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of the New Covenant, and transported by the choral symphonies of their triumphant songs, feeling himself uttering the voice of God and the voices of angels, prophets, and apostles, he smites with a rod more potent than that of Moses, the rocky hearts of sinners; and by this heavenly rhetoric, upborne by the Holy Spirit, he opens in their hearts a well of water springing up into eternal life. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are with him in this work. The prayers of all saints, the martyrs of Jesus before the throne, all heavenly tongues bid him God speed. Thus inspired are all they who successfully announce the glad tidings of great joy to all people. Converts, the fruits of such a ministry, are converts to God and to the Lamb.
“'These weapons of the holy war,
DIALOGUE ON RE-IMMERSION. SINCE the remarks made in reply to an objection urged by Andrew Broaddus, in the 11th number, vol. 2, page 481 of this work, sundry letters have been received; some expressing doubts; some, objections; and others, difficulties arising from that paper, and from other causes. New difficulties have also arisen on the subject of re-baptism, practised in sundry places and on diverse occasions by the Regular Baptists, as some call themselves. Tbese documents to land are too numerous for our pages, and some of them not of much interest. We have concluded upon the whole premises, to throw their contents into the form of a dialogue, in which all the difficulties, and questions shall be introduced and examined. When we are got through, if any difficulty or objection remain unnoticed, we will, on special request, attend to it. The minds of the disciples, we trust, and the public, will be benefited by the discussion.
ALEXANDER AND RUFUS. [Rufus speaks for all the doubting and embarrassed. He urges their plea. The Editor, under the name of Alexander, attends to all he says.]
Alexander. I am not a little disconcerted, friend Rufus, to learn that the Regular Baptists are in some places re-immersing some who have been persuaded to separate themselves from the disciples of Christ. Rufus.-Have there been many instances of this sort?
A. I have heard of only a few; but these are enough to establish the principle.
R.--I know more than a few of the Regular Baptists who have been reimmersed by the disciples, and I presume it is in the way of reprisals or retaliation that the Baptists re-immerse those of whom you have heard.
A.-Strange, indeed, if any persons professing faith in God's word could.so trifle with his name and institutions as to convert them into mere instruments of retaliation!
R.--Perhaps I wrong them. However, I hope these incidents will cause you to re-consider what you have written in the 11th number, vol. 2, on re-baptism. There was a petitio principii (a begging of the question) in that piece, wbich I regretted to see; and give me leave to add, I was displeased with both the matter and the manner of that article; and I am glad that you have given me an opportunity to tell you of it.
A.- Please tell me what have you to say against the manner. I know not how that can be offensive to you.
R.-I complain because you wrote it in the manner of a reply to Andrew Broaddus; and it was evident to me that you had others, perhaps, myself in your eye; and over the shoulders of your friend Andrew you gave me and some others a few good philippics, And, my evidence, I candidly tell you. is this: You introduce into the body of that piece matters and remarks wbich were wholly uncalled for, in your reply to the objection extracted from his pamphlet.
A.-I admire your candor, and thank you for the opportunity you have given me to explain. And first let me tell you that I never thought of you at the time of writing that essay, and only intended to show reasons full and satisfactory' why I could not be charged with the difficulties which Andrew had created. Besides this, I must also inform you that sundry questions on that subject, from different persons, forwarded to me, led me to give a greater range to my remarks than was absolutely necessary to meet the objections of my friend Broaddus.
R—This is satisfactory as to the licence you took. But bad you not at that time heard that I was, as you call it, re-baptized) A.-No; nor till this moment. Have you really been re-baptized?
R.-Not re baptized in my sense of the word; for I regard my former baptism 25 nothing better than infant sprinklmg.
