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Circular Letter
Campbell County Baptist Association
The Lord's Supper, 1873

DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS: -- We propose to offer you some thoughts in justification of our practice in administering the Lord's Supper.

You know we are called by all sorts of hard names, because we, in our interepretation of the law of Christ, exclude from the Lord's table all persons who have not been immersed, on a profession of faith, into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and also all who have been immersed, and are living in error; or, in other words, because we regard the ordinance of the Lord's Supper peculiarly and essentially a church ordinance, we are said to be "exclusive," "bigoted," "uncharitable;" "to oppose Christian union;" "to oppose the Savior's prayer for the unity of His people;" "to be in the way of the conversion of the world." And, in fact, we are very obnoxious to those who are clamoring for religous alliances, Christian union, liberal Christianity, latitudinarianism, and such like. These are grave charges. If they are founded in truth, we ought to so modify our teaching and practice as to remove those objectionable features. If they are false, we owe it to the
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cause of Christ, to the world, to ourselves, to denounce and expose them.

Brethren, we invite you to a candid and careful examination of the subject. We can only make a few suggestions in the brief space of a Circular Letter. Every Baptist ought to be ready to give a reason of the hope within. We will endeavor to state as definitely and briefly as possible the practice of Baptist churches on this subject, and the grounds upon which it is based.

To the church were given by Christ two positive ordinances, -- Baptism and the Lord's Supper. From the days of the Apostles until now, there has always been a people, though called by different names, now known as Baptists, who have held uniform, and I may say, peculiar views touching these ordinances: as to Baptism, that it is the immersion in water of a disciple or a believer, into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; and that it is a necessary qualification for membership in a Gospel church; -- as to the Lord's Supper, that is is a provision of bread and wine, to be partaken of by members of Gospel churches; that is design is to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Baptism is necessary to membership in a Gospel church; membership in a Gospel church is a necessary Scriptural qualification for the Lord's Supper: therefore, Baptism is a prerequisite to communion at the Lord's table.

We conclude, therefore, that there is an order to be observed by divine appointment in the administration of these ordinances, and that Baptism precedes in this order. If this is a fact sustained by Scripture, then Baptist practice is sustained. Before proceeding to examine this proposition, we would remind you that these are positive ordinances; and the nature of a positive command is such that it must be observed exactly as commanded, or it is not obedience. When God commanded Noah to build an ark of gopher wood, if he had used any other kind of wood he would have disobeyed. Again, a positive command forbids everything that is not commanded. When God commanded the children of Israel to take a lamb without spot, a male of the first year, this, of course, forbade them taking one that was halt, or maimed or a female, or one of the second or third year. Now, if Christ, has commanded us to baptize believers, and we baptize little, unconscious babes who cannot believe, we disobey Christ as much as the children of Israel would have done, had they taken maimed or females, or a lamb of the second or third year; the which, if they had done, the destroying angel would not have
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passed over, but slain their first-born, as he did the Egyptians.

If Christ has commanded us to make disciples, and then baptize them, and we change His order, and baptize, then make disciples, we disobey Christ as much as Saul did, when God commanded him to slay all the Amalekites with their flocks, and he spared Agag and the best of the flocks, the fatlings and the lambs for sacrifice. God told him to obey was better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. If Christ has commanded us to baptize, and then administer the Supper, and we administer the Supper to those who are not baptized, we disobey as much as did Uzzah when he touched the ark containing the law with his hand, and thereby lost his life. It is a dangerous thing to meddle with God's positive ordinances.

Christ has either revealed His will concerning the ordinances of His church, or He has not. If He has, they are contained in the New Testament, and written to be understood and practiced by us. Let ours be the work of understanding and practicing Christ's doctrines and precepts.

We will now address ourselves to the investigation of the will of Christ concerning the Supper. Our proposition is, that Baptism precedes the Supper in the order of divne appointment.

This we infer, first, from the order of time of their institution. Baptism was an ordinance, and multitudes were baptized by Christ's harbinger, and more disciples were made and baptized by Christ and His apostles, while as yet the Supper institution did not exist. There was no period from the time John began to preach, when it was not the duty of all penitents to be baptized. But it was not their duty to observe the Supper institution, because it was not in existence.

