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When my mind had arrived at this state of the examination, it felt delighted with its views of Christianity, having before given up Baptism, the only external ordinance left to reformed Christianity was removed, and the doctrines of Jesus appeared to be what the first teacher of them declares them to be the religion of the heart, the worship of God in the mind and in sincerity; and the passages heretofore adduced to support the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, appeared to be there recorded for the establishment among the apostles of that noble principle, which Mr. Owen, of Lanark, is now contending ought to be considered as the foundation on which the superstructure of human society ought

or whether they drank, or whatsoever they did, in all they should, by recollecting the example of Jesus in all their social actions, glorify God. If any one will but read over this chapter from 18-34, i think it will be impossible for him not to be convinced, that the whole of it refers to a feast, or meal, of the Corinthian Church, and in no way whatsoever can apply to an ordinance; and that the ordinance of the Lord's Supper is not a plant which God hath planted, but is, on the con trary, a relict of the Romish Church, a weed of human will-worship.

N. N.

SIR, Essex House, April 8, 1818. your Christian

to be erected, that, instead of self-love A Political World Surveyor of the

being the foundation of our social love, our social is the only solid foundation for our self-love. To establish this allsubduing principle of action amongst his disciples, Jesus, at the passover feast, consecrated the last acts of his life, at supper and after supper, acting as the menial in waiting upon them, washing their feet, and such other servile offices as might be an example to each of them to strive to be the most useful and most kind towards each other, making love, as Paul expresses it, the perfect bond to Christian society.

The passage in the xith of 1 Cor. I have not before noticed, because evidence must be found for or against this ordinance of the Lord's Supper, in the histories, the epistles being only deductions from them; for Paul says, ver. 23, "I have received concerning the Lord." By comparing what he has received with Luke's Gospel it will be found, that it was from the history of the ministry of Jesus, written by Luke, his fellow-traveller, he had received it. The most material part where they differ is, that Luke only says, this do in remembrance of me, after breaking the bread; but Paul adds, that after Jesus had given them the cup, he adds, this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me; and these words, thus repeated, strengthen my argument, and shew, that though the historian records that Jesus used them but once, he meant that they should apply not to their food alone, but to their drinking, and to their whole conduct, that whether they ate

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his flight, peace be to him; I shall pursue him no further. "The contest," he says, "is too trifling." I trust, however, that it has not been without its use, and that my opponent himself may have taken a lesson of prudence and caution.

But though he can do nothing himself, he has, it seems, an ally in reserve that is invincible; and he kindly recommends his opponent to Mr. Robinson's History of Baptism, “in which he will find a full refutation of all that he has advanced on Infant Baptism and babe-sprinkling." He adds, “It is rather extraordinary that he should either have not seen or have made so little use of that excellent work, in which there is more learning, and a better description of the manners and customs of the early Christians, than perhaps in any other ecclesiastical writer." I give my worthy opponent full credit, that he writes to the best of his judgment and belief. But though he may have read Mr. Robinson's book, as he did mine, with much greater attention and care than 'any one else ever did, or ever will," I regret to say, that I am constrained to differ widely from him in his conclusion. In fact, the true reason why I omitted the mention of Mr. Robinson's work, in the Plea for Infant Baptism, was, that I was much concerned that such a book should have been written by such a man.

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When Mr. Robinson's work was first published, I procured it immediately, and began to read it with great avidity, fully expecting to derive

