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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Communion Lecture 2

Elder Lemuel Potter

Note; During the scanning and editing process some of the text is missing or appears out of order. This is minimal, throughout the document. I apologize for this inconvenience.                 

     As we have already observed that baptism is essential to the find anything practiced for baptism that is not baptism, we  will not admit such to the communion.

     As  to the mode of baptism, three modes are advocated  among Christian people, immersion, sprinkling, and pouring, and,  while some  admit either of these to be baptism, there are  others  who cannot conscientiously make the admission.

     The Baptists honestly believe immersion to be the only mode, and that, so far as the action of baptism is concerned, there  is no baptism without immersion.

     This  being  true, and baptism being a prerequisite  to  the communion,  how can we consistently commune with those  who  have never  been immersed?  If we hold that immersion is essential  to baptism, and the whole Pedobaptist world says that sprinkling and pouring  are as truly baptism as immersion is, do we not  differ? If we differ so materially as that, can we commune together?

     "Can two walk together except they be agreed?"  Amos 3: 3.

     1st.   I argue that immersion is baptism, because the  whole Christian  world says it is.  There are none who  deny  immersion being baptism, and gospel baptism at that.  While many claim that sprinkling  and  pouring are baptism, yet they say  immersion  is baptism.   So,  for  our  doctrine that  our  baptism  is  gospel baptism, we have the testimony of all.

     2nd.  I argue that immersion is the only scriptural mode  of baptism,  because  everything that is said in the  New  Testament pertaining to mode favors immersion.

     But as it is not my intention to argue, at any great length, the mode of baptism, I will briefly call to mind a few things.

     1st.  "And were baptized of Him in Jordan, confessing  their sins." Matthew 3: 6.

     It  is  not necessary to go into the river  to  sprinkle  or pour, and it is not always done.  It is necessary to go into  the water to immerse, and it is always done.  I presume that John had business  in the water, or they would not have gone into it.   If they  did  have  business there, it was to immerse,  and  not  to sprinkle or pour.

     2nd.  "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went straightway  up out of the water." Matthew 3: 16.

     He  evidently went into the water before he could have  gone out  of  it.  When you were sprinkled, did you go up out  of  the water?   If you did not, you did not do as the Savior did.   What do  you  suppose  He  went into the water  for,  if  it  was  not necessary?   Is  it necessary for a person to go up  out  of  the water  after being sprinkled?  If it is, then, of course, when  a person  is sprinkled he will certainly, in every case, go up  out of the water.  If any one is sprinkled, and does not go up out of the  water  afterwards, then, in case of sprinkling,  it  is  not necessary to go up out of the water; but it is necessary in  case of  immersion, and in all cases of immersion the person  goes  up out of the water.

     3rd.  "And John, also, was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because there was much water there."  John 3: 23.

     Is much water necessary to sprinkle or pour with?  It is not necessary  to  have much water to sprinkle or pour with.   If  it was,  you would always see our Pedobaptist friends going to  some they not often baptize, as they call it, with very little  water? If  a little water will do, much is not necessary.  Then why  did John  select a place where there was much water?  It  is  evident that for his purpose much water was necessary, and the text  says he  baptized  there because there was much water  there.   It  is necessary  to have much water to immerse, and therefore  he  must have  gone  there  to immerse.  You will always  see  people  who immerse go to where there is much water.

     4th.   "And they both went down into the water, both  Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him."  Acts 8: 38.

     This  is  always  necessary in immersion, but  it  is  never necessary in sprinkling or pouring.

     5th.  "And when they came up out of the water." Acts 8: 39.

     6th.   "Therefore  we are buried with him  by  baptism  into death."  Romans 6: 4.

     A burial is absolutely essential to immersion, while such  a thing never does take place in sprinkling or pouring.

     7th.  "Buried with him by baptism, wherein also ye are risen with  him  through the faith of the operation of  God,  who  hath raised him from the dead."  Colossians 2: 12.

     Now put all these together and you have a complete immersion -  no  more  and no less.  What is ever said on  the  subject  of baptism  that  reminds  us  of  sprinkling  or  pouring?   Simply nothing.

