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attend to communion with Jesus Christ, says a ju. dicious author, do labour to keep their hearts chalte to him in his ordinances, institutions, and wor. ship. They will receive nothing, practise nothing, own nothing in his worship, but what is of his appointment. They know that from the foundation of the world he never did allow, nor ever will, that in any thing the will of the creature should be the measure of his honour, or the principle of his worship, either as to matter or manner. It was a witty and true sense that one gave of the second commandment; Non imago, non fimulachrum prohibetur; sed, non facies tibi. It is a making to ourselves, an inventing, a finding out ways of worship or means of honouring God, not by him appointed, that is so feverely forbidden.'*_ To serve God otherwise than he requireth,' says another learned writer, 'is not to worship, but to rob and mock him. In God's service, it is a greater sin to do that which we are 1100 to do, than not to do that which we are commanded. This is but a sin of omission; but that a sin of sacrilege and high contempt. In this we charge the law only with difficulty ; but in that with folly. In this we discover our weakness to do the will, but in that we declare our impudence and arrogancy to control the wisdom of God. In this we acknowledge our own insuf. ficiency ; in that we deny the all-sufficiency and plenitude of God's own law. We see the ab. surdity and qvickedness of will-worship, when the fame man who is to perform the obedience, shall dare to appoint the laws; implying a peremptory purpose of no further observance than may confist with the allowance of his own judgment. Where* Dr. Owen on Communion with God, p. 170.
as true obedience must be grounded on the majesty of that power that commands ; not on the judgment of the subject, or benefit of the precept im. posed. Divine laws require obedience, not so much from the quality of the things commanded (though they be ever so holy and good) as from the authority of him that institutes them.'*
That the gospel fhould be preached to all nations for the obedience of faith ; and that, under certain restrictions, they who receive the truth, should be formed into a church state, few can doubt: and it is equally clear from the foregoing positions, that it belongs tothe supreme, royal prerogative of Jesus Christ, to appoint the terms and conditions on which his people shall have a place in his house and a feat at his table. For we cannot suppose, with any appearance of reason, that these conditions are arbitrary; or such as every distinct community may think fit to impose. No; a gospel church has no more power to fix the terms of commu. nion, or to set aside those prescribed by Jesus Chrilt, than to make a rule of faith, or to settle ordinances of divine worship. This is one characteristic of a church, as distinguished from a civil Society; the terms of admission into the latter are discretional; provided they do not interfere with any divine law; but those of the former are fixed by him who is King in Zion. No congregation of religious professors, therefore, has any authority to make the door of admiflion into their communion, either straiter, or wider, than Christ himself has made it. The original form of this house, [i.e. the church of Christ] was not precarious and * Bp. Reynold's Works, p. 163,422. † Dr. Ridgley's Body of Divinity, p. 343, Glasgow edi: uncertain ; to be altered, and changed, and brokec in upon by man, or by any set of men at pleasure, This would reflect on the wisdom and care, as well as on the steadiness of Christ; who is in his house, as well as in the highest heavens, the steady and the faithful Jesus ; the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, and not in the least given to change : but its form is fixed, particularly in the New Teltament. Had not Moses, nor any of the elders of Ifrael, so much power over the tabernacle as to alter or change a pin thereof? and with what face can man pretend to a power to model and alter at pleasure gospel churches ? As if Christ, the true Mofes, had forgot, or neglected, to leave with us the pattern of the house."*
Baptism and ile Lord's supper are positive appointments in the Christian church, about which we cannot know any thing, relating to their mode of administration, subject or delign, except from the revealed will of their great Institutor. For; as a learned writer observes, 'All positive duties, or duties made fuch by institution alone, depend entirely upon the will and declaration of the per: fon, who institutes and ordains them, with respect to the real design and end of them; and confequently, to the due manier of performing them.” It behoves us, therefore, well to consider the rule which our Lord has given relating to these ordi. nances. Because we can have no other direction in this sort of duties; unless we will have recourse to mere invention, which makes them our own infiitutions, and not the institutions of those who first appointed them.''
* Mr. Bragge, on Church Discipline, p. 2. f Bp. Hoadley's Plain Account, p. 3.
That there is a connexion between the two poi. itive inftitutions of the New Testament, is mani. fest from the word of God; and that one of them must be prior to the other, in order of administration, is evident from the nature of things : for a person cannot be baptized and receive the sacred supper at the same instant. Here, then, the ques. tion is, (if any doubt may be moved on a point so evident, witliout affronting common sense) which of them has the previous claim on a real convert's obedience? Baptism, or the Lord's Supper ?? If we appeal to the persuasion and practice of Christians in all nations and in every age, it will clearly appear, that the former was universally confidered, by the churches of Christ,* as a divinely appointed prerequisite for fellowship in the latter, till about the middle of the last century, here in England; when some few of the Baptists began to call it in question, and practically to deny it. This our brethren now do, who defend and practise free communion. For they admit Pædobaptists to the
* That there were people of different denominations in the second and third centuries, who pretended a regard to the name of Jesus Christ, and yet rejected baptism, is readily allowed; but then, it may be observed, that many of them had as little esteem for the Lord's supper. Nay, as a learned writer afferts, the generality of them renounced the scriptures themselves. Nor anı I ignorant that Sucinus, in the latter end of the sixteenth century, considered baptism as an in. different thing, excepe in reference to such as are converted from Judaisin, Paganisın, or Mahometanismı; but our brethren with whom I am now concerned will hardly allow, that societies formed on the principles of those ancient corrupters of Christianity, nor yet on those of Socinus, are worthy to be called, Churches of Cbrift. Vid. Suicerum, 'T'hefaur. Ecclef. fub voce Battiomá; and Dr. Wall's Hift. Inf. Bap.. Part II Chan. V.
Lord's table ; though, on their own principles, infant sprinkling is not baptism.
This appears from hence. That only is bap. tism which Christ appointed as such. That, therefore, which essentially differs from what he ap. pointed, cannot be baptism. But they believe, as well as we, that pædobaptifm, as now.practised, effentially differs from the appointment of Christ, both as to mode and subject : yet a mode of ad. ministration, and a subject to whom it should be administered, are necessary to the existence of baptism, as an ordinance of Christ ; for without these it is only an abstract notion. If, then, the proper fubject be a profesing believer, and the appointed mode immerhon in water, which they maintain as well as we; it is not real baptism where these are wanting. Agreeable to that saying of an ancient writer : They who are not rightly baptized, are, doubtless, not baptized at all.?* But that our brethren do not consider infant sprinkling as having the essentials of Christian baptism in it, is put beyond a doubt by their own conduct. For they no more scruple to baptize profesling believers, . who have been sprinkled in their infancy, than we do: and yet, I presume, they are not very fond of being considered, or called, Anabaptifts; which, notwithstanding, is their proper character, if they allow that the aspersion of infants has the essentials of baptism in it."
This, then, is a fact, a notorious, undeniable fact, that our brethren practically deny the necessity of baptism in order to communion at the sacred supper : for they do not, they cannot believe the al
* Baptismum quum rite non habeant, fine dubio non habeat. Tertull. de Baptifino, cap. xv. p. 230.