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scientious or involuntary mistakes respecting outward rites which are mere signs of inward feelings; not the essence of spiritual life, but the instituted forms in which that life expresses itself.
Hence, the further discussion of this subject must proceed on two or three admissions :
1. As the presumption is in favor of unrestricted communion, the burden of proof lies on those who deny it. Its opposers are required to demonstrate the ground they assume, while its advocates have only to disprove their positions or the conclusiveness of their reasoning.
2. When the scriptures leave the establishment of a rite, its relations, or its order in uncertainty, we are to interpret its import according to the genius of the gospel ; for we cannot believe that Christ would institute an ordinance at variance with this.
3. We are not to look for evidence of the distinct incul. cation of these fundamental principles of Christian fellowship, founded in the nature and genius of the gospel, but for evidence of their express denial. For, so clear and unanswerable are they to the intelligent Christian mind, that we come irresistibly to the conclusion, that if Christ intended to introduce into his church other principles of fellowship, he would have given us decisive precepts enjoining them.
We admit that if Christ has promulgated any positive precept to the contrary, or has given any decisive instruction concerning baptism, exceptional to the foregoing fundamental gospel principles, legally making it a necessary prerequisite for the Lord's supper, or made the precise form of administering it essential to its validity; and therefore a failure in its mode, in its relation, or order of administration a bar to the Lord's supper, the above reasonings and conclusions fall to the ground.
For the complete establishment of this part of our argument, our next inquiry therefore is, can such a positive precept, so utterly incompatible with the spirit of the gospel scheme, be found ?
The New Testament contains no decisive announcement that there can be but one form of baptism, or that the priority of the rite to the eucharist is fixed by an immutable law; certainly, none determining that they who conscien. tiously misconceive the nature or mode of the former rite should be debarred admission to the latter. The law in the Mosaic ritual, prescribing the priority of circumcision to the Passover, was so definitely stated that no one could misunderstand it. If Christ intended baptism to precede the eucharist by a rule as fixed and undeviating, it is reasonable to suppose it would have been as distinctly announced. Especially is this the only reasonable supposition on the ground assumed by our opponents, who maintain that the gospel church is, in the absolute sense, a new institution, having a new covenant, and new laws of order and disci. pline, sustaining no organic relation whatever to the Mosaic economy. Consequently, no inference can be legitimately drawn from the established precedence of circumcision to the Passover, proving the same order and relation to subsist between baptism and the sacramental supper; one of their leading principles of reasoning on the subject under discussion, propounded by Dr. Hovey, being “ that the New Testament is our ultimate authority in respect to church order and action.” Hence, he adds, “ we are unable to discover in them (the Old Testament scriptures) any proper model or account of a Christian church.” If, then, baptism is to precede the eucharist as invariably as circumcision preceded the Passover, we have a right to expect in the New Testament a rule prescribing it, as intelligible and definite. But we have no such rule. This Baptist writers concede. Says Dr. Arnold : “ We must ascertain what the will of the Lord is in this matter as well as we can from particular examples, from general principles, and from incidental allusions contained in scripture.” “ It seems very plain to us Baptists, that the scriptural terms of admission to baptism are repentance and faith ; and yet we do not find anywhere in scripture the express words, “Let every penitent believer be
baptized, and let none but penitent believers be baptized;' nor even precisely that form of verbal warrant which we sometimes hear quoted as scripture, Repent, believe, and be baptized. I do not say that the proper qualifications for admission to the Lord's supper are equally clear from the scriptures; but I say that they are to be ascertained and proved by the same kind of evidence.” This, then, is "the kind of evidence” on which alone this able writer relies to prove the necessary antecedence of baptism to the Lord's supper; freely admitting that there is no direct command establishing the order of the rites. Dr. Hovey virtually makes the same admission; for, while affirming that an “ orderly observance of these rites is a solemn duty," he makes no pretension to the discovery of an express rule prescribing the order ; but establishes his position entirely by general reasonings. The nature and force of this argument from precedent we propose to discuss in our Third Part. All we wish in this connection is to show that what, from the genius of the gospel we had a right to expect, the institution of a canon giving invariable precedence of baptism to the Lord's supper, and thus restricting church fellowship alone to those who submit to the rite, we do not find. This omis. sion, on our own principles, is matter of astonishment. But on the ground of the Baptists, that the gospel church is an original institution, entirely disconnected with the former dispensation, it is utterly unaccountable.
