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ments which he entertains himself, he must be supposed to recommend to the adoption of his brethren. In his individual character, he feels no objection to recognize them to the full as Christians; nay, he expresses the sentiments of recognition in a studied variety of phrase ; but the moment he conceives himself in a church, his tone is altered, and he feels himself compelled to treat them as strangers and foreigners. Why this contradiction betwixt the language of the individual, and the language of the church? If they are Christians, why should the knowledge of the fact be suppressed there? We are taught by St. Paul to consider the church as the pillar and ground of the truth; where she is supposed to exhibit as in a focus, the light and love which actuate her respective members; and instead of dissonance betwixt her public principles, and the private sentiments of her members, we naturally look for a perfect harmony, or rather for a more illustrious display of what every one thinks and feels apart; for a great and combined movement of charity, corresponding to her more silent and secret inspirations. But we are doomed to anticipate it in vain; for while the advocates of strict communion are shocked at the idea of suspecting the piety of their Pædobaptist brethren, they contend it would be criminal to recognize it in the church. "What mysterious place is this, in which we are forbidden to acknowledge a truth proclaimed without scruple every where else; which possesses the property of darkening every object inclosed within its limits, and of rendering Christians invisible and impalpable to each other! In the broad day light of the world, notwithstanding their minor differences, they are recognized with facility; but the moment we enter the sombrous gloom of a Baptist church, we are lost from each others view; and like those who visited the cave of Trophonius, return pale, dejected, and bewildered. Of such societies we might be almost tempted to exclaim—“My soul, come not thou into their secret, and to their assembly be not thou united!" Shocked as we are at such illiberality, we suppress the emotions which naturally arise on the occasion, remembering (strange as it may seem) how often it is associated with talents the most respectable, and picty the most fervent.
The supposed necessary connexion betwixt the two positive institutes farther
discussed, wherein other arguments are examined. The reader can scarcely be too often reminded that the present controversy turns entirely on the supposed necessary connexion betwixt the two positive Christian institutes; the recollection of which will at once convince him of the total irrelevancy of much which it has been customary to urge on the subject. Our opponents frequently reason in such a manner as would lead the reader to suppose we were aiming to set aside adult baptism. Thus they insist on the clearness with which it is enjoined and exemplified in the sacred volume; contend for its perpetuity, and represent us as depreciating its value, and dispensing with its obligation'; topics which might be introduced with propriety in a dispute with the people called Quakers, or with the followers of Mr. Emlyn; but are perfectly irrelevant to the present inquiry. It surely requires but little attention to perceive that it is one thing to tolerate, and another to sanction; that to affirm that each of the positive rites of religion ought to be attended to, and that they are so related, that a mistake respecting one, instantly disqualifies for another, are not the same propositions. An attention to that distinction would have incredibly shortened the present debate; and shown the futility of much unmeaning declamation, and even of much unanswerable argument. We wish if possible to put an end to this oxiouaqua, this fighting with shadows and beating the air; and to confine the discussion to the real question, which is, whether the two positive ordinances of the New Testament are so related to each other, either in the nature of things, or by express command, that he whom we deem not baptized, is, ipso facto, or from that circumstance alone, disqualified for an attendance at the Lord's table. This, and this only, is the question in which we are concerned.
That there is not a necessary connexion in the nature of things betwixt the two rites, appears from the slightest attention to their nature. It will not be pretended that the Lord's supper is founded on baptism, or that it recognizes a single circumstance belonging to it; nor will it be asserted to be a less reasonable service, or less capable of answering the design of its appointment, when attended to by a Pædobaptist, than by persons of our own persuasion. The event which it “ shews forth” is one in which all denominations are equally interested; the sacrifice which it exhibits, is an oblation, of whose benefits they equally partake ; and so little affinity does it bear to baptism, considered as a ceremony, that the most profound consideration of it will not suggest the idea of that rite. As far as reason is capable of investigating the matter, they appear separate ceremonies, no otherwise related, than as they emanate from the same source, and are prescribed to the same description of persons. In a word, judging from the reason of the case, we should not for a moment suspect that the obligation of commemorating the Saviour's death depended upon baptism; we should ascribe it at once to the injunction—“Do this in remembrance of me.” Since positive duties arise (to human apprehension at least) from the mere will of the legislator, and not from immutable relations, their nature forbids the attempt to establish their inherent and essential connexion. In the present case it is sufficient for us to know, that whatever God has thought fit to enjoin, must be matter of duty; and it little becomes weak and finite mortals to limit its sphere, or explain away its obligation, by refined and subtle distinctions.