     4th.   I  argue that immersion, alone,  is  gospel  baptism, because  the Greek word from which we get the word baptize  means primarily  to  dip,  according to all the lexicons  I  have  ever noticed.

     5th.   I  argue that immersion is the only  gospel  mode  of baptism from the practice of the early Christians.

 

     Mosheim, in speaking of John, says:

 

        "The  exhortations  of this respectable  messenger  were  not  without  effect; and those who, moved by his  solemn  admonitions, had  formed the resolution of correcting their  evil  dispositions and  amending their lives, were initiated into the kingdom of  the Redeemer  by  the  ceremony  of  immersion  or  baptism.   Christ, himself,  before  he began his ministry, desired  to  be  solemnly baptized in the waters of Jordan, that he might not, in any point, neglect to answer the demands of the Jewish law." (London edition, p. 16.)

 

     It  should be remembered that the learned historian that  we have  quoted was not a Baptist, but that he was a Lutheran,  and, notwithstanding  the  practice  of  the  Lutherans  relative   to baptism,  our  historian  calls  the  sacrament  of  baptism  the ceremony of immersion.

     But we wish to hear him again.  He says:

 

        "The  sacrament of baptism was administered in  this  (first) century,  without the public assemblies, in places  appointed  and    prepared  for that purpose, and was performed by immersion of  the whole body in the baptismal font." (p. 36.)

 

     It  seems  very  clear  that if  baptism  was  performed  by immersion  in  the first century, and that  John  immersed,  that immersion  certainly  was the apostolic mode.  Such  a  thing  as sprinkling had never been mentioned in history yet.

     But  we  wish  to see what he says about it  in  the  second century.

 

        "The  sacrament of baptism was administered publicly twice  a year,  at the festivals of Easter and Pentecost,  or  Whitsuntide, either  by  the bishop or the presbyters, in  consequence  of  his authorization  and  appointment.   The persons  that  were  to  be baptized,  after  they  had  repeated  the  Creed,  confessed  and  renounced  their sins, and particularly the devil and his  pompous allurements, were immersed under water, and received into Christ's kingdom by a solemn invocation of the Father, Son and Holy  Ghost, according to the express command of our blessed Lord." (p. 58.) 

     You  will  please  bear in mind that this  is  the  way  our historian  tells  us  baptism  was  administered  in  the  second century.

     But I also have another historian that I wish to  introduce, who, by the way, is not a Baptist.  In fact, while we have plenty of  Baptist  historians,  it  is  not  our  intention,  in  these lectures, to introduce any of them on these questions.  We intend to make our opponents our witnesses.  Neander, in his history  of the Christian religion and church, says:

        "In respect to the form of baptism, it was in conformity with the  original institution and the original import of  the  symbol, performed  by immersion, as a sign of entire baptism of  the  Holy Spirit,  of  being entirely penetrated by the same." (Vol.  1,  p. 310.)

 

     The  historian  says  it  was  performed  by  immersion   in conformity  with the original institution and original import  of the symbol.  It occurs to me that whatever the original import of the  symbol  of  baptism  required  is  still  required,  and  if immersion  was  the  act by which the  original  institution  and original import of the symbol is represented, we should  continue to  immerse  so long as we wish to represent, by  the  action  of baptism, its original meaning.

     I  shall  not take time to discuss the act  of  baptism  any farther  by quoting history.  As we have so learned the  mode  of baptism, so we believe it, and so we practice it.  Neither do  we believe  anything else is baptism.  So as we Baptists claim  that baptism is a prerequisite to the communion, and we are not  alone in  that  doctrine,  for  we quoted to  you  on  last  evening  a Methodist  author  that  teaches  the  same  thing,  how  can  we consistently commune with those who have not been immersed, if we recognize immersion as essential to baptism.

