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Arguments for Young Disciples.-NO. II.
FAITH, HOPE, LOVE. ADMIT, says an objector, that your first argument is sound; yet may it not still be true, that faith is of different sorts, or possessed of different natures?
If, then, there be human and divine faith, as respects subject, object, and author, there is human and divine hope and love as respects subject, object, and author. As respects the person, or subject of faith, if he be human, his faith, hope, love, must be human, or they cannot benefit him; unless man can be advantaged by angelic faith, hope, and love. A faith that is not human, as respects its subject, can save no man.
But if human apply to the object, or thing believed, or to the author or person who produces it, then such a human faith pertains to human affairs, and must be confined to the present state. And if divine apply to the object or thing believed, or to the author or person who produces it; then such a divine faith leads to divine things, and produces divine effects upon the subject of it.
If faith mean more or less than the belief of testimony, then hope and love must mean more or less than hope and love; and who but the Pope can tell, how much more or less than the common acceptation is implied in the faith, hope, and love of the New Testament!
Thus you will send the patrons of mystic faith to the Pope for their illumination, and oblige them to sit at his feet for their edification in the Christian faith.
“Now," says Paul, “abide faith, hope, love; these three." They are not one, but three. And as they yet abide with us, we must treat them with equal courtesy and respect. If we mystify faith, we must mystify her two sisters: and if we give one of them two or seven natures, we must be as liberal to the other two, for they are all of one family. We regard them all as spiritual, holy, heavenly, and divine, when they have spiritual, holy, heavenly, and divine objects in contemplation; but we regard them as a natural, common, and carnal sisterhood, when they have natural, common, and carnal objects in admiration.
Your second argument with the mystics, then, is this: Gentlemen, if you mystify one term or principle, you must mystify every other principle and term in the Apostle's doctrine: and who can tell where and when this mystification shall cease-The Pope? Then protest no more.
Note on Hope. “Hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man sees why does he yet hope for.”—Paul. This affirms hope to be of the same meaning in Paul's vocabulary as it was in the common dictionaries of that age. So we contend that if any word in the New Testament is to be inquired after, it must be sought for in the dictionary.
Common usage deposes as follows:--He that desires and he that expects, and he that hopes, are not always the same person. A de
sires what he cannot always expect. B expects what he does not always desire. But C desires what he expects, and expects what he desires; and therefore C is said to hope: for when we hope for that which we expect, but see not, then we do with patience wait for it. This is hope, and neither faith nor love.
Note on Love. Love can be better felt than expressed. There is no controversy about the meaning of this word. We have, however, burthened it with epithets. We have natural love and spiritual love, or we have carnal love and Christian love. But love is affection mingled with admiration. We have admiration without affection; but we cannot have affection without some degree of admiration. The object characterizes the affection. If a father love a child it is parental love; if a child love a father, it is filial affection; if a husband love his wife, it is conjugal love; and if a Christian love a Christian, it is Christian love.
Love for Jesus is not the love of an idea, but the love of a person whom we admire with all affection and delight. It is best defined by keeping his commandments. How any one can love Jesus Christ and not keep his commandments, is too difficult for us to imagine. He himself makes the keeping of his commandments the only correct definition of love to him. Of faith, hope, and love, these are rather the definitions than illustrations. But when any one says to you, that the term faith represents a mystic idea, then tell him that he must also affirm that the terms hope and love, and every other term, represents a mystic idea; and that thus we have no revelation from God at all.
Arguments for Young Disciples-NO, III.
• BAPTISM, IMMERSION. WHEN any one says that baptisma means sprinkling or pouring; you, being ignorant of Greek, tell him that, as you cannot decide when and where Doctors disagree, you choose to follow common sense in all doubtful matters. If you are asked how can common sense de cide a matter of Greek criticism? your reply will be as follows:
Sir, do not all grammarians, linguists, logicians, and lexicographers agree in this point that if a word be correctly explained or defined, the whole meaning of the word is in the definition; and that it will always make good sense, common sense, and rational sense, (if you please,) to substitute the definition for the word defined? All will acknowledge this who have common sense. But if any one, not having common sense, should hesitate, ask him to explain any word; and then substitute his definition for the term in the places where it occurs, until you have convinced him that every definition will make good sense in the place of the word defined.
