Instructions in the Way of Salvation;


How to Begin a New Life:

Both by the Right Rev. the Bp. of Truro. London: Wells, Gardner, Darton, & Co.

1886 192 To an instructed soul it is painful to read these little books, though written with affection, clearness, and simplicity, and therefore largely circulated, There is not a little truth in them; but the foundation is not Christ by faith, but ordinance with a priestly order of course behind. "A real power was given you — a spiritual power by the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT, at your Baptism" (Way of S.). It is thus affirmed that all the baptised are born of God; and yet that each of us is "guilty before God" (Way of S. 8). Yet the grace of God in Christ is plainly stated; but the way is wrong. Repentance is urged in trying to give half-an-hour every day this week (Advent); and a prayer added to help. "Then take your church catechism, and read your duty to God and to your neighbour," in prayer asking God to show your wrong doings. "Do this, and you will come up next Sunday with just a new idea of sin." "Each sin that you thus tell to God will make the cup one drop more empty."

The second instruction still more presses the work of Christ, and rightly scouts "the presumption" of believing God about it (21, 22). But in the same page the old and radical error is affirmed boldly: "You have the HOLY GHOST. Being baptised, and having had your Christian name given to you, you at least can feel certain, however others may doubt it, that you have (what I believe God often does give, even to the unbaptised) the Holy Ghost." "Say to yourself, God cannot be a LIAR! And with this will of mine, which my God has given me, I make up my mind that I will take my Saviour at His word." "Bring the whole face of your WILL to bear upon this WORD of God; and then ask the HOLY GHOST to help you as though you could do nothing!" (23.) The word of God in truth opposes and annihilates this dangerous doctrine so congenial to man's mind, "As many as received him, to them gave he power [or, authority] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John i. 12, 13). Baptism is not the means of life, but the sign of burial with Christ unto death (Rom. vi.), and hence of salvation; and the new birth is expressly not of flesh's will, nor of man's will, but of God. "He that believeth hath eternal life."

This suffices. The root of the error is, the Son of God head of all mankind by incarnation, the will of man and the sacraments the means of appropriation of Him by each individual.

"How to begin a new life" is just the same ruinous doctrine under an attractive frosting of truth. "God says that we are sinners; this is the first thing that He tells us. The second thing that He tells us is this: He has been pleased to put us into a state of reconciliation with Himself . . . And then God baptized us, in order (among other reasons) to make over to us this glorious deliverance, thus bringing us out of bondage into freedom" (pp. 12, 14). Then, after all this jumble of unbelievers and believers, souls are directed to four things:
1. "Open your lips to God as sinners to a Judge."
2. "Open your lips to Christ as sinners to a Saviour."
3. "Open your lips to Christ as soldiers to a King."
4. "Open your lips to somebody, as a witness for God" (p. 22).

What confusion! New birth, not only without the saving action of the Spirit by the word revealing Christ to the soul, but in unconsciousness; and so the child, possessed of all the privileges of grace, called afterwards to repent and believe! The scheme consists in the twofold wrong, first of levelling up the world to the peculiar and blessed privileges of the church, and next of levelling down the church to the ruin of the world, which is called to repent and believe the gospel.