It is shewn how Mr. Moore attempts to impress the minds of the readers with the idea, that I teach in my treatise, that baptism is regeneration it self; but this statement is false.
Mr. Joseph Moore in the preface to his strictures on my treatise, says, that “to every informed and unprejudiced mind it carried its own condemnation.” If this be correct, what need had he, to misrepresent the doctrines contained in it, for the purpose of giving them a refutation? A simple review of them, in their original colours, would have sufficed, to convince informed minds of their supposed futility. He on the first page, states, that I say, baptism is regeneration; and frequently asserts the same, in many other passages; and vehemently labours to prove that baptism cannot be regeneration; which tends to make my treatise appear rediculous. But neither Mr. M. nor any other person ever saw in it, unless it was in a bewildered imagination, that baptism was regeneration. He no Where pointed out the page, where I call it so : for this obvious reason ; because he could not. I call baptism, the ordinary means of regeneration : but who does not perceive the palpable difference, between the means of, and regeneration itself? In order to give it the appearance, as if I taught, that baptism was regeneration, he in a clandestine manner asserts, that I say: “baptism is regeneration, or a heavenly flood of regeneration” Why is the expletive conjunction Or, here introduced? This is to insinuate, that a heavenly flood of regeneration is the same as regeneration itself. This betrays either ignorance, or else wilful perversion. The rules of grammar ought to teach any common english scholar, that a flood of regeneration, is not the same as regeneration itself. When I say, “the mother of a child,” any person may know, that I do not mean, that the mother is the child. “Flood of regeneration,” is a similar phrase, is parsed in the same manner; and implies nothing more than a flood, which as a means, is to effect regeneration. Had I in any passage of my treatise, as Mr. M. erroneously asserts, said, that baptism was regeneration, he could not only have proved it unscriptural; but also ludicrous. A man who is regenerated, is a new creature ; hence it would be absurd, to call baptism the new creature. With equal propriety it may be said, that the Holy Ghost is not the new birth; for the new creature is not the Holy Ghost himself. But how congenial to orthodoxy! when we say : the Holy Ghost is the cause, and regeneration the effect, Or, to make the order replete: the Holy Ghost is the cause, baptism by which he operates the means, and regeneration the effect. Correct reasoners never blend the cause and effect together, so as to make them the same thing.
As ludicrous as Mr. M. would have rendered my treatise, provided, he could have proven, that I taught baptism, was regeneration, even so absurd is what he says, page 6, in his strictures: “Thus we are born again from above, by a spiritual birth ; not of corruptible things; such as silver and gold (nor by the natural water in baptism) but by the precious blood of Christ—the word and spirit of God.” I Pet 1.18, 19,23 – Agreeable to this, we are born again by a spiritual birth, and in the meanwhile, by the precious blood of Christ, the word and Spirit of God; which makes the spiritual birth, and the blood of Christ, &c. the same thing. Now, who can believe, that the blood of Christ, the word and spirit of God, are the spiritual birth? Had Mr. M. reasoned correctly, he would not have said, that we are born again by a spiritual birth—and then add: by the precious blood of Christ, the word and spirit of God, thereby making the former and latter synonimous ; but like a man of sound logick, he would have said : the blood of Christ is the meritorious, and the spirit, the applying cause; and the spiritual birth the effect. Again, to be born, as Mr M. Says, of a spiritual birth is out of the question; for the spiritual birth is the act of bringing the spiritual child into life. Hence to be born by a birth, is the same as to say, to be born by being born; which is nonsense. Is it possible, that he does not understand the rudiments of language better, than to say we are born by a birth!!
It is not necessary to review all the arguments, Mr. M produces to prove, that baptism is not regeneration; as I know of no person, who pretends to assert the contrary ; and in particular nothing of the kind is to be found in my treatise: hence he labouring, to prove, that baptism is not regeneration ; is all the while, like a war-like hero, fighting his own shadow. Why does he attempt, to impress his readers, with the false idea, that I teach baptism is regeneration? Is he no scholar? Does he as a christian, and a Methodist minister, not venerate the truth? He must, in the very commencement, have despaired of his pretended refutation; otherwise he would not have taken his refuge to a glaring falsehood: by saying, that I teach, baptism is regeneration! Did he think, that his readers, were so ignorant, that they could not perceive the difference, between the means of, and regeneration itself?