A.-If no better than infant sprinkling, you certainly ought to have been baptized. But you must mistake the meaning of that essay, if you suppose it regarded infant sprinkling as christian immersion. It applies not to such a hypothesis. What I designate re-immersien, is the immersion of one a second time, who had voluntarily and understandingly confessed Jesus to be the Mes. siah, the Son of God; and as such cheerfully submitted to him, and was immersed into his name as Mediator, as Prophet, Priest, and King. Were you not immersed upon such a professiou some ten years ago?
R.-I was about that time immersed without understanding the meaning of it, and had no respect to the remission of my sins in immersion: for I believed that I was forgiven six months before my immersion, through faith in the blood of Jesus.
A. - You had faith, then, in the blood of Jesus, and consequently regarded him as the Messiah
R.-Yes: I had faith in him, indeed: but I was not immersed for the remis. sion of my sins. I was immersed because Jesus was inmersed in the Jordan, and because he commanded all believers to be immersed.
A -And such a baptism as this you now say is no better than no baptism or than infant sprinkling. Does an infant act at all, does its understanding, will, affections, or conscience feel or act in reference to the example, authority, command, or promise of Jesus Christ? Surely you confound things that differ, the breath and length of heaven?
R.-Oh! there is some difference, indeed! But as touching the remission of sins, an infant as much expected it in its sprinkling, as I in my first immer. sion.
A. That may be; for you say that you thought: nay, were assured, that your sins were remitted six months before you were immersed. But this, in my judgment, constitutes no reason why you should, after ten years citizenship in the kingdom o Christ, be again immersed When I was naturalized a citizen of these United States, there were certain immunities and privileges attached to citizenship which I had not in my mind at that time, nor were they any in. ducement to me to be naturalized, any more than to that child now sleeping in the arms of its mother. But did that çircumstance annul my naturalization, and leave me an alien?
R.—Here now again appears the pet tio principi, the sophism of begging the question. which matters I had intended to complan of, as well as of the manner
ne deceitfull analogy, and a too great reliance upon your own reasoning in our former essay
A-Well, ceņsule, but hear me; and I hope I shall be as able satisfac orily to defend the mut: er as I ' ave been, yoursel being judge, the manner of that address But let me just say, in regard to the use of reasoning on this ques. tion, that it is a question which must be decided wholly by reasoning: for you will no doubt cheerfully a 'mit, that in the New T stanient we have not one command 10 immerse any pers: 'n a second 'ime into thi death of Jesus. And there is no example in all the New Testament of any person having been a second time immersed in the name of Jesus, not even of an apostate on his return The Scriptures are as silent as the grave upon such an occurrence. It is theref re to be inferred from the premis s. it is wholly the work of reason, ing But as you have now twice told me of begging the question, or of taking for granted what was not proved, please present your spec.fications.
R. -You assum- that baptisin adininistered by Baptists introduces the subjects of it into the kingdom of Jesus Christ This I see runs through your essay. And what is nearly the same thing, though ufficie: tly distinct t make a second specification, you assume that a person may be "intelligently immers. ed into the faith that Jesus is tbe Messiah, and have no regard to the rem ssion of sins in his immersion. These I shall now urge as two assii mptions—as beg. ging the question twice. Had it not been for these assumptions your reasoning and your analogies would have been good and valid But, as the case is, they do not apply; and therefore, I have taken the liberty to say your
absence to our common friends, tha
your essay was sophistical 4.-In your judgment no doubt, it appeared so, else you would not have said it. I am pleased to see so much independence manifsted by those whom I have myself been, in the hand of G:d, the humble instrument of bringing into the fold of Jesus I claim. no infallibility nor authority over the faith of any disciple, and never will impose my reasonings or my opinions upon any. The motto of every paper which I published for the firsı seven years in pleading this reformation, prohibits my elf, as well as Luther, Calvin, or Wesley fiom being the master of the faith of any christian I own that some young con: verts carry their notions of independence into an abuse of liberty; and claim for their crude and undigested opinions an authority which they are unwilling to allow to others. But of this I do not accuse you; for your age and experience secures to your opinions a respect which is not due to theirs.
