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sermon, on Rom. xiv. 1. Such as are weak in the faith receive ye. It does not appear, that this piece was printed during the life of Mr. Jessey. It is not in any list of his works, which I have seen. The person, who afterward published it, says “I met with it providentially....it was sent many years since to some of the baptists. ...it will be attested to be Mr. Jessey's, if need shall require. This piece, then, seems to have gone about in manuscript.
In 1672, Mr. Bunyan, then in prison, published his confession of faith, and in it pleaded warmly for mixt communion. In answer to this, Messieurs Kiffin and Paul published a piece entitled—Some serious reflections on that part of Mr. Bunyan's confession of faith touching church communion with unbaptized believers. These gentlemen treated John very cavalierly. Your conclusion, say they, is devilish topfull of ignorance and prejudice: but this we forgive them, for John was a tinker without dish or spoon, and at best but a country teacher, and the Rev. Mr. William Kiffin was a London minister, and worth forty thousand pounds.
The next year, Mr. Bunyan published an answer entitled Differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion, and to this he subjoined the abovementioned piece of Mr. Jessey's, to satisfy the call of his opponents, who had required him to produce the testimony of some author. To this piece of Mr. Bunyan's Messieurs Danvers and Paul replied, and John answered them in 1674 in about two sheets in twelves enti
tled Peaceable principles and true. In all these he continued uniform in his sentiments, declaring he would abide by his faith and practice till the moss shall grow upon his eyebrows. I mention this, because the editors of his works in folio have inserted a discourse entitled-An exhortation to peace and unity, in which it is declared that baptism is essential to church communion; but, it is evident, Bunyan never wrote this piece. 1. The doctrine is not his, and the above article and some others are diametrically opposite to his avowed principles. 2. The style is not his, as a comparison between this and his genuine works will clearly demonstrate. I venture to affirm, Bunyan could not write in such a style, might he have been freed. from imprisonment for doing so. 3. The quotations are none of his. How could he quote Plutarch, Camden's Britannia, Greek and Roman history, books he never saw, nor could have read had he seen them? 4. The writer of this discourse talks Latin too, and concludes with Vale. I recollect only one scrap of latin in John's works, and he has put opposite to that in the margin, the Latin I borrow. 5. There is no mention of this piece in that list of his works, which was published by that great admirer of him Mr. Charles Doe, who knew him personally, and who bought some manuscrips of his son after his decease, and published them, particularly The heavenly footman, and along with it a correct list of all his genuine works, with dates, sizes, &c. This therefore is one of the many spurious pieces ascribed to Bunyan by some
poverty-struck scribblers, who stole his golden name to give currency to their own base csin.
Since Mr. Bunyan's time the controversy has sometimes subsided, and at other times risen into considerable warmth. The celebrated Dr. James Foster warmly pleaded the cause of mixt fellowship in a sermon, afterward printed, entitled Catholic communion, which gave occasion to a dispute, that lasted eight or ten years, from about 1750 to 1760. The Rev. Mr. Charles Bulkley and others supported the Dr's side of the question, and the Rev. Grantham Killingworth and others maintained the contrary opinion.
In 1772 the question was started again, and the doctrine of mixt communion was affirmed by the Rev. Messieurs Turner of Abingdon, Ryland of Northampton, and Brown of Kettering; and denied by the Rev. Messieurs Turner of Birmingham, Booth of London, Buttfield of Thorn, and several more, who took fictitious names, without any reason I think, for their real names do honour to every cause, to which they think proper to affix them.
I have carefully read all the pieces, and, I think, though different degrees of esteem are due to different writers, yet some respect is due to them all. For my part, however backward I may be to controvert such points, I confess, I am always edified by reading the controversies. I admire the constitution of our churches, because it admits of free debate. Happy community! that can produce a
dispute of one hundred and fifty years unstained with the blood, and unsullied with the fines, the imprisonments and the civil inconveniences of the disputants. As to a few coarse names, rough compliments, foreign suppositions, and acrimonious exclamations, they are only the harmless squeakings of men in a passion caught and pinched in a sort of logical trap. We shall waive all these, and attend to what has been said, and not to the manner in which it was spoken.
CASE STAT E D.
This whole debate, I should suppose, may be divided into a case of fact and a case of right.
CASE OF FACT.
On the one hand, it is matter of fact, that many - sincere disciples of Christ declare, that, having renounced all authority except that of the holy scriptures to decide in all matters of faith and practice, and having searched the scriptures with all the diligence and rectitude, of which they are capable, they think infant baptism of divine appointment, and rightly performed by sprinkling water on the face.
It is matter of fact, that many baptist churches do conscientiously admit such persons into their fellowship.
It is also fact, that these churches affirm, and they are best capable of giving evidence in this tase, that no inconvenience has arisen to them from the mixture of their communion. The writer of this has been a member of such a church more than twenty years, but has never heard of the least disadvantage arising to the community from it, and he has received a like attestation from the ministers of several other mixed churches.
Further, it is a fact, that these members perform all the duties of church fellowship, glorify God in their lives and conversations, and support the character of christians as honourably as the baptist brethren do.
Moreover, it is a natter of fact, that some churches have been mixed from before the time of the civil war in the reign of Charles I. when the baptists first made their publick appearance in England.
In fine, it is an undeniable fact, that, during the time of the great papal apostacy, while churches were congregated in private for fear of prelatical persecution, believers, who held infant baptism, and believers, who disowned it, were united in the same community, as ancient manuscripts and authentick records abundantly prove.
On the other hand, it is certain, that, from the first publick appearance of baptist churches in England, many have refused, and to this day continue to refuse to admit into their fellowship all manner of persons, however qualified in other respects, who have not been baptized by immersion on their own profession of faith and repentance.