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4. “It is observable that the churches for the free communion of saints, are as the most orderly and prosperous.” This observation is wrong, witness the churches in Northamptonshire, where there is scarcely an orderly or prosperous one of that way, they having been made a prey of, and pillaged by others, to whose capricious humours they have been too much subject.
5. “Many waters should not in the least quench love, nor should the foods « drown it.” This is foolishly and impertinently applied to water-baptism: But what is it that some men cannot see in some texts of Scripture ?
6. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is !". I think I must also make a note of admiration too, as wondering what the man means by giving us half a sentence! But perhaps this is to give us a specimen of what shadows of words are, though I suppose he means for brethren to dwell together in unity ; it would have been no great trouble to have expressed it; but he is willing to let us know that he has got a concise way of speaking and writing. For brethren to dwell together in unity, is indeed very pleasant and delightful: But how can two walk, or dwell together thus, except they are agreed!
7. “ All the saints shall for ever dwell in glory together.” Who denies ic? But does it from thence follow, that they must all dwell together on earth? And if he means that it may be inferred from hence, that they ought to be admitted, whilft here, to church-fellowship, who denies it? But I hope it must be in a way agreeable to gospel order; and he ought to have first proved, that admission to church-fellowship without water baptism, is according to gospel order. Jesus Christ, no doubt, receives many unbaptized persons into heaven; and so he does no doubt, such who never partook of the Lord's supper; nay, who never were in church-fellowship : But are these things to be laid aside by us upon that account? We are not to take our measures of acting in Chrift's church here below, from what he himself does in heaven, but from those rules which he has left us on earth to go by.
Having thus considered our author's reasons, for the free and mixt commu. nion of saints, without making water. baptism a bar to it; I shall take the liberty to subjoin some reasons against it, which I desire chiefly might be regarded and considered by those who are of the same persuasion with us, with respect to the ordinance of water-baptism. They are as follow:
1. Because such a practice is contrary to Christ's commission, in Matt. xxviii. 19. where Christ's orders are to baptize those that are taught. It is not only without a precept of Christ, which in matters of worship. we should be careful that we do not act without, (for he has no where commanded to receive unbaptized persons into churches) but it is also contrary to one which requires all believers to be baptized; and this must be either before they are church members
or after they are so, or never. The two latter, I dare say, will not be afferted, and therefore the former is true.
2. It is contrary to the order and practice of the primitive churches; it is not only without a precept, but without a precedent: The admission of the first converts after Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension, into church fel. lowship, was after this manner. First, they gladly received the word, then were baptized, and after that, added to the church, Acts ii. 41. So the apostle Paul first believed, then was baptized, and after that affayed to join himself to the disciples, Asts ix. 18, 26. Who therefore that has any regard to a command of Christ, and an apostolical practice, would break in upon such a beautiful order as this? I challenge any person, to give one single instance of any one that was ever received into those primitive churches without being first baptized.
3. It has a tendency to lay aside the ordinance entirely. For upon the same foot that persons, who plead their baptism in their infancy, which to us is none at all, may be received, those who never make pretensions to any, yea, utterly deny water-baptism, may also. Moreover, if once it is accounced an indifferent thing, that may, or may not be done; that it is unnecessary and unesential co church-communion, to which persons may be admitced without it, they will lie under a temptation wholly to omit it, rather than incur the trouble, shame, and reproach that attend it.
4. It has a tendency to lay aside the ordinance of the Lord's-Supper, and indeed all others. For, suppose a person should come and propose for communion, to any of those churches who are upon this foundation, and give a satisfactory account of his faith and experience to them, so that they are willing co receive him ; but after all, he tells them he is differently minded from them, with respect to the ordinance of the Lord's-Supper: I am willing to walk with you, says he, in all other ordinances but that; and, as to that, I am very willing to meet when you do, and with you; to remember Christ's dying love : I hope I shall be enabled to feed by faith, upon his felh and blood as well as you; but I think to eat the bread, and drink the wine, are but outward ceremonies, and altoge her needless. I should be glad to know, whether any of these churches would reject this man? I am sure, according to their own principles, they cannot. Therefore has not this a tendency to lay aside the ordinance of the Lord's Supper? For if it is warrancable for one man, it is for ten or twenty, and so on ad infinitum. ll chat I can meet with, as yet, that is objected to this, is, that the Lord's-Supper is a church-ordinance, and cannot be dispensed with in such a case; buc baptisin is not, and therefore may. But baptism is an ordinance of Christ, and therefore cannot be dispensed
with with no more than the other: By a church-ordinance, they either mean an ordinance of the church's appointing ; or else one that is performed by persons when in a church state. The former, I presume, they do not mean, because the Lord's-Supper is not in that sense a church-ordinance: And if they mean in the latter sense, that baptisin is not a church-ordinance, then certainly it ought to be performed before they are in a church state ; which is the thing pleaded for. When they talk of baptism's not being essential to salvation, who says it is ? but will this tolerate the abuse, neglect, or omission of it? Is any ching relating to divine worship essential to salvation ? but what, must it all be laid aside because it is not ? is not this an idle way of talking ?
