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fore, belonged to the vifible Church of Chrift, according to the general fentiment, if I mistake not, of Baptifts and Pædobaptifts, in the dif ferent ages of Christianity.

Hence you cannot but fee, fhould your ar guments and conclufion be allowed in their full force, yet it would not follow, as you doubtless expected it would, that your denomination had been bleffed above the Baptifts; or that your denomination were vifible members of that kingdom which is not of this world; or that it would be in gospel order to admit you to the table of the Lord.

In your first letter is found this important propofition: "It is doubtlefs by a doctrinal and practical manifeftation of the truth, that the church becomes its pillar and ground."

The following is a fair and plain confequence. Your denomination is not the pillar and ground of the truth, with refpect to bap tifm, for you have neither doctrinal nor practical manifestation of it; you neither in doctrine nor practice give either faint or finner one idea of baptifm; you have the name, but renounce the thing; you have not even the shadow.

In my next I propofe to define matters more fully, and to mention fome evidence for what is afferted in this. Wishing you as much wif dom and candour as I need for myself,

I am your's.

LETTER III.

Open Communion with all who keep the Ordinances as Chrift delivered them to the Saints.

MY DEAR SIR,

I HERE prefent you with a few fubjects defined; for I would fay nothing in the dark, but every thing as plainly as I can.

DEFINITIONS,

1. A Baptift is one who holds immerfion only to be baptifm, and visible believers the only fubjects.

2. A Pædobaptift is one who holds immerfion only to be baptifm, and believers, with their unbelieving households, to be the fubjects.

3. A Pædorantift is one who holds Sprinkling to be baptifm, and believers, with their unbelieving households, to be the subjects.

4. The vifible church of Chrift, fpeaking. generally, comprifes every individual perfon, and every fociety of profeffing believers, who have been baptized.

5. A particular, vifible, church of Christ, is a fociety of perfons who profefs to believe in him, and have been baptized.

6. The invifible church of Chrift includes every individual who is born of Chrift's Spirit, as well those without the vifible church as thofe within.

7. To be born of Christ's Spirit, forms the perfect though invifible line of diftinction be

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tween the invifible church and the world of unbelievers.

8. The being born of water, or baptism, is the perfect and vifible line of feparation between the visible kingdom of Chrift and the kingdoms of this world.

From the two last definitions it is easily seen that many true believers in Christ may not belong to his visible kingdom, and that many hypocrites may be members of it.

As to the different denominations of Chriftians, mentioned in the three first definitions, it may be for your profit to obferve,

The Baptifts have been uniform in their fentiment and practice from the apoftles' day

to our's.

The Pædobaptifts have been uniform in their fentiment, and practice too, as to what baptism is, fome extreme cafes excepted, however they may, at different periods, have varied from themselves, as to the fubjects of it.

The Pædorantifts have been almoft perpetually different from each other, in both their fentiments and practice, as to what baptifm is, and who are the fubjects; or we must confider them as different fects, with flight fhades of difagreement.

Those whom I include under the common name of Pædorantists, are the denomination or denominations of Chriftians who fprinkle, partially wash, or pour on water, and call it baptizing the man. The name, Pædorantists, belongs, ftrictly speaking, to none but to thofe who fprinkle and call it baptifm. But as those

who pour on water, or wafh a part of the face, for baptifm, have nothing left but the name, in their fuppofed administration of that ordinance, we fhall do them no injuftice to clafs them with thofe who fprinkle, and call them by one common name, though the term, Pædorantifts, fignifies such as sprinkle only.

We have now fet off to your denomination all to whom you can make any juft pretenfion. Yet there is not one among you, who has fo much as the fhadow of baptifm, when it is profeffedly administered.

Those who firft introduced your practice, did not believe it from heaven, or, at leaft, we have no intimation that they did; nor did they allow the practice, but as imperious neceffity, as they fuppofed, compelled.

The men of piety, talents and erudition of your own denomination would never have fuppofed, that baptizō and baptifmos, in the 7th of Mark and 11th of Luke, favoured their practice, had they not been uncomfortably preffed to fupport a fentiment, which they had adopted without fufficient precaution. Thefe paffages in Mark and Luke inform us, that the Pharifees and all the Jews, except they wash their hands with ceremonial or traditional exactness, eat not; and when they come from the market, or from a promifcuous concourfe of people, they eat not, except they immerfe themselves, or are baptized. What is here faid of their washing their hands hath nothing to do with baptifm, in any way; but where baptifm is mentioned, the fame application of

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water as is enjoined in the gofpel ordinance of baptifin, is manifeftly intended.

We will not accuse your denomination with deficiency in talents or literature; but if they furpafs the Baptifts "an hundred, not to fay a thoufand, fold," it appears a little ftrange, that they should not have been acquainted with a very fingular fuperftition among the Jews, which, had they known it, might have faved them feveral mistakes, and would have wholly fpoiled their application of the above texts. In what author, whether in Jofephus's Antiquities, or in fome other, I cannot now fay, feveral years having elapfed fince I obtained the information; but the fuperftitious cuftom, and fome of the reafons for it, I have fomewhat frefh in my memory. Their custom was, when they came from the market, or from a promifcuous concourfe, "not to eat till they had bathed their bodies all over in water." Their reafons for it, according to my beft recollection,

were two.

1. At the market, where all kinds of meat and other articles were for sale, some might be unclean; and in the market, and other places of public concourfe, there might be heathens. In thefe circumftances, the Jews fuppofed fome part of their bodies or clothes might touch fome unclean thing, or heathen man, and of courfe be defiled.

2. These fuperftitious Jews knew not on what part of their bodies or clothes the defilement might reft; hence, to be sure that they

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