« PrécédentContinuer »
[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 119.] 3. Baptism. In Mr. Campbell's Extra on “Remission of Sins,” he maintains that baptism is necessary in such a sense, that previous to a submission to that ordinance, a person, though a true believer in Christ, is still in an "unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, una. dopted, and lost state." This position, in effect, he there obviously labors to sustain., To this position I stood conscientiously opposed, as believing it to be seriously erroneous; and under this impression I wrote “The Extra Examined." And I am still of the same mind in regard to this position.
To do Mr. C. justice, however, (which I wish to do to all men,) let me here observe, that I never have ascribed to him the sentiment tb: t there is a virtue in baptism, considered in itself, to take away guilt. His view is, that by divine appointment, the efficacy of the blood of atone. ment is connected with baptism, and in that ordinance the application takes place, and not before. This at least is my understanding of the matter; and with this understanding I do still unequivocally object to the view: I object to it as calculated to hold a believer in Christ still in the chains of guilt, and under condemnation and wrath, -contrary to the general tenor of the gospel, and to the express declaration of our Lord, (John v. 24 ) that he "is passed from death unto life." I am aware indeed that Mr. C. has brougiit forward from church standards and the. ological writers, (mostly, if not all, Pedobaptists,) many testimonies in favor of what is called “baptismal regeneration." All this weighs but Jittle with me, and ought, I think, to weigh but little with my friend Mr. C., who knows much better than I do, (for he is much better acquainted with church history.) how to trace ihis view of baptism, and with what practice it will be found all along associated.
But it behooves me, in “defining my position," to state my own view of “baptism for remission of sins:" for surely there is a sense in which remission of sins is connected with baptism: Acts ii. 38. and xxii. 16. Well, then, I first prove that the sins of a believer-of every true beliey. er, are actually remitted. I do not here go into the argument; but only refer to the testimony of our Lord, before quoted he is passed from death unto life." Now, this being the case, the actual remission of sins cannot be suspended on the performance of a subsequent act--baptism,
for instalice: and in whatever sense remission of sins is to be considered as connected with this act, that sense, of course, must be such as will not conf.ct with the fact already established-cual remission through faith in Christ. Is there then a sense in which it may be taken, in ac. cordance wih this laci? There is such a sense: and that is, to consider baptism as tie visible certificate the sensible pleilge of remission-the formal wasting a way of sius. And thus, that which had invisibly taken place, is now visibly declared or manifested. This manner of represent. ing a thing I mean, the representing of it as being then done, when it is declared or muniftsted to be done, is not inconsistent with scripture ura e. To name here no other instance, I quote from Malth. v. 44, 45: • But i say un!o you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you,” &c..
l'hat ye inay be the children of your Father which is in heaven,” &c. _"That ye may be." But surely they were not to be ihus actually con. stiluted children of God: no person can think so: but-that you may appear in thal character.
it inay now be asked, How can baptism be considered a visible certificate, or a sensible pledge of the remission of sins, without making it, in many instances, speak falsely? I answer, The declaration made by baptism depends on the character of the subject: he is considered a true believer: and the pledge speaks in his favor only as considered in that character.
I can go with Mr. C: in regard to baptiem, so far as he maintains that it is requisite to a scriptural and legitimate entrance into Christ's king. dom on earth; and I can agree with him in the sentiment, that "the person who knows that immersion is commanded by Christ, and wilfully disobeys or neglects it, has no right to expect salvation:" Review of Mr. Meredith on Remission; (M. H. tor Dec. 1840.) In that Review Ire mark but few expressions in regard to baptism, which to me appear exceptionable; and I should certainly say, here is a material modification of former views-only, that he insists it is not so. Well, I cannot recon. cile these apparent inconsistencies; and I hope my friend Mr. C. will excuse my i bluseness of intellect.
