We have received the following note from an excellent brother, resident more than a hundred miles from Nashville:
"Dear Sir: -"A brother of the Church of which I am a member, made application the other day, for a letter of dismission. We had no intimation that he designed to remove his residence, and inquired his reasons for the change. His reply was that he wished for all orthodox Christians to commune together, and for that reason he wished to join the Cumberland Presbyterian Church! His application was taken up, and deferred for counsel in the case. Will you please state in your paper what we ought to do?"
We answer, in the first place, that open communion is a great hobby with our Cumberland, and some other Pedobaptist brethren. Not that they are any more open in their communion than we are, but as a proselyting measure, to get our members to join their Churches. And with the ignorant, and easily influenced, they are sometimes successful. This may be a good brother, whose judgment is misled, and if so, he should be dealt with very kindly, and enlightened, and shown the right path.
But secondly, suppose he joins the Cumberlands, can he then commune with "all orthodox christians?" Certainly not; for he cannot then commune with Baptists. His change of membership will not, therefore, benefit his case. His alternative is, either to remain where he is, and not commune with unbaptized christiams, Cumberlands for instance; or to take the Cumberland's baby sprinkling and all, commune with unbaptized christians, and, violating the law of God, give up communion with Baptists. If he prefers Cumberlands to his own Church, why then, by all means, let him go.
In this case, thirdly, he cannot have a letter of dismission. Why? Because, by the step he is about to take, he embraces "baby sprinkling" and by communion with Cumberlands, declares his belief either that this is the true Gospel baptism, or that baptism is not, although the scriptures declare it to be, essential to communion. Baptists do not fellowship this. But letters of dismission state that the persons who receive them are in full fellowship. Now if this brother have a letter, this letter must state a thing as true, which is not true. Therefore the Church cannot give him a letter of dismission. - H
[R. B. C. Howell and J. R. Graves, editors, Tennessee Baptist paper, May 15, 1847, p. 1. The title is added. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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