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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 a rupture of communion. But a schism, or division in the body, the apostle deprecates as one of the greatest evils, 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 Christ.” 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 attempte ing 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 Pedobaptists as a part of the church or not, the affirmation or denial of which is essentially involved in the discussion.
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 to join with them in those particulars in which we suppose them to have deviated from the will of Christ, is the necessary dictate of allegiance ; but to refuse to walk with them, as far as we are agreed, to repel them from our communion on account of errors and corruptions, in which we are under no necessity of participating, is a very different affair ; it is an assumption of infallibility, and a deliberate invasion of the rights of conscience.
The logical force of Mr. Kinghorn's conclusion is exactly on a footing
* I Cor. i. 12, 13.
Baptism a Term or Communion, p. 55.
with that of the following argument. If it be right to leave my friend when he repairs to the gaming-table, it is right not to admit him into my house till he has relinquished the practice of gaming. If I must not go with him to the theatre, I must renounce all sort of intercourse with him until he has abandoned theatrical amusements; a conclusion to which a stern moralist may easily be supposed to arrive, but which no correct reasoner will attempt to deduce from these premises.
That the mystical body of Christ is one and one only, and that all sincere believers are members of that body, is so clearly and unequivocally asserted in the sacred Scriptures, that it would be trifling with the reader to enter into a formal proof of a proposition so obvious and so undeniable. The wildest heretical extravagance has never proceeded so far as to ascribe two or more mystical bodies to the same Head, or to deny that Christ is, in that character, really and virtually united to all the faithful. It is equally certain that the term church, whenever it is applied to denote the whole number of believers diffused over the face of the earth, is identified in Scripture with the body of Christ. The church is in more passages than one affirmed to be his body. “ He is the head of the body, the church. Who now rejoice," saith St. Paul, “ in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church."*
In the language of Scripture, two classes of men only are recognised, believers and unbelievers, the church and the world; nor is it possible to conceive in consistency with the dictates of inspiration of a third. All who are in Christ are in a state of salvation; all who belong to the world, in a state of spiritual death and condemnation. “ The former are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ; the latter, the whole world, lieth in the wicked one.” If we allow ourselves to imagine a description of persons, who, though truly sanctified in Christ and united to him as their head, are yet no parts of his church, we adopt a utopian theory, as unfounded and extravagant as the boldest fictions of romance. It is the church, and that only, if we believe the inspired writers, which “ Christ so loved as to give himself for it, that he might sanctify it and cleanse it;" it is that alone which “he will present to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle."*
It is strange that Mr. Kinghorn should not explicitly inform us whether Pedobaptists are or are not to be considered as a part of this universal church. This he ought certainly to have done, or have declined entering on a branch of the controversy which he must be aware hinges entirely on that point. If they are admitted to be a part of his church, and he still contends for their exclusion, this is formally to plead for a schism in the body; it is to justify the forcible separation of one member from another, and to destroy the very idea of its unity. On this principle, the pathetic exhortations to perfect co-operation and concord, drawn from the beautiful analogy between the mystical and natural body insisted upon in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, are completely superseded; and one member, instead of being prohibited from saying to . Col. i. 10, 23. Ephes. v. 23, 30, 32. 1 Jahn iii. 19, 20.
Ephes. v. 27.
another, “ I have no need of thee,” is taught to shrink from the contact as a contamination. Whenever we are invited to concur in practices which we esteem erroneous or corrupt, our refusal to comply is justified by a principle the most obvious and the most urgent, the previous obligation of obeying God rather than man; but if we object to a transient act of communion with a member of the body of Christ on account of those errors or corruptions in which we are not called to participate, we are guilty of dividing that body. The reason of my adverting to a transient act is, that I am supposing the cause of separation to rest with us, and that a member of a different community proposes merely to unite in an occasional commemoration of the ineffable love of the Redeemer, without either a formal renunciation of the peculiarities of his sect or an attempt to introduce them. In such circumstances occasional fellowship is all that can be looked for; the adoption of different modes of worship, a predilection for different rites and ceremonies will naturally dispose him to prefer a permanent union with professors of his own persuasion. While in the mutual intercourse of such societies a disposition to recognise each other as Christians is cultivated, the unity of the body is preserved, notwithstanding their disagreement in particular points of doctrine or of discipline. Owing to a diversity of judgment respecting the proper organization of churches, obstacles, at present invincible, may prevent their incorporation ; and it is left to the conscience of each individual to determine to which he will permanently unite himself. An enlightened Christian will not hesitate for a moment in declining to join with that society, whatever be the piety of its individual members, in which the terms of communion involve his concurrence in religious observances, of whose lawfulness he entertains any doubt. Hence arises in the present state of religion an impassable barrier to the perfect intercommunity of Christian societies. But it is not upon this ground that my opponent objects to the practice for which we are contending. He rests his refusal to commune with members of other denominations on the principle of their not being entitled to be recognised as Christians. He protests against a union with them, not on account of any erroneous or superstitious observances with which the act of fellowship is necessarily combined, but considers them as personally disqualified. His hypothesis is indeed so wild and incoherent that it is difficult to state it with accuracy, or to preserve a steady conception of it in the mind. According to his theory the Pedobaptists occupy a station the most anomalous and extraordinary that ever entered the human imagination. Many of them are genuine believers, of whose exalted piety he' avows the fullest conviction, yet they are not to be recognised as Christians ; they are members of the mystical body of Christ, or they could derive from him no saving influence or benefit, yet are excluded from all the advantages resulting from the union and co-operation of the several parts of which it consists; and though, as a portion of the mystical body, it is impossible to deny them a place in the one catholic or universal church, yet it is the duty of every particular church to disown and exclude them. In short, the great majority of the sincere followers of the Saviour, whose names are written in the
book of life, are totally disqualified for performing the duties and enjoying the privileges which distinguish the church from the world ; between which they occupy some intermediate place, some terra incog. nita, whose existence it is as difficult to ascertain as the limbus patrum, or a mansion in the moon. In the present state of the Christian church, that extensive portion of the New Testament which was designed to cement the affections and to regulate the conduct of the faithful towards each other is superseded; its precepts are in a state of suspension and abeyance, and in the midst of Egyptian darkness which envelopes the Christian world, the Baptists alone dwell in the light of another Goshen. However strange these positions may appear, they form but a part of the absurdities which necessarily flow from our author's theory; nor is there any possible way of evading them but by denying that Pedobaptists belong to the mystical body of Christ, or demonstrating the consistency of their exclusion with the union and co-operation which St. Paul enjoins ; or by asserting the existence of more mystical bodies than one, destined to subsist apart.
