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parties engaged, and to what publications did it give birth? This author had informed us at the distance of a few lines, that the Pedobaptists in general believe that none ought to come to the Lord's table who are not baptized. If this is correct, we may indeed easily conceive of their being offended with us for deeming them unbaptized; but how our refusal to admit them to communion should become the subject of debate is utterly mysterious. Did they, in contradiction to the fundamental laws of reasoning, attempt to persuade us to act in contradiction to the principles agreed upon by both parties? The supposition is impossible. The truth is-nor could the writer be ignorant of it-that the dispute respecting communion existed in our own denomination, and in that only.
An attempt is made to represent the advocates of mixed communion as divided among themselves, and as resting the vindication of their conduct on opposite grounds. In stating their views, Mr. Kinghorn observes, "that as their Pedobaptist brethren think themselves baptized, they are willing to admit them on that ground, since they do not object to baptism itself, but only differ from others in the circumstances of the ordinance."
"Some," he adds, "lay down a still wider principle, that baptism has no connexion with church communion; and that in forming a Christian church, the question ought not to be, Are these Christians who wish to unite in church-fellowship baptized, whatever that term is considered as meaning-but, Are they, as far as we can judge, real Christians?"'*
Of this diversity in the mode of defending our practice the writer of these pages confesses himself totally ignorant: and whatever prejudices our cause may sustain, it has not yet been injured by that which results from intestine dissension. Different modes of expression may have been adopted by different writers, but a perfect accordance of principle, a coincidence in the reasons alleged for our practice, has pervaded our apologies. We have not, like our opponents, professed to take new ground:† we have not constructed defences so totally dissimilar as the publications of a Booth and a Kinghorn, where the argument which is placed in the very front by the former is by the latter abandoned as untenable. It is easy to perceive that the alleged disagreement in our principles is a mere phantom. While we universally maintain the nullity of infant baptism, the persuasion which our Pedobaptist brethren entertain of their being baptized can never be mistaken for baptism, and they, consequently, cannot be received in the character of baptized persons. Our constant practice of administering immersion to such, on a change of sentiment, would on that supposition convict us at once of being Anabaptists. It is not then under any idea that they have really partaken of that ordinance, more than the people called Quakers, that we admit them to our communion; but in the character of sincere, though mistaken Christians, who have evinced, even with respect to the particular in which we deem them erroneous, no disposition to treat a Christian rite with levity or neglect: and if there are those who would
* Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 11, 12.
"The reader who is acquainted with the Apology for the Baptists, written by the late venerable Abraham Booth, will find that in the following pages I have taken ground somewhat different from his. I have adopted rather a different mode of defence."—Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 8
refuse to commune with such as reject the ordinance altogether, it is because they suspect them of such a disposition. As there can be no degrees in nothing, they are not so weak as to suppose that one class is in reality more baptized than the other; but one is supposed to mistake the nature of an institute, which the other avowedly neglects. In this case he who is prepared to believe that the omission of Christian baptism from a notion of its not being designed for perpetuity may consist with that deference to divine authority which is essential to a Christian, will receive both without hesitation: he who is incapable of extending his candour so far will make a distinction; he will admit the Pedobaptist, while he rejects the person who purposely omits the ceremony altogether. Whichever measure we adopt, we act on the same principle, and merely apply it with more or less extent, according to the comprehension of our charity. If we supposed there were a necessary, unalterable connexion between the two positive Christian institutes, so that none were qualified for communion who had not been previously baptized, we could not hesitate for a moment respecting the refusal of Pedobaptists, without renouncing the principles of our denomination. On the other hand, if among such as are supposed to be equally unbaptized we admit some and reject others, this difference must be derived, not from the consideration of baptism, but of personal character; in other words, from our supposing ourselves to possess that evidence of the piety of the party accepted which is deficient in the other. Hence it is manifest that nothing can be more simple and intelligible than the principles on which we proceed, which are of such a nature as to preclude every other diversity of opinion, except what regards their application in particular instances.
