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Baptism the Scriptural and Indispensable Qualification for communion at the Lord's table: or Considerations designed to expose the erroneous practice of departing from the original constitution of the
follows, that if the principles are good, their tendency is displayed by new instances and various illustrations, till they become established; but if the contrary, the proof soon. is rendered Christian Church, by forming Open Com-visible that they are not what they were munion Baptist Churches, especially in supposed to be. Perhaps those who those neighbourhoods where evangelical first rendered them popular may be gone Congregational Churches already exist. off the stage; but still the tendency of Including animadversions on the Preface the principles themselves goes forward to its proper issue. of the Rev. Robert Hall's Reply to the Rev. Joseph Kinghorn's Work on " Baptism a Term of Communion." By JOSEPH IVIMEY. Offor, Newgate-st. pp. 105.
THE above ample title fairly informs the reader what he is to expect. The Preface intimates, that the publication of this work arose from a circumstance in the immediate circle of the author's acquaintance. This indeed is frequently the occasion of a book being written. There is a secret history to every public transaction. But the point to which we would direct the reader's attention in our observations, is not the occasion of the pamphlet, but the subject which it discusses. It is clear that there is a manner of reasoning and of acting adopted by many excellent men, that is fraught with pernicious consequences. We give them full credit for not designing to do evil; but this does not prevent the natural tendency, either of their principles or conduct. In some cases we fear they are symptomatic of a spirit of laxity, which will lead to carelessness in the most important things; not so much a mistake in reasoning, as a tendency to adopt a mode of thinking and acting indifferent and latitudinarian; moving gradually their encampment nearer and nearer the men of the world, till at length the boundary will be crossed, and the parties which once appeared distinct will be blended together in one society.
This change may not be completed in the lifetime of an individual; but there is an inheritance of sentiments and maxims as well as property, and those who enter into the plans of their predecessors do not always stop where they stopt; they often carry their principles to their full extent. Hence it
These observations in our opinion apply forcibly to the subject which Mr. Ivimey has taken up in the work before
We give to many who plead for mixed communion full credit for their intentions. We doubt not they think it right that persons who are unbaptizede should be admitted to communion, and that they bound their admission by the consideration that the parties are pious persons; and though the law of Christ is somewhat stretched, yet that he intended it should, at least in extreme cases, give way so far as to include the characters described. But it is with astonishment that we see them so blind to the tendency of their own mode of reasoning. The unavoidable consequence is, that the church has no business with baptism in any shape whatever! It is in vain to say, baptism ought to be required as a general rule, but we ought not to insist upon it as essential to communion in every case; for then the question arises-have you got a dispensing power? In spite of all Mr. Hall's violence on this subject, it comes to this enquiry; and the manner in which the patrons of mixed communion argue, shews it. Their reply is, in reality-Yes, we have a dispensing power, and it is contained in the 14th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. Here then, it lies on them to shew, that the apostle's advice to receive those to their affectionate attention, who were already members of the church both by their profession and their baptism, is the same thing with receiving those into the church who have never been baptized at all! But if so, how can it be acknowledged that baptism is of permanent obligation? If it be binding at all, it is on account of its being required as an expression of a visible profession
of subjection to Christ; but if this is not needful, if the whole depends on the opinion of the party who asks for admission without it, it is Nor binding: for no law intended to be operative was ever enacted with this sanction, you ought to obey it, but if you do not think that necessary, you can be admitted to every advantage you desire without it! In such a state of things, if the body of religious professors should think baptism commanded, it would be attended to; but if not, the principle that it should be regarded as one of the positive commands of Christ would be given up, and then it might with complete consistency be insisted upon-that baptism should never be mentioned at the church meetings-that no enquiry should be made on the subject that it should be left altogether with the party himself as a private concern that the church has nothing to do with it-because baptism is not a term of communion! Such is the natural, proper issue of the arguments of the day in favour of mixed communion; and we hold it up in this distinct point of view, that our readers may see it, and ask themselves the question, whether they wish to see our churches reduced to this situation. Should any one reply, there is no fear of such an issue; we answer, there is nothing in the principle of mixed communion to prevent it; and in case the parties of which a mixt church is composed are nearly balanced, nothing to render it improbable, if any circumstance should arise, that should make the anti-baptist party desirous of throwing baptism into the shade: and what could the Baptists reply? They had acknowledged that baptism was not a term of communion, they therefore could not consistently bring it forward in any prominent manner; and if the minister sufficiently a baptist to protest against this extent of the principle, he would be considered as acting an illiberal part, and this scheme of liberality and charity would end in contention.
REVIEW OF IVIMEY ON COMMUNION.
141 religious body in the world, the Society of Friends only excepted. If baptism in any way was intended to be a permanent injunction, nothing is clearer than that it is the duty of those who profess their faith in Christ to be baptized persons. But, say the patrons of mixed communion, whatever is their duty, it is not our duty to make their obedience to his command a term of communion. In plain terms, we are not bound to follow the plan the Saviour laid down, nor the examples by which it is illustrated. Let such a principle be admitted, and it will ultimately ruin any church that adopts it.
