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to come, in which the worship by sacrifices, and the distinction of animals into clean and unclean, re-appeared under a new form; so the era of immediate preparation was distinguished by a ceremony not entirely new, but derived from the purifications of the law, applied to a special purpose.* Our Lord incorporated the same rite into his religion, newly modified, and adapted to the peculiar views and objects of the Christian economy, in conjunction with another positive institution, the rudiments of which are perceptible in the passover. It seemed suitable to his wisdom, by such gentle gradations to conduct his church from an infantine state, to a state of maturity and perfection.
Before I dismiss this part of the subject, which has perhaps already detained the reader too long, I must beg leave to hazard one conjecture. Since it is manifest that the baptism of John did not supersede the Christian ordinance, they being perfectly distinct, it is natural to inquire, who baptized the Apostles, and the hundred and twenty disciples assembled with them at the day of Pentecost? My deliberate opinion is, that in the Christian sense of the term, they were not baptized at all. From the total silence of Scripture, and from other circumstances which might be adduced, it is difficult to suppose they submitted to that rite after our Saviour's resurrection; and previous to it, it has been sufficiently proved, that it was not in force. It is almost certain, that some, probably most of them, had been baptized by John, but for reasons which have been already amply assigned, this will not account for their not submitting to the Christian ordinance. The true account seems to be, that the precept of baptism had no retrospective bearing; and that, consequently, its obligation extended only to such as were converted to Christianity subsequently to the time of its promulgation. Such as had professed their faith in Christ from the period of his first manifestation, could not, without palpable incongruity, recommence that profession, which would have been to cancel and annul their former religious pretensions. With what propriety could the Apostles of the Lord, who had continued with him in his temptations, place themselves on a level with that multitude, which however penitent at present, had recently demanded his blood with clamorous importunity? not to insist that they had already received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, of which the sacramental use of water was but a figure. They were not converted to the Christian religion subsequently to their Lord's resurrection, nor did the avowal of their attachment to the Messiah, commence from that period, and therefore, they were not comprehended under the baptismal law, which was propounded for the regulation of the conduct of persons in essentially different circumstances. When St. Paul says, as many of us as
* The principal part of these consisted in bathing the body in water.
were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, his language seems to intimate, that there was a class of Christians, to whom this argument did not apply. (Rom. 6: 3.)
Having proved, I trust, to the satisfaction of the candid reader, that baptism, considered as a Christian institution, had no existence during the personal ministry of our Saviour,* the plea of our opponents, founded on the supposed priority of that ordinance to the Lord's supper, is completely overruled; whatever weight it might possess, supposing it were valid, must be wholly transferred to the opposite side, and it must be acknowledged, either that they have reasoned inconclusively, or have produced a demonstration in our favor. It now appears that the original communicants at the Lord's table, at the time they partook of it, were with respect to the Christian baptism, precisely in the same situation with the persons they exclude.
The argument for strict communion, from the order of words in the apostolic commission considered.
The commission which the Apostles received after our Lord's resurrection, was in the following words :-" All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you." From baptism being mentioned first after teaching, it is urged that it ought invariably to be administered immediately after effectual instruction is imparted, and consequently before an approach to the Lord's table. Whence it is concluded that to communicate with such as are unbaptized, is a violation of divine order.†
* Mr. Hall answers the objection which may be brought against this hypothesis from the fact that the disciples of Christ baptized during his ministry, (John 4: 1) in the postscript at the end of this treatise.-Ed.
"Teach," says Mr. Booth, is the high commission, and such the express command of him who is Lord of all, when addressing those who are called to preach bis word, and administer his institutions. Hence, it is manifest, the commission and command are first of all to teach; what then?-to baptize? or to administer the Lord's supper? I leave common sense to judge, and being persuaded that she will give her verdict in my favor, I will venture to add, a limited commission implies a prohibition of such things as are not contained in it; and positive laws imply their negative.
For instance, when God commanded Abraham to circumcise all his males, he readily concluded that neither circumcision, nor any rite of a similar nature, was to be administered to his females. And as our brethren themselves maintain, when Christ commanded believers should be baptized, without mentioning any others, he tacitly prohibited that ordinance from being administered to in
It may assist the reader to form a judgement of the force of the argument adduced on this occasion, if we reduce it to the following syllogism:
The persons who are to be taught to observe all things given in charge to the Apostle, are the baptized alone.
But the Lord's supper is one of these things.
Therefore, the ordinance of the Lord's supper, ought to be enjoined on the baptized alone.
Here it is obvious, that the conclusion rests entirely upon this principle, that nothing which the Apostles were commissioned to enjoin on believers, is to be recommended to the attention of persons not baptized; since, as far as this argument is concerned, the observation of the Lord's supper is supposed not to belong to them, merely because it forms a part of those precepts. It is obvious, if the reasoning of our opponents be valid, it militates irresistibly against the inculcation of every branch of Christian duty, on persons who in their judgement have not partaken of the baptismal sacrament: it excludes them not merely from the Lord's supper, but from every species of instruction appropriate to Christians; nor can they exhort Pædobaptists to walk worthy of their high calling, to adorn their Christian profession, to cultivate brotherly love, or to the performance of any duty resulting from their actual relation to Christ, without a palpable violation of their own principles. In all such instances, they would be teaching them to observe injunctions which Christ gave in charge to the Apostles for the regulation of Christian conduct, while they deem it necessary to repel them from the sacrament, merely on account of its forming a part of those injunctions. Nor can they avoid the force of this reasoning, by objecting that though it may be their duty to enjoin on unbaptized believers some parts of the mind of Christ respecting the conduct of his mystical members, it will not follow that they are to be admitted to the Lord's table; and that their meaning is, that it is only subsequently to baptism, that all things ought to be enforced on the consciences of Christians. For if it be once admitted that the clause on which so much stress is laid, is not to be interpreted so as absolutely to exclude unbaptized Christians from the whole of its import, to what purpose is it alleged against their admission to the eucharist? or how does it appear that this may not be one of the parts in which they are comprehended?
