網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

LETTER I.

PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON THE PRESENT

RELAXED OBSERVANCE OF

BAPTISMAL

DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

You asked me some time since, for a statement of my sentiments, on the subject of Infant-baptism, as administered by our Church; and on putting into your hands a paper which I had drawn up on that subject, you returned it to me, with a wish to see it in print, in a more enlarged form.'

6

Urged by your request, and encouraged by your judgment, I cheerfully cast my mite into the treasury of those benevolent exertions which are intended to compose our differences, and to bring us to that Communion of saints, in which I conceive it is the great object of our

B

LETTER I.

PRELIMINARY REMARKS ON THE PRESENT

RELAXED OBSERVANCE OF

BAPTISMAL

DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

You asked me some time since, for a statement of my sentiments, on the subject of Infant-baptism, as administered by our Church; and on putting into your hands a paper which I had drawn up on that subject, you returned it to me, with a wish to see it in print, in a more enlarged form.'

Urged by your request, and encouraged by your judgment, I cheerfully cast my mite into the treasury of those benevolent exertions which are intended to compose our differences, and to bring us to that Communion of saints, in which I conceive it is the great object of our

B

Church in all her formularies to unite her children.

66

It is but too evident then, that men may " profess and call themselves Christians," without being effectually "led into the way of truth." They may therefore be formally admitted into the membership of the Holy Catholic Church; but they may still have no fellowship with the saints in spirit, having no spiritual communion with Christ, the vital Head of his spiritual body. Since it is from Him that that genuine spirituality proceeds which combines every real member of this Communion in one holy society, and unites and incorporates both Him "that sanctifieth" and them that " are sanctified all" in "one." "The mystical union between Christ and his Church," says Bishop Pearson, "the spiritual conjunction of the members to the Head, is the true foundation of that communion which one member hath with another, all the members living and increasing by the same influence which they receive from Him." 2 Without a previous communion with Christ then, there can be no real spiritual communion with each other.

Hence it is but too clear that admission into the Holy Catholic Church by any external rite, and a partaking of the Communion of the saints, differ as truly as a mere profession does

Heb. ii. 11. 2 On the Creed, Article ix.

P 357.

from a sincere and indisputable reality. The one bears the name, the other possesses the Spirit of Christ the one enters the door, but proceeds no further; the other ranges through all the delightful apartments of the mansion, and enjoys all the privileges of a child of the family. "There were not hypocrites among the Jews alone, but in the Church of Christ many cry "Lord, Lord," whom he knoweth not. The tares have the privilege of the field, as well as the wheat; and the bad fish of the net, as well as the good. The saints have communion with hypocrites in all things with which the distinction of a saint and hypocrite can consist. They communicate in the same water, both externally baptised alike; they communicate in the same creed, both make the same open profession of faith, both agree in the acknowledgment of the same principles of religion; they communicate in the same word, both hear the same doctrine preached; they communicate at the same table, both eat the same bread and drink the wine, which Christ hath appointed to be received; but the hypocrite doth not communicate with the saint in the same saving grace, in the same true faith working by love, and in the same renovation of mind and spirit: for then he were not a hypocrite, but a saint. A saint doth not communicate with the hypocrite, in the same sins, in the same lurking infidelity, in the same un

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »