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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 betwixt 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 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 betwixt the two positive ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper.
Our opponents contend that there is such a connexion betwixt 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 tenour 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 pædobaptists, 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 betwixt 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 shew 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 shewing their inherent and intrinsic dependence, or by making it appear that they are connected by positive law. Betwixt 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 pre-requisite 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 shewing 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