I have received and considered your short reply to my differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion; and observe, that you touch not the argument at all: but rather labour what you can, and beyond what you ought, to throw odiums upon your brother for reproving you for your error, viz. 'That those believers that have been baptized after confession of faith made by themselves, ought and are in duty bound to exclude from their church fellowship, and communion at the table of the Lord, those of their holy brethren that have not been so baptized.'
This is your error. Error, I call it, because it is not founded upon the word, but a mere human device; for although I do not deny, but acknowledge, that baptism is God's ordinance; yet I have denied, that baptism was ever ordained of God to be a wall of division between the holy and the holy; the holy that are, and the holy that are not, so baptized with water as we. You, on the contrary, both by doctrine and practice, assert that it is; and therefore do separate yourselves from all your brethren that in that matter differ from you; accounting them, notwithstanding their saving faith and holy lives, not fitly qualified for church communion, and all because they have not been, as you, baptized. Further, you count their communion among themselves unlawful, and therefore unwarrantable; and have concluded, 'they are joined to idols, and that they ought not to be shewed the pattern of the house of God, until they be ashamed of their sprinkling in their infancy, and accept of and receive baptism as you.'
Yea, you count them as they stand, not the churches of God; saying, 'We have no such custom, nor the churches of God.' At this I have called for your proofs, the which you have attempted to produce; but in conclusion have shewed none other, but 'That the primitive churches had those they received, baptized before so received.' I have told you, that this, though it were granted, cometh not up to the question; for we ask not, 'whether they were so baptized? But whether you find a word in the Bible that justifieth your concluding that it is your duty to exclude those of your holy brethren that have not been so baptized?'
From this you cry out, that I take up the arguments of them that plead for infant baptism: I answer, I take up no other argument but your own, viz. 'That there being no precept, precedent, nor example in all the scripture, for our excluding our holy brethren that differ in this point from us, therefore we ought not to dare to do it,' but contrariwise to receive them; because God hath given us sufficient proof that himself hath received them, whose example in this case he hath commanded us to follow (Ro 14:3, 15). This might serve for an answer to your reply. But because, perhaps, should I thus conclude, some might make an ill use of my brevity; I shall therefore briefly step after you, and examine your short reply; at least, where shew of argument is. Your first five pages are spent to prove me either proud or a liar; for inserting in the title-page of my 'Differences,' &c. that your book was written by the Baptist, or brethren of your way.
In answer to which; whoso readeth your second, your fifth and sixth questions to me, may not perhaps be easily persuaded to the contrary; but the two last in your reply, are omitted by you; whether for verity's sake, or because you were conscious to yourself, that the sight of them would overthrow your insinuations, I leave to the sober to judge. But put the case I had failed herein, Doth this warrant your unlawful practice?
You ask me next, 'How long is it since I was a Baptist?' and then add, 'It is an ill bird that bewrays his own nest."
Answer I must tell you, avoiding your slovenly language, I know none to whom that title is so proper as to the disciples of John. And since you would know by what name I would be distinguished from others; I tell you, I would be, and hope I am, A Christian; and choose, if God should count me worthy, to be called a Christian, a Believer, or other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost (Ac 11:26). And as for those factious titles of Anabaptists, Independents, Presbyterians, or the like, I conclude, that they came neither from Jerusalem, nor Antioch, but rather from hell and Babylon; for they naturally tend to divisions, 'you may know them by their fruits.'