Secondly, the order of the words of the great commission clearly teaches that Baptism precedes the Lord's Supper. "Go teach" (or make disciples of) "all nations, baptizing them" (that is, the disciples), "teaching them" (that is, those disciples who have been baptized) "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Among the "all things" to be taught them is the observance of the Supper. The order is, make disciples, baptize them, then teach them the other duties that follow.

Thirdly, the same order is observed by the Apostles on the day of Pentecost and other occasions, when they were carrying into execution this commission. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached. Men were convinced of sin, and cried, "Men and brethren, shat shall we do?" The
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answer was: "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins." "Then they that gladly received His word were baptized, and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfast in the Apostles' doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking bread and in prayers." Acts, 2:38-42.

"Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unot them. When they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." He did not spread the table, and administer the Lord's Supper, but baptized them.

Then Philip began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And, when they came to a certain water, the eunuch said unto Philip, 'Here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?' Then Philip said, 'If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.' And he answered, and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him." Acts, 8:37.

Peter preached to the household of Cornelius. He exclaimed: "Who can forbid water that these should be baptized who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 10:47, 48.

Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailer said: "'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house.' And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straitway." Acts, 16:33.

"Many of the Corintians believed, and were baptized." Acts, 18:8.

To Paul it was said, "What tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized." Acts, 22:16.

We have referred to these passages to show how uniformly and how precisely the Apostles followed the commission; and that Baptism was not regarded by them as an indifferent thing, but an important, positive, and divine command; and how they enjoined obedience to it upon every penitent believer. Not believe, and go to the Supper; but believe and be baptized. And, furthermore, we see this order is manifest in the design of the ordinances.

In Baptism is made a public profession of faith in the divne Redeemer, a believer's death to sin; and his resurrection to a new, divine and spiritual life. As we are born
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but once, as we die to sin once, as we rise to newness of life but once, and as baptism sets forth that birth, that life, that resurrection, we are baptized but once.

In communicating at the Lord's table, we have the symbols of that spiritual food, which nourishes this spiritual life. But, as this spiritual life is nourished by the constant agency of divine grace, and the happiness of it by the continued exercise of faith in a crucified Savior, so it is his duty often to partake of that bread and wine which symbolizes his spiritual sustenance.

It seems very clear, therefore, that the ordinances which symbolizes the beginning of the Christian life should be administered but once, and that it should precede the ordinance which symbolizes that bread of life which nourishes the believers.

To us it seems perfectly conclusive that the Scriptures teach that Baptism precedes the Lord's Supper, and is a necessary qualification for it. But we have, in addition to the Scripture testimony, the practice of professing Christians in all time -- before the great Roman apostacy, in the very depth of that apostacy, and since the Reformation.

Justin Martyr, who lived only about A. D. 150, fifty years after the death of the Apostle John, speaking of the Lord's Supper says: "This food is called by us the Eucharist, of which it is not lawful for any to partake but such as believe the things taught by us to be true and have been baptized."
Jerome, who wrote A. D. 400, says: Catechumens cannot partake, i.e., of the Lord's Supper, being unbaptized.

Austin, who wrote A. D. 500, speaking of the absolute necessity of infants receiving the Lord's Supper, says: "Of which certainly they cannot partake, unless they be baptized." Bede in A. D. 700; Theophylact, in A. D. 1100; Bonaventure, in 1200; Spauheim, in 1600, all give testimony to the same. (See Booth's Vindication, Sec. 1, page 8 and 9.)

All the Protestant churches, as far as their standard writers, their confessions of faith and catechisms, set forth their views, teach the same. Dr. Wall, a distinguished Episcopalian, than whom none is of higher authority in his church, says:
"No church ever gave the communion to any persons before they were baptized. Among all the absurdities that ever were held, none ever maintained that, that any person should partake of the communion before he was baptized."

Dodridge, says: "It is certain, as far as our knowledge of primitive antiquity extands, no unbaptized persons were received at the Lord's Supper."

How excellent soever a man's character is, he must be baptized before he can be looked upon as a member of the
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Church of Christ, and traching also that membership in a church was necessary to the Lord's Supper.

Dr. Dwight, a very learned Congregationalist, says: "It is an indispensible qualification for this ordinance that the candidate for communion be a member of a visible Church of Christ, in full standing. By this I intend that he should be a person of piety, that he should have made a profession of religion, and that he should have been baptized."