5. It is a rejecting the pattern which Christ has given us, and a trampling upon his legislative power; is this doing all things according to his direction, when we step over the first thing, after believing, that is enjoined us? Is not this making too free with his legislative power, to alter his rules at pleasure ? and what else is it, but an attempt to joftle Christ out of his throne? It is no other than an imputation of weakness to him, as if he did not know what was best for his churches to observe; and of carelessness, as if he was unconcerned whether they regarded his will or no. Let such remember the cale of Nadab and Abibu. In matters of worthip, God takes notice of those things that seem buc small, and will contend with his people upon that account. A power to dispense with Christ's ordinances, was never given to any men, or set of men or churches upon earth. An ordinance of Christ does not depend upon so precarious a foundation, as persons having, or not having light into it: If they have not, they must make use of proper means, and wait till God gives them it.
6. We are commanded to withdraw from every brother that walks disorderly; not only from persons of an immoral conversation, but also from those who are corrupe in doctrine, or in the administration of ordinances; if this is not a disorderly walking, to live in the abuse, or neglect and omission of a gospel ordinance, I know not what is: We are not to suffer sin upon a brother, but reprove him for it; bear our testimony against it, left we be partakers of his guilt ; and if : we are to withdraw from such disorderly persons, then we ought not to receive them.
7. This practice makes our separation from the Established church, look more like a piece of obstinacy, than a case of conscience: What, shall we boggle at reading the Common-prayer-book, wearing the surplice, kneeling at the Lord's supper, &c. and can at once drop an ordinance of Christ? if this is not ftraining at gnats, and swallowing of camels, I must confefs myself mistaken.
o all this I might have added also, that it is contrary to the constant and universal practice of the churches of Christ, in all ages of the world. To receive
an unbaptized person into communion, was never once attempted among all the corruptions of the church of Rome : This principle of receiving only baptized persons into communion, was maintained by the authors of the glorious Reformation from Popery, and those who succeeded them. As for the present practice of our Presbyterians and Independents, they proceed not upon the same foot as our Semi-Quakers do. They judge our baptism to be valid, and their own too; and therefore promiscuously receive persons; but, according to their own principles, will not receive one that is unbaptized. And could we look upon their baptiím valid too, what we call mixed communion would wholly cease, and consequently the controversy about it be entirely at an end; therefore the Press byterians and Independents do not maintain a free and mixt communion in the fame sense, and upon the same foundation, as some of our persuasion do, which those persons would do well to consider.
It may be thought necessary by fome, that before I conclude, I should make an apology for taking notice of lucha trifling pamphlet as this is, which I have been considering. Had it not been for the importunity of some of my friends, as well as the vain ovacions, and filly triumphs, which those of a different persuasion from us are ready co make upon every thing that comes out this way, however weak ic be, I should never have given myself the trouble of writing, nor others of reading hereof. If ic Tould be asked, -why I have been so large in considering several things herein, to which a shorter reply would have been sufficient? I answer, It is not because I thought the author deserved it, but having observed that the arguments and exceptions which he has licked up from others, have been, and still are, received by persons of far superior judgment and learning to himself, and who are better versed in this controversy than he appears to be ; it is upon that account, as well as to do justice to the truth I have been defending, I have taken this method. But if any should think ine blame-worthy, in taking notice of some things herein, which do nos carry in then the appearance of an argument, I persuade myself they will easily forgive me, when they consider how ready fome captious persons would have been to say, I had passed over fome of his material objections. However, without much concerning myself what any one mall say of this performance, I commit it to the blessing of God, and the conlideration of every impartial reader.
D E F E N C E
Of a BOD K, intitled, THE ANCIENT MODE OF BAPTIZING
IMMERSION, PLUNGING, OR DIPPING IN WATER, &c.
Mr MATTHIAS MAURICE's Reply, called,
Plunging into Water no Scriptural Mode of Baptizing, &c.
Some Remarks on Mr M's entrance to his Work
H AVING lately attempted to vindicate the ancient mode of baptizing, by
+immersion, plunging, or dipping into water, against the exceptions of an anonymous pamphlet, intitled, The manner of baptizing with water, cleared up from the word of God and right reason, &c. The author, who appears to be Mr Matthias Maurice of Rowell in Northamptonshire, has thought fit to reply. He seems angry at the treatment he has met with ; but if he thought that his name would have commanded greater respect, why did not he put it to his