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may appear, it is in reality nothing but a truism. We both suppose infant baptism to be an innovation unknown in primitive times. But mixed communion means nothing else than the union of baptists and pædobaptists in the same religious society. To say, therefore, that no such practice was known in the times of the apostles, is to say that the two denominations were not united, while there was only one: a profound discovery, the merit of which we will not dispute with this author. But when he proceeds to remark, that it will be equally unknown in the period usually styled the latter-day glory, we must be permitted to remind him of a state incomparably superior, and to ask him whether he supposes his exclusive system will extend there ; whether the pædobaptist, dying in the possession of his supposed error, is disqualified to join “the spirits of just men made perfect; to mingle with the general assembly of the church of the first-born ?" If this is not affirmed, let him reflect on the enormous impropriety of demanding a greater uniformity amongst the candidates for admission into the church militant, than is requisite for a union with the church triumphant-of claiming from the faithful, while encompassed with darkness and imperfection, more harmony and correctness of sentiment, than is necessary to qualify them "to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in “the kingdom of God”—of pretending to render a
christian society an enclosure more sacred, and more difficult of access, than the abode of the Divine Majesty—and of investing every little baptist teacher with the prerogative of repelling from his communion, a. Howe, a Leighton, or a Brainerd, whom the Lord of glory will welcome to his presence. Transubstantiation presents nothing more revolting to the dictates of common sense.
The blessedness of the future world is ever represented in scripture as the final end and scope of the christian profession: the doctrines which it embraces, the duties which it enjoins, are represented as terminating in that, as its ultimate object. Religion itself, in its most general nature, is necessary only in consequence of the relation which the subjects of it bear, to a future. state: “ patient continuance in well doing” is requisite, because it is the only safe and legitimate way of aspiring “to glory, honour, and immortality;" and the utmost that can be said to enforce any particular branch of practice is, that it tends to prepare us for eternal felicity. The church of Christ is unquestionably ordained merely as one of the instruments of qualifying its members for the possession of eternal life : but for this, it would have had no existence; and, beyond this, we can conceive no end or purpose it was intended to accomplish. In a system of means, many things may be useful on account of their tendency to
facilitate the accomplishment of their object, which are not absolutely necessary. They may accelerate its attainment, or attain it with greater certainty than it could be effected in their absence. But since the necessity of means arises solely from their relation to the end, that, whatever it be, without which the end may certainly be secured, can never be affirmed to be necessary, without an absolute contradiction. Is the organization of the church, then, a means of obtaining eternal life? Is it ordained solely with a view of preparing man for a future state of felicity, or in order to secure some temporary and secular object? If it be allowed that it is the former alone which it is designed to obtain, to assert that baptism is necessary to qualify for communion, when communion itself is only necessary as a means of preparing us for heaven, which it is allowed may with certainty be obtained without baptism, is a flat contradiction. It is to affirm that what is not essential to the attainment of a certain end, is yet a necessary part of the order of means, which is palpably absurd.
Let it be remembered, that we are far from intending to insinuate that baptism is of little moment; or that a wanton inattention to this part of the will of Christ, 'is consistent with a wellfounded assurance of salvation : our sole intention is to expose the inconsistency of supposing an involuntary mistake on this subject a sufficient
bar to communion, while it is acknowledged to be none to the participation of future blessedness.
Our opponents will probably remind us of the perfect unanimity which will prevail on this subject (in our apprehension) in the heavenly world." But when will this' unanimity take place? will it' be previous to an admission to the society of the blessed, or subsequent to that event? If it be subsequent, in receiving believers' on the ground of their : vital union with Christ, we follow the order of heaven, which our opponents 'invert: while we indulge the hope, that in consequence of coming into a closer contact with persons whose views on the subject of baptism are correct, they will be gradually induced to embrace them; firmly persuaded that whether this is the result or not, we incur no danger in following a celestial precedent. We are not surprised at our opponents making such high pretensions to 'purity in the discipline and economy of their churches; we only admire their modesty in not insisting on their loftiest and sublimest distinction, which consists in their societies being more select than heaven, and in its being more difficult to become a member of a baptist church than to be saved.
The reader is requested to remember the extraordinary positions which Mr. Kinghorn has been compelled to advance, in defence of his restrictive system. He will recollect, we hope, that he has
found it necessary to affirm that the most eminent saints, not excepting the illustrious army of martyrs, made no true profession of that religion for which they laboured, and for which, with a divine prodigality, they shed their blood; that though worthy of “walking with Christ in white,” and of joining in the cry, “ How long, O Lord, wilt thou avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” they gave no scriptural evidence of their faith, and were consequently not entitled to its privileges; and that their claim to christian communion was defeated, not in consequence of any specific or peculiar connexion betwixt the two ordinances in question, but solely on account of its being one of those privileges. He has found it necessary to assert, that the terms of communion and of salvation are both immutable; that, if baptism was ever necessary to salvation, it is so still; and consequently that an involuntary mistake respect. ing a branch of revelation, is equally criminal and dangerous with its wilful rejection. He has found it necessary to affirm that pædobaptists are not received into the christian dispensation, although he expresses his confident expectation of their being interested in its blessings, and justified by faith in its promises. These are but a scanty specimen of the wild and eccentric paradoxes into which this writer has been betrayed, while, in quest of new discoveries, and resolved to project an original defence of strict communion,