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father ; yet on careful searching the sacred volumes, he was obliged to yield to those convictions they produced in him, and change his judgment,

The following Treatise contains the substance of those. convictions, or the particular reasons of this alteration. And if those who are now in his former way of thinking, would with due seriousness, humility, calmness, diligence, and impartiality, search the Scriptures, and consider his arguments derived from them, looking up to GOD through CHRIST, and subječting their minds entirely to him, they may either see and yield to the same convictions, and find cause to change their judgments also, or will at least continue their fraternal affection to the worthy Author, and others in the same sentiments with him.

We heartily pray that the reverend Author and his flock may for a long time be happy together; that their cordial love and tenderness to each other may continue and operate in mutual and all lawful condescenfions and forbearances under different sentiments in these particulars; that every one may be open to light, and guard against all prejudice, precipitance, and passion; that they may be very watchful against the devices of Satan to difunite or disaffect them; that they may ftudy the things that muike for peace and edification. And the GOD of light, love, and peace, will continue with them.

THOMAS PRINCE, Boston, Augufl 11.

John WEBB,
1749.

THOMAS FOXCROFT,
M. BYLES.

CON T E N T S.

PART 1.
THE Question stated and explained; viz. Whether, ac-

cording to the rules of Christ, any ought to be ad-
mitted to the communion and privileges of members of
the visible church of Christ in complete flanding,
but such as are in profession, and in the eye of the
church's Christian judgment, godly or gracious per-
fons?

page 1

PART II.
Reasons for the Negative of the foregoing Question,

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PART III.

Objections answered,

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APPENDIX.
Being a Letter to the Author, in answer to his request

of information concerning the opinion of Protestant
divines and churches in general, of the Presbyterians
in Scotland and Disenters in England in particular,
respecting Five Questions that relate to this contro-
versy,

199

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AN

HUMBLE INQUIRY

INTO THE

QUALIFICATIONS

FOR

Full Communion in the Visible Church of CHRIST,

PART FIRST.

The QUESTION stated and explained. The main question I would consider, and for the negative of which, I would offer some arguments in the following discourse, is this; Whether, according to the rules of Christ, any ought to be admitted to the communion and privileges of members of the visible church of Christ in complete fianding, but such as are in profesion, and in the eye of the church's Christian judgment, godly or gracious persons ?

When I speak of members of the visible church of Christ, in complete standing, I would be understood of those who are received as the proper

immediate subjects of all the external privileges, Christ has appointed for the ordinary members of his church. I say ordinary members, in distinction from any peculiar privileges and honours of church-officers and rulers. All allow, there are some that are in some respect in the church of God, who are not members in complete standing, in the sense that has been explained : All that acknowledge infantbaptism, allow infants, who are the proper subjects of baptism, and are baptized, to be in some sort members of the Christian church ; yet none suppose them to be members in such standing as to be the proper immediate fubjects of all ecclefiaftical ordinances and privileges: But that some further qualifications are requisite in order to

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this, to be obtained, either in a course of nature, or by education, or by divine grace. And fome who are baptized in infancy, even after they come to be adult, may yet remain for a season short of such a standing as has been spoken of; being deftitute of fufficient knowledge, and perhaps some other qualifications, through the neglect of parents, or their own negligence, or otherwise; or because they carelessly neglect to qualify themselves for ecclefiaftical privileges by making a public profeffion of the Christian faith, or owning the Christian covenant, or forbear to offer themselves as candidates for these privileges; and yet not be cast out of the church, or cease to be in any respect its members : This, I suppose, will also be generally allowed.

One thing mainly intended in the foregoing question is, Whether any adult persons but such as are in profesfion and appearance endued with Christian grace or piety, ought to be admitted to the Christian facraments : Particularly whether they ought to be admitted to the Lord's fupper; and, if they are such as were not baptized in infancy, ought to be admitted to baptism. Adult persons having those qualifications that oblige others to receive them as the proper immediate subjects of the Christian facraments, is a main thing intended in the queition, by being such as ought to be admitted to the communion and privileges of members of the visible church, in complete standing. There are many adult persons that by the allowance of all are in some respect within the church of God, who are not members in good standing, in this respect. There are many, for instance, that have not at present the qualifications proper to recommend them to admillion to the Lord's supper: There are many scandalous persons, who are under suspension. The late venerable Mr. Stoddard, and

divines suppose, that even excommunicated persons are still members of the church of God; and some suppose, the worThippers of Baal in Israel, even those who were bred up such from their infancy, remained still members of the church of God: And very many Protestant divines sup

many other great

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