Your antagonist being convinced of this, then you will proceed to apply this supreme and universal law to the definition of baptism. Baptism, says he, is a Greek word, and means to sprinkle or pour.
Well, now, we shall try if this makes good sense. Let us begin with Matthew, where the word first occurs: “All Judea and Jerusalem went out to John, and were baptized by him in Jordan;" that is, according to the definition, were sprinkled by him in Jordan, or were poured by him in Jordan. This required a power which John did not possess. To sprinkle water upon a person is easy; but to sprinkle a person in water requires more physical strength than the first Baptist possessed. Mark, it does not say that John baptized Jordan, but baplized the people. To sprinkle or pour Jordan would have been hard indeed—not much more easy than to pour or sprinkle men in it. It is, then, utterly inconceivable how baptism could import sprinkling or pouring, because it was wholly impossible either to pour or sprinkle men in or with Jordan. This will do for a beginning; and if your antag. onist is yet unwilling to yield, go through the book to the end of it, and you will find that immersion will make good sense if substituted in all the places where baptisnia is found in the Greek; and that neither sprinkle nor pour will make common sense any where.
THE RADICAL METHODISTS ARE BECOMING ANABAP
TISTS. OFTEN were the Baptists called Anabaptists, by their jealous rivals. But they successfully rebutted the calumny, by showing that they never rebaptized any person whom they considered as having been once baptized, Not regarding a sprinkled infant, or adult, as baptized at all, they could not be charged with double baptism, for baptizing such, who afterwards confessed the Lord, and wished to be baptized. Their opponents were, at length, put to shame; they blushed, and called them Anabaptists no longer. Hence, all societies now call those who immerse on confession of the faith, simply, Baptists.
But in fact, and in the full import of the term, some reforming Methodists have become Anabaptists; and where it may stop, we cannot predict. Some persons have lately been rebaptized by the Radi. cals of our vicinity. The Methodists do positively teach, that a sprinkled infant is scripturally baptized: and hence, John Wesley had the good sense to say, that no Methodist preacher should immerse, on any account, one who had been sprinkled in infancy by either the Church of England, or the Methodist Episcopal Church. But, in defiance of John Wesley, and of the Apostle Paul, who taught but one baptism, the Radicals are turning Anabaptists: for we have it on testimony that would be credited any where, that one of their preachers is now baptizing, and has baptized, (that is, immersed, those who were, by the Methodists themselves, once sprinkled "in the name of the Trinity;" and that, too, with the consent of his brethren. Thus, in the rage of proselytism, these new Anabaptists have seceded from John Wesley, and from all other religious communities in christendom: for, no other community, of which we have read or heard, will baptize a second time those whom they regard as having been once baptized. VOL. III.
A preacher, the other day, I am told, had one of his own infants sprinkled, who is in the custom of immersing those once sprinkled by his brethren!! But this was done to save his sheep from straying into another fold. What an easy and accommodating system has Methodism, when reformed, recently become! Sir, says the preach. er, if you want to be converted, come up to the altar, and I will pray for you. And if you will get religion, I will sprinkle, pour, or immerse you; once, or twice, as you please; if you will only put your name down on the list of Methodism, or keep it there, I will accommodate your taste: for, as for myself, I have no conscience about it. In this age, when “Cheap Goods” are in every advertisement, and almost on every sign, it would be well to advertise for proselytes; and to have a few handbills posted in all the public places,—such as the
"Salvation cheap, and on your own terms. You may get religion, now, cheaper than ever. If you will call at such a church, come up to the altar, be prayed for, and enrolled, you may have all the rest on your own terms-sprinkling, pouring, dipping; once, or even twice, for nothing: and according to your faith, not mine, shall it be.'
This is in accordance with the facts, at all events; and if it appears rather irreverent, thus to state the matter, let the objector remember, that it is more irreverent to afford an occasion for it: and, that we are warranted in thus sounding the alarm, none, acquainted with the facts before us, will have the temerity to call in question.
Baptist Convention of Eight Persons. THREE churches, sending EIGHT delegates, who met to form a new chair for a new Vicar, have had the candor and honesty to pubJish their proceedings under the following pompous title:
"Minutes of the Baptist Convention, held at the Baptist Church in the Forks of Yough: May 25-26, A. D. 1832."
Such is the title to this affair. Then come the details: “1. In accordance with a resolution, passed by the Redstone Association, at its last annual meeting, and agreeably to previous arrangement among themselves, a number of churches met together for the purpose of preparing a Constitution for a new Association, to be formed of churches located on the north side of the United States' turnpike road, now in connexion with the Redstone Association. And after the delivery of a sermon by Dr. James Estep, the meeting was organized by electing brother John Rush, Moderator, and brother William Shadrach, (previously invited to aid in the council,) Clerk.
2. The object of the meeting being stated, the delegates present were called upon to present their commissions; when the following churches were represented:
Church at Forks of Yough-Represented by James Estep, John Sutton, John Storer, and Nathan Estep.
Loyalhannah Church-George Hunt and Joseph Johnstone.
3. Brethren Estep, Shadrach, and Coleburn, were appointed a committee to draft a Constitution, to be submitted to the Convention to-morrow morning.”
This brother Shadrach” was no delegate, it seems; but was invited to aid the council, by whom not reported; and thus his name added made “the Baptist Convention” equal to three times three. To these were afterwards added, by special invitation, three spectators; and so it finally amounted to the number of the twelve Apostles.
The new Constitution, framed by this Convention, as published to the world, is styled, “Constitution of the Monongahela Baptist Association;" the Bill of Rights prefixed to which is the following:
"We declare, That all churches are equally free and independent, and have certain indefeasible rights; which are,--receiving, dismissing, censuring, or expelling their own members; tolerating to improve, or licensing to preach, such of their members as appear in their judgment to have gifts and are divinely called to the work of the ministry; and silencing such of their members as may have been tolerated or licensed to preach, if the case may require. “And all and every other power and privilege essentially necessary to the free and regular exercise of gospel discipline, and the well being and happiness of the churches respectively; together with every power, and right, and privilege not hereafter mentioned in this Constitution, shall be and remain entire to the churches forever.” • The council of twelve have very generously declared that the churches are equally free and independent." They had, then, we say, better keep themselves so; for if they adopt this constitution, thev have sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. They have also certain “indefeasible rights,” amongst which is that of tolerating to improve, or licensing to preach, such of their members as appear to have gifts, and are divinely called to the work of the ministry. But how any can appear to be “divinely called," or "to have gifts,” unless all are “tolerated” to exhibit what they have, is to me a mystery like that of transubstantiation. Again, who gave the churches the “indefeasible right” to “tolerate those divinely called" and sent, is one of the deep things of the Regular Baptist Confession, the bottom of which our vision cannot reach. The sman of sin,” we are told by one Paul, exalted himself above God in presuming to “tolerate” those whom God called. Great toleration, indeed! If those only whom God calls and sends to the work of the ministry are to be “tolerated to improve," the churches now free and independent had better take heed lest they have to tolerate something which professes only to "tolerate those divinely called to the work of the ministry," to improve their gifts!!!
They have another inalienable right declared, which they had better see how they dispose of; that is, the licensing to preach” those whom God has called to preach. This is surely an important right; for unless they rightly use this right, those whom God has sent will not be permitted to go! and thus they will withstand God! I do not know that ever the Vicar of Christ pretended to more than this; namely, to examine and license those whom God had called and sent to preach his gospel. The Lord sends so many who are not fit, or affords such dubious testimonials, that the churches are bound to take heed lest the work should not be well done!