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John Davenant on Baptismal Regeneration

Note: Purely Presbyterian recently wrote a piece entitled "Does Baptism Remit Sins?" I found this piece to be neither Scripturally, nor Catholically satisfying. Further, it presents a myopic view of the historical positions within the wider Reformation. To counter this, I decided to edit and present John Davenant's short letter on Baptismal Regeneration and the Perseverance of the Saints.



In the controversy upon the perseverance or falling away of believers or saints, the question relates to that faith or sanctifying grace which may be received, exercised, retained, or rejected only through the medium or some exercise of free will.

This is evident, because the Arminians labour to prove in the 3rd and 4th Articles (Collat. Hagiens, p. 114), that faith, regeneration, or sanctification are offered in such a way and manner to men that they may resist them; and then they endeavour to prove in their 5th Article that believers and saints so persevere in such a way in their faith and righteousness that the result of persevering always depends upon this condition :-If men are prepared for the contest, and are not wanting to themselves; which is equivalent to saying that their perseverance or apostasy (which is the point in dispute) depends upon the good or bad use which they make of free will, both in the acquisition and the loss of faith and righteousness. The Treatise of Bertiusl upon the perseverance and apostasy of the saints shews plainly that the present controversy concerns those only who exercise reason and free will in receiving, retaining, or rejecting faith, righteousness,holiness, or regenerating grace. Hence those axioms of his :-Faith and perseverance are not gifts depending upon predestination, but moral conditions imposed by the Almighty upon man: These gifts can neither be received in the first instance, nor subsequently admit of any increase, except through the will: The gifts of the Spirit are imparted to the