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pregnant with the highest danger. The great Head of the Church will not permit us to set voluntary limits to our obedience; we must consent to receive all his sayings, or none. But it must be manifest on reflection, that on its first publication, the visible appendages of Christianity were exhibited with a lustre of evidence, which

no honest mind could withstand ; and that no pretence for their neglect could subsist among such as possessed religious integrity. Such was eminently the case with the two institutions which have occasioned the present controversy. The constant practice of the Apostles appealing to the senses of men, and illustrating the import of their oral instruction, made the point of duty so plain, that its omission in such circumstances could be ascribed only to voluntary corruption.

Nor is this the only example which might be adduced. By orthodox Christians the explicit belief of the doctrine of the Atonement is now considered as indispensably necessary to salvation ; but that the immediate followers of Christ were during his personal ministry so far from embracing this truth, that they could not endure the mention of his death, without expressing the utmost impatience, and knew not what was intended by his resurrection, is an undeniable fact. The full developement of the gospel scheme, made at a subsequent period, has in this instance rendered that essential to salvation, which could previously subsist without it.

It may also be observed, that a diversity of sentiment has arisen among Christians, from different modes of interpreting the word of God, which has given birth to various sects and parties, unknown in primitive times. On many of these points, it is impossible to suppose but that the sentiments of the inspired writers were expressed with sufficient perspicuity to be perfectly understood by the parties, to whom they were originally communicated; and who having repeatedly attended their ministry, had heard those particulars more fully illustrated and confirmed, which are briefly touched upon in their writings. Who can doubt that the true idea of Election, whether it intends, as the Arminians assert, the distinction conferred on some, above others, in the collation of external benefits, or the pre-ordination of individuals to eternal life, was clearly ascertained by the primitive Christians, so as to exclude the possibility of controversy and debate. The Arminian will contend that the first Christians entertained his notion of election and grace; the Calvinist, with equal confidence, will maintain that the true and primitive interpretation of Scripture is in favor of his hypothesis ; and neither of them can consistently admit that the members of the primitive church adopted a different system, from that which they respectively embrace. One of the parties will contend that the apostolic church consisted entirely of Arminians; the other that it included none but Calvinists.

Were it allowed that some variety of opinion on this mysterious topic, might subsist even amongst the earliest converts, it is impossible to suppose there were none at that period who understood the doctrine of St. Paul; it would be most injurious to the reputation of that great writer, to suppose he expressed himself with an obscurity, which uniformly baffled the power of comprehension. Let his meaning, for argument's sake, be supposed to agree with the Arminian system, the adoption of that hypothesis was on this supposition essential to the salvation of him who was acquainted with that circumstance. For such a person to have embraced the Calvinistic sentiments, would have been to pour contempt on the apostolic doctrine, and to oppose his private judgement to the dictates of inspiration. If we invert the supposition, the result is a similar conclusion, in favor of the Calvinist. Were these parties to exclude each other from communion under pretence that the primitive Christians were all Calvinists, or all Arminians; were the Calvinist to assert that he dares not sanction so serious a departure from truth, as the denial of Election, and that to receive such as were erroneous in this point would be to admit a class of persons who had no existence in the primitive church, he would argue precisely in the same manner as Mr. Kinghorn. How would our author repel this reasoning, or justify a more liberal conduct? He certainly would not allege the original obscurity of the apostolic injunctions, and the possibility of primitive converts mistaking their meaning; he would unquestionably insist on the different degrees of importance attached to revealed truths, and the palpable difference betwixt mistaking the meaning, and avowedly opposing the sentiments of inspired writers. But this is precisely our mode of defence.

When a dispute arose on the obligation of extending the rite of circumcision to the Gentiles, a council consisting of the Apostles and Elders was assembled to determine the question. Their decision was, that the Gentiles should no longer be troubled on that head, but that they should be strictly enjoined among other things, carefully to abstain from things strangled, and from blood. It is universally acknowledged that it was the design of this injunction to prohibit the use of blood in food. This precept was enjoined expressly on the Gentiles, without the slightest intimation of its being of temporary duration ; nor did it commence with the Jewish dispensation, but was in force from the period of the deluge. I have not the smallest doubt that it is of perpetual force, however little it may be regarded in modern practice; and were the observation of it proposed as a term of communion, I am not aware of a single argument adduced by our opponents for their narrow, exclusive system, which might not with superior advantage be alleged in favor of such a regulation. If it be urged that there never was a period when it was not the duty of believers in Christ to be baptized, it may be asserted with equal confidence that the precept of abstaining from blood was invariably observed by the faithfúl from the time of Noah. If it be urged that the primitive church consisted exclusively of such as were baptized, it is equally certain that it consisted only of such as abstained from blood. That it was once a term of communion” none will deny ; “how then comes it to cease to be such ?" In this case there is no room to allege a misapprehension of the meaning of the precept; it is susceptible but of one interpretation ; and if the terms of communion are not “ annulled by being misunderstood,” (Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 20.) much less when there is no such pretence. The only perceptible difference in the two cases, is that the precept respecting blood was not promulgated by the Saviour himself; but it resulted from the solemn and unanimous decision of his Apostles, and is of more ancient origin than any

other Christian institute. If our opponents attempt to depreciate its importance by asserting that it is merely ritual and ceremonial, so is baptism; and as they were both enjoined by the same authority, both universally maintained in the primitive church, if the absence of one of these observances constitutes a church of different materials, so must the neglect of the other.