He who mistakes the nature of a positive institute is in a different predicament of error from him who avowedly rejects it altogether; the imperfection which claims toleration in our Pedobaptist brethren is different in its nature from that which attaches to such as are disposed to set the ordinance aside. It is very possible, therefore, that some may be willing to extend their indulgence to what appears to them the least of two errors, while they refuse toleration to the greater; and, on this ground, admit a Pedobaptist, while they scruple to receive him who does not even profess to be baptized. But in making such a distinction, no intelligent Baptist would be moved by the consideration of one of these parties being baptized and the other not (for this would be admitting the validity of infant baptism), but solely by the different estimate he made of the magnitude of the respective errors. Some would probably consider each of them consistent with a credible profession of Christianity; others might form a less favourable judgment. In this case the parties would act differently, while they maintained the same principle, and adjusted their practice by the same rule.*
*The above remarks may enable the reader to judge of the justice with which Mr. Kinghorn asserts, or insinuates, our total disagreement respecting the fundamental principle on which we justify our practice. "Among the Baptists," he says, "who plead for mixed communion, I apprehend few will be found who would fairly take Mr. Hall's principle in all its consequences. In general, they palliate, and plead that many good men think themselves baptized, and they are willing to accept them on that footing, leaving it to their own consciences to decide whether they had received such baptism as the word of God required; and they will hardly admit the possibility of any case occurring
It is somewhat extraordinary, that after stating the principle on which my treatise on Communion was founded, Mr. Kinghorn makes his first appeal to the Pedobaptists, and asks whether they are prepared to acknowledge that baptism and the Lord's Supper have no connexion. To what purpose is a question referred to a class of persons who as far as concerns the interior regulation of their churches, have no interest in the inquiry, on whose practice it can have no influence, and who are supposed by both the parties concerned to be in an error respecting the institution itself, which has given occasion to the discussion? The confidence with which he anticipates their favourable suffrage appears however to be ill founded; and if the Evangelical Magazine for 1803 is supposed to have insinuated sentiments congenial with his own, the author of the review of the present controversy, in the same publication, distinctly and explicitly expressed his approbation of the treatise On Terms of Communion. I have no doubt the result of an accurate and extensive inquiry into the prevailing sentiments of such as adhere to infant baptism would be found opposed to his doctrine; and that such of them as might object to the admission of a member avowedly unbaptized would be actuated by the consideration of the magnitude of the error, and not by the conviction of a specific and essential connexion between the two ordinances in question. In other words, they would decide on the case upon principles common to the advocates of mixed communion.
His pretence for calling in such a host of disputants is that he may "clear the field," which, in my humble opinion, will be best accomplished by confining the debate within its proper limits; regarding it, agreeably to its true nature, as a controversy which concerns our own denomination alone, without attempting to extort a verdict from persons who have not been placed in a situation to invite their attention to the subject. Fortunately for them, they are under no temptation to treat their fellow-christians with indignity; whether they would have maintained the stern inflexibility which is prepared to sacrifice the communion of saints to an unfounded hypothesis must be left to conjecture. We indulge a hope that they would have hesitated long ere they admitted a doctrine which draws after it such consequences; that they would have judged of the tree by its fruits, and have discovered some better mode of signalizing their allegiance to Christ than by the excision of his members. The tenet to which we are opposed produces an effect so contrary to what the genius of the gospel teaches us to anticipate, and so repugnant to the noblest feeling of the heart, as to form
which should require their acting on a wider principle. And here also, as far as my knowledge and observation have extended, I believe the cases are very few in which the position would be fairly and boldly adopted, that Christian communion ought to be held with those who deny altogether the obligation to attend to Christian baptism."-p. 15. My opportunities of knowing the sentiments of the liberal part of the Baptists must be supposed to be at least equal to Mr. Kinghorn's; yet I have not heard a single objection from them against the general principle. Exceptions have been made (as might be expected) to particular parts, but none whatever to the fundamental position of the treatise. The reason he assigns for supposing that many would not adopt the general principle in its full extent is inconclusive. To refuse the communion of such as denied the obligation of baptism altogether, providing that error was deemed of such magnitude as to induce a suspicion of the piety of the party, would not be to contradict the principle in the smallest degree; and I am persuaded that among the advocates of mixed communion the refusal would proceed on no other ground. It is one thing to reject a general principle, and another to differ about the application of it to particular cases.
a presumption against it which nothing can surmount but the utmost force and splendour of evidence. How far it is from possessing such support, or even that preponderation in the scale of argument which would produce conviction on the most trivial subject, it is the business of the following sheets to inquire.
