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THE MOST REV. THE ARCHBISHOPS,
THE RIGHT REV. THE BISHOPS,
THE REV. THE CLERGY,
THE OTHER MEMBERS
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN
Jnconsistencies and Contradictions
WHICH HAVE APPEARED OF LATE IN SOME OF THE
BOOKS AND TRACTS
Of that Society.
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1816.
It is with pain I venture to call the attention of the Members of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge to a circumstance which, if it be not speedily and effectually remedied, cannot fail to prove highly injurious to its interests. I allude to the adoption and circulation by the Society of a Tract, by Dr. Mant, on the subject of Regeneration; the main positions of which appear to me to be in open hostility to nearly fifty of its previous publications.
Having been for many years à inember of the Society, I have seen and rejoiced in its growing prosperity. It seems to me, however, absolutely essential to the continuance of that prosperity, that the Society should at least maintain consistency with itself in the doctrines which it circulates. Its Bibles and Prayerbooks, indeed, admit of no alteration. But if palpable contradictions shall appear in its books
and tracts on fundamental points of doctrine, it is clear that the reputation of the Society cannot fail to be affected by the circumstance.
Such contradictions I apprehend to exist at present on the important doctrine of Regeneration.
Dr. Mant's new Tract maintains the invariable connexion of baptism and regeneration. Numerous writings, previously on the Society's list, explicitly teach the contrary doctrine.
Dr. Mant contends, that no one can be unregenerate to whom baptism has been rightly administered. The old tracts assert, that many
. baptized persons may be, and actually are, unregenerate.
Dr, Mant ascribes regeneration to baptism as the exclusive instrument: the other tracts ascribe this change to the Word of God, as one main instrument of it.
Dr. Mant discourages us from exhorting baptized persons to implore of God the gift of the new birth; or to inquire after the evidences of a fact which, in the case of such persons, admits not of dispute. The previous tracts call on men to seek to be born again, and charge them to examine themselves by the fruits of Christian holiness, whether they have actually experienced this essential and indispensable transformation.
Dr. Mant assigns a distinct nature to the