     I charge our General Baptist brethren of being Pedobaptists. They  say, in their confession of faith, that the "Lord's  Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ appointed in the church," and, if it is, and as the apostles taught, the church must come  together assembly  of saints meet for that purpose, such an assembly  must be a church.  Then suppose we see about ten General Baptists  and about  twenty  Methodists and about  fifteen  Presbyterians,  all sitting in a congregation together, engaged in taking the  Lord's Supper, is such an assembly a church?  If it is not, they have no right to the ordinances of the church.  But, if it is, what  sort of  a  church is it?  It certainly is not a Baptist  church,  for only about ten of the whole company have ever been immersed.

     Now  bear  in  mind the church has come  together  to  break bread.   Has any a right to participate who do not belong to  the church?

     This  whole  assembly make up a church.  So this  church  is composed  of  members of all the different denominations  that  I have  mentioned.   What  sort  of  a  church  is  it?   It  is  a Pedobaptist church, and about a dozen of its members are  General Baptists,  yet they, for the time being, are members of  a  Pedo- baptist body.

     In  this transaction they have compromised every feature  of anything  that entitles them to the name of Baptists.  When  they make such a compromise as that they become, in the fullest  sense of  the  term,  Pedobaptists.   A  Pedobaptist  church  can  have immersed members in their body, but Baptist churches cannot  have unimmersed members in their body.

     Hence,  so long as we cannot commune with the  Pedobaptists, we  cannot  commune with the General Baptists, for that  is  what they are.

     But  as  the General Baptists do not recognize  anything  as baptism  but immersion, and at the same time say that baptism  is not  a  prerequisite  to  the  communion,  then  it  must  be  an unbaptized  church.  It is certainly not a baptized church,  when only about ten of its members have been baptized, and about forty of them have not.

     I suppose our Methodist and Presbyterian brethren feel first rate  to  see  their  General  Baptist  brethren  come  to  their communion.   Let  us  see  what  such  actions  say.   While  the Methodists  say they think that baptism must  precede  communion, the General Baptist brother says, no, you Methodists are wrong in your  notion that baptism is necessary to communion, for, if  you were  correct in that, we could not commune with you, for  we  do not believe you are baptized, but then we can commune with you as we  look  at  it, for we do not think baptism  essential  to  the communion.   O,  how  such  a  course  as  that  must  make   our Pedobaptist brethren love the General Baptists!

     But  a  word to our Pedobaptist brethren.  You  all  believe that immersion is baptism, and we do not believe that  sprinkling and pouring is.  Now, if you wish to commune with us, or have  us commune  with  you, why can you not all be immersed?   You  would have to make no compromise in that, for you believe immersion  is baptism.   If  we  commune with you as you are, and  as  we  are, holding that baptism is essential to the communion, then we  must admit that sprinkling and pouring is baptism.

     On the mode of baptism, you have put up the barriers between us, in your practice of sprinkling and pouring, and to take  your view  of  it, you have done so unnecessarily, for  you  could  be doing,  you could get to us on the mode of baptism.  Why  not  do it, only that you do not wish to commune with us?

     You go where you know we cannot conscientiously go, and then complain at us because we will not go there and commune with you, when you could just as well not go.

     That  is  asking too much of us, for us to  admit  what  you could  do  without,  when  we  cannot  conscientiously  make  the admission.

     We do not believe you are baptized, and we believe you could be  and  will  not, and we believe  baptism  should  precede  the communion, therefore we will not commune with you.

     Your  actions indicate very clearly that you do not wish  us to.  So this is one reason we have for close communion.

     We  do  not commune with Pedobaptist because  they  are  not baptized,  and,  to  be consistent, we cannot  commune  with  the General Baptists because they commune with unbaptized persons.

     But, leaving the mode of baptism, we wish to notice  another feature of baptism.

     I believe it is admitted by all that no adult person  should be  baptized unless he is a believer, but it is claimed  by  some that infants, also, are gospel subjects of baptism.

     Baptists say, that none but believers are to be baptized.

