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IN WHICH THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE REPLY MR. KING
HORN HAS MADE TO THE PRINCIPAL ARGUMENTS URGED FOR MIXED COMMUNION IS EXPOSED.;
His Reply to the Argument deduced from the Scrip
tural Injunction of Mutual Forbearance and Brotherly Love, considered.
Reluctant as the author is to prolong the present controversy to a tedious length, he can neither do justice to his cause, nor to himself, unless he notices the attempt which his opponent has made to enervate the force of his arguments: and here he will be under the necessity of recurring to the principal topics insisted upon in the former treatise.
That dissensions in the christian church were not unknown in the earliest period of christianity, is evident from the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles of St. Paul, who employed himself much in attempting to compose them ; and the principal method he adopted was, to enjoin mutual forbearance, to inculcate the duty of putting the most favourable construction on each other's sentiments, and not suffer these differences to alienate their affections from each other, “ whom Christ had received,” who were his accepted servants, and would be permitted to share in his glory.* From these premises we argue thus : Since St. Paul assigned as a reason for the mutual forbearance of christians, that they were equally accepted of Christ, it was undoubtedly a sufficient one, and, admitting it to be such, it must extend to all who are in the same predicament (who are in the same state of acceptance ;) and, as it is allowed on both sides, that pædobaptists are in a state of salvation, and consequently accepted of Christ, the same reason which dictated the measure of toleration at that period, must apply with equal force to the debate which at present subsists between us and other denominations. In this argument the conclusion seems so nearly identified with the premises, that we might suppose the most artful sophistry would despair of confuting it, and that the only objection it were liable to, would be its attempting to prove what is self-evident.
Let us now turn to Mr. Kinghorn. It was observed in my former treatise, that the question
* Rom. xiv. 1-6.
is not, What were the individual errors we are commanded to tolerate ? but, What is the ground on which that measure is enforced, and whether it be sufficiently comprehensive to include the pædobaptists? After quoting this passage, he subjoins, “this is the question at issue, and the decision of this will determine whether the spirit of the precepts of the gospel will sanction us in departing from apostolical precedents, especially when such precedents arose from obedience to a divine command.”
He then proceeds to investigate the precise nature of the dissensions which prevailed in the primitive churches; from whence he infers that the disparity betwixt them, and our controversy with the pædobaptists, is such, that the principle on which the apostles enforced toleration, is not “ applicable.” The expression he here employs, is somewhat equivocal. either mean, that the phrase “ God hath received him," does not apply to the pædobaptists, or that, supposing it does, it is not sufficient to sustain the inference we deduce, which is their right to fellowship. To interpret his meaning in the latter sense, however, would be to suppose him guilty of impeaching the validity of St. Paul's argument, who rests the obligation of forbearance with the party whose cause he advocates, precisely on that ground. “ For God hath received him.” It is also
Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 40.
inconsistent with his own statement, as given in the following passage, where he paraphrases the words just quoted in the following manner :“ There is nothing in the gospels, but what the Jews can believe and obey, though they retain their national partialities to the law; and, therefore, since God does not reject them, but receives them into the christian dispensation, you should receive them also. But then, he adds, he receives them on their believing and obeying the gospel; and it is neither stated nor supposed that he receives them, notwithstanding they disobey it: And unless this be proved, the cause of mixed communion is not promoted."* We have here an explicit avowal that he considers none besides the baptists as received of Christ, in the sense the apostle intends, accompanied with a concession, that to prove they were, would furnish an irrefragable argument for our practice.
It was certainly not without reason that he apologized for taking different ground from Mr. Booth ; for here he is directly at issue with the venerable apologist. He frankly acknowledges the fact which Mr. Kinghorn challenges us to prove; but attempts to evade the conclusion by remarking, “ that it is not every one that is received of Jesus Christ, who is entitled to communion at his table, but such, and such only, 'as revere his
Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 45.
authority,"* &c. Amidst the contradictory statements of such formidable champions, who can only agree in their censures of us, while they are at variance among themselves respecting the most fundamental points--where one tells us we are not to commune with other denominations, though they are received by Christ, and the other because they are not received, what course must he, who looks up with profound veneration to these great authorities, take? Where both propose to conduct him to the same place, but one directs him to the east, the other to the west, my humble advice is, to believe neither, but to exercise that liberty of thinking for himself, to which she is strongly invited by the perplexity and confusion of his guides. i . ,Jos) 10 i
Our present concern, however, is with Mr. Kinghorn, who denies that pædobaptists are received by Christ, in the sense which St. Paul intended in the passage under consideration; while he agrees with us, that it is upon that principle that primitive toleration rested.
Let it be remembered that, while Mr. Booth interprets the word received, as signifying received into the divine favour, Mr. Kinghorn contends for its meaning admitted into the church, But since many things must of necessity precede the act of external communion, and every believer must be
Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 62.