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prohibition was necessary or not, involves a distinct inquiry; we request the reader's attention to the important concession, that it does not exist. The reason he assigns, however, for its not being necessary is, that “it is acknowledged the law of baptism was clearly understood, and that the unbaptized could not be received into the church.” “ There was therefore,” he adds, “no reason why a prohibitory declaration should exist.” We fully agree with him, that at the period of which he is speaking, the law of baptism was fully understood; and on that account, we say, such as refused to obey it, could not be received into the church. We also admit that while there was this clear understanding, no such prohibition, as we demand, was requisite. But if it was rendered unnecessary because of this clear understanding, as this writer informs us, must it not by his own allowance become necessary, when that understanding ceases ? If the presence of one thing makes another unnecessary, must not the absence of the same thing restore the necessity ? · In the present instance the only reason he assigns for an express prohibition not being then necessary, is, that the ordinance of baptism was perfectly understood; surely if this be the only reason, the necessity must return when that reason ceases; in other words, there will be a necessity for an express prohibition of the unbaptized, whenever the precept respecting baptism ceases to be
understood. Has it, or has it not, ceased in our apprehension) to be understood by modern pædobaptists? If it be admitted that it has, then, on his own principle, an express prohibition of the unbaptized to receive the Lord's supper has become necessary. But he acknowledges none exists; whence the only conclusion to be deduced is, either that the word of God has omitted what is necessary in itself, or (which is rather more probable) what is necessary to support his hypothesis. The word of God, it should be remembered, makes adequate provision for the direction of the faithful in every age, being written under the guidance of that Spirit to whom the remotest futurity was present; and though it was by no means requisite to specify the errors which were foreseen to arise, it is not a sufficient rule, unless it enables us to discover which of these are, and which are not, to be tolerated in the church. The doctrine which asserts that baptism is an indispensable requisite to communion, this writer expressly informs us, was not promulgated to the primitive christians, because they did not need it: their clear understanding of the nature of the ceremony was sufficient of itself to secure an attention to it, in the absence of that doctrine. This is equivalent to an acknowledgement, if there be any meaning in terms, that if they had not had the clear comprehension of the ordinance which he ascribes to them, they would have needed that truth to be propounded, which in their situation was safely suppressed. But if the primitive christians would have found such information necessary, how is it that the modern pædobaptists, who are, according to our principles, precisely in the situation here supposed, can dispense with it? What should prevent them from turning upon Mr. Kinghorn, and saying-We judge ourselves baptized; but supposing we are not, you assert that there is no scriptural prohibition of the unbaptized approaching the Lord's table, which you yet acknowledge would have been necessary to justify the repelling of primitive christians from that privilege, had it not been for their perfect knowledge of the nature of baptism. But as you will not assert that we possess that knowledge, how will you defend yourself in treating us in a manner which, by your own concession, the apostles would not have been justified in treating their immediate converts !
It was generally supposed that the abettors of strict communion imagined some peculiar connexion betwixt baptism and the Lord's supper beyond what subsists betwixt that ceremony and other parts of christianity. Our present opponent disclaims that notion. “ If the above evidence,” he says, “ be justly stated, there is a real instituted connexion between baptism and the whole of the succeeding christian profession. So that there is no reason why the connexion between baptism
and the Lord's supper should be more distinctly marked, than between baptism and any other duty or privilege.”*
But if this be the case, why do they confine their restriction to the mere act of communion at the Lord's table? In every other respect they feel no scruple in acknowledging the members of other denominations as christians : they join with them in the most sacred duties; they interchange devotional services; they profess to value, and not unfrequently condescend to entreat, an interest in their prayers. In a word, no one who had not witnessed their commemoration of the Lord's supper, would suspect they made any distinction. There are a thousand acts which they perform towards such as practise infant sprinkling, which would be criminal and absurd on any other supposition than that of their being members of Christ, and coheirs of eternal life. By the mouth of our author, whom they are proud of considering as their organ, they inform us that every other duty and privilege is as much dependent on baptism, as the celebration of the eucharist ; yet it is this duty and this privilege alone, in which they refuse to participate with christians of other. persuasions. How will they reconcile their practice and their theory; or rather, how escape the ridicule attached to such a glaring contradiction ? The Sandemanian baptists have taken care to shelter themselves from such animadversions, by a stern and consistent process of intolerance; but the English baptists appear to resemble Ephraim, who mixed himself with the nations, and was a “ cake half turned.” Is there no duty, is there no privilege, characteristic of a christian, but what is included in receiving the sacrament? How is it that they have presumed to break down the sacred fence, to throw all open, and make all things common, with the exception of one narrow inclosure? What in the mean time becomes of apostolic practice, and ancient precedent? How admirably are these illustrated by their judicious selection of the Lord's table, as the spot over which to suspend the ensigns of party!
* Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 30.
When we read of Priscilla and Aquila taking Apollos home, and instructing him in the way of the Lord more perfectly, we give full credit to the narrative; but had we been informed that these excellent persons, after hearing him with great delight, refused his admission to the supper of the Lord, on account of some diversity of opinion or of practice, the consent of all the manuscripts and versions in the world would have been insufficient to overcome the incredulity arising from an instantaneous conviction of its total repugnance to the maxims and principles of primitive christianity. Yet this would have been nothing more than an anticipation of the practice of our opponents.