great information from it, and that it would throw much new light upon the historical argument. My disappointment was proportionate. In Mr. Robinson's work, I found much curious information about fonts and baptisteries, and I read much harsh censure of the celebrated Bishop of Hippo, who, previous to his conversion,appears to have been a profligate young man, and who, after he became a Christian, wrote many injudicious and intemperate works; but who, greatly to his honour, in the decline of life, published a book of Retractations, which might, one would think, have abated the severity of censure in one whose candour, if life had been spared, would probably have induced him in this respect to have imitated the example of the great St. Augustin. But in vain did I search the pages of Mr. Robinson for a single fact or argument to elucidate the much controverted question concerning Infant Baptism. In vain did I seek for any proof that either Christ or his apostles had ordained the application of Baptism to the descendants of baptized persons, but had limited the rite to those only who were of adult age-in vain did I look for any opposition in the earliest ages of the church to the early and prevailing practice of Infant Baptism:-in vain did I inquire for a single denomination of Christians, for a single country, a single district, a single church or congregation, in which adult baptism was the prevailing practice:-in vain did I ask even for a single individual, Tertullian excepted, who expressed disapprobation of lufant Baptism, or for a single individual, who, being the child of baptized parents, had his baptism deferred to adult age-and finally, in vain I sought after the solution of the extraordinary problem, how it could possibly happen that when adult baptism was the institution of the apostles, so great an alteration as Infant Baptism should have been so early introduced, and so universally received in perfect silence, without the slightest opposition, without a single church adhering to the apostolic institution, without a single individual lifting up his voice in its favour, and that at a time when the church was rent into a thousand parties, by controversies upon subjects of much less importance; for all persons are not of

the opinion of the Christian Surveyor, that the question concerning the true origin of a christian institution is too trifling to be discussed. Upon all these subjects did I seek with eagerness and with fond expectation for information in Mr. Robinson's truly learned work; but I sought in vain: and I closed the book with disappointment and regret. Yet this is the book to which I am sent "to find a full refutation of all that I have advanced upon Infant Baptism."

As this is probably the last letter, or as my polite opponent calls it, tirade, that I shall address to you upon this subject, I will take the liberty of subjoining a few cursory observations.

In the first place, I am myself chargeable with a great oversight in having omitted to state at length the important testimony of Justin Martyr, though I have appealed to him, in p. 46 of the Plea for Infant Baptism. The passage is found in Justin's Apol. p. 22, Edit. Thirlby, viz. "Many men and many women, who are now sixty or seventy years of age, and who, from their childhood, were discipled to to Christ (οι εκ παίδων εμαθητεύθησαν Tw Xps, the very word used in Matthew), continue uncorrupted." The children who were thus discipled, were, no doubt, baptized; but whether they were the children of baptized persons or of proselytes, does not appear. If of the former, it would carry the practice of Infant Baptism very far back indeed into the apostolic age, viz. to A. D. 70 or 80; but at any rate, it is conclusive against the necessity of deferring baptism to adult age; and to those who deny proselyte baptism, it must be decisive in favour of baptizing the children of baptized Christians.

Some have conceived that the practice of Infant Baptism was only beginning to be introduced in the time of Tertullian; but will any one who

The misstatement and gross mistranslation of what Tertullian wrote upon the subject of baptism, can only be accounted for by the hurry in which Mr. Robinson wrote, and must have been corrected, had slates Norint petere salutem, &c. "They just know how to ask for salvation," &e. whereas the advice of Tertullian is, "Let them know how," that is, let them wait till they do know how to ask for salvation, &c.

he lived to revise his work. Thus he tran

is at all acquainted with the writings and spirit of this violent ecclesiastic, believe that he would have treated the practice with so much lenity, if he had known it to have been an innovation? No, no. That was not Tertullian's way. The holy father, who is indignant enough where he finds an opportunity to vent his feelings, expresses himself upon this subject in a meek and subdued tone, under a consciousness that the practice of the universal church was in opposition to his advice. "Delay," says he, "is very useful. Why should their sponsors be brought into danger? Let them come when they are grown up. Let them be made Christians when they can know Christ. Why should that innocent age be in a hurry to obtain remission of sins?" Is this the language of one who knew that he was opposing a great and dangerous innovation? Is this the spirit with which Tertullian would plead in such a case?

But if it could for a moment be admitted that Infant Baptism was an innovation in the time of Tertullian, it cannot be denied by any who are conversant with the subject, that it prevailed universally in the time of Augustin, Pelagius and Jerome; who all consent in declaring that they never knew nor read of any one who denied it, not even among hereties themselves. The difficulty in this case of accounting for the unanimity of the Christian body in the observation of a rite directly opposite to the precept and practice of the apostles and the primitive church, and introduced so late as the age of Tertullian, would be unspeakably enhanced; especially con sidering the multitude of sects into which the Christian world was then divided, the malignity with which they regarded and persecuted each other, and the extreme improbability that one would be induced to borrow an unscriptural rite from another. The improbability, indeed, is so extreme, that it amounts to a moral impossibility, as incredible as a contradiction in terms.