4. Divine Influence, or the Influence of the Holy Spirit. That Mr. C. has seemed to deny the existence of spiritual, divine influence on the soul, either of sinners or saints, in any other way iban as they may be infig. enced by the word, of which the Holy Spirit is the author-will hardly, I think, be called in question. Whether he really designed to do so, is ano her matter. Candor compels me to say, that in my view he intend. ed such a denial: at least, that his arguments went to that effect. This drew from me an essay in vindication of the doctrine of Divi e Influence; which was published, I think, in the Harbinger and the Religious Herald. Whether Mr. C. does now maintain the view which we have ascribed to hiin, in regard to this point, I would not undertake to say. Judging from essays in the Harbinger, of a recent date, I should be disposed to think that he does not: but I have seen no retraction, nor any professed modification of former views.* However this may be, in regard either to Baptism or Divine Influence, I am apprehensive, from what I can understand, that some of the proclaimeis of the Reformation continue pretty strenuously to maintain iheir former ground,
But my own position as to this point may require farther notice, Well, I now believe and affirm, that the influence of the Holy Spirit,
* In a late ingenious Address on Demonology," Mr C. argues that the spirits of departed men may exercise an influence over the souls of the living: it would seem, of course, that he would not deny, as to the Divine Spirit, the existence of sucb an ivity
Introduced, or supervening, (i mean, beside the word, and the provi dences of God,) -- that this influence is exercised, both in the cons version of a sinner, and the sanctification of a believer In regard to the former case, Peter reminds the disciples, (1 Pet. i. 22.) that they had "purified their souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.”. The truth and the Spirit are here two distinct objects, in regard to the latter case-or rather, embracing the whole course of the believer's exercises, from conversion onward, Paul takes occasion to say to the Thessalonians, (2 Thess. ii. 13.,) "God haih from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth:” and for the Ephesians he prays that God would grant them "to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." No, I cannot give up this point: it is the ground of prayer: it is one of the pillars by which my building for eternity is sustained.
At the same time, however, I no more attempt to define the modus operandi of divine influence, than does Mr. C. attempt to show (in his Address on Demonology) how the spirits of the departed may influence the souls of living men. Neither do I preiend to ascertain the measure of this influence; nor to assign to it new revelations; nor would I coun. tenance any notion concerning it, which conflicts with the moral agency of man-reducing him to a passive machine, and laying him down to wait for some irresistible energy to electrify him into life. I do believe that there are spirirual influences, which in some cases are very extraor: dinary; but they ought not to be made the standard of conversion, or of true religion and piety: nor, by any means, ought the peculiar exercises of any individual to he made the measure by which others are to be tried. This very thing has been the cause of much evil. The gospelthe gospel is the standard by which the state and the character are to be judged; and he is the convert, the Christian, whose case is found to accord with its distaies.
And here, before coming to a close, I wish to offer a remark, suggested by the thorights which have just now been expressed. It respects the examination of candidates for baptism. A modification of the method which has generally been pursued in this case, has long appeared to me 10 be desirable. In some degree, and to some extent, it his indeed already taken place; but as yet it seems to be but partial in its operation. Now I offer the following query:- Instead of exacting from the candidates for baptism a detailed account of the various religious exercses through which they may have passed a method of procedure generally cumber. some, often painful; not very scrip'ural in its character, and in its results effecting no security against a mistaken judgment-would it not be bet. ter to adopt the method of proposing a few pertinent questions, leaving the perso: free to speak more fuily, if disposed to do so, and it should appear conducive to ed fication?
This suggestion, and all my remarks herein offered, are respectfully submitted to consideration: and here I close this long article, wishing grace, mercy, and peace to the Israel of God.
A. BROADDUS. November, 1841. P. S. There is one point in regard to my "position," which is omitted in my statement, and which I wish here to notice. It respects the doc. trine of the alonenient, or the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. In regard to this point, I consider Mr. C. as having clearly proved himself its advo. cate and defender: as witness his discussion of this subject with "old father Stone." But I regret to say, that he seems willing, (as well as others of the community of "Reformers") to give this matter the "go by” in his terms of fellowship, and to fraternize with those whose views are subversive of this foundation-principle. For myself, I dare not do it. I can by no means consent to make common cause with those who allow no more atoning efficacy to the blood of the Son of God, than to that of Peter or Paul-nay, I might say, than to that of 'bulls and goats' under the legal dispensation. And to incorporate sucli mateirals in the Christian church-what is it but io build a Babel? Proh pudor! Let not our friends of the "Reformation” be offended, if I say, "Come out of this Babylon."