Dr. Griffin, a learned Presbyterian, says: "I agree with the advocates of close communion in two points: first, that Baptism is the initiating ordinance into the visible church. Of course, where there is no Baptism, there are no visible churches; second, that we ought not to commune with those who are not baptized, and of course are not church members, even of we regard them as Christians."

Dr. Hibbard, a learned Methodist, I may say a very candid and fair exponent of Baptist views, and endorsed by the Methodist General Conference, says: "Both Baptist and Pedobaptist Churches agree in rejecting from their communion at the table of the Lord, and denying the right of church fellowship to all who have not been baptized." He further says: "The Baptists in passing the sweeping sentence of disfranchisement upon all other Christian churches, have only acted on a principle held in common with all other Christian churches, viz: that Baptism is essential to church membership. They have decried our Baptism, and as unbaptized persons we have been excluded from their table. That they greatly err in their views of Baptism, we of course believe. But according to their views of Baptism, they certainly are consistent in restraining thus their communion. We would not be understood as passing a judgment of approval on their course, but we say their views of Baptism force them on the ground of strict communion. And herein they act on the same principle as other churches; that is, they admit only those whom they deem baptized persons to their table."

You see from this candid and honest statement, that the differnce between Baptists and Pedobaptists is not close communion, but close Baptism.

Episcopalians, Presbyterians , Congregationalists and Methodists are as close communionists as we. They require the same qualifications as we do, that is Baptism and church membership. Brethren, we cannot be open communionists, while we hold that immersion only is Baptism. But it is said our brethren of the current reformation practice open communion. But Mr. A. Campbell says they do it without "law, precedent or license." To the question propounded to him, "Do any of your churches admit unbaptized persons to their communion?"
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he replied, "Not one, as far as known to me. I am at a loss to understand, on what principles, by what law, precedent or license, any congregation, founded upon the Apostles and Prophets -- Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone -- could dispense with the practice of the primitive church -- with the commandment of the Lord, and the authority of his Apostles. In his debate of 1843 with Dr. N. L. Rice, he says: "We indeed receive to our communion persons of other denominations, who will take upon themselves the responsibility of their participating with us." (See Jeter's Campbellism Examined, pages 289 & 290.) Of all inconsistencies this seems to us the most glaring. No Law, precedent or license, and yet "We indeed receive persons of other denominations to our communion, they take the responsibility." What responsibility? Reformers say Pedobaptists are not baptized, consequently no pardoned, not reconciled, not justified, not regenerate, without the covenant of redemption. Our Pedobaptist brethren who commune with reformers must take all this responsibility on them. How can people who set up such claims as our reformed brethren do, to take the New Testament as their guide, be guilty of so glaring a departure from its plain teaching as interpreted by themselves? Just as much consistency in sprinkling any person who wishes to become a member of their congregation, by leaving that person to take the responsibility on himself. If they have a right to administer one of the ordinances unscripturally, they have equally as good a right to administer the other. We have shown that all professing Christians teach, that Baptism is a prerequisite to the communion; and that the charge of bigotry, exclusiveness, uncharitableness is utterly groundless; that we practice strict communion precisely on the same principles as others do; that in fact there is no such thing as free communion. What do we mean by free communion? What is it? Free from what? Free from the restraints of the laws of Heaven? Nay, verily; that were absurd. Free to whom? To unconverted people, to infidels, to all who may think themselves believers? No one advocates this sort of freedom. What then is the freedom for which they plead? It is that Baptists should admit Pedobaptists to communion with them at the Lord's table; or in other words that they -- the Baptists -- should violate a prinicple which they all hold and acknowledge to be Scriptural, and refuse to violate, that is of admitting as qualified for the Lord's Supper, those who are not baptized, to do what they will not do. This looks to us a little like uncharitableness on the other side of the house. It reminds us of what our Saviour said of a certain people once: "Ye bind heavy burthens upon others, which ye yourselves will not touch with the tip if your finger."
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But what is strict communion, or exclusive communion, such as makes Baptists so odious to other professing Christians? It is restricting the ordinance of the Supper to baptized believers, members of visible churches of Christ.

We now propose to answer some objections that are frequently urged against our practice.

First, That it is opposed to Christian union; and it is put in stronger form: That we are in the way of the conversion of the world; that we are opposing our Savior's prayer for the unity of his people. I saw not long since this logical objection: The world cannot be converted until the church is united; the church cannot be united until the Baptists renounce close communion.

