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more offensive to God, than that corruption of a christian ordinance to which it is opposed. The latter affects the exterior only of our holy religion, the former its vitals; where it inflicts a wound on the very heart of charity, and puts the prospect of union among christians to an interminable distance.

This new doctrine, that the tenure by which religious privileges are held, is appropriated to the members of one inconsiderable sect, must strike the serious reader with astonishment. Are we in reality the only persons who possess an interest in the common salvation ? If we are not, by what title do others possess it ? Certainly not in consequence of their faith, for we are expressly taught by this writer, that baptism must precede the enjoyment of the privileges which arise from faith ;* in which, however, he expressly contradicts himself, for he assures us that none are fit subjects of baptism who are not previously believers in Christ, and justified in the sight of God by their faith. He must either say, then, that they lose their justification unless they comply with that ordinance, or present us with the portentous doctrine of a justification which stands alone, a widowed and barren justification, productive of no advantage to its possessor.

Let it also be seriously considered, whether the positions we have been examining, do not coincide

Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 30.

with the doctrine of the opus operatum, the opprobrium of the Romish church. But as some of my readers may not be acquainted with the meaning of these terms, it is proper to remark, that the church of Rome attributes the highest spiritual benefits to certain corporeal actions, or ceremonies, independent of the character and disposition of the performer. For example, she believes that the ceremony of baptism secures to the unconscious infant, by its intrinsic efficacy, the infusion of regenerating grace, without regard to the intention or disposition of the parties concerned; and that the element of bread in the sacrament, operates in the same manner in procuring the pardon, and augmenting the grace of the communicant. Hence the members of that church lay little stress on the exercise of faith, and the cultivation of holy dispositions, compared to the dependence they place on “bodily exercise,” on masses, penances, auricular confessions, and a multitude of external observances, which form the substance of their religion. Consistent protestants, on the contrary, while they conscientiously attend to every positive institute, according to the measure of their light, look upon the few and simple ceremonies of the gospel, as incapable of affording the smallest benefit apart from the dispositions and intentions with which they are performed; agreeably to the doctrine of our Saviour, who tells us, that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must

worship him in spirit and in truth.” To expatiate on the incalculable mischiefs which have arisen from this doctrine, is foreign to our purpose ; suffice it to remark that it is held in just detestation by all enlightened christians.

Our business is to shew the coincidence of Mr. Kinghorn's principles with that most dangerous and exploded tenet. He contends that the mere absence of a ceremony, or if you please, an incorrect manner of performing it, is, of itself, sufficient, exclusive of every other consideration, to incur the forfeiture of christian privileges; of the privileges in general which arise from faith. * It is not, according to him, merely the forfeiture of a title to the eucharist which it involves; that, he informs us, is not more affected by it than any other privilege : it is the universal privation of christian immunities which is the immediate consequence of that omission; and, as he acknowledges that many to whom it attaches, are regenerated, they must consequently be endowed with right dispositions. For what is that renovation of mind which can exist without them? But if such as are possessed of these in the most eminent degree, which he acknowledges is the case with some pædobaptists, are yet debarred from spiritual privileges, wherein does this differ from ascribing that efficacy to an external rite which is supposed in the doctrine of the opus operatum : and if those who have faith

Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 30.

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are not entitled to the benefits which result from it, because a certain ceremony is wanting, how is it possible to ascribe more to that ceremony?

Whatever degree of prejudice or inattention we may be disposed to impute to some of the advocates of infant baptism, it would be the highest injustice to comprehend them all under the same

There are those, no doubt, who, with. out adopting our views, have exercised as much thought, and exerted as much impartiality on the subject, as our observation authorises us to expect from the brightest specimens of human nature : nay, this author admits that “it is possible they may be some of the most exalted characters in point of piety.”* But it surely cannot be doubted that they who merit this encomium, are as conscientious in their performance of infant, as we in the administration of adult baptism; and as they are, by the very supposition, actuated by dispositions exactly the same, the

intention of pleasing and glorifying God, if we still conceive them deprived of the privileges which we possess, the difference must be ascribed merely to a ceremony, and the opus operatum returns in its full force. This however is too faint a statement. It returns in a form more aggravated; for the papist only contends for a mysterious union betwixt the outward rite and the inward grace, to which the regenerating influence is immediately ascribed, and from which it is considered as inseparable; whereas, on the present hypothesis, regeneration and faith are supposed to exist in the absence of the ceremony, but to be deprived of their prerogatives. The system of the papist exalts the ritual part of religion to an unwarrantable height, without depreciating the spiritual and internal; the system of my opponent does both.


* Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 30.

Thus I have endeavoured to examine, with the utmost care and impartiality, whatever our author has advanced, in order to prove the necessary connexion betwixt the two positive ordinances under consideration. My apology for extending the discussion to a length tedious, it is feared, to the reader, is, that this is the point on which the whole controversy hinges. As far as its real merits are concerned, I might therefore be excused from pursuing the subject farther. If the arguments of Mr. Kinghorn, on this head, are satisfactorily refuted, and the contradictions and absurdities into which he has fallen, laid open to the reader, he is already sufficiently answered. That he has taken different ground from his venerable predecessor, will not be disputed. He has argued from premises, and adopted principles, to which that excellent person made no approach. Mr. Booth, whatever was his success, remained on terra firma: our author has attempted a flight beyond “the diurnal orb,” but approaching too near the sun, his pinions are melted, and his fall will be con

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