It remains to be considered whether the necessary connexion we are seeking, can be found in positive prescription. We, again and again, call upon our opponents to shew us the passage of Scripture which asserts that dependence of the Lord's supper on baptism, which their theory supposes; and here when we ask for bread, they give us a stone. They quote Christ's commission to his Apostles, where there is not a word upon the subject, and which is so remote from establishing the essential connexion of the two ceremonies, that the mention of one of them only is included. They urge the conduct of the Apostles, though it is not only sufficiently accounted for on our principles, but is such as those very principles would, in their circumstances, have absolutely compelled us to adopt ; and surely that must be a very cogent proof that the Apostles were of their sentiments, which is derived from a matter of fact, which would undeniably have been just what it is, on the contrary supposition. They baptized, because they were commanded to do so ; they administered the Lord's supper, because our Saviour enjoined it on his disciples; and both these duties were prescribed to the societies they formed, because the nature and obligation of each were equally and perfectly understood. What is there in this, we ask, which our hypothesis forbids us to imitate, or which had we been in their place, our views would not have obliged us to adopt ?
The late excellent Mr. Fuller, whose memory commands profound veneration, attempts in his posthumous tract on this subject, to establish the connexion betwixt the two rites, by the joint allusion made to them in the Epistles of St. Paul. From their being connected together in his mind, on those occasions, he infers an inherent and essential connexion. With this view, he adduces the tenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, which asserts that the ancient Israelites had a figurative baptism“ in the cloud, and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that rock which followed them and that rock was Christ.” “If the Apostle,” he remarks, "had not connected baptism and the Lord's supper together in his mind, how came he so pointedly to allude to them both in this passage?” He brings forward also another text to the same purpose, where St. Paul affirms we are all “baptized into one body, and are all made to drink into the same spirit.” It is freely admitted that these, and perhaps other texts which might be adduced, afford examples of an allusion to the two ordinances at the same time, whence we may be certain that they were present together in the mind of the writer. But whoever considers the laws of association, must be aware how trivial a circumstance is sufficient to unite together in the mind, ideas of objects among which no essential relation subsists. The mere coincidence of time and place is abundantly sufficient for that purpose. In addressing a class of persons distinguished by the possession of peculiar privileges, what more natural than to combine them in a joint allusion, without intending to assert their relation or dependence ; just as in addressing a British audience on a political occasion, the speaker may easily be supposed to remind them at the same time of their popular representation, of the liberty of the press, and the trial by jury, without meaning to affirm that they are incapable of being possessed apart. In fact the warmest advocates of our practice would feel no sort of difficulty in adopting the same style, in an epistle to a church which consisted only of Baptists ; consequently nothing more can be inferred, than that the societies which St. Paul addressed were universally of that description; a fact we have already fully conceded. The only light in which it bears upon the subject is that which makes it perfectly coincide with the argument from primitive precedent, the futility of which has been sufficiently demonstrated.
The unities which the Apostle enumerates as belonging to Christians, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, are also set in opposition to us. “ There is,” saith he, “one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling ; one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” That this text is irrelevant to the
present argument, will appear from the following considerations. Since no mention is made of the Lord's supper, it cannot be intended to confirm, or illustrate, the relation which baptism bears to that ordinance, which is the only point in dispute. Next, it is very uncertain whether the Apostle refers to water baptism, or to the baptism of the Spirit; but admitting that he intends the former, he asserts no more than we firmly believe, that there are not two or more valid baptisms under the Christian dispensation, but one only; a deviation from which, either with respect to the subject, or the mode, reduces it to a nullity. Lastly, since his avowed object in insisting upon these unities, was to persuade his reader to maintain inviolate that unity of the spirit, to which they were all subservient, it is extremely unreasonable to adduce this passage, in defence of a practice which involves its subversion.
• The same fountain," St. James tells us, cannot send forth sweet waters and bitter :" but here we see an attempt to deduce discord from harmony; and to find an apology for dividing the mystical body of Christ, in the most pathetic persuasive to unity. The celebrated Whitby, a Pædobnptist and an Episcopalian, appears to have felt the full force of this admirable passage, when he deduces from it the three following propositions : 1st, “ That sincere Christians only are truly members of that church catholic, of which Christ is the Head 2dly, That nothing can join any professor of Christianity to this one body, but the participation of the spirit of Christ. 3dly, That no error in judgement, or mistake in practice, which doth not tend to deprive a Christian of the spirit of Christ, can separate him from the church of Christ.” (Whitby in loco.) Thus it is, that this learned commentator conceives himself to have discovered a demonstration of the principles we are abetting, in the very words our opponents urge for their overthrow.
Such is the substance of Mr. Fuller's argumentation on the subject; and on a basis so slight, did he attempt to rear the edifice of strict communion. In how different a light will he be viewed by posterity, as the victorious impugner of Socinian and Deistical impiety; and who on looking back on his achievements in that field, and comparing them with his feeble efforts in the present, but must exclaim with regret, quantum mutatus ab illo! Whether he felt some distrust of the ground he was treading, which for several reasons I strongly suspect; or whether it is to be ascribed to the infelicity of the subject, it is not easy to say ; but his posthumous pamphlet on communion will unquestionably be considered as the feeblest of all his productions. The worthy Editor probably calculated on great effects to arise from the dying suffrage of a man so highly esteemed; but before he ventured on a step so injurious to his fame, he should have remembered that we live in an age not remarkably disposed to implicit faith, even in the greatest names.