     1st.   I  argue that none but believers should  be  baptized from the following scriptures:

     Let us pay a little attention to Acts 2: 41: "Then they that gladly  received his word were baptized, and the same  day  there  were  added unto them about three thousand souls."  It occurs  to me that this would be a better place to look for infants, with  a probability of finding them, than at the house of the  Philippian jailer,  for  certainly among three thousand people, there  is  a great probability that some of them would be fathers and mothers. If  there  were  any infants, the children of any  of  the  three thousand, and the apostles intended to baptize infants, it  seems to  me there would most certainly have been infants  baptized  on the  day of Pentecost.  But as it is so probable that there  were infants  among  them,  and yet none were baptized  only  such  as received  the word gladly, it is an absolute certainty  that  the apostles did not baptize infants.

     But  as  our  Pedobaptist brethren  claim  that  there  were infants at the jailer's house, it is their place to prove it,  as we  deny  it;  but as they cannot, I say there  were  no  infants there, and now I will try to prove it.  The text says, "And  they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in  his house."  It is not common for ministers to preach to infants,  so all that were in his house were capable of being spoken to.

     "And  was baptized, he and all his, straightway."  The  same people that they spake to were baptized.

     "And rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."  So  it seems they all believed.

     They  all  heard  the apostles preach,  and  they  were  all baptized.  No; there were no infants in that company.  While  our Pedobaptist  brethren  can only infer a case  of  infant  baptism here, the strongest inference is against them.

     Where it is probable there were no infants, as on the day of  baptized.

     So,  away  with the idea of infant baptism.  There  must  be better  grounds of inference than at the jailer's house,  or  the household of Stephanus, or the household of Lydia, who was in all probability an unmarried woman.

     In discussion once with a Pedobaptist brother, I told him if he  would  find just one text in the Bible  that  even  mentioned water  baptism, and infants, both in the same text, I would  give up  the  proposition, and we would proceed at once  to  the  next question.

     He said he would accept that proposition, and we would  soon be on the next proposition.  He then quoted the commission:   "Go ye,  therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them,  etc."  He said  the pronoun "them" had for its antecedent, "nations;"  that there were no such thing as nations without infants; that infants were  a  part of nations.  Hence, "teach all  nations,  baptizing them," meant to baptize men, women and children.  Then, he  said: "Now,  will Brother Potter give up the proposition?  He  said  he would, and I claim that he is under obligation to do so."

     I  replied,  that  from his definition of  nations,  he  had gotten  me into trouble.  If there are no such things as  nations without  infants,  I want him to explain the text:   "The  wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God," and  keep infants out of hell.  He said that meant the wicked  of all nations.

     I  told him the other meant the taught of all  nations.   So none of them have yet showed the text that mentions water baptism and infants.

     1st.   "He that believeth and is baptized shall  be  saved." Mark 16: 16.

     2nd.   "Go ye, therefore, and teach all  nations,  baptizing them,"  etc.   Matthew  28: 10.  From this  text  we  learn  that teaching is before baptism.

     3rd.   "Then  they  that  gladly  received  his  word   were baptized."  Acts 2: 41.

     4th.   "And they were baptized of him in Jordan,  confessing their sins."  Matthew 3: 6.  Infants do not confess their sins.

     5th.   "But when they believed Philip preaching the  Kingdom of  God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were  baptized,  both men and women."  Acts 8: 12.

     If  infants were also baptized, the text should  have  read: Men,  women  and their children.  It is about  as  evident,  that among the men and women that were baptized, that some of them had children--that is infants, as that the jailer had, or that  Lydia had,  or Stephanus, or any other household.  But if any  of  them did have infants with them, it is evident that they did not  have them baptized.

     6th.   There is not a text in the New Testament where  water baptism and infants are both mentioned.

     7th.  I argue against infant baptism, on the ground that  it was not practiced by the Primitive Christians.

     Let us read:

 

        "Baptism  was  administered at first only to adults,  as  men connected.   We  have all reason for not deriving  infant  baptism from  apostolic  institution,  and the  recognition  of  it  which followed  somewhat  later, as an apostolic tradition  serves  to confirm this hypothesis."  Neander, vol. 1, p. 311.

