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Observer, Mar, 1,'71

to communicate to the brethren, through Butler, who spared neither zeal nor expense the Pioneer, the good news of more souls in making known Primitive Christianity in brought to Jesus. We have just been this place. By the help of Brn. Jenkins, favoured with a visit from J. Colbourn, Read, Thompsor, Hill, "&c., the cause we from New Zealand, who is about to devote so much loved and enjoyed was carried on. himself to “ the work of an evangelist,” and He continued to attend to his office till during his stay four have been added to within the last two months, and during his our number, three by immersion and one illness, about nine days, was joyful in hope previously immersed. The brethren have and patient in suffering. He calmly fell also been stirred up to renewed earnestness, asleep in Jesus, leaving the Church, by and “that love which binds Christian whom he was loved, and his partner and hearts in one ” has been pleasingly mani. one daughter to mourn their loss. fested. We are dwelling together in love

H. RICHARDS. and peace, and endeavouring, according to William Boden, in the 68th year of his the ability which God as given, to contend age, fell asleep in Jesus on the morning of for the one faith.

R. T. the Lord's-day, January 22. Early in life NEW SOUTH WALES.- Sydney, September he made the good confession and was 12, 1870.-Four additional disciples have laid upon the foundation in the Lord's been received into the fold of Christ since appointed way. For many years he wormy last report.

S. H. C. shipped with the Scotch Baptists, whose NEW ZEALAND.— Tuturau Mataura, faith and practice are for the most part in Otago.-In May last our small company was accordance with New Testament teaching; reduced by the death of our much-esteemed but when the effort was put forth to plant sister Mrs. J. H. Perkins. Since this sad a congregation in Manchester, on the model event three have confessed and obeyed the of those planted in Judea, irrespective Lord. Others are inquiring for the old of creeds and party names, he heartily cast Paths and the good way. May the Lord in his lot, and was always found in private help them to find it and enable us all to and public contending for the faith once walk therein!

J. WATT. delivered to the saints. For several years DUNEDIN.-During October and Novem- he was called to take part in the oversight ber five have been added to the Church in of the Church. Those who visited him this place.

during his last illness bear pleasing testimony to his calm, steadfast confidence in

the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, Obituary.

into whose keeping he had committed his

soul. His end was peace; his prospects Thomas Butler, for more than thirty bright; his hope firm. Absent in the body, years an Elder of the Church of Christ, in present with the Lord. Thus the saints Śhrewsbury, died on February 8, aged below part company until the resurrection seventy-three years. The Church was

W. P. planted by him and his late Bro. William

morn.

“ WONDERFUL."
Highest of names ! replete with wonders rare;

Wisdom and power dwell in thee, and combine
All that is lovely, all that is most fair,

All that is mighty, all that is divine.
Truth's noblest temple, Love's great sacrifice,

Fountain of Life, and Life's most noble form,
Casket of treasures, past all merchandise

Gentle to solace, potent to transform.
Sin and its train no more with terrors seize us,
Praises for ever to thy name 0 Jesus.

J.

Observer, April 1,71.

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OVERTURES FOR UNION WITH THE BAPTISTS.* We have read with great interest the comments of the Press upon the recent movement in Ohio, towards the union of the Baptists and Disciples of that State. Generally, these comments have indicated a cordial approval of the efforts which have been made in this direction. The Western Recorder, of Louisville, Ky., however, treats the effort in quite a different spirit. This we anticipated, from the general hostility of this paper to the Disciples, as well as from its very narrow view of the catholic spirit of Christianity. The Western Recorder is an earnest, and we doubt not a very sincere, representative of the most rigid sectarianism of the Baptists. “Old Landmarks are very dear to it, and on no account to be departed from. Hence it stands unmoved by the noble Christian impulses of a large number of Baptists, who love Christ and the union of His people more than their own fond conceits of orthodoxy, and who, in the faith which love inspires, are trying to enlarge Zion, and build again her waste places. Well, since this is so, all the more earnestly let us work to overcome the hindrances which it presents to our union. We must first talk together, and if the spirit of Cain rise not up in violence on either side, we may come to see the way of the Lord more perfectly. Here is a sample of the style and reasoning of one of the opposition, as given in the columns of the Western Recorder. The writer, A. S. Worrell, of Lexington, Ky., says:

