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by no means fet you at naught ;' on the contrary, we have all that esteem and love for you, which we can have for pious, learned and faithful men, who yet break one of Chrift's commandments, and refufe to fubmit to that gofpel ordinance, which alone introduces into the visible church, or is neceffary in order to membership in it.

We now with to throw our arguments in your full view; and we make no request of you to believe us any further than you cannot honestly or fafely difbelieve.

We begin our arguments precisely where you began your's.

1. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. You know, that this argument, or ground of argumentation, in a perverted use, hath been the main ftay of the Romish Church. By it they prove the infallibility of the Pope, and that the grofs fuperftitions, and all the abominations of their ghoftly religion, are from heaven. Yet, this argument, under due reftrictions, muft ftand confeffed as being a good

one.

If it fairly come to your fupport, your caufe is gained; if it fail you, your ground is loft; for it runs through your other arguments, and is the principal, if not the only ftrength, which they can pretend to.

Should this argument come to our help, as we expect it will, you will be compelled to yield the controverfy, or prolong it to your manifeft difadvantage.

Every fentence which you find written in your favour, upon the pillar and ground of the

truth, you have full right to claim, without afking permiffion. We confider ourselves at liberty to do the fame.

Now, Sir, for the infcriptions upon the pillar and ground of the truth. What are they?

The first very lengthy and legible infcription, which appertains to the prefent fubject is, Baptism by immersion of the whole body in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft, is the only baptifm, which the gofpel enjoins as an ordinance of Jefus Chrift.

Second. That no perfon was, or is to be, admitted to the communion table, who has not been thus baptized, fome extreme cafes of natural inability excepted.

These two infcriptions, on the pillar and ground of the truth, are very plainly to be read, for the fifteen first centuries of the Chriftian era. For the three laft centuries, the fame infcriptions are continued; and you have not proved, and therefore we conclude you cannot, that any contrary infcription hath ever been upon the pillar and ground of the truth. To fpeak in a little plainer language, the Eaftern and Western, or Greek and Roman Churches, which in early ages included all Christendom, held,

1. That immerfion in the name of the Father, &c. was the only gofpel baptifm.

2. That this baptifni was a divinely appointed pre-requifite to communion in the ordinance of the fupper.

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This was the fentiment of the church for fifteen hundred years, and we have no evidence but it hath been equally her fentiment fince. This was the fentiment and belief of the church, for more than a thousand years before your denomination was, if I mistake not, ever fo much as once mentioned in the world. There were fome, who, in extreme cases, as they termed them, practifed as you now fentimentally advocate. But not one fociety, or fo much as an individual, who believed the practice of fprinkling, for baptifm, was from heaven; or that the gospel pointed out any way of admiffion to the Lord's table, but through Jordan, or immersion in the name of the facred Three.

Since your denomination hath arisen in the world, a difpute hath come forward between you and the vifible church, whether gofpel baptifm fhall be required of perfons before they fhall communicate. The church hath always faid, that gofpel baptifm fhall be required firft. Your denomination fay it fhall not be; and come forward and fue for admiffion into the visible church, in a way by which the church, the pillar and ground of the truth, fay the laws of Chrift's houfe fuffer none to come.

We wish, dear Sir, your denomination not only to know, but to remember, that neither the gofpel, nor the pillar and ground of the truth, have ever acknowledged a fociety of Chriftians of your fentiments and practice, in the article of baptifm, to be any part of the visible church, ftrictly speaking.

The church of Jefus Chrift was firft Baptift. In procefs of time, the error of incorporating the church and the world together, brought forth infant baptifm. Those who practifed this error, were denominated Pædobaptifts. Now both parents and their infant offspring were in the church, for both had received the initiating ordinance.

For two or three hundred years paft, there have been an increasing number of focieties of Chriftians, who have held the error of Pædobaptifts, and added another to it, fprinkling for baptifm by which error, they are not Baptifts at all, but Pædorantifts; and thus fhut both themselves and their children too out of the visible church, the pillar and ground of the truth being judge.

The Pædobaptifts have by one error brought, at leaft, as they fuppofe, their children with themselves into the vifible.church. Your denomination have, by another error, closed the doors of the visible church, not against their children only, but against themselves too.

Er

ror is always deviating from right, and always producing evil. The Pedobaptift error brings into the church fuch as ought not to be there. The Pædorantift error fhuts out many who have a right to come.

It is not a little ftrange, Sir, that you should force in to your aid, the pillar and ground of the truth, when it will not, and cannot, speak one word in your favour; but does, and must bring you in guilty, in whole, as to the point in question.

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Your principal witnefs, the church, which you not only consider as an undoubted witness of the truth, but as being the pillar and ground of the truth, and which is the only one, which can give currency to your other witneffes, utterly fails you, and not only fo, but comes over with its full weight to our juftification.

II. Our fecond argument is taken from the beginning of the gofpel ftate of the church. In Luke i. 17, we are informed, that John was to go before our Saviour, in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wif dom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

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In Mark i. 4, we are told how he made ready and prepared this people. John did baptize in the wildernefs, and preach the baptifm of repentance for the remiffion of fins. In the preceding verfe, he preached, faying, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths ftraight.'

John, Chrift's forerunner, did two things: He preached repentance, and the baptifm of repentance; that is, the way by which they fhould publickly manifeft their fincerity.

Thofe who fubmitted to baptifm, in visible or manifeft compliance with what John preached, were the visible or manifeft people, whom he made ready and prepared for the Lord.

Of this people, and of this only, for aught appears, Chrift took and formed the firft vifible gofpel church; or this prepared people was the church, though not yet organized. The head

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