The Lord’s Supper in its institution, and also as to its symbolic import, as well as in its relation to Christian life and doctrine, has already been considered. It would be useless, in this place, to attempt a history of the rite, especially a detail of the perversions of its uses, the bitter controversies concerning it, or the false claims set up for its sacramental efficacy in working grace in its subjects.
The one question with which we are now concerned is a purely denominational one, having reference to the proper subjects of the ordinance, and the spiritual and ritual qualifications of those who partake of it. Also as to the proper and rightful authority of the Church in restricting its use, and judging of the qualifications of the participants.
The following propositions may be stated:
Prop. 1—The Gospel calls on all men, everywhere, to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation. This is the first act of submission to divine authority required of men.
Prop. 2.—Such as have exercised saving faith in Christ, and are thus born of the Spirit, are commanded to be baptized, as a declaration of that change, and a profession of the inward washing of regeneration, which has transpired in them. And no one is required to be, or properly can be, baptized till he has believed.
Prop. 3.—All persons, having savingly believed on Christ, and having been baptized into His name on a profession of that faith, are expected, and required, to unite themselves thereby with the company of disciples as members, in fellowship with a Church which is Christ’s visible body. And none can properly become a member of a Church till he has believed and been baptized.
Prop. 4.—It becomes the privilege and the duty of all who have thus been regenerated by the Spirit, baptized on a profession of faith, and are walking in fellowship with the Church, to celebrate the death of Christ in the Supper. Moreover, it is the duty of all who believe they love the Lord to be baptized, and unite with His Church, in order that they may obey His command, “This do in remembrance of me.” No true disciple should neglect it.
Prop. 5—It becomes the imperative duty of the churches, to whom the ordinances are committed, to see to it, as faithful guardians of so sacred a trust, that these regulations be faithfully observed, according to the will of the Master, by all who are members, and by all who desire to become members with them.
Prop. 6—The pastor, as “the chief executive officer” of the Church, acts as its representative under instructions in his sphere of service. But it is not his prerogative to determine who shall be baptized into its fellowship, or who shall enjoy its privileges, including a right to the Supper. The right and responsibility of deciding those questions belong to the Church itself, and not to its officers.
Prop. 7.—The pastor, in the exercise of his Christian liberty, is not under obligation to baptize any, though the Church may approve, unless he believes they are fit and suitable subjects. Nor can he baptize any into the fellowship of the Church without its consent.
I. Open and Close Communion.
The difference between Baptists and other Christian denominations on this question has principal reference to what is usually known as open and close communion. These terms do not very accurately define the distinction, but they are in common use in popular discussions on the subject, and are quite well understood.
Open, free, or mixed communion, is, strictly speaking, that which permits any one who desires, and believes himself qualified, to come to the Lord’s table, without any questions being asked, or conditions imposed, by the Church where the communion is observed. But ordinarily the term open communion is applied to the practice of the greater part of Pedobaptist churches, in which they permit and invite, not all persons, but the members of other evangelical churches to their Communion, whatever may be their views of doctrine, or Church order, in other respects.
Close, strict, or restricted communion is properly that which does not invite all, indiscriminately, who may choose to come to the Lord’s table, but restricts the invitation to a particular class. But ordinarily the term close communion is applied to the practice of Baptist churches, which invite to it only baptized believers, walking in orderly fellowship in their own churches. And by baptized believers, they mean, of course, immersed believers; since they hold that nothing but immersion is baptism.
Nearly all Baptists in the United States, and a large part of those in foreign lands, are strict communion in practice, as are also a few smaller denominations; while the Latin, Greek, and Oriental churches, and the greater part of Protestant churches practise free communion. Which are right? Let us compare them by the infallible standard.
II. The Open Communion View.
Those who favor and practice open or free communion justify their course by various and somewhat divergent reasons. The following constitute, in the main, the arguments they use:
1. Sprinkling Held to be Baptism.
The first class of open-communionists are those who hold that none but baptized persons should be invited to the Lord’s table, and that the Church is the rightful judge of the fitness of persons to be received to its privileges; yet they assert that sprinkling is lawful baptism, and that persons sprinkled only, and not immersed, should, therefore, be admitted to the Supper. This Baptists deny, and have, as they believe, proven the contrary—that sprinkling is not scriptural baptism.