What is Christian union? I mean real Christian union, such as our Savior prayed for. Is it the union of all the religious sects? In arithmetic the union of several numbers together is call the "sum." I presume, then, the union of all the sects might be called the sum of sectarianism. A union of all Christians is desirable. Our Lord prayed that all who believe on him might be one, as we are one. How were Christ and the Father one? Evidently, in feeling, action, council, name they are one. Christians must be one in their views. Truth must be the standard. They must be united in feeling. They must hold the same doctrines, the same ordinances, and must hold them as Jesus delivered them. Any union but union on the truth would be disunion. Paul exhorts the Ephesians, saying: "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, for there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. When Christ ascended up, He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come into the unity of the faith." -- Eph. iv, 2, 11, 12, 13.

Permanent, safe Christian union, such as our Savior prayer for, can never be attained except upon the truth. To neglect truth, to distort truth, to change the ordinances or modify them, would be treason against Christ. Let it once be admitted that truth may be modified, distorted or neglected, then we are in an open sea, without compass, rudder or pilot. Let it be granted that we may change, for the sake of convenience or policy, either of the positive ordinances in the church of Christ, as to form, subject or design, and we admit a principle which is subversive of the true church. Truth before union; fidelity to Christ before union; a good conscience before union. Paul says to a church: I delivered to you that which I also received. And again he
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says: "I praise you that you keep the ordinances as I also delivered them to you." -- 1st Cor. xi, 2. To the church were the ordinances given; the church is to see that these ordinances are kept as they were delivered.

But communion at the Lord's table is not Christian union, not a test of it. Christ did not so teach. He said: "Do this in remembrance of me." "As oft as ye do this ye show forth my death till I come." No professing Christian denomination holds it as such, at least so far as it is set forth in their standard writers, creeds, confessions of faith and catechisms. But sometimes men, when they wish to indulge in abusive epithets against Baptists, so represent it, presuming on the ignorance of their audiences, and ignoring for the time being the teaching of their own church. Is it honest, when a preacher thinks he can make capital of the ignorance and prejudices of men, to the injury of the Baptists, to misrepresent an ordinance of the church as held by all professing Christians? To us this looks a little worse than "exclusiveness."

But again: How is it the way of Christian union? Baptist churches unite in national, state and district associations and conventions for the spread of the gospel; and yet the case of not on record, as far as we know, where the Lord's Supper was administered at these meetings. This among us, as it should be, is administered in each church in its independent character. When our Saviour instituted it, it was not in the presence of a great multitude of disciples, but in an upper room, with the Apostles alone. May not Christians come together and consult, if necessary, as to the best means of spreading the Gospel? It is not necessary that they spead the table; neither is it expedient for many reasons.

But again: How much more brotherly love and Christian union exist between open communionists themselves than between Baptists and them? How much more brotherly love and Christian union exist between the two branches of the Methodist church, or the Presbyterians and Methodists, Reformers and Methodists, than between them and Baptists? We believe there is quite as much good-feeling for the Baptists by all Pedobaptists as for the Reformers. We believe our Pedobaptists have more respect for us, although we are "bigoted," than they have for our brethren of the Reformers, for they know we act consistently in practising close communion, while they act inconsistently in practising open communion. Then there are the Free-will Baptists, a pious people and free communicants. Is there any
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more brotherly love for them than for us? Do they respect them any more? We think not.

Why, then, all this clamor about Christian union, and Baptists being the great obstacle to it? But on what prinicple do they propose to have it? That the Baptist[s] sacrifice principle, and have none. It reminds us of a quarrel between two venerable Baptist deacons. They began to relent. One says to the other, "It is very wicked for us thus to quarrel with each other. It is too bad. We must be reconciled." "You must be reconciled; I can't be." Our friends say we must be reconciled. you must be reconciled; we cannot be.

Secondly, it is objected that, although in the Apostolic times Baptism and membership in a visible church were necessary qualifications for the Lord's Supper, yet the times and circumstances have changed. We have to do with classes of persons that had no representatives in Apostolic times. The church was not divided into different branches -- was not distracted as now. There are persons who have unquestionably been born again, true believers in the various religious societies, many of whom may not have been baptized, from ignorance or a misunderstanding of Christ's command. May we not excercise some laxity in the application of the laws of Christ and the rigid practice of the Apostles, to suit the present condition of Christian society? It is true the times and circumstances and the state of religious society have changed, but the will of Christ has not changed. The church was constituted with reference to all time and every state of society. All human governments are subject to change. Their constitutions need frequently to be revised. But there never has been, nor will there ever be, a state of society requiring a change in the laws of the kingdom of Christ.

