Imágenes de páginas

every intelligent baptist. With all our efforts, with all the advantage of overwhelming evidence, (as appears to me) in favour of our sentiments, the prospect of their reception, (to say nothing of established churches, where there are peculiar impediments to be encountered,) the prospect of their reception by dissenting communities is as distant as ever: and it may be doubted whether, since the recent revival of religion, our progress is in a fair proportion to that of other denominations. It may be possible to assign the second causes of this remarkable event; but as second causes are always subservient to the intentions of the first, it deserves our serious consideration, whether we are not labouring under the sensible frown of the great Head of the church; and “ is there not a cause ?" A visible inferiority to other christians in zeal and piety will scarcely be imputed ; nor have we been left destitute of that competent measure of learning and talent requisite to the support of our doctrines. The cause of our failure, then, is not to be looked for in that quarter. But though we have not “ drank with the drunken,” if we have unwittingly “ beaten our fellow-servants,” by assuming a dominion over their conscience; if we have seyered ourselves from the members of Christ, and under pretence of preserving the purity of christian ordinances, violated the christian spirit ; if we have betrayed a lamentable want of that “ love which is the fulfilling of the law,” by denying a place in our churches to those who belong to the “church of the first-born,” and straitening their avenue, till it has become narrower than the way to heaven; we may easily account for all that has followed, and have more occasion to be surprised at the compassionate Redeemer's bearing with our infirmities, than at his not bestowing a signal blessing on our labours.






Remarks on Mr. Kinghorn's Statement of the


PERFECTLY concurring in opinion with Mr. Kinghorn, that it is of importance that the point in debate be fairly stated, a few remarks, designed to shew in what respects his statement is inaccurate or defective, will not be deemed irrelevant. He justly observes that the question, and the only question, is whether those who are acknowledged to be unbaptized ought to come to the Lord's table. After stating the sentiments of the pædobaptists, he proceeds to observe that the “ baptists act on a different plan ; they think that baptism ought to be administered to those only who profess repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; and that it should be administered to them on such profession by immersion. And then, and not before, they consider such persons properly qualified, according to the New Testament, for the reception of the Lord's supper.” The last position, Mr. Kinghorn is aware, is not maintained by the baptists as such, but by part of them only: it may be doubted whether it be the sentiment of the majority. Why then identify the advocates of strict communion with the body, as though the abettors of a contrary practice were too inconsiderable to be mentioned, or were not entitled to be considered as baptists ?

It is but just however to remark, that this disposition to enlarge the number of his partizans, is not peculiar to this writer. Mr. Booth, when engaged in defending a thesis, about which the baptists had long been divided, chose, in the same spirit, to denominate his performance An Apology for the Baptists.* Our author proceeds to observe, “ Here arises

“ a controversy between the two parties, not only respecting baptism, but also respecting their conduct to each other on the subject of communion.” Where, let me ask, are the traces to be found of this imaginary controversy betwixt baptists and pædobaptists on that subject ? That they have been often engaged in acrimonious disputes with each other on the point of baptism, is certain ; but of the history of this strange debate about terms of communion, the public are totally ignorant. What are the names of the parties engaged, and to what publications did it give birth ? This author had informed us at the distance of a few lines, that the pædobaptists in general believe that none ought to come to the Lord's table who are not baptized. If this is correct, we may indeed easily conceive of their being offended with us for deeming them unbaptized; but how our refusal to admit them to communion should become the subject of debate is utterly mysterious. Did they, in contradiction to the fundamental laws of reasoning, attempt to persuade us to act in contradiction to the principles agreed upon by both parties? The supposition is impossible. The truth is nor could the writer be ignorant of it—that the dispute respecting communion existed in our own denomination, and in that only.

* Who would expect to find that a book, entitled An Apology for the Baptists, chiefly consists of a severe reprehension of the principles and practices of a respectable part of that body?

An attempt is made to represent the advocates of mixed communion as divided among themselves, and as resting the vindication of their conduct on opposite grounds. In stating their views, Mr. Kinghorn observes, “ that as their pædobaptist brethren think themselves baptized, they are willing to admit them on that ground, since they do not object to baptism itself, but only differ from others in the circumstances of the ordinance.”

Some,” he adds,“ lay down a still wider principle, that baptism has no connexion with church


« AnteriorContinuar »