2. Baptism not Prerequisite.
The second class of open-communionists assert that the ordinances sustain no necessary relation to each other; that baptism can claim no priority over the Supper, and, therefore, it is not a condition, nor prerequisite to it. Consequently, unbaptized persons, if believers—for they do make faith a condition—may partake of the Supper as lawfully as baptized persons. Therefore immersion or sprinkling, either or neither, is equally indifferent. This theory virtually denies the memorial and symbolic character of the ordinance, and regards it chiefly as a sign and service of Christian fellowship. This course of argument, however plausible, is rejected and condemned by the great body of Christians the world over, both Baptist and Pedobaptists.
3. The Church is not to Judge.
The third class of open-communionists are those who claim that the privilege of the Supper is based on no ground of prescribed conditions, on no ritual preparation, but entirely upon one’s own sense of fitness and duty. That the Church has no right of judgment in the case, and no responsibility concerning it, but is simply to “set the table,” and leave it to each and all to take or to refrain; whoever wishes, and judges himself fit, may eat and drink in that holy service without hindrance or question.
To this attitude as to the ordinances, and to this mode of reasoning, Baptists strenuously object; as do the great majority of Pedobaptists themselves. It is not only the right, but the duty of each Church to guard the sacred trusts committed to it, and to judge whether candidates for its privileges are, or are not, scripturally qualified to receive them. Each Church must be its own interpreter of truth and duty. It would be absurd to claim that the convictions of an individual must be the authoritative standard by which the body is bound to act.
If the judgment of the Church must yield to the convictions of individuals in one thing, it may in all, and then all order, government, and discipline would be prostrated before an anarchy of conflicting personal opinions. If the privilege of the Supper becomes common, all others may be, since this is the highest and most sacred of all. It would be a criminal indifference to the Master of the household to allow the safeguards with which He has surrounded the sanctity of His institutions to be broken down.
III. The Baptist View.
The following will express with general accuracy the view held by Baptists as to the conditions of the communion, and the qualifications of the communicants.
1. Baptists hold that there are three scriptural conditions to the privileges of the Lord’s Supper, which are imperative on the part of the Church to be observed:
(1) Regeneration: being born of the Spirit, and thus becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus. Without this, no one can be a member of His spiritual body, or can rightfully be a member of His visible body, the Church.
(2) Baptism: being buried with Christ in water, on a profession of faith in Him. This act must precede Church membership, and of course Church privileges, including the Supper.
(3) Godliness: an upright Christian life, orderly walk, and godly conversation as a Church member. For though one may have been truly converted, and rightly baptized, if he be a disorderly walker, violating his covenant obligations, living in sin, and openly disobeying his Lord, he has no claim on the Lord’s Table.
2. Baptists claim that the Communion, strictly speaking, is a Church ordinance to be observed by churches only. That it cannot be administered, or received by those outside the Church; that members, in their individual capacity, cannot administer or receive it. Nor can the Church authorize individuals to administer, or receive it. The body must act in its organic character in the use of it; and persons must be within the Church, legitimately to enjoy it.
3. Baptists insist that they neither may, nor ought to, invite to the Supper any except persons converted, baptized, and walking orderly according to gospel rule. They believe the Church is bound to judge of the fitness of those admitted to its ordinances as well as those admitted to its membership. To invite, or permit persons to receive the Communion without conditions, is to allow the vile and the profane, the carnal and the impure, to mingle with God’s spiritual people, and eat and drink, unworthily, the symbolic flesh and blood of Christ. For, if the rule be allowed, to this extent will the abuse be sure to go.
4. Baptists are firmly convinced, that, to maintain the purity and spirituality of the churches, it is absolutely needful to restrict the Communion to regenerated persons, baptized on a profession of faith, and walking orderly Christian lives in Church fellowship. To adopt any other rule, or allow any larger liberty, would break down the distinction between the Church and the world; would bring in a carnal and unconverted membership, with which to overshadow the spiritual, and control the household of faith; would virtually transfer the Communion from the house of God to the temple of Belial. To keep the churches pure, the ordinances must be kept pure and unperverted, both as to their substance and their form.
5. Baptists give the following reasons in justification of their course in the following cases:
(1) They do not invite Pedobaptists to their Communion, because they do not regard such persons as baptized; they having been only sprinkled. The fact that they think themselves baptized, does not make it so. If they desire to commune, let them be baptized according to Christ’s command.
(2) They do not accept invitations from Pedobaptists to commune with them, for the same reason; they do not consider them baptized Christians. Therefore their churches are irregular churches according to the New Testament standard, both in the misuse of the ordinances, and in the admission of infant Church membership. Therefore to commune with them would be disorderly walking, and would encourage them in disorderly walking, by upholding a perversion of the ordinances.