Some have said that other rites, acknowledged to be unscriptural and superstitious, stand upon the same ground of evidence as Infant Baptism, and ought, upon the same principles, to be received. This I deny: I readily admit, indeed, that public worship,

the religious observation of the Lord's day, the annual commemoration of our Lord's death and resurrection, and the Eucharist, stand upon grounds precisely similar to that of Infant Bap tism; and are observed, and no doubt will be observed, in the Christian church to the end of time. But I know of no other custom which can plead the same antiquity and univer sality. We learn from the Scripture,' that the application of water was all that was essential to the rite of baptism. The sign of the cross, therefore, and the use of milk and honey, of salt and spittle, and the like, are totally groundless and unauthorized additions to it. However, if any one can prove that any other rite whatever can be traced to the same authority as Infant Baptism, I shall readily concede that it is of equals obligation.

I shall conclude with a few obser vations upon the letter of your ve spectable Correspondent, T. G. p. 31.

T. G. need not be apprehensive that the celebration of the Lord's Supper will fall into disuse, from any thing which may occur in this or any other controversy upon the question. is so firmly established by universal custom, founded upon known apostolic practice, that the private opinions of a few dissentient individuals will never produce any sensible effect; and I' regret with your worthy Correspon dent, that an institution, the authority of which is so obvious, and the uses of which are so important, should be so much neglected. I cannot, however, agree in his suggestion, that the order of a religious service should be so arranged, as not to afford "an opportunity to depart" to those who are unwilling to remain. The proper remedy for the evil is, by reverting to the practice of the primitive church, and bringing children to the Lord's table as soon as they are capable of behaving with propriety.

When God was pleased to deliver a law to the Hebrew nation, he explicitly and publicly enjoined certain rites and ceremonies, such as the passover, the sabbath and the law of circumcision, in language too peremp tory and too plain to be evaded, or misunderstood. It is obvious that he has not acted in this manner under the Christian dispensation, but has left us

instead of obedience, they deserve
rebuke; to such, I confess that my
argument does not apply: but as this
sect is of very late origin, and of very
limited extent, it may fairly be over-
looked as evanescent quantity,
which forms no objection to the uni-
versality of the conclusion.
T. BELSHAM.

an

Letters by Mr. Marsom in Reply to
Mr. Wardlaw's Arguments for the
Deity of the Holy Spirit.

SIR,

TH

LETTER IV.

to discover the few ritual observations, they delivered to the church, and that which are annexed to the Christian religion, from the practice of the apostolical and universal church. It would have been as easy for Jesus Christ to have said, Remember the Lord's day: Baptize your infant offspring Celebrate the Lord's Supper: and Worship God, as it was for Moses to have laid down the law of the sabbath and of circumcision: but he has not chosen to do it; he has left us to infer the expedience and the obligation of these institutions from early, universal and apostolical practice. T. G. will easily see, that though the evidence for one institution, the Eucharist for example, is more obvious than that of another, it is, nevertheless, wholly indirect and incidental, and very different from the peremptory mandate for the observation of the sabbath and the passover: nevertheless, this indirect mode of enjoining positive institutions may, perhaps, be a safer guide to the mind and will of Christ, than an explicit precept unattended with collateral evidence. For the genuineness of a single solitary rule is liable to be called in question; as for example, that text in Matthew so often referred to, "Go and teach, all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," the authenticity of which may reasonably be doubted, since it is evident that the apostles and primitive teachers of the church baptized into the name of Jesus only, which surely they would not have done, had they known that a formula so different had been prescribed by Christ himself. And Mark, who commonly follows Matthew, only relates the order to baptize, without specifying the particular formula. But the consent of the universal church is a public act, notorious, which cannot be called in question without absurdity, and cannot possibly be accounted for, but upon the supposition of apostolical example and authority; and this authority, it is presumed, would be considered as obligatory by the great body of professed Christiaus, who regard the apostles as the messengers of Christ, and the authorized expounders of his doctrine. If, in deed, there are any who set up their own judgment above that of the apostles, who think that they were mistaken in the laws and ordinances which

