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centuries, in proof of the necessity of baptism, to church-fellowship, are urged to no purpose whatever, unless it could be shewn that there was no mixed communion, no association of the advocates of adult, with the patrons of pædobaptism, known in those ages; a supposition which is at direct variance with facts. Nor is it at all difficult to assign a satisfactory reason for that combination of testimonies which the writings of the fathers supply in favour of the essential connexion of the two ordinances. The scanty writings which remain of the authors of the second century afford no decisive indication of the existence of infant baptism, in the period in which they flourished; and, during the third, the few authors whose works have descended to us, appear, with the exception of Tertullian, to have imbibed the pædobaptist persuasion. It was natural for the first class of these fathers, who lived at a time when no doubt or dispute had arisen on the subject, to insist on a compliance with that ordinance; nor was it possible for the second, who extended baptism to infants, and considered it as the indispensable means of regeneration, to pursue another course.

That there was a mixture of persons, of different persuasions, in christian societies, during the period to which we have adverted, appears to be an unquestionable fact; but in what manner those who adhered to the primitive institution reasoned on the subject, as they have left no

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writings behind them, or none which touch on this subject, must be left to conjecture. Whether they defended their conduct on precisely the same principles with ourselves, or whether they considered pædobaptism as not so properly nullifying, as corrupting or enfeebling a christian ordinance, it is to little purpose to inquire. It is sufficient for us to know, that the practice which is stigmatized as modern, existed as early as a difference of opinion on the subject arose.

In my former treatise I had remarked, the decision of christian writers, that baptism, in some form or other, must necessarily precede the celebration of the eucharist, supposing it ever so unanimous, affords but a feeble proof, since it assumes for its basis the impossibility of the universal prevalence of error.” The truth of this assertion is almost self-evident; for if it be possible for error to prevail universally, what should prevent the possibility of its doing so in this particular instance ? “ No,” says our author, “it assumes a very different principle; that the human mind in all its wanderings never took this direction before.” * But what is the difference betwixt affirming that the opinion which separates the title to communion, from baptism, was unknown until it was adopted by the advocates of mixed communion, and asserting " that the human mind never took this direction before ?" Are they any thing more than two different modes of expressing the same proposition? To say then that the argument in question assumes for its basis “ that the human mind never took this direction before,” is to say that it assumes to itself a method of reasoning most repugnant to the rules of logic, however familiar with this writer.

* Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 145.

He feels very indignant at my affirming that the right of excluding persons of unquestionable worth and piety was never claimed by antiquity. In opposition to this, he adduces the example of Cyprian, who insisted on the rebaptization of heretics and schismatics, previous to their reception into the body of the faithful. If it be considered, however, in what light heretics and schismatics were contemplated by that celebrated father, the objection vanishes; since no doubt can be entertained, that their preceding profession of christianity was considered by him as a mere nullity, their faith fundamentally erroneous, the privileges they supposed themselves to possess, a vain illusion, and the entire system of their religion, an abomination in the sight of God. We find him every where exerting his utmost powers of language, which were by no means inconsiderable, in stigmatizing their character, and degrading their pretensions. Having little taste for quotation, the following passages may suffice to convince the reader, under what opprobrious colours he was accustomed to represent that description of professors. It is proper just to premise, that, on their manifesting a disposition to return to the catholic church, while Cyprian contended for the necessity of their being rebaptized before they were admitted, his opponent Stephen insisted on the sufficiency of recantation, accompanied with the imposition of hands,* without reiterating a rite, which he concluded could not be repeated without profanation. The latter opinion, in spite of the high authority of the African father, being confirmed by the council of Nice, became the received doctrine of the church, and the opposite tenet was finally denounced as heresy. But to return to Cyprian :-“We,” said he, affirm,” referring to the Novatians, who were esteemed schismatics, “ that those who come to us are not rebaptized, but baptized. For neither do they receive any thing, where there is nothing; but they come to us, that they may receive here, where all grace and truth is.”p After stigmatizing the baptism of schismatics, as “a filthy and profane dipping," he complains, that certain of his colleagues “ did not consider that it was written, he who is baptized by the dead, what profit does he derive from his washing? But it is manifest, that they who are not in the church are numbered amongst the dead,

*

Cypriani Epistolæ, p. 210. Oxonii, anno 1682. + Ibid. p. 194.

and cannot possibly be quickened by him who is not alive; since there is one only church, which having obtained the grace of eternal life, both lives for ever, and quickens the people of God."*

Speaking of heretics, he makes a distinction betwixt such as having been members of the catholic church, fell into heresy for a time, but were afterwards recovered; and such as sprang originally from them. With respect to the latter, he says, “ If he who comes from the heretics has not been before baptized in the church, but comes entirely alien and profane, he is to be baptized, that he may become a sheep, because the only holy water which can make sheep is in the church.” In another epistle, we find him reasoning in the following manner :-“ The very interrogation,” he says, “ which takes place in baptism, bears witness to the truth. Doest thou believe in eternal life, and the remission of sins by the holy church ? We mean by it, that the remission of sins is given only in the church; but amongst heretics, where the church is not, sins cannot be remitted. Let them therefore who plead for heretics (that is, for their admission into the church without rebaptizing) either alter the interrogation, or vindicate the truth; unless they are disposed to give the appellation of the church to those whom they assert to possess true baptism.”+ Cypriani Epistolæ, p. 194.

+ Ibid.

*

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