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ligion among them and that, unless men are of their party, they will not be saved ? . Do they wish success to none that are employed in the vineyard, but themselves ? or say of others, engaged in the same common cause, Master, forbid them, because they follow not with us? On the contrary, do they not profess a warm elteem and affe&tion for all those, of whatever communion, who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and aim to promote his cause in the world? and do they not give proof of this, by holding a friendly correspondence with them as opportunities offer; and by cordially joining them in occasional exercises of public worship? It is not the distinguishing tenet of Baptism, how much so ever they wish it to prevail, that is the main band that knits them in affection to one another : it is the infinitely nobler consideration of the relation they stand in to Christ as his disciples. They hope, therefore, to be believed when they declare, that they most cordially embrace in the arms of Chriltian love the friends of Jesus, who differ from them in this point ; and to be further believed when they add, that they hold the temper and conduct of the furious zealot for Baptism, who fails in his allegia ance to Christ, and in the charity he owes his fellow Christians, in sovereign contempt.'*
Nor are they who plead for infant baptism the only persons under whose censure the generality of us have the unhappiness to fall. So very peculiar is our situation, that some even of our Baptist brethren, charge us with being too Ariet and rigid, because we do not receive Pædobaptists into com
• Dr. Stennett's Answer to Mr. Addington, Part II. D. 284, 285.
munion ; a practice which they have adopted and warmly defend. Nay, some of them have boldly declared, that our conduct by refusing so to do, is greatly prejudicial to the honour and interest of true religion, and not a little contributing to the cause of infidelity."* This, it must be allowed, is a home thrust. We have need, confequently, to be provided with armour of proof; with Robur et Æs triplex. Especially, considering, that this charge is laid against us, by two of our brethren, under those respectable characters, The Candid and The Peaceful. For when such amiable and venerable personages as Candour and Peace, unite in preferring a bill of indictment. against a supposed offender, the grand jury can hardly forbear prejudging the cause, by finding it a true bill, before they have examined so much as one witness on either side. - Mr. Bunyan also, who zealously pleaded the cause of free communion, when it was yet in its infancy, and who entitled one of his publications in defence of his favourite hypothefis, Peaceable principles and true ; did not fail to charge his Baptist brethren, who differed from him in that particular, in a similar way. Yes, notwithstanding Mr. Bunyan's candid, catholic, peaceable principles; and though he was, at that very time, pleading for candour, catholicism, and peace, in the churches of Chrilt ; he draws up a long list of hateful consequences, and charges them to the account of his brethren's conduct, merely because they did not admit Pädo. baptists into communion with them. Tne design of the following pages, therefore, is to shew, That
* Candidus and Pacificus, in their Modest Plea for Free Communion.
we cannot receive Pædobaptifts into communion at the Lord's table, without doing violence to our profelled sentiments, as Baptists; and to answer the principal objections which these our breth. ren have started against us. In doing of which, I shall argue with them on their own principles, as
Protestant Dissenters and Antipædobaptists; which · kind of argumentation is always esteemed both fair and forcible, when rightly applied.
My reader will not here expect a discussion of the mode and subject of Baptism ; for it is not that ordinance considered in itself, or as detached from other appointments of Jesus Christ; but the order in which it is placed, and the connexion in which it stands with the Lord's supper, that are the subject of our inquiry. Nor will my Pædobaptist brethren be offended, if I atsume, as truths and facts, things which are controverted between them and us : because I do not here dilpute with them, but with such as profess themselves Baptists, yet practise free communion. And though I look upon the former as under a :: mistake, in regard to baptism; I consider them as acting, not only conscientiously, but consistently with their own principles, in respect to that ordinance : while I view the conduct of the latter, not only as contrary to the order of the primitive Christian churches, but as inconsistent with their own avowed sentiments; which disorder and inconsistency shall now endeavour to prove.
SECTION II. The general grounds on which we proceed, in refufing
Communion at the Lord's Table, to Padobaptist believers~Novelty of the Sentiment and Practice of our Brethren, who plead for Free Communion : and the Inconsistency of fuch a Condua with their
Baptift Principles. T HE following positions are so evidently
1 true, and so generally admitted by Protestant Dissenters, that they will not be disputed by those of our brethren who plead for free communion.
Our divine Lord, in whom are hid all the treafures of wisdom and knowledge, is perfectly well qualified to judge, what ordinances are proper to be appointed, and what measures are necessary to be pursued, in order to obtain the great design of religion among mankind. Being head over all things to the church, he possesses the highest aų. thority to appoint such ordinances of divine worship, and to enact such laws for the government of his house, as are agreeable to his unerring wisdom, and calculated to promote the impor. tant objects he has in view ; which appointments and laws must bind the subjects of his government in the strictelt manner---Haying loved the church to the most astonishing degree, even fo as to give himself a ransom for her; he must be considered, as having made the wiselt and the best appointments, as having given the most falutary and perfect laws, with a view to promote her happiness, and as means of his own glory.— These laws and ordinances are committed to writing and contained in the Bible : which heavenly voi. ume is the rule of our faith and practice, in things pertaining to religion; our complete and only rule, in all things relating to the instituted worship of God and the order of his house. So that we should not receive any thing, as an article of our creed, which is not contained in it: do nothing as a part of divine worship, not commanded by it; neither omit, nor alter any thing that has the sanction of our Ļord's appointment.-Nor have we any reason to expect, that our divine Lawgiver and fovereign Judge will accept our solenın services, any further than we follow those directions which he has given, without addition, al. teration, or diminution. “What thing foever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it;" were the injunctions of Jehovah to the ancient Ifraelitish church. “Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you ;" is the requisition of Jesus Christ to all his miniftering fervants.*
In the worship of God there cannot be either obedience or faith, unless we regard the divine appointments. Not obedience ; for that supposes a precept, or what is equivalent to it. Not faith; for that requires a promise, or fome divine decla. ration. If, then, we act without a command, we have reason to apprehend that God will say to us, as he did to Israel of old, « Who hath required this at your hand ? And, on the contrary, when our divine Sovereign enjoins the performance of any duty, to deliberate is disloyalty ; to dispute is rebellion.- Believers, who really
* Deut. xii. 32. Matt. xxviii. 20.-Smith's Compendious Account of the Form and Order of the Church, p. 15, 16,