"All flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of the grass; the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth forever."

"My word shall not pass away."

The objection presupposes the existence of many religious societies, all claiming to be true churches, all conscientious, but not all right, of course. This is an evil to be deplored, and remedied, if possible. How can it be remedied? Can it be done by Baptists churches yielding up their peculiar principles, or by perpetuating them? If Baptists hold no truth except what is held in common by other professing Christian people; and, further, if we hold no truth essential to the esistence of a true church of Christ, then the sooner we dissolve our separate existence, and merge into a common union,
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the better. But is it so? Do not Baptists hold truths not held by others, and truth essential to the existence of a true church of Christ? Believing, as we do, most firmly that Baptist churches are modeled after Apostolic pattern, and holding essentially the doctrine of the Apostles, the only course for us to pursue consistently and conscientiously, is to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints -- stand firm on the doctrine of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Mutilate Christ's positive ordinances? modify them? neglect them? Never! no never! There is too much fidelity to Christ, too much has been sacrificed by Baptists. Their high position has been purchased at too great expense to now surrender it, for the sake of adapting the laws of Christ's church to the state of society. We dare not do it.

Third, it is objected that the church has no right to judge or decide who shall partake of the Lord's Supper. It is true the church has no right to make laws. Christ is the law-giver in Zion. But the church is to decide what these laws are. The church decides the qualification of membership, who shall be baptized, and what constitutes Baptism. In all the Epistles this right is recognized. Paul says to a church, "I praise you that you have kept the ordinances as they were delivered to you." But, when it comes to deciding as to the qualifications for admission to the Lord's table, the church is not to decide. It is said, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat, discerning the Lord's death" -- a passage grossly perverted, as are also many other Scriptures, by some wittingly and others unwittingly. The fact cannot be successfully controverted. The church has received these ordinances, and she is charged to hold fast sound doctrine, to contend for the faith, to do all things according to the model. The church must see to it that the ordinances are kept pure.

Fourth, it is objected, we unchristianize all whom we exlcude from the Lord's table. This is a very common, and yet a very groundless objection. It is unjust, because untrue. It may be made as justly against a Presbyterian, who says: "We should not commune at the Lord's table with those who have not been baptized, and of course not church members, even if we regard them as Christians." Or against a Methodist, who says: "Baptism is necessary to church membership, and church membership an essential qualification for communion at the Lord's table." Or against an Episcopalian, who says: "Among all the absurdities that ever were held, none ever held that, that any person should partake of the communion before he was baptized." Or against a Campbellite, who says: "There is neither law, precept nor
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example inviting unbaptized persons to the communion." The charge is unjust against any of the above-named; for, while all these require Baptism, they also agree (except Campbellites) that a person may be a Christian, and yet not be baptized. A Presbyterian says, "I would reject a pious Quaker from the communion table, because he is not baptized."

To illustrate our views on this subject, and show the absurdity of the objection, we will introduce an illustration. Two Methodists attended our service on a certain occasion. At the close of the sermon, an opportunity was given for the reception of members. One of them came forward, and sought admission to our church. The clerk heard the statement of the brother. HIs statement was satisfactory. He told a Christian's experience. The brethren and sisters say we are satisfied that this brother is a Christian; for, you know, we profess not to baptize any but Christians. The hand of Christian fellowship is extended; and it is said to him, When you are baptized, you will then be entitled to all the privileges of membership in this church. We then spread the table, and administered the Lord's Supper. We do not invite the newly-received brother to the table, not because we do not regard him as a Christian, but because he has not been baptized. For the same purpose we would not invite any other Methodist brother. We could say to him: My brother, we love you as a Christian, but the law of Christ forbids us to admit you to the communion table. It is the Lord's table, not ours. We have no right to modify in the least the laws of His kingdom.