R.-True, this is my opinion; I present it as an opinion. But I feel much confiilence that it is a correct opinion These are assumptions, in my judg. ment and I have, at l-ast, the concurrence of some others, for whose judgment I entertain a great respect. But let me hear yrur defence.
A-t will proceed in order. You say that I assume that "the baptism ad. ministered by the Biptists introduced the subjects of it into the kingdom of Christ." I do, indeed, assume this under certain qualifications. But I would not say that the baptism alministered, as you call it, hy myself, or by the Apostles, always introduced the subjects into the kingdom of Christ. Much depends upon the faith and intelligence of the subject. But I do think that every one immersed by the Baptist preachers, or "laymen, who really believes in his heart and confesses with his mouth that Jesus is the Messiah, understanding the meaning of what he says, is introduced into this kingdom. This I know leads me to what you call my second assumption, But of this I will not wow speak, 1 shall.yet take it for granted that some may helreve that Jesus is the Messiah, and yet not regard immersion for the remission of sins Ble before proceeding farther I will ask you what you mean by the kingdom of Christ.
R. -I mean that "reign of righteousness, pe ice, and joy in the Holy Spirit called sometimes the kingdom of God within ren;" and 1 mean that assembly of persons on earth, the whole aggregate of the disciples of Jesus, who acq knowledge Jesus as the only mediator, prophet, priest, and king, and obey
WHIC& WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED.
him to the best of their knowledge. I also believe that a particular congregation of disciples, meeting in any one place, may be regarded as tise kingdom of God in that place.
A-Well, you have given sufficient amplitude to your definition; and although it is a little vague, I will admit it, and proceed. But let me just say that I ex. pected that you would have said the inimersed disciples.
R.- call none a disciple who has not been immersed upon the confession of the Eunuch.
A.-Admit it, and what follows upon your assumption? THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE FAILED. His word is forfeited. “The Scripture is broken."
R. I do not understand you. What promises? What Scripture!
4.-God promised by Daniel the Prophet, that, in the days of the Cesars, in the times of the Iron Empire, he would would set up a kingdom un curth
That kingdom, on your hypothesis, bas been destroyed. Again, it is writ en, “Upon this rock will I build my congregation, and the gates of hades shall nol prevail against it.” On your hypothesis the gates of ha les have prevailed against it for more than 1300 years.
R-How is this?
1.-Why on all your definitions of the kingdom, supposing, as you do, that be that is not formally and understandingly immersed tor the remission of his sins cannot enter into this kingdom; and it being a
fact that before the year 1823, since the fifth century, baptism for the remission of sins was not preached, and not until the year 1827 were inany immersed with this apprehension of the subject. The dilemma in which your assumption fairly places you is this--either the promises vf God have failed, or such persons as were baptized as you were the first time, are in the kingdom! Choose now for yourself.
R.-I dare not say there was no church of Christ, no kingdom of God all this time. But I will say the church was in the wilderness.
A.-Tbat helps you not. It was still a church, although it was in the wilderness; and this destroys your assumption. I admit that he who understands not fully the Lord's day, the Lord's supper, and christian immersion, cannot fully enjoy the blessings of he gospel of Christ, and that it makes all the difference between the wilderness and the fruitful field to understand fully these institutions: but yet there are degrees both in faith and knowledge; and he that lives in the wilderness still lives.A church n the wilderness is surely different from the kingdom of Satan. But, my dear sir, see where your assumption bas placed you! My assumption is at least free from this dilemma. This, it is true, is all reasoning; but it is reasoning from such documents as gives great authority to the conclusions. And remember this is a question to be decided wholly by reasoning.
R.-I am candid to confess that I did not foresee this impediment in my way. But, come, does not this greatly detract from the importance which you and others attach to the discovery of the capital item of the ancient gospelbaptism for the remission of sins). This, indeed, is the only item which obtains Torme ancient gospel the eminence which it claims.