It is by no means a contest concerning one rite, or one opinion; for by reasoning of the same kind all the extravagancies of Popery were introduced and defended.
Mr. Ivimey in the course of his pamphlet addresses those young ministers who are favourable to mixed communion, and urges them, very properly, to consider their situation and responsibility. They cannot have had the advantages of extensive observation, but there are many things they might anticipate, which others have found true. They might easily discern, that should they adopt the plan of mixed communion, it would neutralize their efforts; that if their design succeeded, and they were surrounded by pædobaptists, it would fetter them in stating their opinions, with freedom; it would lay them open to the constant temptation of holding back what they thought truth, and not of bringing it forward when they ought. Or if, determined not to be restrained, they should speak all their mind, they would be told they were as bad as strict Baptists! Thus they would have to bear the blame cast on those they oppose, without enjoying their consistency. They must expect that the subject will often occasion discussion, and frequently be followed by dissension; that it is not at all likely the plan should much increase their numbers, still less that it should promote their peace; that there is no reason to suppose their utility, or the bestowment of the bless
of the Lord, depends on their practically passing over one of his ordinances; and if they should be secretly excited by the hope of popularity and worldly advantage, we would entreat them to consider how they can justify themselves before God, if motives of this kind operate in their minds, and lead them
We are aware it will be said, that is the view taken by bigotted Baptists, but not applicable beyond a very narrowing circle. This, however, is far more than we think correct. For the principle of mixed communion does not concern baptists only; it concerns all who admit the permanency of baptism in any mode, and administered to any class of subjects, and strikes at the constitution of every
away from the plan exhibited in the Gospel.
It deserves consideration also, whether the system of mixed communion does not open the door so wide, that more go out than come in by it. We do not here refer only to those who would leave the church of which they had long been members, when such an infraction was made in its constitution; but to those who have admitted the system, and act upon it without hesitation; they are prepared by the sentiment itself for connecting themselves with any other congregation of denomination, if their inclination or any cause of displeasure excites them; though they profess to believe that the Baptists are on the point of baptism exclusively right, yet since baptism and communion have (in their esteem) no connection, all parties to them are alike—if only the preaching, the society, or any thing that may be an inducement, strikes their attention. If they remove, it is no necessary part of their design to strive to strengthen the hands of their own brethren, they can do quite as well elsewhere; and, perhaps have not so broadly to meet with difficulties for being Baptists. Many act this part, and some see their error when it is difficult to repair it. Besides, the same thing which throws open all denominations of Dissenters to the mixed communion Baptist, and makes him at home wherever he may choose to go, paves the way to the Establishment, whenever he finds it convenient or desirable to go to Church. For what is to hinder him? That many things in the Establishment are in his view not derived from Scripture is no obstacle; for he that can set aside the considerations urged in favour of baptism, as an ordinance which the church ought to preserve and support, can easily overcome any of his scruples about other things, whenever the bias of his inclination leads him in a new direction.
We are aware that the strict Baptists have much censure to bear for what is called their want of liberality; but we doubt, notwithstanding all that is said against them, whether Pædobaptists, as a body, really wish the Baptists to throw open their doors and invite them to enter. For why should they wish to increase the number of competitors, or to see any of their body and their families exposed to the contaminating influence of a Baptist atmosphere? We have strong
reason to believe that this has been sometimes deprecated; and from the common operations of human nature, of it is not at all surprising that it shoulder have been the case.
We earnestly wish that Baptist bera churches may follow the things which will make for their peace, and things whereby they may edify each other.th The peace of the church is too little considered by many, who would go great lengths, if they could only break the constitution of the churches with which they are connected, and bring in mixed communion. What end they expect to see answered by this conduct it may not be easy to say; because those who would act together in such a plan would be influenced by different motives: some for the purpose of introducing relatives, others from the hope of increasing their numbers, especially if by that means they could increase their funds, others from a desire of being thought liberal; but none from the force of a plain direction or example in the New Testament, warranting the introduction of those whom they deemed unbaptized; for they acknowledge no such thing existed in the primitive church. The attempt, however, to press such & measure must be productive of mischief. The parties engaged in it act on a plan which in the first step they take, is marked with impropriety. They had solicited the members of the church to which they belong to receive them a brethren, and they knew the principles on which they were united together; but as soon as opportunity serves, they combine against the very persons with whom they earnestly sought a union, and by whose suffrage they were ad mitted. If the elder members will submit to the younger, it is well; but if not, if either they or any other of their brethren who entered the church be lieving its constitutional principles to be scriptural, do not choose to submit to a change of system, contention must be the consequence, and then, who knows where it will end? "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention before it be meddled with," Prov. xvii. 14. In the expectation of success such admonitions and reflections may be disre garded, and it will be thought a small matter to offend and wound those who are considered narrow-minded, illiberal, and bigotted. But if the attempt
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AGAINST FORMING OPEN COMMUNION CHURCHES.
