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not rather bewailed, so as the offender might be taken away from among them,--and in the last verse of the chapter, after having delivered general instructions with respect to their intercourse with certain persons, concludes, “therefore, put away from among yourselves the wicked person.” From these passages, it must be plain that whatever else Paul may have meant by delivering to Satan, he at least intended that the offender should be excommunicated.
This, then, being a clear case of excommunication, the propriety of restoring to communion an excluded member is at once settled, for in the second chapter of 2nd Corinthians, this very individual is again alluded to by the Apostle, who exhorts the Corinthians to forgive him willingly, and to comfort him, lest he should be swallowed up by excessive grief. “Wherefore,” he adds, “I beseech you publicly to confirm to him your love,” that is, make his restoration to the church, and your forgiveness and pardon of his offence, as public as was your condemnation in his exclusion.
The fact that the Corinthians were not in some respects so well educated as we are, does not appear to be the ground upon which this offender was restored; for of whatever else he may have been ignorant, he was not only fully informed on this subject, by the instructions of the Apostle, and the judgment of a majority of his brethren at Corinth, but also by his previous education, for Paul says that the offence' was such as was not so much as named
among Gentiles; that is; it was an offence treated with no allowance even by them, but on the contrary, universally condemned. He could not, therefore, have learned it from his Gentile education. Besides, the scriptures expressly declareth-that he should be forgiven because of his excessive sorrow, but not because of his heathen education. Thus although the righteous man, who turneth from righteouseess, is treated as a sinner, “nevertheless,” says Ezekiel, “if thou'warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned.”
Nothing is more manifest' than that in the Christian economy; God employs various disciplinary chastisements to warn his people, and' when one lesson of reproof is unheeded, he employs another and another, for the purpose of bringing his erring child to repentance. The discipline of the church is thus ordered, - admonition, reproof, and excommunication--are all designed not only for the correction of offences, but the reformation and salvation of offenders. They can in no case, however, be forgiven, unless upon the ground of true I pentance. If admonition and reproof fail to effect this, it is well known that excommunication is the next means, and that in thou"
sands of cases it has subdued the stubbornness of erring hearts, and restored them to the confidence of their brethren, the communion of the church, and the favor of God.
The difficulty which is presented in the queries of brother Creath cannot fail to suggest to the mind of the interested reader, a question of much practical importance in the discipline of the church, and one which we do not remember to have seen particularly considered. It is this—Are we to forgive all offences upon the same evidence of repentance, or should we discriminate between cases, and require in some, manifestations of penitence that we do not exact in others?— In the absence of any specific rule given by divine authority, we must answer this question according to common sense. To say that all of fences and all offenders should be treated alike, we conceive would be to abandon common sense. There is no government known to us on earth, which pursues such a course, nor can we suppose that the sober and discreet portion of our brethren can for a moment entertain the opinion that it ought to be adopted in the Christian discipline. We have already sufficiently shown that the Christian worship and discipline was not only intimately connected with the Jewish synagogue in the beginning, but that it was most indisputably modeled in many respects after it. As we have already stated, the
synagogue had several grades of punishment, suited to the character of the offence and the offender. When one was administered without success, another and a higher was applied, until the individual under censure had been visited with the last and highest grade of punishment known in the discipline. 1. The admonition was given privately, and the offender was allowed seven days to manifest the proper repentance. 2. The separation was public but only a friendly suspension from sealing ordinances for thirty days; at the end of this time he was to be forgiven, provided he had manifested a suitable spirit and temper during the discipline. 3. The cutting off not only excluded the individual from the sealing ordinances, but cut him off from friendly, social intercourse. At the end of thirty days, one under this sentence could be restored, but not sooner, and only then, upon satisfactory evidence of repentance. 4. The highest grade of punishment among the Jews, was exclusion, with a curse. It not only included all that the cutting off inflicted, but required also the confiscation of the offender's property. The subjects of this dreadful infliction were exposed to the visible judgments of God, to be afflicted by disease or smitten with death.
This course towards the unruly was not only simple, but highly efficient, and not only because it is wise, and approved by common
sense, but because there is strong presumptive evidence that it was adopted by the primitive churches, do we claim for it the imitation and adoption of the churches in the reformation. There is, perhaps, no church among us that has had much experience in disciplinary troubles, that has not been compelled to resort to some principles of discrimination in the administration of its government, and in each case, felt itself constrained to adopt measures of expediency suggest. ed by the occasion, and suited to it. Common sense has been their guide. But the matured judgment of long experience is the highest dictum of common sense, and the general adoption of this, gives uni. formity in practice. This is what we greatly desire in the discipline of the church, that all our sister congregations shall walk by the same rule. In reducing the practice of our churches to uniform. ity, we do much towards visible unity, and thus simplify and make familiar and acceptable the truth.
