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You say, perhaps, " that you will admit dissenting Christians to join with you in religious conferences, in social prayer and in hearing the word; and thus you shall comply with the Apostle's rule." But would you not admit heathens to as much fellowship as this? The apostolic rule respects the manner, in which Christians should treat one another. If you reject pious persons from the Lord's table, you do not receive them as Christians, and consequently you do not comply with the rule above mentioned.

Some will say, "If we receive to our communion those who retain what we deem an error, we make ourselves partakers with them in that error." But why, any more, than if you pray, or hear the word with them? As long as you adopt not the error in your own practice, your communion with them in ordinances will not make you partakers of the error. Our Savior's example will direct your conduct. The Jewish church, in his day, admitted many errors, which he condemned; but he had communion with that church in all the festivals which God had appointed. Was he partaker of their errors?

Attend to the example of the Apostles. It ap pears from the 15 and 21 chapters of the Acts, that the Christian church in Jerusalem, which consisted wholly of Jews, and the Jewish believers in those churches, which consisted partly of Gentiles, practised the circumcision of infants, and that they did it with the approbation of all the Apostles. It appears also that they did not practise this, as a rite of the Mosaic law (for it was not such, and when any used it as being such, the Apostles always condemned it;) but they practised it as a seal of the rightcousness of faith, or of the covenant of grace. And yet the Gentile churches, which did not circumcise

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their infants, had communion with this church, and this had communion with them, and the apostles had communion with them all,

But some say, "We think the dedication of children to God in baptism is a plain institution; and how can we receive as Christians those who neglect it?" If it appears that they neglect it in perverseness, you cannot receive them, nor will they ask you to receive them. Their contempt of one known institution, will be accompanied with an equal contempt of all others. But if you have reason to hope, that they act conscientiously, and that they err only through weakness of faith, or want of light, and not with a perverse and contemptuous mind, they are the persons, whom the Apostle directs you to receive.

Some, perhaps, will say on the other hand; "Baptism is a prerequisite to the supper; and we think infant baptism a nullity; and for us to receive those who have been baptized in infancy only, is to receive unbaptized persons." But you ought to consider, that they have had what they suppose to be Christian baptism. They do not treat baptism with contempt. They reverence it. And if they do not conform to your practice, it is because they think, they ought not. Therefore impute their supposed error to weakness, not to perverseness. You well know, that Christ did not, in all cases, require baptism as a prerequisite to communion at his table. His first disciples partook of his supper, at the time when he instituted it; and yet it is certain, that they had not received Christian baptism; for this was not instituted, until after Christ's resurrection. If they had received John's baptism (of which we have no evidence) yet this was not Christian baptism; for some of John's subjects were afterward baptized in the name of Christ. But they had doubtless been

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circumcised in infancy. And as they had received the seal of the covenant then in use, no other exter nal ceremony was required in order to their admis. sion to Christ's table. This example will certainly justify you in receiving some who have been bap tized only in infancy.

This is not a time, nor place to decide on the different opinions and usages of Christians: All that I intend by these examples is to shew, that a differ ence, which effects not the substance of religion, ought not to interrupt the communion of different


If there be any Christian societies, which ought to put on candor and condescension, this, methinks, is one. Your cooperation in building this house, and your union in dedicating it to God, indicate an intention to be one people. But if you should be so unhappy as to divide upon that ordinance, which was instituted to be a mean and a bond of union, you can no longer be one. In both the denomina. tions existing here, doubtless there are godly people, who will not easily forego the privilege of commemorating their Redeemer's death in the ordinance of the supper. If either of these should exclude the other, the Christians excluded will feel an obliga. tion to seek the privilege by themselves, or in some church which will receive them. And a division in the church will tend to a dissolution of the society.

I have no disposition to set up one class of Christians above another-to pronounce one infallible, and another perversely heretical: But I wish to see among all good Christians the arms of charity extended to embrace one another-to see the strong bearing the infirmities of the weak, and each studying, not merely to please himself, but to please his neighbors for their good to edification; for even Christ pleased not himself.

It was with sensible pleasure, that I lately read the result of a large assembly of ministers, in one of our southern States, who were convened for the purpose of forming a union among Christians of different sects. The ministers convened were Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists. After joint prayer and friendly conference, they unanimously agreed, that their different sentiments and usages ought not to interrupt Ministerial or Christian communion-that the churches of the several denominations ought to harmonize as churches of the same denomination-that members from a church of one denomination, on recommendation from the church, of which they were members, ought to be received to stated, as well as occasional communion, in the churches of either of the other denominations-and that they would use their influence to extend this charitable intercourse. This resolution seems to have originated in the remarkable attention to religion, which had been lately awakened in those parts. And it is certain, that where real religion prevails, brotherly love will abound, and that a just regard to, and concern for the great interests of the gospel will absorb the zeal of particular sects for their respective peculiarities.

And here I cannot forbear to communicate to you the excellent sentiments of Mr. Hall, a distinguished Baptist minister, in his preface to a sermon lately preached at Cambridge in England. Speaking of the opposition made to the gospel by modern Deists and Atheists, he says, "At such a crisis as this, is it not best for Christians of all denominations, that they may better concentrate their forces against the common adversary, to suspend for the present their internal disputes, imitating the policy of wise states, who have never failed to consider the invasion of an enemy as the signal for terminating the contests of

party? Internal peace is the best fruit, which we can reap from external danger. The momentous contest at issue between the Christian church and infidels may instruct us, how trivial, for the most part, are the controversies of its members with each other; and that the different ceremonies, opinions and practices, by which they are distinguished, correspond to the variety of feature and complexion discernable in the offspring of the same parent, among whom there subsists the greatest family likeness. He adds; "May it please God so to dispose the minds of Christians of every visible church and communion, that Ephraim shall no longer envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim, and the only rivalry felt in future shall be, who shall most advance the interests of our common Christianity, and the only provocation sustained shall be that of provoking each other to love and good works."

These sentiments deserve our general attention; and surely you cannot think them unworthy of your particular attention in a situation so delicate, as yours; and on an occasion so serious, as the pre


To this advice of an eminent preacher, I will add that of an inspired apostle in a case similar to this under consideration.

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Saint Paul thus addresses the Corinthians, "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that there be no divisions among you -for it hath been declared unto me, that there are contentions among you. Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and 1 of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I have not baptized in my own name ?" The apostle here teaches them, that, as they were baptized in the name of Christ, they were all one.

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