" It seems that whether the common people are ready or not, some of the Baptists in Ohio are resolved on union with the Campbellites. Before our brethren take this step, it certainly would be well to weigh the matter thoroughly, and ascertain, if possible, the effect of even such talks about union. I have not the slightest idea that anything more will be ever realized in our day. The differences between the two are too great, both as regards their faith and ecclesiastical status, to admit of any (rational) conference between 1. Let us look at the difference of their creeds.' [a] Baptists believe that, before baptism, the candidate should be born of the Spirit -should be a new creature in Christ Jesus ;' and that his baptism is (subjectively considered) declarative of this most important fact. The Reformers (if we have any means of knowing what they do believe) hold that any man who professes to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, is entitled to the ordinance of baptism, and that this ordinance is essential to the remission of sins.

Here is a difference—a chasm as wide as the difference between conversion and im. penitence, between a saved and a lost soul! It is not alleged that there are no converted Reformers, but we do believe that those of them who are converted, were converted in spite of their system of salvation.

Are Baptists ready to occupy common ground with the Reformers on this primary and most important doctrine ? [b] Baptists believe in an experience of grace ;' the Reformers, so far as we know, ignore, or else ridicule this doctrine. Are Baptists willing to abandon this old landmark ?

[c] Baptists believe that man is totally depraved; the Reformers squarely repudiate this doctrine.

[a] Baptists believe that the truly converted man will persevere so as to be saved ; the Reformers, generally, do not believe this. But why multiply differences ? These are sufficient to render all idea of union utterly 2. Let us look at the ecclesiastical status of the two denominations. The Baptists constitute, as they believe, the visible church of Christ-they believe that their history reaches back to the time of the Apostles. But all Baptists (who know anything about the matter) are aware that the Campbellite church is not fifty years old ; that it had its origin in gross heresy; that its existence was contrary to the spirit of the Scriptures ; and the demands of truth would have been better subserved if that church had never had an existence.

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out of the question.

*From the concluding number of the Millennial Harbinger.

Observer, April 1, '71.

And here the question may arise, can any organization arising out of heresy, whose existence, in its incipiency, at least, was anti-scriptural, and whose history reaches backwards less than half a century, be so reformed as, of right, to be considered the church of Christ ? Will those brethren who are so jubilant at the idea of union, consider these questions ?

The ecclesiastical status of the two denominations is just this: the Baptists (in their belief) are the true church, and the Reformers constitute no part of it. For Baptists, therefore, to talk about union with them, is to yield the whole question. Are they willing to admit the Campbellite churches to the same privileges as Baptist churches ? Will they admit their ordination and their baptism? These will be practical questions, if the Reformers should announce themselves ready to espouse the Baptist faith. I would caution these brethren to‘look before they leap' lest they should find themselves, ere they are aware of it, in the condition of the man who drew the elephant.

As Baptists, we desire members ; but the only way we can receive members, is one at a time. We should be willing to receive members from any source, but all on the same principle-hear them relate their experience of grace' then, if approved, admit them to the rite of baptism. This is the only way in which we can, consistently, admit any one to the Baptist ranks. And those brethren who are so zealous in the cause of union, may, by their liberality,' gain many admirers among the Reformers ; but unless we are greatly mistaken, they will lose equally as much in the opposite direction.

Indeed, the Baptist cause could better afford to give the Reformers all those Baptists who see no special difference between the two denominations, than to have even this occasional talk about union. It is time for the Baptist denomination to place the seal of condemnation upon all such conferences. If there are members and even churches that like the ‘Current Reformation' better than they do the Baptist cause, let them join the former at their earliest convenience; but it is not right that such Baptists still be regarded as exponents of Baptist faith. They are weakening-paralyzing-the Baptist cause ; and the longer they are permitted so remain in the Baptist ranks as advocates of such a union, the more harm they will accomplish.”

