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have nothing spiritual in them, or which have no tendency to improve the heart, and to regulate the life of a man, are rejected under this dispensation, as well as ail those in the Mosaic system, which typically pointed to Jesus Christ, and were to be fulfilled in him. But at the fame time', it must be allowed that Jesus Christ was a legislator, it his divine authority be received, and therefore every ordinance appointed by him is to be observed. It he has enjoined any positive institutions to be celebrated in his church, it will be no excuse for neglecting them to say that they are ceremonial rites, and that his religion is a religion of the heart. Though they may be ceremonies, they are of his appointment, who can render them the means of spiritual blessings to the sincere observers of them; and who can convey as much improvement to the heart, through those channels, as by the medium of public preaching.
But Mr. Clarkson dwells much upon the variety of opinions and practices among Christians respecting the Sacraments of Baptism and Lord's Supper, whence he concludes for the Quakers that these rites are obscure and undefined in their meaning, and that Christians are at liberty to observe them or not according to their own convictions. This is playing as fast and loose with the positive institutions of religion, as other casuists have done with its moral precepts. The diversity of sentiment and usage here brought forward with such parade, so far from weakening the authority of the injunction, tends to confirm it; as hereby we have the collected evidence of every age and church since the Apostles' days, that these sacraments were always accounted as essential, whatever notions might be entertained as to the mode and virtue of them. This universality of consent in the principle of obedience, will be esteemed by every un-r biassed mind, as a strong proof, if direct evidence were wanting, that both Baptism and the Lord's Supper were observed from the very beginning of Christianity; and that the commands of our Saviour enjoining them were regarded as of perpetual obligation. Surely no man of sober understanding would prefer the arbitrary decree of an illiterate shoemaker in the seventeenth century, to the whole stream of Christian faith and practice carried up by a clear and unbroken course to the age of the Apostles, and springing forth from the mouth of him who is the fountain of eternal life himself.
says so too, that he never baptized any one himself. As a proof of this we are referred to the fourth chapter of St. John, where it is said that "Jesus baptized not, but his disciples."
Had however this learned theologian looked into the preceding chapter, he would have found that Jesus did baptize. In the 22nd verse we read, "After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea, and there He tarried with them and Baptized," and in the 26th verse it is recorded that some of John's disciples, after a dispute with the followers of Jesus, came to their master and said, " Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold the Same Baptizeth, and all men come to him."
But supposing that our Lord did not baptize himself, if his disciples baptized in his presence, and under his authority, the rite was completely ratified and established by his authority, If water baptism was to end with the ministration of John, it would not have been continued by Jesus; nor would he have suffered his disciples to observe that ceremony on all who came to him.
The Quakers cannot deny that the Apostles considered water baptism as a Christian ordinance after the ascension of their master, but the answer to this is in the spirit of Dr. Priestley. "The Quakers consider the Apostles as men of like passions with ourselves;" and hence they infer that no regard is to be had to their faith or their practice. Because Thomas was incredulous, and Peter denied his master, the whole apostolical college is to be treated with as little respect as a modern synod. Aster such a declaration as this, it would be in vain to argue with men who will just admit as much of the Bible for their rule, as they please.
We cannot dismiss this subject of baptism without a quotation which places Mr. Clarkson's faithjulnefs in a yery conspicuous light.
"The Quakers say, that if Jesus never baptized with water himself, it is a proof that he never intended to erect water-baptism into a gospel-rite. It is difficult to conceive, they ssy, that he should have established a sacrament, and that he should never have administered it. Would he not, on the [other hand, if his own baptism had been that of water, have begun his ministry by baptizing his own disciples, notwithstanding they had been previously baptized by John? But he not only never baptized himself, but it is no where recorded that he ordered his disciples to
baptist baptize with water. He once ordered a leper to go to the priest, and to offer the gift for his cleansing; at another time he ordered a blind man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam; but he never ordered any one to go and be baptized with water."
Now we have (hewn that our Lord actually did baptize with water the multitudes wko came to him, and that John's disciples were dissatisfied on that account as thinking that it was an injury to their master's reputation. What now will be thought of the integrity of the Quakers and their advocate, who not only evade a solemn commandment by the most shameful sophistry, but flatly contradict the Gospel History itself?
After having discharged the fi rst sacrament, we are not to wonder at the mode in which the second is disposed of. Mr. ClarkJon will have it that this is a mere Jewish rite, and consequently that it was not to continue under the spiritual dispensation of Jesus Christ. . If. so, how came Christ to celebrate it himself, and leave an injunction to his disciples to continue the ordinance as a " remembrance of him?" but the answer is that three of the Evangelists do not give us these words. All ot them, however, mention the institution itself, and we know that many transactions of our Lord's history, ami several of his discourses, are recorded in one gospel, and omitted in another. When therefore, we find men disobeying a direct-command, and overthrowing a solemn institution, on account of a slight and an immaterial variation between the evangelical writers, as to the words used by our Lord, our disposition to indulgence is mixed with indignation against this audacious attempt to destroy the authority of the Christian Scriptures.
Having thus attacked the veracity of St. Luke, a very sin
Silar effort is made to set aside the reasoning of St. Paul on is sacrament, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians. According to the Quakers, the Apostle's charge to those converts had reference only to the Jewish passover, but who told these sophists, or their advocate, that the passover was ever celebrated in the Corinthian Church? on the contrary, St. Paul was a most zealous opposer of every thing that had a Judaizing appearance, even among the disciples of the circumcision. If the passover was meant by St. Paul in his explicit discourse on the nature of the sacrament, then the persons to whom his epistle was addressed must have been Jews.,- for it would be preposterous to suppose that the Gentile converts would observe that solemnity. But the Cofinthian Church was not made up of Jewish converts, as is clear from the whole of both the epistles; and, therefore, the Lord's Supper, the nature and perpetual obligation of which St. Paul explains and defends, could not be a Jewish rite.
With this subject Mr. Clarkson closes his second volume. In the third he states and vindicates the objections of Quakers to the taking of civil oaths; to war; and to the payment of tithes. On these points we shall make no other remarks than these, that the arguments are loose, and the reasoning declamatory. As to wars, it is contended that if all men were Quakers there would be no fighting; but we are not quite of that opinion, having ourselves known many staunch professors of that sect, who on several occasions have vented their passion and resentment in the active exercise of their corporeal prowess.
The question of tithes has been so often agitated, that we shall not enter into it; but as this mode of maintenance is part of the statute law of the land, and is therefore a matter of human right, the refusal to pay tithes may be called by any other name, than a scruple of conscience.
The work concludes with a view of the moral character of the Quakers, which is drawn in the most flattering terms, and these people are exhibited as being the only consistent society of Christians upon earth. Much of what is praise- . worthy may no doubt be found among them, and many good lessons might be obtained from their practice in a civil view, but neither their strictness in the peculiarities of their profession, nor the general regularity of their moral conduct, ought to permit an apology for their religious errors, which come much nearer to Socinianism, and even Deism, than te pure Christianity.