The Injustice of the Exclusion of other Denominations considered as a
In the treatise On Terms of Communion it was urged, that as exclusion from the communion of the church is the highest ecclesiastical censure which it is possible to inflict, it can only be justified on the supposition of a proportional degree of demerit in the objects of it. If the moral turpitude inherent in the practice of infant baptism is of an order which entitles it to be compared to the habitual indulgence of vice or the obstinate maintenance of heresy, it is but fit it should be placed on the same level and subjected to the same treatment; but if the understanding and the heart equally revolt at such a comparison, that method of proceeding must be allowed to be unjust. To this our author replies by denying the propriety of applying the term exclusion to a bare refusal of admission. Words,” he informs us, “ must strangely have altered their meaning before such an application of the phrase in question can be justified." To be compelled to dispute about the meaning of terms is always humiliating, but that his assertion is unfounded is sufficiently evident from the authority of the most eminent critics. Our great lexicographer, under the word exclude, defines it thus : “to shut out, to hinder from entrance or admission;" exclusion he defines " the act of shutting out or denying admission.” Thus much for his accuracy as a grammarian. Let us next examine his reasoning.
He denies that act of debarring every other denomination from admission is a punishment—“it is not considered as such by sensible Pedobaptists. But why is it not ? Solely because the Baptist socie
Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 60.
ties are too few and too insignificant to enable them to realize the effects of their system in its full extent. Their principle involves an absolute interdict of church privileges to the members of every other community; but being an inconsiderable minority, there are not wanting numerous and respectable societies who stand ready to give a welcome reception to the outcasts and to succour the exiles. That their rejection is not followed by its natural consequence, a total privation of the communion of saints, is not to be ascribed in the smallest degree to the liberality or forbearance of our opponents, but solely to their imbecility. The celebration of the Eucharist they consider as null and void when attended to by a Pedobaptist; his approach to the table is absolutely prohibited within the sphere of their jurisdiction; and should their principles ever obtain a general prevalence, the commemoration of the love of a crucified Saviour would become impracticable, except to persons of their own persuasion. Instances have often occurred where the illiberal practice against which we are contending has been felt to be a punishment of no ordinary severity ; where eminently holy men have been so situated that the only opportunity they possessed of celebrating the passion of the Redeemer has been withheld, and they have been compelled most reluctantly to forego one of the most exalted privileges of the church ; nor has it ever been known that compassion for the peculiar hardship of the case was suffered to suspend the unrelenting severity of the sentence. Let me ask the advocates for the exclusive system whether they would be moved for a moment to extend their indulgence to a solitary individual who differed from them on the subject of baptism, although he was so circumstanced as to render a union with other classes of Christians impossible?
This writer affirms it is not intended as a punishment by the Baptists, and strongly remonstrates against the confounding it with the sentence of excommunication on account of immoral delinquency. He concurs with the author of Terms of Communion in admitting that in these instances its “accordance with the moral nature of man may and does give it authority and weight; in such an instance as the incestuous person at Corinth it becomes an instrument of punishment. He was in the church, and could be expelled from it. But which way the censure or punishment of excommunication and expulsion can take place in one who never was in a society, the strict Baptists,” he tells us, “have yet to learn."*
In reply to this I shall not descend to a tedious logomachy, further than just to remark that this writer has, on this occasion, fallen into a similar error respecting the meaning of words with his former. Excommunication is synonymous with exclusion, and is defined by the highest authority, “ an ecclesiastical interdict; exclusion from the fellowship of the church."| The punishment it involves is exactly proportioned to the value of the privilege it withholds ; and therefore, to affirm that it is not a punishment is equivalent to the assertion that the fellowship of the church is not a benefit. To withhold privileges and immunities from him who is legally entitled to their possession must * Baptism a Term of Communion, p. 60.
† Soe Johnson.