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person, under any circumstance, can go to heaven without water baptism; nor that no persou can enter the visible church without being born of the Spirit ; but that both these qualifications are requisite to a regular and approved standing in the gospel church. Although a person cannot enter the kingdom of glory without being born of the Spirit, it is evident that he can enter the visible church without it. Accordingly, we read of one in the parable of the marriage of the king's son, who came into the house without a wedding garment, and of foolish virgins why took no oil in their vessels with their lamps, as well as of wise virgins who did.

If, therefore, notwithstanding this declaration, a person can enter the visible kingdom of God in this world, without being born of the Spirit, which is the most essential qualification, he may enter, for aught appears, without the other qualification: i. e. he may be admitted into the society of saints, and be numbered with them, especially if he appears to be born of the Spirit, without receiving what is deemed a regular baptism. Admit that he ought to be baptized by immersion--Christians ought to do many things which they do not do, and yet their Christian character is not annulled.

No one ought to enter the visible church without regeneration; yet some, as it has been observed, do enter without it. Yea, some enter, and are allowed to enter into some churches, without so much as making a profession of regeneration! Simply the obligation, therefore, to enter by regular baptism, will not preclude the possibility of entering without it. Through mistake on the part of the applicants, or on the part of the minister and churches, members may be received who have not all the qualifications demanded. Yet, not withstanding they have not entered in the way and manner prescribed, in all respects, they are to be considered as in ; and while they walk worthy, they should be retained as members, and be admitted to all the privileges of members.

The passage under consideration, as it respects the necessity of baptism, can mean no more than that baptism is an appointed badge of discipleship, and a regular door of entrance into the church. It contains a rule of duty which Christians are bound to observe.

Yet, it will not follow that a person cannot, through mistake as to the nature of this precept, come into the visible church without duly obeyiog it, and be consistently allowed to partake of the supper in remembrance of Christ. It does not appear that we are to regard baptism in all cases indispensable to communion. But those who exhibit the essential marks of disci

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pleship, and desire to be admitted to the supper, although their manner of entering the church is regarded as defective, ought to be received. The spirit of the command is answered in this case, if the letter is not. We ought not to debar our brethren from one ordinance and privilege, because they, through mistake, exclude themselves from another. But being children, they should have a place among the children, and be allowed to eat at their father's table.

Although, therefore, I am fully persuaded that evangelical Christians, in whatever way they may have been baptized, should be admitted to conimunion, on the ground that any mode of baptism is valid; and that this is the true ground of admission, in connexion with the evidence of their pietyground which can, and ought to be defended : and that if any, however, are not satisfied with this ground, they should receive their brethren, though not baptized according to their views of the subject, upon their own declaration that they are baptized, because they have the right of private judgement in the case: yet, if any deem both these grounds inadequate, they may receive their fellow Christians to communion on the principle last stated; viz that we are not warranted to insist on baptism, in all cases, as an indispensable prerequisite to communion. If the defect in question, allowing it to be real, will not, under the circumstances stated, exclude them from heaven, and does not exclude them from the fellowship of Jesus in this world, it ought not to exclude them from the fellowship of their Christian brethren. They have the essential prerequisite, a new heart, or appear to have, and, therefore, must be admitted.

Especially, does the duty of open communion appear to be binding, when we take into consideration the whole subject as it has been exhibited, and give to the several reasons which have been assigned their just weight.

I have shown that the foundation for this practice is laid in the renovating work of the Spirit, by which Christians are brought iuto the same spiritual family.

That water applied, in any form, in the name of the sacred I'rinity, is valid baptism.

That all Christians have the right of private judgment, and none ougbt to lord it over the consciences of their brethren; and therefore, they ought to receive one another to communion on their respective testimony as to their baptism.

And, that those who cannot consider any other baptism valid except immersion, and cannot be satisfied with either of these grounds, may receive those who have not been immersed, upon

the principle, that baptism is not an indispensable prerequisite to communion in all cases.


So that in every view of the subject, the duty is manifestly obligatory. There are reasons in favour of it which are adapted to the particular views and circumstances of all Christians. If one class of Christians cannot admit their brethren to communion on one of the above grounds, they can on another. So that the cruel bars, which have been so long kept up, ought to be taken down.

It is truly a sore evil that Christians should withhold fellowship from one another. It is one of the greatest stumbling blocks which are laid before the world. It is a constant occasion of reproach, and of triumph, on the part of the enemy.There is something so upnatural in it—so contrary to the alleged spirit of Christianity—so inconsistent with the representation that Christians are one in Christ-so different from the descriptions which are given of the church, at first, when the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul”—so contrary to that special precept of Jesus that his disciples should love one another”-so perfectly at variance with his own example--and so ruinous in its tendency; that every observing mind must see the absurdity of it, and every tender-hearted Christian must bleed and'mourn. How can any, that truly prefer Jerusalem above their chief joy, be content with such a state of things ? How can ministers and Christians. look on, with indifference, and, instead of seriously labouring to remove the evil, rather lend their influence to increase it, being content that some little thing—some mode, or tradition, should be the occasion of keeping them apart, and of presenting them in hostile array against each other?