In deciding the question, whether persons whom we deem unbaptized are entitled to approach the Lord's table, we must examine the connexion subsisting between the two positive ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Our opponents contend that there is such a connexion between these as renders them inseparable; so that he who is deemed unbaptized is, ipso facto, apart from any consideration whatever of the cause of that omission, disqualified for approaching the sacred elements. We contend that the absence of baptism may disqualify, and that it does disqualify, wherever it appears to proceed from a criminal motive; that is, wherever its neglect is accompanied with a conviction of its divine authority. In this case we consider the piety of such a person at least as doubtful; but when the omission proceeds from involuntary prejudice or mistake, when the party evinces his conscientious adherence to known duty by the general tenor of his conduct, we do not consider the mere absence of baptism as a sufficient bar to communion. On this ground we cheerfully receive pious Pedobaptists, not from the supposition that the ceremony which they underwent in their infancy possesses the smallest validity, but as sincere followers of Christ: and for my own part, I should feel as little hesitation in admitting such as deny the perpetuity of baptism, whenever the evidence of their piety is equally clear and decisive.
It is apparent that the whole controversy turns on the connexion between the two positive institutes; and that in order to justify the conduct of our opponents, it is not sufficient to evince the authority or perpetuity of each, and the consequent obligation of attending to both : it is necessary to show the dependence of one upon the other; not merely that they are both clearly and unequivocally enjoined, but that the one is prescribed with a view to the other.
There are two methods by which we may suppose this to be effected; either by showing their inherent and intrinsic dependence, or by making it appear that they are connected by positive law. Between ritual observances it is seldom if ever possible to discover an inherent connexion; in the present case it will probably not be attempted. If the advocates of exclusive communion succeed, it must be in the last of these methods; it must be by proving, from express declarations of Scripture, that baptism is an invariable and essential prerequisite to communion. A Jew would have found no difficulty in establishing this fact respecting circumcision and the passover: he would have immediately pointed to the book of Exodus, where we find an express prohibition of an uncircumcised person from partaking of the paschal lamb. Let some similar evidence be adduced on the present subject-let some declaration from Scripture be exhibited which distinctly prohibits the celebration of the Lord's Supper by any person who, from a misconception of its nature,
has omitted the baptismal ceremony, and the controversy will be at rest. The reader can scarcely be too often reminded that this is the very hinge of the present debate, which (as appears from the title of his pamphlet) Mr. Fuller clearly perceived, however unsuccessful he may have been in establishing that fundamental position. Much that Mr. Kinghorn has advanced will be found to be totally irrelevant to the inquiry in hand; and in more instances than one the intelligent reader will perceive him to have made concessions which are destructive of his cause. But let us proceed to a careful investigation of the arguments by which he attempts to establish the aforesaid connexion.
His Attempt to establish the Connexion contended for, from the Apostolic Commission and Primitive Precedent.
My respectable opponent commences this branch of the argument by quoting the apostolic commission, justly remarking, that whatever may be thought of John's baptism, the ceremony enjoined in that commission must belong, in the strictest sense, to the Christian dispensation. The commission is as follows:-" Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. Or, as it is recorded in Luke-"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved." "This," Mr. Kinghorn observes, "is the law; the Acts of the Apostles are a commentary on that law; not leaving us to collect from mere precedents what ought to be done, but showing us how the law was practically explained by those who perfectly understood it." He reminds us, "that in every instance where the history descends to particulars, we find they constantly adhered to this rule; and that when they taught, and men believed, the apostles baptized them, and then further instructed them in the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
We are as ready to allow as Mr. Kinghorn that baptism was enjoined by the apostolic commission: we are perfectly agreed with him respecting the law of baptism, and are accustomed to explain its nature, and enforce its authority, by the same arguments as he himself would employ. We have no controversy with him, or with his party, on the subject of baptism, considered apart from the Lord's Supper; and were he disputing with such as deny its original appointment, or its perpetuity, the passages he quotes would be fully to his purpose. But where the inquiry turns, not on the nature or obligation of baptism, but on the necessary dependence of another institution upon it, we are at a loss to perceive in what manner the quotation applies to the question before To us it is inconceivable how any thing more is deducible from the law of baptism than its present and perpetual obligation. The