The above argument, therefore, deduced from the nature and genius of the gospel, remains in its full force, furnishing substantial basis for all our ensuing arguments, imparting to them decisiveness and strength.
Should our opponents aver, by way of objection, that while their arguments are admitted to be inferential, ours are virtually so, and that consequently our position is as feeble and uncertain as theirs; we reply, granting the averment in a sense true, it carries not with it the force the objection intends. An inferential position, entirely agreeing with the spirit of the gospel, demands not the same accuracy
in data, nor the same invincible logic in the deductions to render it authoritative, as does an inferential position at utter variance with that spirit. Our position may contain only a higher probability of truth than theirs, and still be enough to warrant correspondent action. While such is the inconsistency of their position with the whole tenor of the New Testament, and so contradictory is it to some of its plainest precepts, that unless the deductions by which it is reached have all the distinctness and force of a definite precept, it will not afford justifiable ground of disfellowship; a distinction this which we wish our readers to bear in mind in pursuing the arguments which are to follow.
There is one thought in this connection which is deserving of the momentary consideration of our opponents. The “kind of evidence," the mode of reasoning, on which they so satisfactorily rely to establish the antecedence of baptism to the sacramental supper, is precisely that on which we rely for the vindication of infant baptism, and in part for disproving the modality of the rite; though, as we consider the gospel church essentially the same as the Sinaitic, standing on the same covenant, based on the same great principles of grace,
the arguments for our conclusions are far more satisfactory on our point of view than theirs can be on their point of view. Hence, while essaying to strengthen their works on one side, they are compelled to adopt a mode of reasoning which incalculably weakens them on the other. For, only prove that infant baptism is evangelical and that the initiatory rite to the church is not modal, and our alleged wrong views of baptism are refuted. The ground of strict communion is removed. Their fortifications are demolished by their own guns.
AUTHORSHIP OF THE PENTATEUCH.
BY SAMUEL C. BARTLETT, D.D., PROFESSOR IN CHICAGO THEOLOGICAL
(Continued from Vol. XX. p. 865.) AUTHORSHIP is a matter of testimony. Resemblance in style and thought, and apparent conformity of circumstances, though they may confirm the testimony, can never take its place as evidence. The presence of certain qualities in the composition cannot dispense with actual testimony; because those qualities admit of skilful imitation. Nor can the absence of those qualities, unless in extreme degree, outweigh the force of testimony; because the same writer, in different moods and at distant intervals, sometimes greatly differs from himself. Abundant instances show the facility with which acute judges may be misled when they rely merely on their critical powers ; while the frequent conflicting decisions of the most dogmatic of literary critics ought to be a standing admonition to all such arrogance. Men like Hume, Lord Kames, and Robertson, fully deceived at first by the poems of " Ossian,” and some of them never undeceived ; Sheridan and many other literary men of London accepting the “ Vortigern" of the boy Ireland as a relic of the myriad-minded Shakspeare ; Sir Walter Scott commenting on the “ Raid of Featherstonehaugh" as a genuine ancient ballad ; Gesenius, Hamaker, and Rochette imposed upon by spurious Greek and Phenician inscriptions from Malta ; German scholars (including Tübingen Reviewers) maintaining the antiquity of the “ Amber Witch," till the author found it hard to prove his authorship; the enigma of “ Junius,” baffling Europe for half a century; - cases like these are memorable and instruc, tive. Questions of authorship are to be settled chiefly by testimony