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IN FOUR PARTS ;
RELATING TO THE MODE OF BAPTISM; TO THE SUBJECTS,
BAPTISM; AND TO CLOSE COMMUNION.
BY ENOCH POND,
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by
PEIRCÉ AND PARKER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. PREFACE.
Several years ago, the author of the following pages published “A Treatise on the Mode and Subjects of Baptism, in two Parts," in reply to a Sermon by Mr. Judson, on the same subject. This Treatise was extensively circulated, and I am not aware that any answer to it has appeared. It has been my intention, for some time past, to revise this work ; throw out of it everything directly and personally controversial ; strengthen the positions assumed in it by new facts and arguments, such as lave occurred in subsequent reading and reflection; extend the discussion to other connected topics; and put the whole into a shape to be more permanently useful. To the accomplishment of this design I have been frequently urged by respected brethren, éministers and others; but have not been able to attend to it until now.
I shall be disappointed and grieved, if the tendency of what I have here written shall be to excite feelings of asperity and promote dissensions between Orthodox Baptists and Pedobaptists. These denominations of Christians, especially in New England, are united in most points of doctrine and discipline, and are so nearly allied, in many ways, as to render alienation and bitterness altogether inexcusable. As to the principles
and modes.of church government, both are in general Congregationalists; and in their views of doctrine, and manner of preaching, and in labors to promote the kingdom of Christ, they harmonize almost as well as the members of either denomination do among themselves. They have, in most respects, the same hopes, and fears, and dangers, and interests,—while the single point of disagreement is the subject of Baptisma subject, to be sure, of very considerable importance, . but not, in the judgment of either party, essential to salvation. Between brethren so situated, there obviously ought to be a good understanding, and as much union and affection as possible; and all methods should be taken, not to increase asperities, but to allay them; not to magnify, but to diminish and remove remaining differences of opinion, so far at least as tlrey are a hindrance to good fellowship, and to the mutual exercise of Christian love.. ...
But in what manner shall these differences of opinion be treated, so as to secure this important end? Can they be buried in silence, shut out of sight, and in this way lose their interest, and be forgotten ? I have no confidence that such a course of procedure will be adopted, or that such a result can be realized : For, in the first place, our Baptist brethren manifest no disposition to bury their peculiarities in silence; and, secondly, the subject does not seem to be of a nature to be disposed of in this way. It is one of daily concern and practice,—which must necessarily lead to thought and inquiry,—and these will lead to conversation and discussion. Discussion, then, there must be, in some form; and the only question to be determined is, as to the form which it shall assume, and the männer in
which it shall be conducted.' Of angry discussion of vapid and sarcastic declamation, carried on for the purpose of gratifying a party and securing a triumph, there has been enough, and more than enough, already. May such warfare come to a final end. But much as has been written on the subject of baptism, I see no reason to despair of the influence of discussion, kindly, calmly, critically conducted, with a view to discover, and a disposition to receive, the truth. At least, I see no other way in which the differences between Baptists and Pedobaptists are likely ever to be adjusted.
In respect to the manner in which the discussion of disputed points is conducted in the following pages, the religious public will decide. That I have expressed my views, in general, strongly, and written like a man in earnest, I acknowledge. I should have been unjust to my subject, and to my own convictions, if I had done otherwise. But, if I have, in any instance, misrepresented my brethren who differ from me, or treated them unkindly, or their arguments unfairly, or in any 'way given them needless pain; I shall feel that I have injured myself more than them, and shall be ready, on conviction, to make all the reparation in my power. . The subject of the third part of the following Treatise has been with me in years past, as I fear it has been with not a few of my brethren, comparatively an untrodden field. It certainly is a subject of great importance, and one demanding increased and prayerful attention. I have endeavored to examine it, uncommitted to any theory or hypothesis, and with no object in mind but merely to understand and explain the Scriptures. The views I have expressed, I am satisfied, are not far from the truth. In regard to this part