, the greater wonder is, that he did so much. Considering the times in which he lived, the immense labours devolving upon him, the incessant anxiety of mind which he suffered, and the constant dangers to which he was exposed, it is not surprising that some of his writings exhibit manifest evidence of haste, and among those of this character we rank his Smaller Catechism. It was written in troublesome times and for the emergency, and though we regard it as eminently good in the choice of matter especially, yet we think it capable of amendment, yea, that a much better might be substituted. The plan is defective and inconvenient. Learners complain of this on good grounds, and it is our duty to render the exercise of catechisation to our youth as pleasant, easy and profitable as possible.
We are glad to observe that this subject is now discussed by our brethren in Germany. We have seen several plans suggested by them, but the one which strikes us as the best, we beg leave to communicate, with a little alteration and amendment.
''he three articles of the creed should be the foundation of a Christian Catechism. The other parts of Luther's might be subordinate to these. Veneration for the memory of that distinguished man should not blind us to any deficiencies in his Catechism. Our church is not built on Luther but on the Sacred Scriptures..
1. The first article of the creed. This embraces the doctrine of God, the Almighty Maker, Father and Governor of the world, and its inhabitants, in the general.
From this there would be an easy transition to the doctrine of man and his peculiar relation to God. This would embrace two heads. Ist. In his original condition. 2d. In his condition after the fall. Under the first head would be shewn his existence in a corporeal and spiritual respect, and his original relation to God. Under the second would be exhibited his fall from God--the causes of his apostacy, its nature, spiritual and corporeal consequences, and the counsels of God respecting him.
Here would follow the ten commandments, and here also should be introduced the prophesies and promises respecting a Redeemer, and let the first general head close with the advent.
II. The second article of the creed would be the second general head. This would embrace 1st The birth of Christ, with the evidences of his supernatural incarnation. 2d The different effects it occasioned among men, from Shepherds to Kings and wise men. 3d The infancy of Jesus, that is, how he grew up, his presence in the temple, &c. 4th His entrance upon his ministry, 5th Jesus, a teacher, example, leader, the means he employed for the extension of the truth. 6th His success, contradictions of sinners, sufferings. 7th Death, Atonement. 8th Resurrection, proof of the divinity of Jesus, and of his doctrine. 9th Consequences to his friends, the world. 10th Calling of Apostles, ascension, second coming, Doctrines of Baptism and Lord's Supper.
III. The third article of the creed. Ist His sitting at the right hand of God, Presidency over the church, Doctrine of the Holy Ghost, Revelation, Church, Repentance, faith and moral duties.
This is a general plan which appears to us better adapted to our wants, than any which we have yet seen. As catechetical instruction is so extensively pursued in our church, it is essential to have a Catechism of the very best character for simplicity, systematic arrangement and scriptural correctness. The plan is merely proposed to the consideration of those who feel themselves qualified to undertake the work. We are far from thinking it perfect, but it exhibits the general ground which ought to be occupied. The preparation of such a Catechism would be rendering an important service to the church, ministers, members and catechumens.
CLERICUS. · The above communication, merits the attention of our Eeclesiastical bodies, or rather, the members of the General Synod. Nevertheless we publish it, as it is the privilege of Lutherans to differ in their views, and we believe, that a temperate, candid discussion of subjects, may be profitable. As for ourselves, we shall rejoice to see any evangelic productions, that are calculated to promote the knowledge of the truth, introduced among our people. But, our precious little Catechism, has been the friend of our fore-fathers, and our friend; we cannot forget it; we cannot agree that it shall be supplanted by another. We shall be glad to receive the views, of other brethren, and we consider “Clericus” as pledged, to continue his remarks, until the whole subject is brought clearly before the church.
In conclusion, we would add, that if any member of the church, sufficiently qualified, would translate accurately some of our numerous German Devotional books, or, publish something upon the plan suggested by “Clericus” in the English language, he would do our people a great service (as many do not understand the German language) and be himself amply rewarded. :
We are frequently called upon by such, as become concerned for their souls, for some book, that may promote their views of the truth, and place before them the doctrines of the Bible, as received by the Lutheran Church. But, we have so few works in the English language, and there are so few others, free from the peculiar views entertained, by brethren of the different religious families, that we cannot but hope, that our General Synod will be sustained, by our people, in undertaking the publication of Devotional and Doctrinal books. In the mean time, let us with ardent prayer for the spirit's influence, search the Scriptures, with the aid of our Catechism, Liturgy, True Christianity, Schmucker on the Revelation, Biblical Theology, by Professor Schmucker, Mosheim, and the Peri-. odicals of our Church.-Editor.
DANGERS OF POPERY.
We extract the following, from "The Protestant" of 23d of January. We invite our readers to read it attentively. It affords us, ineffable delight, to see that so powerful a weapon is now wielded, as “The Protestant” against the soul-destroying errors of Popery. We shall make frequent and copious extracts. Of this resolution we already informed our readers, and we have the satisfaction to learn that it is approved of, One respectable gentleman, who with many others, censured us, for exposing the errors of Popery, and warning against its effects, during the past four years, (when scarcely any other Periodicals, contained any remarks upon the subject) personally called upon us, confessed his former short-sightedness, asked our pardon, and declared his readiness heartily to sustain us and the cause of Protestantism, for the future. The Roman Seminary at Emmitsburg in