Such as violate the abstinence in question will not pretend that they observe the prohibition ; they satisfy themselves with asserting their conviction, (a conviction not sustained by a syllable of Scripture) that it is only of temporary obligation; and as Pædobaptists profess their conscientious adherence to the baptismal precept, which they merely demand the right of interpreting for themselves, upon what principle is it that a mistake in the meaning of a positive injunction, is deemed more criminal than its avowed neglect; or why should an error of judgement which equally effects the practice in both cases, be tolerated in one, and made the ground of exclusion in the other? This reasoning, it is acknowledged, bears with the greatest weight on such as conceive the prohibition of blood to be still in force; who if they adopt the principle of Mr. Kinghorn ought, to be consistent, immediately to separate themselves from such as are of a contrary judgement. The same argument equally applies to laying on of hands after ordination and baptism. It is acknowledged that this rite was universally practised in the primitive times, that it claims the sanction of apostolic example, and it is enumerated by St. Paul amongst the first principles of Christian doctrine. Wherever that practice is laid aside, it may with equal truth be affirmed, that the church consists of different materials from those admitted by the Apostles; and it may be asked with an air of triumph, in the words of this writer, by what authority we presume "to make a scriptural rite of less consequence in the church of Christ than it was once.” (Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 92.)

Thus much may suffice for the vindication of our pretended departure from ancient usage and apostolic precedent. But as this topic is supposed to include the very pith and marrow of my opponent's cause, the reader must excuse my replying to some other parts of his reasoning. Confident of the soundness of our principles, it is my anxious wish that nothing may pass unnoticed that wears the shadow of argument; and that no suspicion be afforded of a desire to shrink from any part of the contest.

“ If an obedience to a rite,” says our author, “ be not a term of salvation, (which no one supposes) yet it was ordered by the highest authority, as an evidence of subjection to the Author of salvation.” (Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 18.) He repeatedly asserts that it was prescribed as an evidence of faith in him. In another place he styles it “ the appointed evidence of our putting on Jesus Christ,” and affirms that “the church of Christ acting upon the rule he has laid down, cannot recognize any person as his disciple who is not baptized in bis name.” (Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 140.)

Let us first ascertain the precise meaning of these remarkable passages. He cannot be supposed to assert that baptism is of itself a sufficient evidence of saving faith; Simon Magus was baptized, who had no part or lot in the matter. His meaning must be, that the ordinance in question forms a necessary part of the evidence of faith, insomuch that in the absence of it, our Lord intended no other should be deemed valid. That this was the case in the primitive age, we feel no hesitation in affirming; we have also shewn at large the reason on which that conclusion is founded. But in no part of Scripture is there the slightest intimation that it was more specifically intended as the test of faith, than compliance with any other part of the mind of Christ; or that it was in any other sense an evidence of the existence of that attainment, than as it was necessary to evince the possession of Christian sincerity. Thus much we are most willing to concede, but are at a loss to know what is gained by it, unless our opponent could demonstrate that it occupies the same place at present, and that it is still necessary to constitute a valid evidence of faith in the Redeemer. If this is what he means to assert, (and nothing beside has the least relation to his argument) how will he reconcile it with the confidence he so often expresses of the piety of the Pædobaptists? His objection to their communion, he elsewhere informs us, “does not arise from suspicions attaching to their Christian character," (Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 67.) to which he trusts he is always willing to render ample justice. He has no suspicion of the piety of those who are destitute of that which Jesus Christ prescribed as the evidence of faith, and whom he affirms "it is impossible for the church, acting on the rule which he has laid down, to recognize as his disciples.” I am at a loss to conceive of a more palpable contradiction.

If there be any meaning in terms, the word evidence means that, by which the truth of a fact or a proposition, is made manifest, and the absence of which induces either hesitation or denial. Its place in the intellectual world corresponds to light in the natural; and it is just as conceivable how an object can be beheld without light, as how a fact can be ascertained without evidence. Mr. Kinghorn it seems however has contrived to solve the problem ; for while he affirms that the patrons of infant baptism are destitute of that which Infinite Wisdom has prescribed as the evidence of faith, and by which we are to recognize his disciples, he expresses as firm a conviction of their piety as though they possessed it in the utmost perfection. Let me ask, on what is his conviction founded. Will he say, upon evidence? But he assigns as a reason for refusing their fellowship, that they are destitute of that which Christ prescribed for that purpose. Will he distinguish betwist that private evidence which satisfies his own mind, and the sort of evidence which Christ has demanded and enjoined? But what unheard-of presumption to oppose his private judgement to the dictates of Heaven ; and while the Head of the Church has appointed the performance of a certain ceremony to be the invariable criterion of discipleship, to pretend in its absence, to ascertain it by another medium! To attempt to prove that every thing really is what God has appointed it, and that Infinite Wisdom where figurative language is excluded, calls things by their proper names, would be to insult the understanding of the reader. If compliance with adult baptism is in every age the appointed evidence of faith in Christ, it undoubtedly is what it pretends to be; and to ascribe faith to such as are destitute of it, is a sort of impiety.

“No church,” he assures us, “ acting agreeably to the rules of Christ, can recognize them as his disciples.” (Baptism a Term of Communion p. 140.) What strange magic lies concealed in the word church! This writer in a multitude of places makes no scruple of avowing his attachment to the members of other denominations; he even anxiously guards against the supposition of his indulging a thought to the prejudice of their piety; and the senti

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