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THE Baptismal Controversy was the controversy of the first half of this century. It produced treatises from a succession of writers,-Archbishop Laurence, Bishop Mant, Mr. Biddulph, Mr. Faber, Bishop Bethell, Dr. Pusey, Dr. Goode, Archdeacon Wilberforce, and others. It came to a head in the Gorham trial, and has since dropped. A review of a field of past controversy, and an attempt to arrive at a judgment upon it, may not be without use to the theological reader.

A controversy, if we collect the strong points and reasonable admissions of the different writers in it, has sometimes a force and value as a whole beyond the separate works of which it is composed; the different works taken together tending to establish a conclusion which is not proved in any one of them singly. In the present controversy Archbishop Laurence and Bishop Bethell, on the one hand, admit that all infants are not regenerate in baptism in the sense, claimed for that term, of actual goodness. On the other hand, Dr. Pusey and Mr. Faber, both disciples of antiquity, claim that sense for this term. If these conclusions are both of them correct, as agreeing, the one with common sense and experience, the other with the natural meaning of Scripture, we have the direction of this controversy as a whole, and the issue to which it tends.

I have, however, in the present treatise, confined myself to two positions: one, that the doctrine of the regeneration of all infants in baptism is not an article of the faith; the other, that the formularies of our Church do not impose it. Moderate and needful fulness, in the proof of main positions, will lead a writer unavoidably into questions not identical with those positions; but a candid reader will distinguish between such collateral questions, and the main positions which it is the object of a treatise to prove.

These two positions, which occupy respectively the two Parts of the present Treatise, have this connexion, that if the one is proved, the way is favourably prepared for the proof of the other. We cannot, indeed, considering all the objects which a Christian Church has in view, insist on limiting its safeguards to fundamentals; but thus much must be allowed, that, if a particular doctrine is not an article of the faith, there is no special reason for expecting that the formularies of our Church will be found to impose it; and, in entering upon the examination of this latter question, we are saved that anxiety which we should feel, supposing the subjectmatter of the question were a fundamental.

The construction which has been put upon our Formularies in this treatise is the same which, judging from their practice, was put upon them by our School of Standard Divines. The division of opinion on this question was as patent a fact in their day as it is in our own. Had they regarded, therefore, one of these opinions as contradictory to our Formularies, they would have arraigned the public maintainers of it. But in no one instance did they do so. The attempt which was made ten years ago to convert a difference into a ground of exclusion, however sincere the convictions from which it proceeded, was wholly new and unprecedented. The late learned Bishop Kaye defended the Gorham Judgment upon this ground, that it represented the tradition of the English Church, denying that it "sanctioned any innovation. in the doctrine of the Church respecting the efficacy of

infant baptism '." The Bishop of St. David's defended the Judgment upon the same ground, viz. that those who pronounced it "wished to leave the doctrine of the Church precisely as they found it, not to erect but to prevent the erection of any new barrier to the exercise of the ministry within her communion"." The Bishop of Oxford has supported the Judgment, by the statement that "the Prayer Book is the common standing-place" and "common statement of truth," for both parties in the Church3.

The attempt, therefore, made on that occasion in the direction of exclusion, may be retired from without any surrender of our historical Church Standard. It may happen to religious parties, as it does to political, that they may sometimes in the warmth of zeal make a mistaken move, and commit themselves to a claim for which there is not sufficient ground. But there is nothing in the Gorham Judgment which involves any departure from Anglican principles, and the acceptance of it need not rank as a party badge, or be exposed to the reproach of unsound Churchmanship.

1 Volume of Charges, p. 448. One of equal learning, who aided the Tractarian movement by his laborious life and singular and saintly simplicity of character, wrote: "If Mr. Gorham himself would set up his defence strictly upon the ground of this writer, we might allow it to be probable that the unfettered Church

would bear with him." Review of "Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination," by the late Mr. Charles Marriott. Literary Churchman, June 30, 1855.

2 Charge in 1851.

3 Speech in Convocation, February, 1858, and Charge in 1861.

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