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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 exhibition 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 recognised with facility; but the moment we enter the sombrous gloom of a baptist church, we are lost from each other's view; and, like those who visited the cave of Triphonius, 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 piety 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 shewn the futility of much unmeaning declamation, and even of much unanswerable argument. We wish, if possible, to put an end to this oklopaxıa, 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 recognises 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.