(3) They do not invite the immersed members of Pedobaptist churches to their Communion, because, though such persons may be truly converted and properly baptized, they are walking disorderly as disciples, by remaining in churches which hold and practise serious errors as to the ordinances, as such persons themselves judge. These churches use sprinkling for baptism, and administer the ordinance to infants; both of which are contrary to Scripture, as such persons themselves allow. And yet, by remaining in these churches, they give their countenance and support to uphold and perpetuate what they confess to be errors, and thus help to impose on others what they will not accept for themselves. This is not an orderly and consistent course for Christians to pursue.
IV. Baptism is Prerequisite.
If the Supper was intended to be limited to those converted, baptized, and brought into the fellowship of the churches, it may be asked, Why was not this fact made plain and explicitly stated in some command or precept of Christ or His Apostles? Why was not this command as positively given as that which enjoined baptism? The reply must be, It was plainly and explicitly enjoined. The form of the ordinance was exhibited when instituted by Jesus; the command enjoining its observance was, “This do, in remembrance of me;” the qualified subjects were those before Him; baptized believers.
But note the following considerations.
1. The example of our Saviour at the institution of the Supper. Whom did He invite to partake of the symbols of His body and blood? Not an indiscriminate company; not all who deemed themselves fit, and chose to come; not all of His professed disciples even. But a small and very select company, who had received John’s baptism, or His own, not even including His own mother, brethren, and other family connections. That first Communion service, at the close of or during the paschal supper, was a very restricted one. Certainly no unbaptized persons were present in that upper chamber to receive the elements.
2. The language of Christ in the Great Commission, and other similar forms of speech, if not conclusive proof, are very little short of it, in favor of the necessary priority of baptism to the Supper. He commanded to teach all nations, baptizing them; His promise is to those who believe and are baptised. This order is uniform; teaching, believing, baptizing. Where does the Supper come in? Baptists say, after the teaching, believing, baptizing, and thus being “added to the Church.” There is no room for it. But if it comes before—then where before? Before the teaching, and before the believing? Why not? If the divine order is to be changed, then why not have the Supper come before the teaching and believing, and be given, as Pedobaptists give baptism, to infants incapable of either instruction or faith. Infant communion, as practised from the third to the ninth century by the Latin Church, and still practised by the Greek Church, is equally scriptural with infant baptism, as now practised by all Pedobaptists, whether Catholics or Protestants. Nor would infant communion after baptism be any more inconsistent than adult communion before baptism.
3. The New Testament history affords no instance which can be supposed to favor the theory of communion without baptism. But abundant evidence is furnished, in facts and circumstances mentioned, to show that all communicants were baptized persons. Apostolic instruction, with reference to the Supper and reproofs administered for an abuse of that sacred ordinance, all are addressed to churches and Church members. Those who believed, and gladly received the Word, were baptized, then added to the Church; then they continued steadfast in the Apostles’ doctrine, and in the breaking of bread, and of prayer.
4. The almost unvarying testimony of Christian history through all its ages should be accepted as important evidence in this case. Both Catholics and Protestants, Baptists and Pedobaptists, with singular unanimity, declare baptism to be prerequisite to the Communion.
Justin Martyr, one of the early Christian Fathers, about A.D. 140, says of the Supper:
“This food is called by us the Eucharist, of which it is not lawful for any one to partake, but such as believe the things taught by us to be true, and have been baptized.”—Apol. I. C, 65,66. See Schaff’s Ch. Hist., II., 516.
Mosheim, in his Church History, says:
“Neither those doing penance, nor those not yet baptized, were allowed to be present at the celebration of this ordinance.” “The sacred mystery of the service was deemed so great as to exclude the unbaptized from the place.” Eccl. Hist., Cent. II., part II., chap. 4, sec. 3.
Neander, the great Church historian, says:
“At this celebration, as may be easily concluded, no one could be present who was not a member of the Christian Church, and incorporated into it by the rite of baptism.”—Ch. Hist., Vol. I., p. 327.
Cave, one of the most reliable writers on Christian antiquities, says the communicants in the primitive Church were those,
“That had embraced the doctrine of the Gospel, and had been baptized into the faith of Christ. For, looking upon the Lord’s Supper as the highest and most solemn act of religion, they thought they could never take care enough in dispensing it.”—Prim. Christ., ch. II, p.333.
