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accommodated himself to all classes of men, and all their customs, whenever such customs did not imply a surrender of truth; about customs, as customs, he strove not; yet this same condescending, accommodating Paul, who went every length, consistent with the safety of substantial principles, would not stir a hair': breadth at the hazard of injuring them; here he was unyielding, unmanageable, inexorable as death.'
Dr. J. M. Mason's Plea, p. 64. Pedobaptists say, we shall all commune together in heaven,' and why not on earth : the Lord communes with, blesses, and multiplies the numbers of the Methodists, Presbyterians, &c., and yet the Baptists will not commune with us.
That the Lord blesses, and multiplies the number of Baptists and Roman Catholics is equally true; yet this common blessing does not prove the faith and practice of either sect correct, and as to our communing together in heaven, we must recollect that there is not a literal table of bread and wine above the skies. Rom. xiv. 17: · For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.'
That the Baptists will have lost all their errors, should they be found in heaven at last, is evident, and it is equally evident, that there must be a great change in the spirit and practice of the Methodists and Presbyterians, before they have much peace and joy in the Holy Ghost among themselves. And as to the assertion, that the Lord communes with them, they can not mean that He eats the bread and drinks the wine of the eucharist, but they must refer to the fact that God is with them, and assists them in preaching, praying, singing, and other labors for the salvation of souls. In all these laburs the Baptists rejoice to commune with the pedobaptists, and will ever pray for a recipro cation.
The Baptists can not admit that sprinkling is bapu tism, or pouring is baptism; hence they can not partake of the Lord's supper with the pedobaptists, for the Bible and all enlightened Christians affirm, that bap tism must precede the eucharist.
No church ever gave the communion to any person before they were baptized. Among all the absurdities that ever were held, none ever maintained that any person should partake of the communion before he was baptized.' Dr. Wall's History of Infant Baptism, chapt. 9, sect. 2.
"The supper of the Lord ought not to be adminis tered to persons that are unbaptized, for before baptism men are not considered as members of the visible church.' Benj. Pictel's Theol. Hist. p. 959.
'If this ordinance be thus holy in its nature and hallowed in its titles, it clearly follows that no ignorant, no unbaptized, no wicked person can be allowed 10 approach the table.'
Meihodist Guide to the Lord's Supper, hy J. Sutcliff, p. 28 "This food is called by is the eucharist, of which it is not lawful for any to partake but such as believe the things that are taught by us to be true and have been baptized.' Justin Martyr's Apol. 2, p. 162.
But it is said the want of baptism is not the objection, for the Baptists will not comniune with all Christians who are baptized. We admit that it is not the only obstacle ; yet this is an insurmountable one. Suppose, for example, that ten immersed members of a pedobaptist church propose to unite in communion with a Baptist church; these individuals, though bap tized themselves, habitually commune with uubaptized churches, and thus constantly sanction the practice of cominunion in an unbaptized state. Now we insist that whatever would be considered unscriptural and a disciplinable offense in our own members, and would if persisted in exclude them from our fellowship, must equally debar the individuals in question. But if ha
bitual intercommunion with unbaptized churches would not exclude an individual member of our church then it would be right for us all to practice it; and if it is right for us to sanction the practice of communion in an unbaptized state, then it would be right for us as churches to practice communion without bap tism; and right to remove an institution of Jesus Christ from the position he has assigned it; right to deviate froin the original pattern of church organization designed by infinite wisdom, and repeatedly presented by the inspired writers for our imitation. We shall therefore be compelled either to abandon the position that baptism is a prerequisite to the Lord's supper, or debar alike from our church fellowship those who practice communion without baptism, and those who by intercommunion with them sanction the practice. There is no alternative, there is no middle ground; if the premises are true, the consequences must inevitably follow.
It is offered as a reason for extending church fellowship to immersed members of pedobaptist church. es, that such a course would have a tendency to promote the practice of immersion among pedubaptists, inasmuch as many of them would be induced to be immersed from the consideration that it would secure to them the privilege of communing with the Baptist churches. But this would really be doing evil that good might come, and besides this, the influence would have directly an opposite tendency. Can we think to win others to the observance of Christ's laws, by virtually receding from his laws ourselves? The most effectual way to teach others to revere the institutions of Christ, is to revere them ourselves. In refusing to commune with baptized persons, we only come upon common ground with the Presbyterians, &c.; for they will not commune with all whom they acknowledge baptized. The Arians and Uni
versalists immerse, and the Socinians and Roman Catholics sprinkle, but orthodox pedobaptists will not commune with any of them, although they admit that many of them are Christians. In the case of the Baptist, as in the case of pedobaptist churches, the want of baptism is a defect in the candidate; but the fundamental difficulty is the candidate's error in faith, of which his external actions, as sprinkling, &c., are but evidences; and so long as the man is erroneous in faith he will continue to act wrong, and advocate error; consequently no consistent church can receive him. Some defects in faith, such as falling from grace, sprinkling for baptism, open communion and infant church membership, are not as fatal as Arianism and Universalisın; yet they equally destroy church fellowship. If a man should be immersed, and yet believe the peculiar sentiments of the pedobaptists, this defect in faith would be incompatible with his good standing in a Baptist church. Hence our care in examining candidates for church fellowship, and our discipline when church members become defective in faith.
Now if we refuse to receive, and do discipline and exclude such as are, in our judgment, holding errors, (and what church does not ?) how can we give the Lord's supper, which is the highest act of church fellowship, to such as we refuse to receive as members, and would expel if they were members with us? The fact of their having united with a pedobaptist church, has by no means removed the ground of our objection. If regeneration and immersion are the only qualifications for communion, then we must commune with many of our excluded members; for while we have lost church fellowship for them, and are obliged to exclude them, we still have a Christian fellowship for them: and, when they repent of that particular offense for which they were expelled, we receive them into church
fellowship again without requiring a new experience, or a new bapiism.
The Bible requires us all to be united in faith as well as in practice; and if ever there is a time when we should be perfectly of one mind, it is when we commemorate the death of our Savior: 1 Cor. i. 10, * Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.' 1 Cor. x. 16, 17, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the conimunion of the blood of Christ ? the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ? for we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all parlakers of that one bread. The apostle here offers strong reasons why we should all be of one mind when we cume to the Lord's table. The bread which we break, though made up of many particles, is one loaf; and we, being many, are, at the communion table, all one body; and by partaking of that one loaf, we say to each other and to the world, that we are all of one mind; and if we are not, we make a false representation in communing. Hence Christ says, Matt. v. 23, 24, “Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift;' and Paul says, Rorn. xvi. 17, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. See also John xvii. 21-23: Rom. xii. 5: 1 Cor. xii. 20: Col. i. 24: Eph. iv. 15, 16--25: Malt. xii. 25.
There are but two things which keep all Christians from being united-first the want of union in faith,