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their children of the benefit of a salutary rite. And since the subjects of baptism are far more numerous on their system than on ours, why should they be less offended at our neglect of these, than we are at their extending the ordinance, too far? Whoever attaches importance to the covenant into which God is supposed to enter with the seed of believers, must highly disapprove the conduct of the parent who withholds from his offspring its instituted seed; nor is it possible for him to cherish the esteem due to him as a christian, but by imputing his conduct to involuntary error. The supposed cruelty, also, of refusing to insert an innocent babe into the Abrahamic stock; the impiety of profaning a christian sacrament by rebaptizing, might be made the subject of tragic declamation, with as much propriety as their want of “reverence to the authority of Christ, and disobedience to the laws of his house." If we must tolerate none who are guilty of omitting a divine law, (which is the doctrine of Mr. Kinghorn) how is it possible for a pædobaptist to bear with us, who live in the perpetual neglect of what his principles compel him to consider in that light ?
In the judgement of all other denominations, while we neglect to dedicate our offspring to God in the solemnization of a federal rite, however conscientious we may be, we can but very imperfectly imitate the example of Abraham, of whom
the Omniscient testified that he would command his children, and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord;" or that of Zechariah and Elizabeth, “who walked in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless." On a fair comparison, it is difficult to determine which party is most entitled to the praise of candour; where both evince a noble oblivion of minor partialities and attachments, made to yield to the force of christian charity, and disappear before the grandeur of the common salvation.
IN WHICH THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE REPLY MR. KING
HORN HAS MADE TO THE PRINCIPAL ARGUMENTS URGED FOR MIXED COMMUNION, IS EXPOSED.
His Reply to the Argument deduced from the Scrip
tural Injunction of Mutual Forbearance and Brotherly Love, considered.
Reluctant as the author is to prolong the present controversy to a tedious length, he can neither do justice to his cause, nor to himself, unless he notices the attempt which his opponent has made to enervate the force of his arguments : and here he will be under the necessity of recurring to the principal topics insisted upon in the former treatise.
That dissensions in the christian church were not unknown in the earliest period of christianity, is evident from the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles of St. Paul, who employed himself much
in attempting to compose them; and the principal method he adopted was, to enjoin mutual forbearance, to inculcate the duty of putting the most favourable construction on each other's sentiments, and not suffer these differences to alienate their affections from each other, “whom Christ had received,” who were his accepted servants, and would be permitted to share in his glory.* From these premises we argue thus: Since St. Paul assigned as a reason for the mutual forbearance of christians, that they were equally accepted of Christ, it was undoubtedly a sufficient one, and, admitting it to be such, it must extend to all who are in the same predicament, (who are in the same state of acceptance); and, as it is allowed on both sides, that pædobaptists are in a state of salvation, and consequently accepted of Christ, the same reason which dictated the measure of toleration at that period, must apply with equal force to the debate which at present subsists between us and other denominations. In this argument the conclusion seems so nearly identified with the premises, that we might suppose the most artful sophistry would despair of confuting it, and that the only objection it were liable to, would be its attempting to prove what is self-evident.
Let us now turn to Mr. Kinghorn. It was observed in my former treatise, that the question
* Rom. xiv. 1-6.
is not, What were the individual errors we are commanded to tolerate ? but, What is the ground on which that measure is enforced, and whether it be sufficiently comprehensive to include the pædobaptists? After quoting this passage, he subjoins, “this is the question at issue, and the decision of this will determine whether the spirit of the precepts of the gospel will sanction us in departing from apostolical precedents, especially when such precedents arose from obedience to a divine command.”*
He then proceeds to investigate the precise nature of the dissensions which prevailed in the primitive churches ; from whence he infers that the disparity betwixt them, and our controversy with the pædobaptists, is such, that the principle on which the apostles enforced toleration, is not “applicable.” The expression he here employs, is somewhat equivocal. It may either mean, that the phrase “ God hath received him," does not apply to the pædobaptists, or, that supposing it does, it is not sufficient to sustain the inference we deduce, which is their right to fellowship. To interpret his meaning in the latter sense, however, would be to suppose him guilty of impeaching the validity of St. Paul's argument, who rests the obligation of forbearance with the party whose cause he advocates, precisely on that ground. “ For God hath received him.” It is also
Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 40.