Bingham, in his able work on the antiquities of the Christian Church, says of the early Christians:
“As soon as a man was baptized he was communicated,” that is, admitted to the Communion. Baptism, therefore, preceded the Supper.—Christ. Antiq., B. XII., ch. 4, sec. 92; B. XV., ch. 3.
Wall, who searched the records of antiquity for facts illustrating the history of the ordinances, says:
“No Church ever gave the Communion to any before they were baptized. Among all the absurdities that were ever held, none ever maintained that any person should partake of the Communion before he was baptized.”—Hist. Inf. Bap., part II., ch. 9.
“It is certain that, so far as our knowledge of primitive antiquity reaches, no unbaptized person received the Lord’s Supper. ” Lectures, pp. 311.312.
“What man dares go in a way which hath neither precept nor example to warrant it, from a way that hath full consent of both? Yet they that will admit members into the visible Church without baptism do so.”—Plain Scrip. Proof, 24.
“An uncircumcised man was not permitted to eat the passover; and an unbaptized man should not be permitted to partake of the Eucharist.”—Theol., Vol. II., p. 220.
“It is an indispensable qualification for this ordinance, that the candidate for communion be a member of the visible Church, in full standing. By this I intend that he should be a man of piety; that he should have made a public profession of religion, and that he should have been baptized.” —Syst. Theol. Ser. 160, B. VIII., ch. 4, sec. 7.
“The Communion was a regular part, and, in fact, the most important and solemn part of the Sunday worship, . . . in which none but full members of the Church could engage.”—Ch. Hist., Vol.I, p.392. N.Y.,1871.
“None, indeed, but believers, in full communion with the Church, were permitted to be present.” “But agreeably to all the laws and customs of the Church, baptism constituted membership with the Church. All baptized persons were legitimately numbered among the communicants as members of the Church.”—Ancient Christ. Ex., ch. 21, sec. 8.
These witnesses to our position, not being Baptists, may command the more regard from those who do not agree with us. Other similar testimonies need not be cited.
V. One and the Same Rule.
Here observe, that Baptists and Pedobaptists have one and the same rule as to the conditions of the Communion, viz.: they all hold baptism to be prerequisite, and that unbaptized persons have no lawful right to it.
For though there may be a few ministers, and possibly a few churches, that would invite anybody and everybody, yet such a course would be contrary to the standards, and opposed to the usages of their churches generally. They all practise a restricted or close communion, since they restrict the privilege to baptized believers. But inasmuch as they hold that sprinkling as well as immersion is baptism, their communion is more open, and that of Baptists is more close, by the difference between their views of baptism and ours, and by that difference only. Therefore the question in debate is one, after all, not of communion, but of baptism. Let them prove that sprinkling is baptism, or admit that it is not, and the communion controversy will cease.
Dr. Griffin, one of the fathers of New England Congregationalism, said:
“1 agree with the advocates of close communion in two points: (1) That baptism is the initiatory ordinance which introduces us into the visible Church—of course, where there is no baptism there are no visible churches. (2) That we ought not to commune with those who are not baptized, and of course not Church members, even if we regard them as Christians.” Letter on Baptism, 1839. See Curtis on Com., p. 125.
Bishop Coxe, on the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, says:
“The Baptists hold that we have never been baptized, and they must exclude us from their communion table, if we were disposed to go there. Are we offended? No; we call it principle, and we respect it. To say that we have never become members of Christ by baptism seems severe, but it is conscientious adherence to duty, as they regard it. I should be the bigot, and not they, if I should ask them to violate their discipline in this or in any other particular.”—On Christ. Unity, in Church Union, July, 1891.
Dr. Hibbard, a leading Methodist scholar and divine, says:
“In one principle Baptist and Pedobaptist churches agree. They both agree in rejecting from communion at the table of the Lord, and in denying the rights of Church fellowship to all who have not been baptized;” and with admirable frankness he adds: “The charge of close communion is no more applicable to the Baptists than to us [Pedobaptists], insomuch as the question of Church fellowship with them is determined by as liberal principles as it is with any other Protestant churches—so far, I mean, as the present subject is concerned: i.e., it is determined by valid baptism.”—Hibbard on Christ. Bap., p. II., p. 174.
Dr. Bullock, another Methodist divine, says:
“Close communion, as it is generally termed, is the only logical and consistent course for Baptist churches to pursue. If their premises are right, their conclusion is surely just as it should be.” And he commends the firmness of Baptists in not inviting to the communion those whom they regard as unbaptized. He says: “They do not feel willing to countenance such laxity in Christian discipline. Let us honor them for their steadfastness in maintaining what they believe to be a Bible precept, rather than criticise and censure because they differ with us concerning the intent and mode of Christian baptism, and believe it to be an irrepealable condition of coming to the Lord’s table.”—What Christians Believe.
