CHRISTIANS AMONG THE SECTS
In an article on a query from Lunenburg which appeared in the September number, certain sentences
have been objected to by some two or three intelligent and much esteemed correspondents. We gave it
as our opinion that there were Christians among the Protestant sects; an opinion, indeed, which we
have always expressed when called upon. If I mistake not, it is distinctly avowed in our first Extra on
Remission; yet it is now supposed by these brethren that I have conceded a point of which I have
hitherto been tenacious and that I have misapplied certain portions of scripture in supporting said
opinion. In the article alluded to, we have said that we "cannot make any one duty the standard of
Christian state or character, not even Christian immersion," &c. Again, we have said that "there is no
occasion for making immersion on a profession of faith absolutely essential to a Christian, though it
may be greatly essential to his sanctification and comfort." These two sentences contain the pith and
marrow of the objectionable portion of said article to which we again refer the reader.
Much depends upon the known temper and views of a querist in shaping an answer to his questions.
This was the case in this instance. We apprehended that the propounder of the queries that called for
these remarks was rather an ultraist on the subject of Christian baptism; so far at least as not to allow
that the name Christian is at all applicable to one unimmersed, or even to one immersed, without the
true intent and meaning of baptism in his understanding previous to his burial in water. This we
gathered from her epistle; and of course gave as bold an answer as we ever gave--perhaps more bold
than on any former occasion, yet nothing differing from our former expressed views on that subject.
My high regard for these correspondents, however, calls for a few remarks on those sentences, as
farther explanatory of our views. We cheerfully agree with them, as well as with our sister of
Lunenburg, that the term Christian was given first to immersed believers and to none else; but we do
not think that it was given to them because they were immersed, but because they had put on Christ;
and therefore we presume to opine, that, like every other word in universal language, even this term
may be used as Paul sometimes uses the words saint and sinner, Jew and Gentile--in a part of their
We have, in Paul's style, the inward and the outward Jews; and may we not have the inward and the
outward Christians? for true it is, that he is not always a Christian who is one outwardly: and one of
my correspondents will say, 'Neither is he a Christian who is one inwardly.' But all agree that he is, in
the full sense of the word, a Christian who is one inwardly and outwardly.
As the same Apostle reasons on circumcision, so we would reason on baptism:--"Circumcision," says
the learned Apostle, "is not that which is outward in the flesh;" that is, as we apprehend the Apostle, it
is not that which is outward in the flesh; but "circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in
the letter [only,] whose praise is of God, and not of man." So is baptism. It is not outward in the flesh
only but in the spirit also. We argue for the outward and the inward--the outward for men, including
ourselves--the inward for God; but both the outward and the inward for the praise both of God and of
Now the nice point of opinion on which some brethren differ is this: Can a person who simply, not
perversely, mistakes the outward baptism, have the inward? We all agree that he who willfully or
negligently perverts the outward cannot have the inward. But can he who, through a simple mistake,
involving no perversity of mind, has misapprehended the outward baptism, yet submitting to it
according to his view of it, have the inward baptism which changes his state and has praise of God,
though not of all men? is the precise question. To which I answer, that, in my opinion, it is possible.
Farther than this I do not affirm.
My reasons for this opinion are various; two of which we have only time and space to offer at this
time. Of seven difficulties it is the least; two of these seven, which, on a contrary hypothesis would
occur, are insuperable:--The promises concerning an everlasting Christian church have failed; and then
it would follow that not a few of the brightest names on earth of the last three hundred years should
have to be regarded as subjects of the kingdom of Satan!!
None of our brethren regard baptism as only outward. They all believe that in the outward submersion
of the body in the water, there is at the same time the inward submersion of the mind and heart into
Christ. They do moreover suppose that the former may be without the latter. They have only to add
that it is possible for the latter to be not without the former in some sense, but without it in the sense
which Christ ordained.
Still my opinion is no rule of action to my brethren, nor would I offer it unsolicited to any man. But
while we inculcate faith, repentance, and baptism upon all, as essential to their constitutional
citizenship in the Messiah's kingdom, and to their sanctification and comfort as Christians, no person
has a right to demand our opinions on all the differences of this generation, except for his private
gratification. He is certainly safer who obeys from the heart "that mould of doctrine" delivered to us by
the Apostles; and he only has praise of God and man, and of himself as a Christian, who believes,
repents, is baptized, and keeps all the ordinances, positive and moral, as delivered to us by the holy
The scriptures quoted in the essay complained of, are all applied to the Christian character, and not to
the Christian state, as contemplated by one of our correspondents. 'They are therefore not misapplied.
It is hoped these general remarks will be satisfactory on this point.