April 10, 1818. HE next passage * cited by Mr. Wardlaw in support of the personality of the Spirit, is 1 Cor. xii. 11: "But all these worketh that one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." "The Holy Spirit," he says, "is represented as possessing will, and as distributing the various miraculous gifts, as that sovereign will directed. The possession of will necessarily implies personality; and that sovereign manner in which that will operates in the distribution of supernatural powers, clearly shews it to be nothing less than a divine will." But how can the possession of will necessarily imply personality, when he himself admits, + that the same thing is applied to the wind? John iii. 8. But waving this, we observe, that if the pronoun he be of the masculine gender, it does not agree with the noun spirit, and cannot have that noun for its antecedent; and therefore another noun, with which it agrees as being of the same gender, must be sought for in the connexion as its antecedent. Now this we have in the 6th verse, where it is said, "There are diversities of operations," which the apostle goes on to enumerate; "But," says he, "it is the same God which worketh all in all;" and after describing a variety of spiritual gifts, he adds, "But all these worked that one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will," that is, as GoD will, who is said to have given those spiritual gifts, according to whose will they were divided and exercised, and

* P. 284.

+ P. 290.

who it is that worketh all in all. This construction is supported, 1 believe, by some of our best commentators on this passage.

Mr. Wardlaw next cites Matt. xii. 31, 32: "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come."

"In these words," says Mr. Wardlaw, "the Holy Spirit is the object of a particular sin,—the sin of blasphemy. By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, the Pharisees, it is very obvious, meant a person, and they expressed themselves accordingly. To this wicked, malignant agent, Jesus in his answer opposes the Spirit of God; and without at all entering into any discussion respecting the precise nature of the sin against the Holy Spirit, which would be foreign to my present design, it is sufficient to observe, that he is evidently distinguished here from the Son of Man, just as we are accustomed to distinguish one person from another. They are both spoken of, with respect unto the same things, in the same manner, and the things mentioned are spoken concerning them universally in the same sense. If the Holy Spirit were only the virtue and power of God, then present with Jesus Christ in all that he did, Christ and that power could not be distinctly spoken against, for they were but one and the same."

Let us examine a little the strength of these arguments.

First: the Holy Spirit must be a person, because it is the object of the sin of blasphemy. If being the object of the sin of blasphemy is a proof of personality, then the holy place and the law are persons;† then the worthy name by which Christians are called must be a person; then must the name of God and his doctrine,§ his word and his tabernacle,|| be also per

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sons; for all these are said to be blasphemed, or to be capable of being the objects of that sin.

Secondly: the Holy Spirit must be a person, because by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, the Pharisees meant a person. And to this wicked, malignant agent, Jesus opposes the Spirit of God.

1. I observe that Mark states, that the Scribes said, "He hath Beelzebub; and by the prince of devils casteth he out devils." Our Lord, in this account by Mark, in his reasoning with them, says nothing about his casting them out by the Spirit of God; but in the close of the argument he says, "He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation; because they said he hath an unclean spirit." By Beelzebub then, they meant an unclean spirit, and not a person.

2. Our Lord, Mr. Wardlaw says, opposes the Spirit of God to Beelzebub, and thence infers his personality. But is Mr. Wardlaw ignorant of the account Luke gives of this transaction? If not, did it never occur to him to compare it with that of Matthew? Had he done so, he would have instantly seen the fallacy of his own reasoning. Luke makes Jesus oppose to Beelzebub not the spirit, but the finger of God: + the finger, therefore, and the spirit of God are synonymous. If then the one is not a person, neither is the other: hence we have here a decisive proof of the impersonality of the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly: the Holy Spirit must be a person, because "he is evidently distinguished here from the Son of Man." "They are both spoken of, with respect unto the same things, in the same man. ner, and the things mentioned are spoken concerning them universally in the same sense." The conclusion from

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