The Independent, the most widely circulated and perhaps the most influential Pedobaptist paper in the country, in an editorial, says:
“Leading writers of all denominations declare that converts must be baptized before they can be invited to the communion table. This is the position generally taken. But Baptists regarding sprinkling as a nullity—no baptism at all—look upon Presbyterians, Methodists and others as unbaptized persons.” “The other churches cannot urge the Baptists to become open communicants till they themselves take the position that all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, the unbaptized as well as the baptized, may be invited to the communion table.”—Editorial, July, 1879.
The Congregationalist, the organ of the New England Congregational Churches, in an editorial, says:
“Congregationalists have uniformly, until here and there an exception has arisen of late years, required baptism and Church membership as the prerequisite of a seat at the table of the Lord.” It is a part of the false ‘liberality’ which now prevails in certain quarters, to welcome everybody ‘who thinks he loves Christ’ to commune in His body and blood. Such a course is the first step in breaking down that distinction between the Church and the world which our Saviour emphasized; and it seems to us it is an unwise and mistaken act for which no Scripture warrant exists.”—Editorial, July 9, 1879.
The Observer of New York, the oldest and leading Presbyterian journal of this country, said:
“It is not a want of charity which compels the Baptist to restrict his invitation. He has no hesitation in admitting the personal piety of his unimmersed brethren. Presbyterians do not invite the unbaptized, however pious they may be. It is not uncharitable. It is not bigotry on the part of Baptists to confine their communion to those whom they consider the baptized.”
The Interior of Chicago, organ of the Western Presbyterians, said:
“The difference between our Baptist brethren and ourselves is an important difference. We agree with them, however, in saying that unbaptized persons should not partake of the Lord’s Supper. Their views compel them to think that we are not baptized, and shuts them up to close Communion. Close Communion is, in our judgment, a more defensible position than open Communion, which is justified on the ground that baptism is not a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper. To chide Baptists with bigotry, because they abide by the logical consequences of their system, is absurd.”
The Episcopal Recorder said:
“The close Communion of the Baptist Church is but the necessary sequence of the fundamental idea out of which their existence has grown. No Christian Church would willingly receive to its Communion even the humblest and truest believer in Christ who had not been baptized. With the Baptist, immersion, only, is baptism, and he therefore, of necessity, excludes from the Lord’s table all who have not been immersed. It is an essential part of the system—the legitimate carrying out of this creed.”
The Christian Advocate of New York, said:
“The regular Baptist churches in the United States may be considered today as practically a unit on three points: the nonuse of infant baptism, the immersion of believers only upon profession of faith, and the administration of the Holy Communion to such only as have been immersed by ministers holding these views. In our opinion the Baptist Church owes its amazing prosperity largely to its adherents to these views. In doctrine and government, in other respects, it is the same as the Congregationalists. In numbers the regular Baptists are more than six times as great as the Congregationalists. It is not bigotry to adhere to one’s convictions, provided the spirit of Christian love prevails.”
Many other similar concessions from candid Christian men, who differ from us, might be adduced, but are unnecessary.
Thus, leading Pedobaptists themselves sustain the position of Baptists, so far as the principle is concerned on which close communion is based. They hold, as we do, that unbaptized persons should not be invited to the Lord’s table; and that it is a false liberalism which would admit everybody there, and thus obliterate the distinction between the Church and the world, in this the most sacred service of religion. Of course, they hold that sprinkling is baptism, and therefore, that sprinkled persons have a right to the Communion.
VI. The Symbolism of the Ordinances.
The design of Baptism was to show the death of Christ for our offenses, and His resurrection for our justification. Thus, in the two acts, the immersion signifies burial, and the emersion signifies resurrection. In baptism the believer professes his death to sin, his burial with Christ, and his resurrection to newness of life in Him—Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; the coming forth from the baptismal wave, therefore, proclaims a new spiritual life in Christ begun.
The design of the Supper is to show that this new spiritual life, thus begun, is to be nourished and maintained by feeding on Christ. Eating and drinking indicate sustenance and support. They show the saint’s dependence on Christ, who is the bread of God, and the abundant supply of grace represented by the loaf and the cup.