Mr. Campbell will excusa, I trust, the free use which I have made of his name in this communication. The rature of the case will be my apology.
MR. A, CAMPBELL TO MR. A. BROADDUS-No. II. BROTHER BROADDUS:
My dear Sir-Having so happily defined your position on the all-important items of faith and repentance as to place both you and myself in the same attitude to Paul and Peter on these elements of the Christian religion, you next proceed to baptism and the Holy Spirit, as malters deeply involving our mutual reputation in our respective communities. It is then due to you and to myself that I attentively consider how far we agree and in what we differ on these two great points.
And, in the first place, how far do we agree? 1. We agree that a profession of the faith on the part of every candidate, is essential to Christian baptism.
2. That immersion in water, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is also essential to Christian baptism.
3. That remission of sin is, in some sense, connected with baptism. Your words are—“For surely there is a sense in which remission of sins is connected with baptism: (Acts ii. 38; xxii. 16.)"
In these three points we are unequivocally agreed. If we have not been always agreed, we are now agreed in these three fundamentals.The only point of difference between us is about the sense in which the remission of sins is connected with baptism, the fact of the connexion being fully acknowledged by us both.
4. In the fourth place we agree that, in whatever sense the remission of sins is connected with baptism, there is no efficacy in water to effect that remission that the only valid and procuring cause of remission is in “THE BLOOD of the everlasting covenant.” In this most essential point we are also most happily agreed.
5. And stranger still, we agree that there is an "ACTUAL and a formal remission of sins." This is the doctrine contended for in the first promulgation of baptism for the remission of sins made in the current reformation. See my debate with Mr. M.Calla on that subject in 1823. It is there, perhaps, where this distinction is expressly stated, and formally drawn out, for the first time in the pending controversy. It is true I never altogether liked the phraseology. It was the best I could then think of; and if properly defined, is, in my judgment, admissible, But I have seen it much abused, and perhaps a term less liable to abuse might be preferred to it.
6. In the sixth place, you and I also agree that the formal remission of sin, an assurance or certificate of pardon, is connected with baptism;" consequently, that until baptism. there is no formal remission, no assurance of pardon.
Now, my good sir, put on your spectacles, descry and define the difference between us. We agree in six points ont of seven, at least. Can you define your position as to the seventh item?
The believer in Christ, you say, is "passed from death unto life” the moment of his faith. Grant it just as you say; but is a person born and named the moment he is quickened! or is one clothed with immortality and the beauty of the Lord the moment he is quickened in the grave? Does the Lord speak of the birth of water," and Paul of “the washing of the new birth," as equivalent to being quickened by the Spirit? But I will not now argue the case. You admit the half of the seventh point: for you add, "I can go with Mr. C. in regard to baptism--so far as he maintains that it is requisite to a legitimate entrance into Christ's kingdom on earth!! Moreover, you agree with me in the half of the last half of the seventh point: for you immedi. ately add, “And I can agree with him in the sentiment that the person who knows that immersion is commanded by Christ, and wilfully disobeys or neglects it, has no right to expect salvation.” There is, then, my dear sir, but the fourth part of the seventh item, or the one twenty. eighth part of the wholc item of baptism, on which we are at variance, yourself being judge. What, then, is that fractional remainder which imagination has magnified into an insuperable mountain barrier between your good brethren and us? I have said that she unbaptized is still in an unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, unreconciled, unadopted, and lost state.” Well, when we hear your interpretation of the matter, this formidable proposition has lost almost all its terror. For you admit that the unbaptized is formally unpardoned, unjustified, unsanctified, &c.; for he has not a “sensible pledge," a "visible certificate," nor a “formal remission" until baptized. Now, unless a person can be formally justified, sanctified, reconciled, adopted, &c. when he is not formally pardoned, we are both of the same opinion on this
VOL VI.- N. 8