Differences in judgment about water baptism, no bar to communion



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Your first argument to prove it lawful to reject the unbaptized saint, is, 'Because the great commission of Christ (Matt 28), from which all persons have their authority for their ministry, if any authority at all, doth clearly direct the contrary. By that commission ministers are first to disciple, and then to baptize them so made disciples, and afterwards to teach them to observe all that Christ commanded them, as to other ordinances of worship. If ministers have no other authority to teach them other parts of gospel worship, before they believe and are baptized, it may be strongly supposed they are not to admit them to other ordinances before they have passed this first enjoined in the commission.'
Ans. 1. That the ministers are to disciple and baptize, is granted. But that they are prohibited, by the commission (Matt 28), to teach the disciples other parts of gospel worship that have not light in baptism, remains for you to prove. Shall I add, this position is so absurd and void of truth, that none that have ever read the love of Christ, the nature of faith, the end of the gospel, or of the reason of instituted worship (which is edification) with understanding, should so much as once imagine.
But where are they here forbidden to teach them other truths before they be baptized? This text as fairly denieth to the unbaptized believer heaven and glory. Nay, our author, in the midst of all his flutter about this 28th of Matthew, dare venture to gather no more therefrom, but that it may be strongly supposed. Behold therefore, gentle reader, the ground on which these brethren lay the stress of their separation from their fellows, is nothing else but a supposition, without warrant, screwed out of this blessed word of God. Strongly supposed! but may it not be as strongly supposed that the presence and blessing of the Lord Jesus, with his ministers, is laid upon the same ground also? for thus he concludes the text, 'And lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world.' But would, I say, any man from these words conclude, that Christ Jesus hath here promised his presence only to them that, after discipling, baptize those that are so made; and that they that do not baptize shall neither have his presence nor his blessing? I say again, should any so conclude hence, would not all experience prove him void of truth? The words therefore must be left, by you, as you found them, they favour not at all your groundless supposition.
To conclude, these words have not laid baptism in the way to debar the saint from fellowship of his brethren, no more than to hinder his inheritance in life and glory. Mark reads it thus: 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned' (Mark 16:16). Letting baptism, which he mentioned in the promise, fall, when he came at the threatening. God also doth thus with respect to his worship in the church, he commands all and every whit of his will to be done, but beareth with our coming short in this, and that, and another duty. But let's go on.
Your second argument is, 'That the order of Christ's commission, as well as the matter therein contained to be observed, may easily be concluded, from God's severity towards them that sought him not according to due order (1 Chron 15:13). Was God so exact with his people then, that all things to a pin must be according to the pattern in the mount (Heb 8:5, 9:11), whose worship then comparatively, to the gospel, was but after the law of a carnal commandment; and can it be supposed he should be so indifferent now to leave men to their own liberty, to time and place his appointments, contrary to what he had given an express rule for in his word as before? (Eze 44:7,9,10). It was the priest's sin, formerly to bring the uncircumcised in heart and flesh into his house.'
Ans. That there is no such order in that commission as you feign, I have proved. As for your far-fetch'd instance (1 Chron 15), it is quite beside your purpose. The express word was, That the priest, not a cart, should bear the ark of God. Also they were not to touch it, and yet Uzza did (Exo 25:14; 1 Chron 15:12-16; Num 4:15; 1 Chron 13). Now, if you can make that 28th of Matthew say, Receive none that are not baptized first; or that Christ would have them of his, that are not yet baptized, kept ignorant of all other truths that respect church communion; then you say something, else you do but raise a mist before the simple reader: but whoso listeth may hang on your sleeve. As for the pins and tacks of the tabernacle, they were expressly commanded; and when you have proved by the word of God, That you ought to shut saints out of your communion for want of baptism, then you may begin more justly to make your parallel. How fitly you have urged (Eze 44) to insinuate that unbaptized believers are like the uncircumcised in heart and flesh, I leave it to all gospel-novices to consider.



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