We confess that Bro. Worrell has a way of putting things, that sur prises us. Can it be possible that under his division 1, (a) he can think that he has fairly stated our position with respect to the proper subject of baptism! If so, then he knows so little about us, that he ought to keep silent on this great practical question of union, till he has better informed himself. It is true that we teach, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but did not the Saviour say the same? How does Bro. Worrell proceed with this utterance of the Saviour ? Does he say that

it places a difference between him and the Baptists—a chasm as wide as the distance between conversion and impenitence, between a saved and a lost soul ?” Or does he look more fully into the meaning and ascertain whether it does not involve essentially all that even he demands. Now to represent us as meaning by the simple requisition of faith and baptism, that there shall be no change of heart, no repentance, no passing from death to life, new creature in Christ Jesu," no subjective conversion,

—that is simply to speak ignorantly or wickedly; most pitiably and shamefully ignorantly, if Bro. Worrell does not know better, since it is hard to see how a man of common intelligence, and not oblivious in a more than Rip Van Winkle nap, could live in Kentucky and keep himself in such darkness concerning us ;-or, so unpardonably wickedly, should he know better, that no " declaration of his baptism (subjectively considered)," could satisfy even the most credulous, that he has ever experienced the change of heart which he so justly demands, as a basis of Christian union.

* (b) But Baptists believe in an experience of grace,' and the Reformers ignore or ridicule the doctrine.” It is true, that there has existed quite a difference of opinion or belief on this subject, between Baptists and Reformers, and doubtless ridicule has been used, in some cases, with painful freedom. But can Bro. Worrell deny that, in the beginning of

. this agitation about an “experience of grace," the phrase was understood practically to mean, what the great body of the educated ministry and lay

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Observer, April 1, '71.

membership of the Baptist church now agree with us in regarding as delusion--the effect, not so much of the Holy Spirit, as of the overwrought imagination of persons who were taught to look within their own hearts for a sense-evidence of that which was a purely spiritual and governmental act, and which depended upon the promise of a covenanting God, rather than the testimony of human feelings? Is it not true, that what the Baptists once demanded on this subject, as a condition of admission to baptism, is now omitted, and even positively repudiated by the leading minds among them, as of no warrant either in the Scriptures on in sound philosophy ? That some of us have gone to an opposite extreme cannot be denied; but union must not wait upon the movements of extremists in either direction. The “experience of grace" which Reformers have objected to or ridiculed, was the substitution of a superstition, as to the operation of the Spirit in conversion, for the real and essential influence which the Scriptures ascribe to Him in this vital change in the heart of the sinner. Dreams, and visions, and imagined voices, -rising up under the morbid excitement of a sin-convicted soul, and purely psychological effects of the mind reacting upon itself by laws perfectly well understood by our metaphysics,—these were ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and taken for evidence of the pardoning mercy of God in the forgiveness of sins. Stories of this kind, which were told by their subjects, and listened to by examining clergy with respect and encouragement in the early days of this controversy, would not now be allowed, except by the sympathy which we feel for honest and earnest superstition, perhaps, by Bro. Worrell himself. It was extravagance of this nature that was ridiculed, and, whilst it is always seemingly cruel to laugh at human weakness, especially when manifested in the most earnest concerns of the soul, it is a question of judgment sometimes, with the most conscientious and humane, whether it is not justifiable, as the surest and speediest way of correcting injurious errors in the popular delusions.

I allude to these facts of the past, with no purpose to reproach the Baptists, but to explain what seems to be in the way of Bro. Worrell, in a manner that may induce him to review his judgment on this point. We believe in and enjoy the “experience of grace," and can see no reality in any man's religion, that does not. Let us be sure of what it is, and how it may be enjoyed in richer measures of blessing, and the Spirit that is the fountain of it in every heart, will the sooner lead us into that fellowship with each other which is among the highest evidences of its possession.

