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not as inconsistent to receive a Pædobaptist, as a , minifter, and admit him into the pulpit, as to admit
him into the church and to the Lord's table? Where have you either precept or example, for receiving them as ministers, any more than for receiving theni as members ? — These queries being confidered, by many of our opponents, as quite unanswerable, I ihall take the more notice of them.
The first thing, then, that demands regard, is the state of the question which is now before us. For it is not, as these queries fyggelt, Wheth. er as much be not required in order to an office in the church, as to private communion? This we readily allow; this we never denied. For what congregation of Atria Baptists would think they acted consistently in mxking choice of a Pædobaptist for their paltor, or to officiate as a deacon? Besides, will not our brethren acknowledge, that in every orderly society, and more, especially in a church of Christ, a person must be a member before he can be an officer in it? This is the point in dir pute, at least it is this about which I contend ; Whether baptism be equally necessary to the ocçafonal exercise of ministerial gifts, as it is to commenion at the Lord's table? and, Whether the scripInre favour the one as much as the other?
Such being the true state of the question, I now beg leave to alk; Supposing our brethren to prove the affirmative beyond a doubt, what is the consequence, and how are we affected by it? Is it, that we are found guilty of a direct violation of some divine command, that requires us to receive Pædobaptifts into our communion? No such thing is pretended. Is it, that we oppofe same plain apok: *tolic precedent ? neither is this laid to our charge,
For they do not believe there were any Pædobaptists in the apostolic times; and, consequently, they cannot fuppose that the New Testament contains an example of such being received into communion. What, then, is the conclusion they would infer? It must, surely, be something formidable to every strict Baptist; otherwise it is hardly fup. posable that so much weight should be laid upon this objection. The consequence, however, is only this; The premises proved, the stria Baptifts have no renfon to censure their brethren of a loofer cast, because they themselves are equally culpabl, though in a different respect. Or, in other words, The stria Baptists, like some other folks, are not quite infallible ; do a&ually err ; and, by reason of a mistake, impertinently blame the conduct of their more free, and open, and generous brethren, when they ought rather to examine and reform their own.----But this inference can be of little service to the cause of free communion, except it be good logic and found divinity, to attempt a justification of my own faults, by proving that he who accuses me is equally guilty : or to congratulate myself as an innocent man, because my neighbour cannot with a good grace reprove me. Our opponents, I perfuade myself, will not be greatly offended with us, if this argument, Herculean as it seems to them, should not make uś complete converts to free communion. So foon, however, as our brethren shall make it ap. pear, that they have as good a warrant for receiving Pædobaptift believers into stated communion, as I have to admit a Pædobaptist minifter occafionally into my pulpit; I will either encourage the formey, or evtirely refuse the latter.
But if these queries prove any thing, they prove too much ; more at least, than the querists intend. For, according to the argument contained in them, it is equally unwarrantable for us to bear a Pædo." baptist minister preach, or to unite with bim in public prayer; as it is for them to receive him into communion. For inftance : do they derand, • Where have you either precept, or example, for admitting Pædobaptift ministers into your pulpits, any more than for receiving them as members?' I retort, on their Baptist principles ; Where have you either precept or example, in the New Testament, for hearing Pædobaptift minifters preach ; or for uniting with them in public prayer, any more than for receiving them as inembers? And, to thew the futility of this argument, I again demand ; If, in bearing such ministers preach, or by uniting with them in public prayer (which are undoubtedly branches of the moral worship of God, nor peculiar to any dispensation of religion) we act without any express command or plain
example in the New Teftament, with what proi priety can we blame our brethren for admitting
Pædobaptifts to the Lord's fupper (which is a positive institution; a part of divine worship that depends entirely on a revelation of the sovereign will of God) though they have neither. precept nor precedent for so doing? Queries of this kind might be multiplied, but these may suffice.
But is there no difference between the two cafes ? No difference between occasionally admitting Pæ. dobaptist minifters into our pulpits, and receiving them or others of the fame perfuafion, into our communion? I can scarcely imagine that our brethren themselves will here and wer in the nega
tive: but that this difference may plainly appear, let the following things be observed.-Public preaching is not confined to persons in a church Aate, nor ever was ; but the Lord's fupper is a church ordinance, nor ought ever to be adminis. tered but to a particular church, as fuch. Now it is of a particular church, and of a positive ordinance peculiar to it, concerning which is all our dispute. There is not that strict mutual relation between bare hearers of the word and their preachers, as there is between the members of a church and her pastor, or between the members themselves. And as, according to the appointment of God, persons must believe the gospel before they have any thing to do with positive institutions ; fo, in the ordinary course of Providence, they muft hear the gospel in order to their believing. The Corinthians heard before they believed ; they believed before they were baptized; and, no doubt, they were baptized before they received the facred supper. (Acts xviii. 8.) When our opponents re. ceive Pædobaptists into their fellowship, they practically allow what they themselves consider as a human invention, to supersede a positive, divine institution; and that with a view to their attend. ing on another positive appointment of Jesus Christ. Not so, when we admit ministers of that persuasion into our pulpits. In this case there is no divine institution superseded; no human invention, in the worship of God, encouraged: nor is it done with a view to introduce them to any positive appointment of our sovereign Lord.--Again : When we admit Pædobaptist ministers into our pulpits, it is in expectation that they will preach the gof. pel; that very gospel which we believe and love,
and about which there is no difference between them and us. But when they receive Pædobaptists into communion, they openly connive at what they consider as an error ; an error both in judgment and practice; an error of that kind which the scripture calls, “will worship, and the traditions of men.” There is, undoubtedly, a material difference, between hearing a minister who, in our judgment, is ignorant of the , only true baptism, discourse on those doctrines he experimentally knows, and countenancing an invention of men. In the former case we shew an esteem for his personal talents, we honour his ministerial gifts, and mani. felt our love to the truth ; in the latter, we set aside a divinely appointed" prerequisite for com. munion at the Lord's table.
It has been already observed, as a fact, that perfons have been called by grace, who were not baptized in their infancy; and, considering baptism as a temporary institution, have conscientiously refused a submission to that ordinance when converted, who yet desired communion in the holy supper. We will now suppose a community of luch ; and that they call to the ministry one of their number, who is allowed by all competent judges, tu possess great ministerial gifts, and to be a very useful preacher :-Or we may suppose a reformed Catholic, equally the subject of divine grace, and endued with equal abilities for public service : yet conscientiously retaining the Popish error of communion in one kind only. Now, on either of these suppositions, I demand of our brethren, whether they wouid receive such an one into communion with the same readiness that they would admit him into their pulpits? If they an