Fifth, Pedobaptists think they have been baptized; they are conscientious. We must bear in mind that concientious convictions do not change the law of Christ, and that Baptists have a conscience as well. They are equally conscientious that sprunkling and pouring are not Baptism. Shall they not have respect to their own conscience, as well as to other people's? Shall other people's conscience be the rule of their action? Shall the consciences of individual Christians among us give law to our chruches? Shall we have greater reverence for our brethren's conscience than for the law of Christ? Judge ye.

But you may say you feel badly not to invite a good Methodist or Presbyterian to the communion. Yes, I have no doubt you do; so do we often, and if we felt that the law of Christ would allow us to do so, we would invite every one whom we regard as a Christian. Our Savior says, whosoever forsaketh not father or mother, brother or sister, husband or wife for my sake, and the Gospel, is not worthy of me. We regard it more
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pleasing to the Master to obey than to sacrifice. Our feelings cannot be a criterion. Fidelity to the law of Christ before feelings.

It is asked, why not invite those who have been immersed, and are members of other churches? The Lord's Supper is a church ordinance, and we have no right to send it out of the church. We can only invite such as could be members of our church without change of views.

Sixth, it is objected why not commune at the Lord's table with those whom we expect to commune with in Heaven? Thos who make this objection fail to discriminate between Christian and church communion or fellowship. We have Christian fellowship for all true believers, but we have church fellowship for only those who are members of the same church. We do n ot expect to have any chruch ordinances or organizations in Heaven. We do not expect to commune at the Lord's table there. We have for all Christians charity. We can unite with them in prayer, in praise, and in all Christian worship which does not involve the sacrifice of principles which would be subversive of the true Chruch of Christ.

Seventh, it is objected by our own people (a few only) that it is not good policy for us to practice close communion. That is to say, we would be more prosperous if we should abandon this practice. Many people say they like the Baptists better than any other people, except their close communion. This objection proceeds upon the supposition, that the ordinances of the church are things of expediency; that the chruch is at liberty to change her practice if she finds it expedient to do so. The laws of Christ's Kingdom must yield to expediency; this would be fatal to the ordinaces of Christ's Kingdom, and yet many entertain just such views of the mode and subjects of Baptism. A distinguished Pedobaptist says: "I care not if there is no command for infant Baptism in the New Testament, or, if I find no example for it in the Baptisms of the New Testament, or among the Christian fathers; I only want to know that it is expedient or attended with good." This probably has been the most fruitful source of distraction, and divisions in the church; one man thinks this, and another that is the most expedient way of administering the ordinances. You see at once that to interpret the laws of the Kingdom of Christ by the rule of expediency, would lead to endless diversities of creeds and sects, as the history of the church fully demonstrates. The true doctrine is, "the law of Christ first, literally and faithfully adhered to, then expediency and policy, and popularity afterwards."

But the facts are most abundantly clear, that it is not good policy for Baptists to depart from the law of Christ. Examples
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are abundant in proof of it. John Bunyan was, as we may say, the first of modern Baptists to advocate and practice open communion. He was pastor of the Baptist Church in Bedford, England. This church soon fell into the hands of Pedobaptists. In England mixed communion generally prevails among Baptists. In America strict communion almost universally prevails among Baptists. Here the Baptists have increased about fifty per cent. in proportion to the population, and in England they have decreased about thirty per cent. in proportion to the population. In this country many churches, at different times, have gone off and set up open communion practice, but they ahve nearly all come to naught. The Free-will Baptists are apious and intelligent people; they have had an existence about one hundred years, and yet there are no half as many in all the United States as there are Baptists in Kentucky. The fact is, our success in the past and our hopes for the future, are in humbly and faithfully adhering to the law of Christ. Every view we take of the subject, we come to the same conclusion. Restricted communion is founded in Scripture and reason and expediency.

Before we can practice open or unrestricted communion, we must concede that Baptism is not essential to admittance to the communion table. We must acknowledge that immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Holy Trinity, is not essential to Baptism. We must concede that individuals, and not churches, are to decide as to the nature of the ordinances of the church; that the church is not repsonsible for the keeping of the ordinances. We must acknowledge sprinkling and pouring is Baptism, and infant Baptism, with all its frightful train of evils. We must give up all for which our ancestors have struggled and died. Are you prepared to do that? We think not. Grace be with you all. Amen!

[From Campbell County Baptist Association Minutes, 1873, pp. 9-22. A copy of this document was provided by Charles Hunt. Transcribed and scanned by Jim Duvall.]

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