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more dangerous, because they make an adoption of it an indispensable term of christian communion. To justify this, they must not only believe for themselves, that immersion at adult age, is the only baptism instituted by Christ, and practised by the Apostles, which we suppose they do believe; but must also prove that this is too plain and obvious to be doubted by any honest man; consequently, that all who have ever approved and practised infant baptism and sprinkling in baptism, have been wicked men at heart, and that all churches founded on the plan of such baptism, have been, and still are disowned of God. The latter they will not affirm, nor even suspect; and therefore they cannot justify their close communion; for the gospel most expressly forbids us to despise and reject those whom God has received. It is therefore wished they might, and hoped they will assume more candour.
Now as we condemn the rigidness of our baptist brethren in this point, let us be careful not to imitate it. If we refuse communion with a minister, a private brother, or church, on account of some supposed difference in sen
timent or usage, when the difference may not be fundamental, or when no regular process has been instituted for the amendment, trial or conviction of the suspected party; why are we not guilty of the same severity and rigor, which we condemn in the baptists? Let us exercise the same candour, which we require in others.
It is also to be wished, that the practice of our churches might silence one particular objection, which the baptists make against our baptizing children.
They tell us, You baptize your children, and yet treat them no otherwise than you would real heathen children. You say,
they are within God's covenant, and consequently members of his church, and yet your churches exercise no watch and discipline. over them, even after their age renders them capable subjects."
as this objection is founded in fact, it ought to be removed. Our children receive
baptism, the seal of the covenant, on the ground of God's promise to believers, I will be a God to you and to your seed.' If they are within God's covenant, they are within the
church, for this is founded on the covenant. They ought then to be treated as under the watch, and subject to the discipline of the church, as soon as they arrive to competent age. If they have a standing in the church, why should they not enjoy the privileges of it, when their age and understanding allow? If they prove themselves unworthy of this relation, let them be excluded from it, not in an arbitrary manner, but by regular discipline.
It is asked, Will not our churches, acting on this principle, soon become corrupt ?' It is thought, they will not; but become more pure. Our churches are corrupted, not by admitting persons, against whom no accusation can be sustained, but by neglecting those who are admitted.
We all wish for the purity of the churches. But how shall this be promoted? Not merely by arguing in favour of the baptisin of our children, but also by adding in favour of their religious education. This is primarily the duty of parents. But in this duty let the church cooperate with them, and strengthen their hands. Thus our houses will become
churches. Thus our sons will be as plants grown up in their youth, and our DAUGHTERS as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace.' Thus God's work will appear to his servants and his glory to their children; the beauty of the Lord will be upon them, and he will establish the work of their hands,'
Westspringfield, January 1, 1811.