Answer.—Only believers have ever been amenable to the high calling of joint-heirship with Christ, and to suffering with him. The innocency of childhood is in the Scriptures set forth as a beautiful picture, and one that is to be emulated by all of the Lord's people in spiritual matters—they are to be children as respects malice; they are to be simple in their faith and love, not given to duplicity, misrepresentation, deep scheming, etc. In this sense of the word the Lord assures us that we must all become as little children, else we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But to be as a little child in these respects, and to be a little child, are two different matters. The Lord did not accept any of the infants of Palestine to be his disciples, nor has he called infants to be his disciples since.
However, the age at which an intelligent faith in the Lord might be exercised and the time, therefore, at which, after the exercise of that faith, a covenant of full consecration to the Lord's service could be intelligently entered into, must vary with the individuality of the children. We have known some that we considered quite competent both to believe and to consecrate at as early an age as fourteen, and all we should ask of any would be an evidence of their faith and an evidence of appreciation of consecration.
We have a duty to our children, even tho they be too young to appreciate matters for themselves. They are our children, and under our care, and for us to deliberately lead their young feet into the snares of the Adversary, and to assist in entangling them in sectarianism, when we know how much evil it has done us, would be a crime on our part against them and against the truth. Every parent should recognize himself as having incurred grave responsibilities toward his children, not only for their temporal necessities, but equally for their mental and moral training; and the parents who are most faithful in the discharge of this God-appointed responsibility are sure to be the ones who are running the race themselves most successfully: for they will find that every effort to make clear the divine plan to the child will bring clearness and force to the parent's mind, and every attempt to inculcate the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of truth, will be sure to bring with it a blessing, not only upon the heart of the child, but upon the heart of the parent. And years will show that the faithful parents will have reward through their children, of joy and peace and comfort, while those parents who neglect their children, or who trust them to those who are likely to mislead them in spiritual things, are pretty sure eventually to reap according as they have sown—poor or meager results.
Answer.—There is no law to hinder the Christian from going anywhere he believes the Lord would have him go, and where he believes he can get and do good and serve the truth, and feed the Lord's flock, and use his influence to the Lord's praise. If therefore you feel that your visiting the church from which you have withdrawn would have the above beneficial results, and if you would be made welcome by the said church, we see no reason why you might not, as occasion would offer, attend such church.
However, on the other hand there is something to be said. Are you sure that your going would either do good or bring good? Are you sure that your influence would be favorable to the truth, if invested in that manner? Or would it be unfavorable to the truth and favorable to error? Are you sure that your attendance would furnish you any opportunities for speaking the truth and serving it to fellow-members of the household of faith? These are questions which each of the Lord's people must decide for himself. We think that as a general rule denominational lines are so closely drawn that there is no opportunity inside of them for bringing the truth clearly and fearlessly before the attention of the attendants.
Respecting the taking of communion: It would seem to us that to do this regularly would certainly be unwise and prejudicial to the truth, because it would be favoring what we think is not Scriptural. And yet if by accident we happened to be with Christian people when they partook of the communion we would not feel condemned by our conscience in celebrating the Lord's death with them, explaining subsequently to our acquaintances what we considered to be the Scriptural truth on this subject. But in visiting a nominal church we should, if possible, avoid visiting on the Sunday when they erroneously celebrate the Lord's death out of its memorial season.