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ments, and from the nature of the case, we cannot discover any safeguard against this sort of tyranny, even in the vote of the congregation;-since a majority of men, women and children are as likely, and far more likely, to be wrong, than the majority of a sober and discreet eldership. The fact is, that the danger of running into this excess is inseparable from the exercise of power by any falible tribrunal, and it is, therefore, an objection which, if allowed to control our course, must prevent all government, whether by a Pope, an Archbishop, a Presbytery, or a majority.
It appears that the distinction which I drew between legal and actual exclusion is not comprehended by brother Chinn, and, although at the risk of proving tedious, we must try further to explain ourself. Let it be remembered that we define legal exclusion to consist in the sentence of the eldership,-in their decision, both of the law and the fact in the case;—but actual exclusion, to constst in such treatment to those persons whom the Elders may excommunicate, as the scriptures dictate; such as the withdrawal of the usual Christian intimacies, and fraternal intercourse of disciples, and those public and affectionate recognitions of fellowship, which prociaim to the world the relation of a common brotherhood. Legal exclusion is effected by the judicial decision;-actual exclusion can only exist throngh the treatment of the members, both in public and private. The members, in this sense, being the executors of the decision made by their own Elders, such decision, though legally made when announced by the eldership, can only be effectual in its practical bearings, so far as the members act in correspondence with it. But for the members to refuse to comply with their duty, and to act in public disregard of a legal decision by their own chosen officers, simply because it does not accord with their own notions of the case, is to disregard the most elementary principles of organized society, to stultify their own act of choosing Elders, and to reduce to the merest puppets those whom they profess to honor, and to whom they are commanded to submit as rulers.
But it is asked, How shall one act, when the decision of the Elders, which he is called upon thus to sustain, is contrary to his own judgment in the case? Is not the rule, which requires acquiescence in the decision of the Elders, calculated in such a case, to blunt the conscience and to make one an instrument of what, he at least, conceives to be unrighteousness? This is, indeed, a plausible sophism, but in as much as it lies equally against all forms of government, that contemplate more than one person, as subjects,—we will not stop now to expose it farther, than by asking, How shall one act,
when the decision made by the vote of the majority is contrary to his own judgment in the case? We can ask this question with equal propriety, wherever it is possible to suppose there may be a solitary dissentient, no matter how the decision is arrived at. Perhaps ail persons might not give the same answer to the question, but this could not affect the nature of the objection.
I am sorry to have to admit that, the character of many of those among us called Elders, is such as to present a very powerful practical objection against the acceptability of the scriptural rule upon this suoject. But let it be remembered, this is the fault, not of the rule, but of the congregation, in disregarding the scriptural requirements as to qualifications, in the selection and ordination of Elders. But here, again, I beg leave to suggest a caution against allowing an objection more influence than it deserves.
The Elders, in every congregation, it is presumed, are the best qualified persons in it. If this is not the case, then the fault is the congregation's, and it must bear the consequences. Now, suppose the Elders of a church are as miserably ignorant of their duties, as brother Chinn states they are, since they are the best qualified persons in it for the functions of government, what is to be gained by setting them aside and handing the authority over to the masses, who are, confessedly, less qualified for its duties? Our space does not allow us to urge this point farther at present. We submit the question simply as a suggestion.
It grieves me that our respected brother should have discovered so much in my essays so disastrous to the cause of good order and peace in the churches; and his intelligence and experience might well incline me to fear that my labors were about to overthrow the very object I wished to establish, were it not that I recognize, upon my side, the clearest lights of history, the strongest arguments of analogy, and above and better than all, the plain and unambiguous instructions of holy writ. In following these, though, from the present order of things, we may be led to some disagreeable results in a few congregations-yet, I am assured, we shall, in the end, reap the more peaceable fruits of a scriptural organization, and relieve ourselves of many troubles that now disturb our harmony. I feel, therefore, anxious to see them generally prevail, in the discipline of the churches, and averse, as any one, to discussion for the sake of it, I am yet ready to consider, in a proper spirit, with brother Chinn, or any one else, the entire premises. Should I, in the end, find myself in error, none will be more ready to abandon it than I.
In conclusion, I will express the hope, that brother Chinn may not see, in what I have written, any thing inconsistent with the courteous
spirit which characterizes his own article, and, if he should, that he will throw over it the mantle of his Christian charity, and excuse it as at least unintentional, In the love of the Lord.
W. K. P.
THE BAPTISTS-No. VI.
The Religious Herald, of August 30th, refuses to publish my defence from the false and unchristian representation of my views which appeared in a late Herald, "presumed” to have been written by Dr. Howells, as connected with the Tennessee Baptist. I did not affirm its authorship, but presumed it. Mr. Sands, the senior editor of the Herald, says Dr. Howells is not an editor of the Tennessee Baptist, but he does not deny that he writes for it, nor does he deny that he is the author of the quoted calumnies, printed in that paper, but throwing smoke or dust into the eyes of his readers, he imports that he is not the author of these calumnies. Let him now admit it or deny it. His admission of it will now inculpate himself, and his denial of it cannot inculpate ine. I still opine that he is the author of them. But be this as it may, they being quoted with evident approbation, without a word of apology, or exception, I can yet presume no less than that they appeared in the Herald with his entire approbation.