"(c) Baptists believe that man is totally depraved.” Is not Bro. Worrell speaking without commission of authority in this utterance? Do all Baptists believe that man is totally depraved ? Surely not. And among those who dogmatically accept the tenet, how many different explanations do they give to it, so modifying its meaning as to change the theological bearing of the doctrine altogether. As a doctrine, the total depravity of man was not held with any marked distinctness by any of the primitive fathers till the time of Augustine. It may be said that it was logically involved in the doctrine of traducianism, held by Tertullion, but it was not consciously held by him even, and cannot be regarded as any recognized part of the creed of the primitive Christians. They held that a man is a sinner, that he needs the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the aid of the Holy Spirit in his salvation, and were content to leave the question of total depravity to the speculations of theologians,

We believe it necessary that men should be impressed with their sinful.

Observer, April 1, '71

ness, their need of the Saviour, and of the aid of the Holy Spirit in working out their salvation,—and we preach these great scriptural teachings H as earnestly and as faithfully as do the Baptists. At the same time we accept the equally clear teachings of the Scriptures as to man's freedom, and consequent responsibility and ability to rise up and act for himself, as he is commanded, doing what he can as he is required to do it, and believing and expecting that in this responsive effort of his own freedom to meet the call of God, he will also meet and receive the help of God, in the measure of his own earnest and prayerful endeavour. This was the doctrine of the primitive church, and it is practically the doctrine of the church to-day. The dogma of total depravity in the sense in which, perhaps, Bro. Worrell holds it, is practically held by comparatively few. It is a speculation of the most refined and metaphysical nature, and the absurdity of making it a ground of union between Baptists and Reformers is apparent, when it is known that it is not now in fact a test of union among Baptists themselves. If Bro. Worrell would apply this test rigidly, he would soon find himself separated from many whom he, doubtless, justly reveres among his own brethren.

(d) Here again—there is not absolute unity among the Baptists. Will Bro. Worrell exclude from his fellowship a pious Baptist who believes that he must work out his salvation with fear and trembling and who takes heed lest he may fall; who believes that after having preached to others, it is possible that he himself may be a castaway? Is unity of opinion on this subject necessary to union of fellowship? Suppose that it should turn out in the day of final account that the doctrine, once in grace always in grace, is true. Then the subject of divine grace, who did not believe this during the conflicts of his earthly life, will be none the less saved. The error did not interfere with his salvation, and, in so far as it excited him to greater diligence, perhaps promoted his growth in grace. Again, sup. pose on the other hand this doctrine should be untrue. Then to thousands it might prove a source of eternal ruin, since its practical effect is to give undue assurance to the careless and indifferent, and to destroy one great motive to human action—the motive of reverent and godly fear. The appostle appeals to this motive. “Let us fear," says Paul, “ lest

" a promise being left of entering into rest, any should seem to come short of it." I am aware, that in answer to this, it is said, that the truly regenerate will not be careless, indifferent, and unduly confident, —but this argument is made to suit the case, not to meet the known facts of experience and the common sense of mankind. With us, the question is a practical one,—and onr position rests upon the plain, common sense view that all men take of human weakness and motives, as well as upon the literal declaration of the Scriptures. Still we do not make it a test question of fellowship among ourselves--neither do we understand that the Baptists would exclude from their fellowship a member, otherwise sound, simply because he could not intelligibly subscribe to this inference of a theory as to the illapsible nature of the new creature.

2. The remarks of Bro. Worrell in his division No. 2, are written in the purest spirit of sectarianism. We do not propose to reply to them in detail. They are so full of the Pharisaic righteousness which our Saviour condemns, that they are beyond the sphere of argument. The sum of the whole is, that Bro. Worrell would have the Baptists just to fold their arms in ecclesiastical dignity and cry, “We are the people, and wisdom will die with us!” It is easy to say " the Campbellite church is not fifty

“ ‘years old, and that it had its origin in gross heresy,” &c., but this is not

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