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enormity of schismatic and organized resistance to the commandments of God, is Christian, and to be fellowshipped as Christian? Is high treason against heaven no breach of Christian fellowship? But precisely this is what they say, when they pronounce pedobaptists disobedient in baptism, and yet fellowship them as Christians. Against such monstrous doctrine we may well quote the command to withdraw from the disobedient. And, even if church fellowship were not (as it is) demonstrably identical in nature with Christian fellowship, we should yet find in the whole spirit of the gospel, as well as in many particular commands, admonitions to "have no fellowship," whether church or Christian, with the sin of disobedience (Eph. v. 11).
Two possible courses of perfect consistency, and only two, are open to Baptists. Perhaps there is but one. That will depend upon precisely what the convictions of Baptists are on certain points. But apparently two courses are open, in either one of which they may go consistently. They may disfellowship pedobaptists as not offering the scriptural attestation of discipleship, which is obedience; or they may abandon the idea that conscientious pedobaptists are disobedient to the commands of Christ respecting baptism. They may be consistent close communionists or consistent open communionists. At present they are half and half, and therefore neither. They never can be self-consistent, or occupy a rationally intelligent position, until they become wholly either one thing or the other.
Baptists as a denomination have no recognized theory of communion. Their doctrine as to the Supper is nothing of the sort, and has no direct relation to any such thing; the statements respecting fellowship, which they append to that doctrine, having no logical connection with it, and being evidently regarded as supplementary to it, rather than as an in
dependent and self-centred theory. But these fragmentary and isolated suggestions, false as they all are in some respects, and thrown into a wrong light by their misalliance and unnatural subordination to an alien dogma, are practically all that Baptists can show looking towards a theory of communion. The misconception as to the true relation of the Supper to the communion controversy has diverted their attention from the real communion question, so that they have not seriously grappled with it, but have laid out their strength on a side issue, important in itself, but irrelevant. But if consistency is an object, it is time they adopted a theory of communion and squared their denominational usages to correspond.
It is no part of my plan to pave the way for Baptists to either horn of the dilemma I have thus pointed out; and it is useless to speculate as to which of the two they may most easily and most conscientiously choose. If they are as firmly convinced as they sometimes say they are that pedobaptists are disobedient, they would find it difficult to abandon that idea; and it would be easier for them to exchange their present Christian fellowship for pedobaptists (which at the best is but a travesty of Christian fellowship) for a consistent close communion. But I have often noticed, in the course of a somewhat extended experience, that, where the Baptist cause is not established or is languishing, most Baptists find it comparatively easy to unite with pedobaptist churches. Their principles do not prove to be so inflexible as they had thought. And this suggests the inquiry, Do not Baptists as a denomination have a sufficiently tangible doubt as to the Christianity of their stern arraignment of pedobaptists to justify them in abandoning it for the sake of becoming consistent, even though it were to be consistently open, in their communion?
THE ORDER OF THE ASSASSINS.
BY PROFESSOR HARVEY PORTER, D, D.
Of all the strange and mystic sects the East has produced, none surpass the Order of the Assassins in fanatical zeal, boldness of design, and the ruthless manner of execution which characterized all their measures. It still remains a question, whence the term “ Assassin” is derived. It is commonly referred to the word hashish, the intoxicating extract of hemp (Cannabis Indica). It is supposed that they used the drug to nerve them for their daring exploits, and hence they were called, in Arabic, Ilashishiyeen, whence we derive “Assassin.” This may be incorrect, but there is no doubt that our word “assassin” is derived from this order of fanatics whose deeds of darkness and horror overshadowed all Western Asia for more than one hundred and fifty years, and resounded through all Europe, and gave us our most appropriate word to denote swift and secret murder.
But the Assassins never called themselves by this name. The term which they applied to themselves was Ismailians, from a certain Ismail, whom they regarded as the origin of the sect, who will be mentioned further on. Ismail is the same as Ishmael; hence they might be called Ishmaelites,a not inappropriate designation, since their hand was against every man, and every man's hand against them. Their Chief Ismail, however, has no connection with the Ishmael of the Bible.
They were called by the Mohammedans Batiniyeh, which indicates that they had one doctrine or set of doctrines for
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the outside world, and quite another for the initiated. This was true. They held esoteric doctrines, which were taught to the inner circle of the initiated only, and which were of the most abominable character, while their exoteric doctrines were in general accord with the religion of Islam. They were in the outset a heretical sect of Mohammedans, but in their later development they became the bitter foes of Islam, and indeed of every form of faith except their own.
For a better understanding of the order of the Assassins, and its relation to Islam, we must glance briefly at the heretical sects that preceded it.
The first break in the united ranks of Islam occurred during the caliphate of Ali, the fourth successor of the Arabian prophet. Ali was repudiated by a large party at whose head was Moawîyah, the Governor of Damascus, and, after a long struggle, Ali and his sons were put to death, and the family nearly exterminated; but there was a remnant left, and there arose a party among the Mohammedans who claimed that the rightful succession to the caliphate belonged to Ali and his descendants. This party became known as Shias, or Shiites, to whom the Persians belong at the present day, and it has been from among them that the greatest foes to orthodox Islam have arisen, the Assassins most conspicuous of all. From among the Persians came the chief free-thinkers of Islam. In 758 A. D. appeared the Rawendi, who taught the transmigration of souls, whom the Caliph Munsûr was obliged to put down with the sword. Next arose in Persia a certain Al Mukanna who wore a golden mask, whence his
He taught that God was incarnate in Adam, then in Noah, and in a succession of prophets reaching to and including himself. About the year 817 A. D. there appeared a certain Babek who taught the moral indifference of all human actions, and encouraged his followers to give free rein to their passions. In this they were the forerunners of the Assassins, as we shall see. It is not strange that Babek had
many followers. He attempted the overthrow of the caliphate of Bagdad, and the extinction of this pestilent sect is said to have cost twenty years of bloody conflict and a million of men.
About the year 891 A. D. appeared a still more formidable enemy to orthodox Islam in the sect of the Karmathians, who arose in lower Mesopotamia, but soon spread into Arabia, and inflicted defeat after defeat upon the armies of the Caliph. Their doctrines were a curious mixture of Islam, Magism, and Christianity. Their leader even pretended to be an apostle of Jesus, whom he called the Word. He also claimed to be the Mahdi of Islam and the angel Gabriel. The Karmathians professed an attachment to Islam and the Koran, but they taught that the latter must be interpreted allegorically, and, while apparently receiving it, they maintained doctrines wholly subversive of it. In this they were followed by the Assassins, who may in fact be regarded as their true successors. The Karmathians were hostile to the Caliph of Bagdad, claiming that their Imam, or chief, was the only true caliph, and must overthrow the false one at Bagdad. Hence followed the bloody conflict in which hundreds of thousands perished.
In 920 A. D. they attacked Mecca, and thirty thousand of its defenders fell before the city was taken. The Karmathians did not respect the holy places of Islam: they plundered the city, and carried off the sacred black stone of the Kaaba, which was only restored twenty-two years later at a ransom of fifty-thousand ducats. For one hundred years the conflict raged, before the Karmathian heresy was extinguished, or rather compelled to change its form, for it really lived on, and reappeared in all its essential features in the doctrine of the Assassins.
Egypt seems to have been the home of this new phase of heresy. The descendants of Ali-nearly exterminated, as already mentioned, and always persecuted by the caliphs,