who had to sail near them, but because so many were wrecked that the danger was acknowledged.
made, and the point is carried, those
These observations, which have extended to a greater length than was expected when we began, are, we think, not foreign from the design of Mr. Ivimey's work. He divides his book into seven chapters. The titles are so full, that the reader knows what to expect before he begins to read them. The first is, "The right of private judgment; the principle on which dissenting churches are avowedly founded. Persons who object to the Established Church, compelled to dissent from it in order to satisfy conscience, and to serve God with sincerity." The title of the second is, "Nothing will justify the forming of a separate community in a neighbourhood where the Gospel is preached, but the necessity felt by those who promote it of maintaining the purity of divine ordinances. Those Baptists who do not consider baptism by immersion a term of communion upon a profession of faith, are under no such necessity. Baptists when about to form a church, because they cannot unite with an evangelical Congregational Pædobaptist community, ought to form it upon such a basis, as will not encourage schism in that community." The title of the third is, " Baptism an indispensable term of communion in the apostolic churches. The connection between the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper inherent and inseparable." Of the fourth, "Baptism is a term of communion not to be dispensed with from considerations of expediency, or christian forbearance." Of the fifth, "Baptism as a term of communion essential to christian obedience to preserve the true Protestant principle-to promote the purity and perpetuity of the Baptist churches." Of the sixth, "An appeal to Baptists to support their own denomination, including a remonstrance with those who are members of Pædobaptist communions; and an expostulation with those who encourage mixed communion." Of the seventh, "An address to young ministers, not to attempt to alter the constitution of the Baptist churches; and to deacons, and other members of the churches, not to suffer such attempts if made, to be carried into effect."
We earnestly wish our author success, we hope his pamphlet will be extensively
read, and seriously considered. There is too much apathy in the minds of many to the subject on which it is written; they think it of very little consequence, and they treat it with neglect. But, in our opinion, the members of our churches ought to give it a full investigation; we are glad their attention is turned to it by the present publication, and we hope it will produce a good effect. Truth always gains by investigation. Every writer brings forward the subject on which he treats in the light in which it strikes his own mind, and thus adds to the common stock of our information. In the present case, Mr. Ivimey shews us how the arguments in favour of strict conmunion bear on his mind, and the shades of different representation between him and those on the same side who have gone before him, tend to shew their strength. We confidently say, none of the bearing points in favour of strict communion have been touched by any thing yet brought against them. The opponents of that system have felt themselves compelled to change their ground, and the position they have chosen is less tenable than that which they have deserted. Besides the sound argument brought forward by Mr. Ivimey, he has given us many illustrations of the tendency of mixed communion from observation and fact: sometimes in the direct form of anecdotes; at other times, suppressing names and private particulars, he has detailed only so much as was necessary to make the point of the case understood; and we doubt not, were it proper, he could have furnished us with a larger body of circumstances. In his address to young ministers, and to the members of our churches, he calls on them to consider their responsibility to the great Head of the church, and to the church itself; for if by their means its peace is broken by an attempt to alter that constitution which is so clearly agreeable to the New Testament, what atonement can they make for so great an evil?
In the course of Mr. Ivimey's work he has noticed many passages which have occurred in Mr. Hall's controversial pieces on communion, and he has successfully exposed the unfairness of his representations. One thing we regret, which is, that there are a few typographical mistakes, which alter the meaning of the sentences where they occur; we believe the principal of them
Dissertations Introductory to the Study of
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“The dispersion of the Jews throughout the Greek Empire, the Septuagint translation, and the public addresses of the Elders to the Greek Jews in their Synagogues, had, as intimated, already effected certain idiomatic changes on the Greek employed in teaching the law, of
(Continued from page 177.)
In the third Dissertation, Dr. Tilloch enquires into "the language and structure of the Apocalypse." The Septuagint version of the Old Testament Scriptures, it is well known, is often referred to in the New; and a considerable portion of the phraseology of the latter is derived from it. Hence, as Dr. T. observes, that arises the importance of an acquaintance with, what has been called, Hellenistic Greek, but more properly the Greek of the Synagogue, in the study of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and the want of which no degree of acquaintance with the language of the Greek classics can supply. In considering the influence of the idiom introduced by the Greek version of the Old Testament in forming the style of the New, in its several books, it would appear supposition that those portions of the New, in which there is a more especial reference to the law and the prophets, should be those wherein the traces of the Hellenistic Greek are to be found. Hence, frequently in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles to the Romans, and the Hebrews, it is very discoverable. If, however, we can take Dr. T.'s word for it, this feature is more prominent in the Apocalypse than in any other book of the Greek Scriptures. In what respects it is so, the Doctor does not explain: not, we presume, in the frequency of occurrence (were an accurate comparison instituted); but that in some respects it is so, our learned author thinks indisputable, he "having shewn in his preceding dissertations that it was the first written book of the New Testament!" The Doctor adds,
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