 

     Again:

 

        "Origen,  whose system of infant baptism could  readily  find its  place, though not in the same connection as in the system  of the  North  African  Church,  declares  it  to  be  an   apostolic tradition, an expression, by the way, which cannot be regarded  as of much weight in this age, when the inclination was so strong  to trace every institution which was considered of special importance to the apostles, and where so many walls of separation,  hindering the  freedom of prospect, had already arisen between this and  the apostolic age.  Also in the Persian Church, infant baptism was, in the course of the third century, so generally recognized that  the sect  founder  mani thought he could draw an argument from  it  in favor  of a doctrine which seemed to him necessarily  pre-supposed   by this application of the rite."  Neander, vol. 1, p. 314.

 

     This historian does not admit the assertion of Origen,  that infant baptism is apostolic, is of much force.

     But let us hear him once more:

 

        "Iraeneus  is  the first church teacher in whom we  find  any allusion to infant baptism."  Neander, vol. 1, p. 311.

 

     If Iraeneus was the first church teacher that taught  infant baptism,  it was not taught until the latter part of  the  second century.  According to Robinson, Pedobaptism originated with  the Mountainists,  if  we are allowed to rely  on  Brown's  Religious Encyclopedia (page 386), and we have never heard it questioned as being good authority.

 

     Again:

 

        "According  to  the North African scheme of  doctrine,  which taught all men were from their birth, in consequence of guilt  and sin  transmitted  from Adam, subjected to the  same  condemnation; that they bore within them the principles of all sin,  deliverance from  original sin and inherited guilt would be made  particularly prominent  in  the case of infant baptism, as in the case  of  the baptism  of adults; and this was proved by the ancient formula  of baptism,  which,  however,  originated in  a  period  when  infant baptism had as yet no existence, and had been afterwards  supplied without   alteration   to  children,  because  men   shrank   from undertaking  to introduce any change in the  consecrated  formulas established  by apostolic authority, though Christians were by  no means agreed as to the sense in which they applied this  formula."

       Neander, vol. 2, p. 665.

      From  this quotation the doctrine of baptismal  regeneration is older than the practice of infant baptism.

 

      "There  were  twice  a year, stated times  when  baptism  was administered  to  such  as  after  a  long  course  of  trial  and preparation,  offered themselves as candidates for the  profession of christianity."  Mosheim, p. 78.  This was in the third century, and  it  is very clear that infant baptism was not taught  in  the baptism mentioned here.

     It has been argued that if infants are to be baptized,  that they  are also members of the church, and if they are members  of the  church, I cannot see why one member of the church  does  not have as much right to the communion as another.

     But  let  us see if they are considered as  members  of  the church by our Pedobaptist brethren.

 

        "The  visible  church  consists  of those  who  hold  to  the fundamental  doctrines  in Christianity in respect to  matters  of faith  and morals, and have entered into formal covenant with  God and  some  organized  body of Christians for  the  maintenance  of religious  worship.   The  children of such are  included  in  the     covenant  relations of their parents, and are properly  under  the special  care of the church."  Cumberland Presbyterian  Confession of Faith, page 52, Sec. 94.

      It is a plain case that one branch of Pedobaptists recognize their children as church members.  But let us hear another one of them speak.

 

        "Does  not  our  Savior explicitly say, in  regard  to  young children,  'Of  such is the kingdom of heaven'?   The  kingdom  of heaven must mean either the kingdom of glory, the work of grace in the  heart,  or the church of Christ on earth.   Now  in  whatever sense  it is used in the text, it must include the idea of  church membership.  Is a young child fit for the kingdom of glory?   Then why  not  for  the  kingdom  of grace?   If  fit  for  the  church   triumphant,  why  not for the church on eart?  And  was  not  the promise of God given to Christian parents, and to their  children, and  to  'all  that are afar off'?  If so, and  there  can  be  no reasonable  doubt  of  it,  then  are  infants  entitled  to   the  initiatory  rite which will formally admit them into  the  visible church  of Christ, and to debar them that privilege, is  not  only unwise,  but  unjust  to the children, whom  God  has  given  us."