fants; so by parity of reason, if the same sovereign Lord commanded that believers should be baptized-baptized immediately after they made a profession of faith, then he must intend that the administration of baptism should be prior to a reception of the Lord's supper, and, consequently, tacitly prohibits every unbaptized person having communion at his table."-Booth's Apol. p. 34.
When the advocates for strict communion remind us of the order in which the two positive institutions of Christianity are enjoined, they appear to assume it for granted, that we are desirous of inverting that order, and that we are contending for the celebration of the eucharist previous to baptism, in the case of a clear comprehension of the nature and obligation of each. We plead for nothing of the kind. Supposing a convert to Christianity, convinced of the ordinance of baptism, in the light in which we contemplate it, we should urge his obligation to comply with it, previous to his reception of the sacrament, with as little hesitation as the most rigid of our opponents; nor should we be more disposed than themselves to countenance a neglect of known duty, or a wanton inversion of the order of Christian appointments. Whether in such circumstances the attention of a candidate for Christian communion should first be directed to baptism, is not the question at issue; but what conduct ought to be maintained towards sincere Christians, who, after serious examination, profess their conviction of being baptized already, or who in any manner whatever, are withheld by motives purely conscientious, from complying with what we conceive to be a Christian ordinance. To justify the exclusion of such from the Lord's table, it is not sufficient to allege the prescribed order of the institutions; it is necessary also to evince such a dependance of one upon the other, that a neglect of the first from involuntary mistake, annuls the obligation of the second. Let this dependance be once clearly pointed out, and we give up the cause. It has been asserted, indeed, with much confidence, that we have the same authority for confining our communion to baptized persons, as the ancient Jews for admitting none but such as had been circumcised, to the passover: a simple recital, however, of the words of the law, with respect to that ancient rite, will be sufficient to demonstrate the contrary: "When a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep his passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come and keep it, and he shall be as one that is born in the land; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof." But where, let me ask, is it asserted in the New Testament, that no unbaptized person shall partake of the eucharist? So far from this, it has been, I trust, satisfactorily shewn, that of the original communicants at its first institution, not one was thus qualified.
*"Was it the duty, think you, of an ancient Israelite to worship at the sanctuary, or to partake of the paschal feast, before he was circumcised? Or was it the duty of the Jewish priests to burn incense in the Holy Place, before they offered the morning or evening service? The appointments of God must be administered in his own way, and in that order which he has fixed."— Booth's Apol. p. 143.
I presume it will be acknowledged, that the Jewish law was so clear and express in insisting on circumcision as a necessary preparation for partaking of the paschal lamb that none could mistake it, or approach that feast in an uncircumcised state, without being guilty of wilful impiety; and if it is intended to insinuate the same charge against Pædobaptists, let it be alleged without disguise, that it may be fairly met and refuted. But if it be acknowledged, that nothing but such involuntary mistakes, such unintentional errors, as are incident to some of the wisest and best of men, are imputable in the present instance, we are at a loss to conceive upon what principle they are compared to wilful prevarication and rebellion. The degree of blame which attaches to the conduct of those who mistake the will of Christ with respect to the sacramental use of water, we shall not pretend to determine; but we feel no hesitation in affirming, that the practice of comparing it to a presumptuous violation and contempt of divine law, is equally repugnant to the dictates of propriety and of candor. Among the innumerable descendants of Abraham, it is impossible to find one since their departure from Egypt, who has doubted of the obligation of circumcision, of the proper subjects of that rite, or of its being an indispensable prerequisite to the privileges of the Mosaic covenant. Among Christians, on the contrary, of unexceptionable character and exalted piety, it cannot be denied that the subject, the mode, and the perpetuity of baptism, have each supplied occasion for controversy; which can only be ascribed to the minute particularity with which the ceremonies of the law were enjoined, compared to the concise brevity which characterizes the history of evangelical institutes. We are far, however, from insinuating a doubt on the obligation of believers to submit to the ordinance of baptism, or of its being exclusively appropriated to such; but we affirm, that in no part of scripture is it inculcated as a preparative to the Lord's supper, and that this view of it is a mere fiction of the imagination.
When duties are enjoined in a certain series, each of them, on the authority in which they originate, become obligatory; nor are we excused from performing those which stand later in the series, on account of our having, from misconception of their meaning, or from any other cause, omitted the first. To exemplify this by a familiar instance: it will be admitted, that the law of nature enforces the following duties, resulting from the relation of children to their parents: first, to yield implicit obedience in the state of nonage; next, in maturer age to pay respectful deference to their advice, and a prompt attention to their wants; lastly, after they are deceased, affectionately to cherish their memory, and defend their good name. None will deny that each of these branches of con