Of the seven charges, specified by the Tennesse Baptist against my views and teaching, not one of them is true. They are one and all literally and substantially false.-I never gathered from the writings of the Catholics—Roman or Greek—any of my tenets on baptism, or any thing else.--I neither believe nor teach baptismal regeneration.-I never denied the divinity of Christ, nor the personality of the Holy Spirit.--I never denied the operation of the Holy Spirit aside from the letter of scripture.-I never opposed praying for sinners, nor have I taught that it is sinful for sinners to pray. I pronounce these allegations, one and all, in the fair construction of them, positive falsehoods. I call upon
the inventers, retailers and publishers of them for proof. I fearlessly assert that they cannot, in the fair and contextual import of any language that I have used, sustain any one of them. Mr. Sands, himself, now admits that the 2d and 3d are false and unfounded. The first no man could, with a very small amount of conscientiousness, affirm; not knowing how I acquired my knowledge of any of these subjects SERIES III.–VOL VI.
-whether from this source or from that-even admitting that there was an exact similarity in the tenets avowed. Mr. Sands could, with full as much conscientiousness and as much proof, affirm that any one who became a Baptist did so by reading John Gill, Andrew Fuller or Abraham Booth, as publish I had collected my views of baptism-or of baptismal regeneration, (did I teach it,) from Roman or Greek fathers. It is, therefore, a clear indication of a lack of love of truth and conscientiousness on the part of the inventer and on the part of the retailer of such groundless and truthless assertions. But had I “gathered” them from Pope Pius the first, or Pope Pius the seventh, does that prove them false. If all the Piuses believed and taught that “Jesus was the true Messial," and that "he died for our sins," does that fact either stullify or falsify the tenets? Writers who have so little respect for their own understanding as to perpetrate such sophisms, and hazard such assertions, ought not to complain if the community treat them as simpletons, or knaves. If they write upon themselves ichabod they ought not to blame us for interpreting their own superscription.
But assertions so gross, publications so reckless, actions so partial aud unfair carry in them, as well as have inscribed upon them, their own condemnation. Why did not these heroic champions of their own opinions gladly lay my defence before their readers, on the conditions proposed of allowing them the same space on our pages as we occupy on theirs. Their timidity, or their cowardice, or whatever they, or the public, please to call it, ought to have taught them something of self-preservation and a becoming timidity; conscious as they seem to be that their cause, or their course, or both, cannot endure investigation. I will only add, lest it might appear unmanly to deal severely with a prostrate antagonist, that the following article, on prayer, will place me in my own proper attitude before the public--which I hope that such Baptist editors as have assaulted me on this subject will lay before their readers. It shall have no personal allusion or imputation in it that can authorize any objection to it on the part of Baptist or Pedobaptist.
But to proceed with my present essay on the Baptists-I must congratulate myself and brethren, because of their evident progress in that line of things which we have been, for many years, drawing between the original gospel and institutions and all the ancient and modern corruptions of them. And, in the first place, with regard to a more true and faithful version of the Christian Scrip
The Baptists, as a community, have, within my memory, risen
much in a literary point of view. There were not known to me, nor to public fame, in the United States, some forty years ago, one dozen of well educated ministers in the whole denomination. I had an acquaintance with Dr. Staughton and Dr. Rodgers, of Philadelphia, in 1816, from whom I personally learned much of the history of the Baptists at that day. Benedict's first history of the Baptists confirmed their representations, and showed off the denomination as much in need of schools and colleges. The accession of Judson and Rice gave a new impetus to the cause of education and to the cause of missions, and ever since the denomination has bestowed more attention to ministerial cultivation and talent than before. They now number a very respectable list of well educated men. And as a sound education liberalizes the mind, subdues the asperities and softens the manners of men; the master minds of the denomination are apologyzing for the past, showing a more catholic spirit, evincing more respect for the leading views of our brotherhood, and steadfastly approaching a line of conduct which cannot fail to promote a nearer assimilation in faith and manners, and a more fraternal spirit in all that pertains to the furtherance of the common interests of the common salvation.
Our new version of the New Testament, “or New Bible,” as some very unfriendly spirits called it, is now being honored with the advocacy of a portion of the Baptist denomination, in all its most prominent and essential improvements; and by such a portion of it as cannot fail to give weight and popularity to an improved version, after the manner of that which we have, some quarter of a century ago, given to the public.
The following extracts are taken from a "Tract for the Churches” of the Baptist comm'unity, titled “The Bible, its excellence and the duty of distributing it in its purity; with the claims of the American and Foreign Bible Society," having the following appropriate motto--“Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Heb. ji. 2."
After quoting the instructions issued by king James, to the translators, expressed in fifteen rules, the 'Tract adds the following specifications and examples of improper and erroneous renderings found in the common version:
“Under such restrictions was the authorized version prepared. Founded upon the Bishop's Bible, and itself, like that, made by members of the Church of England, under rules which virtually forbade them to make any improvements in translation to the detriment of that Church, it would not be surprising if it seemed to favor episcopacy. Its improvements upon the versions that preceded it,