    History, M. E. Church, p. 174.

 

     According  to this Methodist writer, the children  of  their churches are members of their churches.

     But let us see further: 

        "We regard all children who have been baptized, as placed  in visible  covenant relation to God, and under the special care  and supervision of the church."  Discipline, p. 41, sec. 54. 

     But  we wish to give one more witness to this point: 

        "These  'partake of the root and fatness of the olive  tree', and of course they have the right of placing their infant children Jews,  or the natural branches that have been cut off.  But it  is expressly said that children are members of the visible church, in  Mark 10: 14 - "For of such is the kingdom of heaven."  Jimeson, on the 25 Articles, p. 278.

 

     We   have  now  shown  that  Methodists  and   Presbyterians recognize  their  children as members of their churches,  and  we wish  to  show  you what a predicament  good  men  sometimes  get themselves into by saying too much.

     We will now read to you from the  General Baptist  Messenger , of  March 13, 1886:

 

        "We will be much obliged to any individual who will point  us to  the  scriptural  authority  which  says  the  members  of  one christian  church  are forbidden to take communion with  those  of another;  or that will show us one, thus saith the Lord, that  you must be baptized before you show forth the Lord's death in  sacred communion."

 

     Now, whether our editor believes it or not, our  Pedobaptist brethren,  with whom he communes, hold their children as  members of  the church, and if one of them should come to Brother  Hale's communion, he cannot, according to his own statement, debar him.

     If  one of those infant members should come to your  church, by  what  rule are you going to withhold the communion  from  it? You  call  on us--challenge us to show any  scriptural  authority which says members of one Christian church are forbidden to  take communion  with  those of another.  How are you  going  to  debar those  infant members of Christian churches from your  communion. You  say you cannot do it.  Then you must commune with them,  for you  have no authority to debar them.  But you may say  that  you meant  adult  members.   All  right;  if  he  will  give  me  the scriptural  authority for debarring infant members, I  will  show him how we will debar adults from the communion.  But then he did not  make  an exceptions in his paper.  He said  members  of  one denomination, and made no distinction between infants and adults.

 

     I  would  as soon, so far as I am concerned, take  the  communion with  the infant members of a Pedobaptist church as  the  adults, for they are all members.

     I  fancy  I  see  a General Baptist  minister,  at  his  own communion,  officiating,  and just before him sits his  wife  and about  three  little  children,  and by  her  side  sits  a  good Methodist  sister with about the same number of  little  fellows, all  members  of  the Methodist church, and  while  the  minister speaks  of the communion, he makes the challenge that Elder  Hale made in his paper, that he would be much obliged to any man  that would  show  him  any scriptural authority for  saying  that  the members  of  one Christian church are forbidden to  commune  with those  of another.   Then he starts around with the emblems,  and when  he  comes to those little Methodist members, he  gives  the bread  and wine to them, for he knows of no scriptural  authority for  not doing so, and then gives it to his wife and  passes  her children by.

     

    Why did he not give the bread and wine to his own  children? Why, they are not members of the church, is the reason he did not give  it  to them.  But why are they not members of  the  church? Because their papa does not believe little children like they are should  be members of the church.  He might as well take them  in and  commune with them as to recognize the children of others  as members and commune with them.

     But  we have not come to the worst of it yet.  Let  us  read more.

 

      "As  unregenerate persons are not excluded from  baptism  and     hearing  the  word of God preached, neither should  they  be  from     partaking of the sacrament, for one and all of these are  ordained     means  of  grace,  whereby may be edified  and  comforted  in  the  Christian life."  (Jimeson, p. 298.)

 

      The  people he speaks of here are seekers, or, as he calls  them, penitent  believers, who have not obtained a hope yet.  He  calls them  unregenerate, and says they should be admitted  to  baptism and the supper.

     As a qualification for membership, we ask that the applicant already  has a hope before he comes into the church, but,  if  we commune  with  the Methodists, we are liable to have  to  commune with  persons that we would not receive into our church  if  they are to come and offer themselves.