Now, as life must begin before it can be nourished, so baptism, which symbolizes its beginning, comes before the Supper, which symbolizes its nourishment and support. Thus it was in the apostolic age. They believed and were baptized; then they were added to the Church; then they continued in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and on prayers.—Acts 2:41,42.
VII. But One Argument.
Open communion has but one argument to sustain it, viz., sympathy; that, with some kindly minds, outweighs all others. It has neither Scripture, logic, expediency, nor the concurrent practice of Christendom, either past or present, in its favor. But to some it seems kind and brotherly to invite all who say they love our Lord Jesus Christ, to unite in commemorating His death at the Supper. And to exclude any, or fail to invite all, seems to those sentimental natures harsh, cold, and unchristian. To them, the Supper is rather a love-feast for Christian fellowship than a personal commemoration of Christ’s love by those who have believed upon His name, and been baptized into the likeness of His death. But sympathy should not control in matters of faith, and in acts of conscience.
VIII. Objections Answered.
1. It is sometimes objected that we make too much of baptism; that we make it a saving ordinance; that it is not essential to salvation.
We reply: That baptism is not essential to salvation; but it is essential to obedience, since Christ has commanded it; and no one has a right to be called His disciple, who, knowing His command, deliberately refuses to obey.
2. Our Pedobaptist friends say they invite us to their Communion, why should we not in like manner invite them.
We answer: They can well afford to invite us, since they acknowledge that our baptism is valid and scriptural; but we do not acknowledge theirs to be either scriptural or valid.
3. Again, they say: It is the Lord’s table, and we should not exclude any of the Lord’s people.
To this we reply: It is the Lord’s table, and not ours; therefore we have no right to invite any but such as the Lord has designated. If it were our table we could invite whomsoever we would. As it is, we must obey the Lord at His own table.
4. They also ask: If the Lord has received us, why should not you?
We reply: The Lord has received you to a spiritual fellowship; so do we. But the Lord has not received you to His visible ordinances unless you have obeyed His direction. He receives pardoned souls to His spiritual Communion, but not to the outward Communion of His Church, till they have obeyed Him in baptism.
5. But they say: We hope that all will commune in heaven together; why then should we not on earth?
This objection is based on the assumption that all who will commune together in heaven should come to the Lord’s Supper here. But this is fallacious. There will be no baptism or Supper in heaven. There the communion will be spiritual, and in spiritual communion all of God’s people do unite now. But Pedobaptists do not themselves invite to the Lord’s table all they hope to meet in heaven, children, and many other unprofessed and unknown, but true, disciples. Christ has given His churches laws and ordinances for their earthly state, none of which will be needed in the heavenly state.
6. And when they say that they do not object to our baptism, but they do to our close communion, we reply, as has been shown, that the difficulty is not with the communion really at all, but altogether with the baptism. And in order to remove the difficulty, they must either show that sprinkling is true scriptural baptism, or else that unbaptized persons may properly be invited to the Lord’s Supper.
7. In one respect, Pedobaptists are more close in their Communion than Baptists, viz., in that they exclude a large class of their own members from the Lord’s table; that is, baptized infants. Baptists do not exclude their own members against whom no charge is made. If unconscious infants can receive baptism on the faith of sponsors, they are certainly competent to receive the Supper in like manner, as they did in the earlier ages, after the introduction of infant baptism, from the third to the ninth century, according to Church historians, and as is still the practice of the Greek Church. Both are alike contrary to reason and the Scriptures.
Dr. Coleman says:
“After the general introduction of infant baptism, in the second and third centuries, the sacrament continued to be administered to all who had been baptized, whether infants or adults. The reason alleged by Cyprian and others for this practice was, that age was no impediment. Augustine strongly advocates the practice. The custom continued for several centuries. It is mentioned in the third Council of Tours, A.D. 813; and even the Council of Trent, A.D. 1545, only decreed that it should not be considered essential to salvation. It is still scrupulously observed by the Greek Church.”—Anc. Christ. Exemp., ch. 22, sec. 8; Bittg. Orig., B. XV., ch. 4, sec. 7; Cave, 335-349: Giesseler, Vol. II., p. 332. Many other writers bear the same testimony.
Edward Hiscox (1814-1901) was an American Baptist pastor and theologian. He was converted to Christ in 1834 and began to preach the gospel four years later. He served as the pastor for several congregations, including the Stanton Street Baptist Church, New York (1852). He is best known for authoring the “Standard Manual for Baptist Churches” (1890) and the “New Directory for Baptist Churches” (1894).