The punishment inflicted on the incestuous person in the church in Corinth was declared by Paul to be sufficient. This sufficiency did not come from his expulsion simply, but from the continuance of his expulsion. He was not restored the moment he became penitent, but only after he suffered much from the privations of his situation, cut off as he was, from all religious and social relations to his former brethren and the church of God. He was nigh being swallowed up with excessive grief, before Paul said, enough. There was evidently a term of suffering, and did it not find its type in the synagogue? Besides—"Delivering over to Satan,” was an expression of the synagogue, in administering the sentence of expulsion, and when Paul borrows the expression, can we doubt that he was speaking to those who were acting under the forms of the synagogue? In prescribing the punishment in this case, we observe that no civil disability or forfeiture was inflicted. This part of the synagogue discipline, as others relating to law, was of course rejected, as contrary to the spirit and genius of the Christian institution. It is not with respect to laws, however, but only to the forms of administering punishment, that we are inquiring. The form of the synagogue is simple, efficient, and commended by precedent, and therefore, should be adopted. But we can say no more on this point now.
We shall consider some difficulties, &c., kindly communicated by some of the friends of good and scriptural order, in another form.We have many queries and suggestions of value, which we shall attend to in due time. We beg our brethren who have manifested an interest in our essays, to have patience. They shall not be slighted, We must write orderly and methodically on the subject of order, and therefore, postpone matters till we come to the proper place for them. We would like to see greater interest upon a subject so radical and so important to the progress and permanency of the reformation.
W. K. P.
LONGING TO DEPART.
BY WILLIAM BAXTER.
Let me go; my soul is weary
of the chain, which binds it here;
To a brighter, holier sphere.
With their fond and faithful love;
Onward, to the climes abuve.
Let me go; for earth hath sorrow,
Sin, and pain, and bitter tears;
All its hopes are fraught with fears;
Soon its cherished joys decay;-
For the realms of endless day,
Let me go; my heart hath tasted
Of my Saviour's wondrous grace;
See, and know him, face to face;
Rise before me, waving bright;
Flash upon my failing sight.
Let me go; for songs seraphic,
Now seem calling from the sky;
Which, e'en now, are hov'ring nigh.
To the mansions of the blest,
Finds, at last, its long sought rest.
THE BAPTISTS_No. II. I HAVE quoted liberally from one of Elder Meredith's essays on Baptism for the remission of sins, as one of the evidences of the progress of the Baptists towards original and apostolic Christianity. Were these the views of only one of their most intelligent scribes, I ould not give them so much emphasis, or regard them as proof of the progress of a portion of that denomination. But they are the views of many not occupying so much space in the admiration of the denomination. Many of elder Meredith's patrons, doubtless, sympathize with them. Only one minister, so far as I am informed, has printed a demur. One editor, indeed, at Richmond, has exhibited his usual bitterness to his brother Meredith; but his censure and disapproval is the highest commendation he could give of any doctrine or practice called evangelical, not already endorsed by his patrons. I shall quote a portion of another essay from elder Meredith, on Remission, and append to it some extracts from the “Religious Herald, indicative of the spirit of its illiberal and narrow-minded editor :
“And lest it should be inferred from the above, that we were insisting on baptism alone—as constituting the only condition of gospel remission—it may be necessary to quote the preceding paragraph of the same article:
“We believe that this two-fold condition of gospel acceptance, consists of faith and baptism—the one relating to the inward, the other to the outward nature of man-the one representing the spiritual, the other the actual part of religion—the one requiring the obedience of the soul, the other the obedience of the life;- but both being inseparably united, both destined and intended to exist together, and both claiming to be parts of the one great and general condition of divine acceptance, according to the system of Christian salvation.”
We ask again, is there any thing of this sort to be found in the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, as held by the Romanists, the Puseyites, or even the Episcopal Church; who maintain that baptism without faith, and even when applied to an unconscious babe, not only changes the moral condition of the subject, but even sanctifies and saves the soul?
We are quite aware that the doctrine of baptism has been very much abused, and that many have attached to the ordinance an effi. cacy and an importance to which it has no just claim. Nor are we ignorant that many others, on the contrary, in order to avoid one extreme, have run into the opposite error, and have degraded the ordinance to a mere form, which may be observed or let alone, at the will of the parties. Our own opinion is, that the truth lies between these two extremes—and that, in order to find it, we should go neither to the Nicene Fathers, on the one hand, nor to the Protestant