A.— Not in the least. It stands rue that this is its proper meaning. The not understanding of this institution has prevented many christians from enjoying its benefits; but the not understanding it does not make them aliens from the kingdom of Jesus. This is all that is necessary to my assumption. But to keep the point immediately before us, concerning the kingdom, you must perceive that you were not in the kingdom of Satan during the ten years which intervened from your first to your second immersion. While in that kingdom if you confessed your sins, and asked forgiveness, you would have had the same assurance of the pardon of your sins which you imagine your second immersion gives you. Nay, indeed, you would have had more; because on a just foundation. You would have had the direct testimony of God to you addressed assuring you of pardon. This you had not in respect to your second immersion; for God did not promise to forgive your sins committed after your VOL. III.
first immersion in a second immersion. There is no such promise in the New Testament.
R.-1 did confess my sins during these ten years: but thinking that I never was constitutionally in the kingdom, I had not the assurance that I wished. I did not know that I could constitutionally expect the interposition of the Christian Advocate, not being constitutionally under his government.
A.-Permii me now to resume the analogy which you were pleased to call "a deceitful analogy." I was constitutionally naturalized, though I did not understand all its benefits, nor seek all the privileges of a citizen. My political new birth, and your cbristian new birth were pretty much alike. I had thought that living on the American soil, and being well disposed to the government, I was, before my naturalization, entitled to certain privileges of a citizen. But such misconceptions did not annul the constitutionality of the act. I renounced all foreign allegiance in the words of the act. I ask you, then, did you not confess that Jesus was the Messiah, and did you not cordially renounce every other mediator,.prophet, priest, or king? And were you not immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? And can you think that your sup. posing your sins were pardoned before your baptism, or that your not having all the meaning of baptism before your mind, made your immersion unconstitutional; and left you an alien from the kingdom of God-indeed, in the kingdom of Satan?
R.- 'Tis true I found myself happier after my immersion than before, and had the answer of a good conscience in following the example of Jesus, and in keeping his command; and having had a consciousness that my sins were pardoned before I was baptized, I felt very happy. But many of the Baptists do not require their candidates to make a confession that they believe that Jesus is the Messiah I did, and but I will not tell you any more of my experience. I wish you to remember that those Baptists who reimmerse seem to consider immersion for the remission of sins, no baptism, or different from theirs. Does not their re-baptism indicate that they regard our baptism for remission as wholly different from their baptism?
A.—The conduct of those re-baptizers is wholly contrary to the sense of the denomination and their printed views of baptism in their creed. I have learned that some pre-chers have recently de parted from their own creed, and required the candidates to say, before baptism; "that they did not believe there was any connexion between immersion and remission of sins.” Such zealots as these are excrescences upon the system. They and their proselytes are not the persons of whom I speak. Some Baptist congregations put me in mind of a saying of the Lord to the Jews. After they rejected his teaching, he told them the kingdom of God should be taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Those Baptists who now directly oppose the ancient gospel and those persons baptized by them in opposition to it, I regard in quite a different point of view from those formerly immersed or those now immersed, when the attention of neither the preachers nor people has been called to the mesning of the institution. These were not included in my views in that essay.. They belong to another chapter in casuistry, on which we bave not said any thing.
R. I think myself there is much difference. But let me ask you, How can one be said intelligently to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, without under. standing he meaning of immersion?
A. - This brings up again what you call my second assumption." And the first being disposed of, i have no objections to make a remark or two upon before we part. To settle the question with all despatch, I would just say, that the very same reasoning applied to the first assumption, disposes of your objection at once. The meaning of any institution, and the belief in the testimony of God concerning Jesus, his person, office, character, and work, are yery different things. Though to the more enlightened they are intimately connected, yet experience proves, and observation attests
, that many believe in him who do not understand his instituţions. And if a clear apprehension of