     That  is one reason we cannot commune with  the  Methodists. How will the General Baptists get along with that?

     Hence,  we  cannot commune with  the  Pedobaptists,  because their  terms  of membership and ours differ.  Let  us  suppose  a case.  Mr. A comes to our church today and makes application  for membership  with us, and he tells us that he has been  a  mourner for quite a while, that is, what is usually called a seeker,  but he  has not professed a hope yet.  We tell him we cannot  receive him  until  he professes a hope.  He then goes to  the  Methodist church, where they will receive him, and then tomorrow he attends our  communion,  and we are open communionists, would we  not  be obliged  to  commune with him?  To be consistent, we  had  better received  him  into our own church than to reject him,  and  then commune with a member of another church that we would not have in our own.

     We  do  not  commune with our own  members  until  they  are baptized,  but  if  we commune with  Pedobaptists  that  we  deem unbaptized, why not commune with our own unbaptized members.

     The  whole  truth of the matter is this:  If we wish  to  be consistent,  we cannot afford to commune with others, or else  we might as well dissolve at once.

     For  our open communion brethren to ask us to  commune  with them is equal to asking us to disband.

     We certainly have a right to an existence as a church,  and, if we have, we are not under obligations to commune with  others. If  we are under obligations to commune with others, we  have  no right  then  to  exist,  as  a  distinct  organization,  on   the principles of faith and practice as we now hold them, for we must compromise our principles if we commune with other denominations.

     Another  denomination,  which he could do somewhere, and  such  a thing  often  takes place, and on tomorrow he comes back  to  our communion services, and we are open communionists, do we not have to commune with him?  We obeyed the divine word when we  excluded him,  for the apostle says:  "The man that is an  heretic,  after the  first and second admonition, reject."  Then do we  obey  the Lord when we afterwards invite him to our communion?  Is that the order  of  God's  house?  I cannot think it is made  up  of  such inconsistencies as that.

     But I wish to say another word to my free communion brethren before I conclude.  That is this:  You do not treat us justly  on the subject of communion, for, while you censure us for  refusing to  commune with you, you will receive our excluded members,  who have,  from some cause or another, offended us to such an  extent that  we cannot tolerate their course, and when you receive  them without  any satisfaction whatever, if we were to invite you  and your  members to our communion, we would be compelled to  commune with  that  member we had excluded.  We might as  well  not  have excluded  him from our fellowship, if we must commune  with  him, and that is just what we must do if we open our communion to all.

     If  we  exclude him for heresy, we must still  commune  with him.   We do not treat you that way.  If you exclude one of  your members, and he comes to us, we require him to sit down here  and give  us  a  reason of his hope, as though he had  never  been  a member  of any church, and when we receive him we do not ask  you to  invite him to your communion, and, if you do invite  him,  we propose that he should not go.

     How are you going to debar persons from your table that  you do not want if you practice open communion?

     You  must  invite  all, or else you  must  have  a  boundary somewhere.   If you have a boundary, that is close communion.   I care  not  how  far you set the boundary away, when  you  make  a boundary,  you  limit your communion to that line, and  that  far your  communion  is limited.  It is the same  principle  that  it would  be  if  your boundary extended no farther  than  your  own church.

     But  one good brother wanted to hear me on the text, "Let  a man examine himself, and so let him eat."  Did you ever hear  open communionists  quote that text?  I have, and I have thought  that it  was  about  all  the text some of them  could  quote  on  the subject.  It is often used in a manner to accuse us of  examining other people at our communion service.  That is a grand  mistake. That  text is not to the church to examine those outside  or  in, but to the individual members, to each one to examine himself and to eat.

     I presume no one denies the rights of the church to  examine the standing and soundness of her members.

     Did you ever hear an open communionist quote the text, "With such an one no not to eat."  I never have, and I have wondered if some of them knew there was such a text.

     I  tell  you  there is, but I do not know how it  is  to  be observed  by the church if she throws her doors open  to  commune with every person, letting each one examine himself.