Why is not the subject more thought of? Why do not Christians labour more assiduously to remove this reproach from the church of God? Why do not the ministers of the gospel, especially, make more powerful efforts to bring about an union among Christians ? The work belongs more eminently to them than to others; inasmuch as they are leaders of the church, and as their own discordant views are the principal means of keeping the bars up.

Painful as the truth is, it is owing more to the stand which the ministers of the gospel have taken, and to the influence which they exert, that this evil exists, than to any thing which pertains to the churches. Only let “ the watchmen see eye to eye,” and their flocks would readily unite in Christian communion.

Therefore, it becomes them, especially, to examine the subject, and to break down the separating wall. It becomes them to weep over the desolations of Zion; to be deeply affected

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with the subject of these alienations and collisions, and of this defaced beauty of the church ; and to arise and labour with one accord, for the introduction of a better state of things.

Let them candidly and soberly meet the existing evil; examine it minutely; and see what can be done. And let them diligently apply the means of reformation--the healing remedies which are required ; and nevei rest, till the object is gained

-till evangelical Christians are of one heart and of one soul ; and till they walk together in the due order and fellowship of the gospel.

The present is, on various accounts, a favourable time for both ministers and private Christians to labour in this cause.There are many indications in Providence favourable to efforts of this kind. There is already a more liberal feeling among the different churches than there was formerly; revivals of religion are more frequent and powerful; and “the set time to favour Zion" seems to be rapidly approaching, when the knowledge of Jesus shall fill the whole earth. Moreover, many are extremely tried on the subject of close communion, and are anxiously looking for the period of its removal; and the example of open communion is already worthily set by those missionaries of different denominations which have gone to heathen lands. I believe it is a well authenticated fact, that Baptist and Pedobaptist missionaries commune together on the shores of India. '(And, surely, they would make a forbidding appearance among the heathen, if they did not.) And if ministers and members of these respective denominations can commune together there, why not here? Why not in every part of the world ?

Moreover, there is an increased spirit of inquiry prevailing, and knowledge is increasing; and former customs and prejudi ces are giving way. Many things which once seemed imprac. ticable have been achieved; and small, but well-directed efforts, have eventually met with astonishing success. There are also great overturnings both in the moral and political world.

Now all these things evince the present to be an important period for Christian effort. The interest of the church should be regarded with more intense feeling than has heretofore been possessed ; and all should labour more assiduously to remove the stumbling blocks; to cast up the way; and to restore the church to her primitive purity.

The principle which I have advocated is, unquestionably, desirable. Every humble follower of Christ would be delighted to see the church one : he can but long to see the time when all that love our Lord Jesus Christ can consistently sit down together and commemorate his dying love, and when they shall truly regard and treat one another as brethren.

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Believing that the true principles of open communion have been stated and defended in this work, it is my ardent desire and prayer that the effort may be successful; that it may be the means of exciting more attention to the subject; and of calling forth the labours of more able pens; that each denomination will duly examine the points of difference between them, and remove them as far as practicable, by renouncing each its own errours; that minor differences which, in this imperfect state, cannot be wholly removed, may be borne with so as not to break their fellowship in Christ; and that there may be a continual advance in doctrinal purity, and practical godliness in the church, until the whole earth is filled with the glory of our common Lord.

And, here, I must take the liberty to state, that it is manifestly the duty of the friends of the system which has been illustrated, to come out, and take a more firm and decided stand than heretofore.

It may not be their duty to secede from their respective churches, provided they can have their just influence therein, and be permitted to labour in the cause of reformation ; and, provided their continued connexion with them will best advance their individual and the publick interest.

But, it is manifestly important that the light should not be hid.

These brethren have an equal right of speaking and acting, in regard to what they believe to be truth and duty, that others have, and they are under the same obligations to the Redeemer to make his will known, and to correct whatever is 'amiss.

The portion of the churches who imbibe the preceding views, is very considerable, and they have been silent long enough, and long enough satisfied with mere toleration. It is time that their voices were heard in defence of believers' baptism and open communion.

The period has, manifestly, arrived, when every friend to this cause should declare himself as such, and openly and firmly defend it. How are the evils of infant baptism and close communion to be put away, except by a strenuous and united effort of those who see them to be unscriptural, relying on the blessing of God? Shall their being placed in a delicate situation deter them ? Shall the fear of displeasing their brethren of the opposite opinions, or of making a breach in the churches, or of incurring loss, inconvenience, opposition and reproach, keep them from bearing testimony in the case ? What would have become of the church, if such motives had kept the friends of reformation from. advocating it openly and boldly? If we are to make no attempt at reformation but what can be done quietly and peaceably--without hurting the feelings of brethren, and

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