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From a letter, consisting partly of affectionate congratulations, and partly of serious advice, both intended for the comfort and direction of the same persons, to infer that the congratulations apply to christians of all denominations, and the advice to one only, is capricious and unreasonable. The same conclusion holds good respecting the whole of the New Testament. Whatever is affirmed in any part of it, respecting the privilege of primitive believers, was asserted primarily of such only as were baptized, because there were no others originally in the church; all the reciprocal duties of christians were, in the first instance, enjoined on these ; among which we find precepts enforcing, without a shadow of limitation, the duty of cultivating christian fellowship. But the last, our opponents contend, are to be restricted to baptists; whence it necessarily follows, unless we had some independent evidence on the subject, that the former must be restricted in the same manner; and that, consequently, all other denominations, however excellent in other respects, are left without any scriptural proof of their interest in the divine favour, or any directions for that part of their conduct which concerns their christian obligations. Were there, indeed, any other medium of proof besides the writings of the apostles, of equal authority, by which it were possible to supply their deficiency, the case would be different. From this independent source we might possibly
learn the fact, that other denominations, also, were included within the promise of eternal life : but while our knowledge on the subject is derived from one book, whose precepts for the regulation of the conduct of believers towards each other universally, are affirmed not to extend to our intercourse with pædobaptists, it is impossible to establish that conclusion; for, to attempt to limit the application of scripture in one part, and to make it universal in another, where both were originally intended to be taken in the same extent, is plainly unreasonable. .
On the Argument for Mixed Communion, founded
on the Pædobaptists being a Part of the true Church.
The author of Terms of Communion founded an argument for the admission of sincere christians, of every denomination, to the Lord's table, on their being a part of the true church. He remarked, that whenever that term occurs in scripture, in relation to spiritual matters, it constantly denotes, either members of a particular community, accustomed to meet in one place, or the whole body of real believers, dispersed throughout the world, but considered as united to one head; that this body is expressly affirmed to be the body of Christ, of which every genuine believer is a member ; that we are seriously warned against whatever tends to promote a schism in it; and that these admonitions are directly repugnant to the practice, under any pretext whatever, of repelling a sincere christian from communion. If we allow the identity of the church of Christ with his body, which St. Paul expressly affirms, and
which he assumes as the basis of his whole train of reasoning, the conclusion we have drawn results from it so immediately, that the attempt to place it in a clearer light seems a waste of words. If the alienation of affection which prevailed in the church at Corinth was sufficient to constitute a schism, much more is a rupture of communion. But a schism, or division in the body, the apostle deprecates as one of the greatesti eyils, as tending immediately to its destruction, as well as most repugnant to the scope and genius of christianity. “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided ?"*“ As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christi” - Here the unity of the church is most clearly affirmed; and whatever tends to divide it is stigmatized under the notion of an attempt to divide Christ himself.
The reader will probably feel some curiosity to know how Mr. : Kinghorn will reconcile his hypothesis with these statements; whether he is prepared, in contradiction to the apostle, to deny the identity of the church of Christ with his body, or whether, acknowledging this, he will yet contend for the necessity of dividing it, in opposition to his solemn injunctions. He will be a little surprised
at finding that he makes no reply whatever ; that he is speechless, and, without attempting to rebut the argument, turns aside to other subjects, on which he contents himself with repeating what he has already asserted times without number. For what purpose he announced his intention to discuss this topic, it is not easy to conjecture ; unless he flattered himself with the hope of finding some good-natured readers, who would give him credit for having done what he avowed his intention of performing Be this as it may, not a word escapes him, throughout the chapter, from which it is possible to learn whether he considers pædobaptists as a part of the church or not; the affirmation or denial of which is essentially involved in the discussion. 1,,!1. in
The only answer he attempts to the preceding reasoning is included in an assertion, the fallacy of which has already been amply exposed. “Once take away the obligation," saith he,“ of conforming to the will of Christ, and the reformation is declared a mischievous insurrection, in which all parties are involved in aiding and abetting a needless and schismatical project. But if it be right to leave good men, because they have left Jesus Christ, it is right not to admit his terms till they come to them.”* To which it is sufficient to reply, that to leave good men, that is, to refuse
* Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 55.